Issues of Parity

With all the great support of organizations such as; the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI), mutual aid peer support groups like AA, NA, grass roots organizations such as the Homeless Action Network of Detroit (HAND), Families Against Narcotics, Veterans Affairs, Alanon, NarAnon, depression support groups, and the hundreds of others, isn’t it time we unite into one collective voice?

What would we say? Who would we talk to? What exactly do we want?

We would state clearly, itemize precisely areas to be favorably impacted by proactive, prevention-oriented Mental/Behavioral Health Care (M/BHC) Reform.

We can start with opening evidence based discussions with the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA:  http://www.nida.gov). Our first order of business should be to claim that M/BHC services are equal to, if not more important than, health care. The mind, emotions, the body, interrelationships and the human Spirit work together to create whole human health.

Furthermore, healthy humans contribute to healthy communities; and, healthy communities form a healthy society. Diversity, balance, safety, cooperation, mutual aid functions to form solidarity and strength all contribute to high productivity, innovation, creativity.

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This is what it takes to build and maintain a healthy, culturally diverse, thriving nation or group of nations:

Consumers of M/BHC services are first class citizens.

Substance addicted patients are NOT substandard people.

In fact, many sufferers of chemical dependencies are victims of corporate pharmaceutical fraud, corruption in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), immoral and atrocious medical professionals.

When properly investigated, those who practice exploitation of the mentally ill or disabled may find themselves embroiled in class action suits against them.

M/BHC Professionals and para-professionals are entitled to equal pay and compensation.  Professional status and financial compensation as returns on the steep educational and licensing investments in both time and money, must also undergo great reform. Intellect and talent must be attracted to the behavioral and mental health care fields to address the outrageous growth ands needs of services in our communities.

It is no longer acceptable to relegate the exponentially increasing needs of mental/behavioral healthcare consumers to the prison system.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA:  http://www.samhsa.gov) is the government agency responsible for delivering support services to US communities. This government body needs to enter into dialog with the next generation of academics, professionals, hands-on caregivers and leaders in the M/BHC industry. While the population’s need for effect care, the industry is under staffed and under funded to meet the need of consumers for whom they are responsible today! How on earth do they expect to prepare for future public mental health needs?  Clearly, a grass-roots call for REFORM is on my agenda.

Yes, like all other forms health care, this mental/behavioral health, too, is an industry. It is foolish, naive, ignorant, prejudiced or arrogant to assume social workers, school counselors, psychotherapists, substance abuse counselors, nurses aides, special education providers, mental health aides, practitioners, direct care workers, group home house managers, center based vocational trainers, residential directors, community based rehabilitation centers, dual-diagnosis behavioral health hospitals, etc. don’t all notice the huge discrepancy in their own pay scales compared to those of equivalent jobs in other fields of health care.

Interestingly, the system’s internal economics has reinforced its own substandard compensation for decades. There is a running self-deception within the caregiving fields. It is nothing more than a thinly veiled stream of excuses to buy into the neglect of their own needs. Hidden in the ranks of many M/BHC workers are severe symptoms of codependency:

“We are not IN IT for the money.”
“We care more for the clients’ needs.”
“We do this because we are good (nice, pious, better than, more responsible, unselfish, liberal, rich, damaged and can’t do better) people.”

I do not hold that mental health care workers have to be greedy, criminally exploiting the disabled. In fact, fear of being falsely-accused of heinous behavior has probably launched this culture self-deprecating, false-piety crap in the first place.

Whether coming from the self-victimizing or self-aggrandizing point of view ~ unabashed pity disguised as pseudo-advocacy is NOT what M/BHC recipients need nor desire.  People who work at careers that pay them fairly, provide healthy incentives by honoring stellar service, clients that are safe, treated with unconditional positive regard, sense improvement in their lives are likely to tell others that they have a great job and will encourage the like-minded to find a career that suits them in the field.  Normal, huh?

