#1 in Drug Use, Millions of Americans Make Declaration of Dependence

Headline: Americans are world’s top drug users: study “Americans are the world’s top consumers of cannabis and cocaine despite punitive US drug laws…”

We also rank pretty high (or low, depending upon your perspective) in pharmaceutical drug use. Why on earth would a free people need to “escape” via the chemical manipulation of their biology? That’s a bugger of a question because it might force us to take a mirror to what we believe our country to be.

When government stays within its constitutional limitations, the people are free to reach their full potential. However, when government usurps the sovereignty of the people, even if the people beg to be cared for, their “full potential” gets redefined and limited at the whims of the bureaucratic oligarchy. Americans take more drugs than any other nation despite the trillion dollar war on drugs waged against them. You would think that at some point it would become obvious that war declarations, much less police-state operations against mind-altering substances, are futile. But perhaps futility is the point.

When you feel powerless in any relationship, you may become despondent and thus a bit self-destructive. Whether it be voting within a two-party system, a war on cancer, poverty, AIDS, drugs or terror — we have been “gifted” with Hegelian dialectics without end. Is our end in sight? Man, in his arrogance, thinks that he can destroy Creation itself, since he is full with the illusion that smallpox and polio were eliminated by his scratch and sugar cube. However, disease, like poverty can never totally be eradicated, because you can’t eradicate a state of consciousness. It has to be won everyday, first, by what you believe, and then by what you do based on those beliefs.

While healing an individual may be organic “cake”; eradicating disease in TOTALITY for the masses is tantamount to the medicalization of all life according to Marx and Engels. Sure, it may sound good to those hopelessly naive, but it stands four-square “in the way” of the freedom of the individual. Collectivists don’t mind doing that, but the republic, for which it has stood for over two centuries, used to laugh and pity those who did not understand the value of individual liberty. Now much of what is left of a free republic appears ready to eschew liberty for (false) security because of externalized threats.

Despite my avowed mission as a healer, I am not “for” eradication of disease. In fact, healing is not necessarily the cessation of an allopathic diagnosed ailment. My “medical” suffering has taught me invaluable lessons which I could not learn in any other way. Why would I want to take away anyone else’s opportunity to learn the things that I have — or greater? This utopian concept of disease eradication is hopelessly collectivist and rooted in an immaturity of spiritual, much less biological understanding.

While I am “all for” the freedom to eradicate disease in any way you see fit, it is always to be applied on an individual basis, not based upon some animalistic concept called “herd” immunity. When thousands of people are sick, you are not sick because they are. The conditions for illness are created from within. Even when you accept “reality” placed upon you from an external source, it is an internal agreement that allows the veil of illusion to shield your eyes from the truth.

The “human condition” is to EXPERIENCE all of life so that we know what it is like to walk in another’s moccasins. It used to be that Americans valued liberty above all else. Now it seems that the majority of those who are politically active (at least those covered by the MSM) favor socialism, communism or fascism. Under a constitutional republic (not a majority-rule democracy), the rights of the smallest minority are protected against the knee-jerk fear and emotionalism contained within the historically and presently ignorant, government-loving mob.

While each individual chooses to take drugs for different reasons, I am certain that a culture that embraces liberty to its fullest extent will have far fewer chemical-dependents. The culture in which the people depend upon government to dole out a little liberty here and there is the one filled with drug addicts, both legal and illegal. Why wouldn’t it be that way — isn’t forced dependence depressing?

The path of liberty is the only path that leads to independence. Yes, that means you are at liberty to screw up and get sick along the way, but how else can you learn of the right path if you don’t know what it is like to be on the wrong one? Maybe Americans are craving the path of dependence so that they will appreciate the path of individual liberty once again, as much as they crave oxygen while drowning. I only hope that we come up for air in time.

Perhaps you would like some liberty infused oxygen in your media? Why not give Break the Matrix a try?

Robert Scott Bell is a Homeopathic Practitioner and nationally syndicated talk show host on Talk Radio Network. To read more of his articles, listen to his podcast and more, go to http://robertscottbell.blogspot.com

Fertility Drugs And Birth Defects – The Tragedy Of A Useless Package Insert

If you can’t trust the FDA, then who can you trust? After all, it’s part of the Federal Government and the designated watchdog to protect the consuming public from dangerous and ineffective drugs. It also sits in a position of impartiality, is loaded to the gills with expertise, and even has unlimited access to some of the foremost experts in the country, if not the world. Thus, when the FDA puts its stamp of approval on the language of the product labeling that accompanies a drug, it is something that every prescribing doctor can rely upon.

Or can they?

