Marketing Psychiatric Drugs to Jailers and Judges

Drug companies are courting jails and judges through sophisticated marketing efforts.

 
On a rainy Monday morning in April, more than a hundred sheriffs, doctors, nurses, and jail guards from around the country sat in a ballroom on the outskirts of Nashville, sipping on coffees and listening to Daniel Potenza, a psychiatrist from New Hampshire, describe one of their most vexing problems: treating schizophrenia.

The conference, on medical care inside America’s jails and prisons, had been put on by an organization that sets standards for treatment in correctional facilities. Potenza paced the stage, talking animatedly about a national mental-health epidemic that had burdened jails and prisons. He flipped to a presentation slide showing that nearly half of all inmates diagnosed with schizophrenia were “non-adherent,” meaning that they weren’t taking their daily medications as prescribed.

Then, Potenza suggested a solution: a single shot of long-acting antipsychotic medicine, whose effects last for as long as three months, administered to patients while they’re still incarcerated. To show how this might help, Potenza presented a hypothetical scenario in which an inmate with schizophrenia becomes eligible for release but is denied parole because a medical provider describes the person as non-adherent. Parole-board members might be willing to reconsider if they could ensure that the person would receive his or her medications as prescribed ahead of release. In some cases, a “treatment resistant” patient who is simply forgetful might agree to the shot. However, in some cases, a judge might order a shot to be administered without the patient’s permission.

Potenza didn’t recommend a specific drug, and he was presenting at the conference at his employer’s expense, having been invited by its organizers.  But if you looked inside the conference program, you would learn that the keynote address on schizophrenia had been underwritten by Alkermes, an Irish company that manufactures one of the long-acting medicines, Aristada. If you walked through the exhibit hall, you would see Alkermes banners hanging from the rafters, along with a booth of salespeople expounding on the benefits of the antipsychotic drug. An Aristada flyer they passed out featured two buildings—a guard tower surrounded by a razor-wire fence, and a community health center—with the slogan “Transition of care takes time.”

For most of the twentieth century, pharmaceutical companies expressed little interest in inmates. People in need of mental-health treatment often received it at state-run psychiatric hospitals. But in the 1950s and ’60s, states began shuttering many of America’s psychiatric hospitals, pushing patients toward treatment in their communities. Then, in the 1980s and ’90s, lawmakers passed “tough on crime” policies that dramatically expanded the nation’s corrections population. Taken together, those developments had the unintended consequence of turning jails and prisons into warehouses for the mentally ill. By 2005, more than a million adults behind bars had some form of mental illness, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The dramatic shift in American mental-health care presented new opportunities for pharmaceutical companies. Correctional officials are required by law to provide adequate health care, including prescription drugs, to inmates. They also have an imperative to try to make sure people have enough medication when they are released to tide them over until they can seek care on their own. Federal researchers have found that releasing inmates with a supply of medication, and connecting them to community-based treatment, has lowered the odds of recidivism. But by the turn of the millennium, psychiatric-drug prices were rising. As early as the 2000s, to help mitigate costs, local officials in some states, including Washington and Ohio, sought free samples of antipsychotic medications from pharmaceutical companies.

Since then, the relationship between drug companies and the criminal-justice system seems to have intensified: free samples to detention facilities; comped lunches during which jail and prison doctors learn about medications; and payments to physicians to tout certain medications at conferences for criminal-justice professionals, including those without health-care licenses such as sheriffs and drug-court judges. At recent conferences about correctional health care, Merck, Gilead, AbbVie, and other big pharmaceutical companies have staged “product theaters” or “education luncheons” that show how their products could help treat inmates. The criminal-justice system isn’t just a lucrative market because of current inmates; it also introduces incarcerated people to medication that they might continue using after they’re released. (The full cash price of Aristada is about $1,300 for a four-week shot. The drug is covered by Medicaid and Medicare but can still require hefty copays.)

Dr. Joseph Penn, the director of mental-health services for the Correctional Managed Care division of the University of Texas Medical Branch, which oversees treatment in many of the state’s jails and prisons, says drug companies have awakened to the potential market behind bars. “No other country incarcerates as many people as we do, and they realized, ‘Hey, that’s a whole market we haven’t tapped,’” Penn said.

Long-acting schizophrenia drugs, in particular, can be an effective medication for inmates who might otherwise resist treatment, potentially leading to a safer and more predictable environment for them and for the correctional officers on shift. Potenza, the doctor who presented at the Tennessee conference, told me that meetings with drug companies allow doctors like him “to understand the benefits, despite the amplification”—of a particular drug’s merits—“from the company reps.” And free samples of these drugs can make them more accessible.

But despite having benefits for detention facilities and prisoners—free drugs, more information about new treatments—these marketing efforts have raised worries among criminal-justice advocates that drug companies could influence both the prescribing habits of correctional doctors and the choices of non-health-care professionals such as sheriffs and drug-court judges. A recent ProPublica analysis found that doctors who accepted money from pharmaceutical companies for top brand-name drugs were more likely to prescribe those companies’ medicines than doctors who did not. And Dominic Sisti, a medical-ethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, worries that nonmedical professionals might not be able to analyze drug companies’ marketing messages the way doctors can. “It’s a sales pitch,” Sisti said.

Potenza said that audiences should “apply a keen eye as to anything that is biased.” Dr. Brent Gibson, the chief health officer for the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, which organized the conference at which Potenza presented, said in an email that Alkermes and other sponsoring companies do not have input into presentations like Potenza’s. “We do reserve the right to not accept financial support from a corporate entity that is in conflict with our mission, but we do not feel that is the case with pharmaceutical companies that offer medications that can be useful in the correctional setting,” he wrote.

While drug companies have long marketed to people in a position to help patients make decisions, critics say their efforts in the criminal-justice sphere are particularly troubling because the patients involved, being incarcerated, may not feel that they have as much of a say in their own health-care decisions.

John Snook, the executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a group that calls for better mental-health treatment, said, “If you’re a jailer, and someone says, ‘We’re going to provide you with a solution that gets regular levels of therapeutic medicine to a population that’s difficult for you to control’”—in the form of samples of psychiatric drugs—“that’s going to be extremely attractive.”

But David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, expressed concern about whether this kind of marketing, aimed at jailers and judges rather than incarcerated people themselves, further diminishes the agency of prisoners, who are disempowered in nearly every facet of life behind bars. Even in cases where incarcerated patients elect to take a psychiatric drug, he said, it may be a choice made under duress, knowing that they may be medicated against their will if they refuse. “If you know you can be forcibly medicated, can you really make a free and noncoercive choice about medication?” he said.

