Posted by Kendall Harmon

Young adults who occasionally smoke marijuana show abnormalities in two key areas of their brain related to emotion, motivation, and decision making, raising concerns that they could be damaging their developing minds at a critical time, according to a new study by Boston researchers.

Other studies have revealed brain changes among heavy marijuana users, but this research is believed to be the first to demonstrate such abnormalities in young, casual smokers.

The Boston scientists also found that the degree of brain changes appeared to be directly related to the amount participants smoked per week.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s said that nobody ever died from a marijuana overdose. Nobody ever died from a tobacco overdose either, but that doesn’t prove tobacco safe. Of all the dangers connected to marijuana, the most lethal is the risk of automobile accident. Marijuana-related fatal car crashes have nearly tripled across the United States in the past decade.Marijuana legalizers may counter: Can’t we just extend laws against drunk driving to stoned driving?

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. What exactly defines marijuana impairment remains fiercely contested by an increasingly assertive marijuana industry. It took Colorado four tries to enact a legal definition of marijuana impairment: five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Yet even once enacted, the standard remains very difficult to enforce. Alcohol impairment can be detected with a Breathalyzer. Marijuana impairment is revealed only by a blood test, and long-established law requires police to obtain a search warrant before a blood test is administered.

More important than catching impaired drivers after the fact is deterring them before they get behind the wheel. In the absence of a blood-testing kit, marijuana users themselves will find it difficult to know how much is too much.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(For those interested in these sorts of things, the newspaper headline is "Puff by puff, a puritan land is learning not all drugs are evil"--KSH.

I got a text the other day from a close friend. He was excited. “I just bought legal weed in Colorado! A small step for me but a giant leap for mankind. They had a huge line. All dudes. Busy all day every day, the women behind the counter said.”

And here’s the thing. My friend is not a slacker. He’s a father of two, a hugely successful media entrepreneur with a constant stream of ideas, arguments and facts. He’s hard to keep up with on most days we spend together, and he’s a near fanatic on the need to legalise cannabis across the US.

He represents in one small way a seismic social shift in America on the status and use of some recreational drugs. To give you a simple example, the Pew Research Centre just released an extensive study of attitudes toward drugs and found the following statistic: 67% of Americans favour treatment rather than prison for users of hard drugs. In 2001, the country was evenly divided, 47% versus 45%, on the question of harsh minimum sentences for drug offenders. Today, we’re in a different universe.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even those who advocate most strongly for the legalization of marijuana concede the impaired functioning that research has shown. One such site acknowledges,

The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of the intoxication. There is no convincing evidence that heavy long-term marijuana use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.

Other studies suggest that the effect on diminished brain function is more lasting, especially for teenagers.

Thus, unlike caffeine, marijuana is not generally thought of as an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee. Rather, for most users, it is a recreational escape, which produces diminished accuracy of observation, memory, and reasoning. And it may have lasting negative effects on the mind’s ability to do what God created it to do.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pharmacy chiefs say the new systems also help improve patient safety by helping to identify staffers who are siphoning drugs for their own use, a problem known as "diversion." By some estimates, 15% of health-care professionals may be addicted to prescription drugs at some point in their career. Drugs may also be stolen by patients and visitors. Secure dispensing systems and tracking programs make it easier to meet increasingly strict federal regulations for documenting "chain of custody" for controlled substances.

Although there are no precise figures for drug diversion from hospitals, industry experts say drug-inventory losses cost hospitals millions of dollars a year. The most commonly diverted drugs are narcotic painkillers such as hydrocodone and morphine and the sedative fentanyl. In Minnesota, there were 250 reports to the Drug Enforcement Administration concerning theft or loss of controlled substances from 2005 to 2011. Reports grew to 52 in 2010 from 16 in 2006.

A 2011 study in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy noted that widespread adoption of automated dispensing machines has greatly improved the security of controlled substances and made it possible to electronically document the dispensing of doses and the disposal of unused medications and expired medications.

Read it all from the WSJ.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine

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Posted February 25, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A close look at the right corner of Ikenda’s mouth reveals a green coloration. Were it not for the fact that he had been introduced to me as a church elder and that we were now seated in the office of the East African Pentecostal Church, I would have seen him as an ordinary Kenyan user of khat.

Putting his right hand into the inner left pocket of his leather jacket, Ikenda fetched a small bunch of khat leaves, called miraa in Kenya, and carefully placed it on the table, as if welcoming all to join him in the feast. A bottle of canned soda stood on the table, an aid in chewing the stimulant. Picking one tip at a time, he plucked off the lower leaves and chewed the soft parts, continually adding khat to his already bulging mouth.

Khat is a plant native to East Africa which is said to cause a sense of excitement and euphoria. In 1980, the World Health Organization classified it as a mildly addictive drug.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenya

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Posted February 24, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The repeated and prolonged phone waits were Sisyphean, the competence and customer service abysmal. When finally she found a plan that looked like it would cover her Sandostatin and other cancer treatments, she called the insurer, Humana...to confirm that it would do so. The enrollment agent said that after she met her deductible, all treatments and medications—including those for her cancer—would be covered at 100%. Because, however, the enrollment agents did not—unbelievable though this may seem—have access to the "coverage formularies" for the plans they were selling, they said the only way to find out in detail what was in the plan was to buy the plan.

[My mother].. is a woman who had an affordable health plan that covered her condition. Our lawmakers weren't happy with that because . . . they wanted plans that were affordable and covered her condition. So they gave her a new one. It doesn't cover her condition and it's completely unaffordable.

Though I'm no expert on ObamaCare (at 10,000 pages, who could be?), I understand that the intention—or at least the rhetorical justification—of this legislation was to provide coverage for those who didn't have it. But there is something deeply and incontestably perverse about a law that so distorts and undermines the free activity of individuals that they can no longer buy and sell the goods and services that keep them alive. ObamaCare made my mother's old plan illegal, and it forced her to buy a new plan that would accelerate her disease and death. She awaits an appeal with her insurer.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

8 Comments
Posted February 24, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It changed medicine forever. But less than 90 years on is the golden age of antibiotics about to come to a spectacular end? Sarah Freeman reports.

Antibiotics revolutionised global medicine. Since Alexander Fleming made his almost accidental discovery of penicillin in a small London laboratory back in 1928, they’ve saved millions of lives, prevented countless infections turning fatal and seen off a thousand diseases. Yet they’re also in danger of being too successful for their own good.

Suffering a bout of flu? We demand our GP writes a prescription for a course of antibiotics we probably won’t see through to the end. As the unused tablets sit in bathroom cabinets, the bacteria it was designed to kill grows just that little bit stronger. It’s not just humans who have become reliant on them. With disease spreading rapidly through intensively farmed pigs, sheep and chickens, antibiotics have been used to keep the wheels of British factory farming turning for years.

And that’s not all. We pump antibiotics into everything from toothpaste to washing up liquid...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 23, 2014 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the wake of the prescription painkiller epidemic, heroin, much of it Mexican, has wormed its way into unsuspecting communities far from the Southwestern border as a cheaper and often more easily obtained alternative. Ms. Ivy’s was believed to be the seventh fatal heroin overdose in eight months in this town of 13,000 on the St. Croix River near Minneapolis. Two months after her death, and before yet another young Hudson woman died — at a “sober house” — of a heroin overdose in October, nearly 500 townspeople crowded into the First Presbyterian Church for a forum called “Heroin in Hudson: A Community in Crisis.”

Ms. Ivy’s death certificate, recently released, revealed that a mix of drugs was to blame; the police declined to specify the drugs since her death remains under investigation. But “Alysa was a heroin abuser, and her addiction to drugs killed her,” said Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner.

“It’s a tightknit community, and these kids all knew each other,” Ms. Schachtner said of those who overdosed. “They were not what you might expect. They were not the faces of heroin addiction we see on television.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyRural/Town LifeYoung Adults* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some of the language here not the best, be advised, but the content really is solid--KSH.

What was so painful about Amy [Winehouse]'s death is that I know that there is something I could have done. I could have passed on to her the solution that was freely given to me. Don't pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn't easy: it requires incredible support and fastidious structuring. Not to mention that the whole infrastructure of abstinence based recovery is shrouded in necessary secrecy. There are support fellowships that are easy to find and open to anyone who needs them but they eschew promotion of any kind in order to preserve the purity of their purpose, which is for people with alcoholism and addiction to help one another stay clean and sober.

