Legal cannabis must be option for pain sufferers, panelists say

He didn’t like the black market, so he cultivated at his home. He was arrested and received five years of probation.

HENDERSON – Advocates for medicinal marijuana said Tuesday the time is now to push for statewide legalization.

They said research is clear that cannabis helps those suffering from a variety of painful conditions, yet, the word marijuana is still taboo for many in society.

Jaime Montalvo deals daily with multiple sclerosis. After being diagnosed, the Louisville man discovered that cannabis improved his quality of life far more than anything else he’d tried.

He didn’t like the black market, so he cultivated at his home. He was arrested and received five years of probation.

“I lost custody of my son for six months, not for cultivation, but for testing positive,” Montalvo said. “So that’s what’s motivated me for the last six years or so, to change the laws and give people safe access to cannabis.”

Montalvo is a cannabis educator and director of KY4MM (Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana). He and others who took part in a panel discussion at Henderson Community College were preaching to the choir; most of the 50 or so in attendance seemed sympathetic to legalization.

The challenge, speakers said, is convincing state legislators.

Lawmakers in Kentucky and Indiana have legalized hemp oil, also known as CBD oil. But speakers said the positive impact of that is very small compared to what legal medicinal marijuana could do.

“You’re just really scratching the surface” with CBD oil, said Ashly Taylor, a Lexington native who is now a cannabis industry entrepreneur living in Colorado. “We’re looking to get legalization so we can help more people.”

Taylor, who used to work in the pharmaceutical industry, explained at Tuesday’s forum what a legalized marijuana industry would look like.

She said in a regulated market, all cannabis grown comes from state-licensed, taxpaying cultivation facilities, monitored from seed to sale.

All plants are tagged and entered into a state regulated tracking system.

They are processed at a state-licensed product manufacturing facility, with OSHA guidelines enforced and a staffed human resources department.

The product would pass testing from a state-licensed facility before being distributed for legal consumption.

“All of the things you see with other big industry, you’re going to see here,” Taylor said.

Legal medicinal marijuana “is not that new of a thing,” Taylor noted. It’s been legalized or decriminalized in a long list of countries, from Canada to Australia and many European countries.

It is legal in 30 states, and Taylor cited a shift in public opinion on the subject: 64 percent favorability according to one Gallup poll. She said those who support legalization show varied political bent.

Sympathy for legalization has reached local elected officials in Henderson. The City Commission recently passed a resolution stating support for medicinal marijuana.

Henderson City Commissioner Brad Staton said he and his colleagues were moved by testimony from many city residents, including a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who spoke about suicidal thoughts and depression.

“I didn’t think there was any way we would even take a vote much less pass it,” Staton said. “But we said we have people in the state of Kentucky who are suffering, and we can do something about it.” The vote was 5-0.

Forum speakers said cannabis helps with appetite and sleep, in addition to pain relief. They said the addiction potency is comparable to sugar.

A pharmacist in the audience asked the panelists about studies showing negative effects of long-time marijuana usage, and concerns about children’s usage.

Panelists said marijuana already is pervasive in the culture. Montalvo cited a study showing that in Kentucky, about 40 percent of teens have used marijuana.

“We need to decrease that,” he said. “In my opinion the way to decrease it is regulate the product and keep it out of the hands of children. Right now everybody is prohibited, but it’s still everywhere.”

Taylor said Kentucky authorities in 2016 seized and destroyed more than 560,000 plants, placing the state in the nation’s top five.

Kentucky that year spent $56.8 million for marijuana eradication.

“If we can take the money we save and do something better with it, it seems like a win-win to me,” Taylor said.

Grace Henderson would agree. The Henderson resident, an organizer of Tuesday’s forum, suffers from a list of chronic conditions, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Chron’s disease.

She’s on a list of medications which she said interact and cause other health problems.

Medical cannabis, she said, needs to be a option for people like her who, at times, struggle to simply get out of bed.

“We need a safe, viable alternative that does not kill people,” Henderson said. “And this is it.”

CONTINUE READING…

More: City of Henderson backs medical cannabis resolution

More: Henderson woman tells how cannabis brings relief

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As the feds crack down on opioid prescriptions, patients are taking their own lives, doctors are losing their jobs and overdose rates continue unabated.

The Government’s Solution To The Opioid     Crisis Feels Like A War To Pain Patients

By Art Levine

Meredith Lawrence's late husband died by suicide after his opioid pain prescription was severely restricted.

Jay Lawrence, an energetic truck driver in his late 30s, was driving a semitrailer across a bridge when the brakes failed. To avoid plowing into the car in front of him, he swerved sideways and slammed the truck into a wall, fracturing his back. For more than 25 years, he struggled with the resulting pain. But for most of that time, he managed to avoid opioid painkillers.

In 2006, his legs suddenly collapsed beneath him, due to a complex web of neurological factors related to his spinal cord injury. He underwent multiple surgeries and tried many medications to alleviate his pain.

