Medical Malignancy: A Broken System


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

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Medical
Malignancy

            Sick since childhood, the hospital
and doctor’s office have been my second home. Now –twice removed, the
malignancy lies within my attitude toward the medical system as a whole:
unethical behavior by staff, over-charging Medicare/Medicaid (even outright
fraud), over prescribing narcotics, performing unnecessary tests and visits,
not to mention the all-around bad attitudes –especially within the emergency
departments. Oh, how I long for the days of bedside manners and house calls; a
time when monetary status did not dictate a person’s care and respect (a person
that paid with a chicken got the same care and respect as a person that paid
with gold).

            It is not only the hospitals and
physicians that I am ‘dressing down’; the medical system branches out much
further –so does the culpability. The system in its totality is broken beyond
repair and the fault is a collective one: patients, physicians, pharmacists,
pharmaceutical companies, state and government agencies (Medicare/Medicaid),
nurses, taxpayers, Mental Health services, and the American voters all share in
the guilt. A person does not have to be an expert to see that the medical
system needs a complete over-haul.

            Let’s first discuss the culpability
of the patients: patients have a misconception that physicians are God –or that
they have a cure-all pill that requires no effort on their part for recovery;
moreover, patients tend to feel as if they must hide certain facts, or that
certain facts are not worth mentioning. Additionally, drug addicted patients
have jaded the attitude of the system by abusing the medical system and
emergency rooms –which makes emergency room and primary physicians project an
attitude toward any person in pain –treating all as addicts first and a person
second. The largest part of the patients culpability stems from NOT reporting
abuses by staff and government programs –as well as, committing certain frauds
themselves, which in turn costs everyone more money in one form or another
–driving up health care costs. Patients need to discard the attitude of
entitlement and replace it with an attitude of gratitude.

            Physicians, by default and position
have a higher level of culpability: more and more doctors are over prescribing
narcotics to patients that are at high risk for addiction or relapse –this
practice is presenting problems that reach far beyond the medical system; in
addition, when these over prescribing physicians finally see an issue, instead
of recommending psychotherapy or rehab, the doctor cuts off the patient’s
supply (the CYA syndrome –cover your ass) leaving them to search out other
alternatives (drug dealers). Emergency room doctors should call for a drug
therapist when a known addict comes in looking for a fix, not do expensive
tests then send them back into society with no options or hope for recovery
–the emergency departments become a revolving door for addicts treated in this
manner. In today’s medical world, it seems monetary status dictates the quality
of care and the amount of respect that a patient receives at a facility –it
used to be that the primary reason for becoming a doctor was because the person
wanted to HELP the sick and injured get better (the hero complex), however, now
the primary reason seems to be early retirement and financial gain (the Donald
Trump complex).

            Additionally, physicians have an
obligation to spend more than five minutes with a patient; it is the new ‘norm’
in the medical system to discuss only one issue per visit with five minutes to
do it in –with this practice mainly focused toward Medicare/Medicaid patients.
This practice ends up costing taxpayers more money in the end; while making the
hospitals and doctors more money. I have always joked with my doctors stating,
“Don’t do anything you do not want to pay for –because you are paying for half
this visit, and furthermore –you are only getting half the cost too” (referring
to them being taxpayers). Trust me though –just like any other business, they
will make up the profit somewhere! Physicians (whether intended or not) commit
fraud or know that the system that they are contracted to are committing fraud;
they say nothing –which makes them as unethical as the system they are
contracted through. Finally, doctors need to treat every patient with respect
and honesty –regardless of the insurance group or method of payment used to pay
the bill with; leave the personal problems at home –sick patients do not want
to receive a bad attitude with that high-priced bill –the hospital or office
understaffing, underpaying, complaining co-workers is not something we care to
pay to hear –or for that matter, feel like hearing. Just do the job that you
are paid to do, without the ad-lib attitude and drama.

            Pharmacists have their culpability
as well, although, I have not yet decided to what extent. The only practice
that I really take issue with as far as pharmacists’ culpability is this: many
pharmacists have known that I had an addiction problem in the past (I am sure
to tell all doctors that to protect me from myself) –prescription after early filled
prescription, these professionals said nothing of the over prescribing
practices of my physicians (though they made ‘off the record’ remarks).
Statements made by these pharmacists made it painfully clear that they knew
what was going on with certain doctors –yet they said or did nothing to put an
end to it; this is unethical behavior as well as being part of the problem –not
the solution. This unethical behavior earns pharmacists an F in ethical
behavior and obligation.

            Pharmaceutical companies have a
higher level of culpability than say, the pharmacists and patients –yet not to
the degree that doctors do. These companies give doctors incentives and
kickbacks to push and prescribe their drugs –especially new drugs; advertising
these medications on television, Internet, and magazines –just like a dress or
automobile. Caution should always be used when prescribing any medication
(especially new drugs) –trial and error are for the research process, not the
prescribing process. Pharmaceutical companies should not be allowed to offer
incentives to doctors or advertise medications –especially narcotics.

            State and government agencies have a
different type of culpability –in the end, the economic buck stops with them; state
and government agencies are obligated to protect patients and their rights –as well
as the responsibility of making sure fraud and abuse is not how taxpayer money
is spent. The Medicaid and Medicare dilemma is a major factor in the downfall
of the medical system and its branches of services; Medicaid, which is an
entitlement, is the source of most red tape, high costs, and fraud –causing a
widespread disapproval of the program and its services. These government-subsidized
entitlement programs are close to extinction –almost completely bankrupt; there
are no acceptable excuses for this financial plight –it is a simple case of mismanagement
of funds and authority.

            Nurses (men and women) tend to be
most culpable in the sense of attitude and not reporting abuse and fraud; in
addition too, discussing personal issues with patients and bringing drama into
the workplace via attitude. It was just recently that I paid an unexpected visit
to Helen Keller Emergency Dept. in Alabama; the staff there (except for one
nurse named Glenda) was rude at best –I heard every excuse in the book after
stating my disapproval of the staffs’ attitude and their complaining about the
work conditions at the hospital (except for the rude physician that seemed to
not have the time to complain –just be rude). The result being, I removed
my own IV so that I would not have to deal with one more rude staff member –that
is just how fed up that I was in the few hours spent getting poked and prodded
on, leaving with nothing except an attitude and the taxpayers a bill. I warned
that my recourse would be a prime spot on my blog stating this headline –“Helen
Keller Hospital Blind to Patient Needs”; deeming this ER the worst in the
country thus far! Finally, nurses get so rapped-up in their personal issues
that they make mistakes on notes and administering medications; this is not an
acceptable fallacy by medical staff.

