VIDEO: Ex Cops, Judges and DEA Agents Speak Out Against Prohabition


Law Enforcement Against Prohabition

Hear why they call for the legalization of all drugs. Understand why they say that drug enforcement destroys communities, costs insane amounts of money, and never makes anything better – and digest some astonishing statistics on dollars spent and people jailed for no good reason.

Whatever your thoughts on the war on drugs, this is a thought provoking short documentary.

Virtual Drug Rehabs. They’re Coming.

Alcoholic avatars and penny pinching insurance companies – a match made in heaven.

None of us would complain about less time spent wasted in doctor’s waiting rooms, or better and more affordable healthcare! Emerging internet based interactive platforms promise to increase our access to health information and healthcare participation, while allowing a finite number of doctors to treat as many patients – more comprehensively and effectively.

We are not the same group of patients we were 15 years ago. Who goes to the doctor now before taking a self diagnostic tour of internet medical sites? We often scare ourselves with misdiagnoses of terrible diseases, but we endeavor to get informed and by doing so we participate better in the healthcare process – and at its best, healthcare is not passive, but interactive.

The potential for positive change is great – but will the pendulum swing too far? As interactive net based communication between patient and provider improves, will financial pressures compel the e-sourcing of things that just don’t make sense? Will we soon see virtual drug rehabs?

The Good – Where E-Care Makes Sense

Simple and effective online pain management platforms where patients can communicate their symptoms in real time, and longitudinally, to their doctors. Pain patients can create what is essentially an online pain diary – and as they experience pain on a day-to-day basis, they can record information about their symptoms in their diary.

It’s collaborative too. Doctor’s can log on, and given permission, access a patient’s diary, see what’s really happening, and even write notes to the patient in their diary – on a day-to-day basis. Great stuff – It just makes sense. No need to try and explain a history of pain in a 15 minute office appointment, that’s a pretty tough thing to do. Doctors get to see what’s really happening, can make better diagnosis’s and can react to changing symptoms in real time. It provides a way for more accurate information sharing, it saves money and everyone’s time, and it allows doctors to treat their patients more effectively.

That’s the kind of stuff we need. Platforms that improve healthcare efficiency while at best also improving the standard of care, or at the very least – not reducing it.

Except for the very rich, in any country you can name, healthcare systems are overburdened. Resources are finite and never enough to provide optimal care to all that demand it. It’s a fact of life, and for now, it’s just a case of managing the shortfall.

Internet healthcare systems could free up such enormous resources of time and money – ensuring that those that need a hospital bed and a doctor’s care get it – and those that don’t, stay home. How many parents, after some deliberation, make a midnight trip to the emergency room in search of treatment for something that they are 99% sure is not serious? For parents, a 1% chance of tragedy is more than enough to justify a few hours of inconvenience and 99 wasted trips out of a hundred.

On an individual basis, this makes perfect sense – but systematically, it strains resources – and strained resources mean lessened care for everyone.

E-based diagnostic platforms, staffed by doctors and nurses, serving as a front line operation would make sense, and in some jurisdictions, already exist. Get on the video phone, explain the situation, and a lot of the time, they are going to be able to tell you with certainty that there is no need to go to the hospital.

How about on the back end? How many hospital beds stay filled each year by doctors pretty sure that the patient could go home, but wanting one more day of observation – just to be certain. What if those patients that doctors were almost sure were going to be OK – were released one day earlier, but remained linked via web based diagnostics tools? The doctor could still monitor the symptoms in real time – could get someone back to the hospital if needed, but tens of thousands of beds a year would be free to people waiting for them. Better health care for all. Some people would die, but many more people would live – saving more lives for the same expenditure.

The Bad & When Only Face-to-Face Will Do

In the short to mid range future, you need not be terribly imaginative to envision the sort of benefits that interactive net based healthcare services could result in – the two suggested above are only the tip of that iceberg. But there are certain services that do not lend themselves well to distance interaction. Poisoning, trauma, pancreatitis – you can name thousands of conditions that, if you had one, you’d probably want in-person and face-to-face medical care for.