The official language for a drug is contained within a document referred to as a package insert. It accompanies the package of pharmaceutical products that are delivered to your local pharmacy, and contains everything a prescribing physician would want to know about a drug, including its chemical composition, pharmacology (how it works), indications (what it is intended to treat), contraindications (when it shouldn’t be given), warnings, precautions, adverse reactions (side effects) and dosage. Although it is printed by the manufacturer of the drug, by law its language must be first approved by the FDA. Most prescribing physicians rely upon what is stated about a drug within the package insert, or by referring to the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR), an annual publication which incorporates the same approved language contained within the insert.

Consider that on November 30, 1983, the FDA approved an updated draft of the package insert for Clomid (clomiphene citrate), one of the most popular fertility drugs in the world. On that date it requested the manufacturer (Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) to prepare final print labeling that included the following new warnings, which it had earlier required:

· “Some Clomid and/or its metabolites…may, therefore, remain in the body during early pregnancy in every woman who conceives in the menstrual cycle of Clomid treatment.”

· “The physician should counsel the patient with special regard to the following potential adverse reactions that may be encountered. …Pregnancy Wastage and Birth Anomalies.”

· “Among the birth anomalies spontaneously reported as individual cases since commercial availability of Clomid, the proportion of neural tube defects has been high among pregnancies associated with ovulation induced by Clomid….”

· “Population-based reports have been published on possible elevation of risk of Down’s Syndrome in ovulation induction cases and of increase in trisomy defects among spontaneously aborted fetuses from subfertile women receiving ovulation inducing drugs (no women with Clomid alone and without additional inducing drug).”

The FDA had also requested deletion of the following statement, previously included in earlier editions of the package insert: “No causative evidence of a deleterious effect of Clomid therapy on the human fetus has been seen….”

The FDA was justified in ordering these changes because: (a) Clomid has a long half-life (5 days), and studies had shown that the drug and/or its metabolites had been found in feces as long as 6 weeks after it had been ingested; (b) case reports of birth defects voluntarily submitted to the FDA by the medical profession revealed that about 25% of all reported cases involved neural tube defects (spina bifida and anencephaly); and (c) published studies had shown an increased risk in Down syndrome and abnormal chromosomes in spontaneous abortions following the use of fertility drugs, including Clomid. Such studies also represented “causative evidence of a deleterious effect of Clomid therapy on the human fetus.”

On March 5, 1987, the FDA wanted the drug company to add a further warning:

· “Clomid is contraindicated in pregnant women. Clomid may cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. Since there is a reasonable likelihood of the patient becoming pregnant while receiving Clomid, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.”

Yet to this very day, none of these justified warnings have ever been included in the Clomid package insert. And the above statement that was requested to be deleted was never removed until 1995, when it was replaced with: “No causative evidence of a deleterious effect of Clomid therapy on the human fetus has been established….” The change is an apparent acknowledgement that such evidence had by then been “seen,” but had not reached the level of establishing a causal relationship.

But it gets worse.

The current Clomid package insert represents to every prescribing doctor:

· “The overall incidence of reported birth anomalies from pregnancies associated with maternal CLOMID ingestion during the investigational studies was within the range of that reported in published references for the general population.”

So, what is wrong with this statement? The pre-market investigational studies referred to were never designed to assess the risk of birth defects. This acknowledgement has been made under oath by the drug company’s employee who oversaw the studies. In other words, no one knows how many birth defects occurred during these studies. This is due in part because the vast majority of the clinical investigators were fertility specialists who did not deliver any of the babies. After conception was achieved, the pregnancies were delivered in other clinics by doctors who had no obligation to report the outcome. There is also evidence that some documented birth defects and spontaneous abortions from the investigational studies were not reported by the drug company to the FDA. These, and many other deficiencies, have been reported to the FDA on several occasions, including as early as July 1975.

The tragedy is that every physician who relies upon the Clomid package insert before prescribing the drug is being deceived into believing that there is absolutely no risk of the drug causing birth defects – and that every Clomid patient is being similarly deceived and denied the right to make a true informed choice. Whether or not a woman might choose to roll the dice and encounter the risk, she has every right to know what that risk is; not only what the percentages are, but the type of birth defects she might be faced with should the dice come up “snake eyes.”

But what if there was a means to substantially reduce or even eliminate that risk? What if it involved nothing more than taking a small dietary supplement during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy? Being denied such an opportunity would be the greatest tragedy of all, especially if the Clomid mother came home with a malformed baby in her arms.

The above documented facts are just a small sample of the wealth of information available on my website and in my book, THE PRICE OF OVULATION: the Truth about Fertility Drugs and Birth Defects – and a Solution to the Problem. The “solution” is explored in depth in the book, including all of the scientific studies which back up the conclusion, and which can potentially save tens of thousands of babies from severe and catastrophic congenital anomalies – even those occurring in natural pregnancies.

