Science has found no drug alternatives to opioids

Science has found no drugs that work as alternatives to opioids as the U.S. faces 3 decade opioid crisis

Habits, Addictions & Alternatives To Opioids

Definitions: *Opiate and opioid are often used interchangeably although that interchange of usage is not precisely accurate. The following would be more correct:

Opiate: A drug (such as morphine, codeine or heroin) containing or derived from opium or the opium poppy, used to alleviate pain, or induce sleep or euphoria.

Opioid: A synthetic or semi-synthetic drug producing an opium-like effect, often prescribed for the alleviation of moderate to severe pain; a prescription painkiller in the opiate class.

By D. S. Mitchell and T.K. McNeil

Balancing Act

Caffeine is considered a "safe" drug

Caffeine is considered a “safe” drug

With drugs, even those considered alternatives to opioids, there is always a risk. Even a “safe” drug such as caffeine.  Caffeine is regularly consumed by children, and has had documented negative effects. The same goes for nicotine, deemed for the most part “safe” except when smoked by children. Some of those effects include paranoia, muscle spasms and heart arrhythmia’s. The question becomes how much of a risk is there; and are the positive effects worth the negative risks?


It was in Mesopotamia over 3,500 years ago that farmers in the Southwestern section of the region began extracting the seeds from opium poppies and ingesting them for pain, digestive disorders, sleep and a blissful euphoria. The once wild poppy soon was cultivated for its medicinal properties and its use spread across the world.  With no alternatives to opioids, addiction accompanied the spread of opium.

Painkillers Are Controversial

One of the more complicated areas of medicine has been in painkillers. Historically, everything from alcohol administered by mouth, to ether administered by inhalation has been used to reduce or block pain. Particularly in the context of surgery. The surgical suite has limited ability to use alternatives to opioids.

Take Home Medication

Doctor writes prescription

Doctors write prescriptions and keep writing them when they know opioids are addictive 

Prescription painkiller addiction was long a silent addiction. Over the last two decades, prescription painkiller addiction has become the most common and the most deadly addiction(s) in America. Prescription drug addiction deaths have far outpaced “street drugs” like heroin in overdose deaths in the United States. It has become so serious it is being called a “crisis,” “epidemic” and a “national emergency.”  We, as a nation, have to find alternatives to opioids.

Opium Chemistry

One of the most common and successful drugs used for pain-relief is opium. As previously noted, Opium and its related drugs are called opiates while synthetic versions are called opioids. These medications are some of the most effective painkillers on the planet but also the most addictive. Doctors have looked for alternatives to opioids because of these addictive properties.


Sadly, they are also incredibly addictive. It is most effective in the clinical setting for acute, short-term pain. Unfortunately, these medications have moved from the clinical setting to the doctor’s prescription pad and the street chemist’s lab. The unparalleled success of such medications has led to an alarming spike in abuse.  With abuse has come an increase in overdoses leading to unprecedented death counts leading to the search for alternatives to opioids.

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Mental Illness “I.M. PRISM” by Jack Babcock

A friend of is in the hospital. Jack Babcock has schizophrenia, but right now he is fighting another battle. He has been diagnosed with kidney failure. Hopefully, his doctors will get him back on his feet soon. Dialysis has offered many years of life to people who are unable to have a kidney transplant. At this point we are not sure what the way forward will bring, but I thought it would be an appropriate time to share several of Jack’s poems from his book, I.M. Prism. Jack graduated from U of O with a degree in English and he went on to Lewis and Clark law school. Although passing his courses, he became too sick to practice law. Please enjoy Jack’s quirky take on life, and the deep pain of his mental illness.

Sometimes being smart and doing all the right things doesn't make your life easy

Being smart and doing all the right things doesn’t protect you from mental illness.

brown door

the brown door is shut……

I’m mentally ill. I smash the door, howl and scream.

Let me out of this madhouse quoth I.

and behind the brown door are lunatics.

drooling, sneezing, coughing, playing

with themselves.

what do they need?

just not to be put behind the brown door.

they need sunshine and music, laughter.

but, the brown door is shut.


sweet Julia

i compared you

to a movie star

you balked

said you weren’t that attractive

is it possible

you don’t know how pretty you are


i told someone

i write you letters, poems

they thought that was sweet and kind

nothing of the sort

i do what i have to do

i feel i must write to you

looking at things

my aunt left me

an utrillo print

a few rings

a spode china set

all so pretty

so real, i love them, i loved my aunt

and there is you

my dear

i think i love you too.



yotta yotta yata

so it goes

pornography or poetry

yadda yadda ya

whats the diff

it seems important to smile

death has no

yadda yatta

freedom and obscurity

yotta yotta ya

what now my love?

yotta ya.

