Friday, June 15, 2012

Photo: Because people want things without the work ...

This is so true. (Sorry if the full image is not shown, but the idea is that we used to hold students responsible for their grades, but know we blame everyone, but the student.) With the way schools are currently set up we are teaching the kids how to take standardized test so the school can keep getting federal money and so the student do well on entrance exams. They don't actually teach them a curriculum especially math and science. Our kids are not learning actual information or critical thinking.  We are now being out done by countries that our own student don't even know exist because we don't teach things like geography because schools are too concerned with keeping their funding. The kids don't actually learn information and critical thinking skills that will make them better, more productive workers.
The test used to asses a schools performance have no consequences for the individual students taking them. They have no personal incentive to perform well. It doesn't matter to the student if they do poorly on these exams. The person directly affected is the teacher. The idea is that if student do well on their standardized test then that teacher is doing a good job. If a student has nothing to lose personally why would they care what happens to the teacher. We are placing blame for poor student performance on the teacher alone. Both student and teacher need a way to measure a teacher's performance that does not hinge on the results of a test that students don't care about. Then the schools cut every course and teacher they can. Kids end up in huge classes and have no exposure to the arts or physical education. Studies have repeatedly shown that kids that study music do better in school in all areas of study than their counter parts. We also have kids that are completely out of shape and increasingly obese. They are not taught how to live healthy lifestyles. The average kid spends up to 8 hours in front of a TV or computer screen. Student that maintain a healthy lifestyle also do better in school. A student that hasn't learned any knowledge or how to express their thoughts properly they will have a horrible time in college. Then they graduate and enter the job market without any independent thinking skills and are buried with debt. Then the cultural shift of parents that teach kids that others are responsible for their bad grades rather than teaching them that they have to work and think on their own in order to do well in life. We have parents that constantly tell their kids that they are perfect and are not responsible for their own education.
 I already know there are people that will say that I just want to see more federal money to go to schools. Not necessarily. What we need is to stop spending money and time on standardized test to measure the performance of public schools and divert that money to things that have demonstrated to result in better, well rounded students that have knowledge about a wide range of ideas and the skills to express them. They need to learn how to solve problems with a variety of knowledge in their mental toolbox. Employers value workers that are creative and can use seemingly unrelated knowledge to develop ideas and strategies and solve difficult problems for their employers. They also need to understand how to take responsibility for their ideas and work performance. This is one area where I agree with the conservative ideals of going back to the way things were. We used to be the leaders of the world in all areas of study. Now we are being dominated by tiny countries.  Perhaps we could follow students’ academic performance in college by reviewing the transcript of those that completed a college degree, and then also look at the academic performance in post graduate areas of study. I don’t think what the student ends up doing for a living and how much money they make. This would not work because large numbers of people end up working in fields that are seemingly unrelated to their careers. Many people are valued employees because they have a different academic background than their fellow employees because they bring new and creative solutions to problems. Also, things can happen in a person’s life that forces them to explore careers that they had never even considered in college.
 I speak from personal experience. I have a degree in psychology. It was about half way through college that I realized that a career of being stuck in some basement lab at a university doing studies and constantly being under pressure to publish as much as possible because the university expects to have their institutions thought of as a place where lots of studies get done. The truth is this leads to poorly executed studies that have gross flaws because they are rushed and put the scientist in a position where they must choose between doing the job right and yielding solid data and analysis or pleasing the university by having their institutions published as much as they can. Being a professor became an undesirable option. My other option was to become a therapist. I did consider this a great deal because my friends have always say that they enjoyed talking to me because I am a good listener and gave them ideas that they felt were good. I have always wanted to do something that helped others. The problem was financial and an issue of the amount of time and competition it would take to become a clinical psychologist. All therapists face the same obstacles, but I had my first attack of what would become chronic pancreatitis when I was a junior in school. Because this illness affects me on a daily basis with chronic, intense abdominal pain and nausea, I had to make changes in my diet and am required to take large amounts of medications, some of which have side-effects that sedate the patient and cause the patient difficulties in memory, speech, and appearance.  The effects of the disease cause unpredictable attacks of pancreatitis which result in several days to over a week of hospitalization plus bed rest at home.  Because of the physical demand that I know faced I knew that I would not be able to devote the amount of time and performance that a competitive doctoral program would demand. It turns out that the disease resulted in becoming disabled.
