Tag Archives: drugs

Prescriptaholics?

15 May

I was reading an article today about the legal drinking age of 21 and how ever since it was raised from age 18 thirty years ago there has been an increase in the abuse of other drugs by teens and those under the age of 21.

In fact, Teen drug abuse with opioids is now second only to marijuana in popularity and today almost one in 10 high school seniors report taking hydrocodone (Vicodin) within the past year. And Among teens and people under the age of 30, Anti-anxiety drug abuse is the most common among abused drugs.

The Mayo Clinic describes Prescription drug abuse as: The use of a prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor, such as for the feelings you get from the drug. Prescription drug abuse or problematic use includes everything from taking a friend’s prescription painkiller for your backache to snorting or injecting ground-up pills to get high.

what I find most interesting or perhaps most distressing is that these new “most commonly abused drugs” are not illegal drugs but rather what is commonly called prescription medication…meaning that a doctor’s prescription is needed in order to legally obtain them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 48 million people are using prescription drugs for non medical reasons. That’s just about 20% of the entire U.S. population! And of course this increase has led to a corresponding increase in ER visits because of accidental overdoses as well as admissions to drug treatment programs for drug addictions.

But if the most abused drugs like, Xanax, Vicodin, Oxycontin, Ritalin, Adderall and Ambien can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription presented to and filled by a Pharmacist, then how does everyone get their hands on so many of these drugs? Especially when you need access to quite a few of these pills to develop an addiction in the first place.

Isn’t this a case of prescription addiction/abuse before it’s a case of drug addiction/abuse?

 

 

Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road

17 Mar


 

            After having spent 33 years in the High School classroom, and observing teenagers day after day I have come to the conclusion that life is about 3 things. How we relate to, learn about and handle our relationship with these 3 things will determine much if not all of the success and happiness that we will have in our lives. I believe that while teaching the 3R’s is a fundamental and sacred principle of our educational system the study and discussion of these 3 even more basic elements of our everyday lives should be mandatory in every public school curriculum throughout the world. And they are: Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road…and here’s why.

            1. Sex – Our physical attraction to and need for someone else. Our sometimes overwhelming need for physical pleasure. The basic, primeval lure of reproduction. The undeniable connection, often repressed, between the animal world and ourselves. The basic instinct that we cannot separate ourselves from, no matter how hard we try. All of the religions in all of the world cannot sway us from our keen awareness of our sexuality and our link to the animal in all of us. We copulate and we reproduce just like all other animals. It is the only way for our species to propagate and survive. We are not separated from animals by divinity, and that’s just the way it is.

            2. Drugs – Our bodies are made of chemicals and natural substances that are found throughout our planet and our universe, that comprise all living things. Life eventually becomes mundane and ordinary for all of us and we find solace and euphoria and altered states of consciousness through the use of various drugs. Eventually we all try one or another and how we react to the effects they have on our bodies and minds will be revisited time and again over the course of our lives. All chemical substances will react with our physical organs and alter, enhance or reduce their functionality…from nicotine to alcohol to Ritalin and beyond. Whatever chemicals we ingest, be they natural or manmade, they will induce or influence behaviors and reactions that we will either find pleasant, unsatisfactory, euphoric or detrimental (and many times even addictive) but our relationship with drugs of one form or another will be constant and ongoing throughout our lives. The relationships we have with these chemicals may be the most important and profound  relationships that we will have during our lifetimes.

            3. Rocky Road – i.e.: Desire. We will all develop a desire and passion for something that may either drive, consume or haunt us throughout our lives. It may be one of the two of the three most important things that I have mentioned here so far, or perhaps all three to one degree or another. Perhaps the desire for the euphoric state that drugs induce will addict us. Or perhaps our sex drive will steer us on a course of emotional ups and downs over roads where we cannot find the off ramp. Or maybe the delicious tastes of food and the satiations that we can only find through our gastric delight will consume our thoughts and desires. Perhaps it will be the work that we choose to do or a vocation or a love for sport or the physical desire to be on the go all the time. Maybe a need for adulation or attention or love, or simply a desire to be left alone, will fill our dreams.