The next year, he began to experience some semblance of relief when his doctor prescribed morphine, one of a class of opioid drugs. By 2012, he was taking 120 milligrams per day.

But this isn’t a story about opioid addiction. Lawrence managed a relatively productive, happy life on the medication for the better part of 10 years.

“This isn’t the life I thought I’d have,” he told his wife, Meredith Lawrence, in December 2016. “But I’m all right.”

Living on disability payments, he could still walk around their two-bedroom trailer home using his cane, take a shower on his own and, on his good days, even help his wife make breakfast.

Then, in early 2017, the pain clinic where he was a patient adopted a strict new policy, part of a wide-ranging national effort to respond to the increase in opioid overdose deaths. 

Citing 2016 guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, her husband’s doctor abruptly cut his daily dose by roughly 25 percent to 90 mg, Meredith Lawrence said. That was the maximum dose the CDC recommends, though does not mandate, for first-time opioid patients. 

The doctor also told Jay Lawrence that the plan was to lower his dose to 45 mg over the next two months, a cutback of more than 60 percent from what he had been taking.

At the end of that traumatic visit, his wife said, Jay Lawrence’s doctor dismissed their concerns and shared his own fear about losing his license if he continued to prescribe high doses of opioids. (When HuffPost followed up, the doctor declined to comment on the case, citing patient privacy.)

For a month, Lawrence suffered on the 90 mg dose. At times, his pain was so bad that he needed help to get out of the recliner, and when his wife looked over, she sometimes saw tears streaming down his face.

He dreaded his next appointment when his dose would be slashed to 60 mg. In the weeks before that scheduled visit on March 2, 2017, Lawrence came up with a plan.

On the day of his appointment, on the same bench in the Hendersonville, Tennessee, park where the Lawrences had recently renewed their wedding vows, the 58-year-old man gripped his wife’s hand and killed himself with a gun.

Meredith Lawrence sits in the living room of the home in Gainesville, Georgia, that she bought after her husband's death

Dustin Chambers for HuffPost Meredith Lawrence sits in the living room of the home in Gainesville, Georgia, that she bought after her husband’s death.

There are at least nine million chronic pain patients in the United States who take opioid painkillers on a long-term basis. As law enforcement and medical regulatory bodies try to curb the explosion in opioid deaths and the rise in illegal opioid use, they have focused on reducing the overall opioid supply, whether or not the drugs are provided by prescription. 

There’s mounting evidence this won’t work ― that curbing patient access to legal prescription opioids does not stem the rate of overdoses caused primarily by illegal drugs ― and that patients are being denied desperately needed relief. There are also troubling indicators that cutting back on opioids increases the risk of suicide among those with chronic pain.

Some chronic pain patients and advocates have even begun compiling lists of individuals they know who have died by suicide after they were no longer able to treat their pain with opioid medication.

“There is no doubt in my mind that forcibly stopping opioids can destabilize some of the most vulnerable people in America,” said Dr. Stefan Kertesz, a professor of medicine and an addiction researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “And the outcomes for those folks include suicide, overdose and falling apart medically.”

I mean, people need to take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out a little. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

For a decade or so, government officials in the U.S. have sought to drive down the opioid supply through a range of tactics ― from increased seizures of diverted opioid medications to state crackdowns on “pill mills.” The Trump administration has embraced the hard-line approach.

In late January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “surge” in Drug Enforcement Administration activity targeting pharmacies and physicians that, in the agency’s view, oversupply opioids. In February, the Justice Department doubled down with the announcement of a new task force that would focus on manufacturers and distributors of opioids. In March, President Donald Trump unveiled a plan to lower opioid prescriptions by a third within three years. And in late June, the federal government arrested 600 people, including 165 medical professionals, for allegedly participating in $2 billion worth of fraud schemes involving opioids.

The Trump administration’s efforts are dramatic even within the context of the CDC’s opioid dose guidelines. The guidelines were originally intended to advise primary care physicians treating chronic pain patients and other pain sufferers. They were urged to exercise caution in prescribing opioids, to use alternatives whenever possible and to prescribe daily doses of no more than 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) for new opioid users.

For pain patients like Jay Lawrence who had already been on opioids for years, however, the guidelines simply recommended regularly assessing the harms and benefits of the dosage. They didn’t advise either mandatory cutoffs or any set limits. (The Tennessee Department of Health’s guidelines would also have allowed Lawrence to stay at 120 mg of morphine when prescribed by a pain specialist.)

But “the CDC guidelines have been weaponized,” said Kertesz. The ramped-up enforcement by the DEA and state regulators has led some doctors to choose caution and to overcorrect in their prescribing, lest they lose their ability to practice medicine at all. Kertesz decried these policies as “simplistic” in a definitive new article published last week in the journal Addiction.

