Category Archives: Drug War

Tennessee Deputy Sued Twice In The Same Day Over A Roadside Anal Search And A Forced Baptism

from the yeah-I’ve-never-seen-those-words-lined-up-like-that-before-either

Wed, Oct 16th 2019 12:17pm — Tim Cushing

You’ve got to be a special kind of law enforcement officer to have two lawsuits filed against you in the same day. Hamilton County Deputy Daniel Wilkey is that kind of special. The Tennessee law enforcement officer managed to violate rights against enough people that two of them retained lawyers. This suggests Deputy Wilkey violates rights on a regular basis, but maybe not egregiously enough to merit a lawsuit in every case.

Both cases here are disturbing. And they’re disturbing in very different ways. I’ve never read a civil rights lawsuit against an officer that included claims of a forcible religious experience, but here we are. (h/t Peter Bonilla)

The first lawsuit [PDF], filed by Shandle Riley, alleges that Deputy Wilkey followed her to a friend’s house from a nearby gas station. Once he had (sort of) pulled her over, things got weird quick.

First, Deputy Wilkey claimed Riley was holding meth. To prove this, he engaged in a full body patdown. Then he ordered her to take off her bra and “shake her bra and shirt” to prove she hadn’t stashed any meth there. Riley asked for a female officer to be present during this “search” but the deputy told her the law doesn’t require female cops to search female citizens.

He then asked if she had anything illegal in her car. She said she had a marijuana roach stashed in a pack of cigarettes. At that point, Deputy Wilkey became verbally abusive. Then he decided to strike a deal with the alleged criminal. We’ll go to the lawsuit for that because… well, it offers the driest recounting of a positively insane situation.

Wilkey then approached Plaintiff and asked her if she was “saved” and believed in Jesus Christ.

Plaintiff stated that she believed in Jesus Christ, but that she was not “saved” by her own choice.

Wilkey then told Plaintiff that God was talking to him during the vehicle search, and Wilkey felt the Lord wanted him to baptize the Plaintiff.

Wilkey further told Plaintiff that he felt “the spirit.”

Um. Do what now?

These are words coming from the mouth of a sworn peace officer. And that’s not the end of it. The option given to Riley was to participate in this highly-unconventional baptism presided over by an officer of the law or get thrown into the gaping maw of the criminal justice system with as much force as Deputy Wilkey could muster. If Riley agreed to a baptism, Wilkey said he would only cite her for marijuana possession and speak to the judge on her behalf. Riley complied with Wilkey’s demands, which included grabbing towels from her friends house and following Wilkey’s cruiser out to a nearby lake.

At the lake, Riley and Wilkey were joined by Deputy Jacob Goforth, who did nothing as Wilkey proceeded with the “baptism.”

Wilkey told Plaintiff that Goforth was present because, in order for a baptism to be valid, a witness must “attest” to the ritual.

Wilkey then stripped nearly naked, with only his boxer shorts on.

Wilkey then gave Plaintiff the option to strip too, but Plaintiff declined.

Wilkey then lead Plaintiff into the near waist deep and frigid water, placed one hand on Plaintiff’s back, and his other hand on Plaintiff’s breasts, and completely submerged Plaintiff under the water.

Wilkey held Plaintiff under water for several moments, then with his hands still positioned on her back and breasts, raised Plaintiff from the cold water.

Plaintiff was shivering uncontrollably, and felt horribly violated.

Unfortunately for Riley, I doubt there’s a case on point that will easily eliminate Wilkey’s qualified immunity defense. But hopefully, the court will recognize this is batshit insane enough it doesn’t need to find a case on point to find Wilkey violated her rights. To top it all off, Riley held up her end of the under-the-color-of-law bargain. Deputy Wilkey did not.

At no time did Wilkey ever [go to] court on Plaintiff’s behalf and speak to the judge.

If that was the only thing Wilkey was being sued about, it would be enough to question his fitness for duty. But as you already know, this isn’t the end of the accusations against the deputy.

The second lawsuit, filed in the same court on the same day, alleges Deputy Wilkey engaged in a suspicionless stop that turned into an impromptu roadside anal cavity search and the beating of a handcuffed man. And oh my god does it start with one of the dumbest things an officer has ever said to defend a pretextual stop. From the lawsuit [PDF]:

Wilkey followed Plaintiffs, and conducted a traffic stop of the Plaintiffs on the false claims of “window tint violation” and that he could smell the odor of marijuana as Wilkey followed the plaintiffs.