3 Million Children Die

Doctor’s Without Borders is a world recognized international medical humanitarian organization. The international medical relief organization was awarded the Nobel Peace in 1999. DWB delivers medical care to patients with NO political or religious agenda. The organization goal is to treat people where the need is the greatest. Helping people threatened by violence and social upheaval, neglect, natural disasters, epidemics or other health emergencies.

An MSF medical worker measures the arm of a boy to help determine if he is malnourished, at an outreach clinic in Am Timan, in eastern Chad. MSF has launched an emergency response to treat children under five who are the main victims of the current food crisis.

Worldwide, malnutrition accounts for 50% of deaths in children under 5 years old. Malnutrition claims 3 million children, making malnutrition the single greatest threat to child survival. Doctor’s Without Borders sends mobile clinics out into the most rural areas, where often conditions are untenable. Malnutrition in these regions is a huge problem. The DWB mobile teams have saved thousands of lives.

In the middle of emergency situations DWB medical teams work to break malnutrition’s cycle. Children under 2 years of age have small stomachs and very specific nutritional needs. If their diets are deficient in just one of the 40 essential nutrients they need, it weakens their young immune systems, and their chances of dying from even a minor infection or disease increases dramatically.

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How To Monitor Your Blood-Pressure And Save Your Life

I am an RN. As a result, I will often blog about health care, and health care news. Today I thought I would draw attention to the ‘silent killer,’ high blood pressure. It is known as the silent killer because it has no warning signs or symptoms. Approximately 75 million adult Americans have high blood pressure. In 2016 the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported high blood pressure as the primary cause for the death of 410,000 Americans.

First Step To Good Health Is Being Pro-Active, Not Reactive

High blood pressure occurs when our arteries become clogged with a waxy substance called plaque. Plaque forms due to a variety of reasons, most particularly these causes are defined as life style causes. There are of course hereditary factors at work, but for most modern adult Americans, high blood pressure is about life style choices.

The American Heart Association indicates that “while the incidence of high Blood pressure is way up from 10 years ago, and 46% of Americans know they have it, most refuse to do anything about it,” says Brion Oaks an AHA spokesman.

The literature is clear, if left uncontrolled, elevated blood pressure can lead to stroke, eye and kidney damage.  High blood pressure significantly increases the risk of heart disease, the #1 killer of Americans. Think about that. High blood pressure can be directly correlated to the nation’s number one killer.

What do those numbers on the sphygmometer mean? Blood pressure measures are identified as systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the top number, and measures the pressure when the heart contracts and pumps blood into the body. Diastolic is the bottom number, and measures the pressure when the heart is resting and refilling with blood.

Wrist Sphygmometers Are The Easiest To Use

The big change in today’s recommendations from doctor’s is that American’s should track their blood pressure at home. You can buy a sphygmometer at Walgreens, Walmart or most any pharmacy. I think that for the average person the wrist monitor is the most practical and easiest to use. Self monitoring is important for initial diagnosis and proper management once diagnosed.

It has been long recognized that just a trip to the doctor’s office can send a person’s blood pressure to stratospheric heights. Commonly known as “white coat syndrome” because many people are nervous and under stress when they are at the doctor’s office.

Both numbers are important but that top number, the systolic pressure is particularly significant when it comes to cardiovascular disease. Multiple factors affect blood pressure readings, including, gender, age, stress, smoking, obesity and other factors. 120/80 is considered ideal. 139/89 is early warning range. And 140-170/90-110 are numbers that should send you running to the doctor’s office.

Home monitoring is a reliable way for people to identify their own range of measurements and work with their physician to diagnose and develop a treatment model with the goal to lower their risk of heart attack and stroke.

A truck load of studies have shown that patient engagement in their own health care is vital. Monitoring our own blood pressure is a major part in staying healthy. According to American Heart Association statistics show that only about 52% of the people suffering from high blood pressure have it under control. That’s why it is essential to know your numbers. Home monitoring detects warning signs.

If you lower the systolic pressure by as little as 10 points it can mean a 30-50% reduction in your risk of death. Pretty cool, huh?