Geoff Mogilner, a spokesman for Alkermes, said, “We expect healthcare professionals to utilize their independent clinical judgment to continually assess, with their patient’s input, how a medication is working and to recommend the medication that works best.”

Alkermes, which manufactures drugs for conditions that are disproportionately found behind bars—such as schizophrenia and alcohol and opioid addiction—is among several companies that have embraced the criminal-justice system as a source of customers. Starting in the early 2010s, Alkermes promoted Vivitrol, a treatment for opioid-use disorder, to correctional facilities. The treatment, generically known as naltrexone, had previously been used for alcohol-use disorder, but the drug floundered. When Alkermes recast it as a solution to the opioid epidemic, the company directly lobbied jailers and judges on the shot’s merits, selling the promise of the drug despite scant evidence of its effectiveness compared to competing treatments like buprenorphine, one of the active ingredients in the brand-name drug Suboxone. In closed-door meetings, Alkermes disparaged Suboxone as a “black market” drug that was illegally abused inside correctional facilities, according to a report from The New York Times. The company’s marketing practices received blowback. (Alkermes has pointed to studies it says offer further evidence for Vivitrol’s effectiveness. In some cases, the company has pushed back against criticisms. Earlier this month, in response to a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration, the company responded that it was taking steps to be “fully compliant” with federal regulations.) Alkermes accomplished its goal: People received Vivitrol while behind bars, and kept using it once they were released. Today Vivitrol is widely available in treatment facilities across the country, in part thanks to this early push.

Drugmakers introduced long-acting schizophrenia shots more than 50 years ago as a way to infuse consistency into psychosis treatment. But some psychiatrists and mental-health advocates were skeptical because of concerns about extended exposure to side effects such as sleepiness and low blood pressure, and because the shots seemed like “an attempt by psychiatrists to impose their will on patients,” according to a paper by Ahsan Khan, a psychiatrist at Saint Louis University, and colleagues.

As long-acting antipsychotic drugs improved, along with their public image, drug companies thought they could reinvigorate the market. In July 2009, the Food and Drug Administration approved Invega Sustenna, a long-acting, injectable form of an earlier antipsychotic pill made by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen brand. Abilify Maintena, from a Japanese company called Otsuka Pharmaceutical, followed four years later. Then came Aristada, green-lit in 2015.

Within the multibillion-dollar schizophrenia-drug market, the makers of all three drugs are seeking to cast long-acting injections as the future of schizophrenia treatment. A 2015 study by the University of California, Los Angeles, found that patients who were given such injections were more likely to adhere to treatment and see reduced symptoms over a 12-month period, compared to those taking the same medication orally. But there’s also a chance that side effects will last longer than with the pill form, and that’s one of the key reasons some psychiatrists still start with the pill.

Recognizing the importance of detention facilities in the mental-health market—approximately 15 percent of state prisoners experience serious mental illness, more than three times the rate found in the total U.S. adult population—drugmakers are, to varying degrees, marketing the long-acting drugs to criminal-justice audiences.

Janssen, whose schizophrenia drug leads the market, offers free samples and financially supports advocacy groups aimed at keeping individuals with mental illnesses out of jails. Last year, the company won approval from the FDA to market Invega Sustenna as a treatment that can keep schizophrenic patients out of jail. Before then, Janssen could market the drug’s ability to treat schizophrenia but not make further claims about how it might help incarcerated populations.

Once it got the additional approval, Janssen rolled out video testimonials of formerly incarcerated individuals receiving injections, including a 31-year-old woman identified only as “Tanara” who was incarcerated after a fight with a neighbor. Tanara explained that the injection allowed her to not worry about missing daily pills for schizophrenia and helped her get a steady job as a peer-support specialist after she was released.

Kaitlin Meiser, a Janssen spokeswoman, said free samples allow doctors to “familiarize themselves with the medicine and for patients to try the medicine and determine if it is the right fit for them.” But she noted that the company does not have any “concerted” efforts to specifically educate correctional doctors through the use of paid speakers or free meals.

Otsuka’s criminal-justice efforts appear more limited. Public records show that psychiatrists who have worked in corrections have received payments or perks from Otsuka, but Robert Murphy, a spokesman, said the company’s marketing does not specifically target the criminal-justice system. It has offered free samples of Abilify Maintena to just one correctional system, in Maricopa County, Arizona—and that was on request. He also said that Otsuka has not made “any payments for meals or speaking fees at any meetings or conferences where the audience was doctors or individuals who work with jails, prisons, or courts.”

Aristada, a relative newcomer in the antipsychotic-injection sector, trails behind Invega Sustenna and Abilify Maintena. As Alkermes seeks to catch up, it has provided the treatment in 40 correctional facilities in 18 states, offering free samples to many of them. And it has paid doctors to speak at criminal-justice conferences about its potential, as well as designing advertisements that depict people reentering society thanks to the shot. Two doctors told me Alkermes paid them to participate in focus-group panels where they were asked by company representatives about how to market the shot to criminal-justice officials.

Mogilner, the Alkermes spokesman, did not answer specific questions about the company’s marketing and sales tactics but noted that they are, to a large degree, no different from other companies’ efforts. He wrote in an email that Aristada can offer people leaving prison or jail “consistent and sustained” treatment during “the often-challenging transition back to the community.”

Corrections officials don’t have to exclusively prescribe Aristada in exchange for free samples, Mogilner added, or continue prescribing the shot after the samples run out. “We work to educate healthcare professionals and other stakeholders with whom they work about the treatment of schizophrenia in diverse settings of care, including criminal justice healthcare settings, community mental health centers, and hospitals,” he wrote. “No one medicine is right for every patient.”

Several health-care officials and practitioners told me that free samples of long-acting antipsychotic shots have helped their patients in the criminal-justice system access helpful drugs that would otherwise be too expensive for them to offer. “Funding is always an issue,” Rachel Waddell, a nurse practitioner who treats inmates in a 662-bed jail in Rapid City, South Dakota, told me. The jail has provided samples of Aristada to 10 inmates but hasn’t accepted payments from drug companies, or perks such as free lunches. “With Alkermes, we don’t have to jump through hoops.”

Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, have not taken perks or payments from drug companies, but they have accepted free samples of long-acting shots from Janssen, Otsuka, and Alkermes. Grant Phillips, the medical director of Maricopa County’s correctional-health services, said that nearly 120 inmates are on long-acting shots and that they work well. More than half of those are ordered by judges, he said, but judges leave it up to doctors to decide which product is best for their patients. The medication consumes a fifth of the total pharmacy budget for a jail population of about 7,500.