            Taxpayers surprisingly have a
limited liability in this issue as well; taxpayer money supports state and
government programs that spend money with little to no concern, however, they
still give over 1/3 of their income to unthrifty spenders –virtually with no
resistance. Taxpayers must demand that these agencies ‘shape up –or ship out’,
and start holding the states and government accountable for their actions –or lack
thereof. It has gotten to the point where physicians do not want to accept
these insurance options because of the regulations, restrictions, and standards
used for payment of services; moreover, after these agencies decide to cover
medical costs –it takes years for the doctors and hospitals to receive reimbursements
from state and government agencies. American taxpayers have to take a stand
against such behavior and stop these agencies from mishandling taxpayer money,
however, this would take more effort and courage than most people are willing
to muster up. Taxpayers have certain obligations of citizenship that they are
not taking seriously –it is ‘The Peoples’ job to make sure that state and
government agencies do their job, and if they do not –it is ‘The Peoples’
obligation to have them removed and replaced.

            Certainly some taxpayers will
disagree, but they have not seen the unbelievable misuse and abuse of the
entitlement programs that they pay for. I have had many surgeries due to cancer
and other illnesses –seeing the system from the inside with an outsider’s view
is disheartening at best. Medicaid has paid more to prevent tests and
procedures than if done when requested –not to mention the costs of
medications, emergency room visits, therapy, psychologists, and other
entitlement programs that I was ‘farmed’ out to –all to prevent paying for
surgery or preventive care. Additionally, test and x-rays have been
unnecessarily preformed (two of the same x-ray in one day –simply because
one doctor did not care for the other and wanted his own copy). All of these
facts are disturbing indeed; yet they are just the tip of the ice-burg –I would
have to write a complete book to present the horror of the broken medical
system in its totality.

            Mental Health Services’ level of
culpability is lesser in some areas, yet, higher in others. As previously
stated, childhood adversities were no stranger to my sisters and I; needless to
say, I have done my time on the couch (in psychotherapy) –in fact, I could
write a separate book on the faults and culpability of the Mental Health
Services in America. At an early age, I ventured out into the world without
direction, this is when I sought out professional help; what I received instead
was a lot of pills, many appointments, and a plethora of annalistic theories
that kept me baffled for years. It was not until I stopped going to Mental
Health and discontinued psychotherapy drugs that I started to grow and
understand that only I could change my direction my life was headed –and that
getting an education would be essential to my success (I am now in a BS in
Communications). In 1993, a panel of psychologists, professors, and judges
deemed me challenged, with a borderline IQ of 72 –assuring me that I would
never learn enough to tote garbage at McDonald’s; looks as if they were
mistaken – costing taxpayers a lot of money.

            American voters have a minimal level
of culpability: voters are the force behind those on office and position.
Americas must start voting more wisely; ‘The People’ have an obligation to
research the ethical behavior and standards of those running for public office –this
obligation is being neglected. Would any of you hire these people to run a
business that you built from the ground up, if so –if they done their job in
the way Washington D.C are doing now –would you fire them? Of course;
therefore, why would we let them run a Nation ‘The People’ built from the
ground up? The right to vote goes beyond marking a ballot, simply so you have a
“right to complain” (the old theory, if you do not vote you do not have the
right to complain); this theory does not hold water to say the least because,
if you vote the tyranny in –you have no right to complain either. We ‘The
People’ have to shed this half-ass patriotic attitude, and devote ourselves
fully to this country and its electoral process –for if we do not –we will reap
severe consequences.

            In conclusion, America has a broken
medical system that must be addressed firmly; if indeed the issues within these
programs are not addressed, the American public will suffer severe consequences
–especially the old, vulnerable, and weak (not to mention our military vets
that utilize these services). The healthy and rich are making choices that affect
the sick and poor  -this is the main
problem; one cannot possibly know what the sick and poor need –unless they have
been sick and poor themselves. Additionally, I bet if these officials were put
in a position of illness and poverty –the decisions they make afterward may be
different. Finally, nations that act and decide selfishly will fail and fall at
the feet of the sick and meek –history has proven this fact.

        Side Note: Best Hospital in the Country for overall service is St. Charles Medical Center in Bend & Redmond Oregon…

Worst Hospital in the Country  for ER care and attitude is Helen Keller Hospital in Muscle Shoals, Alabama scoring an F for rudeness and inefficiency 

Benzodiazepines: Silent Killers


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Abstract

            Benzodiazepines are a controlled substance obtained from
a physician for stress, anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia. If abused
benzodiazepines can kill or leave lasting effects in the abuser’s brain, as
well as, in the fetus of a pregnant user. In the following article, addiction,
dependency, effects, withdrawals, and conditioning will be discussed in length;
informing the reader of the dangers that come with taking and abusing
benzodiazepines. In addition, the author makes sure to stress to the reader
that there is help, and sobriety is possible.

Benzodiazepines:
Silent Killers

            When we hear the names Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson,
and Anna Nicole Smith, fame, fortune, and notoriety instantly come to mind;
but, they have another stigma to their names, ‘drug overdose’. In August of
1977, it was reported that Elvis died from cardiac arrest; however, later
reports divulged that he died due to constipation induced by narcotics.
“According to Dr. [Nickopoulos], the autopsy revealed that Presley’s colon was
5 to 6 inches in diameter (whereas the normal width is 2 to 3 inches) and
instead of being the standard 4 to 5 feet long, his colon was 8 to 9 feet in
length” (McKay, 2010). One of the main complaints from patients on benzodiazepines
is constipation that is hard to relieve; an embarrassing subject to discuss
with
the
doctor, that if not addressed will cause further illness and possibly death.

Similarly, on June 25 2011, Michael Jackson was rushed
from his luxurious home to UCLA Medical Center in LA from an apparent drug
overdose; he was pronounced dead a short time later from what authorities
called, “acute propofol intoxication” given to help Jackson sleep (Duke, 2010).
CNN first reported Jackson’s death because of cardiac arrest (CNN, 2010),
which, is a common misdiagnosis among overdose cases. Additionally, five months
after Anna Nicole Smith’s son died of a drug overdose, Anna followed; dying in
February of 2007 of an overdose of sleeping medication and eight other prescription
drugs- included in them was the drugs lorazapam and diazepam (Anna Nicole,
2007). Benzodiazepines are not to be mixed with other sedatives or depressants,
the outcome can obviously be deadly.

Benzodiazepines are considered a controlled substance and
can only be obtained legally through a prescription from the doctor. “Benzodiazepines
are a class of drugs primarily classified as anti-anxiety, sedatives, or
hypnotics” (Classification, 2011). There are many names for
benzodiazepines, some of these include:

  • Xanax,
    also known as Alprazolam
  • Librium,
    also called Chlordiazepoxide
  • Klonopin,
    also called Clonazepam
  • Valium,
    also called Diazepam
  • Rohypnol,
    also called Flunitrazepam (Date rare
    drug)
  • Ativan,
    also called Lorazapam
  • Restoril,
    also called Temazepam
    (Classification, 2011)

Although
different in some aspects, these medications are the same in one way, if
misused or abused they will kill. Rohypnol has made headlines for a different
misuse, it has been crowned the king of date rape drugs; leaving the victim
docile and powerless against an offender. For this reason, patrons are advised
not to leave drinks unattended at a bar or restaurant. Additionally, do not ask
a stranger for an ‘aspirin’ or any other drugs at a bar, party, or event; this
can leave you open to unknowingly being drugged, putting your safety and virtue
at risk.

