Thursday, May 7, 2015

people are getting high, so let's criminalize the disabled.

 According to the agency, Kratom taken in low doses can give you a boost, making people feel more alert. But taken in high doses, the DEA warns, it can act like an opioid, making you feel euphoric and addicted.

- Lawmaker looks to ban [kratom] in NJ

the first thing you need to know is that the quack behind this is someone who makes his bones passing out methadone to addicts. because kratom is well-documented as a method of kicking opiate addiction. and if people are able to help themselves and chew a couple of leaves instead of being forced into dependency on expensive chemicals, dr. douche is out of a job and the pharmaceutical companies are out god only knows how much money.

and this? this. this may be one of the dumbest things i've ever seen:

“They should get rid of it,” said Brick resident Hannah Hall, “There are people getting high around here. Kids are dying.”
- Lawmaker looks to ban [kratom] in NJ

who is hannah hall? what does she know about anything? well, a cursory search is rather enlightening. ms. hall, who is in her 50's, knows a thing or two about the law, because in february of 2012, the brick resident was the subject of an arrest warrant.

Hannah Hall, 53, of Taft Drive, arrested by Sheriff’s Detectives S. Metta and J. Mercado on a Superior Court Warrant for failure to appear for sentencing on original charges of credit card theft. Hall was processed and lodged in the Ocean County  Jail with no option for bail.
- 7 Brick Residents Arrested in Sheriff's Sweep

so ms. hall feels that it is okay to steal someone else's credit card and then evade punishment for it, but has no tolerance for people getting high. it's all about priorities, i suppose.

pretending for a moment that ms. hall isn't a criminal who victimized another human being, i would be keen to ask her what kids are dying from kratom, in ocean county or anywhere else. i don't see a list of names attached to autopsy reports showing they died from using kratom. it seems odd to me that such an epidemic would go totally unreported, but ms. hall is the expert, after all.

we have to give the author of that article, christine duffy, some credit as well, of course. she did write the thoroughly unresearched article, post claims that have no basis in fact, and present ms. hall as some kind of kratom death expert. perhaps someone should ask ms. duffy if she often makes a habit of reporting unsubstantiated 'facts' on her twitter page.

i used to love my country. growing up, i wanted to serve in the marine corps. i taught myself about politics, government, and law from the time i was 5 years old. i was already using a wheelchair when i signed up for ROTC--knowing i would never, ever be allowed to commission--and nearly killed myself for a few weeks before a PT session that i refused to give up on landed me in the hospital.

even in the face of the many awful things my country has done, i still loved it, still felt loyalty to it. i was still willing to sign up to die for it. i crawled across a field on my stomach, ignoring my feeding tube as it ripped into my body and bled, because ROTC was as close to serving my country as i would ever be able to come. i wanted it bad enough that i bled for it. i vomited through it. i passed out, i fell down, and i did serious damage to my body with one single PT session. that's how badly i wanted to be a part, to any degree, of my country's military. that's how much i wanted to serve the country i love.

and now all i do is dream about leaving it.

i love america but
america doesn't love me.
because my country doesn't love me back. it doesnt care about me at all.

it does not care that i suffer, that my needs arent being met, that i try harder than 99% of people every single day. i get up and i go to school and i work and i bust my ass all day, every day, when i could very easily and justifiably say "i'm too sick." and give it all up and just lay around all day doing nothing. i'd feel better if i gave up. id be entitled to more benefits and help if i gave up. my home health aid hours were cut to only 6 hours a week. because i am "too independent" to need the 9 they originally approved for me.

if the money used to fight the "War on drugs" were funneled into medicare instead, every disabled, sick, and elderly person would be able to have access to the treatments, supplies, doctors, procedures, and equipment they need to live the fullest version of their life. but instead, that money is used to lock up people for smoking a joint or eating mushrooms. and probably soon for ordering kratom--which has its largest user base among people suffering from chronic pain, people with anxiety, and people who are using it to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal as they get themselves off opiates without the help of a methadone clinic.

but who cares about the legitimate medical needs that drive kratom or marijuana users? there are people getting high.

my 50lb wheelchair. which is also ill-fitting, but
a custom fitted one costs more than my life is worth.
i go to school, and on a bad day--which are getting more and more common as my conditions progress--i slide around the side of my car to my trunk. i sit on the bumper because my legs are too weak to hold me up while lifting a 50lb wheelchair out of the car. i use the wheels as much as possible to roll my chair down the back of my car. by the time i get the chair out, attach the legs, get myself situated, and then roll myself across the street, up a ramp thats too steep and not flat, that i've fallen out of my wheelchair while trying to use twice in the past month, and get to my classroom---by the time all that is done, i am drenched in sweat, my heart rate is dangerously high, and every inch of my upper body throbs and aches with muscles that are just too weak to do that kind of manual labor.

and i do it all the time. because it's what i have to do, to get my education. i have no one here to drive me around. i have to do it all myself--or i have to stop doing anything. i have had over a decade of illness, of misery, of hospitalizations and infections and a wide range of humiliating symptoms and accidents, along with a million other things healthy people don't want to know about.

and there are exactly two things that help: marijuana and kratom. i have to do battle with every refill of marinol, the synthetic THC pill i take that lets me ingest things using my mouth. without it, i can't even run my tube feeds. without it, i was about to get put on TPN (IV nutrition) because i am so broken that i can't even manage to meet my bodys most basic needs on my own.