While some jail officials see mostly an upside in drug companies’ marketing efforts, others say it’s more complicated. Jeff Gromer, the former warden of the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said he hasn’t accepted perks or consulting payments, but he has given samples of Aristada to 16 patients since 2018; their symptoms stabilized while on the drug. “When you put someone with anxiety and paranoia in [a jail] environment, it gets hard for them to cope,” Gromer said. “When they can’t cope, there’s behavioral problems such as self-harm or aggression toward inmates or staff, or hiding in their cell.” Still, he’s wary of Alkermes’s efforts to reach patients by marketing to criminal-justice officials overseeing them. “Alkermes’s hope is that the prescription is continued once they’re out of custody, and they’re going to get paid for that,” he said. (Alkermes didn’t comment on Gromer’s characterization.)

Penn, the doctor working with Texas prisons, said his system does not accept samples from drug companies at all and restricts the perks or payments doctors receive. While patients in Texas prisons are sometimes prescribed long-acting antipsychotic drugs—typically as a last resort—Penn expressed concern, noting that “there’s not much literature” on them yet. Though more company-funded studies are emerging, he hasn’t seen enough “good head-to-head studies of the medications,” he said.

Alkermes and other drug companies have marketed not only to jailers but to judges as well. Earlier this year, at a conference for drug- and mental-health-court professionals in Maryland, Alkermes sponsored a closed-door promotional session about using long-acting shots in a court setting. Featured at the session was Richard Jackson, a former psychiatrist at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Ernie Glenn, a magistrate in Bexar County, Texas, who had helped defendants in his court get access to long-acting antipsychotic shots. While Glenn had received no payments from Alkermes, the company had paid Jackson more than $250,000 between 2015 and 2018 for speeches, travel and lodging, and meals, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’s open payments database. (Jackson also received $252,608 in payments from Otsuka from 2015 to 2018, and said he has continued receiving payments from drug companies in 2019; it wasn’t immediately clear whether Alkermes was one of them.) The conference program, as in the conference in Nashville, directed people to learn about Aristada at Alkermes’s exhibit booth. “It wouldn’t matter to me if the info was sponsored by one company or all the companies, so long as the info about the medication gets out to the public,” Glenn later told me.

“A lot of people in corrections … they’re not even aware,” Jackson said of long-acting injections. “If you’re not getting educated, you’re not using them, there’s no way it’ll ever be afforded to those prisoners.”

Judge Robin Faber, who presides over a Miami-Dade County court division that aims to divert inmates into mental-health treatment, has not been the target of marketing by Alkermes or any other pharmaceutical firm but said he sees the potential of long-acting drugs in his sixth-floor courtroom. One sweltering afternoon in early September, a young man named Chris Sellers took off his orange cap and slouched into the back of Faber’s courtroom. (Sellers’s name has been changed; Faber, Sellers’s lawyer, and Sellers allowed The Atlantic to sit in the courtroom, which isn’t open to the public, on the condition that his real name not be used.) Faber was reviewing Sellers’s medical records.

“You look good,” Faber said. The first time Faber had met Sellers, several months earlier, Sellers had recently been arrested for stealing a $20 T-shirt. Having looked at his records, along with his initial health assessment from a doctor, Faber felt Sellers’s nonviolent offenses were linked to untreated mental illness, and decided to require treatment instead of incarceration. At the time, to ensure that Sellers received his medication, Faber ordered an involuntary shot for his schizophrenia. Faber believed that Sellers would reoffend without it—and hoped that it would break his cycle of incarceration. As Faber continued reviewing the records, he noticed that Sellers had since received another long-acting shot. “That’s probably helping a lot,” Faber said, agreeing to keep Sellers on the treatment regimen instead of sending him to the Dade County Jail.

After Sellers’s hearing, Faber told me he defers to doctors regarding which medications patients should get. Ernesto Grenier, a psychiatrist at Jackson Health, the medical provider for three of Miami-Dade County’s jails, is often the one choosing those drugs.

When I spoke with Grenier, he told me that Jackson Health prohibits free samples from pharmaceutical companies. But, on occasion, Grenier has listened to pitches from Otsuka, Janssen, and Alkermes. From 2016 to 2018, he accepted food or drinks from the three companies 22 times, for a total of $949.92. He said he does not typically prescribe Aristada—which he considers less proven than some other drugs because it is newer—and dismissed the notion that free lunches or drinks from any drugmaker might have influenced his care. “They all say theirs is the best,” Grenier said. “We choose medication based on the patient.” (Click to Source)


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Why followers of Jesus shouldn’t smoke pot: former addict

June 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — I want to share my own convictions as to why followers of Jesus should not smoke pot. I encourage you to consider them prayerfully before the Lord.

First, for the sake of clarity and simplicity, I’m not addressing the issue of the medical use of marijuana, as prescribed by a responsible doctor. While it’s possible these subjects are related, I’m focusing here on the recreational use of marijuana.

Second, I speak from personal experience, both as a follower of Jesus and as a former pot smoker.

In short, I was a heavy drug user from 1969 to 1971, earning the nicknames “Drug Bear” and “Iron Man” in the process. The drugs I used included pot, hash, ups, downs, LSD, mescaline, speed, heroin, and (very briefly, right before I got saved) cocaine.

Many of my friends, colleagues, and former ministry school students were drug users, too, some heavily and some lightly. But we hold the same views today about Christians smoking (or ingesting) pot.

In short, you cannot “be sober and alert” and smoke pot at the same time. Yet God’s Word calls us to the former.

Peter wrote, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).

When you smoke pot, even a little, your mind gets into a more relaxed state, a state of lowered alertness and lower sobriety. It’s called “getting high” for a reason.

You might think it enhances your thinking or creativity or spirituality, but in reality, it is bringing you into a less sober state of mind, one in which your ability to respond rapidly and critically is actually lessened. So, you might be more “creative,” but not in a holy and godly way.

Yet a recent headline on Christian Post announced, “XXXchurch Pastor Craig Gross promotes ‘Christian Cannabis,’ says weed makes it easier to worship.”

The pastor, Craig Gross, explained, “I’ve never lifted my hands in a worship service ever, ’cause I was raised Baptist. … I’ve done that in my bathroom worshiping with marijuana by myself.”

Ironically, it’s for this same reason that some strippers get high before performing or some actors have a few drinks before engaging in a sex scene. The drugs or drink loosen them up and relax them, helping to remove their inhibitions.

But this is the opposite of spiritual liberty. It has nothing to do with holiness, and it is totally unrelated to worship. (The real shame here is that Pastor Gross has fought against the use of porn for many years. Yet Christians who get high will find their ability to resist sexual sin lessened as well.)