Dependency
and Addiction:

            Addiction is a noun, defined by the American Heritage
Dictionary as, “to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or
obsessively” (Why Can’t I Stop, 2011). People can become addicted to most
anything; gambling, food, drugs, tobacco, and alcohol just to name a few. According
to studies, there are several factors that create an addiction, as well as,
different levels of abuse. “Dr. Arthur Horvath, Ph.D., at the Center for
Cognitive Therapy in California [suggests] there are four primary phases in a
negative addiction”:

  • Experimentation (urges arise out of
    curiosity)”
  • Expected Enjoyment (urges arise out of
    fond memories of past enjoyment)”
  • Doing it to Cope (urges arise primarily
    in response to stress)”
  • Doing it to Survive (urges are
    frequent)” (Why Can’t I Stop, 2011)

These patterns may vary according to how
long the addiction has been present in the person’s life. Additionally, there
are many other things that influence the severity of the addiction, and age of
onset. Studies have shown repeatedly that family history plays a significant
role in a person’s risk for addictive behavior, in addition too, peer-pressure,
stress, low self-worth, and environment. In other words, if a person’s father
or mother was an addict, friends encourage it and the addiction is easily
accessible, and a person feels as if their life is worthless, the risk of
addiction goes up significantly. In addition, getting help for addiction is
complicated since most addicts are in denial of the addiction (Why Can’t I
Stop, 2011).

The first thing that family and friends need to know is
that, an addict cannot be helped until they accept their addiction as a problem
not a solution. There are several ways to detect that a person is an addict;
the person stops doing things that normally brings them pleasure, their only
interest is in the substance or activity, aggressive behavior, lying, and
disassociation from social activities. Additionally, addicts will make choices
and display behaviors normally out of character for them. “The crucial factor
is that addiction has profound effects on people in the immediate social
network or family” (Holtzman, 2000). Family and friends suffer greatly for the
addictions of the one’s they love, often feeling helpless in their efforts.

Conditioning
and Learning:

Social Learning Theory:

There are three great paradigms of learning and
conditioning; these are classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and what
will be discussed first, social learning; for the purpose of this discussion,
only social learning and operant conditioning will be referred. “[The] Social
learning theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social concept…it
considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as
observational learning, imitation, and modeling” (Social Learning, 2011). In
other words, we learn from observing others behavior; however, this does not
always mean a change will occur. The social learning theory also exerts that
“cognition plays a role in learning”, learning through “observation”, and that,
“learning can occur without a change in behavior” (Social Learning, 2011).
Maybe this is why we tend to be ‘people watchers’; we learn while laughing.

The more modern theory of social learning suggests that,
“reinforcement and punishment have direct and indirect effects on learning”,
also that, “reinforcement and punishment influence the extent to which an
individual exhibits a behavior that has been learned”, and finally, “the
expectation of reinforcement influences cognitive processes that promote
learning” (Social Learning, 2011). In a sense we learn from observing others
successes and failures. Does this mean if someone does something wrong and pays
horrible consequences, that we will not make the same mistake because we have learned
from their behavior; no, the reason being that, there is always another person
who will reinforce that bad behavior, still leaving us to make our own choice.
We choose from whom we want to learn from, or model.

On that note, most addicts’ report getting high for the
first time with someone else, a friend, family member, or mate. One former
addict states, “the first joint I smoked or pill that I took came from my
mother…forty some years later, I am still an addict, fighting for sobriety”
(Anonymous, personal correspondence, 2011). Whether a person does drugs with
someone they know, or someone they just met, this behavior is socially learned;
for instance, now day’s teenagers are having pill parties, cleaning out their
parent’s medicine cabinet, putting the pills in a bowl and everyone takes a
handful. Despite the fact that research proves (not to mention the overdoses),
that drugs, especially benzodiazepines, are dangerous and addictive more
Americans are dying from abusing these medications.

Many Americans have been arrested and imprisoned due to
benzodiazepines, and as discussed in the first couple of paragraphs, many
people have also died. Moreover, still people use, abuse, and sell drugs; this
proves not that the social learning theory is wrong, but, just the opposite, we
learn from others behavior- good or bad. Although, we learn from others
behavior, we have the ability to decide what behaviors we will mimic and the
ones we will not.  Many factors determine
how competent a person is to make decisions; some people do not have the
capacity to make good choices.

Operant
Conditioning:

            Reinforcement roughly means, forced strengthening; “A
reinforce is anything that strengthens the desired response” (Operant
Conditioning, 2011). Skinner suggests that there are three kinds of responses
or operant that follows actions, these being:

  • Neutral Operant: responses from the
    environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behavior
    being repeated”.
  • “[Reinforcement]: Responses
    from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being
    repeated. [Reinforcement] can be either positive or negative”.
  • “Punishers: Response
    from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated.
    Punishment weakens behavior” (B.F Skinner, 2011).

If a person thinks logically, it is
easy to see how this process works; by using positive reinforcement, we
strengthen the desired behavior. If, for example, a child comes home from
school raving about a straight A’s on a report card, the parent would give
praise and a reward to the child, if the parent wants that behavior to
continue. Additionally, if the parent does not give positive reinforcement, the
child will most likely start failing school, hoping that will get them
attention. Then what happens is the parent will have to punish the child for
wrongful behavior. Relearning adults however, is a bit more complicated.

Take drug addicts for example, if a person that abuses
drugs tells their friends and family they have quit using, and the friends and
family are excited about the news and offer their help, it is likely that the
addict will succeed in sobriety. However, if the same scenario occurs and the
friends and family take an attitude of, “we have heard that before” not
offering help, then it is likely the addict will not be successful in sobriety.
What happens then is, the addict is arrested; or eventually overdosing, or, the
addict will continue with that behavior until positive reinforcement comes
along in some form.

If the addict ends up in jail, the system will use the
same theory in correcting the behavior of the addicted offender. Prisons and jails
have good rehabilitation programs for addicts of all kinds; the belief is that
if counseling and positive reinforcement, combined with punishment, and absent
of negative reinforcements applied properly reduces the addicts’ chance at
relapse. Despite the efforts of family, friends, jail, and prison officials,
some addicts never change; there are just as many negative reinforcements as
positive, both incarcerated and loved ones. These negative reinforcements are
present from cradle to grave, and only the strong and determined will stay on
the path of sobriety.

