Archive for the ‘abuse’ Category

Japan police to question man on China organ transplants

November 12, 2008

Japanese police plan to question a man on suspicion of illegally brokering organ transplant operations in China for Japanese patients, reports said Wednesday.

Police plan to grill Hiroyuki Nagase, 52, on suspicion of violating Japan’s organ transplant law, which bans the brokering of organ transplants for profit, the Yomiuri Shimbun and other media reported.

A police spokesman declined to comment, but the health ministry confirmed it had received inquiries from the police linked to the case.

“They have told me that there was information that Mr. Nagase might be deported to Japan, and that they wanted to know which case would be illegal organ trading,” said Yoichi Hiratsuka, an official at the health ministry.

Nagase, who headed the China International Organ Transplant Centre in the northeast city of Shenyang, was arrested last year by the Chinese police for allegedly brokering human transplant operations on the Internet.

But the Chinese authorities changed the charge to false advertising when he was indicted, the Yomiuri said.

On October 30, a court in Shenyang sentenced Nagase to 14 months in prison, including time already served in custody, followed by deportation, it said.

Nagase, who flew back to Tokyo on Tuesday, told the Yomiuri that it was not illegal to broker organ transplants for profit in China and he was only doing what other doctors also did.

There is a severe shortage of organ donors in Japan and hundreds of patients go abroad each year for transplants.


China skirts UN’s questions on its torture record

November 10, 2008

China watchers are not at all surprised that the big communist nation dodges criticiism and investigation….and not for the first time….

By FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press Writer

GENEVA – China refused Monday to answer questions from a U.N. human rights panel about the alleged torture and disappearance of dissidents, or provide official figures on the mistreatment of detainees in its prisons.

Campaigners have long criticized the country for failing to live up to a 1984 U.N. anti-torture accord, citing the secrecy of its courts and the persecution of lawyers who highlight abuses.

Li Baodong, China’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said his government had “zero tolerance for torture” and was making progress in stamping out abuse.

“The concept of prohibition of torture is gaining widespread recognition among the judiciary,” he told a public meeting of the U.N. Committee Against Torture.

But Li and 31 other members of China’s delegation rejected requests for detailed information on issues such as forced disappearances and prisoner abuse.

Three years ago, the U.N.’s torture investigator said inmates told him they were forced to lie still for weeks, faced beatings with electric batons or sticks, or faced other ill-treatment. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also have documented cases where they say torture was committed by state officials.

Felice Gaer, one of the U.N. panel’s 10 members, said she had hoped to receive more specific answers from China during the two-day hearing, which began Friday.

“The problem is not the absence of statistics but the inability to make these statistics public,” she said.

Gaer also cited individual cases that China had been asked to explain, including the disappearance and prosecution of religious figures, human rights campaigners and lawyers.

Chinese officials addressed only one case, that of Gendun Choekyi Nyima, who in 1995 was chosen by the Dalai Lama to become the Panchen Lama, Tibetan Buddhism‘s second-highest ranking figure.

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Museum to showcase China’s forced labour camps

November 9, 2008

After languishing 19 years in China‘s forced labour camps, a Chinese dissident has set up a museum in Washington to highlight the “horrors and atrocities” in these secret detention facilities.

Harry Wu, who labored in 12 different camps in China from 1960 to 1979, set up the museum in memory of the millions who he said perished within the camps, known as “Laogai” or reform-through-labor camps.

by P. Parameswaran, AFP

Wu hopes it “will preserve the memory of the Laogai’s many victims, including the millions who perished within the labor camps, and serve to educate the public about the horrors and atrocities committed by China’s communist regime,” a statement from his Laogai Research Foundation said.

A 1995 photo shows US human rights activist Harry Wu (C), standing ...
A 1995 photo shows US human rights activist Harry Wu (C), standing between two Chinese policeman taken from a video offered for sale to foreign news agencies. After languishing 19 years in China’s forced labour camps, a Chinese dissident has set up a museum in Washington to highlight the “horrors and atrocities” in these secret detention facilities.(AFP/File)

“To this end, the museum will not only introduce the history and structure of the Laogai, but will also tell the personal stories of many of its prisoners,” it said.

Materials on display at the museum, to open to the public Thursday, include photographs, government documents and prisoner uniforms from Wu’s own archives or donated by other Laogai survivors.

Wu set up his foundation in 1992, seven years after he fled to the United States where he obtained American citizenship.

The Laogai camps were establishd under China’s former leader Mao Zedong after the communists came to power in China in 1949. They included both common criminals and political prisoners.

About 40-50 million people have been imprisoned in the Laogai, many of them prisoners of conscience, Wu’s group said.