Before I knew Jesus, I received incredible spiritual “revelations” while tripping on LSD or mescaline, especially when combined with huffing diesel gas. I even discovered the secret of the universe!

All of this was from below, not from above. All of this was deception.

We should also factor in that pot remains a gateway drug, opening the door to more serious drug abuse over time. Is it any surprise that Denver has now voted to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms after Colorado legalized cannabis in 2014?

Even if you never went beyond pot after years of personal use, the moment you advocate it, you open the door to others. Is that wise?

I’ve also been told repeatedly that pot today is not like the pot I once smoked. It’s much more potent and dangerous. And the very real, not exaggerated, dangers of marijuana use have been documented by Alex Berenson in his bestselling book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.

As the blurb states, this “eye-opening report from an award-winning author and former New York Times reporter reveals the link between teenage marijuana use and mental illness, and a hidden epidemic of violence caused by the drug — facts the media have ignored as the United States rushes to legalize cannabis.”

Bad roots will produce bad fruit. Just give things enough time.

According to a report from SF Gate, “With some marijuana products averaging 68 percent THC — exponentially greater than the pot baby boomers once smoked — calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms have risen. In the Denver area, visits to Children’s Hospital Colorado facilities for treatment of cyclic vomiting, paranoia, psychosis and other acute cannabis-related symptoms jumped to 777 in 2015, from 161 in 2005.”

Significantly, “The increase was most notable in the years following legalization of medical sales in 2009 and retail use in 2014, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health published in 2018.”

In the words of psychiatrist Libby Stuyt, who treats teens in southwestern Colorado and has studied the health impacts of high-potency marijuana, “Horrible things are happening to kids. I see increased problems with psychosis, with addiction, with suicide, with depression and anxiety.”

And while the effects on adults might not always be as extreme (or, as quickly noticed), it is clear that anything this harmful to teens can hardly be beneficial to adults.

Paul exhorted the believers in Ephesus, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18, ESV).

In the same way, he would urge us not to get high on drugs, but rather to be filled with the Spirit.

Of course, I’m quite aware that the response of many would be, “But that’s the whole point. Just as we can drink alcohol in moderation, we can smoke pot in moderation.”

My response would be 1) it’s an unnecessary crutch; 2) it still removes your full sobriety; 3) it opens the door to more intense pot use, along with the use of other drugs; 4) it creates another fleshly habit in your life.

For two years, day and night, my life centered on drugs and rock music, and I got as high as humanly possible without dying, once taking enough hallucinogenic drugs for 30 people. (I am only alive and in God’s service by His grace and mercy!) And in the months before coming to faith in Jesus, I smoked pot morning, noon, and night. It became a constant part of my life.

Yet when I truly experienced the joy of the Lord, which then revealed the depths of His love to me, I said to Him on the spot, “I will never put a needle in my arm again!” And I was free from that day (December 17, 1971) until today.

Two days after that, while smoking hash with friends, I realized that the Lord didn’t want me to get high in any way. And the rest is history.

So, before you get high (whether for the first time or again), ask yourself these questions: Is this light or darkness? Is this feeding my spirit or my flesh? Is this exalting Jesus or opening the door to the enemy?

Be wise, and sober, my friend. And be filled with the Holy Spirit. There is nothing like it. (Click to Source)

 

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Seattle homeless crisis: Historic cemetery overrun with drugs and prostitution amid worsening problem

By Liam Quinn | Fox News

Seattle’s homeless crisis has reached such catastrophic levels that a north-side cemetery has become home to drug abuse, drug dealing and prostitution.

Bikur Cholim Cemetery board member and city council candidate Ari Hoffman detailed the desperate effort to fight the epidemic and placed blame for how bad it has gotten squarely on the local government.

“The city council, city elected officials failed our city. They created a haven where it is OK for people to die on the streets through drug use, and to live on the streets people who have a mental illness,” Hoffman told “Fox & Friends.” “They are not offering treatment solutions, and they are failing us.

Hoffman added: “Through 2013, the homeless population was relatively stable. And then what happened after that is it grew… because the policies they had enabled drug use behavior. It’s just absolutely tragic that we have people who are living inside of a cemetery, that are dealing drugs outside of a cemetery, and are running prostitution in a cemetery, but you see it on the streets all over Seattle.”

Hoffman, who is running for city council, then took aim at “non-performing non-profits” for not doing enough to combat the crisis and revealed what he believes is the first step to turn back the tide.

“You have to wonder where the money goes, the first thing we need to do is audit where all that money is going. There’s plenty of money, the city’s coffers are full, the money is just not being spent appropriately,” he told “Fox & Friends.” “According to Seattle’s own numbers, 78 percent of people want to be off heroin. They don’t want to have addiction problems, they want treatment. Unfortunately there just aren’t enough services – there aren’t enough mental health options for them… we need to make sure those services are available for people on the streets.”

Groundskeepers frequently find trash and other debris at the cemetery. 

Groundskeepers frequently find trash and other debris at the cemetery.  (Ari Hoffman)

Cemetery groundskeepers have had to deal with cleaning up everything from used needles to human feces, according to a representative.

Cemetery groundskeepers have had to deal with cleaning up everything from used needles to human feces, according to a representative. (Ari Hoffman)

Hoffman went on to paint a dire picture of the scene at the historic Bikur Cholim Cemetery.

“They find needles, they find drugs, they find human feces all over the place and they have to clean it all up,” he said. “Our grounds-crew has been pricked by needles before, they’ve been assaulted by people they found living there, they’ve found people on the ground overdosed thinking they were dead.”

Federal data released in 2018 found Washington state’s homeless population had risen more than any other state in the country.

Seattle, King County, had a homeless population of 12,112 — the third highest in the country behind Los Angeles and New York City. (Click to Source)

 
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Prescription for violence: The corresponding rise of antidepressants, SSRIs & mass shootings

Thursday, May 23, 2019 by: News Editors

(Natural News) According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a mass murder occurs when at least four people are murdered, not including the shooter, over a relatively short period of time during a single incident. Over the last 30 years, the United States has seen a significant increase in mass shootings, which are becoming more frequent and more deadly.

(Article republished from Ammo.com)

Seemingly every time a mass shooting occurs, whether it’s at a synagogue in Pittsburgh or a nightclub in Orlando, the anti-gun media and politicians have a knee-jerk response – they blame the tragedy solely on the tool used, namely firearms, and focus all of their proposed “solutions” on more laws, ignoring that the murderer already broke numerous laws when they committed their atrocity.

Facts matter when addressing such an emotionally charged topic, and more gun controllegislation has shown that law-abiding Americans who own guns are not the problem. Consider the following: The more gun control laws that are passed, the more mass murders have occurred.