Short
Term and Long Term Effects of Benzodiazepines:

            Some of the effects of benzodiazepines are obvious,
drowsiness, constipation, nausea, with alcohol increasing their effect;
addiction, although, long lasting, can occur with short-term use. We will
concentrate on the long-term effects of benzodiazepines, and withdrawal
symptoms for this discussion. Primarily, addiction and dependency are the most
common long-term effects of benzodiazepines; abusers’ lose jobs, friends,
money, self-respect, and sometimes their freedom and children. All of these
things can be replaced are regained in most situations, however, some effects
of benzodiazepines cannot be undone.

The one important effect of benzodiazepines, these
medications, especially if taken in high doses, can build up in the fatty
tissues in the body; making long-term use more dangerous than assumed. “The
symptoms of over-sedation may not appear for a few days…some include”:

  • “Impaired thinking, memory, and
    judgment
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle weakness, lack of
    coordination
    (CESAR, 2011)

Still, these symptoms
can be corrected, whereas, brain damage cannot. In the late 1970s, David Knott
(a doctor at the University of Tennessee) stated, “I am very convinced that
Valium, Librium, and other drugs of that class cause damage to the brain…I have
seen damage to the cerebral cortex that I believe is due to the use of these
drugs…”(Lane, 2010). Permanent brain damage is a stiff penalty for relaxation
or entertainment.

If pregnant, benzodiazepines do not just affect the
mother; babies born to addicts are usually addicted as well. “Benzodiazepines
generally carry FDA ratings of “X-contraindicated in pregnancy” or “D-positive
evidence of risk…there have been case reports of anatomical birth defects (BJC,
2011). This classification in effect means that taking benzodiazepines while
pregnant will cause birth defects. The mother runs a risk through the entire
pregnancy; “the first and second trimesters are commonly sensitive for
teratogenic effects…the last trimester is particularly sensitive for brain effects-
apoptotic degeneration of neurons- with life-long impact” (BJC, 2011). What is
shocking is that even given the proven effect, mothers’ still will take drugs
during pregnancy.

As non-addicts, we can make judgments about why people,
pregnant or not, take benzodiazepines; but there are always underlying issue
when someone turns to drugs for comfort. Things such as, low self-esteem,
stress, insomnia, pressure from work, troubles in a relationship, as well as an
array of other discomforts; one particular reason is withdrawals. Withdrawals
are excruciating at best. “Professor Lader declared, in a 1999 interview on BBC
Radio 4, “It is more difficult to withdrawal people from benzodiazepines than
it is from heroin” (Lane, 2010). Lader’s statement is enough to scare anyone
from taking that first step toward sobriety, moreover, the first 5 days into
detox will burn it into the psyche.

Many addicts reported relapsing several times before
finally getting sober. As stated, withdrawals are devastating, and the symptoms
can start with just a slight change of the dosage. It starts with skin
crawling, shaking, the trots, sweating, with added symptoms by the minute. There
are however, some things that can be done to ease the intensity of the
symptoms. Two particular ways to ease the symptoms of withdrawal would be
tapper off the medication slowly, or take a Benadryl every 4 to 6 hours to ease
the discomfort; although, speaking with the doctor is the best advice. Make
sure to drink plenty of water, sweating during the detoxification period can
cause dehydration; furthermore, it will help clear out the system.

Whatever the method used to get through withdrawals, make
sure there is other support available to give “positive reinforcement”; it can
be easy to relapse when alone. Many programs exist to prevent a person from
relapsing. If a person was not able to find a mental health facility, ask the
doctor for a referral to a specialist. The very first risk to eliminate is the
‘party friends’ and the “negative reinforcements”; many times addicts’ quit
taking drugs, but, still hang out with the same crowd they partied with.  When a person does not rid themselves of the
negative reinforcements that enabled the addiction in the first place, the
person’s sobriety is destined to fail.

In conclusion, benzodiazepines are an addictive substance
that can cause death if abused. Additionally, benzodiazepines can leave
life-long effects in the user’s brain, as well as, in the fetus of a pregnant
user. These medications should only be taken under strict observation from a
physician in extreme cases only. If a person does become dependent or addicted
to benzodiazepines, there are programs and positive reinforcers’ to assist in
recovery and relapse. An addict must rid themselves of all negative reinforcers
to succeed at sobriety and change. Finally, it does not matter if a person’s
conditioning is wrongfully learned, with the correct support, a will for
change, and positive reinforcement addiction can be overcome.

References

Anna Nicole. (2007,
March 26). Anna Nicole Smith’s death due to accidental overdose. Fox

News. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0%2C2933%2C611160%2C00.htm

B.F. Skinner. (2011,
May 7). Skinner- Operant conditioning and reinforcement. Simply

Psychology. http:// www.simplypsychology.org/operant-conditioning.html

BJC. (2011, May 9). Benzodiazepines.
BJC behavioral health. BJC Health Care.

http://www.bjcbehavioralhealth.org/behavioralhealth+print.aspx?=1891&template=/behav

CESAR. (2011, May 6).
Benzodiazepines: Profile. Center for substance abuse research.

http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/benzos.asp>

Classification. (2011,
January 19). Benzodiazepines drug information: Classification. Redwood

Toxicology Laboratory.

http://www.redwoodtoxicology.com/resourses/drug_info/benzodiazepines.html>

CNN. (2010, June 25). Michael
Jackson dead at 50 after cardiac arrest. CNN Entertainment.

http://articles.cnn.com/entertainment/michael.jacks

Duke, Alan. (2010,
February 9). Corner releases new details about Jackson’s death. CNN

Justice. http://articles.cnn/2010-02-09/justice/michael.jackson.auto

Holtzman, Elizabeth. (2000,
August 19). Addictive behaviors, compulsions, and habits: A

Spectrum of need intensity. http://www.umass.edu/fsap/articles/addictive.html

Lane, Christopher.
(2010 November 18). Brain damage from benzodiazepines: The

Troubling facts, risks, and history of
minor tranquilizers. Psychology Today.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/print/50664?page=2

McKay, Hollie. (2010,
May 5). Exclusive: Elvis Presley’s doctor claims he died of an

Embarrassing case of constipation. Fox
News.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2010/05/05/exclusive-el

Operant Conditioning.
(2011, May 8). Operant conditioning (B.F. Skinner). Psychology.com.

http://tip.psychology.org/skinner.html

Social Learning. (2011,
May 7). Social learning theory. University of Texas.

http://teachnet.edb.utexas.edu/~lynda_abbott/Social.html

Why Can’t I Stop?
(2011, May 10). Why can’t I stop? Dealing with addictive behavior.