This assertion of Wilkey’s exceptional olfactory senses is followed by a parade of brutalities inflicted on the passenger of the pulled-over vehicle at the hands of the deputy. Fortunately for the plaintiffs, this whole interaction was recorded.

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Here’s the lawsuit’s description of those events:

Wilkey handcuffed James, and the individual Defendants took James to the front of one of their police vehicles.

Wilkey then began to grab James’ genitals. When James told Wilkey that James had an untreated and large hernia and that Wilkey’s actions were causing James pain, Brewer and Wilkey jerked James’ arms high above his back, and slammed James face-down onto the hot engine hood, causing injury to James.

Wilkey and Brewer then beat James with fists, knees, and feet, slammed James to the ground, and continued their brutalization of James.

Wilkey and Brewer then removed James’ pants and shoes, while still beating James.

Wilkey and Brewer then forced James’ face back onto the hot hood of the same police vehicle and continued to jerk his arms high above his back, and beat James.

While Brewer continued to force James’ face back onto the hot hood of the same police vehicle and jerk his arms high above his back Wilkey donned a set of gloves, pulled down James’ underwear, and conducted an anal cavity search of James.

The lawsuit goes on to note that James suffered numerous injuries including “tearing of his anus” and an aggravation of his existing hernia. The charges brought against James (the deputies discovered drugs in his underwear) were all dropped after the dashcam video was made public.

Deputy Wilkey has been suspended, but it’s the nice kind that means he’ll be paid to do nothing while the Sheriff’s Office decides what to do with him. It would seem obvious he’s too expensive to keep around.

CONTINUE READING…

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20191003/15342343118/tennessee-deputy-sued-twice-same-day-over-roadside-anal-search-forced-baptism.shtml?fbclid=IwAR3EfWx6P_sA7K12dedwfjNns4F6lULxIh4JUAt5WxHt37zCGKhDmlXasg4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=iDI0V4-3Wbg

I Never Smoked Marijuana — But I’m Serving Life In Prison Over A Marijuana Charge

CESAL: I Never Smoked Marijuana — But I’m Serving Life In Prison Over A Marijuana Charge

By Craig Cesal

Aug 27, 2019

“I sentence you to a term of natural life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole.”

These were the words I heard just months after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. You see, at that time, the news was filled with theories that drug dealers finance terrorists, and I had just been convicted of my first felony: conspiring to distribute marijuana. This was the newest foray into the “War on Drugs.”

The government never claimed that I bought, sold, or even used marijuana, but rather my business repaired semi-trucks for a company that trafficked marijuana. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, as I didn’t do anything with marijuana. I was wrong, according to the federal court in Gainesville, Georgia. My business, nestled near Chicago, was auctioned by lawyers in Georgia to pay for their services to secure the life sentence, after my home and savings were spent.

Two months ago, recreational marijuana was approved for sale by the Illinois legislature. Some of my business equipment is likely being used again to repair trucks that haul marijuana.

For over 17 years, I have watched robbers, rapists and even murderers come and go from prison. Last year, a guy in my cellblock who killed two federal marshals was paroled after serving 30 years.

I’ve been watching the news, and I’m waiting to see if we prisoners will get the right to vote.

Here at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, the cornerstone, engraved with “A.D. 1937,” reminds me that the prison opened the same year the federal government made marijuana illegal. The construction workers likely used pot while they built the prison. Looking out from my job at the prison factory, where we make blankets for the military, I can see “Death House” — where Timothy McVeigh and others died. He spent less time in federal prison than me, although his current housing is likely worse.

From Cellblock D, a couple of weeks ago before the time I wrote this, John Walker Lindh, the so-called “White Taliban” who shot CIA agents in Afghanistan, went home after serving his 20-year sentence. He came in after me, and with good time credits, served only 17 years.

To my knowledge, he never aided others who schlepped marijuana. Whew, that’s a good thing, or he’d still be here in prison with me. He was convicted of providing aid to terrorists, but for anything related to marijuana.

Prison is intended to teach offenders not to violate the law again, or simply, for those, like me, the judge deemed irredeemable, to teach the public, who may be thinking of something related to marijuana. At times, I scratch my head trying to fathom who is learning what as a result of my sentence. Bradley Manning made WikiLeaks a household word, and President Obama sent him home because he wore a dress. Maxwell Klinger, of “M*A*S*H” fame, had no such luck.

Obama also turned down my clemency request. Just what am I, or anyone else, supposed to learn from my life-for-pot sentence?