Fair and humane, hopeful, respectful, unbiased and understanding people offering treatment with accessible, down-to-earth, thorough and common-sense care ~ these are the kind of care providers most clients need and respond well to.  An industry with this type of culture supports staff, resulting in clients actually growing to feel better, manage their illnesses and get on with their lives.

SAMHSA has so much more to do to fulfill their purpose.

Communities require well-defined strategies, well-suited qualified professionals meet the dire need and to facilitate the directives to addresses them.  Who in their right mind would want to enter a field that does not compensate such valuable personnel in a manner commensurate with the very education/credentialing required to get hired?  Additional irony – because of the vulnerability of the populations such professionals and workers will be serving, their education and credentialing actually either equals or EXCEEDS the standards of other fields of health care!

Legal exposure, regulation, socia scrutiny and media hype is much deeper for a administrators in M/BHC facilities.  Consequences of failure and systemic weakness are much greater, and ultimately the populations they serve suffer in direct result of those failures.

For example, closure of state facilities for the severely disabled has poured otherwise qualified patients into the streets.while the original intent may have been to mainstream such individuals, funding for academic and vocational training of able, bonded personnel had been scantily provided to build a labor force qualified, safe and effective to meet the needs of those turned out patients.

Homelessness, gangs, juvenile crime has grown exponentially in communities throughout the country. Individuals quickly become drugged/self-medicated targets for criminal activity. VA, middle-age and adolescent suicide rates are staggering, and while an outcry is sounding, response is halting, incomplete, and, most troublesome, is still taboo a subject to discuss.

Funding is available; but knowing how to access it is hazy.  Reform must make it a priority to raise awareness and impact social consciousness to make it appropriate, acceptable and commonplace to obtain care.  North America has a ridiculously long way to go in mainstreaming the mental/emotional health agreements as taking one’s vitals.

Infusing resources calls knowing what to do and how to do it. Reform calls reclaiming and redefining each area of M/BH for continued and innovative research, education and development.

Jobs in medical and rehabilitation sectors of the field must be broken down into clearly focused disciplines and ranked for utilization at every level of intervention and influence.

Ancillary fields, such as; academia, public education, fine arts & leisure, families & children intervention and supports, legal and judicial reform with regard to treatment of these populations.* A special look at the increase of chemical dependency leading to death among the middle-aging and geriatric, adolescent and veteran suicide rates:  Beginning with legislation, consumer safety, insurance, agricultural practices and nutrition, public health assessments, recording, reporting and dissemination of information in these specific areas is imperative.

Standardizing protocols for prevention, intervention and education at the local-state-federal levels to respond timely and appropriately to changes in public mental/behavioural health by neighborhood or community. What is meant by this is initiating proactive risk assessments to identify increased alcohol or substance use disorders in correlation to drug trafficking activity BEFORE a community is in crisis.

Fair practices in guardianship,  probate, vocational and housing, transportation require reevaluation with respect to serving and protecting vulnerable populations.

We are to be improving, expanding and refining c

Civil rights language when communicating public information, social awareness concepts and efforts at inclusion needs to improve in clarity, expand to more audiences, be more refined, call citizens to action.  Greater emphasis needs to be placed on understanding the challenges M/BH clients endure. Stronger consequences need to be in place and enforced to prevent bullying and exploitation of those with invisible disabilities in all walks of life and at all age levels.

Standards within schools must be raised, and districts must be equipped with faculty inservices, protocols, prevention curriculum, community based programs in schools and after school.  Wealth and education is not a dividing line for which communities have such programming.

High income and urbane, highly cultured communities suffer the same distress from mental health disorders as underprivileged communities.  This is clearly NOT a class problem; it is a public health problem.

Availability of and standards for systems that support all families  & youth, the aging, need an entire restructuring.  Keen awareness and response with effective psychological therapeutic services must be equally available at every point of entry into health care as CPR or administering AED aid.