In 1990, China abandoned the term Laogai and labelled the detention facilities as “prisons” instead but Wu maintained that evidence gathered by his foundation suggested that forced labor was “as much a part of its prison system today as it ever was.”

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Desmond Tutu: Obama For America’s global image

November 9, 2008

On the night of America’s election last Tuesday, an Ethiopian American immigrant told Peace and Freedom that Barack Obama had more a global impact on the image of America than any other man ever…


By Desmond Tutu
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page B01

CAPE TOWN I am rubbing my eyes in disbelief and wonder. It can’t be true that Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan, is the next president of the United States.

But it is true, exhilaratingly true. An unbelievable turnaround. I want to jump and dance and shout, as I did after voting for the first time in my native South Africa on April 27, 1994.

We owe our glorious victory over the awfulness of apartheid in South Africa in large part to the support we received from the international community, including the United States, and we will always be deeply grateful. But for those of us who have looked to America for inspiration as we struggled for democracy and human rights, these past seven years have been lean ones.

A few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we had our first shock, hearing your president respond not with the statesmanlike demeanor we had come to expect from a U.S. head of state but like a Western gunslinger. Later, it seemed that much of American society was following his lead.

When war began, first in Afghanistan and not long after in Iraq, we read allegations of prisoner abuse at Bagram air base in Afghanistan and of rendition to countries notorious for practicing torture. We saw the horrific images from Abu Ghraib and learned of gruesome acts performed in the name of gathering information. Sometimes the torture itself was couched in the government’s euphemisms — calling waterboarding an “interrogation technique.”

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General bucks culture of silence on mental health

November 8, 2008

It takes a brave soldier to do what Army Maj. Gen. David Blackledge did in Iraq. It takes as much bravery to do what he did when he got home.

Blackledge got psychiatric counseling to deal with wartime trauma, and now he is defying the military’s culture of silence on the subject of mental health problems and treatment.

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

“It’s part of our profession … nobody wants to admit that they’ve got a weakness in this area,” Blackledge said of mental health problems among troops returning from America’s two wars.

In this photograph provided by Maj. Gen. David Blackledge, Blackledge, ... 
In this photograph provided by Maj. Gen. David Blackledge, Blackledge, right, stands in front of a helicopter in Iraq in this undated photograph. Blackledge got psychiatric counseling to deal with wartime trauma, and now is defying the military’s culture of silence on the subject of mental health problems and treatment. ‘It’s part of our profession … nobody wants to admit that they’ve got a weakness in this area,’ Blackledge said of mental health problems among troops returning from America’s two wars. The man at left is unidentified.(AP Photo/Blackledge Family Photo)

“I have dealt with it. I’m dealing with it now,” said Blackledge, who came home with post-traumatic stress. “We need to be able to talk about it.”

As the nation marks another Veterans Day, thousands of troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.

Up to 20 percent of the more than 1.7 million who’ve served in the wars are estimated to have symptoms. In a sign of how tough it may be to change attitudes, roughly half of those who need help aren’t seeking it, studies have found.

Despite efforts to reduce the stigma of getting treatment, officials say they fear generals and other senior leaders remain unwilling to go for help, much less talk about it, partly because they fear it will hurt chances for promotion.

That reluctance is also worrisome because it sends the wrong signal to younger officers and perpetuates the problem leaders are working to reverse.

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Due To Sex Scandal; Future Candidates for Catholic Priest Must Meet These Psychological Screening Guidelines

October 31, 2008

The Vatican issued new psychological screening guidelines for seminarians Thursday — the latest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to be more selective about its priesthood candidates following a series of sex abuse scandals.

The church said it issued the new guidelines to help church leaders weed out candidates with “psychopathic disturbances.” The scandals have rocked the church in recent years, triggering lawsuits that have cost hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.

Three priests cross St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, in this ... 
Three priests cross St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, in this
Oct. 18, 2002 file photo.
(AP Photo/Luciano Del Castillo)

“(The guidelines) became ever more urgent because of the sexual scandals,” Monsignor Jean-Louis Brugues told reporters. He stressed, however, that psychological testing was used in some seminaries as far back as the 1960s — or at least a decade before the sexual abuse scandals exploded in public.

“In all too many cases, psychological defects, sometimes of a pathological kind, reveal themselves only after ordination to the priesthood,” the guidelines said. “Detecting defects earlier would help avoid many tragic experiences.”

The guidelines said problems like “confused or not yet well-defined” sexual identities need to be addressed.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said the Vatican needs to go beyond screening seminarians to end what the group calls the church’s “virtually unchanged culture of secrecy and unchecked power in the hierarchy” that left dangerous priests in parishes.