Without these fellowships I would take drugs. Because, even now, the condition persists. Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcoholismDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 10, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the first hours and days that followed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death from an apparent overdose of heroin, there was an outpouring of grief on Facebook, on Twitter and in columns by recovering addicts and alcoholics like the journalist Seth Mnookin and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin about their own struggles with sobriety and the rarely distant fear of relapsing back into the throes of active addiction.

There was also a palpably visceral reaction in the meeting rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, where, according to some in attendance, many discussions since last Sunday quickly turned from the death of a great actor to the precariousness of sobriety, and the fears of many sober people that they could easily slip back into their old ways, no matter how many years they have been clean.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAlcoholismDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMenMiddle AgeMovies & TelevisionPsychologyTheatre/Drama/Plays* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 8, 2014 at 11:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While heroin use is still low compared to marijuana, law enforcement officials and drug treatment experts say heroin has made a comeback after a decade-long outbreak of narcotic painkiller abuse. The prescription pain pills, such as OxyContin, are opioids that produce a potent high similar to heroin if abused.

"We're seeing a resurgence of heroin," says Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "It cuts across all demographic groups. We used to think of a heroin as an inner city problem, but it's now a problem we're seeing across the nation among all populations and all ages."

As authorities crack down on clinics that prescribe pain pills by the thousands and pharmaceutical companies change their formulas so the pills are more difficult to abuse, opiate addicts are turning to cheaper and more-plentiful heroin. An 80 mg OxyContin pill can sell for up to $100, while a five-dose-a-day heroin habit costs less than $60, according to federal law enforcement officials.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent drug overdose inside his New York apartment on Sunday, police said, adding that two glassine envelopes containing what police suspected to be heroin were found near his body.

Five empty glassine envelopes were found in the trash, police added.

The “Capote” actor, 46, was discovered by a business associate shortly after 11:30 a.m. Eastern time in his Greenwich Village apartment. Hoffman was found in his bathroom with a hypodermic needle stuck in his left arm, police said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionMiddle AgeMovies & Television

1 Comments
Posted February 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

All day long, customers at LoDo Wellness Center, one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana stores, reach into the refrigerator and pull out tasty ways to get high. They buy sparkling peach and mandarin elixirs, watermelon Dew Drops, and sleek silver bags of chocolate truffles, each one packed with marijuana’s potent punch.

“The stuff just flies off the shelves,” said Linda Andrews, the store’s owner.

As marijuana tiptoes further toward the legal mainstream, marijuana-infused snacks have become a booming business, with varieties ranging from chocolate-peppermint Mile High Bars to peanut butter candies infused with hash oil.

Read it all from the front page of the national edition of the printed copy of the paper..

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDieting/Food/NutritionDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Moves across the US to legalise marijuana have been greeted by reformers as heralding the end of the "war on drugs". But what happens to people convicted of offences that no longer exist? And will the records of those arrested now be wiped clean?

This is a big year for American pot smokers. Business has been brisk at shops in Colorado where, for the first time, people can buy marijuana to smoke purely for pleasure. Stores in Washington state are set to open in a few months and others may follow, as authorities eye a new source of tax dollars from a policy that now has broad popular support.

Yet as the momentum for reform has gathered pace, one issue has largely been brushed aside - the fate of those arrested in the past.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHistoryLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

4 Comments
Posted January 30, 2014 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“This is not about the adult being able to smoke a joint,” said Mr. Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “It’s about widespread access, it’s about changing the landscape of a neighborhood, it’s about widespread promotion and advertising, and it’s about youth access.”

Supporters of legalization say that because voters statewide approved a system guaranteeing adults access to legal marijuana, they will push state regulators and lawmakers to meet that mandate, possibly by pushing for penalties against local governments that enact bans.

But Dave Ettl, a Yakima City Council member who voted for the ban, said he was willing to risk penalties, saying he considered the promised tax revenues from marijuana sales tainted.

“There’s some money that’s not worth getting,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted January 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I just Googled "alcohol-fuelled violence" and got 1.5 million results. Yep, 1.5 million. I've been truly gobsmacked as much by the barbaric acts that have been perpetrated in Sydney as the hysteria and poor nomenclature used to describe them.

Because, unless I am out of my head on some sort of weird psychedelic myself, these acts are not merely alcohol fuelled. They are fuelled by the epidemic in Sydney of amphetamines, uppers and steroids, as well as too much alcohol. In many circumstances, the former simply enables the latter.

Virtually no one can go on a 10-hour drinking binge and be capable of throwing much of a punch. They are more at risk of falling in front of a cab, spewing in the very same vehicle or walking into a wall.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingDrugs/Drug AddictionViolence

1 Comments
Posted January 27, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionPovertyRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Legalisation is just the first step. Pot must also be regulated. Because it is more dangerous than chocolate or chips, it needs to be subject to more stringent safety checks than food. As with alcohol, anybody who wants to produce it for sale, or sell it, should be licensed, as they will be in Colorado. It should carry clear labels showing its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, just as cans of beer display their alcoholic strength—consumers should know what they are smoking. Colorado seems to be handling this well: labels are clear, safety rules stringent.

Deciding how to tax the stuff means asking some fundamental questions. Where governments want to raise revenue without distorting markets, the best approach is to charge businesses a flat fee, like a cab licence. Firms then have an incentive to do as much business as they can. But where governments want to discourage consumption—as with cigarettes and alcohol—they should tax each unit sold.

Although marijuana does not harm people as reliably as cigarettes do, nor—as alcohol does—incite citizens to kill each other, it is not good for you. And although too little research has been done on the extent of the harm it can do, it is thought to raise the risk of schizophrenia and undermine motivation. This argues for a consumption tax, and a fairly stiff one at that.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Governor [Peter] Shumlin hauled out his own list of grim statistics. In Vermont, treatment for opiate abuse has risen 770 percent since 2000. In just the past year, treatment for heroin addiction has risen a dramatic 40 percent, and deaths from heroin overdoses have doubled. Nearly 80 percent of those jailed in Vermont, he said, are now or have been drug addicts.

Perhaps even more sobering were the stories he told of lives ruined by drug addiction. One Vermont teen started using Oxycontin in the 10th grade and was soon addicted to a $500-a-day habit. He stole $20,000 in farm equipment from his own family to pay for his drugs. And not long ago another young man, an undergraduate at the University of Vermont who was a science major and member of the school’s ski team, died of a heroin overdose. Because the quality and potency of each batch of black-market heroin varies widely, even those who think they are cautious users can accidentally and suddenly overdose at any time.

Both stories sought to shatter perceptions that heroin addiction is a problem only for large urban areas. In fact, Vermont represents a particularly lucrative market for heroin dealers, the governor said, who find that they can sell a bag of heroin that would fetch $6 on the streets of New York City for $30 or more there. Each Vermont addict yields five times the income from the same amount of “product.”

Read it all and you call find the full text of Governor Peter Shumlin's 2014 State of the State Address there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted January 10, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A gleaming white Apple store of weed is how Andy Williams sees his new Denver marijuana dispensary.

Two floors of pot-growing rooms will have windows showing the shopping public how the mind-altering plant is grown. Shoppers will be able to peruse drying marijuana buds and see pot trimmers at work separating the valuable flowers from the less-prized stems and leaves.

“It’s going to be all white and beautiful,” the 45-year-old ex-industrial engineer explains, excitedly gesturing around what just a few weeks ago was an empty warehouse space that will eventually house 40,000 square feet of cannabis strains.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

11 Comments
Posted January 2, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new federal report shows that the percentage of American high school students who smoke marijuana is slowly rising, while the use of alcohol and almost every other drug is falling.

The report raises concerns that the relaxation of restrictions on marijuana, which can now be sold legally in 20 states and the District of Columbia, has been influencing use of the drug among teenagers. Health officials are concerned by the steady increase and point to what they say is a growing body of evidence that adolescent brains, which are still developing, are susceptible to subtle changes caused by marijuana.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationLaw & Legal IssuesTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anyone seeking evidence of how the western mind is snapping shut and how insult is steadily replacing evidence and reason need only watch this instructive altercation on BBC TV’s Newsnight last night. Ostensibly a discussion about the efficacy or otherwise of drug courts, it fast descended into a row between actor and self-confessed former drug addict Matthew Perry and journalist Peter Hitchens over the nature of drug addiction itself.