 If I had attempted a Ph. D. program I could have done very poorly or I would have to abandon the effort all together in order to treat my disability that consumes large, unpredictable absences from my obligations due to hospitalization, home rest, and numerous doctor visits. My doctors and I knew that this disease would continue to progress and never be cured. After college I took a job as a snowboard instructor as a way to make money while doing something I love before my health deteriorated further, rendering me unable to perform physical labor. Because my absences became more frequent and unpredictable my employer did not know what else to do other than drastically cutting my hours. It finally ended when I asked off for about a week because I had to have a procedure performed that would require days of recovery and I had to return to KY to attend my grandmother’s funeral. When I brought up the topic of when I could return to work my boss said for me to take leave for and undetermined time and to not return until I “Got better”. Because this disease is irreversible that meant that I would not be able to return at all. Since then I was forced out of work and lost my private health insurance. So, out of pure necessity I had to go on Social Security Disability. This left me out of work and the work I could get had to be able to accommodate my health care issues and to keep my income below $1000 a month or else I would become ineligible for SSI. If I did get a job that paid higher I would have to try to get private insurance which is next to impossible because I would have a “pre-existing condition” and unless I became a millionaire over night I would not be able to afford what insurance might be possible or to pay the huge amount of money my disability cost.
By this point you are wondering what this has to do with education. Well because I grew up in a time when students were taught actual facts and information. I know how to solve problems creatively because between music education and an understanding that it is up to me to figure things out for myself I developed the skills to adapt my knowledge and creativity into useful approaches to careers that are not in the field of psychology. I discovered that the knowledge I gained through my education made me a better employee at every job I have had, because I have a broad foundation of knowledge and skills to draw from. No test will demonstrate that. Especially since the tests did not affect my pursuit od higher education. Now that I am stricken with an illness that dramatically limits my opportunities I have had to use my education to figure out something I can do. While working as a snowboard instructor I had to teach student starting from the age of five to full grown adults. Because of psychology I understand the different ways children learn depends on where they are developmentally and intellectually. I knew that I had to be creative in my approach to teaching such a diverse mix of students. This was incredibly rewarding on a personal level. To have students tell you what a difference you made for them personally demonstrated that I have to ability to adapt my approach to a variety of problems through a solid base of information and critical thinking. Because of this experience I believe I would be an excellent “regular” teacher. I had consulted a vocational rehab counselor that was unable to think of any career that was flexible enough that I could continue to work despite my very demanding health concerns. It was me that realized that I could use my skills I developed in my life to become a teacher. I know I will never get rich, but I would be able to make a living and contribute to society. As a teacher I would have the luxury of substitute teachers that could cover my class if I am incapacitated by my disability. I would have access to health insurance. That is as long as the provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) that prevents insurance companies from denying me coverage for my pre-existing condition. While I explore how to make this happen I plan on applying to become a substitute teacher myself. This way I would not have to come in to work if I am in the hospital or severely ill. They would call the next person on the list. I could keep my monthly income low enough to maintain my SSI coverage and still make some money and feel as if I am providing a service to my community rather than feeling like and being perceived as a dead beat that is draining the system.
If I did not have the education and sense of responsibility that my pre-education reform provided me I would be stuck in a horrible position and no ability to change it. I have the knowledge and creativity to solve my problems rather than blaming my misfortune on my teachers and school. By training teachers to teach “to the test” rather than teaching knowledge and problem solving skills we are robbing out children and country as a whole to continue to slide down the scale of academic performance in relation to much smaller, poorer nations. We have the resources to fix this problem. We need to invest in proper education because it translates into economic success for generations to come.  Conservatives want to cut spending on education because we are getting poor results. That is all the more reason to redirect the way we spend money for education and to increase education spending if we were spending it on a system that got results. Perhaps if we changed the current situation of tax breaks, loop holes, and subsidies for those that can afford to do without them and to invest in the reform and increased quality of our educational system we could look forward to economic growth and greater opportunity for our children so that they can lead us to a brighter future. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Reply to a political Facebook post