What about addiction counseling? I’d argue that although less obvious and dramatic, it also requires in-person treatment for any real odds of success. I’m not talking about detox, which obviously demands medical supervision; I’m talking about the nuts and bolts of long term treatment – group therapy, cognitive therapy, psychotherapy, etc. A case could be made that such forms of counseling could be provided more cheaply, and with little loss in efficacy, using internet communication technologies. Actually, a case will be made, and e-rehabs are likely on their way.

Addiction though, is tricky. It’s a gestalt kind of disease, in which the sum of the parts never seem to equal the whole, and a disease that demands treatment of a psychological intensity that matches the cognitive manipulations of the disease.

You could arrange for an internet based group therapy session. It would be cheap and easy, but it wouldn’t work very well. Group therapy works when participants are fiercely and honestly involved. You don’t get that when tuning out is as easy as checking your email as you sit in therapy; and manipulations don’t get spotted as they do when you squirm, lying, in person to a group.

You could conveniently get individual therapy at home, over the internet; but the trust building needed for effective counseling takes time in the best of cases, and a situation where the patient is miles removed from the therapist – is not the best of cases for relationship formation. And forget about what our non verbal communication would otherwise reveal.

Could you learn how to make sober friends again, online? Would you really do that yoga – if no one could see what you were up to? Would you tune out, when you didn’t like what you were hearing – sometimes people need a little push to make a breakthrough, but it’s a lot easier to close your browser window than it is to walk out of a therapy session.

Logistically, online addiction treatment is a cakewalk – online addiction treatment that works may be another story.

The Ugly & Financial Pressure

Interactive net communication will create savings opportunities. Ideally, healthcare e-sourcing never harms patient care. The selective application creates a higher standard of individual care in certain areas, and areas unsuited to the application of the e-sourcing benefit from increased funding from the savings – An opportunity for better healthcare, for all.

But if the potential savings in any area become significant enough, there will undoubtedly exist pressure to accept an erosion of healthcare quality in the face of savings – or to put it more bluntly – profit.

Already, consumers with excellent private health coverage who want to get residential drug treatment find that they are obliged to try outpatient first, for a long while, before their insurance company will fund a residential stay. Once insurance companies have an even cheaper option, it’s hard to foresee how they won’t compel us to use it first.

Addiction treatment isn’t like a lot of other disorders. If you had cancer, and the insurance company forced you to try a less expensive procedure first, prior to allowing the more intensive treatment – if that first one didn’t work, you’d be ready that next day to sign up for the better one. Alcoholics and drug addicts are more easily discouraged (or their disease is better at manipulating their behavior) and if the first treatment doesn’t work, odds are it will take a while (if ever) before they approach a second round. A very cynical person might suspect that insurance companies are counting on this…

It will be interesting, and great changes in healthcare over the next decade are a certainty. Most will be positive. The potential for great advances in systematic levels of care exists through the selective application of resource saving distance treatments. There will, I suspect, be an ugly side to it though, and I’d wager virtual drug rehabs will be at the head of that, unfortunate, pack.

I hope I’m wrong though.

Parents and Pot

Babyboomer parents and grandparents often wonder how it is possible that their kids may suffer grave consequences from smoking pot when they themselves turned out just fine. Legal troubles aside, researchers have found plenty of new evidence that Marijuana’s health risks haven been vastly underestimated by the users of yesteryear.

Pot also packs a bigger wallop now than it did in the ’70s. Marijuana has become more potent exposing users to much higher levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The brain’s functioning is greatly impacted by increasing impact of THC on its metabolism.

Using modern brain imaging, scientists have found that vital brain activities decline with the consumption of Marijuana, and the data shows that the effects are long-lasting – if damages can be reversed is largely unknown. Another big unknown is how a person’s genes and environment may cause the development of psychiatric disorders. Some studies have concluded that people with a certain gene variant are several times more likely to develop schizophrenia after repeated Marijuana consumption.