http://mtnviewhospital.com/PDF%@)Files/Addictive%20Behavior.pdf

Credit Card Crisis: The Consumer Prospective


Credit cards

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Credit Card Crisis: The Consumer Prospective
Credit card debt has been a huge problem in America for many years, with current years being the worst in history. Americans’ are now feeling the pain of mounting bills, higher interest rates, growing fees, and less money to pay them, while credit card companies are earning record profits. The problem has gotten so out of control, that in 2009 President Obama passed a bill in hopes of making credit card companies accountable and consumers happy. “On May 22, President Barack Obama signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure, or Credit Card, Act of 2009 into law” (McFadden, 2009). Some of the laws began taking effect in August of 2009, while others did not become effective until February. Though well intended, this law has made little difference in a plight that seems unfixable.
This new consumer protection bill dictates at least eight major codes credit card companies must follow, or face penalties. In an article by Leslie McFadden, she breaks down these regulations for better understanding:
 “Retroactive rate increases: Issuers can’t raise rates on an existing balance unless a promotional rate expired, the variable indexed rate increased or you paid late by 60 days or more. No longer will they be able to punish barrows for late payments on unrelated accounts under the practice of universal default or due to “anytime’ any “reason” clauses” (McFadden, 2009).
 More advanced notice of rate hikes: Consumers get 45 days’ notice before key contract changes take effect, including rate increases” (McFadden, 2009).
Fee restrictions: Cardholders will not face overlimit fees unless they elect to allow the creditor to approve overlimit transactions. Issuers can’t charge more than one overlimit fee per billing cycle” (McFadden, 2009).
 “Restricts card issuance to students: Consumers under age 21 who can’t prove an independent means of income or provide the signature of a co-signer aged 21 or older won’t get approved for credit cards” (McFadden, 2009).
 “Ends double-cycle billing: The new law bans double-cycle billing, the practice of basing finance charges on the current and previous balance” (McFadden, 2009).
 “Fairer payment allocation: A close look at your card agreement will likely reveal a clause that payments will be applied to lower-rate balances first. Not so anymore. The Credit Card Act requires above-the-minimum payments to be applied first to the credit card balance with the highest interest rate” (McFadden, 2009).
 “More Time To Pay: Card companies must send statements 21 days before a payment is due” (McFadden, 2009).
 “Gift card protections: The legislation includes protections for gift cardholders. The new law prohibits gift cards from expiring for at least five years. Issuer cannot access inactivity fees unless the card has gone unused for 12 months” (McFadden, 2009).
While these new laws and restrictions are helpful in protecting us consumers, there are steps that we must take to protect ourselves against high credit card debt. The government cannot protect us from bad spending habits and us; we must monitor and control these personality challenges on our own. If you cannot afford to pay for bills already, getting a credit card will not make this better- no matter how much we lie to ourselves. Additionally, ladies, if you want a new dress, or a new pair of shoes, do not buy them unless you can pay it off when the bill arrives. The key thing for cardholders’ to remember is, when buying an item on credit, we pay twice what the item would cost if paid with cash.
In addition to controlling spending habits and paying off purchases right away to prevent paying interest, cardholders must also read the companies “Terms and Agreements” with due vigilance. Skipping over the fine print can result in consequences and terms that the cardholder did not expect: these contracts (no matter how ridiculous), are indeed binding, while being costly to break. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. And paying off a credit card with another credit card will always end in disaster- advertisements lie. It is the consumer’s obligation to get out the magnifying glass and read the fine print, if we fail- we pay. Reading a contract thoroughly is always the responsibility of the purchaser, if it is not completely understood; wait to sign it until you speak with an attorney.
Although these precautions are great for us as consumers’ because we save money, it is harmful to the credit card companies and their profits. When we pay our credit card bills on time, or spend less, credit card companies make less money. When consumers find ways to stop the unfair practices of these companies, the companies find more ways to trick us into paying more fees, and higher interest rates, with shady advertising practices. And, while some of the new regulations help, the credit card companies find ways to retrieve the losses in other areas. The conflict between company and consumer will never be completely fixed, but there are ways that we can protect ourselves from unfair practices from unethical companies. There are three reasons why this conflict will always exist: money, money, and, wait for it…money. The credit card companies are in the business to make money, if profits fail in one area, it will be made up in other areas- this is a fact.
The credit card companies make the largest portion of their profits off those who do not pay their bill on time, and those who only pay the minimum balance. Deadbeat is a term usually associated with those who do not pay their bills on time, but, in the world of credit card companies, a deadbeat is defined as one who pays off their purchases on time. A person would never imagine that paying on time is a bad thing. In the end, our financial security is up to us, if we as consumers do not protect ourselves and are not vigilant about our financial future, no one is to blame except ourselves.
However, the issue as a whole is a collective fault, the consumer, the credit card companies, and the government. Consumers neglect their credit and finances, spending money they do not have, the credit card companies drain consumers with interest, fees and enabling the credit challenged, and finally, the government needs to set the example and penalize the credit card companies for wrongful behavior. Will this issue ever be fixed? No. Just as with any other issue, unless all parties are in agreement on the solution, no solution will be satisfactory. It seems that no matter which side does what, the other is not happy- there are no victors’. The only thing consumers can do is control spending, be card smart, read carefully, and do not use credit cards for non-emergency purchases or transferring balances.
In conclusion, the issues of America, whether credit card or otherwise, is a collective problem, and moreover, a collective solution. What one of us does effects the other, no matter how small the action; we must remember this when making choices, these choices will affect others. We consumers must be aware of our own financial matters and do not spend money we do not have. In business, each party has its own responsibility and must take the responsibility very seriously. Finally, all of us must work as a collective to combat unethical behavior on each other’s part, and keep the American economy from ruin. If America fails, it is a collective effort.

References
McFadden, Leslie. (2009, August 20). 8 Major benefits of new credit card law. Bankrate.com.
http://www.bankrate.com/system/util/print.aspx?p=/finance/credit-cards/8-major-benefits…

WASHINGTON YANKS PROMISE SCHOLARSHIP


The Seal of Washington, Washington's state seal.

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Davey v. Locke

            This case is interesting to say the
least, two litigants citing constitutional rights, one cites separation of
church and state, the other cites freedom of religion. The state of Washington
denies Joshua Davey’s right to freedom of religious expression, claiming that Davey
cannot use the Washington Promise Scholarship funds to major in theology. Davey
was awarded the scholarship based on his performance in high school and on the
SAT, as was the other recipients. The case was brought before the U.S. 9th
Circuit Court.