In February, Sessions struck a particularly harsh tone by suggesting that the fate of chronic pain patients was not high on his list of concerns. “I am operating on the assumption that this country prescribes too many opioids,” the attorney general said. “I mean, people need to take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out a little.”

Attitudes like that are based on a series of mistaken assumptions about pain, according to Dr. Thomas Kline, a North Carolina-based family practitioner and former Harvard Medical School program administrator. Kline regularly updates a list of pain patients, published on Medium, who’ve killed themselves in the wake of draconian restrictions on pain medication.

“I ask people to imagine the very worst pain they’ve ever experienced in their lives,” Kline said. “And then that they’re denied relief by a doctor with the one medicine proven effective for pain control for 50 centuries.” (Historical records show that people in ancient Mesopotamia cultivated the poppy plant for medical use.)

The CDC guidelines have been weaponized. Dr. Stefan Kertesz

The government’s aggressive focus on doctors and patients is unlikely to address the very real menace of opioid-use disorders and sharply escalating overdose deaths. Fraud ― driven by pharmaceutical company policies ― and diversion ― the phenomenon of prescription medications being sold as street drugs ― initially spurred a wave of opioid abuse in the late 1990s, as some doctors turned their practices into pill mills. But new reports by the CDC and a drug data firm, the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, suggest that prescription drugs play a much smaller role in today’s crisis.

The reports show that total opioid prescriptions dropped 10 percent in 2017 ― the sharpest annual decline in such prescribing in 25 years. While opioid prescriptions peaked back in 2010, the studies found that growth rates in opioid-linked deaths, overwhelmingly due to illegal fentanyl and heroin, have skyrocketed in the last seven years.

Indeed, although two-thirds of the 64,000 overall drug overdose fatalities were linked to opioids in 2016 ― the most recent year for which there is data ― more than 80 percent of those opioid drug deaths came from illegal street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Prescription opioid drug deaths alone ― excluding methadone ― amounted to less than 15 percent of all drug overdose deaths, or about 9,500 fatalities.

Still, the CDC’s guidelines have triggered restrictive laws in at least 23 states that mandate ceilings on opioid dosage. (Oregon, in fact, is moving to taper dosages down to zero for all Medicaid chronic patients over a year.) That makes relief less attainable for pain patients and threatens the practices of doctors who treat them. These laws have been augmented by the growth of state prescription monitoring programs that use the software NarxCare, which is designed to flag addiction but can also rope in pain patients based on their prescription history and use of multiple doctors.

And in June, the House of Representatives passed over 50 bills that would establish dramatic new restrictions on opioid prescribing, eliciting alarm among patients and some disability rights groups.

The side effects of the current enforcement efforts are disturbing enough, from patients denied relief to drug shortages to suicides.

No health agency has kept track of all pain-related suicides that may be linked to doctors cutting back on prescriptions. But some preliminary findings from Department of Veterans Affairs researchers indicate that VA pain patients deprived of opioids were two to four times more likely to die by suicide in the first three months after they were cut off, compared to those who remained on their pain medications.

“To protect people, you have to take care of the patient, not the pill count,” said Kertesz, who worked on the VA’s April 2017 study but spoke to HuffPost only as an independent researcher. “The findings suggest that the discontinuation of opioids doesn’t necessarily assure a safer patient.”

Even terminally ill cancer patients are increasingly getting less relief, and there are growing shortages of injectable opioids at local hospitals and hospices, spurred in part by DEA-ordered reductions in opioid manufacturing quotas.

Leah Ilten, a 53-year-old physical therapist who lives in Kennewick, Washington, told HuffPost that as her 86-year-old father lay dying of pancreatic cancer in a hospice, the medical staff ignored her pleas to provide appropriate opioid pain relief, even cutting his dosage in half on the last day of his life. A few days earlier, when he was in the hospital, one nurse explained to her that opioids could lead to an overdose or could potentially cause the man, who lay moaning in pain, to “get addicted.”

“I was horrified,” Ilten said.

In mid-April, the DEA responded to the injectable opioid shortage by lifting production quotas. An agency spokesman told HuffPost that it was “a manufacturers’ problem, not the quotas,” while asserting that progress is being made.

There have been production issues, including Pfizer’s foul-ups with a plant in Kansas. But the DEA’s delay in taking action ― shortfalls were flagged in February in a letter from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and other health groups ― definitely contributed to the shortage, according to Dr. James Grant, president of the ASA. He told HuffPost that quotas were among the factors creating the crisis.

I’m not willing to go back to the state I was in before I started treatment. Anne Fuqua

Faced with the hardline national crackdown on opioid prescriptions, people with chronic pain are trying to raise awareness of the suffering caused by the loss of medications. Some are gathering the names of those patients who ended up taking their own lives, both as a memorial to those who died and as a protest against the health establishment that has seemingly abandoned them. Others are seeking comfort from each other on social media.