a few decades ago, i would already be dead.

but, you know. that's not important. because there are people getting high.

the so-called "war on drugs" isn't a war on drugs: it's a war on people. people like me. we are the only casualties in this war.

people who want to get high will find a way to get high. people who use drugs recreationally will not stop doing it just because those drugs are illegal. outlawing weed, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, whatever, has not stopped people from using them. what it has done is stop people who are uncomfortable breaking the law, would not do well in jail, or bound by a pain management contract to only take
what that dr gives them even if it doesnt work or has awful side effects. it has stopped people who are too ill to go into the world and make friends with someone who has access to weed or pills or whatever makes them feel better.
hard to get. not impossible.

i hear the party line response:

"making these substances illegal makes it harder for people to get them and keeps them out of the hands of kids."

and obviously that works, which is why prohibition is still in effect and there's a huge market for moonshine runs and speakeasies. obviously that works, which is why we have seen illegal drug use decline. obviously that works, because countries that have decriminalized drugs like portugal have seen a rise in use and drug related crime.

except, oh wait. they havent:

14 Years After Decriminalizing All Drugs, Here's What Portugal Looks Like )

this approach is exactly as successful as abstinence only sex ed--which is to say not even a little bit.

portugal's stats:

but who cares about science and fact? there are people getting high.

im sick of being treated like a criminal for being ill.

im sick of this country and the absolutely ridiculous laws governing every aspect of the lives of the sick, disabled, elderly, indigent, and indigenous.

im sick of the COMPLETE HYPOCRISY of people trying to outlaw and control and deny people of drugs that help because "Drugs are bad!", while allowing alcohol companies to advertise on TV. im garbage for wanting relief from my chronic pain or wanting to be able to eat without having it be through the tube in my gut, but alcohol use is just fine.

i ate through my nose for a year
before they made the tube a
permanent one in my gut.
 im sick of doctors that dont listen or care, and a government that would rather i just go die and stop costing them money.

im sick of being denied things that help me live an actual life, instead of being trapped in bed all the time, because someone has decided that my life is not worth a specific amount of money.

im sick of the overreaching by the FDA and the DEA, to make sure everyone is on a bunch of shitty prescription drugs that have more side effects than benefits while denying us the option of using natural herbs like marijuana and kratom and poppy seeds.

im sick of the criminalization of drugs that have literally been used since the neanderthals were at the top of the food chain.

im sick of facing problems every single month in getting my LEGALLY PRESCRIBED PAINKILLERS because the insurance or the pharmacist or the governor feels that i am suspect because im not 90.

im sick of insurance companies making decisions instead of doctors.

im sick of being sick and everyone in a position to help me feel better doing everything they can to keep me sick.

im sick of having pills shoved down my throat that dont work because it's all there is.

im sick and nobody gives a damn.

because there are people getting high.

they'd rather pay for hospital visits
and hope i get MRSA.
i had a conversation a few years ago. it was with a friend who was on IV nutrition and hadn't eaten a single bite of food in over 5 years. while she was inpatient yet again, they gave her marinol, the miracle synthetic THC pill that i take every day. i spoke to her while the side effects of it made her sleepy and surprisingly helped ease the spasms that were taking over her legs as well. i spoke to her after she'd just eaten a container of jello--the first food to pass her lips in half a decade.

friend: it's too bad this is all temporary.
me: they won't write you a prescription for marinol once you leave the hospital??
friend: they will. they did. medicare denied it, though. too expensive and they don't think i need it.
me: too expensive? its $500 a month. isn't TPN more?
friend: my TPN is about $1,000 a day.
me: isn't it cheaper for them to pay 500 a month rather than 1000 a day?
friend: in the short term. but in the long run, they'd rather pay for the TPN. if i'm on TPN, ill die a lot sooner and dead people don't cost anything.

dead people don't cost anything.

i hope everyone who just read this post thinks of those words every single day. dead people don't cost anything. because that is the bottom line. that is what it all comes down to. if people have options for treatment, if people can keep their illnesses at bay enough to keep being alive, they are going to cost money for longer than they would if they had no options.

and here's the rub: even if someone sick or disabled CAN work, sometimes they don't. because the jobs they are qualified for or capable of doing, are ones that don't have the kind of health insurance coverage that someone with serious chronic conditions needs. medicare and medicaid are incredibly limited, but they do cover ER visits. they do cover some medications and specialists. if you know how to do the medicaid tapdance, they may even cover a wheelchair or a feeding tube. good luck finding that kind of coverage in a job at walmart or mcdonalds.

i have to eat this way because
there are people getting high.
people who are alive and too sick to work cost money. (never mind that our families paid into the system for generations with the specific hope that should they or their loved ones fall ill some day, they would be taken care of.)

elderly people who aren't working anymore cost money (never mind that they earned it.)

disabled people who can't work or who can only work part-time or menial jobs that don't pay a living wage, cost money.

anyone with medicare or medicaid, many of whom are children, costs money.

people are getting high and dead people don't cost anything. it's a win/win situation for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, not to mention politicians who know they can woo uneducated masses into supporting any anti-drug cause without thinking about it too much.

and of course, the self-righteous uneducated masses like brick resident hannah hall, who is interested in purchasing that bridge in brooklyn using someone else's credit card if you're willing to sell it to her.