“Every barrel will always have some bad apples,” the Survivors Network said. “Real change requires effectively reforming the barrel and those who oversee it.”

Vatican officials conducted an evaluation of U.S. Roman Catholic seminaries in response to the abuse crisis to look for anything that contributed to the scandal. The evaluation was completed in July of 2006, but the results have not been made public.

The bishops and seminary staff who conducted the onsite reviews gave special attention to what seminarians are taught about chastity and celibacy. The Vatican also directed the evaluators to look for “evidence of homosexuality” in the schools.

Studies commissioned by the bishops’ conference have found that the majority of known victims of abuse by priests in the last 50 years were adolescent boys. In response, some Catholics have blamed gay clergy for the scandal; experts on sex offenders contend homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to molest children.

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Future Candidates for Catholic Priesthood to Undergo Psychological Tests

October 30, 2008

Candidates for the Catholic priesthood should undergo psychological tests to screen out heterosexuals unable to control their sexual urges and men with strong homosexual tendencies, the Vatican said on Thursday.

In a new document — the second in three years to deal with the effects of a sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Church six years ago — the Vatican said the early detection of “sometimes pathological” psychological defects in men before they become priests would help avoid tragic consequences.

By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Seminary rectors and other officials should use outside experts if they cannot handle the screening themselves, it said.

Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg

“The Church … has a duty of discerning a vocation and the suitability of candidates for the priestly ministry,” said the document from the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.

“The priestly ministry … requires certain abilities as well as moral and theological virtues, which are supported by a human and psychic — and particularly affective — equilibrium, so as to allow the subject to be adequately predisposed for giving of himself in the celibate life,” it said.

Vatican officials told a news conference the tests would not be obligatory but decided on a case-by-case basis when seminary rectors wanted to be sure a man was qualified for the priesthood.

The testing by a psychologist or psychotherapist should aim to detect “grave immaturity” and imbalances in the candidates’ personality.

“Such areas of immaturity would include strong affective dependencies; notable lack of freedom in relations; excessive rigidity of character; lack of loyalty; uncertain sexual identity; deep-seated homosexual tendencies, etc. If this should be the case, the path of formation will have to be interrupted,” the document said.

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Ryan O’Neal, son charged with felony drug possession

October 16, 2008

Well, celebrity drug abuse and violations of law are not new anymore but this case is more intertwined than most….
By Andrew Blankstein
Los Angeles Times

Prosecutors charged actor Ryan O’Neal and his son Redmond today with felony drug possession.

The O’Neals were arrested Sept. 17 after Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies conducting a probation search at the 67-year-old actor’s Malibu home said they found methamphetamine on Redmond O’Neal, 23, and in his father’s bedroom.

The search was related to a case involving Redmond O’Neal, 23, who was on probation after his guilty plea in June for felony drug possession and misdemeanor driving under the influence.

Ryan O’Neal, who was nominated for an Oscar for the 1970 movie “Love Story,” is charged with one felony count of possession of methamphetamine. The son faces the same felony count and two misdemeanors: possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal possession of pepper spray.

Redmond, whose mother is actress Farrah Fawcett, was arrested last year on charges related to carrying heroin and crystal meth while driving under the influence in Malibu. He pleaded not guilty to drug possession and one misdemeanor DUI charge as part of a deal intended to help him avoid jail. He was sentenced to three years’ probation and $1,688 in fines for the DUI charge. In another case from 2005, Redmond O’Neal was placed on probation stemming from an arrest on suspicion of methamphetamine and cocaine possession.

Ryan O’Neal was arrested last year on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm after firing a gunshot during an argument with another son, Griffin O’Neal. The actor told authorities that Griffin, 43, had picked up a fireplace poker and started swinging it. Griffin grazed him four or five times and “aimed at my head, I ducked, he hit his own girlfriend in the head,” Ryan O’Neal said at the time. The actor said he fired a warning shot intended to scare his son. Both defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 13 in Malibu.
  • Redmond O'Neal 
  • Ryan O'Neal 
  • High Prescription Drug Use and Abuse in Colleges

    March 8, 2008

    By John E. Carey
    Peace and Freedom
    March 9, 2008

    American college students use and abuse prescription drugs like never before.  They are following in the always dangerous and sometimes deadly steps of celebrities.
    alprazolam 2mg tablet bottle

    alprazolam 2mg tablet bottle

    Actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription medications including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills, the New York City medical examiner’s office said.  Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and other “celebrities” have also been known to take these medications.  Used together — and with alcohol — these drugs have an unpredictable impact, can be addictive and are sometimes fatal. 

    Lohan in a frightful piblicity photo.