The Terre Haute prison abuts the Wabash River, which separates Indiana from Illinois. From the right places, I can see Illinois across the river, where I lived, and where marijuana distribution, and thereby marijuana conspiracy, is encouraged by state tax collectors. Did I merely have bad timing in selling services to marijuana traffickers from my perch in Illinois? Nope, federal DEA agents are still nabbing distributors in Illinois, well, because they still can. Oh, and the money from the marijuana dispensaries likely pay their salaries. Hopefully, I’ll learn my lesson in prison.

I imagine I can learn from the Federal Bureau of Prison’s paycheck collectors charged with caging me. The prison buildings are surrounded by tall fences, razor wire and cameras. No one from the media, from a family, or from an auditor can get in to see what staffers actually do inside the fence. Guards often go days without so much as seeing an inmate, if they even show up for work. Most will spend more years receiving retirement benefits from the job than they spent actually working.

A sentence of life means a sentence until death. Staff are flummoxed trying to discern what to put in the Federal Bureau of Prisons Form for my release date. Death won’t work. It must be a number. The last time I checked, they were writing 2028. Remember, nobody is coming over the fence and razor wire to check on the paperwork. But no release is imminent.

The sentencing judge determined I am a marijuana reprobate. I am thus irredeemable, and unworthy of anything other than final damnation in prison. Murderers are released after 13.4 years on average, according to the Department of Justice, and a terrorist can go home after 17 years. But I am a prisoner of the War on Drugs. There’s no hope for me under existing federal law.

I’ve learned my lesson, and lawmakers should be pushed to learn a lesson. Federal drug laws, especially marijuana laws, are long overdue for reform. The “fix” must also include sensible relief for prisoners of the failed War on Drugs.

Craig Cesal is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in Indiana’s Terre Haute prison for a “marijuana” offense. He co-owned a towing company that recovered and repaired trucks for a rental company, some of which were used by smugglers to transport marijuana. He graduated from Montini High School in Lombard, Illinois in 1977. His daughter, Lauren, has obtained more than 300,000 signatures on a petition calling for clemency.”

CONTINUE READING…

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Additional Links of Information for Craig Cesal:

https://www.facebook.com/FreeCraigCesal/

https://www.change.org/p/free-my-dad-serving-life-without-parole-for-marijuana

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/12/02/he-got-life-without-parole-for-pot-and-he-was-just-denied-clemency/

http://www.pow420.com/craig_cesal

https://www.civilized.life/articles/marijuana-lifer-craig-cesal/

THORNE PETERS: 387 DAYS AND STILL COUNTING, IN THE MEMPHIS, TN PENAL SYSTEM–STILL FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS…

thorne_peters_portraitcrop

SINCE APRIL 3rd, 2018 Thorne Peters has been incarcerated in the prison system of MemphisTennessee.

As he fights for his own rights and OUR rights as a cannabis consumers,  he also fights for prisoners rights from within the walls of the Penal Farm in Memphis. 

May 2, 2019 is the next court date scheduled and will be in Judge Campbell’s Courtroom.  Judge Carter and Judge Lammey are recused from the case.

A very in depth article has been published at “MemphisTruth.Org” in which Thorne Peters ordeal thus far has been featured.  I encourage everyone to view it.

“We are political prisoners.  We are having our rights violated by a prohibition.”

“We are consenting adults in a free society, with free will, committing acts of consensual behavior, that are nobody else’s business.  Yet the Government industrial complex, the legal industrial complex, continue to make it their business.”

*Medical Pot – “Why can’t we all have pot?”

*Decriminalized Pot – Where can I buy some legal decriminalized pot?”

“There is no such thing as a non-violent criminal, all crime is violent”

As written in the U.S. Marijuana Party introduction, “More Americans are in jail today for marijuana offenses than at any previous time in American history.”

These people who are unjustly incarcerated are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, cousins, other family members and friends.  They do not deserve to be in a cage for a NON CRIME!  We are NOT CRIMINALS!  We are peaceful, law-abiding and loving Citizens who deserve the right to live in peace.

We must do everything we can to help these individuals fight for their own liberty and OURS!

The war will never be over until each and every one of these people are free and have all their rights restored.

Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2017: 659,700

Cooper, 38, headed off to continue serving his sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for conspiracy to sell marijuana.

CAN DO CLEMENCY .COM has many people who have been incarcerated for “Pot” for life sentences.  Please view and share.

