• Mon, Feb 13 2012

Tony Bennett Says Legalizing Drugs Could Prevent Deaths Like Whitney Houston’s; Prescription Drugs Aren’t Safer

Most Canadians will testify to the fact that our medical system is severely stressed. Doctors are unable to educate, inform and provide intensive follow-up care that is needed to protect vulnerable people, such as Karly, who are made more vulnerable by the effects of powerful medications. As such, Long sees the need for the creation of a third party that would offer support to patients. Long wishes to be clear about her proposal: she is not leading a crusade against prescription medications; rather she acknowledges their usefulness and is in favor of their safe application. The mission is to implore pharmaceutical companies, the manufacturers and providers of prescription and over the counter medications, to complete the chain of production and prescription with vigilant support. Long sees the current lack of support as the reason Karly and countless others have lost their lives, and as a factor that is putting millions of people at risk.

The third party support and research team would consist of highly trained professionals with offices in accessible locations such as pharmacies. Members of the team would meet with the patients who have been prescribed medication(s) by their physician(s) for a mandatory follow-up to explain how to properly administer their medication(s), prevent and identify addiction; advise of any expected and/or possible behavioral/mood changes and side effects, and any relevant contraindications. Long came to include behavioral changes in her plan after hearing several stories of people feeling unwell, frightened, or shamed after taking their medications and therefore not wanting to continue taking the prescribed dosage. Long firmly believes that medications have the power to alter behaviors and thought processes leading to self destructive behavior, suicides, killings, and accidental deaths. Patients need to be aware of the potential devastating risks and have a body of professionals and accessible support to turn to if they are experiencing abnormal thoughts and/or feelings. It is therefore crucial that someone on the team be accessible at all times to coach, provide counseling, or suggest alternative treatments when applicable.

When the patient (of age) provides consent, the team could also liaise with family and/or friends that are willing and able to assist, thus strengthening the overall support system. This coach-patient relationship could be similar to that of the sponsor participant in the Alcoholics Anonymous model. This relationship would be potentially lifesaving for anyone managing a chronic condition or illness with a continuous need for medications at any age or stage of life. The team would be intimately aware of the patient and his/her progress with treatment and would be privy to such information as if a patient did not refill a prescription, for example, the coach would then contact the patient, determine the reason and help develop a solution.

Scheduled visits when picking up repeat or new prescriptions would allow for monitoring vital signs, behavior and mood changes. For some patients, blood and/or urine analysis could be necessary to be proactive in preventing any unwanted side effects or addiction and they would be identified, treated and or counseled. There would be a variance in the type of care needed as each case is unique. All patients would be expected and encouraged to visit their prescribing physician regularly. The team would be continually updated and alerted to any new side effects, complications and or contraindications of all medications. Physicians would in turn report any findings of their own.

It is acknowledged that the creation of a medication monitoring system would be a costly and time consuming undertaking as these skilled professionals would require extensive and ongoing medical and social service training. Pharmaceutical companies that participate and fund such a support service to its customers could potentially counter the cost of the program in that tragedies could be prevented and therefore their legal costs would decrease, patients who were taking medications in a safe and monitored scenario would hypothetically live long, healthy lives and therefore become long term customers of that company. Outside of pharmaceutical companies, it would also alleviate stress and reduce costs for hospitals, police, fire departments and 911 services.

These are ideas offered forth by a layperson; surely skilled representatives of the companies themselves and our government could find more ways of redirecting monies and resources to fund this program and creative ways to offset costs. It is clearly the humane and morally right thing to do. In the end the pharmaceutical companies manufacture and distribute medications and profit, rightly so, from them; it is therefore their responsibility to ensure that their products are causing no further harm to their consumers or the public at large.

To some this could seem like a great and difficult endeavor; it should not be. It should be a privilege – a reward and responsibility. It is an opportunity to improve the effects of medications, to grow and gain knowledge. It would benefit and protect the patient but most important of all, it would save lives. As a caring citizen of this country, Long looks to the government, to Health Canada and to all pharmaceutical companies and asks “To what lengths will you go to save lives?”

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  • Caroline

    Though I like the content on your group of websites, I’m finding it harder and harder to take the opinions seriously when I see frequent and ridiculous spelling and typographical errors. Example – Tony Bennett, which is spelled with two “t’s,” not one. Errors like that make your posts lack credibility and make your authors look a lot dumber than they probably are.

    • BDixon

      Unless I missed something, where was Tony Bennett’s name misspelled? I agree with Kevin, what is he thinking. In fact does he not understand the drugs that were found were legal prescription drugs. If the rumors are true that it was prescriptions and alcohol, legalizing drugs is not the answer. It is so sad that there are so many that are abusing prescription drugs . God Bless Whitney’s family and Bless her Soul. I pray she’s in the arms of Jesus.

  • Kevin Lockhart

    Tony Bennett is completely out of his mind! Legalizing drugs (apart from medicinal use) is absolutely insane! This issue has been studied and reviewed countless times at the Federal level and by academia. The same conclusion reached everytime; legalizing drugs will do more harm that good. It is unbelievable that it would be given serious consideration in this country. With all the issues of legalized drugs in China/Holland/France (alcohol), it should be very clear this should not be a path pursued by our nation.

