Archive for the ‘ Drugs ’ Category

Benzodiazepines

Open Letter to Jerry Brown Part II:

Benzodiazepines Are The Most Dangerous

Prescribed Dangerous and the Most Dangerous Drugs Period

“Discharge prescription of benzodiazepine hypnotics should not exceed three days duration and preferably be avoided altogether.”

-Drug and Alcohol Resource Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000, Australia.

Hospitals like prisons are overcrowded today.  Many hospital admissions are due to prescribed medicines (as much as 20% according to some studies) just like many prisons are filled because of drugs which are basically self-prescribed medicines.  Wrongly prescribed benzodiazepines result in sickness, death, suicide, drug addiction and insanity.  They are easily the worst set of drugs in the medical pharmacopeia.  And hundreds of ER visits and hospital stays are do to their use.  Yet innocently patients gobble these drugs like candy on the advice of ill-informed medical doctors.  Governor Brown if you want to do something about drug usage and drug abuse start here.  Stop worrying about plants that grow in the garden.  Synthetic chemicals are far more dangerous.

In 2008 one study documents that over 112 million scripts were written for benzodiazepines in the United States.  Recently it was determined that 10 to 20 percent of all people in the Western world get one or more benzodiazepine scripts per year.  It is not clear if this includes the active military, the VA, and or possibly other sources for the drugs.  But at least enough scripts were and are written to boggle the mind.  This is despite the well-known facts that benzodiazepines are horribly addictive, unsuited for treatment of the mentally ill, emotionally unstable and/or those with substance abuse histories.  So that begs the question:  who are these drugs for?  Studies show that after only two weeks patients become addicted and can suffer serious withdrawal symptoms.  Other studies suggest the time period is four weeks or four months.  But there is no doubt that they are addicting and quite quickly create chemical dependency and cause after a short time the symptoms they are supposed to be treat.  Shockingly benzodiazepines along with alcohol cause death when patients stop using them  They are the only two drugs that do this.  Both act on GABA receptors in the brain and cause seizures when patients/addicts stop using them.  Seizures cause death.  Halcyon, triazolam, is believed to cause patients to experience withdrawal symptoms after one dose.  It is banned for that reason and others in many countries but of course not in the USA.  Anything that makes a profit is fine in this country.

Since not a lot of money is spent on looking for reasons why profitable drugs should not be sold, a complete understanding of the harmful effects of the over 3000 variations of the basic benzodiazepine molecule has yet to be achieved.  But it is simple for the non-scientist to understand when you realize that benzodiazepines act on the same receptors as alcohol.  If you observe people, you will note that the same people who unwind by taking a drink, love their Valium and Xanax.  That is because essentially you are getting the same kind of high.  Are these drugs really any more therapeutic than alcohol is?  They may have some limited therapeutic benefit for epilepsy and severe psychosis, but rarely are they prescribed for that purpose.  Most often the are prescribed for normal people who are not sick.  Doctors should not be allowed to prescribe medicines to people who are not sick.  There is no such thing as wellness drugs and really benzodiazepines are not unlike Soma, a drug to mollify an uneasy population.

In addition most dangerously, most if not all medical doctors are strangely unaware of the contra-indications of these drugs.

Medical literature abounds with unscientific claims about benzodiazepines.  They are “safe” and “non-addictive” with few side effects.  This is the general consensus of medical doctors who prescribe the drugs.  Yet scientists who study them have an entirely different conclusion.  Scientists rightly state that benzodiazepines should not be prescribed to anyone with a history of substance abuse, mental illness, or emotional instability.  So again who are they for?  Valium was given in buckets to the bored house wives of the seventies.  They were given to treat essentially a normal condition to normal people.  People who become frustrated with their lives experience anxiety.  That is not a treatable condition.  That is normal life.  Scientists also state that the therapeutic benefit (if any) benzodiazepine is short lived.  Alprazolam is marketed as being more effective for anxiety and panic disorder than a placebo after four weeks of use.  However, the marketing materials don’t say after eight weeks another test reveals their effectiveness is no different than a placebo.  Nonetheless people take these drugs for years.  If a more thorough study were done it might show a placebo is more effective in the long run.  But no one studies drugs to disappoint the people paying for the study.