Terence Mix is a trial attorney who spent over 2 1/2 decades successfully litigating fertility drug cases on behalf of malformed babies. He is a former president of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association and spent 12 years on the Board of Governors of California Trial Lawyers Association. He is a legal author and lecturer on trial techniques and strategies, including the trial of drug product cases, which was his specialty for over 30 years. He is a former biographee in Who’s Who in California (1983) and Who’s Who in American Law (1985). He has recently completed a nonfiction book: “THE PRICE OF OVULATION: The Truth about Fertility Drugs and Birth Defects – and a Solution to the Problem.” During the course of researching the book, he has reviewed in excess of 1000 scientific papers on the subject. He has also testified in front of the FDA on the topic of fertility drugs and birth defects. http://www.terencemix.com

The War on Drugs

The “War on Drugs” is a term that having worked as a Texas peace officer but also being much more liberal and open-minded than most officers has really troubled me. And, after seeing the astounding report that almost 1% of the entire United States population is currently in jail or prison caused this me to really want to speak out and voice his opinion on this. By no means do I expect that my point of view is novel or that I am really offering any information than that published before me; however, I am hopeful that as more people read and get informed, they will push their legislators for change, or at a minimum develop a greater sense of tolerance and understanding and stop spending billions of dollars on this unwinnable “war” and that they will start remembering their rights when encountering the police and using those rights to protect themselves by just saying “No” to police requests to search!

The War on Drugs refers to governmental programs intended to suppress the consumption of certain recreational drugs. First used by US President, Richard Nixon, in 1972 to describe US’s programs, equivalent terms are now used in many countries and are prevalent throughout law enforcement communities and court houses.

The War on Drugs utilizes several techniques to achieve its goal of eliminating recreational drug use:

1) Specialized law enforcement agencies–officers and techniques;

2) Information campaigns to educate the public on the dangers of drug use;

3) Sometimes questionable searches and seizures that may violate the 4th Amendment to the United State Constitution;

4) Incarceration of thousands.

A review of multiple articles has demonstrated that the federal government spends several billion dollars on this “war” annually. A number that I have seen multiple times is $17,000,000,000.00. That is about the same amount of money poured into the Food Stamps Program which is used to provide food to poor Americans. This is also about the same amount of money spent on the US’ General Sciences, Space, and Technology budget.

However, this number is not the actual financial cost, when things like salaries for local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, correctional officers, and other staff members are factored in. Or, if one factors in the costs of jailing persons convicted of drug offense and transporting the drugs that are seized to be destroyed, no to mention the fee for destroying them (must be done in an environmentally approved way-EPA). Some numbers have run as high as $60 billion dollars when everything is factored in.

These statistics are almost ten years old, but some federal government figures show that 24-34% of the prison population is locked-away for drug offenses. Now, I have not sorted through that statistics to determine what percent of prisoners are there for possession versus committing a separate crime, but I would be willing to wager that the numbers would be astounding.

In short, I am interested in these sorts of issues not only because I am an attorney, but because as a law enforcement officer, I daily encountered the opportunity to stop and search people that may possess drugs. Overall, my approach was far more forgiving than many of my fellow officers who made it their personal goal to arrest persons that may be in possession of narcotics, and believe me, I have seen this taken to an extreme interpretation. For example, one pill for Xanex that was in the bottom of a ladies purse was used to file “possession” charges on her, a felony. In the end, the charge was dismissed because the bottle was found and it was her husband’s prescription that she had taken to have filled and it had spilled in her purse. But, this was not without the toll on her family and finances in defending against this case. No, I did not make that arrest, but I heard about it and just shook my head.

If I stopped someone, it was very rare for me to attempt to search their vehicle by consent or otherwise. My view on the matter was that if they were going about their daily life in a way that their actions did not intrude on the public or create a direct hazard, I was not going to pry. And, possession of a very minor amount led me to believe that the person was just a casual user. Yes, it is possible that this person could lead to their dealer which could lead to a bigger dealer, but realistically, it was just not a fight that I ever found value in. Of course, arguments can be made on both sides of the law and will continue to be made. It really troubles me that the United States, which was founded on so many principles of freedom and self-liberty has succumb to an almost over-whelming attitude of “big brother protectionism”.

My overall goal in writing this article is just to point out that there is so much discretion involved at the law enforcement level that I would like to see more of a balance and equal enforcement implemented, but figuring out how to do that is next to impossible. Notice, this article never focused on issues like “racial profiling” and such which is unfortunately still very prevalent in this country and an abhorrent practice used by many officers. To some, anything that is used in the “war on drugs” is acceptable because it is a “war”… I’ve actually heard that statement made.

But, as an attorney, I just want to reiterate one very important right that we have as a society: SAY NO – to officers asking to search your vehicle. If they do not have probable cause to be in the car or in your house, the only way they may legally access it is by developing the probable cause and obtaining a search warrant or with your PERMISSION/CONSENT… so just say NO… do not fall victim to the “Well, if you don’t let me search, I am just going to call a K-9″….