Hitchens argued that addiction was not, as is almost universally assumed, a disease over which the sufferer has no control but a form of willed self-indulgence which drug users could end if they really wanted to do so enough. A controversial proposition, indeed, and surely one of which few have previously been made aware.

But Hitchens did not encounter scepticism and a reasoned counter-argument. Instead, an incredulous Perry scoffed at him as ‘Santa’ and frothed that his argument was crazy, ‘as ludicrous as saying Peter Pan was real’. All of this, however, merely served to highlight the fact that when asked for evidence to support his claim that addiction was an illness Perry could not do so, resorting instead to the lame response that ‘doctors say it is’, that he himself was proof of his own argument and that addiction was an ‘allergy of the body’ (eh?)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationHealth & MedicinePhilosophyPsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Doctors choose the more expensive drug more than half a million times every year, a choice that costs the Medicare program, the largest single customer, an extra $1 billion or more annually.

Spending that much may make little sense for a country burdened by ever-rising health bills, but as is often the case in American health care, there is a certain economic logic: Doctors and drugmakers profit when more-costly treatments are adopted.

Genentech, a division of the Roche Group, makes both products but reaps far more profit when it sells the more expensive drug. Although Lucentis is about 40 times as expensive as Avastin to buy, the cost of producing the two drugs is similar, according to scientists familiar with the drugs and the industry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2013 at 7:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mexico’s deadly drugs war is not just a question of supply and demand but a symptom of the rise of Satan, according to some Catholic leaders. With the death toll at about 80,000 and counting, the number of exorcisms is rising.

Father Carlos Triana, an exorcist in Mexico City, said: “We believe that behind all these big and structural evils there is a dark agent and his name is The Demon. As much as we believe that the Devil was behind Adolf Hitler, possessing and directing him, we also believe that he [the Devil] is here behind the drug cartels.”

Exorcisms and spiritual cleansings are common in Mexico, a superstitious country where Catholicism overlaid the religious beliefs of its indigenous inhabitants, including the Aztecs.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMexico* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheodicy

0 Comments
Posted December 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But if they campaign for a reform that frees them, and "first-class minds" like them, to take drugs, they are also campaigning for a reform that frees everyone else. That means it frees - or withdraws protection from - the beaten and rejected child of a shattered home on the squalid estate, the school failure, the unemployable young man in the post-industrial desert, the young mother living on benefits and, eventually, her children. And they are campaigning, in effect, for more people to use drugs which can, quite capriciously and unpredictably, destroy their users' mental health. So for their own convenience and peace of mind, they are willing to condemn unknown numbers of others to possible disaster. This can hardly be called a selfless action.

Finally, we are not islands. If we risk destroying ourselves (as I believe we do if we use drugs) then we risk gravely wounding those who love us and care for us. For me this is a profound individual contract. It is one that will be understood most readily by the parents of adolescent children, children who have a sort of independence but often lack the experience to use it aright. If the law makes light of those parents' concerns, and refuses to support them, what argument can they use to dissuade their young from taking a path that might well lead to permanent self-destruction?

My case will I think be readily understood by the parents of children who are already destroying themselves with drugs of any kind.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicinePhilosophyPsychologyMental IllnessScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* General InterestHumor / Trivia

0 Comments
Posted November 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Down the block, we spotted my friend Pastor Steve, the proprietor of a storefront church on an otherwise entirely abandoned block. Driving by, I’d noticed the motley assortment of characters hanging out front and an unruly garden taking up much of the vacant corner lot next door, and eventually I stopped by and introduced myself. It turned out that most of the folks out front were struggling addicts and prostitutes and criminals from the neighbourhood.

Pastor Steve had gone through his own period of felonious hard living – heroin, pills, booze, glue-sniffing, bank-robbing, you name it – before being saved and then called to the ministry. A rangy white guy in his early sixties, Pastor Steve had an obvious love for a certain era of countercultural accoutrement which had somehow managed to survive this spiritual journey intact. He had a bushy handlebar moustache and flowing grey hair, the curly ends of which spilled to his chest, and favoured cowboy boots, earrings with topaz beads, and the sorts of silver rings you might buy at a Native American souvenir stand. On his motorcycle, a parishioner had painted a picture of Chief Joseph, “who was one of the main, awesome Indians”, in Pastor Steve’s words. He continued, “After we’d been here a while, I got stories coming back to me that people in the neighbourhood thought we were a motorcycle gang. They saw me, saw the Harley, and they thought the building was filled with weapons and we were here to take over.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted August 12, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heroin use in the U.S. is soaring, especially in rural areas, amid ample supply and a shift away from costlier prescription narcotics that are becoming tougher to acquire. The number of people who say they have used heroin in the past year jumped 53.5% to 620,000 between 2002 to 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. There were 3,094 overdose deaths in 2010, a 55% increase from 2000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Much of the heroin that reaches smaller towns such as Ellensburg, [Washington,] comes from Mexico, where producers have ramped up production in recent years, drug officials say. Heroin seizures at the Southwest border, from Texas to California, ballooned to 1,989 kilograms in fiscal 2012 from 487 kilograms in 2008, according to figures from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The heroin scourge has been driven largely by a law-enforcement crackdown on illicit use of prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and drug-company reformulations that make the pills harder to crush and snort, drug officials say.

Read it all (or if necessary another link is there).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesRural/Town Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted August 9, 2013 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Alex Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case - the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago.

Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension last month and previous penalties bring to 18 the total number of players sanctioned for their relationship to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida accused of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs.

The harshest penalty was reserved for Rodriguez, the New York Yankees slugger, a three-time Most Valuable Player and baseball's highest-paid star. He said he would appeal his suspension, which covers 211 games, by Thursday's deadline. And since arbitrator Fredric Horowitz isn't expected to rule until November or December, Rodriguez is free to play the rest of this season.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineSports* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 6, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the cause of death for Cory Monteith.

Post-mortem testing, which included an autopsy and toxicological analysis, found that Mr. Monteith, aged 31, died of a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol.....

It should be noted that at this point there is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith’s death was anything other than a most-tragic accident. When the investigation is concluded, a Coroners Report will be issued.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingDrugs/Drug AddictionMovies & TelevisionYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryCanada

0 Comments
Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Walk into any American high school and nearly one in five boys in the hallways will have a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 11% of all American children ages 4 to 17—over six million—have ADHD, a 16% increase since 2007. When you consider that in Britain roughly 3% of children have been similarly diagnosed, the figure is even more startling. Now comes worse news: In the U.S., being told that you have ADHD—and thus receiving some variety of amphetamine to treat it—has become more likely.

Last month, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—the bible of mental health—and this latest version, known as DSM-5, outlines a new diagnostic paradigm for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Symptoms of ADHD remain the same in the new edition: "overlooks details," "has difficulty remaining focused during lengthy reading," "often fidgets with or taps hands" and so on. The difference is that in the previous version of the manual, the first symptoms of ADHD needed to be evident by age 7 for a diagnosis to be made. In DSM-5, if the symptoms turn up anytime before age 12, the ADHD diagnosis can be made.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicinePsychologyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted June 18, 2013 at 5:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Drug smugglers who race across the Caribbean in speedboats will typically jettison their cargo when spotted by surveillance aircraft, hoping any chance of prosecuting them will vanish with the drugs sinking to the bottom of the sea.

That may be a less winning tactic in the future. The U.S. Navy on Friday began testing two new aerial tools, borrowed from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, that officials say will make it easier to detect, track and videotape drug smugglers in action.

One of the devices on display aboard the High Speed Vessel Swift is a large, white balloon-like craft known as an aerostat, which is tethered up to 2,000 feet (600 meters) above the ship's stern. The other tool on board for tests in the Florida Straits is a type of drone that can be launched by hand from the deck.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Caribbean

0 Comments
Posted April 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This week, legislators here will consider excise and sales taxes on marijuana of up to 30 percent combined. The proposal emerged from a task force of health officials, representatives of the state’s rapidly developing marijuana industry and others that was commissioned last year to help develop rules for marijuana.

The goal, task force members and lawmakers say, is to set taxes high enough to finance the administration of new laws, but not so high that customers are driven back to the black market.