            Power, success, wealth, greed, fame, fortune or that nameless something, that we just can’t put our finger on…yet. Whatever it is you can rest assured that it will be something and not just anything, that will drive us or motivate us or propel us through to the end of our lives. That “Thing” will be our Rocky Road; That which we just can’t get enough of. And how we deal with that desire and pursue it or avoid it or succumb to it or live with it or without it will be our true life’s work…whether we work at it or recognize it or know it or acknowledge it…or not.

            It will be the personal relationships that we forge with these three most powerful forces; Sex, Drugs and Desire, from our adolescence through to our death, that will influence and drive us most throughout our lives. How we will cope with these relationships and how we will recognize our personal struggles with all of them will determine the very fabric of our lives and the course through which we pursue our happiness.

            Ironically these may be the 3 least discussed topics in all schools and homes when they should be the 3 most discussed topics, especially since we all have homes and we all go to school. Why do we avoid or demonize or place taboos on all of these topics? What makes them so influential in our lives and yet at the same time so embarrassing to talk about? Certainly I can understand our reticence to discuss these topics with our little children but by the time they have reached middle school and adolescence we are all, parent and child, pretty much on the same page. That is when we need to begin to open discussions on these topics. That’s when we need to begin openly discussing what it is that we are all privately thinking about anyway.

            Society needs to begin developing a curriculum for the home and school that will open a dialogue between children and adults about the topics that really concern and affect us all. Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road: A Course in Reality Science 101.

            Studying how to read, write and calculate is without a doubt important to all of our children but it will be how our children learn to cope, medicate and congregate in the 21st century that just may save us all.

Why Can’t We Get Healthy for a Change?

28 Sep

There is a heroine epidemic in my town and in the county where I live in New Jersey.

More than 80 people have died from drug overdoses since the beginning of the year and many of those deaths have come as a result of heroine use.

Why heroine? Well, according to the story that I read it offers a bigger bang for the buck. In other words you can get higher with less heroine than with more of something else so in the long run (if you have a long run) you can save money. And saving money is as important in drug use it seems as it is important in other facets of our society.

Anyway,  the heroin “epidemic” has compelled lawmakers in my state to propose legislation that would attempt to curtail the local drug trade by basically…making the penalties for selling heroine…tougher. Which will of course mean that more drug dealers and users will probably be going to jail…and the problem will undoubtedly just shift to another drug that comes along to take its place.

More than likely there is a drug epidemic in your, town, county, state too, but probably just with a different drug. People like to take drugs, or just can’t seem to help themselves…and the money that can be made selling them makes the drug trade just too lucrative for them to be scared away from by the penalty of incarceration.

The combinations of desire, addiction, greed and avarice are so powerful and overwhelming among humans that I sometimes wonder why I have never succumbed to the forces of drug addiction or dealing. Is it because I am a superior human being? Or is it just because I was never poor enough or addicted enough to need to get involved with drugs?

Is it something I lack, rather than something I have?

I humbly ask this question only because nothing that we have done so far in the history of the drug war has worked as far as getting people to stop using or stop selling drugs to one another and yet rather than come up with new ideas or approaches to the problem we continue to try and fight “the war” in the same old way.

Is this just another side effect of drug addiction? There is a lot of money to be made in law enforcement and in the penal system and a lot of reputations to be built in politics and law making and the judicial system on the backs of America’s drug addicts and sellers. Would large portions of our economy crumble without an illicit and illegal drug trade?

And Despite tough anti-drug laws, and 2.2 million prisoners in our jails, a new survey by The World Health Organization shows that the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world…And that drug use  is not simply related to drug policy, since countries with tough illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones,

So what gives? Why do we continue to pursue the same old policies when it comes to drugs and drug use in America? They don’t work. They have never worked. There is absolutely no reason to believe that they ever will.

Meanwhile, members of the United States Congress and many others are doing their best to block the administration of the Affordable Healthcare Act because they say…before even giving the new policy a chance to work…that it will fail and cost too much money.