Whether or not this is correlation or causation is debatable. What is not debatable is that this sick phenomenon of mass murderers targeting “gun-free zones,” where they know civilian carry isn’t available to law-abiding Americans, is happening. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 97.8 percent of public shootings occur in “gun-free zones” – and “gun-free zones” are the epitome of the core philosophical tenant of gun control, that laws are all the defense one needs against violence.

Therefore, when the media and politicians focus their ire on guns, specifically what types of guns are used, such as AR-styles, carbines, semi-automatics, and “high capacity” handguns, in the wake of such tragedies the American public are being intentionally drawn into an emotionally charged debate about legal gun ownership (irrespective of whether the murderer’s gun was legally or illegally obtained). This debate leads them away from the elephant in the room and one of the real issues behind mass shootings – mental health and prescription drugs.

Ignoring what’s going on in the heads of these psychopaths not only allows mass shootings to continue, it leads to misguided gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment and negate the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens. As Jeff Snyder put it in The Washington Times:

“But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow.”

Violence, especially random violence, is a complex manifestation of various thoughts, feelings, and external factors. When a multivariate analysis of these factors is conducted, it becomes apparent that it’s not just mental health issues that are leading to such an increase. There may be an underlying substance which plays a role in a high percentage of these violent acts – the use of prescription antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

At first glance, it makes sense that those involved in mass shootings may be taking antidepressants, as they’re clearly suffering from some sort of mental health issue. But the issue with SSRIs runs much deeper than just a random mental health break. These drugs are a prescription for violent crimes, and that’s a story the anti-gun media and politicians don’t want to talk about.

History of Antidepressant Use in the U.S.

To understand the rise in antidepressant use, one must first understand depression. Everyone, no matter how great their life, has periods of sadness, times when they feel down or low. This is especially true when faced with hardships or going through things like a divorce, the loss of a job, or the death of a parent.

This is not clinical depression. Clinical depression is a serious mental disorder that impacts how a person functions on a daily basis. Depression makes it hard to get out of bed. It makes it hard to go to work. It makes it hard to take a shower or answer the phone. It stops a person from functioning on the basic levels.

Understanding Depression

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as the DSM-5, to be considered clinically depressed, a patient must experience five of the following symptoms most of the day, every day, for at least two weeks. What’s more, these symptoms must be so severe, they interfere with normal functioning:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling “empty”
  • Feeling guilty
  • Irritable
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Slow talking and moving
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Abnormal sleep patterns, whether sleeping too much or not enough
  • Abnormal weight changes, either eating too much or having no appetite
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is a serious, and sometimes life-threatening, illness. But in the modern world, it’s highly over-diagnosed. A study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics looked at 5,639 patients in the U.S. who were diagnosed with depression by their clinician and compared their symptoms to the DSM criteria for clinical depression. Of these patients, only 38.4 percent met the criteria, even though the majority of the 5,639 patients were prescribed depression medication.

Today, with the way antidepressants are prescribed, nearly one in four Americans will meet the criteria to be diagnosed with depression within their lifetime, and will be prescribed medications that interfere with how their brain functions.

The Rise of Antidepressants

In the 1950s, the first generation of antidepressants hit the market. The introductory class of antidepressants to gain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval were monoamine oxidase inhibitors, known as MAOIs. Although highly effective, MAOIs can cause extremely high blood pressure when paired with certain foods or medications, and therefore require diet restrictions. Because of these restrictions, they’re rarely used today to treat depression except in cases where other treatments fail.

By the late 1950s, a new class of antidepressants became available – tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants are also highly effective for treating depression, but are prone to side effects. Even so, this class of antidepressants remained the go-to depression treatment for years. Other drugs were tested for depression treatment, but they hadn’t proved more effective than tricyclic and MAOI antidepressants, especially for severe depression.

Fast forward to the 1980s. America’s tranquilizer dependence was becoming problematic. Quaaludes were heavily over-prescribed for anxiety, resulting in overdose deaths, as well as an increase in deaths from vehicle accidents. The Feds stepped in and in 1984, classified Quaaludes as a Schedule 1 drug, making them illegal to sell, buy, and use.

Valium, a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety, was also extremely popular, and was the most prescribed medication in the U.S. from 1969 through 1982. In 1978, the year the medication peaked, more than 2.3 billion pills were sold in the U.S. But Valium was highly addictive and it was believed that a serotonergic medication was a better option to fill the void that was left when Quaaludes were outlawed.

In 1987, Prozac, the first SSRI, was released for depression. Along with it came the idea that depression could be the underlying cause of anxiety. The idea took off, as did the sales of Prozac, and within a few years, it overtook the antidepressant market. Soon, other SSRIs followed.

Along with these SSRIs came direct-to-consumer advertising, which became legal in 1985. By the mid-1990s, the FDA regulations became looser and direct-to-consumer ads exploded into the market. Prozac and other medications showed Americans through glossy advertisements that unhappiness, stress, and anxiety could be treated with a pill.

Instead of doctors recommending a specific medication, patients started coming in, requesting a medication they saw in a magazine or on television.

SSRI sales skyrocketed.

By 2010, 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 were prescribed an antidepressant, making it the third most prescribed medication, topped only by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. When looked at over time, there has been a 400-percent increase in antidepressant use from 1988 through 2008.

SSRIs 101: What You Should Know

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of drugs commonly referred to as SSRIs, are the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. These second-generation antidepressants are marketed to doctors and patients as safe and effective, with relatively minimal side effects. SSRIs are designated to treat mild to moderate depression, as well as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bulimia nervosa.

How do SSRIs work?

SSRIs work to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. A neurotransmitter that helps neurons communicate, serotonin is associated with many different body functions, but is best known for its influence on mood. Sometimes called “the happy chemical,” serotonin plays a role in a person’s happiness and general feelings of wellbeing.

Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, although the relationship is not clear. Research has not determined if the low neurotransmitter level causes depression or if depression causes the level of serotonin to drop. It should also be noted that a large amount of serotonin, up to 90 percent, is produced in the gut and may be influenced by what a person eats and drinks.

SSRI medication does exactly what its name says. When two neurons communicate, one releases neurotransmitters, which causes the other neuron to react in a certain way. Because this is constantly going on, these chemicals are always present in the brain. To keep the brain’s chemical balance correct, neurons regulate the amount of neurotransmitters released by a process called reuptake, which involves the reabsorption of the chemical by a neuron.

For instance, if there’s a high level of serotonin, the neuron knows to release less through reuptake, keeping the level balanced. If levels of the neurotransmitter are low, reuptake tells the neurons to release more.

SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, causing neurons to release more of the neurotransmitter, therefore increasing the amount of the chemical found in the brain.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variety of SSRIs, including:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil and Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)

When it comes to effectiveness, SSRIs don’t appear to have an influence on those with moderate to severe depression, with virtually no improvementseen when comparing SSRI use to placebos. Instead of a popular drug with a high efficiency, modern SSRIs have become popular based on an effective marketing campaign and little more. (Click to Source)

Read more at: Ammo.com or PsychDrugWatch.com.

 

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New beginning for Lake County Drug Court graduates

These young men need the Gospel of Jesus to be free from Addiction

Lake County Judicial Court Drug Court Judge James Manley shares a laugh with Drug Court graduates and CSKT members, Bradley Cannon, 22, and Dale Joseph of Elmo. Graduates completed the yearlong day-to-day program. “It was hard in the beginning,” said Joseph. He added that the past four months got easier. “I’m so happy now. I didn’t really think I’d do this.” Joseph was proud to announce he received his driver’s license a week before graduation. His plan is to complete his HiSet test and work for the Tribes. Cannon said he kept his mind set on “not giving up” and praises the support he got from the program team and his family. “The counselors really cared,” said Cannon. The next step for him is to get a job wild land firefighting. (Click to Source)

Recovery Room 7 is a community of people with similar backgrounds, where people from all walks of drug & alcohol recovery can meet together, share, socialize, interact, join in fun activities, share meals, pray and learn. It’s a place of joy and awakening to their true purpose in life. Jesus Christ is always present and ready to receive everyone in Recovery Room 7. We will be located in beautiful Northwest Montana. If you would like to donate to get Recovery Room 7 up and running, please go to our PayPal Donation Link here.

 

Prescription drugs in America are completely USELESS for long-term health “fixes”

Monday, May 20, 2019 by: S.D. Wells

(Natural News) When a medical doctor prescribes drugs for symptoms, those warning signs may “go away” for a short while, but the root of the problem always festers. That’s because nearly all medications are chemically concocted in a laboratory and then “assigned” to bad health symptoms, and are doing nothing more than sweeping the “dust” and “germs” of serious problems “under the rug.”

Sooner or later, those real health issues will rear their ugly heads, and the next piece of advice won’t be so non-invasive, my friends, because after the prescription drugs fail you comes surgery and/or chemotherapy, psychotropic drugs, and eventually, if you live and can suffer long enough through all that, dementia sets in. That’s the final “financial” and mental avalanche.

The AMA (American Medical Association) has been making sure, in America, for 100 years, that medical doctors offer zero nutritional advice to their patients, and only prescribe “medications” that are laboratory created. This ensures any person with chronic health conditions will not ever recover, and become a client for life (a shortened life at that). That was the end game from the very beginning, and the FDA and CDC play right into that arena like a tri-fecta of partners in crime.

Prescription pharmaceuticals quite simply don’t work – how much more obvious could it be?

Half the country takes at least one of pharma’s “prescription” poisons daily. Did you know? That includes one in every five children. If ANY of those drugs really worked, wouldn’t THEY be the healthy half? Think about that real hard for a minute, after you mute the commercial on TV that says the side effects are worse than the condition being treated. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars wasted on drugs that don’t work. Wow.

Notice how they turn up the commercials on TV so you can hear them from the kitchen while you’re eating that genetically mutated food, drinking that tap water, and wondering why your other medications aren’t working, even though you take them exactly “as prescribed.”

Wait, the cholesterol medications is just quack remedy? What’s that – your heart medication is making you dizzy? So you’re saying the blood thinner can cause you to die of internal bleeding if you simply bump your head? That’s not “natural.”

Your M.D. is a snake oil salesman. A huckster. A con artist. A shill. He knows that lab-concocted junk isn’t going to cure you. That’s why Allopath only checks your symptoms and conditions, but never questions what you ate the past day, month, or year.

Why is it that nearly all people who don’t take pharmaceuticals ARE healthy, or at least in much better “condition” than those who do? Pharma “users” are involuntary abusers, and they never get cured of anything. Oh the irony.

The LONG TERM down and dirty prescription drug effects on the mind, body, and soul

Some acute health conditions do require “Western” medicine’s help, but those cases are literally rare when you look at the statistics. Nature provides antibiotics. Nature provides anti-viral “serum.” Nature provides immune system boosters. You can even beat the flu with things like oil of oregano, but no M.D. in America can ever say that, or the AMA will “remove” them from their station.

Sure, there are situations that require high-strength pain killers, anesthesia during operations, antibiotics for critical-stages of bacterial infections, and a handful more situations, but those are always acute illnesses. Even infectious diseases are better treated with natural remedies, and it’s obvious from the propaganda the vax-fanatics spread and spew in their “herds” of desperation and narrative-based fear.

Then there’s opioid abuse. Those long-term health crises include depressed breathing, which eventually just becomes cessation of breathing, which then gets termed “overdose” by the CDC and FDA. Can you say financial settlement and media blackout?

Opioid addicts discover their dependence (even in the brain) and tolerance for the drugs happens in just days after beginning the “cycle” the quack doctor recommended “just for you.” Your pill-pusher is a good actor. She/he’s very “nice.”

Anti-anxiety medications and depression medications are no different. Neither are stimulant meds. They all breed dependence, tolerance, and eventually, total uselessness. Actually, beyond useless, because the prescription drugs do REAL chronic health damage all while decreasing any effectiveness they may have once had.

From statin drugs to asthma meds, and from anti-depressants to amphetamines for kids, American medicine is the worst on the planet, and it’s planned that way. The only reason 150 million Americans still take them is they’re too dumbed-down and sick to figure it out now. We’re a nation of “prescribed” druggies. The kids and the seniors are doped to the max. Americans have lost their “drive” or spirit to work, to save money, to create, to run their own business, to stay prepared, to seek longevity. But not all of us. You have the choice to be healthy. You really do. You have complete control.

Tune in to NaturalCures.news for updates on the most powerful superfoods on the planet that will cure you of all these preventable ills, and you can help us expose the long-term health detriment being spoon-fed to America under the guise of “medicine.” (Click to Source)

Sources for this article include:

TheGoodDrugsGuide.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalCures.news

Carvacrol.co

TruthWiki.org

 
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FDA: Big Pharma Drugs Are Making People Kill Themselves While They Sleep

By Mac Slavo

Sleeping drugs such as Ambien have been making people kill themselves in their sleep, says the Food and Drug Administration.  Drugs that supposedly help people sleep are linked to falls, burns, poisoning, limb loss, drowning, and even suicide.