“We should see a financial benefit as a state that can help pay for enforcement and other fundamental issues,” said Christian Sederberg, a Denver lawyer on the panel whose firm helped draft Amendment 64, the measure legalizing recreational marijuana. “The other side is that if you tax something too high, then you simply crowd out the regulated market. We’re confident we’ll find the right balance.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeTaxesPolitics in GeneralState Government

1 Comments
Posted April 24, 2013 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

M. had been in prison for about three years. He was normally a regular at morning Mass, skinny and skittish, with light eyes, and he had recently grown a scruffy beard. “You look like you belong on ‘Lost,’ ” [the Rev. Robert Coogan] said when he greeted him. Unlike other prisoners, M. actually had a family of some means, and in a prison system without uniforms, his style often seemed more appropriate for an indie rock club. His sneakers were clean and hip; his jeans had designer labels.

Inside maximum, M. shared space not just with hard-core Zetas but also with inmates too insane to be kept anywhere else — including one who refused to wear clothes and spoke to angels. He slept little, like any prey encircled by predators, and that morning he anxiously greeted Coogan’s arrival, signaling immediately with darting eyes that he needed to talk privately. Coogan followed him into the yard, where M. pulled out a Bible for cover and positioned himself near a faraway wall. There, he explained that the Zetas wanted him to pay them 2,000 pesos ($165), with the first half due at noon the next day. Coogan, brightening the dusty pen with his purple robes, nodded as M. spoke. He had paid small ransoms to keep M. safe from the Zetas twice already, but this latest demand was larger, more than a week’s pay. He wasn’t sure whether the Zetas were serious or if they were just toying with M. He also didn’t know if M. could be trusted. M. claimed to be locked up because a friend stole a television and he was taking the rap, but other inmates doubted his story and said he was a schemer. Coogan considered his options. Paying the Zetas would encourage extortion, but ignoring the threat, or confronting the Zetas directly, could get M. beaten or killed.

Read it all from the New York Times Magazine.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMexico* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The tell-tale empty box of decongestant pills lay crumpled and damp in the woods behind an abandoned trailer, and the people who used it to make methamphetamine were long gone.

Their trash pile was evidence of a quick method of cooking methamphetamine that is gaining popularity in South Carolina – causing the number of meth cases to skyrocket and allowing “cooks” to be more mobile.

Last year, six years after South Carolina made people show an ID to buy pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in meth, the State Law Enforcement Division reported 538 meth-related incidents in the state. That’s four times the number reported in 2010.

Read it all--makes the heart sad; KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State Matters* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted February 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...unlike other holdups, this robber isn’t after cash. He wants painkillers, primarily oxycodone, and the pharmacist is the only one who can access it.

Unprepared for such a threatening scenario, the pharmacist complies, and the robber flees with hundreds, if not thousands, of pills.

This scenario happened at least 13 times at Lowcountry pharmacies in 2012, up from about four in 2011. It’s a trend that’s been spreading across the country over the past few years, and it’s indicative of just how addictive these drugs can be and the profits thieves stand to make by stealing them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are all sinners, the Bible says and everyone knows. But not everyone is as accomplished a violator of the Ninth Commandment as Lance Armstrong, who is finally admitting this week after years of vociferous denials that he doped himself up to win the Tour de France seven times.

Mr. Armstrong has decided to admit his deceptions at America's secular confessional, the Church of Oprah. No doubt the TV ratings will be huge, as the cancer survivor turned champion cyclist tries to salvage what he can of his reputation. If he really wants to atone, however, he'd be better off following the example of the late Chuck Colson.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesSports* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Steroid-tainted stars Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa were denied entry to baseball's Hall of Fame, with voters failing to elect any candidates for only the second time in four decades.

Bonds received just 36.2 percent of the vote, Clemens 37.6 and Sosa 12.5 in totals announced Wednesday by the Hall and the Baseball Writers' Association of America. They were appearing on the ballot for the first time and have up to 14 more years to make it to Cooperstown.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHistoryMenSports* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 10, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most adolescents who plan or attempt suicide have already received at least some mental health treatment, raising questions about the effectiveness of current approaches to helping troubled youths, according to the largest in-depth analysis to date of suicidal behaviors in American teenagers.

The study, in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that 55 percent of suicidal teenagers had received some therapy before they thought about suicide, planned it or tried to kill themselves, contradicting the widely held belief that suicide is due in part to a lack of access to treatment.

The findings, based on interviews with a nationwide sample of more than 6,000 teenagers and at least one parent of each, linked suicidal behavior to complex combinations of mood disorders like depression and behavior problems like attention-deficit and eating disorders, as well as alcohol and drug abuse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologySuicideScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It has been his life's work. Now, Russell Portenoy appears to be having second thoughts.

Two decades ago, the prominent New York pain-care specialist drove a movement to help people with chronic pain. He campaigned to rehabilitate a group of painkillers derived from the opium poppy that were long shunned by physicians because of their addictiveness....

Opioids are also behind the country's deadliest drug epidemic. More than 16,500 people die of overdoses annually, more than all illegal drugs combined.

Now, Dr. Portenoy and other pain doctors who promoted the drugs say they erred by overstating the drugs' benefits and glossing over risks. "Did I teach about pain management, specifically about opioid therapy, in a way that reflects misinformation? Well, against the standards of 2012, I guess I did," Dr. Portenoy said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "We didn't know then what we know now."

Read it all (this was also referenced in yesterday's sermon by yours truly--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over the years [when asked this question about using marijuana], my default answer has been Romans 13:1–7, which basically says that believers must submit to the laws of government as long as there is no conflict with the higher laws of God in Scripture. This was a simple way to say “no” to recreational pot smoking. But now that recreational marijuana use is no longer illegal (according to my state laws, at least), the guiding question is now twofold:

Is using marijuana sinful, or is it wise?

Some things are neither illegal (forbidden by government in laws) nor sinful (forbidden by God in Scripture), but they are unwise. For example, eating a cereal box instead of the food it contains is not illegal or sinful—it’s just foolish. This explains why the Bible speaks not only of sin, but also folly, particularly in places such as the book of Proverbs. There are innumerable things that won’t get you arrested or brought under church discipline, but they are just foolish and unwise—the kinds of things people often refer to by saying, “That’s just stupid.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesMenUrban/City Life and IssuesYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

3 Comments
Posted December 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How did we get here? From "say no" to "yes" votes in not one but two states?

The answer goes beyond society's evolving views, and growing acceptance, of marijuana as a drug of choice.

In Washington — and, advocates hope, coming soon to a state near you — there was a well-funded and cleverly orchestrated campaign that took advantage of deep-pocketed backers, a tweaked pro-pot message and improbable big-name supporters.

Good timing and a growing national weariness over failed drug laws didn't hurt, either.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

2 Comments
Posted December 4, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tony Dokoupil..likes.the for-profit regulatory model in Colorado [going forward]...

"There's a ban on advertising," he explains. "There are cameras that track the marijuana from bloom to end-consumer, so the diversion into the black market is limited. There are extensive background checks on people who are part of the marketplace — so if you want to open a marijuana shop, you have to go through an extensive background check."

Once that model is in place, the consumer side of things might look a lot like Starbucks.

"I think you will have a variety of products at different levels of intensity, exactly like Starbucks," Dokoupil says. "You might be able to walk in there and in the case they'll have 12 different strains of cannabis. Behind the counter there might be hash. There might be edibles, like fizzy drinks or brownies. There could be a hot dog wheel turning. You could put THC in anything."

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted November 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This month, two US states voted to legalise, regulate and tax marijuana. From advertising and marketing to drugged-driving enforcement, we ask what's ahead.

The 6 November votes in Colorado and Washington left a lot of marijuana users happy and a lot of police officers nervous. And they set the two states up for a confrontation with the federal government, as marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the US. Legalisation advocates say the recent votes mark the beginning of the end of the drug's prohibition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Caught this over the weekend, really worth the time. If you do not know the story, you need to--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyMenTeens / YouthUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence

0 Comments
Posted November 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no excusing Armstrong's behaviour. He shouldn't have taken the drugs and he shouldn't have compelled others to do the same. But the latest revelations do show how a beautiful sport had been corrupted and how anyone seeking to succeed could have been drawn into such behaviour.

But there are still reasons to admire this obviously deeply flawed man. Armstrong has done wonderful things - on and off the bike - and given me memories that I still savour.