Bottom line, if an officer finds something with a K-9, the punishment is no more severe than if you give permission to rummage through your belongings. So remember, start using your rights and say “NO” to requests by police to search.

Dax Garvin, Attorney and Counselor At law is an experienced Austin Texas DWI Attorney and a compassionate Austin divorce lawyer.

I graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law in May, 2002, and was licensed to practice law in Texas that November, following the July, 2002, Texas Bar Exam. Prior to that, I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Tyler and my first years of undergraduate work were spent at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where I learned the true passion of humanity-recognizing we are all part of one great society.

I worked in the Travis County Attorney’s Office from August, 2002, until October, 2003, when I entered into private practice with a mid-size Austin civil litigation firm, where I enhanced my skills for legal research, writing, motion practice, and working with insurance companies from the defense perspective.

The Teen Pregnancy Pacts – What’s So Shocking?

About 16 girls, around 16 years old were reported to be pregnant in Gloucester, and at least 50% of those became pregnant by choice or made a pact to bring up kids. So, what’s shocking about it?

Teens getting pregnant is hardly news. What’s startling is perhaps the number of pregnancies shot up 4 times (in just one school!), it’s also about the pacts that the girls reportedly made, and that some of the girl’s partners are in their 20s. And the school administration seems to be shocked over the welfare of these kids.

Ironically, everyone seems to be shocked except for the girls who made the choice. Remember that some of the girls even got depressed when they found they hadn’t yet conceived. It seems that only now, the girls might be shocked because everyone around them seems to be. But there’s a contention that the girls are too young to apprise the reality, aren’t they? So is it enough reason this one, because one of the parents (father) expressed that he let it be, because he cared for his girl’s happiness!

So what it is that’s so shocking? Is it that some of the girl’s partners, who’re in their 20s may have committed “statuary rape.” Or that, it’s now a long hard road ahead for the girls. Or that quadrupling of the number of pregnancies is startling (is just one school’s stats representative of the whole country?). Or are they the public costs that can be saved by curbing teenage pregnancies. As for costs, teenage childbearing public costs were $120 billion from 1985 to 1990, and that $48 billion would have been saved if the pregnancies came about, if mothers were in their 20s.

Another aspect that surprises me is that on the one hand, there are people who who have to depend on pharmaceuticals called fertility drugs to conceive, and on the other there are the teenage pregnancies (which are for the most part undesirable). Different people seem to think differently. What do you think about it?

I am a journalist with 7 years of experience. Though, as a professional I’ve reported on myriad topics, my favorites remain to be the medical and the automobile industry. I blog at: http://smilinghealth.blogspot.com/

The Health Care Crisis

Everywhere we turn today we are bombarded with news about the current health care crisis in the United States. We are inundated with the negative aspects of our medical system on TV, the radio and newspapers. In Michael Moore’s docudrama “Sicko” our health care system is portrayed as a beast worse than the antichrist. Now I’ll be the first to admit that there are problems with our medical system. Let me highlight a couple. The US hospital system is ranked 37th in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO). More than half of the prescription drugs consumed in the world are consumed in the US. Hospitals are the third leading cause of death in the US.

With these and other facts taken into consideration I believe that we as individuals have the ability and the responsibility to correct the true crisis in America today which is self induced illness caused by the foods (I use the term loosely) we eat. We have turned over responsibility for our health to the doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and food manufacturers who are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We have followed them blindly into the abyss that is the health care crisis today. The good news is that there is a way out of the abyss, read on.

Let’s begin where the food begins. In the Garden of Eden God gave us fruit to eat which grew on trees and took nutrients from the dirt which God made us. Today, thanks to pollution, chemical fertilization, pesticides and poor crop rotation the dirt has been depleted of their nutrients. As a mater of fact the soil in the United States only has 15% of the nutrients it had in 1948. Farmers fertilize the crops with high nitrogen man made fertilizers that produce big beautiful plants, fruits and vegetables that have little if any nutritional value. For example a woman could get her daily requirement of vitamin A by eating two peaches in 1951, today she would have to eat 53.

Moving right along, let’s talk about harvest. Prior to the industrial revolution there where farms spread all across our nation and most everyone consumed fresh fruits and vegetables that where grown locally. Today there are fewer farms and the majority of fruits and vegetables are shipped great distances to be sold. This is the reason that farmers green harvest their crops, ensuring they don’t bruise during the shipping process. It also reduces the nutrients that make it into the food. Tomatoes are a good example; they are picked green so and when they arrive at the market they are sprayed with gas to turn them red. Tomatoes get no nutrients until the final stage of ripening.

Next stop: the supermarket. Some of the crops make it to the market without further depletion of their nutrients but many go through a processing plant where they are further stripped of nutrients. They are cooked, canned, frozen, salted, preserved

Then between the farm and the supermarket the little bit of nutritional value that the crops had are cooked or processed out of them to make them more convenient for us to prepare and eat.

