Archive for the ‘Britney Spears’ Category

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.
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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.

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Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: Alarming Facts

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Northern Illinois Univ Killer Took Usual Deadly Cocktail Of Prescribed Drugs

February 21, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 21, 2008

Jessica Baty said that her boyfriend of two years, Steven Kazmierczak, 27, had been taking Xanax, used to treat anxiety, and Ambien, a sleep agent, as well as the antidepressant Prozac.  All apparently were doctor prescribed medications.

Mr. Kazmierrczak killed five students one week ago today at Northern Illinois University before he killed himself.

This undated image obtained from a MySpace webpage shows Steven ...
Kazmierczak (AP photo)

CNN said that Kazmierczak had been taking the three drugs prescribed for him by his psychiatrist, prior to the Northern Illinois University killings.

We at Peace and Freedom have written about the danger of these particular drugs before.  Moreover, nobody seems to know or understand what happens inside the human mind when these drugs are used in combination.

All of these drugs were found nearby the body of actor Heath Ledger after his death.

Ledger 

Actor Heath Ledger, 28, died January 22 at an apartment in Lower Manhattan.

Britney Spear and other troubled celebrities have also taken two or more of these drugs in combination and experienced personality changes.

Britney Spears is seen here in January 2008. A Los Angeles court ... 
Britney Spears is seen here in January 2008.  Her year so far has featured admission to a hospital psychiatric unit for evaluation, a continuing custody battle with her “ex” over her children and her own custody being awarded to her natural father because a court found her a danger to herself and others, officials said.
(AFP/File/Gabriel Bouys)

Related:

Our Holiday Season: A Good Time To Discuss Drugs and Alcohol in America

Death Threat: What Do Many Teens Have in Common With Heath Ledger, Britney Spears?

Drug Abuse, Drug Overdose Killed Heath Ledger

Britney Spears: Decline Repeatedly Noted Before
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USA Today
February 21, 2008
From staff and wire reports

DEKALB, Ill. — Steven Kazmierczak was an academic star at Northern Illinois University. Nowhere was that more apparent than in the Cole Hall auditorium where his passion for sociology began and where he returned to carry out his deadly attack.

Teachers saw a young man eager to learn. His books were littered with tabs, highlighting thoughts he literally wanted at his fingertips.

“He was just devastatingly good, he would talk about ideas,” said Jim Thomas, an emeritus professor of sociology and criminology at NIU.

That makes Kazmierczak’s assault on the hall where he took his first sociology class confusing to people who knew him.

“This young man enjoyed some of the greatest satisfaction and success of his life at this institution, and why he chose to come back to here and commit this heinous crime is a mystery,” NIU spokeswoman Melanie Magara said.

Last Thursday, the 27-year-old opened fire during a science lecture with a shotgun and pistols, killing five students before he committed suicide.

CNN reported Wednesday that Kazmierczak’s former girlfriend, Jessica Baty, said he had been taking Xanax, Ambien and Prozac, prescribed by a psychiatrist. Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug. Prozac is an antidepressant and Ambien is a sleeping aid. Baty said that she tried to persuade him to stop taking one of them and that he stopped taking Prozac three weeks before the attack.

It’s not unheard of for psychiatrists to prescribe all three drugs for one patient, and the combination isn’t necessarily problematic, said Emil Coccaro, psychiatry chief at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Baty also told CNN that Kazmierczak was “being secretive” with his computer. “When he would sit on the couch with his laptop, he would turn it away from me,” she said.

Police continued searching for motives as NIU prepared to mark the first week since the deadly rampage. Beginning today at 3:06 p.m. Central Time, people will observe five minutes of silence as bells at the Holmes Student Center and area churches chime until 3:11 p.m. — one minute for each slain student.

When classes resume Monday, there will be “a significant increase” in security on campus, NIU Police Chief Donald Grady said at a news briefing Wednesday. “We’re going to do everything we possibly can to make certain that not only are the students safe … but that they actually feel safe as well.”