With over 1 trillion dollars spent on the war on drugs in the last 40 years and with state and federal agencies continuing to spend over 30 billion dollars per year on what has proven time and time again to be a failed policy…is it really any wonder why we can’t find any money to pay for healthcare in this country and why certain groups want to make sure that we never do?

Simply put, and just by examining the data, the answer is an easy one.

We’re getting sicker, rather than healthier in America, because right now… that is our policy!

Pseudoephedrine Doesn’t make Crystal-meth Only People Make Crystal-meth

11 Jan

Once upon a time I had allergies and when I went to the doctor he prescribed Claritin-D and it was like a wonder drug. It cleared my nose up and I was able to breathe again and since he gave me a prescription for it and I had a prescription plan through my work it was relatively inexpensive. Then it was announced that Claritin-D would be available over the counter and that I would no longer need a prescription and that this would be wonderful news for allergy sufferers all across America because we would no longer have to see a doctor in order to obtain the drug. Of course now I had to pay full price for Claritin-D and it was much more expensive but at least it was still available.

Then one day I went to purchase my monthly supply of Claritin-D and it was nowhere to be found. It was now behind the counter and I had to show my driver’s license and sign a form in order to purchase it, and I could only buy so much because Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005  as an amendment to the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act. Signed into law by president George W. Bush on March 6, 2006.

Apparently Claritin-D contains pseudoephedrine which can be used to make Crystal-meth and the methamphetamine craze is becoming so wide spread that all of us humans are potential Crystal-meth entrepreneurs so pharmacists must be wary of us all. And even though I pointed out to the pharmacist that pseudoephedrine doesn’t make Crystal-meth only people make crystal-meth, his response was, “Exactly!”

Now if I attempt to buy too much Claritin-D a red flag or whatever goes off at the pharmacy counter and I am promptly sent away. (No doubt the Feds are also notified!)

So now we fast forward to today where I read on my computer that James Holmes the Colorado shooter who killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a Colorado movie theater last summer was able to purchase a small arsenal including two semi-automatic pistols, a shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle, 6,200 rounds of ammunition and high-capacity magazines that allow a shooter to fire more rounds without stopping to reload, a helmet, gas mask and body armor, fuses, gunpowder, chemicals and electronics, PLUS 2 hand grenades that he purchased on-line from a catalogue.

No red flags. No buzzers, No bells, no being turned away from the counter and absolutely no idea that James Holmes might be dangerous. I mean really? What does one do with a hand grenade that could possibly ever be considered recreational? Wow!

Perhaps we should simply ask Congress to pass a law that says that from now on all guns and bullets must contain 9 grams of pseudoephedrine.

And from now on when gun enthusiasts say, Guns don’t kill people, only people kill people” our quick retort should simply be, “EXACTLY!”

The Mighty Casey has…

19 Oct

While I was watching the New York Yankees fold to the Detroit Tigers last night for some reason my mind turned to the problems we face with drugs here in America. Why you ask? Probably because I had just watched A-Rod strike out 10 out of 11 times at bat (or close to that) and he was one of the most famously known and notorious PED (performance enhancing drugs) users in Major League Baseball! Selfishly, since I’m a Yankee fan, my first thought was why has he stopped using them?! Then I thought, who is still using them? Since there are over 100 known PED users on a list being kept secret by Major League Baseball, I felt this was a valid thought. After all none of my Yankees could hit the ball any more. They couldn’t be using drugs! Perhaps Detroit players are? After all, they’re clobbering us! Have you seen their pitching? My god, they all look like Bob Gibson. Get the tests!

Then I thought…Why does Major League Baseball test each player in the spring and then again randomly over the course of each season? Isn’t that a waste of time and money? Why not just test excellent (and aberrant) performers? Wouldn’t this make more sense? “Hey, nice homerun there big fella! You hit that ball so hard it almost left the stadium! Here’s a high five and a cup to pee in. Now hit the urinals!”

Then I thought…Gee, if A-rod had fired up a joint there in the dugout to help him relax and forget his troubles while being benched in front of America for his obviously poor and non drug related performance, he would have been arrested and taken to jail. Using a performance enhancing drug would only get him a suspension from baseball. He’d see no jail time, get to keep his millions and probably a trip to the hall of fame. That’s weird isn’t it?