Using the criteria in terms of
obligation, moral ideals, and consequences to judge the actions of Washington
State, Washington State is mistaken in their conviction. The U.S. 9th
Circuit Court agrees citing “Rule of Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v.
City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 113 S. Ct.2217, 124 L. Ed. 2d 593 (1993), as
well as the rule of McDaniel v. Paty, 435 U.S. 618, 90 S. Ct. 1322, 55 L. Ed.
2d 593 (1978), that a state offering a benefit may not impose disability on the
basis of religious status” (Davey v. Locke, 2011). Washington State has an
obligation to treat all scholarship recipients equally, regardless of religious
preference, race, color, creed, or sexual orientation; they did not hold to
their obligation of fairness.

Even the moral ideal of Washington’s
actions toward Davey is skewed at best. What does it matter what this young man
wants to major in, as long as he is a productive member of society? It would be
more beneficial to the State of Washington and its communities if Davey became
a graduate of any major, rather than the statistical ramifications of one more
citizen being uneducated. Statistics have shown a strong connection between
uneducated young men and gangs and drugs; it has been proven that young
uneducated men end up in gangs, jail, drugs, and eventually prison. The idea
that the State of Washington would take such a small amount of money awarded to
an ambition young American that wants to do right by his family, self, and
community is baffling- a perfect example of what is going wrong in this
country.

However, the American Justice system
imposed consequences against the State of Washington for its unfair practices.
The 9th Circuit Court ruled that Washington State must return the
money to Davey, stating that “We believe that Washington’s interest in this
case is less than compelling…the Promise Scholarship is a secular program that
rewards superior achievement by high school students who meet objective
criteria…scholarship funds would not even go indirectly to sectarian schools or
for non-secular study unless an individual recipient were to make the personal
choice to major in a secular study unless an individual recipient were to make
the personal choice to major in a subject taught from a religious perspective,
and then only to the extent that the proceeds are used for tuition and are
somehow allocable to the religious major” (Davey v. Locke, 2011).

Obviously aggravated with the cases
undertones, the judges go on to suggest, “In these circumstances it is difficult
to see how any reasonable observer could believe that the state was applying
state funds to religious instruction or to support any religious establishment
by allowing an otherwise qualified recipient his scholarship” (Davey v. Locke,
2011). Similarly this is my perspective; Washington’s thinking was ignorant at
best. Moreover, the consequences did not end at Washington’s justice; it
carried on to the community when Washington pulled the program in 2006.
Washington decided if they could not control who is considered worthy of the
scholarship and who is not, then there would be no more scholarship- and those
consequences will last a lifetime.

References

Davey v. Locke. (2011,May 26). Davey v. Locke- 9th Circuit Court. Find Law.

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1447570.html

Milking the Clock: Social Media in the Workplace


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Milking the Clock: Social Media in
the Workplace

            Despite what delusions employees’ have, employers’ are
not ignorant to their ‘milking the clock’ via the company computer. Social
Media sites pose major concerns for employers’ on a number of levels, security,
and employee conduct, sexual harassment, even bullying. “Social Media are any
type of Internet-based media created through social interaction, where
people primarily produce (and not consume) the content” (Jackson,
2011). Corporations and employers are realizing the necessity of a ‘code of conduct’
policy concerning these types of Websites and the issues they pose.

Websites that are of particular concern are: “Social
networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn), Blogs (Web blogs)…Twitter is
considered a “micro-blog”…Online multi-user virtual worlds (World of Warcraft, Second
Life), and Video-sharing Websites (YouTube)” (Jackson, 2011). Employers’ have
an array of legitimate concerns; just a few negative posts by disgruntled
employees or consumers can totally ruin a company’s reputation. “In a 2009
study by Deloitte LLP on social media and the workplace, 74 percent of the
2,008 employed adults surveyed responded that they believe it is easy to damage
a brand’s reputation via social media” (Jackson, 2011). With over 500 million
subscribers, Facebook alone has the power to make or break a company’s
reputation and profits.

Moreover, “61 percent” do not care if the boss sees their
profiles (they would not change anything); while “53 percent” believe that it
is actually none of the bosses business what is done on their own time
(Jackson, 2011). What is more disturbing to employers is: “A 2009 study by
Nucleus Research of 237 office workers showed that 77 percent of them had a
Facebook account, and two-thirds of them use it while at work…[moreover], one
in 33 workers built their entire Facebook profile during work hours” (Morris,
2011). Setting up a profile on any site takes at least fifteen minutes or more,
many other tasks could be accomplished in that small amount of time.

How can employers combat this plight of productivity?
“The etiquette of blogging, tweeting, [and] social networking, hasn’t matured
at the same rate the media itself has, and so there’s no real ‘Miss Manners’
version of how to behave online that’s pervaded the culture” (Morris, 2011).
Freedom of speech and privacy rights makes tackling the issue of social media
almost impossible for employers due to possible litigation from disgruntled
employees. Additionally, employers believe that they have a “right to know”
exactly how their workers conduct themselves and portray the company. “Another
2009 study confirms that employees are acting on this perceived “right to know”…36
percent of the 438 management, marketing and human resources executives
surveyed use social media to see what current employees may be sharing online,
and 25 percent use social media to check the background of perspective
employees” (Jackson, 2011). This new employer interest in employees’ social
sites has workers on the rampage, demanding that their right to privacy be
observed.

Finding a balance between employee and employer rights on
the issue of social media will not be an easy task. However, there are can be done
logical options for employers to reach a compromise that fits the workplace
environment. Renee M. Jackson suggests a few great ideas in her article,
“Social media and the workplace: A comprehensive guide for employers” (Jackson,
2011):

  • “Screen
    applicants in a uniform manner. Create a list of the social media sites that
    will be searched for each applicant” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “Have
    a neutral party (e.g., an employee in a non-decision making role) conduct the
    social media search, filtering out any protected class information about the
    applicant and reporting only on information which may lawfully be considered in
    making the hiring decision” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “[Do
    not] Friend applicants in order to gain access to their non-public networking
    profiles” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “As
    always, employers must be able to point to a legitimate, non-discriminating
    reason for the hiring decision, with documentation to support the decision” (Jackson,
    2011).  (always speak with an attorney
    before making a decision about hiring and firing due to information found on
    the social media site)

Although
this policy alone will not fix the problem as a whole, there is still the issue
of what to do about employees ‘milking the clock’ via the computer. While there
are no absolute ways to eliminate the employer’s plight of slacking employees,
there are some suggestions for deterrents. With so many company risks, it is
best to have a no tolerance policy in place. Some of those risks are obvious,
whereas, others are not; again, Jackson gives great advice in this area:

Jackson
explains some of those risks as:

  • “[Employees
    abusing] their access to their employer’s confidential or inside information by
    making unauthorized disclosures of company information (confidential,
    proprietary, and/or trade secret)” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “[Employees]
    misuse social media in a way that leads to corporate embarrassment and public
    relations issues” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “Comment
    or post photos on social media sites that disparage the employer or its
    customers, thus negatively impacting the employer’s brand or image” (Jackson,
    2011).
  • “[Employees
    may also] blog or comment via social media regarding confidential information
    about mass layoffs, confidential settlement or severance agreements, and the
    like” (Jackson, 2011).