According to The New York Times, this could all be solved by adding warning labels to the bottles of the pills instead of people trying to get off Big Pharma’s drugs.

Incidents related to sleeping pills have included “accidental overdoses, falls, burns, near drowning, exposure to extreme cold temperatures leading to loss of limb, carbon monoxide poisoning, drowning, hypothermia, motor vehicle collisions with the patient driving, and self-injuries such as gunshot wounds and apparent suicide attempts,” according to the FDA’s own research. But rather than tell people not to use such drugs, the FDA simply wants people to know they could kill themselves after taking the pills.

The FDA announced Tuesday that a prominent warning would be required on all medication guides for Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, and the generic version of Ambien, which is called zolpidem. The FDA also mandates a separate warning against prescribing the drugs to anyone with a history of sleepwalking. –Futurism.

That’s a lovely side effect…

“Patients usually did not remember these events,” the agency wrote, according to Futurism. Bizarre actions have been widely reported after using sleeping pills, and the FDA has warned about this in the past – 12 years ago, in fact. That means this isn’t exactly new information.  Big Pharma’s drugs have been problematic for quite some time now, but it is comforting to see others take note of just how disastrous some of these medications can be to humanity.

Some have expressed their surprise at the FDA’s admission that these pills may not be all that safe for people to use. “I am surprised to see this warning come out now,” University of Pennsylvania physician Ilene Rosen told The NYT.

This is something I’ve been telling my patients for the last 15 years, and in the sleep community, this is well known. And I’d like to think we’ve done a good job putting the news out there, that these drugs have some risks.

But all drugs have risks; hopefully, people will begin to realize that medications simply treat the symptom not the underlying problem that caused the issue to begin with.  Western medicine is about management, not treatment. And it isn’t just Ambien and sleeping drugs humanity should be worried about; it’s all the drugs pushed on the public every single day.

Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients is great at explaining the dilemma we as a society have found ourselves in. We like to imagine that regulators have some code of ethics and let only effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve useless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients. This book shows the true scale of this murderous disaster. Goldacre believes we should all be able to understand precisely how data manipulation works and how research misconduct in the medical industry affects us on a global scale. (Click to Source)

 

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Scientists Alter Consciousness Without Drugs Using ‘Hallucination Machine’

Meet the VR of psychedelic drugs.

By Sarah Sloat

on 

Imagine you’re looking around at a bustling city square, complete with shopkeepers and heavy foot traffic. But swirling jewel tones cover the ground, a muted haze flows through the air, and flowing, bulbous images of dogs and birds are attached to the people passing by. You know you’re neither dreaming nor drunk. It’s entirely possible, thanks to new research, that you’re hooked up to the “Hallucination Machine.”

The Hallucination Machine was built by a team researchers from the Sussex University’s Sackler Center for Conscious Science, including the center’s co-founder, neuroscientist Anil Seth, Ph.D. In a paper published Wednesday in Scientific Reports, Seth and his colleagues explain they created the Hallucination Machine as a means to study the mechanisms underlying altered states of consciousness without needing to use psychedelic drugs. This tool, they claim, is like a drug in its ability to make people feel like they are hallucinating.

Creating this altered state in human subjects, they explain, is tricky. Typically, people reach altered states because of psychopathological conditions or psychoactive substances, like LSD and psilocybin. Scientists have induced altered states in study participants with these drugs before to study the neural underpinnings at play, but the process is far from perfect. The Sussex University team explains that, because psychedelics have many physiological effects, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s changing in terms of consciousness.

The Hallucination Machine combines VR and deep machine learning.

With the Hallucination Machine, the researchers write, they are able to “simulate visual hallucinatory experiences in a biologically plausible and ecologically valid way.” The tool, which, unlike a drug, does not directly alter the person’s neurophysiology, combines virtual reality and machine learning. When a person wears it, they are immersed in “hallucinations” by watching 360-degree panoramic videos of video scenes with a VR head-mounted display. These videos are modified with an algorithm called Deep Dream, a computer program created by Google engineer Alexander Mordvintsev that modifies natural images to reflect images categorized by a neural network.

Deep Dream happens to insert a lot of images of dogs into the video, but researchers aren’t quite sure why. “One thing people always ask us is why there are so many dogs,” co-author David Schwartzman, Ph.D., told The Times on Monday.

“The short answer is we don’t know.”

In their study, the researchers used two experiments to demonstrate that the Hallucination Machine creates “visual phenomenology” — hallucinations — similar to those induced classical psychedelics. In the first, 12 participants used the machine, experienced the trippy VR, and then were asked how the experience altered from watching normal videos and being on a psychedelic drug. The participants overwhelmingly reported the experience was much different than watching a control video but qualitatively similar to being on drugs, especially psilocybin.

In the second experiment, 22 participants used the Hallucination Machine and then watched a control video. As they watched each video, they completed a task to test their perception of the passing of time. Neither using the Hallucination Machine nor watching the video caused temporal distortion. This was an important discovery, the researchers point out, because in previous studies on altered states of consciousness in which people did take drugs, they reported being confused about the passing of time. The new observations suggest to the researchers that it’s not being in an altered state that causes temporal distortion, it’s the drugs.

Examining the brain in an altered state of consciousness is important to scientists who are still are seeking to understand the biological basis of consciousness as a whole. A major hurdle to this area of study has been the use of and accessibility to psychedelic drugs. The Hallucination Machine may change this, and in turn, allow us to learn more about the unknown ways our minds can perceive ourselves and the world. (Click to Source)

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Gene Therapy, ‘Medical Chips’ Top Advances Predicted for 2018

computer-chip-world

This will be the year of the “medical chip.” That’s the prediction of leading health expert Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic and a regular Newsmax Health contributor.

“We will be using more computer chip technology or silicon chips to improve health whether internally to communicate with an insulin pump or externally like the new sleep apnea device,” he says.

“We will be seeing vast improvement and efficiency in emergency rooms and clinics all over the world using chips to monitor patients’ vital statistics instead of poking and prodding them. A team of physicals in one central monitoring area, like a ‘command central,’ will be able to evaluate hundreds of patients at a time in hospitals — even around the world — using chip technology.”

Chip advances are just one of several up-and-coming technologies and advances in the medical field predicted by the Cleveland clinic for 2018. Each year, the clinic convenes a panel of physicians and scientists — led by Roizen — to identify the next big things in medicine.

Here are some of the panel’s top picks for 2018, along with other medical innovations we can expect.

Gene therapy: This year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve a new gene therapy treatment that targets cells in the body through viral “vectors” to provide visual function in some patients with forms of retinitis pigmentosa and Leber Congenital amaurosis.