He said investigators have interviewed 100 people and examined 120 pieces of evidence.

Kazmierczak left no suicide note, Grady said.

Drug Abuse Usually Starts At Home

February 7, 2008

ABC News
February 6, 2008

Greg was a good student and thought prescription pills were a “smarter” way to get high.

“I could rationalize and justify taking these pills because doctors made these. It wasn’t like I was buying a white bag on the street,” he explained.

Greg has been sober for about six years.

But doctors say that whether taken alone or mixed, the painkillers teens are abusing are as deadly as street heroin. The proof can be seen in emergency rooms across the country.

The number of lethal prescription drug overdoses has soared 84 percent in five years. And now, more people die from prescription drug overdoses than cocaine and heroin combined.

Abuse prevention expert Linda Surks said, “There’s a perception that they are safe … and that can’t be further from the truth.”

Surks had been working in drug prevention for more than a decade, when her son, Jason, overdosed and died.

“He had a combination of Vicodin, Oxycontin and Xanax in his system,” she said.

Jason was a 19-year-old sophomore at Rutgers University, majoring in pharmacy. His mother had no idea he was ordering and using drugs from the Internet without a prescription.

An ABC News team placed an online order. Less than 24 hours later, a bottle of antidepressants was delivered to the team’s doorstep. No one asked for a prescription or any identification. All they wanted was a credit card number. It is illegal, but that doesn’t stop thousands of Web sites from selling drugs.

Frustrated advocacy groups can only warn parents that the teen drug of choice shouldn’t be stored next to the toothpaste.

Steve Pasierb, president of Drug-Free America, said, “Sometimes these don’t belong in your medicine cabinet. Sometimes they belong in the family safe.”

Britney Spears: Two More Weeks In Hospital

February 4, 2008
By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
 
February 4, 2008 

On Sunday a judge in Los Angeles extended Britney Spears‘ stay in a psychiatric ward two weeks under a section in state law that allows patients to be kept for medical treatment if they are found to be gravely disabled or a danger to themselves or others.

The extension was viewed as a safety measure that may permit Ms. Spears time to detoxify or “detox” under supervised conditions.  She is unable to self medicate in the UCLA Medical Center where she is receiving care.
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Ms. Spears was to be released Sunday from the Medical Center‘s psychiatric ward after undergoing a 72-hour mental evaluation under California State Code 5150.

The Associated Press reported that Ms. Spears’ extension of detainment Sunday made it unlikely she would appear at a scheduled Monday morning hearing over custody of her children, 1-year-old Jayden James and 2-year-old Sean Preston.
Britney Spears arrives for the grand opening party of LAX nightclub ... 
Britney Spears arrives for the grand opening party of LAX nightclub at the Luxor hotel-casino in Las Vegas, in a Sept. 1, 2007 file photo. A judge extended her stay in a psychiatric ward Sunday Feb.3, 2008 , as doctors decided to keep her hospitalized an additional 14 days.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
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Ms. Spears, 26, lost custody of the boys to ex-husband Kevin Federline following an incident last month when she refused to return the children after a visit.

Ms. Spears was briefly hospitalized because of her bizarre behavior at that time. On Thursday, she was again hospitalized — apparently due to a family intervention.

On Friday, Court Commissioner Reva Goetz ruled that Spears needed someone else to take over her personal and financial affairs.  Her father James is now accountable to the court for her care and well being — removing Ms. Spears from her manager and mother.

Spears’ father, James, and her attorney, Andrew Wallet, were granted conservatorship, but a court hearing was scheduled Monday afternoon to review the matter.

A UCLA Medical Center spokesman did not immediately return a phone message Sunday seeking comment. Calls to Wallet and attorney Sorrell Trope also were not returned.

Spears’ erratic behavior since she filed for divorce in November 2006 has included appearing in short skirts without underwear, shaving her head, abandoning a car in traffic when it had a flat tire, and recently, holding her dog and sobbing on a sidewalk.