Meanwhile, while we wait to be free again …

Please call AMY WEIRICH; D.A., Memphis, TN (901) 222-1300

And also call the Tennessee Governor at (615) 741-2001 and say “investigate THE KINGPIN conspiracy…”

THEN:

Visit ThornePeters.com and click the ‘420 NITE CLUB BUST’ and ‘CONSPIRACY’ banners to get the story on the now TEN YEAR CONSPIRACY against THE KINGPIN THORNE PETERS that lead to this moment.

And last but not least, please DONATE to the “Freedom Fund”!

Remember to write to Thorne Peters at: 

1045 Mullins Station Rd., Memphis, TN 38134 RNI# 389985.

Hearing from those who care means everything when you are in 23 and 1 lockdown.

Also remember to support other people who are being incarcerated for Cannabis charges!  Below I have listed a few of them.  Many thanks to Kerry Cannon who forwarded their names to me!

Lance Gloor

 Image may contain: 5 people, including Tracie Gloor-Pike, people smiling

Jimmy Romans

John Knock-life

Diana Marquez

Luke Scarmazzo

Craig Cesal-life

Corvain Cooper-life

Way Long

Michael Pelletier- life

Andy Cox- life

While we wait to see true justice served keep these and all prisoners in your thoughts and prayers daily and every chance you get write a letter or sign a petition or make your feelings about the issue known by  following Activist’s and sharing thru social media ! 

Every little bit helps!

smk

RELATED:

THORNE PETERS ARTICLES ON KENTUCKY MARIJUANA PARTY

TN Department of Correction

A Perfect Storm : Investigating Tennessee’s Prison System – WSMV Channel 4 I-Team Special

https://memphistruth.org/2019/04/10/thorne-peters-weed-messiah/?fbclid=IwAR22CG5C-9_R8zSNKT9EV-rJ97QME5spEdBQuWe2zPYuMCHeKrEcKJWML4g

3 Of The Most Insane Marijuana-Related Prison Sentences In American History

https://www.nashvillepublicradio.org/post/drug-charges-dropped-against-medical-marijuana-activist-marshall-county?fbclid=IwAR3jCPmspGWjWcXqmMg4rNn0AWVvVp-q9Ca2juBJCDzFN9cgmiqrV0Sxo44#stream/0

Shelby County, TN Claims it Has No Grand Jury Foreman Appointing Orders for the Past Eight Years…

#WeAreKY But #ThisIsKY…Story of Elihu Shepherd

The incident leading to Gary’s killing began on a Sunday morning in August of 1993, when a helicopter on loan from the Kentucky National Guard was landed by officers of the Governor’s Marijuana Strike Force in a field adjacent to Gary Shepherd’s rural home. An officer familiar with Gary approached and told him that he was going to come in and cut down the dozen plants which were maturing around the perimeter of his property. Gary denied him entrance, saying it would happen “over [his] dead body.” Using Gary’s invocation of this metaphor as a pretext for his murder, the officer departed and called in additional officers, who covertly blockaded all routes to Gary’s house and began to monitor his movements.  LINK

In August of 1993, in Rockcastle County Kentucky, a four year old child watched his Father, Gary Shephard shot and killed by the Sheriff’s Department and Kentucky State Police, over a few Cannabis plants which his father used for medicine for pain and PTSD after serving in the Vietnam War…

This is his story…

(Please view in its entirety)

elihu

This factual story needs to be heard by everyone that lives in Kentucky.

Yes, #WeAreKentucky BUT #ThisISKentucky

https://www.facebook.com/Jacobelihu/posts/10218238922543418

https://www.drcnet.org/guide2-95/gary.html

NOVA SCOTIA CANADA: Once again it seems that you can’t grow Cannabis and treat licensed patients, even if Cannabis is “legal”…

NOVA SCOTIA CANADA:  Once again it seems that you can’t grow Cannabis and treat licensed  patients, even if Cannabis is “legal”.

At approximately 10:30am on September 5th, Rev. Daren McCormick and Rev. Kevin James were visited by the RCMP at which time they proceeded to search their property located in Loch Broom Nova Scotia Canada, where they were growing Cannabis for            Patients.  Rev. Kevin James explained to RCMP that they were licensed plants and who they belonged to.  The RCMP produced no warrant yet they proceeded to search both outside and inside their home.

They were  both incarcerated by the RCMP for growing, and trafficking Cannabis.  They both remained incarcerated for 24 hours before being released.  Rev. Kevin James was denied medication for seizures during the stay.