Lelena Peacock, who declined to name her southeastern city of residence for fear of retaliation from doctors, is struggling with how to treat the pain associated with fibromyalgia. The 45-year-old found that her social media posts drew other pain patients who turned to her for help.

By her own count, Peacock has thus far convinced more than 70 chronic pain patients to call 911 or suicide prevention hotlines instead of killing themselves.

For Anne Fuqua, a 37-year-old former nurse from Birmingham, Alabama, the motivation for compiling a list of chronic pain-related suicides is to track the damage done by what she sees as policies that have left people like her behind. 

“There’s so many people who have died,” she said. “We have to remember them.”

Fuqua has an incurable neurological illness known as primary generalized dystonia that causes Parkinson’s-like involuntary movements and painful muscle spasms. She started taking about 60 mg of Oxycontin a day in 2000. Her doctor began to limit her access to high doses of opioids in 2014, the same year she started chronicling those friends who had killed themselves or otherwise died after being denied pain medications. Her informal list is now up to roughly 150 people, augmented by lists that other pain patient advocates have compiled.

On July 9, Fuqua joined other chronic pain patients at a meeting at the Food and Drug Administration campus in Maryland to express their fears and outrage at the cutbacks. Sitting in the front row in her wheelchair, she told FDA officials about that list and declared, “I’m not willing to go back to the state I was in before I started treatment.”

Anne Fuqua needs exceptionally high doses to manage her pain because of opioid malabsorption.

Courtesy of Anne Fuqua Anne Fuqua needs exceptionally high doses to manage her pain because of opioid malabsorption.

Fuqua’s own difficulties are compounded by the fact that her body does not respond to even large doses of opioids the way others do ― she suffers from severe malabsorption that hampers her ability to benefit from everything from opioids to vitamin D. Since 2012, she has relied on a strikingly high daily regimen of 1,000 MME of opioids, including fentanyl patches, to manage her pain.

But her physician, Dr. Forrest Tennant, was driven to retire this year after a DEA raid and investigation. The Los Angeles-area physician mailed her a final series of prescriptions, which will run out at the end of July.

“It’s terrifying,” she said looking at her future. “If these were people who had asthma or diabetes and weren’t stigmatized because of opioids, this wouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

Another doctor has quietly stepped forward to continue treatment for Tennant’s remaining patients, Fuqua said, although there’s no assurance that this physician won’t also be investigated in the future.

If these were people who had asthma or diabetes and weren’t stigmatized because of opioids, this wouldn’t be allowed to happen. Anne Fuqua

The raid on Tennant’s home and office last November illustrates the hard-line regulatory and enforcement approach that critics say doesn’t distinguish between pill-mill doctors who deserve to be shut down and legitimate pain doctors who use high-dosage opioids. The wide-ranging search warrant served to Tennant essentially accused him of drug trafficking even though he’d earned a national reputation for deft treatment of ― and research about ― pain patients.

“He’s highly respected and prominent in pain management,” said Jeffrey Fudin, a clinical pharmacy specialist who heads the pain pharmacy program at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, New York, and serves as an associate professor at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “Most of his patients had no other options, and they came from around the country to see him.”

Tennant was known for taking on difficult-to-treat patients, including those suffering from pain as a result of botched surgeries and other forms of malpractice. His research included innovations in the use of hormones to alleviate pain and lower opioid use up to 40 percent, as well as work on genetic testing for enzyme system defects that lead to opioid malabsorption.

“The DEA can trigger an investigation every time they misapply the CDC guidelines without paying attention to the population the physician treats or issues of medical necessity,” said Terri Lewis, a patient advocate and a Ph.D. clinical rehabilitation specialist with Southern Illinois University who trains clinicians on how to manage seriously ill patients with incurable pain.

Special Agent Timothy Massino, a spokesperson for the DEA’s Los Angeles division, declined to comment on the agency’s approach to Tennant. “It’s an ongoing investigation,” he noted.

Tennant’s isn’t alone. Physicians must now balance their prescribing obligations to their patients with legitimate fear for their livelihoods.

DEA enforcement actions against doctors have risen some 500 percent in recent years ― from 88 in 2011 to 449 last year, according to an analysis of the comprehensive National Practitioners Data Bank by Tony Yang, a professor of health policy at George Washington University. Even though that’s a relatively small number of arrests compared to the roughly one million physicians in the country, such arrests can have an outsized impact.

“They make big news, and they serve as a deterrent for physicians whose specialties require them to use a lot of pain medications,” Yang said. “It makes them think twice before prescribing opioids.”

Meredith Lawrence shows the tattoo she got after her husband'€™s death. The bluejay represents her husband, Jay; a cup of cof

Dustin Chambers for HuffPost Meredith Lawrence shows the tattoo she got after her husband’€™s death. The bluejay represents her husband, Jay; a cup of coffee is the way she loves to start her day; and the quote is “Sail away with me, what will be will be.”