A friend asked me this morning why I was writing about Britney Spears and “pop culture.”  I told him this story was no longer about “pop culture” but is now a familiar saga of drug and alcohol abuse, intervention, mental and medical care and recovery (hopefully).

Ms. Spears is just another media “star” who overused drugs and alcohol.  Now perhaps she can obtain the treatment she needs and return to the spotlight with a new lease on life.

Related:
Teen Media Idols: Drunk, Naked, Pregnant, Unashamed (We Have Pictures!)
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Britney Spears: Decline Repeatedly Noted Before
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Britney Spears: “Dangerous to Herself”

Britney Spears: Decline Repeatedly Noted Before

February 2, 2008

By John E. Carey

A suburban housewife said to me yesterday, “What happened to Britney Spears, all of a sudden.”

The answer is: Nothing.

Like most drug and alcohol abusers, the decline for Britney was prolonged, obvious and intense.
Britney Spears is seen here in January 2008. A Los Angeles court ... 
Britney Spears is seen here in January 2008. A Los Angeles court on Friday awarded Spears’ father control of his daughter’s affairs following her admission to a hospital psychiatric unit for evaluation, officials said.
(AFP/File/Gabriel Bouys)

The real question that faces all of us when we see such a decline in our own midst is: what can we do to help?

The answer is: Intervention.

Intervention is the loving act of saying enough is enough.

Even in our society that promotes freedom above practically all else there are times to say “Stop.” 

“Enough already” may be the phrase that allows life to continue or, for some, return.

In this image from APTN video, Lynne Spears, center, Britney ...
In this image from APTN video, Lynne Spears, center, Britney Spears’ mother is shown leaving UCLA Medical Center with two unidentified people, early Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008, in Los Angeles. Britney Spears was taken from her home by ambulance early Thursday and escorted to the hospital by more than a dozen police officers. A Los Angeles police officer, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the 26-year-old pop star was being taken to ‘get help.’
(AP Photo/APTN)

If you see wild and crazy abuse right before your nose, you are doing God’s work to help find solutions.

And intervention does not, to me, mean one visit to one doctor.  Taking a serious drug and alcohol abuser for a doctor’s “visit” is like taking your car with a steering problem to “Jiffy Lube.”  At both places you’ll leave in an hour with a fluid change.

Meaning the doctor will send the abuser/alcoholic to the pharmacy: which is often the wrong course of action.

And you won’t get your steering fixed.

A friend of mine who runs a treatment center called “The Manor House,” one Bill Alexander, said to me once, “Doctors are killing alcohol and drug users every day.”

One of the “treatment” drugs is often Xanax.

Xanax can kill an alcoholic.

Steve Hayes, the Director of Novus Detox said, “We see it every day.”

Steve had been speaking to a man with a problem similar to Brit’s.

“His life is falling apart,” Steve told me. “This is a guy that relied on medical doctors and trusted the drug companies.”

Intervention takes some work.  But it won’t take you as long as the serious drug or alcohol user has invested in ruination.

The article below appeared in 2006.  It is a reminder that everyone knew Britney was in trouble — even then and probably before.
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Britney Spears: Pill-Popping Dope Fiend?

Semi-reliable news source In Touch Weekly is reporting that Britney Spears may have made the leap from a mere amateur crotch shot queen and raging booze hound to unabashed, pill-popping dope fiend.

Brit was recently spotted by fellow club-goers in a restaurant bathroom with a purse full of pills, including an anti-depressant, Paxil, and an anti-anxiety drug, Xanax. Britney is said to have been popping Xanax like it’s hot – right in front of everyone.

“It looked like a freaking pharmacy in there – I have never seen so many pills,” says a witness. “There was a bottle of Paxil, an antidepressant, and a bottle of Xanax, which treats anxiety, that she took out and put on the counter.”