Over 1000 plants were taken by the RCMP as well as a small indoor  grow. Personal items of the two men were taken in the search such as legal documents, witness lists and an antique Bow that hung above the fireplace belonging to Daren’s Grandfather, a family     heirloom dating back to 1915 that yielded no threat to anyone.

The garden of Cannabis is estimated to be worth well over a million dollars plus and it has been destroyed.  You can’t give back a plant that was pulled from the ground in its natural growing state!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat   Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, plant, tree, grass, outdoor and nature

WE OPERATE UNDER CANNATHEISM and our congregational collective is via the Church of the Universe: the Universe is our Church

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Above:  The Global Incident Map publishes the bust.

Pictou RCMP dismantle grow-op, seize marijuana in Loch Broom

Image may contain: dog, plant, outdoor and nature

Above:  Rev. Kevin James Service Dog “Molly” was not charged in the raid!

He has also posted these status updates on Facebook concerning the events:

FROM ONE HONORABLE MAN TO ANOTHER

FOR POSTING US ON THIS MAP 🙂 DOES THIS MEAN WE MADE IT TO THE BIG BOY LIST LOL

FACEBOOK LAND OF CANNABIS ACTIVISTS AND OIL MAKERS AND HEALERS…

“Officers of the court have no immunity, when violating a constitutional right, for they are deemed to know the law”

I just read the search warrant they used to destroy the plants.

Daren Mccormick has 4 new cannabis charges, and i have 5 new charges… in last 10 days… heads up…

AFTER HAVING BEEN CONTACTED BY SEVERAL PATIENTS WE TENDED GARDENS FOR FROM ACROSS CANADA..

Q. If a patient revokes the DG status of a grower and they get caught growing anyway… say 850 plants x 4 crops a year and do it for 4 years or so…. and the patient receives zero from their garden… thats diversion…

RELATED:

ARTICLES ON KENTUCKY MARIJUANA PARTY ABOUT DAREN

As the feds crack down on opioid prescriptions, patients are taking their own lives, doctors are losing their jobs and overdose rates continue unabated.

The Government’s Solution To The Opioid     Crisis Feels Like A War To Pain Patients

By Art Levine

Meredith Lawrence's late husband died by suicide after his opioid pain prescription was severely restricted.

Jay Lawrence, an energetic truck driver in his late 30s, was driving a semitrailer across a bridge when the brakes failed. To avoid plowing into the car in front of him, he swerved sideways and slammed the truck into a wall, fracturing his back. For more than 25 years, he struggled with the resulting pain. But for most of that time, he managed to avoid opioid painkillers.

In 2006, his legs suddenly collapsed beneath him, due to a complex web of neurological factors related to his spinal cord injury. He underwent multiple surgeries and tried many medications to alleviate his pain.

The next year, he began to experience some semblance of relief when his doctor prescribed morphine, one of a class of opioid drugs. By 2012, he was taking 120 milligrams per day.

But this isn’t a story about opioid addiction. Lawrence managed a relatively productive, happy life on the medication for the better part of 10 years.

“This isn’t the life I thought I’d have,” he told his wife, Meredith Lawrence, in December 2016. “But I’m all right.”

Living on disability payments, he could still walk around their two-bedroom trailer home using his cane, take a shower on his own and, on his good days, even help his wife make breakfast.

Then, in early 2017, the pain clinic where he was a patient adopted a strict new policy, part of a wide-ranging national effort to respond to the increase in opioid overdose deaths. 

Citing 2016 guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, her husband’s doctor abruptly cut his daily dose by roughly 25 percent to 90 mg, Meredith Lawrence said. That was the maximum dose the CDC recommends, though does not mandate, for first-time opioid patients. 

The doctor also told Jay Lawrence that the plan was to lower his dose to 45 mg over the next two months, a cutback of more than 60 percent from what he had been taking.

At the end of that traumatic visit, his wife said, Jay Lawrence’s doctor dismissed their concerns and shared his own fear about losing his license if he continued to prescribe high doses of opioids. (When HuffPost followed up, the doctor declined to comment on the case, citing patient privacy.)

For a month, Lawrence suffered on the 90 mg dose. At times, his pain was so bad that he needed help to get out of the recliner, and when his wife looked over, she sometimes saw tears streaming down his face.

He dreaded his next appointment when his dose would be slashed to 60 mg. In the weeks before that scheduled visit on March 2, 2017, Lawrence came up with a plan.