On drugs or not, he was capable of magnificent and daring feats. On stage nine of the 2003 Tour de France, Armstrong swerved to avoid a fellow rider, Joseba Beloki, who had crashed badly on a descent. The American was forced to ride across a steep paddock, jump a drainage ditch and rejoin the race on the road below. It was dramatic, bold and impressive.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionSports* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

18 Comments
Posted October 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jaclyn Kinkade, a 23-year-old doctor's-office receptionist and occasional model, was a casualty of America's No. 1 drug menace when she overdosed and died, alone, in a tumbledown clapboard house in Dunnellon, Fla.

The drugs that killed her didn't come from the Colombian jungles or an Afghan poppy field. Two of the three drugs found in her system were sold to Ms. Kinkade, legally, at Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark shops, the two biggest U.S. pharmacies. Both prescription drugs found in her body were made in the U.S.—the oxycodone in Elizabeth, N.J., by a company being acquired by generic-drug giant Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., and the methadone in Hobart, N.Y., by Covidien Ltd., another major manufacturer. Every stage of their distribution was government-regulated. In addition, Ms. Kinkade had small amounts of methamphetamine in her system when she died.

The U.S. spends about $15 billion a year fighting illegal drugs, often on foreign soil. But America's deadliest drug epidemic begins and ends at home. More than 15,000 Americans now die annually after overdosing on prescription painkillers called opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—more than from heroin, cocaine and all other illegal drugs combined.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted October 6, 2012 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An experimental drug appears to preserve and possibly even improve the ability of boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy to walk, according to the results of a clinical trial announced on Wednesday, raising hopes that the first effective treatment for the disease may be on the horizon.

Boys with the disease who received the highest dose of the drug had a slightly improved ability to walk after 48 weeks of treatment, the drug’s developer, Sarepta Therapeutics, announced. By contrast, the boys who received a placebo suffered a sharp decline in how well they could walk.

The drug, called eteplirsen, also appeared to restore levels of the key protein that muscular dystrophy patients lack to about half of normal levels, Sarepta said.

Read it all. The blog has been following this story for a while now--keep your eye on it, it is a potnetially once in a lifetime event; KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted October 4, 2012 at 5:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A decade after his military service, McLean faces 15 years to life in prison if he’s convicted of first-degree burglary. He makes no excuses for the addict he’s become.

Six months in jail awaiting a court date have provided him some quality detox time. Abusing alcohol and crack cocaine, McLean was homeless when he was arrested.

“I’ve never gotten into trouble except when drugs and alcohol were involved,” he says.

He admits he needs help.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcoholismDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesPovertyPrison/Prison MinistryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryIraq WarWar in Afghanistan* South Carolina* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 24, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our nation is in the midst of a public health emergency the likes of which we have not seen since the first decade of AIDS' spread across America. And much like the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the victims of the current crisis are both vilified and ignored, the families of the victims are shamed into silence, and the public at large doesn't know enough to protect itself.

I am speaking of drug overdose, which is now killing tens of thousands of Americans annually, while leaving many thousands more mentally and physically disabled for the rest of their lives. The vast majority of drug overdose deaths are the result of two types of highly addictive, and highly profitable, prescription drugs: opiates and benzodiazapenes. In 2010, one of the more than 25, 000 Americans who died as the result of drug overdose was someone I adored with all my heart: my 18-year-old firstborn, my son Henry.

Before I learned that Henry was addicted to pills, I simply had no clue that the problem of pill addiction and overdose was quietly yet savagely ripping apart the East Tennessee community in which we make our home.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, there's no stopping 12 year old Justin Trovillion. We met Justin last year just before he took part in a trail involving an experimental drug.

His mother Carrie Trovillion says she feels since the trial, Justin has a new energy for life.

"Now I'm pulling him inside at night trying to make him go to bed!," said Carrie. "He doesn't want to sit on the couch anymore!"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted August 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Melky Cabrera, whose breakout season with the San Francisco Giants was highlighted by his MVP performance in the All-Star Game, has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for testosterone, Major League Baseball announced.

Cabrera, a 27-year-old outfielder, has produced a major league-leading 159 hits this season, along with 11 home runs and 69 RBI. Acquired by the Giants in the off-season from the Kansas City Royals, Cabrera was on his way to a career year prior to being eligible for free agency this winter....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMenSports* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The most eye-opening and persuasive parts of the book explore the revenue and benefits to be had from cannabis without a single joint’s being lighted. Throughout human history, cultures from Mongolia to Peru have used the non-psychoactive cannabis plant for food, shelter, clothing and medicine. Early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper, and the covered pioneer wagons that took America westward were made of cannabis fiber. In 1942, cannabis prohibition was suspended because of a shortage in industrial supply during the war, and the government actually encouraged farmers to grow it, using a propaganda film, “Hemp for Victory.”

The place industrial cannabis is not found yet, Fine points out, is in the above­ground American economy, thanks to its listing as a Schedule I narcotic. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s official stance is that it has no medical value at all: “Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science — it is not medicine, and it is not safe.” O.K., Fine seems to say, but tell that to the doctors with evidence of its ability to shrink tumors and ease the effects of chemotherapy; or to the seniors of Orange County who depend on medical marijuana to treat their arthritis, and the doctor who uses it to treat his glaucoma; or to the 30-year-old Iraq war veteran with the shrapnel injuries who thanks God every day for this drug. It is prescription drugs that are now the leading cause of fatal drug overdoses — more than 26,000 each year. Also each year, over 23,000 Americans die of alcohol-related causes. None have died from cannabis alone.

As I said, the issue is loaded. And yet the side that has all the load never seems to win in America....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingTaxes

0 Comments
Posted August 10, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Illinois Medicaid recipients have been limited to four prescription drugs as the state becomes the latest to cap how many medicines it will cover in the state-federal health insurance program for the poor.

Doctors fear the state's cost-cutting move could harm patients, who have to get state permission to go beyond the limit.

"We understand the state is trying to get its Medicaid budget under control, but our concern is it not be a hardship for patients and a hassle for doctors in the execution," says William Werner, president of the Illinois State Medical Society.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

0 Comments
Posted July 26, 2012 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When a pharmacy sells the heartburn drug Zantac, each pill costs about 35 cents. But doctors dispensing it to patients in their offices have charged nearly 10 times that price, or $3.25 a pill.

The same goes for a popular muscle relaxant known as Soma, insurers say. From a pharmacy, the per-pill price is 60 cents. Sold by a doctor, it can cost more than five times that, or $3.33.

At a time of soaring health care bills, experts say that doctors, middlemen and drug distributors are adding hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the costs borne by taxpayers, insurance companies and employers through the practice of physician dispensing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted July 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After years of stalled efforts, Connecticut is close to legalizing medical marijuana.

The state Senate approved the bill early Saturday morning following nearly 10 hours of debate. The measure passed the House of Representatives in April, and Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, has said he would sign it. The move would make Connecticut the 17th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize medical marijuana.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

3 Comments
Posted May 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Singing, strumming guitars and trying to shield themselves from a searing sun, tens of thousands of Mexican Catholics came together Saturday nearly 24 hours before an open-air Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.

They walked miles and took up positions in Bicentennial Park, a short distance from a hilltop monument that honors the 1920s Cristero War by Catholic counter-revolutionaries.

But as religious fervor was on display in Silao, in central Mexico's Guanajuato state, a sexual-abuse scandal involving a notorious Mexican priest threatened to cast a pall over the pope's first visit to the Spanish-speaking Americas.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMexico* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Pope Benedict XVI comes during a very different time [than his predecessor]. With a country wounded, depressed by the prolonged violence," [Bernardo ] Barranco says, "a country that doesn't have a clear vision of its own future."

Speaking with reporters on his flight from Rome to Mexico, Benedict denounced the drug violence that's claimed almost 50,000 lives here over the last five years.

This is expected to be one of the leading themes of his visit to Mexico. He's also expected to call for a return to traditional Catholic values.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMexico* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptists* TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

1 Comments
Posted March 6, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A cheap antibiotic normally prescribed to teenagers for acne is to be tested as a treatment to alleviate the symptoms of psychosis in patients with schizophrenia, in a trial that could advance scientific understanding of the causes of mental illness.

The National Institute for Health Research is funding a £1.9m trial of minocycline, which will begin recruiting patients in the UK next month. The research follows case reports from Japan in which the drug was prescribed to patients with schizophrenia who had infections and led to dramatic improvements in their psychotic symptoms.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology

4 Comments
Posted March 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

She told ABC's Diane Sawyer in 2002: "The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy."