You’re probably not supposed to mix those drugs, and you’re definitely not supposed to drink while using them.

While both drugs mentioned above are legal if you have a prescription, somehow T.H. Gossip doubts Brit got them from her primary care physician. It’s far more likely Paris Hilton’s pool guy smuggled them up from Tijuana.

This is only the latest event in the ever-evolving Britney Spears train wreck.

Links:

http://www.manorhouserehab.com/

http://www.novusdetox.com:80/

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Britney Spears: “Dangerous to Herself”

Heath Ledger, President Bush, The Addicted and Our Medical Professionals

Nationwide Imminent Danger Alert – Super Bowl Weekend Dangers

Addicts Neglected, Over-Medicated Despite Vast System of “Care”

Our Holiday Season: A Good Time To Discuss Drugs and Alcohol in America

Court: Spears’ dad has temporary control

February 2, 2008
By SOLVEJ SCHOU, Associated Press Writer  

LOS ANGELES – The father of Britney Spears was named her temporary conservator Friday, putting him in control of her welfare a day after she was whisked to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

In a file photo Britney Spears arrives for a post Grammy Awards ... 

Britney. Feb. 8, 2006, in Beverly Hills, Calif. .
(AP Photo/Danny Moloshok/file)

While James Spears was named conservator of the troubled pop star herself, he and an attorney, Andrew Wallete, were name conservators of her estate. The singer’s mother, Lynne Spears, also showed up for the unannounced hearing in Superior Court.

The court also issued a restraining order against Britney Spears’ sometimes manager and friend, Sam Lutfi, and gave permission to change the locks on her estate and remove anyone who is there.

A court creates conservatorships when a person cannot care for themselves or handle their affairs. Commissioner Reva Goetz said Spears would be under conservatorship until Feb. 4, at which time another hearing will be held.

“It is in the best interests of the conservatee to have conservatorship over her person,” Goetz told a packed courtroom.

The conservator will have the power to “restrict visitors,” have around-the-clock security for Spears, and have access to all medical records, Goetz said.

Goetz said conservatorship over the estate was “necessary and appropriate.” She gave approval for the conservator to “take all actions to secure all liquid assets including credit cards.”

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Heath Ledger, President Bush, The Addicted and Our Medical Professionals

Bush Enlists Alcohol Past in New Cause

Teen Media Idols: Drunk, Naked, Pregnant, Unashamed (We Have Pictures!)

Britney Spears: “Dangerous to Herself”

Nationwide Imminent Danger Alert – Super Bowl Weekend Dangers

Britney Spears: Decline Repeatedly Noted Before

Heath Ledger, President Bush, The Addicted and Our Medical Professionals

January 30, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 30, 2008

President Bush yesterday said for the first time that he was actually addicted to alcohol.  This may be a cause for celebration for care givers and addicted people who usually need great resources of hope to conquer addictions.

We are facing a crisis of drug and alcohol addiction in America. Most experts agree that about ten percent of our population of 300 million people are addicted or routine users. Many more family members, friends, co-workers and employers suffer harmful consequences – and our medical establishment is strained by people suffering from addictions.

On January 1, 2008, in almost every hospital emergency room across America, at least one or two individuals could be found suffering from Delirium Tremens (DTs), milder tremors, seizures and other alcohol and drug-related overdose symptoms.

My friend, physician and recovering alcoholic Len, took me for a post-party tour of a big city hospital emergency room on January 1.

“Look at the carnage following the biggest annual drinking binge Americans wink at every year. It will look like this the Monday after the Super Bowl, too,” Len told me.

In fact, experts say “Super Bowl Sunday” is the biggest day for drinking in America because it is an all day party. Most police agencies issue more tickets for impaired driving on “Super Sunday” than on any other day. And the Center for Science in the Public Interest claims that beer and alcohol advertizing for the Super Bowl targets underage drinkers.