On the day of his appointment, on the same bench in the Hendersonville, Tennessee, park where the Lawrences had recently renewed their wedding vows, the 58-year-old man gripped his wife’s hand and killed himself with a gun.

Meredith Lawrence sits in the living room of the home in Gainesville, Georgia, that she bought after her husband's death

Dustin Chambers for HuffPost Meredith Lawrence sits in the living room of the home in Gainesville, Georgia, that she bought after her husband’s death.

There are at least nine million chronic pain patients in the United States who take opioid painkillers on a long-term basis. As law enforcement and medical regulatory bodies try to curb the explosion in opioid deaths and the rise in illegal opioid use, they have focused on reducing the overall opioid supply, whether or not the drugs are provided by prescription. 

There’s mounting evidence this won’t work ― that curbing patient access to legal prescription opioids does not stem the rate of overdoses caused primarily by illegal drugs ― and that patients are being denied desperately needed relief. There are also troubling indicators that cutting back on opioids increases the risk of suicide among those with chronic pain.

Some chronic pain patients and advocates have even begun compiling lists of individuals they know who have died by suicide after they were no longer able to treat their pain with opioid medication.

“There is no doubt in my mind that forcibly stopping opioids can destabilize some of the most vulnerable people in America,” said Dr. Stefan Kertesz, a professor of medicine and an addiction researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “And the outcomes for those folks include suicide, overdose and falling apart medically.”

I mean, people need to take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out a little. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

For a decade or so, government officials in the U.S. have sought to drive down the opioid supply through a range of tactics ― from increased seizures of diverted opioid medications to state crackdowns on “pill mills.” The Trump administration has embraced the hard-line approach.

In late January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “surge” in Drug Enforcement Administration activity targeting pharmacies and physicians that, in the agency’s view, oversupply opioids. In February, the Justice Department doubled down with the announcement of a new task force that would focus on manufacturers and distributors of opioids. In March, President Donald Trump unveiled a plan to lower opioid prescriptions by a third within three years. And in late June, the federal government arrested 600 people, including 165 medical professionals, for allegedly participating in $2 billion worth of fraud schemes involving opioids.

The Trump administration’s efforts are dramatic even within the context of the CDC’s opioid dose guidelines. The guidelines were originally intended to advise primary care physicians treating chronic pain patients and other pain sufferers. They were urged to exercise caution in prescribing opioids, to use alternatives whenever possible and to prescribe daily doses of no more than 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) for new opioid users.

For pain patients like Jay Lawrence who had already been on opioids for years, however, the guidelines simply recommended regularly assessing the harms and benefits of the dosage. They didn’t advise either mandatory cutoffs or any set limits. (The Tennessee Department of Health’s guidelines would also have allowed Lawrence to stay at 120 mg of morphine when prescribed by a pain specialist.)

But “the CDC guidelines have been weaponized,” said Kertesz. The ramped-up enforcement by the DEA and state regulators has led some doctors to choose caution and to overcorrect in their prescribing, lest they lose their ability to practice medicine at all. Kertesz decried these policies as “simplistic” in a definitive new article published last week in the journal Addiction.

In February, Sessions struck a particularly harsh tone by suggesting that the fate of chronic pain patients was not high on his list of concerns. “I am operating on the assumption that this country prescribes too many opioids,” the attorney general said. “I mean, people need to take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out a little.”

Attitudes like that are based on a series of mistaken assumptions about pain, according to Dr. Thomas Kline, a North Carolina-based family practitioner and former Harvard Medical School program administrator. Kline regularly updates a list of pain patients, published on Medium, who’ve killed themselves in the wake of draconian restrictions on pain medication.

“I ask people to imagine the very worst pain they’ve ever experienced in their lives,” Kline said. “And then that they’re denied relief by a doctor with the one medicine proven effective for pain control for 50 centuries.” (Historical records show that people in ancient Mesopotamia cultivated the poppy plant for medical use.)

The CDC guidelines have been weaponized. Dr. Stefan Kertesz

The government’s aggressive focus on doctors and patients is unlikely to address the very real menace of opioid-use disorders and sharply escalating overdose deaths. Fraud ― driven by pharmaceutical company policies ― and diversion ― the phenomenon of prescription medications being sold as street drugs ― initially spurred a wave of opioid abuse in the late 1990s, as some doctors turned their practices into pill mills. But new reports by the CDC and a drug data firm, the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, suggest that prescription drugs play a much smaller role in today’s crisis.