Go to my Facebook profile and look for a discussion started by my friend Chris Hook. Here is what I wanted to reply, but before I knew it I had posted over 8000 character or word limit. Sorry about the small print.

Hey, Hook, you addressed Lentz but actually commented on most of what I said. I have plenty of questions and ideas, but it is way too long for FB because I start typing and I don't stop. I will post it on my blog and you guys can read it if you want. Okay, if raising taxes has never increased revenue ( I don't know the history I was just speaking from the point of view of what a normal person does with their money in similar situations. If you need more money you find ways to cut spending without sacrificing things you need And you find a way to increase your income) It doesn't seem to me that anyone in D.C. seems to think this way. If increasing taxes does not increase revenue then why did we have a budget surplus after Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton all raised taxes? The key reason CA and IL failed at increasing revenue through taxes is because they did not do the other essential part of the equation, cut unnecessary spending. Especially CA where they have voter initiatives that get on the state ballots for the public to vote on are always to increase something the people want. They want more government services, but don't want taxes. Who would? So, I don't think they are a good analogy of the federal government. Bills have to be introduced in congress not by the whim of the voters in a very liberal state. Your figure about what Bush achieved with the bailouts and TARP are probably (I don't have any reference material in front of me), but he did implication bailouts because the global economy was at stake, but now that Obama if holding onto that turd people keep saying stopping blaming Bush already. I do agree that Obama can't play that card anymore, but we can't just forget the underrepresented spending that Bush did because the GOP wants to make it all Obama's fault. They both had a hand in bailouts. While I understand that the choices the Administrations were faced with was global economic catastrophe unless they resorted to a "socialist" measures, if the Republicans during 2008 had stuck to their sacred religion of capitalism and allowing the "invisible hand" to come in and let those companies to collapse because they mis-ran their companies out of greed, the assumption that housing market was safe even though they were giving out loans to people they knew could not pay them then turning around and bet their own money that the housing bubble would burst and they cashed in while thousands of people that made poor decisions and were mislead by the banks that they were fine when internal documents knew they were selling shit that would fail and they could profit of of this. How were they "forced" into this practice? If Bush tried to stop this why didn't his Congressional party members support him? Why did they support him when he did start spending while cutting taxes? We all now know that Iraq was an unnecessary loss of American lives and treasure for reasons that continued to change as each explanation was discredited one after another. Is it good that Hussain is dead? Yes, but was it necessary at the time we were actually closing in on bin Laden who claimed responsibility for 9/11. Not a single Iraqi was involved, but we were all manipulated for reasons that no one can fully explain into starting an unprovoked war to this day. A vet friend of mine said he would have rather been told by his Commander-In- Chief this is all about oil and finishing what my daddy started. He would have followed his orders and even if he did not agree with them he would do his duty as a soldier and follow orders. Instead he and his brothers in arms had no idea what the hell they were doing there and seeing their friends killed or maimed by I.E.D.s. Meanwhile bin Laden spent over 5 year safe in Pakistan. Even if the recent comments by Obama on the anniversary of his death at the hands of the best special forces in the world might be seen by some as a effort to use it for political points, it doesn't change the fact the he took the intel gathered starting from before he took office to the day of the raid and made a difficult command decision and no one can take that away from him, his staff, Paneta, and SEAL team 6. To say he has been a complete failure is not true on at least this one presidential act. But, I am getting away from what you were saying. While the Prescription for the elderly bill helps thousands of seniors he did not HAVE to introduce and pass it without find some means of either spending cuts or taxes. He could have at least off-set the cost even if it was not full or substantial. This would at least demonstrate that he knew he couldn't pass bills without find some way to assist it's payment. We agree that Ryan's plan is not the right one and I agree increasing debt isn't the right path either. This goes back to my point that the parties are so polarized that in their philosophies that we can't balance the budget until they can meet in the middle where things actually get done. Having our credit down graded because the House GOP refused to accept anything from Obama because as they have famously said their number one goal is getting Obama out of office. Not job, not the economy, not healthcare, not infrastructure, nothing. When the GOP made demands and Obama gave them what they asked for and more then the House refused to accept a better deal than the one they had asked for in the first place was just shameful. They are so concerned with destroying Obama that they are willing to sacrifice the good of the country for political gains. The Dems fucked up by not attempting to balance the budget when they controlled the Congress and the White House, but where is the GOP's jobs bill? There is a lot of talk about bullshit (especially in the states) like contraception and destroying planned parenthood, but no talk of jobs. I loved a recent Jon Stewart (that is right I am an evil secular monster who takes orders from a comedian * sarcastic*) coverage of the GOP's bizarre math when it came to passing the Buffet rule. They argued that because it would only raise revenue of 3.4 BILLION dollars and that was such a small amount that it was insignificant and therefore not even voting for, but then they played clip after clip of Republicans saying that because planned parenthood cost $300, 000 (absolutely $o goes towards abortions) it was outrageously expensive and we simply couldn't afford it. So, don't bother taking in 3.4 BILLION dollars, but absolutely can't afford to provide millions of women health care services. HUH? We agreed that CEOs and fat cats of these banks and companies that fucked themselves in the ass, then took bailouts, and had the balls to give themselves bonus in a sense rewarding if not illegal, morally deplorable behavior then laying off thousand of worker because they can't afford to pay them. Maybe if those that fucked up got fired like any other working person that does a disastrous job and the people that did their jobs got promoted to those positions instead of fired maybe they might just change the way they do business. I never said anything about giving people money that don't deserve it. The people that take advantage of the system is incredibly small. This myth that there are roving hoards of welfare recipients living with plasma TV is just that a myth. The vast majority of unemployed people want to work, but either can not find a job or they are OVER qualified for certain jobs. Personally want nothing more than to find a job that can be accommodating my disability, but the case worker at career/ employment rehab told me point blank she could not think of any job that would be willing to accept the fact that Some days I am too sick to get out of bed, or if I do get to work my performance is poor due to health. For example if my blood glucose drops I risk going into shock and can lose my vision and ability to think clearly unless I drop everything and get sugar in my body as fast as possible. I have unpredictable episodes that require me to be hospitalized for days. No manager wants to deal with someone that might no show up without any notice because they are trying to be treated at the hospital. (I just got out of a 72 hour stay in the hospital today where I am treated for sever abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and malnutrition were I have to live off an IV saline drip because I am not allowed to eat or drink ANYTHING including H2O or oral medication. All the last few jobs I had could not flat out fire me for being unpredictable so they just cut my shifts until I was unable to pay my bills and forced to quit. MY doctor had to force me on disability and that is the case for the majority of those that get federal aid. I haven't bought any electronics, non-goodwill or Plato's closet cloths for myself since I lived in VT when I was making decent money. What I do have are gifts from my family. Without Christmas gifts like a ancient PC and internet access I would be further isolated from society. When you live off less than $800 a month in SSI (which is based on what I paid into when I worked, so I am think I am entitled to get what i paid) it is infuriating to hear people call people on disability or other forms of government assistance. The misconception that someone purposely falls and claims disability are out there, but they don't just give out disability to everyone. I was accepted straight away because of the severity and rareness of my illness. Everyone else is automatically denied the first time they file and usually several more time and have to find a lawyer (with what money I don't know) and go through a lengthy appeals process and then MIGHT get whatever they are entitled to based on work history and living expensive and dependents. If you don't have a car, a phone, or internet access how many well paying jobs do you think these (well-to-do poor) can get or their chances of getting a loan or grant for further education and retraining? I get furious when people paint us with the broad stroke of all being deadbeats and frauds. Then when I explain what life down here is like everyone if like "Well, you actually need it,". Well so do thousands of others. Why do the poor have to be extreamly poor and homeless to deserve to benefit from the government, but a hedge fund manager has to be wealthier to get more government aid (tax cuts, loop holes, etc.)?
See what insomnia can do for a ranter like me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Increase Awareness of the Need for better Mental Health Care