Len invited me into his work environment after reading a Washington Times commentary I wrote for the December 27, 2007 editions. That article discussed the time of year when many recovering alcoholics and drug abusers relapse and end up in the hospital: the “holiday” season between Thanksgiving and January 1.

“For all sorts of reasons, many of the addicted who are in recovery and making progress crash and burn during the holidays. I think the pressure and chaos of buying too many presents and acting like a boy scout drives some in recovery back into really bad and sometimes fatal habits,” Len said.

Len is a recovering alcoholic who attends daily Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings. Len is not his real name. We agreed to protect his anonymity in keeping with A.A. traditions and guarantees.

As an emergency room physician, Len has gained invaluable insight into the disease of the mind called addiction. He is also an expert in how many of his colleagues treat alcoholics and the drug addicted.

“Most physicians I know are first rate. They care deeply for their patients, spend the time necessary to provide excellent care, and operate fair and honest practices,” Len told me.

But once Len finished with what sounded like an American Medical Association (AMA) commercial, I told him I had personally seen some sloppy, even potentially criminally negligent “care” of the addicted doled out by his MD colleagues.

Two patients seeking emergency care for bouts with alcohol were not admitted to emergency rooms while I researched this topic. They were told to make an appointment for ten days to two weeks into the future. For some: this poses a life-threatening dilemma.

We also experienced physicians mis-prescribing and over prescribing drugs and medications to patients they knew to be addicted.

One doctor had his sleepless patient on Ambien for two years. The maximum recommended duration of Ambien therapy is one week. Ambien is addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include behavior changes, stomach pain, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, panic, tremors, and seizure (convulsions).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns doctors and pharmacists not to prescribe Ambien to alcoholics or other addicts.

We also saw doctors giving Xanax to drinking alcoholics to relieve anxiety.

Xanax relieves anxiety in people who do not drink: but it is never recommended for heavy drinkers. This medication may cause dependence. Addicts frequently react violently to the drug and vomit sometimes for hours after taking it and experience other distressing and even life-threatening side effects.

We also met a man who went to his doctor two years ago with severe anxiety symptoms. Today he rarely ventures out from his one-bedroom apartment. There are three deadbolts on the door. He has five physician prescribed drugs delivered to his apartment when he needs refills. He is no longer able to work. He is lost as a productive member of his family and our American society. 

Bill Alexander, who manages a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, recently told us, “There are doctors in America who are killing alcoholics and drug abusers because they haven’t properly availed themselves to the literature and education needed for treating the addicted and they pay too little attention to the warnings associated with all medications.”

We also observed a clear disregard for many addicted patients: an attitude and actions akin to racial prejudice.

Alcoholics and others are frequently looked down upon and can be viewed as “winos” or other disreputable types not worthy of full and complete diagnosis and care.

If the addicted man or woman seeking treatment causes the doctor to become unsettled, the doctor might quickly end the evaluation phase of treatment and hastily write prescriptions for pain killers, sleep aids and other drugs.

“Some doctors, but clearly not all, cut corners. They reach for the prescription pad too readily. They under evaluate and over-prescribe. They are in too much of a hurry. Even when the vast majority of care givers to the addicted advise doctors to first consider a cold-turkey detoxification – without the benefit of additional medications,” said Dr. Len.

“We doctors write prescriptions sometimes even when they are not mandated. Insurance companies pay most of the cost and the doctor feels that he has taken action on behalf of his patient. Some have even told me, ‘I gave the patient exactly what he wanted.’”

The patients, because they are addicted, often act irrationally and not in their own best interests. They self medicate, over medicate, and “shop” for agreeable doctors willing and ready to help them get their “fix.”

Addicts are risk takers – and even knowing that buying drugs below cost and on the street probably means the drugs are impure, dangerous or otherwise filled with a foreign country’s idea of a money-making substitute – they often use and abuse until death.