Houston tried to stage a comeback with the 2009 album I Look To You, but things fell apart when a concert to promote the album was clearly off-key.

Broadcaster and music journalist Paul Gambaccini described Whitney Houston's voice as "the template for female vocal performers for the last 30 years".

But in the end, he told the BBC, she became the victim of a "self-administered decline" and, sadly, threw all it all away.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionMovies & TelevisionMusicPsychology

1 Comments
Posted February 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Whitney Houston, the multimillion-selling singer who emerged in the 1980s as one of her generation’s greatest R & B voices, only to deteriorate through years of cocaine use and an abusive marriage, died on Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 48.

Her death came as the music industry descended on Los Angeles for the annual celebration of the Grammy Awards, and Ms. Houston was — for all her difficulties over the years — one of its queens. She was staying at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Saturday to attend a pre-Grammy party being hosted by Clive Davis, the founder of Arista Records, who had been her pop mentor.

Ms. Houston was found in her room at 3:55 p.m., and paramedics spent close to 20 minutes trying to revive her, the authorities said. There was no immediate word on the cause of her death, but the authorities said there were no signs of foul play.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionMusicWomen

4 Comments
Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly one in nine high school seniors have gotten high in the past year on synthetic drugs, such as "K2" or "Spice," second only to the number of teens who have used marijuana, a new survey shows.

"Monitoring the Future," the nation's most comprehensive survey of teenage drug use, found 11.4% of the high school seniors had used the synthetic substances, often packed as potpourri or herbal incense and sold in convenience stores, which mimic the effects of marijuana.

"It is astounding," said Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa. "I don't think they have any idea how dangerous these synthetic drugs are."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationHealth & MedicineTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted December 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pseudoephedrine is found in over-the-counter cold medicines such as Sudafed. While these pills may provide relief to cold sufferers, to criminals who are in the business of making meth, these pills are gold. Meth-makers legally buy as much of the raw product as they can at local pharmacies and drug stores.

A federal law designed to crack down on methamphetamine abuse sets a hard limit on pseudoephedrine: No more than nine grams, or about seven packs, per customer each month. But to get around that limit, which is electronically tracked by drug stores in certain states, meth users will team up so that each can buy the maximum at once. [Deputy director Dan] Smoot explained that it's a practice known as "smurfing," named after the little blue cartoon characters, Smurfs, who are small, but mighty as a team.

Caught this one on the morning run. The video is highly recommended if you have time. Did you know that Kentucky is number 3 in America in Methamphetamine production? I didn't. Read it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRural/Town Life* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

3 Comments
Posted December 1, 2011 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How do you ask a room full of executives, actors, writers and producers expecting humor to forgive someone of an offense? That was exactly what happened recently at the Cinematheque Award Ceremony when Robert Downey Jr. received the prestigious honor.

During Downey Jr.’s acceptance speech, he said. “I asked Mel to present this award for me for a reason. When I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope and encouraged me to find my faith. It didn’t have to be his or anyone else’s as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me in the lead of a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head and food on the table and most importantly he said if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoing and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly – hugging the cactus he calls it — he said that if I hugged the cactus long enough, I’d become a man.

“ . . he asked in return that someday I help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume at the time he didn’t imagine the next guy would be him or that someday was tonight. So . . . I would ask that you join me, unless you are completely without sin . . . in forgiving my friend his trespasses and offering him the same clean slate you have me.”

Who would have thought 10 years ago that Robert Downey Jr. would have such care for another actor to plea for someone else’s forgiveness, and such respect in the community that the audience would respond in applause and thereby give forgiveness implicitly.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionMovies & TelevisionPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted November 28, 2011 at 4:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Abuse of prescription painkiller have reached "epidemic" levels in the US, a government report says.

Overdoses of pain relievers cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, the report has found.

It says sales and prescriptions of the drugs rose sharply in recent years and this was linked to the rise in overdoses.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 3, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As more Americans turn to government programs for refuge from a merciless economy, a growing number are encountering a new price of admission to the social safety net: a urine sample.

Policy makers in three dozen states this year proposed drug testing for people receiving benefits like welfare, unemployment assistance, job training, food stamps and public housing. Such laws, which proponents say ensure that tax dollars are not being misused and critics say reinforce stereotypes about the poor, have passed in states including Arizona, Indiana and Missouri.

In Florida, people receiving cash assistance through welfare have had to pay for their own drug tests since July, and enrollment has shrunk to its lowest levels since the start of the recession.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralState Government

3 Comments
Posted October 12, 2011 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recent studies are showing how tumors sidestep targeted cancer drugs by activating other growth-promoting molecules. The findings may help doctors develop new drug combinations that squelch the resistance, said Pasi Janne, senior author of the study and a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Until now we didn’t know what caused acquired resistance to Erbitux,” Janne said in a telephone interview. “Our hope is that this will very rapidly translate into clinical trials” of new drug combinations. The study, done in collaboration with researchers at Kinki University School of Medicine in Osaka, Japan and other universities, is published today in Science Translational Medicine.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineScience & Technology

0 Comments
Posted September 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two Charleston-based Coast Guard cutters helped in the recovery of 15,000 pounds of cocaine from a submarine-type craft in what's believed to be the first time the stealth vessels increasingly favored by drug runners have been spotted in the Caribbean.

The Cutters Oak and Gallatin both took part in the effort to find and secure the wreck after the semi-submersible's crew scuttled the boat in 75 feet of water near the Honduran-Nicaraguan border.

The crew of the Oak located the sunken vessel on the sea floor while the Gallatin participated in security and the overall effort, officials said.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted August 4, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Middle-class, high-earning professionals are more tolerant of casual cannabis and cocaine use than the rest of the population, according to the first official study of British attitudes toward illegal drugs.

Adults in their 30s, those who live in cities, and those who are educated to degree level also have a more relaxed approach to the “occasional” use of drugs than other groups, such as low-earners with no qualifications.

The latest findings from the British Crime Survey (BCS), a study of 26,000 households, also show that the recently banned drug mephedrone, or “meow meow”, is as popular as cocaine among young people.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted July 29, 2011 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amy Winehouse will have a funeral in the Jewish tradition once her body is released for burial after...[its] post mortem. If the tradition is followed strictly her grave, likely to be in North London, will not to have a tombstone until a year has passed. Her place of burial is likely to become a shrine like the graves of other pop stars such as Jim Morrison, who also died at 27 and is buried in Paris.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, of Maidenhead synagogue, said: “As someone with Jewish parents and brought up Jewishly, Amy Winehouse never lost her sense of Jewish roots in later life. She still saw herself as part of the Jewish community, while the Jewish community always regarded her as one of its talented but wayward members.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionMusicReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments
Posted July 26, 2011 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The vast majority of U.S. hospitals have restricted the use of life-saving chemotherapy drugs and other critical-care medications in the past six months to cope with unprecedented shortages, according to a survey released Tuesday.

More than 80% of hospitals surveyed by the American Hospital Association reported they had to delay treatment, and nearly 70% said patients received less effective substitute drugs.

Three out of four hospitals reported rationing or restricting the use of drugs in short supply. For some drugs, such as a leukemia drug called cytarabine, there are no effective substitutes.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomy

1 Comments
Posted July 13, 2011 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In just four years, Monterrey, a manufacturing city of 4 million people 140 miles from the Texan border, has gone from being a model for developing economies to a symbol of Mexico's drug war chaos, sucked down into a dark spiral of gangland killings, violent crime and growing lawlessness.

Since President Felipe Calderon launched an army-led war on the cartels in late 2006, grenade attacks, beheadings, firefights and drive-by killings have surged.

That has shattered this city's international image as a boomtown where captains of industry built steel, cement and beer giants in the desert in less than a century -- Mexico's version of Dallas or Houston.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* International News & CommentaryMexico

1 Comments
Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the surface, [Nathaniel] Colleton seemed an unlikely drug dealer. He had grown up in a solid home. His mom was a paralegal and church pastor, his dad a longtime employee of The Citadel.

Colleton was a high school graduate. He played music for church services and volunteered to teach underprivileged kids how to read, his attorney, Dale Cobb, said.

Cobb said his client turned to selling drugs after he lost his construction job and couldn't find work. Whether it was that or the lure of easy money, as police suspect, Colleton's new occupation would short-circuit whatever future he had planned for himself.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationTeens / Youth* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted May 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans consume a lot of prescription drugs. And they seem especially fond of those to lower their cholesterol, relieve their heartburn, cheer them up and take away pain. Overall, however, their spending on such drugs is slowing.