We need to pay more attention to mental health in this country. About half of the homeless suffer from one or more untreated, serious mental illnesses. Mentally ill people that for many reasons don't get the proper treatment they will self-medicate with drugs and alcoholics. I came to realized when I stopped drinking regularly that I was actually using it as a way to combat my depression and previous to 2005-06 mostly to cope with generalized anxiety disorder with reoccurring panic attacks. After being diagnosed and treated my drink significantly reduced to the point that I don't feel the need to drink like I used to. Even though most of you know me as an open and friendly guy, I get anxiety from being in large crowds of strangers and have been compelled to drink. I still enjoy beer occasionally and I have done unintended drinking to much sometimes because I still get that social anxiety. I know it is bad for me and people ask, "Even if you only drink social ( in never drink at home or really anywhere, but bars and parties) you know it is especially bad for you to drink why do you do it," Because mental illness can over ride your higher cognitive functions and your impulses kick in and your logically thinking gets overshadowed and halted because of the serious mental illness. I am luck I see a psychologist and take medications that have helped tremendously, but most either don't have access or money for mental health care while other still feel the stigma that the public puts people with mental illness are weak and just need to have more will power. If that worked we would not have all the problems in out society as a result of not receiving or being over-treated mental problems. Share this post, please and don't just pray for the mentally ill, which most family has someone close effected by it, but see what you can do to improve your mental health and helping those you care about with theirs. Thank you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