    And the shooters in the most violent campus multiple-killings, at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, have both had some history with a mixture of prescription medications.
    The journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine recently reported that compared to college students taking prescription drugs for medical reasons, those who use medications without a prescription are more likely to abuse illegal drugs.  The report also gave information on the high number of our college students using such drugs as sleep aids and anti-depressants.

    Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., M.S.W. (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) says that in the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in prescription rates of medications – such as stimulants, opioids, and benzodiazepines – that are likely to be abused in the United States.

    “These increases are likely the result of many factors, including improved awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of several disorders, increased duration of treatment, availability of new medications and increased marketing,” said Dr. McCabe. “The increases in prescription rates have raised public health concerns because of the abuse potential of these medications and high prevalence rates of non-medical use, abuse and dependence, especially among young adults 18 to 24 years of age.”

    Most people familiar with today’s young people, the Hollywood tabloids and other information sources can readily conclude what drugs are most used and abused.

    Painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills are the most used and abused drugs among our college students and throughout our society, experts say.

    According to Medical News Today, Dr. McCabe used a Web survey of 3,639 college students to acquire information about prescription drug use and potential drug abuse. The average age of the sample was 19.9 years. Students were asked if they used prescribed or had used without a prescription.

    Students were also asked if they had experienced drug-related problems like engaging in illegal activities to obtain drugs, having withdrawal symptoms, or developing medical problems due to drug use.

    Results of the survey are summarized below:

    –59.9% reported medically using at least one of the four drugs with a prescription

    –About 20% reported taking them without a prescription for non-medical reasons

    –39.7% reported that they had used the drugs only by prescription

    –4.4% used medications, but were not prescribed them

    –15.8% reported using some medications, both with and without prescriptions

    The researcher also found that students who reported using drugs without prescriptions were more likely to screen positive for drug abuse compared to students who never used them or who had only used them for medical reasons.

    Dr. McCabe believes that physicians should be extremely careful when prescribing commonly abused drugs to college students.

    “Clearly, appropriate diagnosis, treatment and therapeutic monitoring of college students who are receiving abusable prescription medications is crucial, not only to improve clinical outcomes but also to help prevent the abuse of these medications within a population that is largely responsible for its own medication management,” he writes.

    “Finally, any efforts aimed at reducing non-medical use of prescription drugs will have to take into consideration that these drugs are highly effective and safe medications for most patients who use them as prescribed.”

    There is another insidious implication of Dr. McCabe’s study.  If college students are taking these drugs at an alarming rate; when did they start?  For most, they start down this path while in high school or before.

    Some of the Commonly Abused Medications

    Oxycodone, a painkiller, is the active ingredient in the prescription drug OxyContin. Hydrocodone, another painkiller, is often combined with acetaminophen, as in the prescription drug Vicodin. Diazepam, sold under the commercial name Valium, is used to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. Temazepam, brand name Restoril, is prescribed in the short term to help patients fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.

    Alprazolam, commonly known under the brand name Xanax, is part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.

    Doxylamine, found in common “nighttime sleep aids,” is an an antihistamine that causes drowsiness as a side effect and is used in the short-term treatment of insomnia. (It is also used, in combination with decongestants, to relieve cough and cold symptoms.)

    Ambian is a nightime sleep aid that is often abused and can be addictive.

    The painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone are opiates, which are dangerous when combined with anti-anxiety medicines like diazepam, alprazolam and temazepam. According to a Drug Enforcement Administration Web site, oxycodone is often abused and an acute overdose can cause respiratory arrest and death.

    Diazepam is sold under the brand name Valium and alprazolam is sold under the name Xanax. Temazepam is also used as a sleep aid and sold under the name Restoril. Doxylamine, a sleep aid and antihistamine, is an active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter medications, including NyQuil.

    Northern Illinois Univ Killer Took Usual Deadly Cocktail Of Prescribed Drugs

    AP probe finds drugs in drinking water

    Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: Alarming Facts

    Hearing Seals Fate of Psychiatrist

    February 2, 2008

    By Sandra G. Boodman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, February 2, 2008; Page B04

    The hearing was entering its 10th hour Thursday night when Arlington County psychiatrist Martin H. Stein learned that his 40-year career as a practicing physician was effectively over.

    The Virginia Board of Medicine denied Stein’s petition to reinstate the license he surrendered six years ago for his treatment of 10 patients, among them a 4-year-old whose legs he bound with duct tape.

    The three-member panel found that Stein had harmed 17 other patients by over-prescribing sometimes dangerous combinations of drugs, diagnosing nonexistent conditions and engaging in unethical behavior with female patients.

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    Addicted doctors still practice while in rehab