Similarly, every stage of after care, whether it be with a peer support specialist, recovery coach, natural supports, each m/bh patient is entitled to hope for the development of innovative, alternative or wrap around care modalities accessible to him or her.  Technological modifications in products, treatments, practices, are equally if not more important than the our equivalent in other fields of medicine.

Parity in social, civil and human rights for consumers of M/BHC is currently far below par.  Legislation to correct this is mandatory. Violations, such as denying services to M/BHC patients is both immoral and reform must be enacted.

Example:
An adolescent in need of inpatient emergency MHC services for opioid addiction must not be denied a hospital bed because “…he’s just a drug addict; what did you expect?”  Yet, a juvenile incarcerated for DUI has access to that same bed.

So, who’s in*? 

Interested in raising your voice for Mental/Behavioral Health Care Reform?

*Contact me, let me know the best way to reach you to take action.
What do you think needs to be done?  What do you think needs to be done FIRST?

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Vocabulary Word

Thanks to CBT professor Dr. Sheabra Simpson, I learned a new vocabulary word, but this one has only tangentially to do with the class’ subject of cognitive behavior therapy:

N E T I Q U E T T E

I have nothing original to offer on this, but the following link is spot on!

http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html

In my gallivanting over social networks lately, however, I have run across a few rule-breakers and social oafs.  Thinking of them promptly while reading the rules I thought to spread a Truth, if not a little common decency and manners my mother(s) taught me.

More to be shared after midterms are done…

Namaste

Hey! Food & Drug Administration, Are You Listening?

Hey!  Food & Drug Administration, Are You Listening?

We can’t get away from it: one study after another indicates a need for more accountability from the FDA and pharmaceutical companies manufacturing and distribution of addictive prescription medication in America.    Isn’t it odd that one arm of the federal government announces findings of  research on medication overdoses to be a leading cause of fatal injury in the United States, but the responsible arm of government as a watchdog for drugs distributed to the marketplace appears deaf to it?  I certainly haven’t heard any statements from the FDA.  Have you?

Now, how can that possibly be?

“Poisonings, mostly from drug overdoses, are the leading cause of accidental death among working-age adults in the United States, a new report shows.”(from healthfinder.gov – Overdoses, Cellphone-Linked Car Crashes Among Top Causes of Fatal Injury in U.S..)

I haven’t heard a peep from the Surgeon General either:  Certainly not from the former, Regina M. Benjamin whose term ended 2013. Meanwhile, opioid substance deaths spiked the four years under her watch, at least in Michigan.  Don’t be naive, though.  It’s everywhere.

 Opioid-Related Hospitalizations in Michigan, 2000-2011

Nor does it appear the White House deems fatal overdoses important enough a topic for the Surgeon General.  If anything, President Obama is tentative “lest-we-suffer-embarrassment” backpedaling about nominating Vivek Murthy as the new SG, but for a rather peculiar reason.  Mr. Murphy, of all things, is outspoken on gun control!  Why, that kind of talk might get the Republicans all upset and filibuster the Senate again.  Well, POTUS certainly can’t have that. [http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/03/15/obama-surgeon-general-nominee-trouble/6457575/]

Whoever in their right mind, I wonder, would think the Surgeon General’s jurisdiction is more appropriately over gun control than the health of the general population due to the high rate of abuse of OxyContin, Vicodin, or into possible collusion, bribery, corruption pharmaceutical companies’ profit making strategies perhaps with the Food and Drug Administration turning a blind-eye on releasing highly dangerous and addictive pain medications to the public?

Yeah, I know.  That is a heavy allegation.

No, I am not an investigative reporter, but, boy, I sure wish I were.  I hope someone has the guts to look into it.  More and more the politics of government is clearly more important than civil service.  And the comfort of civil servants is more and more important than the safety and and protection of the citizenry to whom the government is accountable.