Then I wondered just how many people are in jail for using marijuana. (The game was all but over so what can I say? My mind was wandering)

Anyway…I went to the computer and googled the DOJ and discovered that: In 2007 the Department of Justice reportedthat there were 1,841,182 drug arrests in the United States; And that there were more drug abuse arrests than any other category of offenses. Marijuana arrests accounted for 47.4% of the drug abuse arrests. That means about 872,720 persons were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-nine percent of these arrests were for possession.

That led me to think…Who are all of these people that they are arresting for marijuana use?

And why is there anyone on a college campus today who isn’t in jail?!

Then someone popped out and the game was mercifully over…but then a commercial came on and the spokesperson was hawking testosterone and explaining how any man over 30 needed more of it! And this was on national television! And testosterone is one of the banned performance enhancing drugs that will get you suspended from baseball! In fact Melky Cabrera who led the National League in hitting just returned from his suspension for using it!

Then the game returned to my TV set and there were the Detroit Tigers celebrating in their locker room by pouring champagne over their heads and into their mouths from time to time and I thought…

Wouldn’t the Detroit Tigers’ parking lot be a great place for a DUI checkpoint? Quick somebody notify the police but I doubt anyone will get in trouble in Tiger town tonight…

So be careful out there America! We have a strict drug policy in this country but I have absolutely no idea what it is. Just like the Mighty Casey, and A-Rod, I guess every at bat is gonna be either a hit or a miss.

Aside

More Questions:

7 Sep

Questions I’d Like Answered

As living, breathing, thinking, evolving humans we all MUST ask questions and we MUST find the answers, even if the answers bring about new questions. That’s what EDUCATION is all about.

So here’s another question that I’d like to have answered…

*When the banks lose 1 trillion dollars by making bad loans and selling shady financial commodities, where or to whom does the lost money go? This a lot to do with education because 1 trillion dollars would go a long way in solving our health care, mortgage and pension crises that we face here in the United States and in turn free up a lot of tax payer dollars for improving and financing the education of our children (America’s most important commodity by the way) In fact 1 trillion dollars would just about cover all of the healthcare, mortgages and pension problems that we face in this country.

Instead the banks got their 1 trillion lost dollars replaced by our federal government which, by the way, is US as in US the taxpayers not the U.S. So doesn’t that make 2 trillion dollars for the banking industry? 1 trillion lost plus 1 trillion replaced? But where did the first trillion dollars go? Did it disappear as money has a habit of doing? Just POOF! That’s my question! Please let me know if you have the answer. I know it’s out there!

Just Ask!

Here is another example of why we never seem to learn anything and it’s not the fault of the public schools. It’s the fault of the public and another example of our collective desire to accept the never ending search for the answer instead of the actual answer or solution itself.

Are there drugs in the public schools?Is there a drug war being waged in the United States? Does Howdy Doody have a mahogany asshole?

I’ve been hearing about drugs in the public schools and about a war on drugs since I was in school back in the 60s. That’s almost 50 years of waging war on drugs! And drugs are bigger, better and more readily available than ever before. How do I know? I just asked the kids!

“Hey kids”, I’ll say to my students in class. “Who knows where to get drugs?” And everyone raises their hand. And these are kids I’m talking to! 14-18 year old boys and girls alike and they know either where to go or who to ask if they really want to get their hands on some “good shit”. Kids! So if the kids know where the drugs are and who’s selling them and how to get them, how come the police don’t? How come our DEA drug warriors don’t? They could ask the kids too couldn’t they, (most kids are blabber mouths) and then go get the drugs and drug dealers and wrap this war up pretty quickly, and yet it’s been almost 50 years and still the drugs and drug dealers are at large?! How is that possible? Have drugs won the drug war?

Nope. Because what we have here in the United States is not a drug war but rather a drug business and drugs and those in the business of drugs including the police, prisons, lawyers, drug dealers and pharmaceutical companies (to name just a few), are doing quite well and they all know where to buy and sell and find the drugs, just like Captain Queeg knew who ate the strawberries even after he instituted the search. If you don’t believe me…just ask YOUR kids!

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