The reports show that total opioid prescriptions dropped 10 percent in 2017 ― the sharpest annual decline in such prescribing in 25 years. While opioid prescriptions peaked back in 2010, the studies found that growth rates in opioid-linked deaths, overwhelmingly due to illegal fentanyl and heroin, have skyrocketed in the last seven years.

Indeed, although two-thirds of the 64,000 overall drug overdose fatalities were linked to opioids in 2016 ― the most recent year for which there is data ― more than 80 percent of those opioid drug deaths came from illegal street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Prescription opioid drug deaths alone ― excluding methadone ― amounted to less than 15 percent of all drug overdose deaths, or about 9,500 fatalities.

Still, the CDC’s guidelines have triggered restrictive laws in at least 23 states that mandate ceilings on opioid dosage. (Oregon, in fact, is moving to taper dosages down to zero for all Medicaid chronic patients over a year.) That makes relief less attainable for pain patients and threatens the practices of doctors who treat them. These laws have been augmented by the growth of state prescription monitoring programs that use the software NarxCare, which is designed to flag addiction but can also rope in pain patients based on their prescription history and use of multiple doctors.

And in June, the House of Representatives passed over 50 bills that would establish dramatic new restrictions on opioid prescribing, eliciting alarm among patients and some disability rights groups.

The side effects of the current enforcement efforts are disturbing enough, from patients denied relief to drug shortages to suicides.

No health agency has kept track of all pain-related suicides that may be linked to doctors cutting back on prescriptions. But some preliminary findings from Department of Veterans Affairs researchers indicate that VA pain patients deprived of opioids were two to four times more likely to die by suicide in the first three months after they were cut off, compared to those who remained on their pain medications.

“To protect people, you have to take care of the patient, not the pill count,” said Kertesz, who worked on the VA’s April 2017 study but spoke to HuffPost only as an independent researcher. “The findings suggest that the discontinuation of opioids doesn’t necessarily assure a safer patient.”

Even terminally ill cancer patients are increasingly getting less relief, and there are growing shortages of injectable opioids at local hospitals and hospices, spurred in part by DEA-ordered reductions in opioid manufacturing quotas.

Leah Ilten, a 53-year-old physical therapist who lives in Kennewick, Washington, told HuffPost that as her 86-year-old father lay dying of pancreatic cancer in a hospice, the medical staff ignored her pleas to provide appropriate opioid pain relief, even cutting his dosage in half on the last day of his life. A few days earlier, when he was in the hospital, one nurse explained to her that opioids could lead to an overdose or could potentially cause the man, who lay moaning in pain, to “get addicted.”

“I was horrified,” Ilten said.

In mid-April, the DEA responded to the injectable opioid shortage by lifting production quotas. An agency spokesman told HuffPost that it was “a manufacturers’ problem, not the quotas,” while asserting that progress is being made.

There have been production issues, including Pfizer’s foul-ups with a plant in Kansas. But the DEA’s delay in taking action ― shortfalls were flagged in February in a letter from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and other health groups ― definitely contributed to the shortage, according to Dr. James Grant, president of the ASA. He told HuffPost that quotas were among the factors creating the crisis.

I’m not willing to go back to the state I was in before I started treatment. Anne Fuqua

Faced with the hardline national crackdown on opioid prescriptions, people with chronic pain are trying to raise awareness of the suffering caused by the loss of medications. Some are gathering the names of those patients who ended up taking their own lives, both as a memorial to those who died and as a protest against the health establishment that has seemingly abandoned them. Others are seeking comfort from each other on social media.

Lelena Peacock, who declined to name her southeastern city of residence for fear of retaliation from doctors, is struggling with how to treat the pain associated with fibromyalgia. The 45-year-old found that her social media posts drew other pain patients who turned to her for help.

By her own count, Peacock has thus far convinced more than 70 chronic pain patients to call 911 or suicide prevention hotlines instead of killing themselves.

For Anne Fuqua, a 37-year-old former nurse from Birmingham, Alabama, the motivation for compiling a list of chronic pain-related suicides is to track the damage done by what she sees as policies that have left people like her behind. 

“There’s so many people who have died,” she said. “We have to remember them.”

Fuqua has an incurable neurological illness known as primary generalized dystonia that causes Parkinson’s-like involuntary movements and painful muscle spasms. She started taking about 60 mg of Oxycontin a day in 2000. Her doctor began to limit her access to high doses of opioids in 2014, the same year she started chronicling those friends who had killed themselves or otherwise died after being denied pain medications. Her informal list is now up to roughly 150 people, augmented by lists that other pain patient advocates have compiled.