Dr. Mark Ibsen of Helena, Montana, found himself in a five-year battle against the state licensing board that’s still not over ― even though a judge last month reversed the board’s decision to suspend his license because of due process violations. The court has remanded the case back to the licensing board for potential further investigation of his opioid prescriptions, but Ibsen has decided he won’t resume his medical practice.

That’s bad news for Montana, which has the highest rate of suicide in the country, according to the CDC. What’s more, chronic pain-related illnesses account for 35 percent of all the state’s suicides, as a recent state health department study found.

In the course of his fight with the medical board, the 63-year-old doctor said three of his former chronic pain patients have killed themselves after he and other doctors stopped prescribing opioids. The first of those patients died shortly after attending a hearing to show his support for Ibsen.

The deaths of pain patients haunt those who treated them and loved them. Meredith Lawrence, who sat with her husband to the very end, said, “It was as horrifying as anything you can imagine.”

“But I had the choice to help him or find him dead someday when I came home,” she added.

Lawrence was arrested and sentenced to a year’s probation for assisting a suicide. Now her goal is to fight restrictions on opioid prescriptions.

“If we don’t stand up, more people will die like my husband.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

Art Levine is the author of Mental Health, Inc: How Corruption, Lax Oversight, and Failed Reforms Endanger Our Most Vulnerable Citizens.

CONTINUE READING…

That study isn’t without flaws. Veterans die by suicide at higher rates than average ― currently accounting for 20 suicide deaths a day ― so they are not a nationally representative sample. And the VA study, which was released at a national opioid summit in early April, has not yet been submitted for peer review.

But another study, published last year in the peer-reviewed journal General Hospital Psychiatry, looked at nearly 600 veterans who in 2012 were cut off from dosages after long-term opioid use and found similar results. Twelve percent of the vets showed suicidal ideation or took violent action to harm themselves ― a rate nearly 300 percent higher than the overall veterans community.

Sally Oh was Live on Facebook: “Medical Cannabis, States’ Rights & the Civil War”

PLEASE TAKE 10 MINUTES TO LISTEN TO SALLY OH’S VIDEO!

Sally Oh

Above is the LINK to Sally Oh’s live video on Facebook explaining States Rights and the medical cannabis war.

There is also an article at this LINK from the Tenth Amendment Center which explains States Rights.

States Don’t Have to Comply: The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine

Laws passed in pursuance of the Constitution do stand as the supreme law of the land. But that doesn’t in any way imply the federal government lords over everything and everybody in America. LINK

REPEAL  CANNABIS PROHIBITION IN  KENTUCKY NOW!  SAVE OUR STATE!

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There is also a very good layout of the Kentucky Cannabis Bills for 2018 at the KENTUCKY FREE PRESS website.  Here is that LINK.


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http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2013/12/28/states-dont-have-to-comply-the-anti-comandeering-doctrine/

https://www.facebook.com/dreambiggerxo/videos/1600760853378573/

http://www.kyfreepress.com/2018/02/medical-cannabis-ky-2018/

The following can be called my rendition on the opioid/lack of Medical Marijuana/ crisis in Kentucky,

Fighting

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Support the Marijuana Justice Act

(…or whatever else you want to call it!)

Any way that you look at it, none of it passes the “smell test”!

From Robert Weber of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission came the following account of  a meeting of both the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare and Family Services, and the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee.  The title was,

“Lawmakers hear sobering account of opioid crisis”,

It went on to say that “At one Kentucky hospital, people are actually bringing in heroin and shooting up with patients.”

The following can be called my rendition of the opioid crisis in Kentucky, which would probably apply in most places, but I live here and can only truly state what I’ve seen and what my own experience has been.

I see this issue from all sides.  The side of the Lawmakers who are trying to control the horrible issue at hand as well as the side of the patient who needs opioid medication and the opioid abuser as well, as I have had close family members deal with this issue not the least of which was my youngest daughter.

In 2015 I wrote about HB 1 in Kentucky and how it affected patients who were cut off from their opioid medications that they had been used to getting on a regular basis with little or no warning and the position it put them into.  Some of them couldn’t pass the urine test required because of intermittent Cannabis use, some of them were cut off because of other opiates showing up in their urine tests, and a lot of them were disenfranchised by their doctors who just cut everyone off because of fear of the DEA.  They PASSED their drug tests and still were turned away.

I have talked to several M.D.’s about the situation and they all told me the same thing – they are afraid to prescribe even to patients who are obviously in need of medication for fear of the DEA and losing their license to practice.  IF there is any amount of opiate in your drug screen they will definitely not prescribe, period.  It just doesn’t matter if it is only a little “pot”.  One of them went so far as to say that they thought it was population control!  I agreed with them!  The degree of death from heroin, buprenorphine and other even stronger pharmaceuticals than the ones that everyone was worried about killing people to begin with has created a population culling/control.  Get rid of the addicts! 