While
these are not the totality of damages, an employee can cause via the social
media, it gives the general idea. An employer may think they are in a catch
twenty-two because of the up-and-coming generation of workers that are glued to
their high-tech distractions; however, this is not the case. Jackson states,
that while an out-right ban would not be in an employer’s best interest due to
the newer generation, there are some great tools that can be used to set the
standard. Jackson (an employment attorney) gives these suggestions:

  • “A
    clear statement that misuse of social media can be grounds for discipline, up to
    and including termination” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    prohibition on disclosure of the employer’s confidential, trade secret or
    proprietary information” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    request that employees keep company logos or trademarks off their blogs and
    personal Web pages or profiles (including photos of employees in uniform) and
    not to mention the company in posts, unless for business purposes” (Jackson,
    2011).
  • “An
    instruction that employees not post or blog during business hours, unless for
    business purposes” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    prohibition on using e-mail addresses to register for social media sites”
    (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    prohibition on posting false information about the company or its employees,
    customers or affiliates” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    general instruction that employees use good judgment and take personal and
    professional responsibility for what they publish” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    statement that all employees with personal blogs that identify their must
    include a disclaimer that the views expressed are those of the individual and
    not the employer” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “An
    instruction on proper topics for discussion that add value, if encouraging
    employee use of social media for marking or business development purposes”
    (Jackson, 2011).

As
stated before, these policies will not stop all the slacking and issues
about this long-reaching social tool. However, they will give way to a
completely new concept on dealing with this inevitable clash between employee
and employer. The important thing for all to remember is that we are in this
world together; therefore, we must respect the boundaries, time, and money of
others, not to mention one’s self. Finally, the one certain way to protect the
integrity of everyone involved is, for all to put in an honest day’s work, for
an honest day’s pay.

References

Jackson, Renee M.
(2011, May 19). Social media and the workplace: a comprehensive guide for

employers. http://www.massbar.org/publications/section-review/2010/v12-n2/social-media

-and-and-the-workplace

Morris, Joe. (2011,
April 29). Social media in the Workplace: Information, image at risk without

established policies. The Nashville
Ledger. http://www.nashvilleledger.com/editorial/Article

Email.aspx?id=52765&print=1

Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction?


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Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction?

Imagine if you will:

It is just another day delivering packages to the locals,
driving down a long country road going from drop off to drop off. The next
stop, a routine house on the route, seemed to be the normal stop and drop; then
something frightens you to the point of flight. Fight never thinking of
entering the thought process. This sounds as if I am describing a scene from a
horror flick; on the contrary, this indeed happened to Jan Thompson, a delivery
person from Ballard County, Kentucky. In “Forest
Creature”
, Jan tells her terrifying tell of seeing what she describes as a
8 foot, 500 to 600lb, thick furry shadow in the woods behind the house she was
delivering to that day. In this article, Jan states what she saw through her
fright:

“The
sound came from the thick group of trees and echoed over the fields in thick
vibrations. It was a mixture of a deep lion’s growl that heightened into a
scream containing the same low, deep, load rhythm. I stood stunned, half scared
and half curious. From the area of the trees where the sound traveled from was
the figure of something very tall, very large in width and very strong, as some
of the smaller pine trees about 10 to 15 feet in height were being shaken back
and forth vigorously and violently. The figure itself was not totally visible
but hidden mostly behind the shadows of the larger trees behind and around it.
It was dark in color, guessing dark brown or black, with a thick furry outline.
It looked to have stood over 8 feet in height. It began moving along the edge
of the trees towards the house, just keeping inside the safety of the shadows”
(Thompson, 2011).

Thompson
is sure that what she saw was a ‘yeti’ or ‘bigfoot’. Could it have been the
legendary creature she saw in the shadows? I suppose anything is possible. I
try to keep an open mind, just in case. Whether anyone believes Jan or not,
this creäture was indeed very real to her. Thirty years old and seven months
pregnant, her hormones and emotions must have gone haywire. That being said,
there also may be another explanation for Jan’s sighting. As I mentioned, Jan
was seven months pregnant, she also drives a delivery truck dropping packages;
it may be that she did not sleep well the night before, or even a night or two.
It has been suggested that as many as 75% of pregnant women suffer from
insomnia, and thus sleep deprivation sometimes can induce hallucinations
(Roberts, 2011).

Similarly,
coffee and caffeine, if ingested several times a day, added with sleep
deprivation, could make a person at higher risk for ‘seeing’ things others do
not; this may explain why many hunters’ report seeing Bigfoot. Many women have
reported having episodes of hallucinations, which could also be caused from a
hormone imbalance, caffeine, and insomnia. Furthermore, sometimes woman, while
pregnant, develop diabetes; which can also cause a person to hallucinate.
Whichever the case, reasonable doubt that she actually seen Bigfoot can be
established (Roberts, 2011)

On
a side note:

The reason that I chose this story is because
I lived in Ballard County, Kentucky, in the exact area she speaks of. I
remember the town folk scaring the pee out of their charges with the Bigfoot
story to keep their behinds out of the woods and in toe. I never believed it
myself; an avid camper, I had camped at Land Between the Lakes and other areas
alone for years, never did see Bigfoot or any other creatures. Additionally, I
hunted the woods of Kentucky for many a year, and again, I seen no Yeti. I will
not go as far as to say that they do not, or did not ever exist, but, I will
say that in each case that I have researched, other explanations exists, and
therefore, cannot be dismissed.

References

Roberts, T. (2011, May
4). Treating insomnia during pregnancy. Buzzle.com.

http://www.bazzle.com/article/treating-insomnia

Thompson, J. (2011, May
4). Forest creature. Jan’s Tales. Guardian Tales.
http://www.guardiantales.freespace.com/Jan-Forest.htm.

60 Year Civil War Continues


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60 Year Civil War Continues   

The fight for the legalization of marijuana has raged within America for decades. Millions of people in America have been ticketed or imprisoned for growing and possessing the drug.  NORML reports, “Over 20 million American citizens have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965…while over 100 million Americans have used marijuana…most use it regularly.” (NORML, 2010) Although some have claimed to not have inhaled, they have still tried it. The country’s jails and prisons are packed to capacity; so much so that, they are releasing criminals back into society before serving out their sentences. American economical and judicial struggles have everyone, including the government, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and there is no relief in sight. The legalization of marijuana would bring economical and judicial relief to America.