Responsible medical doctors educate their patients.  They make it clear these drugs are for short term use only.  In France you won’t get a benzodiazepine for more than a couple weeks.  But here people take them for years.  That is what you should stop.  Forget about weeds or mushrooms, these plants have been used by humans for millenniums.  Our bodies can deal with them.  Benzodiazepines were discovered inadvertently in the 1950’s by a laboratory.  They are completely synthetic and our bodies don’t know how to react to them.  Some have half lives of over 250 hours.  This means they build up in the body and their effects get stronger as time goes on.  This make the very dangerous.

I strongly suggest for the safety of Californians and people in general you stop the “off-labeling” prescription of drugs by physicians.  This means simply that Doctors should only prescribe drugs for which there is a scientific proof of their use.  Currently drug companies can market their drugs as a cure for anything without proof.  They only have to convince Doctors to prescribe them.  By expanding the use of drugs through “off labeling” sales increase dramatically and so do profits.  Psychiatrists are the kings of “off labeling”.  While as much as 20 percent of all drugs prescribed have no science behind them, “off labeling”, psychiatrists give out nearly one third, 33 percent, of their prescriptions based on “personal experience” and intuition.  This is troubling because psychoactive drugs that cross the blood brain barrier are inherently the most dangerous.  They should be the least prescribed on a trial, personal feeling, intuition, discussion with salesman, anecdotes or experimental basis.  Yet they are the least regulated.  And there should be no wellness program that involves prescription drugs.  If you are not sick a doctor should not be prescribing medicine.  Treating normalcy with drugs is the sign of a sick society is it not?

Strikingly, their is no benefit to the mentally or emotionally ill patient by prescribing benzodiazepines that are contraindicated for their conditions by scientists who have researched this molecule.  Further that patient is harmed because they are not getting either the right drug for their problem or being given an opportunity through psychoanalysis or cognitive therapy to explore just what their problem really is.  All they are getting is a drug that has been most successfully marketed for their condition.  Benzodiazepines all effect the brain, spinal column and nervous system the same way.  The only difference is the speed at which they work, the length of time they stay in the body, strength of dosage and speed at which they become addicting.  In essence every benzodiazepine is like a different kind of liquor.  Some are like 4 shots of whisky and others are like a glass of wine.  Emphatically scientists state that using two or more benzodiazepines amplifies the effect of both and is inherently dangerous.  And this should not be done.  Yet millions of people take one benzodiazepine for sleeping, one for anxiety and one for panic attacks.  The panic attacks are inevitable when people are taking that high of doses of benzodiazepines.  If history showed that people are taking more than one benzodiazepine or have other contraindications for the drugs responsible doctors could place their patients in the hospital to get them off benzodiazepines.  Note again that death can result from stopping any benzodiazepine on your own.  I find it stunning that doctors totally ignore the scientific research on these drugs and prescribe them to people who use alcohol, the mentally ill, the emotionally unstable and commonly prescribe more than one benzodiazepine when it is clear that this is a contraindication in and of itself.

Benzodiazepines are essentially alcohol in pill form.  That is why so many people get addicted, have to go through withdrawal, and take them when they don’t need them.  Taking a benzodiazepines is like having a drink of wine, spirits or grain alcohol.

Please take steps to aid all Californians and protect them from the pharmaceutical industry.  The industry sells and persuades.  It does not cure.  I suggest to begin a California for All health care system, you place records of all patients on databases so doctors can access all medical records when needed.  This way they will stop prescribing benzodiazepines to people who are sick.  Scientists state clearly that these drugs are not to be given to anyone who is emotionally ill, addicted to any substance, currently using alcohol (which would be a large percentage of society), that have a history of using alcohol or substance abuse, mental instability and or a history of emotional problems.  If databases were available to all doctors to see all prescriptions and the history of a patient they would know quickly when these dangerous drugs should not be used.

Please read the chapter on benzodiazepines in the book “Concepts of Chemical Dependency” by Harold E. Doweiko.  This will give you a realistic view of benzodiazepines.

Thanks for your consideration.

The Folly of Modern Medicine’s Zealous Supporters

The Folly of Modern Medicine’s Zealous Supporters

 

Recently Thom Hartmann had a guest on who was selling his book about Faith Healers.  His premise was that they were threatening the lives of children.  Therefore the government should intervene and take the kids away from the parents.  Treat them “appropriately” and then return them to their parents either dead or healed.

 

On another day, 11/14/13, Thom had a caller who was all upset about herbal medicine and homeopathy.