However, there are also voices of caution among Marijuana researchers that findings of those studies cannot be applied to the public at large. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California doesn’t believe there is any compelling evidence that people develop more psychiatric problems, anxiety, depression, or even psychosis as a result of marijuana use. He says that if there was such a causal effect, the surge of the drug’s popularity in the ’60s and ’70s should have seen a distinct increase in cases of schizophrenia – which is apparently not the case.

Whichever way you choose to look at it, the statistics give good reason to be cautious: A recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that among marijuana users over age 12, almost 35 percent used marijuana 20 or more days in the past month.

Thinking about the triggers to abuse

Staying sober takes dedication and a constant vigilance to avoid the people and situations that trigger an urge to abuse. The triggers are not always obvious, and things like camping, watching football and making ribs are now off limits to me as I battle one day at a time to stay sober.

Only I can know when I feel the urge to drink, and therefore only I must be responsible for staying away from temptation. It’s not easy to change your life, but when you get sober, you relearn what’s really important, and avoiding the rest doesn’t seem so bad.

One of the best ways to ensure long term sobriety is simply to minimize the temptations, and make the daily battle as painless as possible. It sounds easy; I mean how tough is it to not walk into a bar right? But the reality is different, and the triggers to abuse can be very subtle and pervasive things.

Triggers

  • It sounds funny, but I can’t watch football anymore. I spent every Sunday for years at home with a case of cold beers, enjoying the games of the day. The memories of what I used to do, combined with more beer commercials than I can count, make a seemingly innocuous pastime a pretty dangerous thing for me. I can’t even read the box scores without thinking about a drink!
  • I also used to make some pretty mean BBQ, but although no one makes ribs like I do, I always drank while tending the cue, and even the smell of wood smoke gets me thinking about cracking open a cold one. Like everything else, these triggers to use are strong at first, and gradually fade in intensity, but I still pay heed to the teachings of my therapist, and I still avoid any situation or environment that has even the slightest possibility of temptation.

Rehab taught me to really examine my life, and to think about the situations that put me at risk to take that first drink. Not only the obvious triggers to abuse, like not hanging out with old drinking buddies and not visiting the places you used to abuse, but also the more subtle, and therefore more dangerous triggers. I know the responsibility to steer clear of temptation lies only with me, and only I can know when I start to feel that urge. No one would think less of me for wanting to go camping, but I know that in my mind, the great outdoors will be forever linked with Jack Daniels, and only I can know that camping is a very dangerous place for me.

To stay sober, you need to be vigilant and responsible for your own actions. Rehab taught me that I need to be accountable to myself and that only I could keep out of dangerous places. One of the best ways to stay sober is simply to avoid temptation, and for me that’s meant a lot of changes. I’d rather be at home watching the game, but on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll probably find me out with my wife, at an antique show, at the mall, or in the park…anywhere but home!

I may not love these pastimes, but I love my wife, and if I can make her happy while keeping myself free from temptation, it’s a pretty good thing. The sound of my kids laughing, and waking up clear headed to bagels, sunshine and a paper on a Saturday morning; for this…I’ll pay any price.

Likelihood of Alcohol Abuse Greater in a Bad Neighborhood

Getting help is never a “dollars and cents” issue…but when you look at the economic impact of continuing abuse, treatment always makes sense.

If you need one more reason to get help for problem drinking, you may find motivation out of a Virginia health care study examining the use of alcohol, and the kind of neighborhood you can expect to live in. Researchers examined hundreds of Caucasian men over a 12 year period, evaluated their alcohol use behaviors, and as well plotted their residences every three years during that 12 year period. They found that heavy use of alcohol over that time was significantly and casually related to a far greater likelihood of residing in a “bad neighborhood” (as defined by low socio economic status).