A new report from consulting firm IMS Health offers a quick, but thorough, look at Americans' consumption of, and spending on, prescription drugs. In 2010, the report says, we spent more than $307 billion on medication. That’s up over 2009, but only by 2.3%.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted April 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Caught this on the morning run today--very enjoyable. Watch it all.

You can also read an article about the interview here.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgeMovies & Television

2 Comments
Posted February 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Airman [Anthony] Mena died instead in his Albuquerque apartment, on July 21, 2009, five months after leaving the Air Force on a medical discharge. A toxicologist found eight prescription medications in his blood, including three antidepressants, a sedative, a sleeping pill and two potent painkillers.

Yet his death was no suicide, the medical examiner concluded. What killed Airman Mena was not an overdose of any one drug, but the interaction of many. He was 23.

After a decade of treating thousands of wounded troops, the military’s medical system is awash in prescription drugs — and the results have sometimes been deadly.

By some estimates, well over 300,000 troops have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan with P.T.S.D., depression, traumatic brain injury or some combination of those. The Pentagon has looked to pharmacology to treat those complex problems, following the lead of civilian medicine. As a result, psychiatric drugs have been used more widely across the military than in any previous war.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMilitary / Armed ForcesPsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryIraq WarWar in Afghanistan

2 Comments
Posted February 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



This program really scared me--I was not aware of this. Take the time to watch it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionPsychologyScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth

10 Comments
Posted February 3, 2011 at 6:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There has been a lot of speculation about whether Jared Lee Loughner, the man arrested for the Arizona shooting, has a severe mental illness. But is mental illness a sufficient explanation for his actions? Recent research has found that mental illness is, in fact, tied to an increased risk of violence—but it is not a simple relationship....

...the vast majority of patients with severe mental illness are not violent during their lifetimes. The largest and longest study of schizophrenia and violence, conducted in Sweden over the course of 30 years, found that only 13% of patients had violent convictions after receiving their diagnoses. For most patients, the risk of becoming a victim of violence is higher than the risk that they will commit violence.

Nor should we make the mistake of assuming that a correlation between mental illness and violence somehow establishes a causal connection between them. It may be that schizophrenia is simply a marker for other factors that increase the risk of violence. Of these factors, one of the strongest is alcohol and drug abuse. Estimates from the U.S. indicate that around half of patients with schizophrenia also have problems with substance abuse. One study in American urban centers found that nearly a third of patients who were discharged from the hospital and also diagnosed with substance abuse were violent within one year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicinePrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyMental IllnessStressViolence

2 Comments
Posted January 16, 2011 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It all began last Thursday, when a group of prospective jurors in Missoula were seated for a two-day trial of a repeat offender by the name of Teuray Cornell, whom the local police had arrested and charged with selling marijuana, a felony, and possession of a small amount of the drug, a misdemeanor.

To seat a 12-person jury, Judge Robert L. Deschamps III of Missoula County District Court had called a passel of Montanans to serve, and 27 had arrived at court on Dec. 16. So far, so good.

But after the charges were read, one of the jurors raised a hand.

“She said, ‘I’ve got a real problem with these marijuana cases,’ ” Judge Deschamps recalled on Wednesday. “And after she got through, a couple more raised their hands.” All told, five jurors raised questions about marijuana prosecution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues

9 Comments
Posted December 24, 2010 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new report out today from the National Institute of Drug Abuse shows teenage drug use is up, especially among eighth-graders, the primary culprits: marijuana, ecstasy, and prescription drugs. Teenagers are also now less likely to believe that marijuana use is dangerous.

At the same time, previously reported declines in cigarette smoking have stalled. There was some good news. The rate of binge drinking, consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a row, is down.

Here to discuss the findings is Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingDrugs/Drug AddictionPsychologyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted December 18, 2010 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 17 masked men pulled two teenage boys off the Rev. David Beaumont's truck in northern Mexico, forced them to the ground, and put guns against their heads as their mother screamed to the priest that her sons were about to be killed.

Beaumont, who was born in Hempstead and grew up in Commack, has spent the last 20 years as a Franciscan missionary in one of the most dangerous and violent areas of the world. On this day last April, he had to make a split-second decision.

"I was saying to myself, 'Well, now either I'm really going to be a missionary and be prepared to give my life for the people, or run and hide,' " Beaumont recalled in a telephone interview. "I felt it was a pivotal moment in my life. When I walked out to them [the masked men], I realized that the last thing I might see would be the bullets coming at me."

The men did not fire at the American priest in his tattered brown friar's habit, and he was able to get the boys back in the truck and leave with their mother. But for the next several days they were all so shaken they lost their appetites and could not eat.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMexico* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted December 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bruce Holloway was turning into his driveway in Mount Juliet, Tenn., in April 2009, when he was struck and killed by Brian Duffey.

Duffey was driving 80 mph with alcohol and painkillers in his system, according to police and court records.

"He was already home," said Holloway's fiancée, Mary Loving. "It's so unfair."

Duffey pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and was sentenced to 22 years. He was one of a growing number of heavily medicated Americans who get behind the wheel every day.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionTravelViolence

0 Comments
Posted December 4, 2010 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

17 Comments
Posted November 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

California voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure that would have made their state the first in the union to legalize the personal use and possession of marijuana.

Voters there also considered whether to make it easier for state legislators to pass a budget, to suspend a state-passed global warming bill and to hand over the role of creating legislative districts to a nonpartisan commission.

The measures were among 160 put to voters around the country, on issues ranging from the new health-care law to ideas for balancing state budgets.

California was not the only state dealing with marijuana-related questions. In South Dakota, voters rejected an effort to legalize medical marijuana - which California and 13 other states have done over the past 15 years. Arizona voters were considering a similar measure.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

26 Comments
Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to Webb and Maher, Clawson's view that speaking is educational is not at all accidental. Drug companies train representatives to approach a narrow set of doctors in a very specific way, using language that deliberately fosters this idea that the doctors who speak are educators, and not just educators, but the smartest of the smart.

For example, every drug representative interviewed for this story used the exact same phrase when approaching a doctor with a pitch to become a speaker: Each doctor approached to speak was told that he was being recruited to serve as a "thought leader."

This phrase, Webb says, seems to have incredible psychological power.

"When you do say 'thought leader' I think it's a huge ego boost for the physicians," Webb says. "It's like a feather in their cap. They get a lot from it."

What a brilliant selling scheme to use the phrase "thought leader." Read or better listen to it all--KSH (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted October 29, 2010 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has told the BBC the US should do more to reduce the demand for drugs that is fuelling violence in Mexico.

He told the HARDtalk programme that more should also be done to stem the flow of illegal weapons from the US.

More than 28,000 people have died in drug violence in Mexico since 2006.

Meanwhile, President Calderon and other regional leaders have urged Californian voters to reject moves to legalise marijuana in their state.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Mexico

24 Comments
Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Police departments have collected thousands of handguns through buy-back programs in communities throughout the country. Now they want the contents of your medicine cabinet.

Opiate painkillers and other prescription drugs, officials say, are driving addiction and crime like never before, with addicts singling out the homes of sick or elderly people and posing as potential buyers at open houses just to raid the medicine cabinets. The crimes, and the severity of the nation’s drug abuse problem, have so vexed the authorities that they are calling on citizens to surrender old bottles of potent pills like Vicodin, Percocet and Xanax.

On Saturday, the police will set up drop-off stations at a Wal-Mart in Pearland, Tex., a zoo in Wichita, Kan., a sports complex in Peoria, Ariz., and more than 4,000 other locations to oversee a prescription drug take-back program. Coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, it will be the first such effort with national scope.

The take-back day is being held as waves of data suggest the country’s prescription drug problem is vast and growing. In 17 states, deaths from drugs — both prescription and illegal — now exceed those from motor vehicle accidents, with opiate painkillers playing a leading role. The number of people seeking treatment for painkiller addiction jumped 400 percent from 1998 to 2008, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

read that second to last sentence again and think about its implications--it simply boggles my mind. Now read the whole article--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government

1 Comments
Posted September 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

She lived a double life. At the border crossing, she was Agent Garnica, a veteran law enforcement officer. In the shadows, she was "La Estrella," the star, a brassy looker who helped drug cartels make a mockery of the U.S. border.