I and my like-minded colleagues are still asking the Food and Drug Administration what is it as a governing/watchdog body doing to protect healthcare consumers from profit hungry pharmaceutical manufacturing and marketing firms?  How is it that the latter still continue to flood the ethical (and I use that term reluctantly) drug market vis a vis coupon redemption marketing and other ‘incentives’ so that avaricious physicians may be rewarded for rampantly dispensing substances holding DEA Schedule III and DEA Schedule II (that is, pretty extreme) risk for dependency among their patients?

Times must be hard if the only way to make a buck is to make the product highly addictive.  Reminds me of the tobacco companies and cancer in the 80’s.  Hey, thanks for letting me rant.

When the FDA and Zogenix push poison…

push back!

Following our December 2013 post, the audacity and brazen push to release Zogenix’ uber-opioid pain-killer Zohydro ER, in spite of its known high potential to cause fatal overdose, is given the FDA blessing.  

Wait, what?

Manufactured by Zogenix, presented to the FDA in October 2010, Zohydro ER is highly addictive and, as an opioid is akin to heroin, derived from the opium poppy plant.  The not-so-underlying message in this headline is the money-grab.  But hey,who cares if pill addicts running to this stuff OD and croak?  Junkies choose the lifestyle, don’t they?  Well, then they deserve what they get!’  Right?

The question in the wake of my December 2013 blog post, namely, ‘who watches the watchdog?’ is now made obsolete and trumped by a few new ones, now that it seems the FDA is sticking to its green light determination for Zohydro ER and Zogenix.

Has anyone in legal at Zogenix, or for that matter on the taxpayer’s payroll at the FDA done a respectable due diligence on this product?  Who, if anyone, has thought to inform our ivory tower, holier-than-patient medical community of the behavioral health, law enforcement and collateral repercussions when this med is stolen from acute pain patients in assisted living communities?  Who is going to pay for the additional rehab beds, emergency room stomach pumps, and mental health treatments for the bereaved families after the swarm of fatal overdoses start pressing hard on our suburban communities?  And who will pay for the training required and the staffing, and the parity-driven 25% – 40% pay raises to substance abuse counseling personnel when they have to clean up the mess after Rx  Zohydro ER is raided from granddad’s medicine cabinet?  Who pays for increased narcs to find and collar the unscrupulous Drs. Feelgood who’ve been Swiss banking their quadrupled script sales revenues?

Not your problem?  Just wait till your little Tabitha or Jessica gets hold of this stuff.  

killer pain killer

pharma

A quick thanks to NEWSER and Arden Dier, who posted the following on February 28, 2014. It bears repeating in entirety for the red flag it raises.

Zohydro, which the FDA gave the green light in October against the advice of its advisory panel, will serve as a powerful pain pill for those who can’t get relief from what’s already out there. It contains the same basic ingredient (hydrocodone) as Vicodin, but it has 5 to 10 times the power, Forbes notes, and without the added acetaminophen. As an expert on the advisory board who voted “no” tells NBC News, that acetaminophen deters savvy addicts from loading up on Vicodin for fear of liver damage. Like OxyContin, Zohydro is a “pure narcotic”; but unlike OxyContin, the Zohydro set to be released isn’t tamper resistant, and can easily be crushed, then snorted or injected.
“In the midst of a severe drug addiction epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid,” some 40 experts wrote to the FDA in a call for Zohydro’s reevaluation. “It’s a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule. It will kill people as soon as it’s released,” says one of those experts. But one doctor points out that “it all depends on how doctors monitor it. It could be lifesaving. But if used the wrong way, like any medication, it can cause trouble.” On that front, Forbes reports that experts say someone unaccustomed to opioids could overdose with as little as two pills, and that a single pill could kill a child.

I am curious how a compound such as Zohydro ER in 2014 could have progressed so far to release to market when so many health risks to the public have been cited.  The recovery community, schools, law enforcement, judicial system, politicians, the medical community needs to be aware that if this product actually does reach the public, be prepared to put the coroner, clergy and funeral parlors on speed dial.