That covers what has been taken out of our food let’s talk about what has been added to our food. Chemicals like MSG monosodium glutamate whose only function is to increase the sensitivity of our taste buds with the side effect of causing our pancreas to inject large quantities of insulin into our system simulating a sugar high that ends an hour later causing us to feel hungry again hence the old saying about being hungry an hour later after eating Chinese food. Then there are nitrites and nitrates, preservatives like BHT, all things that our bodies do not need and would normally get rid of but in today’s society we consume so much of the artificial and so little of the natural that our bodies stop working the way God designed them to work and we become ill and turn to the medical system for help.

Let me begin this subject by saying that if you ever see me laying on the road after being hit by a car please call an ambulance and have them take me to the emergency room. The US has the best trauma care in the world and I have a degree in Emergency Medical Technology so I know from first hand experence from both sides of the screening room. The weakness in the medical system comes in the area of wellness. We do not really have a health care system, we have a sick care system. My wife had to go to the ER a couple of years ago because of dehydration. When the nurse checking her in she asked if she was taking any prescription drugs and got prepared to type the onslaught, my wife told him no and he did a double take then told her that that was unusual. Four years ago I was 45 years old and taking Nexum for acid reflux and Celabrex for arthritis and I thought I was pretty healthy. What I have discovered is that I was pretty average and living in a box with a lot of other people. A box in which people believed that as you age you would get sick and need to have drugs prescribed by doctors to keep you functioning. I saw a commercial the other day that exemplifies that box. It was a commercial for Nexum and the guy said “When I take Nexum I can eat the food I love.” The food I love was killing me and taking Nexum just masked the effect it did not remove it. Today like my wife I take no prescription drugs and have not taken any for over two years.

The health care industry needs to stop focusing on cures and start focusing on prevention.

Richard L Carlan
http://fitinhisimage.blogspot.com/

Big Drug – Bad Drug

Do not be misled by the warm and fuzzy TV commercials directed at you by the big pharmaceutical companies. Those companies do NOT have your welfare at heart. They’re in the dairy faming business and you are their prize cash cow. They milk and they milk and there is no end to their ingenuity when it comes to separating you from your hard earned dollars.

We all know about Vioxx. We know that the FDA licensed this drug, despite obvious lethal side effects, and advised its use for arthritis sufferers, in particular. Arthritis patients are very vulnerable. They can’t move without pain and they frequently are used as guinea pigs by their own doctors as well as Big Drug companies. The FDA is so influenced by Big Drug, that it rushes to license medication without proper testing. In the case of Vioxx, it was obvious for years that Vioxx caused heart attacks in those very vulnerable arthritis patients for whom it was prescribed with gay abandon.

The editor of the Lancet states that the FDA and Vioxx’s manufacturer, Merck “acted out of ruthless, short-sighted, and irresponsible self-interest.”

That’s just one indictment. Merck, manufacturer of Vioxx was forced to settle thousands of law suits. But how many heads rolled in the FDA? Well, none, actually. It took a whistle blower to expose the true risks.

For every high profile disaster like Vioxx, there are hundreds of silent killers pushed on a trusting public, which falls for those warm and fuzzy TV commercials. Note that Big Drug is not permitted to advertise to the public in any countries except the United States and New Zealand. There is a very obvious reason for this. Sick people are vulnerable. If you advertise a drug that you say will help them, they’re going to ask their doctor to prescribe it for them. They trust you and they trust their doctor. They shouldn’t.

Big Drug Companies actually invent new diseases, for which they offer a panacea. When did you discover RLS, Restless Leg Syndrome? When you saw it on a TV commercial, that’s when. Now you think you might have RLS and maybe you should try that drug which purports to cure it.

Be afraid. Pay attention to the very fast disclaimers at the end of those TV commercials. They paint the true picture of life on unnecessary drugs.

Patricia R. Moynihan is the Irish lawyer who founded Dealon Bracelets in 1976. Dealon Bracelets are the traditional natural cure for all forms of arthritis. Patricia is a noted speaker on alternative health care and internet marketing. Reach her at her web site http://www.dealonbracelets.com or Mailto: patricia@dealonbracelets.com

One-Eyed National Health Care

National health care might be a disaster, due to the cost and the complexity. A government-controlled system also creates agonizing moral dilemmas (read about the eye treatment ruling covered further down). Still, despite my opposition to it, I can see it’s a real possibility, and soon. Keeping that in mind, here is what we can do to solve some of the inherent problems and make the system work better.

What’s Your QUALYs Score?

Who gets what health care? That would be a tricky decision for any of us, but some might argue that the bureaucrats in the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) are pretty good at it. They are evaluate and approve treatments for the National Health Services administration in Britain (their national health care bureaucracy). After all, the life expectancy in Britain is about the same as in the United States, and the government spends less on health care while covering ALL citizens.