Martha Garnica devised secret codes, passed stacks of cash through car windows and sketched out a map for smugglers to safely haul drugs and undocumented workers across the border. For that she was richly rewarded; she lived in a spacious house with a built-in pool, owned two Hummers and vacationed in Europe.

For years, until an intricate sting operation brought her down in late 2009, Garnica embodied the seldom-discussed role of the United States in the trafficking trade....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Mexico

1 Comments
Posted September 12, 2010 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. is giving $1.3 billion in military and judicial aid to Mexico to help Calderon's battle against the drug mafias. Mexico's drug cartels are the major foreign supplier of marijuana and methamphetamines to the United States, and Mexico is a main conduit for cocaine coming mainly from Colombia.

An NPR News investigation in Ciudad Juarez — ground zero of Calderon's cartel war — finds strong evidence that Mexico's drug fight is rigged, according to court testimony, current and former law enforcement officials, and an NPR analysis of cartel arrests.

In that border city, federal forces appear to be favoring one cartel, the Sinaloa (named after the coastal state in northwestern Mexico), which the U.S. Justice Department calls one of the largest organized crime syndicates in the world.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMexico

1 Comments
Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A major motive for being a Christian and participating in its rituals and disciplines is about to collapse. This is going to make a lot of Christians panic, but I believe the recent development will be all to the good.

The development is the discovery that hallucinogenic drugs can give people an experience seemingly identical to powerful religious experiences. A recent New York Times article by John Tierney describes the experience of retired clinical psychologist Clark Martin. Martin had been treated for depression for years, but counseling and antidepressants did nothing to help. At age 65, he enrolled in an experiment at Johns Hopkins medical school that gave people psilocybin, a psychoactive ingredient found in some mushrooms.

When Martin was administered the drug, he says, "All of a sudden, everything familiar started evaporating … . Imagine you fall off a boat out in the open ocean, and you turn around, and the boat is gone. And then the water's gone. And then you're gone...."

His experience, writes Tierney, is not all that unusual, and he says, "Scientists are especially intrigued by the similarities between hallucinogenic experiences and the life-changing revelations reported throughout history by religious mystics and those who meditate."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyPastoral Theology

19 Comments
Posted April 27, 2010 at 6:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No more letting industry help pay for developing medical guidelines. Restrictions on consulting deals. And no more pens with drug company names or other swag at conferences.

These are part of a new ethics code that dozens of leading medical groups announced Wednesday, aimed at limiting the influence that drug and device makers have over patient care.

It's the most sweeping move ever taken by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies to curb conflict of interest — a growing concern as private industry bankrolls a greater share of medical research.

The council includes 32 medical societies with 650,000 members, from neurologists and obstetricians to family doctors and pediatricians. They include the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the largest group of cancer specialists in the world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 22, 2010 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's been two years since HBO aired the final episode of The Wire. Critics praised the TV show for its realistic portrayal of drug culture and its far-reaching influence.

But now a handful of colleges across the country -- including Harvard, Duke and the University of California, Berkeley -- offer courses built around the show.

Jason Mittell teaches one of those classes, "Watching The Wire: Urban America in Serial Television," at Middlebury College in Vermont. He's an associate American studies professor, and he thinks the show's creator, David Simon, tapped into a crucial American subculture.

Simon is exploring another subculture, post-Katrina New Orleans, in his latest series, Treme, which just debuted on HBO.

Read or listen to it all. If you do not know about The Wire, ou should, it is one of the very best shows to be on television in recent years--KSH.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationMovies & TelevisionTeens / YouthYoung Adults

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Posted April 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I write everything as a wake-up call," she says. "To myself and others, to anyone who may have gotten tired of hitting the snooze button." Imperfect Birds is a well-informed wake-up call. Lamott is a recovering alcoholic, sober since 1986, and has just ushered her son Sam through his high school years in a bohemian enclave of Marin where drugs are there for the asking. Kids who remind her of Rosie are everywhere she turns. On this Sunday morning, she has just returned from a hike to the ocean, where she watched a search-and-rescue team look for a 17-year-old girl from Mill Valley who disappeared during an overnight party with her friends. Inside St. Andrew, Lamott's beloved church, she offers prayers for the search. Later that day, the girl is found in the Pacific, dead.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionMarriage & FamilyTeens / Youth

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Posted April 15, 2010 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

James Gray once saw himself as a drug warrior, a former federal prosecutor and county judge who sent people to prison for dealing pot and other drug offenses. Gradually, though, he became convinced that the ban on marijuana was making it more accessible to young people, not less.

"I ask kids all the time, and they'll tell you it is easier to get marijuana than a six-pack of beer because that is controlled by the government," he said, noting that drug dealers don't ask for IDs or honor minimum age requirements.

So Gray — who spent two decades as a superior court judge in Orange County, Calif., and once ran for Congress as a Republican — switched sides in the war on drugs, becoming an advocate for legalizing marijuana.

"Let's face reality," he says. "Taxing and regulating marijuana will make it less available to children than it is today."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

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Posted March 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In launching its needle-exchange program last week, the Catholic Diocese of Albany, N.Y., said the decision came down to choosing the lesser evil. Illegal drug use is bad, but the spread of deadly diseases is worse.

The medical evidence is clear, the diocese argued on Feb. 1, when it began "Project Safe Point" in two Upstate New York locations through its local branch of Catholic Charities. Public health studies document that exchanging used syringes for new ones can effectively stanch the spread of blood-borne diseases such as AIDS, and even lead drug abusers to treatment and recovery.

"To guide us, the church provides us with the principles of licit cooperation in evil and the counseling of the lesser evil," the Albany diocese said in a statement.

"The sponsorship of Catholic Charities in Safe Point, then, is based upon the church's standard moral principles."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted February 10, 2010 at 6:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Meanwhile, California’s largest cash crop is being largely ignored in the frenzied search for politically-viable revenue. The state’s marijuana yield is conservatively valued at $14 billion annually – nearly double the combined value of our vegetable and grape crops. The state Board of Equalization estimates that taxing adult marijuana consumption like alcohol would generate $1.4 billion in new revenue for the state. While that’s only a modest contribution toward our fiscal woes, it’s one more incentive to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition. In fact, the financial and human price that we currently pay for criminalizing pot is far too high.

California, which decriminalized low-level marijuana possession in 1975, arrested more than 78,000 people for marijuana offenses last year alone, a nearly 30 percent increase since 2005. Of those arrested, four out of five were for simple possession, and one in five was a child under the age of 18. Police disproportionately arrest young people of color, many of whom permanently enter the criminal justice system and suffer severe limitations to their educational and employment opportunities.

California spends hundreds of millions of dollars to enforce marijuana prohibition. While law enforcement focuses ever-increasing resources on arresting marijuana users, there were 185,173 reported violent crimes in California in 2008, but only 125,235 violent crime arrests. Where are our priorities?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

14 Comments
Posted January 14, 2010 at 6:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Marijuana advocates are cheering the Assembly's Public Safety Committee for voting out a measure Tuesday designed to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of the drug to adults 21 and over. The bill is being marketed as a revenue raiser; the Board of Equalization estimates that the state could reap up to $1.3 billion in sorely needed tax revenue, and proponents have skillfully wielded the budget crisis to boost support for the measure.

Polls show that 56% of Californians back legalizing marijuana. Across the country, the numbers are somewhat lower, but nevertheless momentum is building for a reconsideration of marijuana laws covering both medicinal and recreational use. Many states now treat marijuana offenses as mere infractions, not subject to jail time. The American Medical Assn. recently reversed its long-held position and urged more research into the drug's properties.

Still, for California to purport to legalize marijuana unilaterally raises several serious concerns. For one thing, to do so simply because the state faces a budget crisis would be a rash and reckless way to make public policy.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government

2 Comments
Posted January 14, 2010 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Behind barbed wire and heavily secured gates, the women housed at the Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center fixate on the days left until they're up for parole.

But for many, the real hurdles lie beyond prison fences.

"The biggest problem is they don't have the support system out there," said Patrisha Bridges, pre-release coordinator for the East Memphis prison.

Too often, that means returning to drugs and prostitution and eventually back in jail.

But a faith-based program out of Nashville, which helps women with a history of prostitution and addiction turn their lives around, visited Memphis inmates on Monday to show there's another way.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionPrison/Prison MinistryWomen

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Posted January 12, 2010 at 7:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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