1.) Lose weight. BP increases as weight goes up.
2.) Think before you shake. Be salt smart, stop adding salt to your food and read labels to eliminate those packaged foods with high sodium content.
3.) Eat fruits, whole grains, veggies and low-fat dairy. Eating healthy has its rewards.
4.) Quit smoking. Blood pressure spikes every time you smoke a cigarette.
5.) Cut back on coffee. Caffeine spikes your blood pressure.
6.) Meditate, or find a way to limit stress.
7.) Limit alcohol. Practice moderation. One or two drinks a couple of times a week can be beneficial to lower pressure. Excessive alcohol consumption is vigorously discouraged.
8.) Exercise and be physically active.  If you are a couch potato, start easy. Hopefully working up to an hour per day. Getting active will help your attitude, your weight and your overall well-being, and that pesky elevated  BP will noticeably improve.

Home blood pressure monitoring is important. Patterns and trends should be discussed with your doctor. Be proactive, not reactive. A blood pressure monitor can be picked up for about $40, and is well worth the investment and the commitment you will be making to your health and well-being.

Calamity Politics is an online political news magazine with a progressive agenda. Join Calamity Politics as we comment and opinionate on the news from Washington.

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Class Warfare, GOP Style

Author Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman Wants To Get The Truth Out

The NY Times on 11/16/17 published a great opinion piece written by Paul Krugman. If you didn’t see it, I will try to summarize the article as best I can, because the core of the message is worth repeating.

Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan have been lying when they said the GOP tax plan would not raise taxes on any middle class families.The Congressional score keeper, the Joint Committee on Taxation, reported that approximately 38 million middle-class families would see higher taxes under the Senate Republican proposal.

Both Senate and House bill will offer huge tax giveaways to international corporations and the billionaire class. The Republicans have tried to limit the impacts of these tax cuts on the budget deficit by eliminating tax credits and exemptions that mainly benefit the middle class. As such many in the lower and middle class will see their taxes go up.

“But focusing on how many would face tax increases gets at only a small part of what’s going on here,” Krugman said. Continuing, he pointed out, “It is top-down class warfare, coupled with the false claims that they are  cutting taxes on the middle class, which has been standard GOP operating procedure for a long time.”

Krugman points out that the tactics of the current GOP leaders is not just a replay of the Bush playbook from 2001 and 2003, although there are similarities. Similarities between then and now are: 1.) Tax breaks that phase in and out. 2.) Misleading examples and calculations to give the false impression of a tax cut for the middle class 3.) Asserting that the tax cuts come free, blurring the fact that the cuts will be offset by cuts to popular programs such as Medicaid and Medicare 4.) Continuing to pretend eliminating the “death” tax is about helping the small family farm, or business.

Krugman asserts that there is an ugly twist to the latest GOP robbery scam. In the 2017 money grab, the goal seems to be to favor wealth, especially inherited wealth, over labor. In the new tax bill he notes multiple measures that make it harder for the children of the middle class to work up the golden ladder.

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan Has Been Spinning The GOP Tax Lie

The prime example is the GOP plan to eliminate, or sharply reduce taxes on inherited wealth, which currently apply to only a tiny number of huge estates. The inheritance tax has been morphed by the GOP into a multitude of family farms being sold off to pay estate taxes. Definitely not true. Best estimates indicate only about 80–eighty, businesses or farms pay any estate tax each year. “The GOP tax bill is about making wealthy heirs even wealthier,” Krugman asserts.

A new proposed tax loophole would benefit large business owners–but only as long as they don’t have hands control. So that definitely lets out the little guy. The House bill, according to Krugman, “doesn’t just raise taxes on many middle-class families: It selectively raises taxes on families with children. In fact, half–half!–of families with children will see a tax hike once the bill is fully phased in.”

Krugman offered several examples in his piece, including this one: Suppose a child from a working class family decides, despite financial hardship to attend college. To attend university the student will need a loan to help pay tuition, books and housing. Under the proposed tax House bill, the interest on that student loan would no longer be deductible.  In effect, such action would raise the cost of college. It would obviously narrow future opportunity for young people of limited financial means. In some instances an employer will contribute toward an employee’s educational expenses. The House plan would consider that employer contribution taxable income.

Additionally, when a parent works for a university their children are given reduced tuition. That tuition break will become taxable income. Also, tuition breaks for grad students who work as teaching or research assistants will become taxable.

The pattern becomes obvious, this is a means to “close off opportunities for children who weren’t clever enough to choose wealthy parents,” Krugman snaps.