do not harm patients with over reach from new bills

There was an article in the Herald-Leader about a week ago which I actually mostly agreed with. The op-ed stated that the Kentucky state legislature must be sure not to over-reach with new bills aimed at battling the plague of prescription pill abuse in KY and make life for illegitimate patients that receive prescription painkillers and other controlled substances that are the favorite of those that abuse these medications. Two bills sought to make the use of Kentucky's prescription tracking program, KASPAR, mandatory for all doctors that prescribe medications that are deemed controlled substances. This includes not only opiate based or synthetic pain medication, but anti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax and Valium, and medications that contain stimulants, like ADHD medications, Aderal and Ritalin. While this state does have a prescription drug abuse problem we can not throw real patients that are suffering everyday from illness that require these medications under the bus in the name of stopping people from getting high. The current restrictions already placed on these medication cause great difficulty for actual patients that need them. When KASPAR was introduced years ago it did some good, but as I say "Junkies will always find a way,". People started going to states that had weak laws regulating prescriptions, primarily where "pill mills" sprung up all over the state to meet the demand of people from out of state seeking Oxycontin, morphine, Xanax, etc. At one point some counties in Florida had more "pill mills" that McDonald's. It has only been recently that Florida cracked down on these quack doctors and their shady operations. While this has helped stem the flow of illegal pills getting into our state it hasn't got to the roots of the problem. We need to battle addiction with rehab not prison time. Junkies can get whatever drug they want in prison and many share needles which has resulted in enormous rises in AIDS, Hepatitis, and many other incurable diseases. It cost less to pay for 90 days of rehab and AA and NA are free, but it cost a fortune to keep someone in jail for years, where they have access to AA, but are surrounded by narcotics. These people are suffering from the disease of addiction, but are not receiving the detox, rehabilitation, and subsequent support that it takes to get someone off of drugs. Many addicts come out of prison worse than they were before they went in and we are flushing our taxes down the toilet by putting people that are charged with possession and/ or trafficking charges. You can be charged with trafficking for just one pill. Most of these people are not the drug dealing stereotypes that they are made out to be. The people that are the real big money making type are not junkies that sell small amounts to pay for their own addiction. I am all for punishing the people that profit of the suffering of others, but if it can be demonstrated that a person caught selling small quantities of pills are doing so to pay for their own addiction then we need to focus on ending the addiction and the dealing will end on its own. Most of these people stopped getting "high" long ago and are only continuing to use addictive pills to avoid suffering the ravages of narcotic withdraw. I know first hand what this nightmare is like due to the strict laws that limit my access to medications that are needed to cope with my daily, chronic pain. Another result of these laws has been a rise in heroin use in KY. Now that the prescription pills are harder to get the cost on the street of them has dramatically increase and so has crimes, such as, pharmacy robberies and violent crimes committed by addicts that are increasingly desperate. If we had greater access to rehab as opposed to lengthy prison sentences many addicts would take the opportunity to get clean and rid themselves of the hell that is opiate addiction and the hell of withdraw that drives them to cheat, lie, and steal from anyone including family and friends. I have had doctors move away or retire and I have been discharged for violating the finely tuned contracts that most doctors that prescribe pain medicine require their patients to sign. These contract put all of the burden on the patient and have conditions that require you to take the medication exactly as prescribed regardless of the circumstances. I was discharge by a doctor because I was feeling good enough that I did not feel I need to take my pain medication, but after my mandatory urine test showed I did not have Oxycontin in my system the doctor said that because the prescription says to take the medication everyday even if I don't feel that I need them at that time the assumption by the doctors and any law enforcement entity that might be reviewing that practices patient record is that you are not taking your medication because you have sold them or have taken more than prescribed and are out of them. I was kicked out of the practice and now have a major red flag on my record that prevented me from finding a new doctor willing to prescribe my medication. This incident and others have caused me to have to go "cold turkey" off of these painkillers. The withdraw consist of nausea, vomiting, loss of apatite, dehydration, insomnia, nightmares when you do sleep, which is usually only because your body and mind are so sleep deprived that you just crash. You will suffer from cold-sweats, swinging between hot and cold flashes, violent and uncontrollable nervous and muscular spasms. Then factor in that I have chronic pain daily, so without the medication you end up suffering from what is call hyper-analgesia. This means that as a result of taking these medications for a long period of time that you actually will become hyper-sensitive to your pain. The whole ordeal lasts for a week or more and if you already have sever health problems the withdraw will make it so that you wish you would just die. The risk of death is actually very real for the anti-depressant/ anti-anxiety medications known as benzodiazipines if they go cold turkey off of them. The withdraw is terrible as well and can result in death. Most responsible doctors that are writing these medications, but take a patient off of them out of fear that they might be abusing or selling there prescription will write another medication to prevent these potentially deadly results, but not all are so understanding. Now people that abuse these medications and end up suffering withdraw don't get much sympathy from me, but with the laws being as they are and the presumption that you are guilty of abuse despite absence of real evidence forces doctor to deny real patient the medications they require. These are just a few of the major problems with the current measures used in KY to stop prescription abuse. I am posting my original letter to the editor here to let you see what I told the paper, but also to raise awareness of the very real problem of honest patients that are made to suffer at the hands of the abusers and the laws that are aimed at stopping them. Real patients suffering from illnesses requiring these medications and good, honest doctors are made to suffer by the over-reaching, one-size-fits-all laws. I hope you will read it and consider that someday you or someone you love will have to take these medications, but are forced to fight against a system that wants to make it as hard as possible for doctors and patients to use such medications because some people are abusing them. We must allow doctors to treat each patient individually on a case by case basis. Legislators and law enforcement have not business telling good doctors what is appropriate treatment of patients. WE don't have to allow people with not medical training to be the ones that determine how a patient should be treated. Doctors already have boards of other doctors that review the treatments of doctors under their watch. This system of peer review of individual doctors and patients is far safer for patients than letting the DEA or Attorney General to review these cases and make health care decisions, which was a provision bill supporters sought, but fortunately had to remove from the bills. Here is my letter and I appreciate you taking the time to read this lengthy post, but it is a subject that directly affects me and probably someone you know. With the "Baby Boom" generation are now elderly and half of them suffer from some chronic illness and a large percentage of those patients have to cope with some level of chronic pain. Should your grandma have to suffer because lawmakers are over-reaching in order from preventing people that choose to abuse prescription pills. Here is the original letter:

"I was encouraged to see a doctor make the point that while we should try to combat the serious problem Kentucky has with prescription pill abuse, we must not compromise the ability of doctors and patients that suffer from legitimate, physical pain. Chronic pain is debilitating and can destroy a persons life. People are suffering to the point that they can not work, socialize, exercise, and in some cases just eating causes unbearable pain. We must not over reach in the effort to curb diversion of prescription pills, primarily pain medication. Kentucky and most Appalachian states, unfortunately are plagued with pill abuse. However, in the effort to combat this problem many patients that rely on their legal pain medication just to function are finding it increasingly difficult to find doctors willing to prescribe these medications because of fear that a patient might lie or deceive them and wile acting in good faith the patient ends up caught selling their prescriptions. The way the laws are now the doctor can be prosecuted and lose their license for the actions of the patient that lied to them. Kentucky doctors are turning away patients that they know have a real cause of pain and need relief because of the chance that one might trick them. I acknowledge that there have been quack doctors that are glorified dope dealers, but since the implication of some good legislation, like KASPAR, have mostly been rooted out. This resulted in abusers going to the infamous "pill mills" in Florida, that have just recently been dealt with. An addict will always find a way to get their fix to avoid the nightmarish experience of opiate withdraw. For these people they stopped getting "high" a long time ago. They continue to use despite a true desire to get clean because the withdraw is so horrible. They need treatment not jail if they ever hope to live a productive, happy life. But, in the effort to deal with abuse many real pain sufferers have had to go through the ravages of withdraw on top of their very real pain because they can not get the proper treatment legally because the laws make getting the help they need unnecessarily difficult.