    • Malcolm Kyle

      China executes people for drugs and France has sone of the strictest drug laws in Europe, so how come you’re so ill-informed?

      While bullets fly into El Paso and bodies pile up in the streets of Juarez, and thugs with gold-plated AK-47s and albino tiger pens are beheading federal officials and dissolving their torsos in vats of acid, here are some facts concerning the peaceful situation in Holland. –Please save a copy and use it as a reference when debating prohibitionists who claim the exact opposite concerning reality as presented here below:

      Cannabis-coffee-shops are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side.

      A poll taken last year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures.

      It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly marijuana-tourists and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. Public nuisance problems with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops.

      While it is true that lifetime and past-month use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition.

      According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.
      In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15 to 24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

      The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

      In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

      Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 — roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.

      In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. That’s drugs, he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

      Here’s a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing Drug Czar misinformation. Just put the following sentence in GOOGLE: “Amsterdam Psychiatrist Blasts US Drug Czars for Distortions, Fear-Mongering”

      The Netherlands also provides heroin on prescription under tight regulation to about 1500 long-term heroin addicts for whom methadone maintenance treatment has failed.

      The Dutch justice ministry announced, in May 2009, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There’s simply not enough criminals.

  • Dianne Superville

    There are so many people in this world are using prescriptions and alcohol,drugs is not the answer.I never meet Whitney but i felt so close to her.She is a great icon and i will always have her in my heart.Gone so soon.God forgive her and keep her close to your hear.

    • Malcolm Kyle

      If you had been paying attention you’d have noticed that nobody is saying “drugs are the answer” What Tony is calling for is an end to the failed and dangerous policy prohibition. So what’s your excuse for attempting to construe that message?

      Some simple facts:

      * Colombia, Peru, Mexico or Afghanistan with their coca leaves, marijuana buds or poppy sap are not igniting temptation in the minds of our weak, innocent citizens. These countries are duly responding to the enormous demand that comes from within our own borders. Invading or destroying these countries, thus creating more hate, violence, instability, injustice and corruption, will not fix our problem.

      * A rather large majority of people will always feel the need to use drugs such as heroin, opium, nicotine, amphetamines, alcohol, sugar, or caffeine.

      * The massive majority of adults who use drugs do so recreationally – getting high at the weekend then up for work on a Monday morning.

      * Apart from the huge percentage of people addicted to both sugar and caffeine, a small minority of adults (nearly 5%) will always experience the use of drugs as problematic. – approx. 3% are dependent on alcohol and approx. 1.5% are dependent on other drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine etc.

      * Just as it was impossible to prevent alcohol from being produced and used in the U.S. in the 1920s, so too, it is equally impossible to prevent any of the aforementioned drugs from being produced, distributed and widely used by those who desire to do so.

      * Prohibition kills more people and ruins more lives than the drugs it prohibits.

      * Prescription drugs kill over 200,000 Americans every year– even when taken as directed and not abused.

      * Due to Prohibition (historically proven to be an utter failure at every level), the availability of most of these mood-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour.

      * Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement – even whole governments, while inducing an incalculable amount of suffering and death.

      * Apart from the fact that the DEA is the de facto enforcement wing of the pharmaceutical industry, the involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan and Cocaine from Central America has been well documented by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the late journalist Gary Webb.

      * It’s not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste trillions of dollars in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets.

      * The United States jails a larger percentage of it’s own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by the worst totalitarian regimes, yet it has far higher use/addiction rates than most other countries.

      * Prohibition is the “Goose that laid the golden egg” and the lifeblood of terrorists as well as drug cartels. Both the Taliban and the terrorists of al Qaeda derive their main income from the prohibition-inflated value of the opium poppy. An estimated 44 % of the heroin produced in Afghanistan, with an estimated annual destination value of US $ 27 Billion, transits through Pakistan. Prohibition has essentially destroyed Pakistan’s legal economy and social fabric. – We may be about to witness the planet’s first civil war in a nation with nuclear capabilities. – Kindly Google: ‘A GLOBAL OVERVIEW OF NARCOTICS-FUNDED TERRORIST GROUPS’ Only those opposed, or willing to ignore these facts, want things the way they are.

      * The future depends on whether or not enough of us are willing to take a long look at the tragic results of prohibition. If we continue to skirt the primary issue while refusing to address the root problem then we can expect no other result than a worsening of the current dire situation. – Good intentions, wishful thinking and pseudoscience are no match for the immutable realities of human nature.

      Never have so many been endangered and impoverished by so few so quickly!

      * The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it. – H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American editor, essayist and philologist.

  • doNatas

    President Obama promise of “Hope” and “Change”

    I respectfully suggest that you issue their full pardon to all cannabis prisoners

    Mr. President Obama, I am hereby respectfully requesting that your exercise your executive privilege as President of the United States and that you grant full pardons, vindication and subsequent removal of their felony convictions of all cannabis prisoners

    LEGALIZE IT, DON’T CRITICIZE IT!

    LEGALIZE FREEDOM because