Contrarily, those people who reversed heavy alcohol consumption were far more likely to move out into better neighborhoods as their length of abstinence progressed. Researchers explain that approximately 40 percent of experienced risk towards alcohol abuse seems to be environmental, and that continuing residency in low socio economic neighborhoods likely further contributes to abuse due to an increase in environmental stressors, negative modeling and lesser access to treatment and social programming.

The Many Costs of Drinking

The researchers conclude that alcohol abuse does not solely diminish health, but it also very negatively impacts on quality of life and socio economic status. Of course not everyone who abuses or is dependent on alcohol lives in a “bad neighborhood” and many successful professionals boasting impressive residences drink far more than is healthy; but on a societal level, alcohol abuse and dependency seems very closely linked with greater poverty and downward social mobility.

Alcohol abusers don’t perform as well at work, are more likely to be fired, and more likely to suffer health problems related to abuse that reduce their employment potential…also, alcohol can be expensive when consumed in the kind of quantities a serious alcoholic needs.

My family never needed to move out of the family home, but we certainly suffered economically during my period of alcohol and drug abuse. I held down a job, but I certainly didn’t excel, and nearly lost it a number of times (should really have lost it) and we were lucky to have done as well as we did. People should never look at the cost of treatment as a barrier to access, and you just need to find the best drug or alcohol treatment that you can possibly afford, and consider it an investment in the future.

It worked for me, and my family is far more comfortable now that my attentions are not so firmly focused on intoxication…and it seems that research backs up my experience. Continuing abuse always leads to destruction on many levels, and you are far less likely to enjoy a good neighborhood, live on safe streets, and send your kids to quality schools while continuing to use and abuse alcohol or drugs.

Watch an EMDR Session. How Does it Work?

Eye Movement Desensitizing Reprocessing Therapy

There is a real trend amongst holistic drug treatment centers to offer EMDR therapy as a part of an overall addiction recovery program.

EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitizing Reprocessing therapy, is a still somewhat controversial therapeutic technique that supposedly helps people to cope with the memory of traumatic events. Proponents rave about its efficacy and simplicity, and skeptics just want to see a bit more research data before jumping to firmly on that EMDR bandwagon.

But what is it? What is it supposed to do, and why should you get it done? I could explain, but this short video, produced by a therapist who uses the technique, does a pretty good job of answering these questions while letting you watch the process.

Monday Meditation Video, July 30


This week, give yourself 10 minutes a day with this simple meditation.

Every Monday we will post a selected meditation video for you to relax, cleanse and heal – finding guidance for the week from within.

Jonathan Goldman "Crown of Creation" – by Healing Sounds (Please, note that we don’t endorse or condone any religious, philosophical or political views made on external links.)

The Marlboro Man is LYING!!! (on Video)

Tobacco companies spend 26 million dollars a day on ads – which they say have no effect on convincing new smokers to pick up the habit…

Alcohol ads cost the industry 3 billion dollars per year – the majority targeted at young drinkers. Why do 80% of beer company websites use cartoons and rock star promotions, while only 10% of wine websites do…? Could it be that brewers are after that 5 billion dollar a year underage college binge drinking market?

Interesting facts from a thought provoking short video piece that discusses how alcohol and tobacco advertising has educated generations of Americans on the 2 most widely used drugs.

You’ll never look at the Marlboro Man the same way again.

6 minutes well spent.

 

Is the Salvation Army Rehab Right for You?

Anyone, rich or poor, can get addiction treatment at the Salvation Army. They do good work and Good Works, and they don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Here’s a testimonial video of a woman describing how the Salvation Army helped her get her life and her Faith back on track.

As a Faith based organization, they aren’t a perfect fit for everyone, but for a lot of us out there who sometimes need a little help, they are always there.

If you need help, remember that with places like the Salvation Army running treatment programs across the country, a lack of funds is no excuse to keep on using.

It’s a nice story of a woman who got the help she needed and made it through.