Making such decisions, of course, does lead to some interesting problems. One example: In 2002 NICE recommended that a certain treatment for macular degeneration be used only in one eye – the one less affected by the disease. What about the other eye? It is presumably allowed to go blind. They arrived at this decision by using “QUALYs,” or Quality-Adjusted Life Years.

How does this methodology for measuring the value of treatments work? Let’s look at a couple examples. A surgery that gives you an average of ten years of life is better than one that gives you five, and so scores higher on the QUALYs scale. Years added to life matter, but so does quality of those years. Suppose you could be saved by a treatment but be in a coma for six years, while another person could be saved and healthy for six years by some other treatment. If funds are limited (aren’t they always?), the latter would be approved.

Now let’s look again at the case of the eye treatment. The score for QUALYs is high for the first eye, since seeing presumably greatly increases the quality of life over blindness. But seeing with the second eye doesn’t boost the quality of life nearly as much, right?

We don’t need to get into the complexities of the system to understand the logic. Life matters, but quality of life also matters, an idea most of us can agree to. But it leads to some uncomfortable conclusions, doesn’t it?. For example a person with a debilitating disease or handicap presumably scores lower in QUALYs when considered for a life-prolonging heart operation. We might pass her over in favor of a healthier person who would benefit more according to the QUALYs score.

The real truth, normally ignored, is that there a financial limit to any national health care plan. As a result, we have to make decisions that can certainly be uncomfortable, and sometimes downright disturbing. What if a million dollars could prevent ten thousand people from getting a deadly disease, or that same million could be used to treat and possibly cure twenty people who already have the disease. Should we allow the twenty to die in order to prevent the deaths of ten thousand?

Of course, it’s easy to say we should cure the twenty AND run the prevention program. This may even be possible, and we certainly could pay for both eyes to be treated in the case of macular degeneration. On the other hand, we really can’t do everything. Honesty compels us to admit that perhaps going blind in one eye isn’t nearly so tragic as losing sight in both, and if treating just one eye for one patient saves enough money to treat another patient’s heart problem with a new procedure that saves his life, maybe we need to make that kind of decision.

Whatever utopian theorizing we do, tough choices will have to be made at some point if we decide on national health care. We’ll need to put a value on life, or on various qualities of life at least. Yes, we may even have to put a value on one eye versus two, or on eyesight versus saved limbs that might be amputated otherwise. In a market system medical providers compete to provide better treatments for your diabetes, but this will be, in part, a system where your diabetes competes with somebody’s migraine headaches or broken nose.

National Health Care – Some Suggestions

If we allow a market system of health care to exist alongside a government system, we could at least pay to have the other eye fixed. The rich will obviously get better care, but I don’t think we are such a petty envious people that we would vote against such a dual-system just because of this. The healthiness of the wealthy doesn’t hurt the rest of us. Also, we all would at least have the hope of raising money for whatever additional health care we desire. So let the market still exists.

There will also be the problem of demand. Free means higher demand, of course. At the moment I have a few teeth that I might have a dentist look at this week if the examination and treatment was free, but since it isn’t I’ll wait a bit. People often delay treatment because of the expense, but they also look for and find cheaper alternatives. That would change if we had free national health care.

There will be a big increase in demand. Naturally, cuts that might be bandaged will be more often be stitched if the service is without cost. A headache or sore throat that would normally be endured might mean a trip to the free hospital or clinic. Sadly, this would use government health care money that might otherwise pay for research or treatment for life-threatening illnesses, meaning more tough decisions.

How do we alleviate this problem of excessive demand? Design a system that isn’t free. After all, the problem isn’t that we have to pay for health care, since we find a way to pay for groceries, clothing and cable television without government handouts. The problem is the high price and unpredictability of health care expenses. An occasional surprise is one thing if it’s a few hundred dollars, but a few weeks in a hospital can eat up a lifetime of savings.

Address THIS issue, instead of encouraging people’s unwillingness to budget for unexpected, but affordable surprises? How? One way is to have national health insurance for all, but with a $500 annual deductible. When a person can’t afford this (it amounts to $42 per month) it usually suggests a budgeting problem, not a problem of over-priced care.

Have each person pay 20% of all costs beyond that deductible as well, up to $1,000 ($5,000 in costs). This would keep people from running to the doctor or hospital for every little thing. This also encourages them to look for cheaper effective treatments, so the system doesn’t destroy the usual incentive (money) for this creative process of health care improvement.

Prescription drugs shouldn’t be covered until the cost goes beyond that $500 annual deductible, and even then the patient should pay his or her 20%. People (even poor people in this country) find a way to pay for bigger expenses in life, and this would keep the system from being abused. What if some people really are too poor to afford even this? Address that problem through general welfare programs, rather than paying for prescriptions for tens of millions who can easily afford them.