Ask any suburban hockey mom if the market is not already glutted with opioids; presenting ‘unforeseen consequences’ with abuses on the street by adolescents and other vulnerable populations ~ a veritable turbo-charged gateway to heroin use, addiction and death.  Wayne and Monroe counties in Michigan alone have enough first hand experience with the current opioid/heroin transfer, with deadly results bordering on the pandemic, they certainly need Zohydro ER like a hole in the head.

I visited and read the warning label to the medical profession on the Zogenix website.  You tell me; is it enough to deter suicide prone Generations Y and Z to refrain from playing with these pills at their next slumber party?

WARNING: ADDICTION, ABUSE AND MISUSE; LIFE-THREATENING RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION; ACCIDENTAL EXPOSURE; NEONATAL OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME; and INTERACTION WITH ALCOHOL
Zohydro ER exposes users to risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death.  Assess each patient’s risk before prescribing, and monitor regularly for development of these behaviors or conditions.
Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur.  Monitor closely, especially upon initiation or following a dose increase.  Instruct patients to swallow Zohydro ER whole to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose of hydrocodone.
Accidental consumption of Zohydro ER, especially in children, can result in fatal overdose of hydrocodone.
For patients who require opioid therapy while pregnant, be aware that infants may require treatment for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.  Prolonged use during pregnancy can result in life-threatening neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.
Instruct patients not to consume alcohol or any products containing alcohol while taking Zohydro ER because co-ingestion can result in fatal plasma hydrocodone levels.

Who is going to call first for an independent investigation of Zogenix’ executive leadership, marketing, R&D and head counsel inquiring who signed off on this product?

Who is going to start knocking on the door of FDA with microphones, subpoenas for bank records and search warrants?

Seriously, I want to know.   That legislator will have my vote.  If the congressional oversight committee is successful and smokes out the criminally uninformed and callously capitalistic negotiators of this deal with enough evidence to put them behind bars,  I will personally work on their re-election campaigns.  UN~believable

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ADDITIONAL READS

By John Fauber of the Journal Sentinel, Kristina Fiore of MedPage Today 

Oct. 28, 2013

Zogenix Stockholders Facing World of Pain?  By David Phillips February 25, 2014 The Motley Fool  http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/25/zogenix-stockholders-facing-world-of-pain.aspx

Zogenix product information:   http://www.zogenix.com/content/products/zohydro.htm

<img style=’width:240px;border-width:0px;’ alt=” src=’http://img1-cdn.newser.com/square-image/183072-20140228163608/painkiller-will-kill-people-as-soon-as-its-released.jpeg’> 

Hazardous waste deep injection well construction ~ at Lake Huron

English: Map of Lake Huron. Category:Michigan maps

English: Map of Lake Huron. Category:Michigan maps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Faulty, Corrupt Nuclear-Waste Deposit Well Deal between Romulus, Michigan & Canada

OK, I’m pretty mad that we have to find out about this stuff milling around online when we’re supposed to be doing homework. Why is this message under-reported in the mass media?   Continue reading

Repost: Senator Hopgood Warns of Grave Risks of Underground Nuclear Waste Repository

The Great Lakes as seen from space. The Great ...

The Great Lakes as seen from space. The Great Lakes are the largest glacial lakes in the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Initiative to build underground Nuclear Waste Repository less than one mile away from Lake Huron shore in Michigan. Great Lakes to dispose of ‘rags’ belonging to Canada has been ‘gifted’ for $36,000,000 to raise local support. What!? Michigan Senator Hopgood’s warning is shocking and timely:


Senator Hopgood speaks on ‘unthinkable’ risks of proposed underground nuclear waste repository in Canada, less than a mile off the shores of Lake Huron.

Detroit’s Cleaning Up ~ And it is More Than Just Litter!

Flag of the United States of America

Flag of the United States of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detroit is secretly a beautiful city!  One must LOOK BENEATH ITS SURFACE and recall how it has been disparaged in every way for 46 years.  But, it is a valley being raised up, just as the mountains of corruption are being torn down. Abolitionists speak up, so:  Listen up, USA!