Funding for CHIPS (Children’s Health Insurance Program) which covers more than 8 million children, expired nearly sixty days ago and the Republicans have made no attempt to restore it. Krugman sees it as “the shape of things to come;”  if tax cuts pass, and the deficit explodes which it is expected to do, the GOP will suddenly decide that deficits must be slashed and at that time the GOP will attack the social safety net and will demand cuts in social programs, many of which benefit lower-income children, disabled vets, and nursing home residents.

This attack isn’t just ordinary class warfare. This legislation appears to be aimed at perpetuating inequality into multiple future generations. Taken together, the House and the Senate bills amount to a more or less systematic attempt to provide benefits to the children of extreme wealth, while making it more difficult for less fortunate young people to achieve upward social/economic mobility.

The tax legislation the GOP is forcing through Congress with unimaginable speed, without hearings or time for any kind of serious study, is not just an attempt to reinforce plutocracy, “but to entrench a hereditary plutocracy.”

Trump and the Trump family, and nearly every one in his cabinet members will see big benefits from this fast moving legislation. Please call, email or tweet Republican senators. We must stop this bill. In addition to Krugman’s comments I suggest the near $2 trillion up front cuts to Medicaid and Medicare will devastate programs for disabled vets, critically ill children and vulnerable seniors. This is wrong.

Giving trillions of dollars to international companies is unconscionable. Make these creeps accountable. They are not invulnerable. The 2018 elections are fast approaching. We must create a Blue Tsunami to take back the halls of government for the 99%, #NotOnePenny for the 1%. Vote Democratic. Stop the GOP tax bill.

Calamity Politics is an on-line political news magazine. Calamity Politics supports a Progressive agenda and offers comment and opinion on the events of the Washington political scene. Join the Resistance.


**Thanks again to the Paul Krugman for his insight**

That Stench You Smell Is The GOP Tax Plan

Mitch McConnell

Senate Unveils Their Version Of GOP Tax Bill

The GOP plan is to raise taxes on at least 38 million middle class families, destroy health insurance  coverage for millions so as to give massive breaks to international companies and the wealthiest among us. A last-minute add-on in the Senate bill is a provision that would repeal the ACA (Obama health care law) that mandates all Americans get insurance coverage.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that dismantling the requirement would mean 4 million more uninsured people by 2019 and 13 million uninsured by 2027. Worries about an increasing population of uninsured was one of the causes of the GOP failure last summer to repeal ObamaCare. The repeal action failed amidst protests in the streets and the halls of congress.

In another last-minute move the Senate bill was altered to end personal tax reductions in 2025. Corporate tax cuts however, will be permanent. This includes dropping the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%. The corporate handouts are permanent, the family breaks are not,” said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Wyden is my senator, and he is great. Here’s what else he had to say, “To pay for these handouts to multinational corporations, millions of Americans are going to lose their health care, millions will see their premiums skyrocket, and millions will get hit with a tax hike.”

Ron Wyden Against GOP Tax Bill

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) Speaks Out Against GOP Tax Bill

The Republicans have been promising jobs through “trickle down” economics.  Trickle down is a proven failure. Don’t be taken in. It’s all a shell game. A bunch of nonsense.

The GOP tax bill will 1.) Repeal pro middle class personal exemptions 2.) Will eliminate medical expense deduction for approximately 10 million people 3.) Will gut the state and local tax deduction 4.) Companies that outsource US jobs will get tax breaks 5.) Gutting 1.5 trillion dollars from Medicaid & Medicare will devastate services for disabled veterans, seniors and critically ill children 6.) Eliminate the ACA mandate.

The GOP tax cuts will add 1.5 trillion dollars to the deficit. This is disgusting. The 1% do not need any tax cuts. Secondly, the elimination of the estate tax only effects people who are worth more than 5 million dollars, and if you have a good CPA he is smart enough to adjust those numbers for the beneficiaries of an estate worth over 5 million. The estate tax, or the “death tax” effects the most wealthy, and by eliminating the estate tax the GOP will be perpetuating the wealth of the 1% into perpetuity.

Now is the time. Call and tweet Republican Senators and tell them No to their tax fraud. The idea that Republicans are so desperate to pass anything is a sad state of their governing. A bad bill is a bill that helps the few, and harms the many. That’s what we have here. Bad legislation based on donor needs, not the needs of the 99%.

Calamity Politics is a political on-line news magazine that offers a lot of opinion & comment with a progressive agenda well identified. Join the Resistance.


An Obligation To Preserve Health Care


The Democrats Oppose The Recent Actions By Trump Order

The Trump administration seems bent on destroying health care in America. Despite promises to “guarantee health care for all” while on the campaign trail, Trump has moved back to the GOP corner, now calling for Repeal and Destroy.