I am not thrilled with the idea of a national health care system. On the other hand, if it is going to happen in any case, we at least make it sustainable and leave open more options for all of us. That’s what the system outlined above would hopefully accomplish.

Copyright Steve Gillman. For inventions, new product ideas, business ideas, story ideas, political and economic theories, deep thoughts, and a free course on How To Have New Ideas, visit : http://www.999ideas.com

Problems in American Education

Too many people think that schools are hopeless and that nothing can be done. Or they live in that dream world that says, “not here; not my school.” This is exactly the same mentality that we old-timers saw at the early stages of what later became a nationwide drug epidemic.

What all those parents who are so complacent about the alleged excellence of their local schools need to remember is: It was our best and brightest students that ranked 24th in global competition. No matter how good you may think your local school is, it still doesn’t stack-up against the rest of the world.

If you’ve been studying the news for any length of time, then you know about the relationship between our nation’s growing dropout rate and the massive increase in crime. With up to 75% of students dropping out in some of our large, urban areas, that converts to 3 out of four students with no diploma and no skills. Even worse, if that is possible, far too many students who DO graduate, cannot read or compute math adequately.

Many people don’t see how dropouts in large cities have anything to do with their own lives. They feel protected against the problems with schools in other areas and don’t believe that failing schools can have any impact on their own well being or safety. Thus, we see lethargy or denial when it comes to motivating people to insist on education reform.

Finally, in an attempt to try and FORCE improvements in our failing schools, the country adopted No Child Left Behind, a program of testing, testing, testing, supposedly to increase accountability. But it simply led to rigged results in too many states, and no basis for adequate comparison. Now it seems that even attempts to make NCLB work more effectively, keep getting postponed by Congress.

Complicating issues in our schools in 2008, kids are more exposed to drugs and drug use than ever before, both at school and at home. It’s extremely difficult to learn when the brain is scrambled on narcotics, prescription drugs, cold medicines, glue or whatever is the latest ‘high getter’. And, as the statistics show, parent’s expectations of their own children demonstrate awareness and denial of any drug use simultaneously.

On top of everything else, there is an appalling lack of leadership role models for our students today in the USA. Leadership is a skill that must be taught to our youth – along with critical thinking training and the ability to make life-enhancing decisions. For some reason, our school curriculum’s do not address these issues, or they are only implemented as of secondary, rather than primary importance.

Some people say that American kids are dumber, but I say “Phooey!” As a Grandmother and great-grandmother, I personally know that our children today are just as capable of excelling as any students in the past. Youngsters today grow up knowing more about new technologies than oldsters can even fathom. Children today know how to text message, play games and carry on internet or cell phone conversations simultaneously. Then we wonder why they are bored in class.

When are we going to wake up to the need for reform in our schools? Yes, there are some good programs being instituted on a small scale in a few schools across the country, but until now, there has been no plan that would improve every school across the nation.

Politicos and academic committees keep coming up with massively expensive programs that will take years, and tears, to implement. What is needed is a simple plan with solutions that can turn our schools around within 2-3 years and that are reasonably economical. Unfortunately, publicity goes to the unrealistic and expensive plans that have been suggested or implemented to date.

We need solutions not only to curriculum problems, but also the social ills that are impacting school quality in such a powerful way. It’s time to insist on implementation of techniques have already been proven to work in actual practice.

Policymakers and academicians KNOW we have a problem, but nothing is going to change until the public gets involved and DEMANDS changes.

Brennan Kingsland http://setourteachersfree.com

Drug Detox and Rehab Alone Will Not Handle the Prescription Drug Problem

If one were to create a list of the prescription drugs most likely to cause addiction and dependency, OxyContin, morphine, and methadone would be right at the top. In fact, these drugs are also among those responsible for the alarming increase in ‘accidental poisoning deaths’ – 20,950 in 2004, up from 12,186 in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and there’s no sign it letting up. Drug detox and drug rehab centers are also seeing an increasing number of people seeking help to get off these drugs. Why, then, did the DEA, on December 19th, relax the prescribing rules for these and other dangerous drugs?

On September 6, 2006, the DEA proposed to amend the regulation on prescribing Schedule II drugs – doctors used to be limited to giving 30-day prescriptions and these are now extended to 90 days. The ruling was motivated by over 600 comments from “physicians, pharmacists, nurses, patients, and advocates for pain treatment,” according to the DEA press release of the same date. DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy said the proposed ruling “reiterates the DEA’s commitment to striking the proper balance to ensure that people who need pain relief get it, and those who abuse it, don’t.”

The DEA press release also included information about these drugs and said that prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic that requires everyone’s vigilance. Here are the statistics they presented.

* Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors admits to abusing powerful prescription painkillers.

* Today, more new drug users have begun abusing pain relievers (2.4 million) than marijuana (2.1 million) or cocaine (1.0 million).