Despite the herculean efforts of an army of diligent care-givers and treatment facilities nation-wide, many alcoholics or drug addicted people are misdiagnosed, living on the streets, ignored, abused or shunned. Treatment facilities and in-patient care is at maximum capacity with no room for new comers. And the care of medical professionals is stretched thin.

One doctor told us, only after asking for anonymity, “You’ll be lucky if this man can see a physician’s assistant or a nurse. There are no doctors available.”

And more doctors may not necessarily make things better.

“Calling for more doctors, like prescribing more drugs, for an already overmedicated patient, may only make things worse,” said Dr. David Goodman, a professor of pediatrics and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, which researches heath care quality and costs.

He says as the American population grows and the “baby boomers” enter their retirement years, more doctors writing more prescriptions and seeing more patients only escalates the costs of an already exorbitantly expensive medical system.

He favors more study and analysis before anyone jumps to conclusions on how to solve the multi-faceted dilemma of our medical system’s future.

Then there is the case of actor Heath Ledger, who died in January 2008 in New York.

Though Heath himself admitted to The New York Times in November that he has taken two Ambien in a row to battle insomnia, psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow says that the likelihood of an Ambien overdose is unlikely.

“By and large, Ambien is not something people overdose on,” he said. But Ambien is addictive and how it interacts in the human body with other prescription medications like those in Mr. Ledger’s SoHo living quarters is unclear.

Mr. Ledger had Xanax, Valium and other drugs in his apartment.

“It’s all Russian roulette once you start using these medicines in excess or start using these medicines with illegal drugs,” said Dr. Ablow, author of Living the Truth.

Of all of these prescription drugs, Xanax can be particularly harmful, especially considering that the Brokeback Mountain star reportedly had issues with substance abuse.

“If I could have taken one agent out of his possession prior to these events, and said, ‘This one is absolutely one you can’t have,’ it would’ve been a Xanax,” he says.

“I would never prescribe Xanax to someone with a potential substance abuse history — ever.”

The reason? Xanax is highly addictive because it takes effect quickly and is relatively short-acting (the pleasurable feeling you receive from it only lasts about four hours).

In contrast, Ambien can take longer to take effect and lasts eight hours, so a person can get a build-up of substances in their system without realizing it. Also, people who have a history of drug abuse are often unreliable in taking their medicines at the proper time or in the proper dose.

Often, drug abusers and addicts mix drugs recklessly.“I can think of few worse combinations than Xanax and cocaine because Xanax slows the heart and cocaine speeds the heart up, so you have two substances at odds with each other,” said Dr. Ablow. “So you can have a situation where someone is trying to dose themselves to an ideal mood state but their cardiac status is deteriorating and they can’t tell because Xanax suppresses the racing heartbeat.”

The bottom line is this: despite their best intentions, medical professions do not always have the time nor the knowledge to properly treat serious drug abusers and the addicted.

Secondly, too many times, doctors are in a rush and the addicted receive less than the full attention of medical staffs who determine that they have “higher priorities.”

Finally, the knowledge of how different drugs interact in the human body is far from complete. In fact, mixing drugs and doctor shopping are seriously dangerous and often times fatal.

John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times, a former senior U.S. military officer and president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

Related:
Bush Enlists Alcohol Past in New Cause

Teen Media Idols: Drunk, Naked, Pregnant, Unashamed (We Have Pictures!)

Nationwide Imminent Danger Alert

Drug Abuse, Drug Overdose Killed Heath Ledger
(February 6, 2008)

We added this new information on Wednesday evening, 30 January:Heath Ledger’s abuse of heroin, cocaine and pills forced his ex-fiancee Michelle Williams to drive him to rehab in 2006, but he didn’t want to go, Us Weekly reports.For three years, Williams was a firsthand witness to the actor’s use of alcohol and drugs, including cocaine, heroin and “a variety of pills,” a Ledger confidant reportedly told the magazine.In March 2006 — when their daughter, Matilda, was only 5 months old — Williams drove Ledger to Promises Treatment Center in Malibu, Calif., the confidant reportedly told Us Weekly. Ledger refused to check in, instead swaying her with a pledge to clean up, the source said.