 

Both of these gentleman have built their houses on sand not rock.  First, faith healing is part of religious culture.  It is an interesting argument about when and if the government (usually hated by the right wing) can do the ultimate crime (in their eyes) of taking custody of a well-meaning parent’s child.  That is something that stirs the passions of many people.  Abortion is a very similar issue so to speak.

 

The problems with the hysteria about faith healing are two fold.  First the number of deaths alleged to be a result of “failed” faith healings is in the hundreds per decade.  All though all life is precious in the scheme of things, not a large number.

 

Nonetheless, most rationale people find it hard to understand that if a cure or treatment for a disease might save a life, why not try it?

Well from the point of view of the religions that don’t take drugs, etc., often children and adults as well die from the medicines and surgical procedures.  They die from faulty diagnosis as well as bad treatment, side effects of drugs and overdose either intentional or not.  Kids die and become very ill from immunizations also.

 

What makes this philosophical debate so puzzling is the obvious fact that different people or children die in both these circumstances.  If your kid does not get the MMR vaccine chances are he will be fine.  The Chinese believe that childhood disease actually tests and strengthens the immune system.  Although supports of the drug industry and modern medicine love to point out how much longer people in first world countries live the reality is that in Afghanistan you see plenty of old people despite the harsh conditions.  The reality is once immunity is established to the childhood diseases, intestinal microbes and various viruses and bacteria that show up in different years, the adult is immune from most disease that come from contact or are air born.  So they live long and just as long as the people here.  It looks like they have shorter lives because on average many kids die young.

 

So by avoiding immunizations and various treatments a different set of children survive and prosper.  Some of the otherwise healthy kids would have died from reactions to the immunizations.  So there is your moral dilemma.

 

By immunizing and medicating children a different set survives than if you would have left them alone to fight off or die the bugs that infect them and disease that come from other causes.

 

Herbs, chiropractic, acupuncture and homeopathy are not amenable to double blind testing.  Therefore using the modern protocol to evaluate their effectiveness does not work.

 

Hence either you can “prescribe” the herbs based on many years of “folk” remedies, some science, or through other means like muscle testing or you can dismiss them altogether and say it is up to the Red Clover Lobby to prove Red Clover works so if they can’t then it does not work.  Of course there is no Red Clover Lobby.  It is a plant that grows almost anywhere.  Not patentable (until Monsanto changes the laws).  So no incentive to do research.  To sell more drugs Big Pharma can scream that herbs are unscientific.  It is hard to argue because until money is spent researching herbs, there is no research on them.

 

But at the same time Big Pharma has no problem promoting “off label” use of medicines which are totally unscientific.  The law is simple.  MDs can prescribe any drug for any cause.  They can prescribe based on information from salesman, personal experience, intuition, information from other Doctors, aka hearsay, and virtually any rationale to sell the drug you can think up.  But suggesting an herb that has a thousand year history of treating a certain condition is considered unscientific.

 

That is the ludicrous world we have created.  Psychiatrists, by the way, the one profession that should not mess aimlessly with peoples minds prescribes off label 30 percent of the time to 25% for the general MD population.  Think about that.

 

So if you are offended by faith healing and herbs take a hard look at what passes for science in the Medical world.  You might be surprised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Letter to Jerry Brown: Release the Prisoners Held for Using Drugs and Realize Alcohol Is The Most Dangerous Drug of All

The prisons are crowded because people are incarcerated for victimless crimes. Using an illegal drug is not a reason to put a person in jail Nor is selling an illegal drug a reason to put a person in jail.

When a person uses alcohol and drives a car he endangers all of society. DUI’s are the most dangerous drug addicted people in our society. Yet, their criminal activities are treated as though they are normal mistakes like spilling milk. Witness the ludicrous Aldon Smith situation with San Francisco’s football team.

Governor Brown, it is time you reclaimed your liberal hat and put down the “law’ ‘n order” persona that might win elections but does nothing for the betterment of mankind. Think of the enormous amount of money that could be saved by treating drugs and drug use in a responsible way. Clearly people have been using recreational drugs for a long time and they are not going to stop no matter how many laws are passed nor how many users and dealers are locked away.