The advance marks the latest in a series of breakthoughs in gene therapy that have emerged in recent years, from new medications that target gene defects to diagnostic tests for heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Genetics are expected to be a major focus of medical research in the year ahead.

Immunotherapy for cancer: Several critical recent developments in using immunotherapy techniques that enlist the body’s own natural defenses to fight cancer are expected to make greater strides in 2018.

“Treatments are being developed using antibodies to disrupt the tumor’s shield, so that your own immune system can attack,” says Dr. Joanne Weidhaas, director, Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

“We are also working on treatments where we take cells out of your immune system, reengineer them and return them to fight the cancer.”

Hybrid insulin delivery system: Hailed as the first artificial pancreas, the hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system helps make Type 1 diabetes more manageable. It was approved by the FDA in 2016 and the market for the product is expected to be officially launched in 2018 as more patients demand the technology.

The new technology replaces the “open loop” system that requires diabetics to use the information from their continuous glucose monitor to determine how much insulin to inject. A chip allows direct communication between the glucose monitoring device and the insulin pump to ensure stabile blood glucose at an unprecedented level, says Roizen.

Wearable patch for apnea: Sleep apnea, the most common sleep disturbance in the country, impacts 21 million Americans and can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are the gold standard of treatment, it is estimated that almost half sleep apnea patient refuse to wear them.

Companies are now marketing an implant that delivers direct stimulation to open key airways during sleep. It is controlled by a wearable patch that works like a pacemaker and has had positive results in clinical testing.

“These neuromodulation systems are predicted to help deliver a better night’s sleep to more patients and spouses nationwide,” says Roizen.

Telemedicine: Roizen heralds the emergency of telemedicine technology as one of the greatest life-saving advances.

“Removing geographic barriers to health care can result in timelier, more efficient and more optimal outcomes as well as significant cost savings,” he says.

Telemedicine, also known as “distant health technology,” can enable care for both the physically challenged and those most vulnerable to infection. It’s predicted that over 7 million patients will use telemedicine technologies in 2018 — a 19-fold increase from 2013.

Pointer study for Alzheimer’s disease: The Alzheimer’s Association will launch a $20 million U.S. two-year clinical trial to test the ability of a multi-dimensional lifestyle intervention to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in2, 500 older adults at risk for cognitive decline.

This important study comes on the wake of the breakthrough Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in 2017 pinpointing the important of lifestyle changes in preventing and delaying Alzheimer’s disease.

Surgical advance: In 2018, the MasSpec pen will undergo clinical trials that may allow surgeons to analyze tissue during surgery to determine on-the-spot whether tissue is healthy or cancerous, increasing the success of such operations. (Click to Source)

Lindsey Graham to Americans: Your Country Belongs to the World

lindsay-graham-ap-640x480

America is not owned by Americans and their children but is instead held by people all over the globe, according to a statement from amnesty advocate Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“I’ve always believed that America is an idea [which is] not defined by its people but by its ideals,” Graham said in a press statement January 12 which sought to criticise President Donald Trump for describing some foreign countries as less pleasant than America, or as “shitholes.”

Graham continued:

The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe.  It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness.  In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American Ideals.

Graham was a founding member of the 2013 “Gang of Eight” pro-amnesty group and has frequently urged the importation of more cheap labor for his home-state companies.

His view of Americans’ homeland as the shared property of the world is shared by many other pro-immigration advocates. For example, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is working with Graham to push the amnesty bill, said in December:

America is a land of immigrants — it is who we are … that is why I have consistently supported humane and comprehensive immigration law reform, and it is why I am a proud co-sponsor of the DREAM Act.

In 2014, President Barack Obama voiced a similar claim, telling his audience that Americans do not have the right to exclude migrants:

Sometimes we get attached to our particular tribe, our particular race, our particular religion, and then we start treating other folks differently.

And that, sometimes, has been a bottleneck to how we think about immigration.  If you look at the history of immigration in this country, each successive wave, there have been periods where the folks who were already here suddenly say, well, I don’t want those folks.  Even though the only people who have the right to say that are some Native Americans.

Business elites also use the ideal of immigration to shake off the civic demands from their fellow citizens — and also to cut payroll costs, increase sales, grow profits and spike the value of real-estate.

On January 12, for example, shortly after Democrats leaked Trump’s description of some foreign countries as “shitholes” — Goldman Sachs’s CEO used Twitter to declare that Americans’ prime directive is acceptance of foreign immigrants.

The D.C.-based head of Mark Zuckerberg’s cheap-labor lobby, FWD.us, also insists that America is home to anyone who gets through the border.

In contrast, President Donald Trump won the 2016 election because voters shared his frequently expressed favoritism towards his own country and his fellow citizens. In his inauguration speech, Trump declared:

This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country. What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.

In his pro-immigration statement, Graham also argued that government-imposed civic variety — “diversity” — is an American ideal that is ensured by mass-immigration.

But numerous studies have shown that diversity increases civic conflict and reduces citizens’ ability or willingness to control their government and elites, such as their home-state Senators. According to a 2007 article describing a multi-year study by Harvard University about the impact of diversity:

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam — famous for “Bowling Alone,” his 2000 book on declining civic engagement — has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings …

Putnam writes that those in more diverse communities tend to “distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.”

“People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’ — that is, to pull in like a turtle,” Putnam writes.

Polls show that Trump’s American-first immigration policy is very popular. For example, a December poll of likely 2018 voters shows two-to-one voter support for Trump’s pro-American immigration policies, and a lopsided four-to-one opposition against the cheap-labor, mass-immigration, economic policy pushed by bipartisan establishment-backed D.C. interest-groups.

Business groups and Democrats tout the misleading, industry-funded “Nation of Immigrants” polls which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants, including the roughly 670,000 ‘DACA’ illegals and the roughly 3.25 million ‘dreamer’ illegals.

The alternative “priority or fairness” polls — plus the 2016 election — show that voters in the polling booth put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.

But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting 1 million new legal immigrants, by providing work-permits to roughly 3 million resident foreigners, and by doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration floods the market with foreign labor, spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

The cheap-labor policy has also reduced investment and job creation in many interior states because the coastal cities have a surplus of imported labor. For example, almost 27 percent of zip codes in Missouri had fewer jobs or businesses in 2015 than in 2000, according to a new report by the Economic Innovation Group. In Kansas, almost 29 percent of zip codes had fewer jobs and businesses in 2015 compared to 2000, which was a two-decade period of massive cheap-labor immigration.

Because of the successful cheap-labor strategy, wages for men have remained flat since 1973, and a large percentage of the nation’s annual income has shifted to investors and away from employees. (Click to Source)