Both Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan were treated at Promises.

Even after the couple realized “they were in way over their heads,” according to a source, and split in September 2007, two sources told Us that Williams demanded Ledger be drug-tested before his visitations with Matilda.

When news of Ledger’s death broke last Tuesday, Williams was inconsolable, another source said.

“She cried and screamed as soon as she heard,” a source on the Swedish set of her latest film, “Mammoth,” told Us Weekly.

Britney Spears’ 16 Year Old Sister is Pregnant

December 19, 2007

Comment from Peace and Freedom: If your kids are caught up in the “Pop Culture” of American and idolize people like Michael Vick, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and her 16 year old sister Jamie Lynn Spears, it might be a good time to return them to reality in a faith-based school or envirnoment.  We, frankly, believe people such as these provide a negative and even a corrosive impact on America….

Todd Wiliamson/WireImage.com
Jamie Lynn Spears and Casey Aldridge
The Associated Press

Another Spears baby is reportedly on the way — and it’s not Britney‘s.Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year-old “Zoey 101” star and sister of Britney, tells OK! magazine that she’s pregnant and that the father is her longtime boyfriend, Casey Aldridge.

“It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected,” she says. “I was in complete and total shock and so was he.”

Spears is 12 weeks along and initially kept the news to herself when she learned of the pregnancy from an at-home test and subsequent doctor visit, she told the celebrity magazine, which hits stands in New York on Wednesday and the rest of the country by Friday.

Read the rest:
http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=289216

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Congratulations to American College Students: You Win!

September 19, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 19, 2007

Yesterday, September 18, 2007, was Constitution Day in the United States. As far as we can tell, nobody noticed. Except maybe the Washington Times’ editorial page editor Joel Himelfarb who started his editorial this way: “It is an honor and privilege to live in the United States, the greatest country in the world.”

Why does Mr. Himelfarb believe that do you think?

Because the rights and freedoms of every American are protected by the Constitution; the document that is the foundation of all our laws, government and society.

I scoured the newspapers this morning looking for a story, at least one story, that showed some group or segment of our busy American people honoring Constitution Day. What I found instead was this: American college students, even at Harvard University, are among the most ignorant college student in the world on the subjects of history, world events, their own government and their own constitution.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) as part of the American Civic Literacy Program surveyed American college student and found this result: in four major subject areas (American history, government, world relations and the market economy).

Students surveyed from 50 colleges averaged a failing grade of 54.2 percent on the 60-question test, and even seniors at Harvard University, the highest scorers, achieved a meager 69 percent average, a D-plus on most grading scales.

Congratulations American college student; you have excelled beyond expectation in …. ignorance.

Here’s an example: American college students were asked to identify, in a multiple choice format, the source document of the following words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”  The students chose the Communist Manifesto.  The words come from the Declaration of Independence: one of the most important documents in the history of the United States.

Congratulations, students, you just gave the communist world credit for your most sacred legacy.

So, we submit, history might be of some importance.

Why should we care about history, civics and Constitution Day? Well, I do not pretend to know the answer, not being a college educator, but here are a few ideas.

On February 28, 2004, historian Daniel Boorstin died. On that same day, local high school students on the TV quiz show “It’s Academic,” failed to even make a guess at the answer to a simple question about the American Civil War and Fort Sumter.

Boorstin, lawyer, head of the library of Congress for 12 years, faculty member of the University of Chicago for 25 years, wrote more than 20 books. His famous trilogy on the American experience gave us deep lessons into who we are as Americans.Boorstin’s death, coupled simultaneously with speechless students confronted with the simplest historical question, leads one to wonder: “why do we study history?”