While I think KASPAR is a start, it needs some major improvements. It does allow doctors to see if a patient has gotten meds from another doctor. We don't want people to doctor shop, but because so many doctors are refusing to write these prescriptions regardless of the patient there are now patients that in fact have to seek out a doctor that will. So, in effect they are forced to doctor shop, but not for the wrong reasons. KASPAR tells a doctor and law enforcement who you are, what medication you receive, the dosing instructions, when, and who wrote the prescription, but it does not give any context as to why a patient might have changes in dosing or changes in doctors. In my case I suffer from pain every single day due to chronic pancreatitis, one of the most painful and difficult to treat diseases one can have. I know people that have had cancer and had at least one acute attack or pancreatitis and they say the pancreatitis was worse than anything the cancer caused. When I have an attack my pain level can more than double, requiring me to ask for an increase in my dose during those attacks. Because the law does not provide that information it appears that I am drug seeking for illicit reasons. Patients pain levels can fluctuate, but KASPAR does not reflect that. It also doesn't inform users in the event patient that receives medication from a regular, primary doctor, but has to be hospitalized because of their illness and they are sent home with a short term increase in dosage by the doctor on duty at the time the patient is discharged. I have been hospitalized well over 100 times in the last 12 years and I have run into this problem first hand. KASPAR only shows that I received a prescription from the hospital or ER doctor, but not why a different doctor has changed my dose temporarily.

Another issue that is not reflected in KASPAR is the possibility that your doctor that writes your medication retires or moves away. You are then required to find a new doctor to take over, but by doing so it can appear as if a patient is doctor shopping just to score drugs, when that is not the case. Now most doctors use contracts with patients that receive narcotic medications that state that the patient will only receive those medications from one doctor and can not receive any other prescriptions including from emergency room or hospital doctors. The contract also can stipulate that a patient must submit to urine and / or blood tests to ensure they are not taking any illegal drugs and to ensure that they have the medication they are prescribed in their system. If a patient does not have the proper medication in their system the assumption is that they sold it or took more than prescribed and have run out. Doctors have to be so strict that even if you are feeling better and choose not to take your pain medication, but the prescription instructs that the medication be taken daily, you can be discharged for violating your contract. So, basically you get kicked out of that practice and have a red flag on your KASPAR report for NOT taking medication if you are not in pain for any period of time. These test are intrusive and invade our privacy. They can be especially problematic for many cancer and other patients like myself that have a surgical implant that provides IV access because of the countless IVs and blood tests. The accumulation of over a decade of having doctors and nurses stick me with needles has destroyed most of my veins and they can no longer be accessed so the doctor has to have the specific equipment and a specifically trained nurse to access my medi-port. So if they do not have those required things then they have to attempt to draw blood from damaged veins that sometime will not draw blood. I am often subjected to suffer through as many as five or more attempts to access a viable vein. This is painful, intrusive, and would not be necessarily if the doctors were allowed to practice patient specific testing and treatment. Instead they have to ad hear to one-size-fits-all dosing, intrusive testing. This is impractical and in a sense cruel, but the fear of the mere chance a patient might be getting more than they need or are selling those prescriptions prevents real patients from getting the care that doctors would normally provide if they were not constrained by laws made by legislators, instead of medical professionals.

As for dealing with those that are addicted the answer is not jail time. Prisoners have access to any drug they want, no matter how hard the prisons try to prevent drugs being smuggled in. The first step to addressing an addict arrested with a personal supply is to sentence them to legally mandated rehab. It is far cheaper to pay for 90 days of rehab and the chance for an person to free themselves from the bondage of addiction and be able to go on to lead a sober and full life than it is to lock them up for several years where they receive little to no treatment and have access to prison yard fixes. They often get out worse of than they were before incarceration. Keep in mind this is for people that demonstrate that they are addicts and if they do sell it is only to pay for the addiction. Those that prey on these people and sell large amounts of narcotics are a menace and deserve punishment. We have to approach the problem of addiction with proper education, prevention and treatment of addiction as opposed to just throwing non-violent people that are suffering from a disease in prison with murders and rapist. I was glad to hear that the Governor is increase areas of the state budget aimed at prevention and treatment as opposed to packing over populated prisons at the tax payers expense. We have to focus on prescription abuse, but we do not have to have legitimate chronic pain suffers and good doctors persecuted and prevented from giving and receiving proper medical treatment in the name of preventing a minority of people from abusing these medications that are vital to the functioning and well-being of others."

