03 May, 2009

The Drug Thing

Recently, I have been thinking about how I was pretty harsh to one particular commenter on IIB I. In retrospect, I realize that my comparison of smoking pot to gambling was unfair, and am working on a version of IIB I that both shifts the wording a bit and is a bit “neater” graphic-wise (yes, I have finally figured out how to make straight lines in Photoshop!).

However, there is still something that I have an issue with as far as the whole “pot has been tested by science and you should [do something] to keep an open mind/reflect this in your post!” argument goes: Many of the people from whom I have heard this argument from are not dealing with disability or chronic illness. In my rather limited experience, this tactic seems like the whole abled-bodied-people knowing what is “best” for PWDs in every circumstance thing yet again—-particularly when the ABs' “well-meaning” advice has to do with exactly which treatments the PWD should or should not be pursuing.

I am aware that pot does work for many people with chronic pain, and I am not opposed to people using it if it works for them. What I do take exception to is the insinuation—again, mostly from able-bodied people who are unaware of my family history of addiction (this is what has made me personally uncomfortable with the use of illegal substances for my own pain relief)—that I, as a person with a disability, do not know what is best for me when it comes to pain management. As I have said before, there is no substance that is miraculous for everyone who tries it—not booze, not pot, not the medicines that I myself take (Cymbalta and, on occasion, Vicodin). When people imply that I should just keep an open mind about this treatment, or think about trying that one because it has worked for someone they know, or that my personal experiences with people who are “just trying to help” by suggesting all kinds of things somehow renders my other points moot, I tend to get angry. My patience runs out, because I deal with these “well-meaning” suggestions quite often, and find that I must also manage some folks’ feelings when they are hurt that I don’t throw myself at their feet with gratitude for every single suggestion, whether that suggestion relates to the use of vitamins, recreational drugs or “positive” thinking.

As Amandaw so gracefully puts it:

I don’t know what the hell is going on in the life of the next chronic pain patient you might meet. That’s the point. You just don’t know. You don’t have the slightest concept of what their background is or how their body works or what they’ve tried before. So why do you assume it’s totally benign to throw this in their face? Why are you acting as though you know their body, their history, their experiences better than they do?

Do I have the time to detail everything above every time someone “helpfully” informs me that marijuana can be good for pain relief? Should I have to reveal all this stuff to total strangers, or even acquaintances, coworkers, casual friends? Even if all this stuff wasn’t there, and I just didn’t feel like using it: why can’t I have that decision respected?

Not everyone will relate to all of the spaces on the Bingo cards; though I have tried to construct them so that as many of the spaces as possible are (in general) applicable to the experiences of people with invisible disabilities and chronic illnesses, this does not mean that I will radically change them based on the opinions of apparently able-bodied people who are, of course, only trying to help.


lauredhel said...

I assumed the wonky lines were a feature, not a bug!

annaham said...

I *will* fix the wonky lines, come hell or high water! xD

SSteve said...

This type of system will make real pain patients better so that the doctor knows they are real from the first visit!

Prescription drugs: New technology can help fight abuses
By Micheal P. McManus

As a Federal Agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, I fought the drug war for more than 28 years. After retiring I have come to realize that heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy are not among the most abused drugs anymore. One of the biggest threats in our current war on drugs is prescription medicine. 

According to the DEA, more than 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs; that's more than the number of people abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, ecstasy, and inhalants combined. 

In the 1980's, Florida was known as the drug capital of our country. A combination of aggressive law enforcement, increased treatment programs and education resulted in a dramatic decline in Florida's image in the drug war. However, we now find that prescription drugs are emerging as the drug of choice of the 21st century. Once again, Florida is on the front lines — having the reputation of being America's prescription drug capital. 
So, why is Florida the capital of prescription drug abuse? The answer is simple: our state has failed respond to this 21st century challenge by enacting an effective, cutting edge prescription monitoring database system. Without a database, drug traffickers will continue to take advantage of Florida's failure to act. 

There are currently 38 states with prescription drug databases. However, these states rely on weak, outdated technology that does not allow for real-time entry of prescribing and dispensing data — meaning days go by before red flags go up on potentially dangerous activity. 

For example, it can be up to two weeks before information is downloaded to a database to evaluate if a person is "doctor shopping" or obtaining multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors. This reporting lag time can mean lives lost.

Fortunately, our lawmakers now realize the significance of this tool in this new war on drugs. Unfortunately, they are adopting this out-of-date system. We can do better, and we must.

In today's world we must apply the best technology available to equip law enforcement officers with the information they need to stop prescription fraud.

We have a unique opportunity to adopt an electronic finger printing system called biometrics. This system uses real-time reporting, is more secure and protects the privacy of law-abiding patients.

The biometric system is very easy to use — a person can walk in and simply roll their fingerprint and information is immediately available.

By using this biometric system, we will now have the technology to allow us to identify doctor shoppers in 15 seconds — not 15 days, not 15 hours, but 15 seconds. I've seen this technology in action. It works, it is secure and it is what we need to fight this emerging threat. 

If implemented, this system has the potential to bring doctor shopping in Florida to a dead stop. This is clearly a unique opportunity for the state legislators to step up and be the leader in fighting the war on drugs.

Lawmakers have a choice: go with a weaker drug protection system and come back in a couple of years to deal with the consequences, or take advantage of the latest technology and become a leader in protecting lives. 

Micheal P. McManus is a retired DEA special agent and member of the Broward County Crime Commission.

Mike McMamus
Main 800-797-4711 x101 954-548-7800

Expensiveguy said...

www.BioScriptRx.com for more research if needed.

annaham said...

SSteve/Expensiveguy: I deleted one of your comments since you posted the same article twice.

Also: If you're going to post an entire article, please leave a link instead of all of the text in your comment.