Open enrollment for the ACA (ObamaCare) starts on November 1st and extends through December 15, 2017 for health care policies starting January 1, 2018.  I would wager that a large part of Americans are unaware of these important approaching dates.

Why wouldn’t they know?  The problem comes from the Trump administration’s dramatic cut backs on efforts to tell people about deadlines and other matters related to the ACA.  The strategy is to openly sabotage the national health care system. Americans should be given time to check their current coverage and make health care decisions to avoid being trapped in a policy they don’t like, or in a policy that no longer fits their needs.

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Let’s Walk, Run, and Bike

Our society is becoming more sedentary and overweight. Many of us spend hours behind a desk at our jobs.  We drive our cars to the fast food drive thru, never even getting out of our cars.  We use our computers to shop, without ever leaving the house.  With decreased activity people are increasingly complaining of posture related aches and pains, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Just like we enjoy eating and drinking too much, we enjoy sitting too much. We are surrounded by cars, snacks, elevators, sugary drinks and fast foods. The problem has become serious enough that the World Health Organization has a new agenda focused on encouraging physical activity.

A “Black Dog Institute” of Australia study found that 1-2 hours of exercise per week can prevent depression. In addition to improved mental health multiple world-wide studies have shown that vigorous movement can stave off heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, fatigue, diabetes and even cancer.

Our country, and most of the industrialized economies are suffering from a “sitting disease”.  Physical inactivity is one of  the top 10 causes of disease and disability according to a recent UK government study. That study attributed 1 in 6 deaths to “sitting” which is equal to smoking in that country.

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Warning Signs Of Stroke And Heart Attack

I opened a donation request letter today from the American Heart Association. In that request letter was a sheet of paper listing the warning signs for both Heart Attack and Stroke. Remembering that Tom Petty just died of cardiac arrest, I thought it was valuable information and I should pass it on.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most of them, according to the AHA, start slowly, with mild discomfort. Don’t ignore the following warning signs, you could be having a heart attack.

If You Experience Chest Pain Call 911 Immediately.


Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. The feeling is often described as  “pressure” “squeezing” or a “fullness” in the chest.

Other signs. These signs may include cold sweats, nausea & vomiting or light-headedness.

If you or someone that you are with is having any of the noted symptoms call 911 immediately. It is imperative that you get medical attention quickly. If you are unable to access EMS have someone take you to the hospital. Don’t drive yourself unless you have absolutely no other choice.

Stroke is a medical emergency.Every second matters, because time lost is brain lost. Watch for the following warning signs,

Immediate Medical Attention Is Necessary To Reduce Stroke Disabilities


  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden vision disturbance in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or co-ordination
  • Sudden severe headache without a known cause

If you, or someone you are with, is experiencing one or more of the signs of stroke act immediately. Time is of the essence. Call 911 or EMS to have an ambulance with advanced life support come to your location. Be sure to check the time, so you will know when the first symptoms appeared. Quick action is essential. If given within three hours of the onset of symptoms a powerful clot-busting drug which can be given that potentially will reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

Calamity Politics is a progressive on-line political magazine that features headline news from around the world. Join the Resistance.


I’m A Liberal–And Here Is Why

The resurrection of the GOP attack on Health Care, Trump’s UN speech, and a nasty Twitter exchange with a rabid Trump supporter, or maybe, a Russian troll, has caused me to sit down and pout for a few minutes, kick my feet and wonder if the fight is worth it.  I, like many of you, get so tired.  Some days it seems like Trump, in 10 short months is on the precipice of destroying the backbone of this country, our laws and our media. In the midst of my pout, I remember what President John F. Kennedy said about his core values and I perked up and finished calling my list of potentially five persuadable Republican Senators; in an effort to stop the GOP effort to repeal the ACA. 

The JFK quote has been seen a million times, but it is worth another view.  If you are a liberal and are taking a breath, forget it. The GOP and all their ‘effing money are out to screw us all. So get up, dust yourself off, drag the sign out of the basement, and hit the streets. Or, the phone. You can have a big impact if you make those Senate office phones ring.

So, my sweet liberal friends, gather courage from the words of one of our greatest presidents, “If by a ‘liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reaction, someone who cares about the welfare of the people–their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties–someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what it means to be a ‘liberal’ then I’m proud to say, I’m a liberal.”

Keep up the fight, the road will be hard and the results slow in coming, but a determined heart will protect health care and the social contract our government has with its citizens.

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