Thank you for your time and if you are concerned about this issue write your own letters to the editor and especially your representative in Frankfort. Take care.

Friday, March 23, 2012

my reply from a Facebook post

Someone on FB was talking about Whitney Huston. It was some crude joke about her tragic death and her cocaine abuse. One person mistakenly thought that that was part of her death and another person posted that she drowned in the tub, but did not mention why. She drowned because she overdosed on sleeping pills and possibly benzodiazapines like xanax. Prescription abuse is the fasting growing cause of overdoses and death. Because of that states that have major problems like KY are making stricter and stricter regulations on doctors and patients in a misguided effort to stop it. Because of these laws patients that have illegitimate, chronic pain have to jump through flaming hoops to get treatment for real pain. The doctors are all terrified because they can lose their licenses and even be arrested if a patient is caught buying or selling their prescription. This doesn't get the people that are actually abusing the drugs because they just go to quack docs in other states of through sources that originate with cartels and gangs, no doctors involved. Also as these addicts find it harder to get pills they will just switch to far more dangerous heroin. Meanwhile real patients and good doctors are struggling to give and receive the medically appropriate treatments that places that do not have abuse problems and over-reaching legislatures. There are currently 2 bills in the KY congress that will make this problem worse. If you know someone that is suffering because of these ill created laws (like me and my doctors and God forbid, maybe you someday) then contact your rep in Frankfort and let them know to oppose HB 4 and SB 2. Thanks

JOBS!!! You idiot politicians.

Someone posted something on Facebook siting surveys that show significant growth among voters of every kind that believe that politicians, especially the GOP are too focused on the moral and social issues of the day rather than the economy. I shared it and then blogged this because it tells about politics and how the GOP (the other party does it too, just not as much) uses religious language and espouse religious views and positions to cater so a small population. The majority of voters of all kinds, Democrats, Independents, as well as, Republicans are more concerned with the jobs and trying to get by in this economy. The politicians need to do themselves and the rest of us a favor and stop focusing on divisive religious issues and talk about jobs. Why do you think Congress's approval rate is in single digits. Of course voters have opinions on social issues, but they need jobs worse. Politicians need to stop talking religion and their positions on birth control of all things and get America working again. Neither party has done anything to help the country because because they constantly thwart any legislation bu the opposite party. How do we expect Congress to do anything, when the GOP has said it is there primary goal to defeat Obama in 2012 even if it has negative consequences for everyone. They think they can point to the problems this creates and blame Obama and tell everyone that his policies have failed and that the Republicans are the only ones that can fix it. How do they know Democratic policies have been harmful when they vote against and filibuster everything the Dems propose, just to make Obama look bad and get their guy elected, the rest of the country be damned. Americans are not stupid. We know when politicians are trying to distract us with wedge issues like abortion, gay marriage, immigration, and many other religiously based moral positions. We want the government out of our religions, but there is a very vocal minority that believe their religion is the right one and that their ideals should be the ones that govern everyone in America. Most Americans know that it is unconstitutional for religion to be used to make laws that affect all Americans. Sometimes even people that claim the same religious affiliations disagree completely about different issues. The drafters of the Constitution made separation of church and state part of the First Amendment for a reason. Government needs to stay away from religion and religion needs to stay away from government.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I don't seem to be good with computers

Hey there! I thought I had redesigned the layout and look of this page, but I guess I screwed it up. Sorry. I know I haven't posted anything ground breaking lately but, I will do some blogging on some upcoming shows here in town. I am looking forward to going to see my good friends play at buster's with the talented Mr. Shooter Jennings on April 4th I believe. Then unless I am mistaken the CD release party for Those Crosstown Rivals new album, "Kentucky Gentlemen" is at Buster's on the 6th. They will be selling there CD, as well as, giving out limited edition, multi-color LPs at the show. I will be sure to do a right up on both. Also, I will defiantly be writing about my trip to Riverbend to see the incomparable greatness of Radiohead on June 5th. In the meantime I'm sure there will be something on the news or someones Facebook post that gets me riled up and I will have to voice my opinion. For what its worth. I promised my Facebook friend I would stop writing long-winded post on there and direct them here instead. I know there is a way to just post the link from Facebook straight here without typing it in every time, but like I have said, I don't quite have the ins and outs learned for this blog stuff. Until then, hope y'all are doing well and thanks for checking out the Poagulation Nation. Later