* 6 million Americans are currently abusing controlled substance prescription drugs – that is more than the number abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants, combined.

* Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that opioid prescription painkillers now cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.

* Admissions to treatment (whether it was for drug detox, drug rehab or some other type of treatment was not specified) for prescription opiates swelled by a third in just two years (from 46,972 in 2002 to 63,243 in 2004).

September 6, 2006 also marked the beginning of the 60-day public comment period during which any member of the public is invited to support the ruling, protest it, and so on. Comments were made and reviewed, and the proposed ruling became final on December 19, 2007.

How, in light of the devastation caused by these drugs, could such a ruling ever have passed?

The answer lies in the public comments – not in the comments themselves, but in the number of comments that actually reached the DEA. According to the DEA release about the final ruling, there were 264 comments. That’s right, 264: Less than 1.3 percent of the number of people who died from ‘accidental poisoning deaths’ caused by prescription drugs in 2004 alone. And an infinitesimal percentage of those who have sought drug detox or rehab for themselves, a friend of a family member.

Why didn’t the mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters and friends of those who died from ‘accidental poisoning deaths’ speak up? Why didn’t the DEA hear from the 63,243 people who sought drug detox and rehab for prescription drug addiction and abuse in 2004? Why didn’t the DEA hear from the millions of people whose lives are negatively affected by prescription drug addiction and abuse?

I would bet that the underlying reason is simply that they didn’t know about it. The DEA advised vigilance, advice heeded by far too few, but now that the ruling has been finalized, individuals and groups are coming out of the woodwork to protest it and get it rescinded.

Lesson learned? With drug addiction and abuse, as with most other things in life, you can’t just sit back and wait, or hope that someone else will do the right thing. While getting someone into a drug detox program and rehab is vital, staying abreast of situations like the proposed DEA ruling and taking action is your only hope of real control. When opportunity knocks – open the door for crying out loud.

Gloria is a freelance writer who contributes articles on health contact:info@novusdetox.com

http://www.novusdetox.com/

Made in China – Cheap and Deadly

If it wasn’t for the paper place-mat at my favorite Chinese Restaurant and the recall of almost 20 million items made in China I would never have known that 2007 was the year of the pig. The American middle class is more dependent on cheap Chinese made products than we are on Saudi oil. During this holiday season Americans will help fatten the wallets of companies like Mattel who was forced to recall almost 20 million items made in China in 2007 because of lead paint on toy cars and tiny magnets that could be deadly if swallowed. Lead paint was also found in 844,000 Barbie accessories and toys with the Sesame Street brand. Barbie? Sesame Street? Is anything sacred? These toys are American institutions. Watching your 2 year old suck on the neck of a decapitated Barbie is every Americans right. You think Oscar is grouchy now?

As if poisoning our kids wasn’t enough China also went after our pets. Pet food makers recalled more than 60 million cans of dog food made in China laced with tainted melamine in wheat gluten. Now I know that in China dogs are a mans best food but people in the humane world cherish their dogs and cats. The pet food scandal has prompted many Americans to actually read the labels of what they are feeding their pets. Organic pet food made in America has experienced a huge growth in sales. Hopefully some day packs of wild dogs will roam the empty streets of Beijing.

Besides killing our pets and young children China also wants to help our teenagers to look better and feel better by supplying them with steroids, human growth hormones, and other bodybuilding drugs. A huge underground distribution network was traced to 37 companies in China.

Nike recalled 235,000 football helmets because the chin cup has a defective strap and caused at least two concussions and a broken nose. Okay, now they’ve gone too far! Messing with football is almost like messing with baseball. Sure supplying baseball and football players with steroids is bad but sabotaging the equipment that protects the drug-addicted overpaid prima-donna professional athletes we idolize is stepping over the goal line. Who is going to endorse toothpaste made in China laced with ethylene glycol which is widely use as auto antifreeze? Who will be on Chinese-made lunch boxes containing lead that were given away by the California Department of Public Health to promote healthy eating habits among American children?

With pressure from the American government the Chinese government finally responded. On July 10, 2007 Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of China’s State Food And Drug Administration was executed by shooting. Obviously something must have been lost in translation when President Bush told the Chinese premier that, “Something must be done” which was mistaken for “shoot him with a gun”. After his execution he was charged with taking bribes from various firms in exchange for state licenses related to product safety. He was found guilty and re-executed.

The trade agreement with China is grossly one sided. The United States is not producing goods outside of very few high tech areas and Americans continue to spend on cheaply made Chinese products.

Every time I look at the label of something that I have bought it always seems to be made in China. “Made in America” has almost become extinct. I recently called my congressman to complain but the call was outsourced to India. I got a nice guy named Davesh who was very sympathetic and referred to me as “Buddy”. Only in America. The phrase “Only in America” was made in China.

Richard Raciti
http://edgewisdom.wordpress.com/