Pennsylvania sold alcohol in state stores when I was a kid. This is a fine idea for several reasons and, not just for alcohol, but for all drugs. First, if the retail profits accrued to the people of the state, the glorification of drugs by the media would rapidly diminish. One reason of many that the NFL gladly glossed over Smith’s DUI is because of the large amount of alcohol advertising that seems to follow spectator sports. If there were no advertisements for beer maybe the response to Smith would have been more mature. He would have been banned from the league, fined and sent to rehabilitation.

Further if drugs are sold in state stores, then the only way to get wine, beer or hard alcohol late at night would be by going into a bar and drinking there. In a bar the proprietor would be able to determine whether or not the customer had already drunk too much. The police in turn would know where to check for drunk drivers.

Tobacco, cannabis and other drugs like cocaine and heroin could also be sold in state stores. Less widely used drugs might offered in fewer stores. Those that are inherently dangerous could be coupled with counseling.

But ending the illusion that the so called hard drugs are dangerous and alcohol is not would be reason enough in and of itself to take alcohol off the shelves of supermarkets and put in a controlled store where it belongs.

Safe, clean and pure drugs that were available until 6PM would limit the binge using at parties where kids make beer runs at 1AM and then drive home. It would save lives and make money for the state. Rehab programs that were free would easily be paid for by small taxes on the drugs. Eventually most drug addicted people see the need to stop. Why not finance their wellness with the taxes on drugs and alcohol instead of using money for prisons?

Imagine a world where you had to be 21 to go into a state store to buy alcohol. This alone would cut down on teen age drinking. Programs for people who inject drugs would cut down on serious blood born diseases. The availability of safe drugs in a safe environment would reduce the stigma of drug use and allow otherwise healthy individuals a chance to see that their drug use is no different, no worse than people who use alcohol or tobacco. The immediate enhancement in the self-esteem of the drug users might help them to enter rehab that much sooner.

The fiction that marijuana is a dangerous drug has been a source of wealth for the alcohol industry for years. In fact drunk driving goes down in states where medical marijuana is legal because many people use alcohol as a substitute for marijuana. Clearly the big loser in the movement towards legalization of other recreational drugs is the alcohol industry. The police for years have spent endless hours arresting people for drugs, planting drugs on those they want to arrest and in general feeding a prison system that is out of control. The sentencing of lower class crack cocaine users to lengthly jail sentences while ignoring the users of more expensive powdered cocaine proves that at least part of the war on drugs is class warfare.

As a concerned resident of California I suggest you pardon the thousands in jail for marijuana related crimes and other drug users and sellers. In addition I suggest you use the model from Pennsylvania to distribute recreational drugs in state stores. This will be both profitable and by not glamorizing drug use result in a reduced use of drugs.

In addition I suggest the “three strikes law” be examined carefully. To me it clearly violates the constitution of the United States as it is both cruel and unusual to sentence a person to life in prison for crimes that merit far lessor sentences if any at all.

If you do these things the California prison population will be substantially reduced and the quality of life improved for all but the prison unions, corrupt police and private prison industry. And I may reluctantly add, the politicians who feast on donations by the same.

At one time alcohol was banned in the United States. It was banned because it is a dangerous drug. It was made legal again because there is a huge demand for recreational drugs. Commonly promoted is the idea that the Prohibition Era was a great failure. But health both social and individual improved during that time. There were less divorces, less illness related to alcohol and less suicides.

There is huge difference between making recreational drugs and illegal and treating them as though they are harmless. A moderate road is the best one. In a free society recreational drugs should be sold by the state and taxed so that needed rehab is free and paid for by those who use the drugs. The free market approach to selling drugs at the cheapest prices and then forcing all society to pay the costs for rehab, sickness and accidents is plain stupid and intellectually indefensible. There is a huge gulf between the libertarian view of free access to any drug at “market” cost and the view that all drug use is a crime. The state should carefully regulate, sell and insure the quality of various recreational drugs. Time to use both sense and common sense and declare the war on drugs over. And finally it is time to acknowledge that alcohol is the most dangerous of all recreational drugs. Just because it is legal it does not change facts. No other drug causes fatalities through suicide, homicide and car “accidents” as much as alcohol. This is a danger to society in addition to being a danger to the health of the user that is well known.

So Governor Brown please govern like a liberal. Release the people who are in jail for victimless crimes, save the tax payers millions and do the right thing for the citizens of your state. If you want to be the “law’ ‘n order” governor then pass a law that requires DUIs to wear bracelets like sexual criminals. This would enable police to track their movements, see their cars weaving out of control and get them off the roads before they kill more innocent people.