Now, imagine being a middle age person with chronic debilitating disease which causes pain, who has used marijuana for a very long time in order to keep from using too much opioid medication.  You go to your doctors appointment expecting to get your monthly prescription for 30 pain pills (not long-acting!),  so you can sleep at night and are requested to submit random urine test – which you fail, of course, because you smoked Cannabis for pain and severe anxiety – which leaves you out in the street – IF you have to have relief.  All I can say is thank God for Cannabis and the fact that it is a plant!  #PLANTSRIGHTS  

Now imagine being 25-30 years old, maybe older, having debilitating pain from a health issue, which Doctor’s conveniently prescribed a sh*tload of opiates of all kinds for, (i.e., the cocktails)… Don’t forget the Oxycontin which was sold to us as a non-addictive narcotic!  You probably do not use much Cannabis because you know you may be randomly tested, and you NEED those drugs!  BUT, you can get by with using a “spice” product, or a little meth, or a little of something else as long as it gets out of your system before you have to go to the Pain Clinic again!  SOMEHOW you miscalculate and low and behold a positive urine screen comes back for “whatever” and you are kicked out in the cold with absolutely nothing after having been on all those opiates and benzo’s and whatever else they wrote the ten prescriptions for the last time you were there, AFTER they injected your spine with a poison concoction of unknown chemicals.

What are you going to do when your Doctor refuses to prescribe and you are conveniently addicted to all those medications which you can ONLY get from a Physician at a pain clinic?

DETOX on your own?  You got to work to pay the bills!  Rent doesn’t go away just because your Doctor did!  Now you have to find something, somewhere, that will keep you going no matter what, and your gonna need to work more because the cost of “your medicine” is going to eat up your paycheck.  And then a lot of the “drugs” disappear off of the street – practically all at once – because everybody lost their Doctors.  Now what?  Never fear, Heroin is here. 

It is fucking human nature to find something to relieve pain.  Especially severe pain – ESPECIALLY if your already addicted to the opiates!  The Government made sure that everyone that was in “pain” was treated when they enacted the…

H.R. 756 (111th): National Pain Care Policy Act of 2009

Yeah, people are in pain.  In legitimate pain for a lot of reasons.  Years of abuse from employers, eating too much fast food which was sold to us by media marketing, abuse of alcohol and sugar and caffeine and tobacco.  Sedentary living in front of the TV.  Lack of exercise.  Bogus and unnecessary surgeries and medical mistakes and mishaps.  Veterans with service related injuries and mental issues.  The list goes on and on and on and EVERYONE is on this list somewhere.  They got us and they got our Children!  Hell, they even got our damn Dogs (tramadol)!  And then they gave the tramadol back to us!

Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Van Ingram testified that 1,404 Kentuckians died of a drug overdose last year.

In 2015 I posted this information which was attached to a link which is now defunct.  Imagine that.  At the time I did not print that information out and I haven’t had the time nor inclination to re-search it out again.  They effectively removed it from sight.  But it did exist and I think that it summarizes quite well how much the Kentucky Government felt about it’s opioid addicted Citizens.  Say what you will but I know there had to be a much better way to handle the situation!

One could theorize that the passage of HB50 which included a provision to “provide funding for the purchase and administration of naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension”,   for Heroin overdoses was a calculated response to what they knew was going to happen when they discontinued “narcotics” at the Doctor’s office…more Heroin deaths.   Per the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary on July 27, 2015…

Minutes of the 2nd Meeting of the 2015 Interim

July 27, 2015

The mandatory use of KASPER has resulted in three things: overall decreased prescribing of controlled substances, decreased inappropriate prescribing, and decreased “doctor shopping”. All three of these were goals of the bill, and all three have been successfully achieved. House Bill 217 was passed a year later, which cleaned up some parts of House Bill 1 and married the regulations to the statutory provisions. Representative Tilley asked members to note that those who are prescribing in high quantities are being monitored. Statistics have shown that since the passage of House Bill 1, heroin use increased. There has been an increase in heroin-related deaths.

Link:  http://www.lrc.ky.gov/LRCSiteSessionSearch/dtSearch/dtisapi6.dll?cmd=getdoc&DocId=752229&Index=E%3a\dtsearch_indexes\LRC_WebSite&HitCount=2&hits=11a+123+&SearchForm=

In what he described as a “rare bright spot, there were 70 million fewer dosage units of opioids prescribed last year in Kentucky than in 2011”. (That percentage doesn’t include buprenorphine, a semisynthetic opioid that is used to treat opioid addiction.) There are still about 300 million dosage units of opioids being prescribed in Kentucky.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, asked how the state could fund the mental health, treatment and prevention programs needed.

The answer to Rep. Marzian’s question is that we won’t be funding mental health programs.  There is virtually no qualified Psychiatrist’s in the rural area’s of Kentucky and most of the people that they put in different “counseling services” to make it look like there is  mental health care are not qualified to handle the patients that they need to treat here. 