History, especially American history, teaches us the values, rights and responsibilities of our citizenship. History makes us a nation: a race of people and not just a collision of different peoples from many lands. You can be born French, but when you move in from another land you don’t necessarily become French. When you move to America and become a citizen, you are embraced as an American. People come here to share in the values and rights of all Americans. Understanding who gained those rights and how they achieved them is important because those rights bind us together as a people.

Our history is “Ich bin ein Berliner,” the Boston Tea Party, Ellis Island, Gettysburg, and “I have a dream.” Our history is the Emancipation Proclamation, Bill of Rights, and our Constitution.

Our history is our culture. Our focus upon “Ben and Jen,” Janet Jackson, “Lord of the Rings,” is fleeting, largely meaningless debris. The two biggest stories in American media on Constitution Day, 2007, as far as I could tell, were O. J. and Britney Spears.

The liberties gained by our history allow us a free Hollywood entertainment machine. But you can’t learn history from Michael Moore and Oliver Stone.

Our history separates us from the rest of the world and, at the same time, unites us to people everywhere who long to live free in a land with rights, courts that function and police governed by proven laws and legal precedents. Reading and learning our history teaches us to appreciate America’s place in the world.

Our history is the struggle of man, wars, sacrifices, torture, anguish and great joy and achievement. It is thrilling, heartbreaking and often amusing at the same time. The “why did that happen” and “what was gained” is often more important than the event alone.

Our history teaches us that men find some things worthy of their blood, their anguish, even their own death.Our history keeps our debates honest. Is Iraq really “Another Vietnam” as so many pundits have claimed? We cannot know (and they may get away with misrepresentations) unless we understand our history. So history makes us more informed as voters, which is very good, maybe even essential, for the health of our Democracy.

Our history teaches us toughness and serenity. Through history we learn the dichotomies of man and the strange bedfellows life brings. We learn that Great Britain, George Bush’s greatest ally in Iraq, is also the nation that burned the White House and the U.S. Capitol in 1814. And yet the Republic survived. So what really did the nation have to fear on September 11, 2001?

History makes us appreciate what it means to be an American.

Ken Burns, who made the Civil War video series, has just completed a new series on World War II.  Says Burns, “We are losing 1,000 veterans a day in the United States. We are losing among our fathers and our grandfathers a direct connection to an oral history of that unusually reticent generation. And that if we, the inheritors of the world they struggled so hard to create for us, didn’t hear them out, we’d be guilty of a historical amnesia too irresponsible to countenance. ”

He says the death of every veteran “is like a library burning down.  You lose all their stories.”

Our history makes us read. But don’t read your kids’ history textbooks. They are often politically correct collections of fact and misinterpretation not worth reading. Understanding history, like mining, requires one to dig deep into the writings of and about great men, at least occasionally.

FDR, George Washington, Lincoln and many, many more standout in our history. These men inspire us, encourage us and teach us (and our children).

And it is not just the well-known headliners who cause us to work harder and live better lives. Henry V. Plummer inspires me. A slave who escaped to enlist in the U.S. Navy, he served in many battles during the Civil War, then became a minister and served a congregation. When he read about the Buffalo Soldiers, he traveled west and became their chaplain. To find such men, you almost always have to read history.

Our American history is the thread that slowly becomes, over the years, a bond that ties us together as Americans. Our history encompasses our liberties, our values, our sense of nation.

Historian David McCullough said last year, “Something is eating away at the national memory, and a nation or a community or a people can suffer as much from the adverse effects of amnesia as can an individual.”

The state of our national understanding of history is suffering, thus causing a concomitant negative impact on our Democracy. Maybe it’s time to read some history and share the joys with our children.We study our history because it is a collection of inspiring life-lessons filled with great men who gave us the meaning of our Democracy.

Post script: My wife was born in Vietnam in 1955, less than a full year after the communists forced her family to move from the north to the south after the French were ejected from Vietnam. Until 1998, she lived her entire life in war, as a prisoner of the communists, as a refugee or as a detainee. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself but she sure appreciates the freedoms and goodness of America.