Although most polls show up to 60 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, the White House shows no sign of surrender. “In fact, the default fate of any politician who publicly considers the legalization of marijuana is to be cast into the outer darkness…(Klein, 2009) There was some show of promise when previous pot puffing President Elect Barack Obama stated he would bud-out of medical marijuana issues. “[But] incoming drug czar Gill Kerlikowske declared…that legalization is not up for debate under any circumstances.” (Dickinson, 2009) While the opponents turn a blind eye to the benefits of legalization, and a deaf ear to the American voters, supporters are circling the wagons and preparing to fight for their freedom and rights.  The debate over the legalization of marijuana and hemp continues to be the longest civil war in history, lasting 60 years to date.

The government first declared war in the 1950s, when they banned American farmers from cultivating hemp because of its relationship to marijuana. Hemp is the stock, leaves, and flowers off of the marijuana plant; it is used to make paper and over 25,000 other goods for trade. In early America, some farmers were mandated to grow hemp. As a matter of fact, “many of our earliest Presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, all grew hemp.” (Huff, 2010) America has strayed far from our founders’ intentions; far from the freedoms once had. Prohibition was wrong then, and it is wrong now; legalizing marijuana would only help the economical and judicial plight of America.

On the judicial side of the matter, American police officers have arrested or ticketed almost 900,000 people for smoking or possessing marijuana, which is just in the year 2008. The prohibition costs tax payers’ nearly $70 billion dollars a year on prisons and jails alone. Not to mention the almost $160 billion on police and court costs. (Klein, 2009) America’s prisons and jails are so over populated; prisoners are turned out into society before their sentences are complete. Violence occurs all along the Mexican/American boarders, drug cartels and thugs fighting over drug territories, murders and kidnappings are a frightening daily reality. Legalization will take the power away from the criminal, and pull America out of the judicial and economical hole the government has dug through years of prohibition.

Economically, the legalization of marijuana makes more sense than not. The money it cost to keep this war going alone could pay off some of America’s debt; the government could save billions in court costs, police salary, border patrol, and (DEA) Drug Enforcement Agency costs; leaving more money for education and reducing the defecate. Prisons would have 40% more room, so that hardened criminals could finish out sentences before being released. “It’s a crisis of incarceration…Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1,200 percent since 1980, “a senator from Virginia proclaimed to Dickinson. (Dickinson, 2009) This means that the cost to American tax payers goes up as well. The legalization of marijuana would also create jobs and a bailout for the American farmer; furthermore, stores selling hemp products and accessories would generate jobs and tax revenues, a potential economical stimulus package. The legalization of marijuana would create employment opportunities and tax revenues, economically reviving America.

Opponents spew skewed information across American airwaves to lasso the uncertain to their side, where, scientific information on the medicinal advantages of marijuana see little or no media coverage. Medical studies have shown that moderate marijuana smoking reduces the risks of some cancers; the THC in the marijuana has also been shown to “kill cancer cells, while leaving the healthy ones alone.” Most Americans also believe alcohol to be more dangerous than marijuana. In fact, health costs are lower in those whom partake in Cannabis, than those who drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.” (Armentano, 2010)  Marijuana has also shown promise to those with mental illnesses, such as PTSD, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Even war veterans are now able to get access to medicinal marijuana without fear of losing their benefits; it seems as if the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs are loosening their reigns of prohibition, changing their stance on the use of marijuana among veterans. (CMAJ, 2010) The legalization of marijuana could save billions of dollars in health care costs, therefore, helping America’s economy.

The opposition wants Americans to believe that ending prohibition would be society’s immoral down-fall. That, children would have easier access, violence would increase, and the very moral fiber of America would unravel at the seams. On the contrary, an ID would have to be shown to buy marijuana, just like cigarettes and alcohol, making it more difficult for minors’ to obtain (a drug dealer does not ask for ID). Individuals caught driving under the influence of marijuana would be subjected to the current penalties for DUI offenses. Studies have shown that marijuana eases anxiety and relaxes the mind; therefore, acts of violence should go down, not up; some people even claimed to have formed a relationship with God, a peaceful existence. Taking the criminals “corner on the market” would decrease the violence that already exists, freeing officers and detention staff to tend to other charges. For every excuse the opposition has for not legalizing marijuana, supporters’ has at least three logical reasons why it would be best for America. The legalization of marijuana would only help in the economical and judicial reform of America.

When users speak of the relief that marijuana provides them, it is hard to envision the picture that the opponents’ paint of the drug. Patients’ proclaim pain relief that they have never gotten from narcotics, without the nausea and chemicals. A war veteran explains to the Canadian Medical Association Journal about the first time he tried the controversial medication.

“What I experienced was different. I experienced relief. I was a mess and for the first time in months I felt relief. At that moment, it was a new relationship with that plant.” (CMAJ, 2010)

There are many testimonies just like this across America. Patients with cancer, HIV, MS, and other chronic and deadly illnesses rave about the relief from symptoms they receive from the use of medicinal marijuana, in fact, most non-patients’ state if sick they would consider its use. One cancer patient stated, “If it were not for medical marijuana, I would not be able to eat a thing.” (Hicks, 2010) Claiming the drug cures the nausea caused by chemotherapy. The legalization of marijuana would give access to this relief to all Americans for purchase; this will produce state and federal revenue, which will help the American economy.

Yet, with all the proof of medicinal, social, and economic benefits, the government still refuses to discuss the possibilities of ending pot prohibition. The American voters’ must force the hand of government to relinquish the right back to the people of the United States. When an entity claims dominion gaining full control and dictatorship, resentment will fill the hearts of the people. In this war only one flag is considered a sign of peace and surrender, the end of the war; the red, white, and blue, waving a promise of legalization and restoration of the peoples’ right!

Armentano, P. (2010, August 29). 5 things the corporate media and government don’t want you to know. Retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/148013

(Armentano, 2010)

CMAJ, Initials. (2010). United States war veterans gain access to medicinal marijuana. Canadian Medical Association Journal, doi: 10.1503/cmaj.109-3334

(CMAJ, 2010)

Dickinson, T. (2009, June 25). A drug war truce? Rolling Stone, (1081), Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.wf2dnvr8.webfeat.org/ehost/delivery?vid=3&hid=17&sid=c7eaa

(Dickinson, 2009)

Gutierrez, D. (2009, July 25). Marijuana has anti-cancer properties. Retrieved from http://www.nayuralnews.com/z026697_research_marijuana

(Gutierrez, 2009)

Huff, E.A. (2010, May 23). Hemp history week, a look back at America’s hemp heritage. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/z028852_hemp_history.html

(Huff, 2010)

Huff, E. (2009, November 16). American medical association urges federal government to support medicinal marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/z027499_marijuana_medicinalgovernment

(Huff, 2010)

Klein, J. (2009, April 16). Why legalizing marijuana makes sense. Time, Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1889021,00.html

(Klein, 2009)

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Categories: UncategorizedTags: Cannabis, Legality of cannabis, Medical cannabis, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, United States