But there are plenty of “methodone clinics”.

Kentucky doctors have new restrictions for prescribing Suboxone after efforts to curb pill mills created a new cash-for-pills market and a street trade for the drug designed to safely wean addicts from heroin.
LINK

subs

Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting Quarterly Trend Report 2nd Quarter 2017

The end result of all of this is that people are and will continue to suffer in Kentucky whether they be patients or addicts, or families of those who are patients or addicts.  The reasons for this can be debated over and over but it comes down to money.  And, how to ignore those who do not have any money. 

I, personally, am not a big fan of LEGALIZED medical marijuana, in and of itself.  I am surprised that Kentucky has not adopted that stance by now because when you “legalize” it, as a prescription medicine, you will open up all avenues for the prison industrial complex yet again.  It would be in their favor to “legalize” Marijuana for that reason – CONTROL.  However, the majority of Kentuckians have opted for “Medical Marijuana” and they have spoken loudly…

Let me say that I DO BELIEVE that their is room for regulated Cannabis in the Pharmaceutical market – BUT NOT at the expense of everyone’s rights to be able to grow this “medicinal” plant in our own backyard just as Oregano can be.  If the Government cannot do its job correctly and see that everyone is equally justified to use this plant as they see fit, then it should be immediately REPEALED from the CSA and any other Statute which may inflict harm upon a person for possessing, growing or using this plant!  Remove it from the Pharmacopeia and let the people do what they will with this plant.  We will learn to make our own medicine!

Another year has passed us by to no avail of Medical Cannabis in Kentucky.  Gov. Matt Bevin has made it clear what his intentions are at this time even though he had made “campaign promises” to many people to see that this issue was voted on favorably.  Yet we sit and wait.  What are we waiting for?

If it were my decision codeine, and hydrocodone – up to 5mg –  would be available at the pharmacy, with no prescription, with restrictions on how often you could purchase.  Since we have all the new monitoring programs this shouldn’t be hard to accomplish. 

As well, a low dose benzodiazepine should be made available as well.  And Cannabis medicines should be commonly available just as they were before 1937. 

Additionally, the Cannabis plant should be growing in everyone’s yard and it should be the first plant of choice for most everyday ailments – in addition to being a wonder drug to Cancer Patients and others with debilitating illnesses.   That is the beauty of Cannabis —  it can be utilized in so many different ways and help so many people.

God gave us all the plants and animals here on Planet Earth.

Why do people feel the need to steal them from us?

RELATED:

KASPER Reports and Studies
The Pharmacies Thriving in Kentucky’s Opioid-Stricken Towns
Drug that was supposed to stem Kentucky’s heroin epidemic creates a whole new problem
House Bill 1 Information
When pot means no prescription for pain
Physicians’ legal duty to relieve suffering
Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Controversies, Current Status, and Future Directions
A patient denied a same-day appointment at a pain-management clinic in Las Vegas shot and injured two employees Thursday before fatally shooting himself, police said.
DEA Inflicts Harm on Chronic Pain Patients
https://pharmacy.ky.gov/Pages/Links.aspx
https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/09/14/a-summary-of-two-doctors/
http://www.lrc.ky.gov/lrc/ExecutiveTeam.htm
https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/09/24/all-roads-in-kentucky-lead-you-through-hell/
https://app.box.com/s/hyd7xxdsbtbxqvgjdwvepvxx1qa12vbv
https://shereekrider.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/rights-and-freedoms-may-in-no-case-be-exercised-contrary-to-purposes-and-principles-of-the-united-nations-how-the-united-nations-is-stealing-our-unalienable-rights-to-grow/

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/355207910/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-u5FgJI9dW5qc0SFSjWdg&show_recommendations=true

Dear Governor Bevin,

bird on hemp

Dear Governor Bevin,

I’m Audra Baker. My question is when are you plan on legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons?

I am the mother of 6 year old twins both with special needs. One with severe ADHD and the other non verbal autism.

I have done extensive research and have seen that cannabis oil has been proven to improve the symptoms of both these disorders. My family is considering moving to Colorado to be able to give my kids a better quality of life.

In addition to the health aspect of the legalization it will be an extreme boost to the economy.

My husband and I are both from KY and don’t want to leave but as a parent knowing there is an all natural medical alternative to the harsh drugs given to children I am doing my kids an injustice by staying.

I know we are not alone in the fight for legalization of medical marijuana. There are hundreds of ailments that can be drastically helped by its benefits. Millions of Kentuckians are suffering.
It seems the general assembly has come to an end again without any advancing of any marijuana bill at all to arrive on your desk. We as Kentuckians can’t wait indefinitely on the legislative branch to help our quality of life. Merely discussing this in Frankfort is just not enough. We need action. You have an incredible power like no other governor of KY has before. You have the ability to change and save lives. And change history in our state.

President Trump is a deal maker. So am I. SO is KENTUCKY. Let’s all work together and make this happen. So many other states are taking advantage of the increased tax dollars to improve schools, roads and commerce. JOBS will be created in so many of the poor counties of KY like those affected by factories closing and farming almost becoming obsolete. There are so many positive reasons.
Let’s all work together to make this happen. I don’t want to move to Colorado but it will soon be a necessity.
Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear from you soon.

God bless you and God bless Kentucky

Sincerely, Audra Baker

Kentucky Nurses Association endorses medical marijuana

By Lawrence Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) — The push to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky has picked up a major supporter.

The Kentucky Nurses Association has come out in support of the idea, calling it an issue of patients’ rights.

Twenty-two years ago, a car wreck injured Eric Crawford’s spinal cord, leaving him partially paralyzed.

He says he began smoking marijuana after experiencing bad side effects from conventional drugs.

“I don’t have to take pain pills anymore, and I take very little muscle relaxer. So, yes, it’s helping me,” said Crawford, who is from Maysville, Ky.

Stories like Crawford’s are why the Kentucky Nurses Association is now endorsing medical marijuana.

“I hope that folks are going to see that when registered nurses say this is an important access to care issue, that folks are going to look at it as the medical and patient care issue that it is and not as a social issue,” said Maureen Keenan, executive director of the KNA.

Supporters of medical marijuana made their case to lawmakers Friday during a special hearing of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations.

“It’s not about having a party. It’s not about having fun. It’s about quality of life,” said Jaime Montalvo of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana.

But others, such as the Kentucky Medical Association and law enforcement agencies, are urging caution.

“This is a gateway drug that leads our children and young adults down the road to illicit drug use and addiction,” warned Mickey Hatmaker, president of the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association.

The Kentucky Medical Association says it wants to see more research.

“KMA cannot support legislation intended to involve physicians in the area of medicinal marijuana outside of scientific, clinical trials,” said Corey Meadows of the KMA.

But the chairman of the committee says it is possible that a limited bill, perhaps one allowing dying patients to use marijuana, could get through the 2017 session.

“I see the dialogue changing a bit, and I think a narrowly-crafted bill might have some success,” said Sen. John Schickel (R-Union.)

Crawford says it is evidence that minds are slowly changing.

“Since the Kentucky Nurses Association has come out, that’s a big step for us,” he said.

While supporters of medical marijuana say they’re cautiously optimistic, they also know, at the Capitol, that momentum could quickly go up in smoke.

CONTINUE READING…

Heroin killed their son, but who killed their Son?

 

 

Linked below is to an article I just saw on wtnh.com, a news channel out of Connecticut, which is telling the story about how an  young man surmised to an overdose of Heroin back in 2014.

While I can agree that Heroin addiction is a horrible problem that has to be addressed, I can also point out the fact that in my opinion, the immediate reason this young man ended up dead, when he did, is because he had been subjected to surgery to correct a cleft palate,  and because he was known as a drug addict he was refused pain medication after his surgery.

Excuse me, but just what the hell kind of Country do we live in?

I am seeing a lot differing scenarios similar to this lately, in that the “patient” ends up dead of a Heroin overdose because the medical establishment refuses to give a patient NEEDED medication after a surgery or traumatic medical event.

This is just insane!

I cannot believe that the parents of this young man can not seek out a way to sue the medical establishment for insufficient care.  But because the ‘medical establishment’ is following the letter of the law as far as dispensing is concerned, there is as of yet no way to turn to get justice for a patient that has been treated in this manner.  It is incomprehensible that this is happening in the U.S.  However, since “first do no harm” is supposed to be the code of physician’s, why did the Surgeon agree to do the surgery if he knew he was not going to be able to control this patients pain?  If you do not already know, let me tell you…MONEY.  At the end of the day he is lining his pockets with money from the Insurance companies for doing the surgeries while refusing to fill needed pain medications because of the laws in place even though they are medically required after a surgery of most any kind, isn’t that akin to malpractice?  In effect, it could be said that this Doctor was directly involved with this young mans death.  And so was the U.S. Government, and the State Government as well.  The fact of the matter is that if the Physician had prescribed the medication needed after this man’s surgery, he would not have died of a Heroin overdose…at least not on that day for the reason of being in post surgical pain.

Read the following very closely:

In March of 2014 Ryan had what should have been his last corrective surgery. Because he was an addict, doctors would not prescribe pain medications.

“For a few days he was uncomfortable. He was very agitated and he went and did what most addicts do. He went to get the thing that would help him,” said Bill.

Bill found his son lying on his bedroom floor. He had died from a heroin overdose. (LINK TO SOURCE)

There has to be a way that the Citizens of this Country can file a Class Action Lawsuit against the Federal and State Governments for “cruel and unusual punishment” among a lot of other things.

Where are all the Human Rights Lawyer’s at?

sk

3.6.16