On July 9, Fuqua joined other chronic pain patients at a meeting at the Food and Drug Administration campus in Maryland to express their fears and outrage at the cutbacks. Sitting in the front row in her wheelchair, she told FDA officials about that list and declared, “I’m not willing to go back to the state I was in before I started treatment.”

Anne Fuqua needs exceptionally high doses to manage her pain because of opioid malabsorption.

Courtesy of Anne Fuqua Anne Fuqua needs exceptionally high doses to manage her pain because of opioid malabsorption.

Fuqua’s own difficulties are compounded by the fact that her body does not respond to even large doses of opioids the way others do ― she suffers from severe malabsorption that hampers her ability to benefit from everything from opioids to vitamin D. Since 2012, she has relied on a strikingly high daily regimen of 1,000 MME of opioids, including fentanyl patches, to manage her pain.

But her physician, Dr. Forrest Tennant, was driven to retire this year after a DEA raid and investigation. The Los Angeles-area physician mailed her a final series of prescriptions, which will run out at the end of July.

“It’s terrifying,” she said looking at her future. “If these were people who had asthma or diabetes and weren’t stigmatized because of opioids, this wouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

Another doctor has quietly stepped forward to continue treatment for Tennant’s remaining patients, Fuqua said, although there’s no assurance that this physician won’t also be investigated in the future.

If these were people who had asthma or diabetes and weren’t stigmatized because of opioids, this wouldn’t be allowed to happen. Anne Fuqua

The raid on Tennant’s home and office last November illustrates the hard-line regulatory and enforcement approach that critics say doesn’t distinguish between pill-mill doctors who deserve to be shut down and legitimate pain doctors who use high-dosage opioids. The wide-ranging search warrant served to Tennant essentially accused him of drug trafficking even though he’d earned a national reputation for deft treatment of ― and research about ― pain patients.

“He’s highly respected and prominent in pain management,” said Jeffrey Fudin, a clinical pharmacy specialist who heads the pain pharmacy program at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, New York, and serves as an associate professor at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “Most of his patients had no other options, and they came from around the country to see him.”

Tennant was known for taking on difficult-to-treat patients, including those suffering from pain as a result of botched surgeries and other forms of malpractice. His research included innovations in the use of hormones to alleviate pain and lower opioid use up to 40 percent, as well as work on genetic testing for enzyme system defects that lead to opioid malabsorption.

“The DEA can trigger an investigation every time they misapply the CDC guidelines without paying attention to the population the physician treats or issues of medical necessity,” said Terri Lewis, a patient advocate and a Ph.D. clinical rehabilitation specialist with Southern Illinois University who trains clinicians on how to manage seriously ill patients with incurable pain.

Special Agent Timothy Massino, a spokesperson for the DEA’s Los Angeles division, declined to comment on the agency’s approach to Tennant. “It’s an ongoing investigation,” he noted.

Tennant’s isn’t alone. Physicians must now balance their prescribing obligations to their patients with legitimate fear for their livelihoods.

DEA enforcement actions against doctors have risen some 500 percent in recent years ― from 88 in 2011 to 449 last year, according to an analysis of the comprehensive National Practitioners Data Bank by Tony Yang, a professor of health policy at George Washington University. Even though that’s a relatively small number of arrests compared to the roughly one million physicians in the country, such arrests can have an outsized impact.

“They make big news, and they serve as a deterrent for physicians whose specialties require them to use a lot of pain medications,” Yang said. “It makes them think twice before prescribing opioids.”

Meredith Lawrence shows the tattoo she got after her husband'€™s death. The bluejay represents her husband, Jay; a cup of cof

Dustin Chambers for HuffPost Meredith Lawrence shows the tattoo she got after her husband’€™s death. The bluejay represents her husband, Jay; a cup of coffee is the way she loves to start her day; and the quote is “Sail away with me, what will be will be.”

Dr. Mark Ibsen of Helena, Montana, found himself in a five-year battle against the state licensing board that’s still not over ― even though a judge last month reversed the board’s decision to suspend his license because of due process violations. The court has remanded the case back to the licensing board for potential further investigation of his opioid prescriptions, but Ibsen has decided he won’t resume his medical practice.

That’s bad news for Montana, which has the highest rate of suicide in the country, according to the CDC. What’s more, chronic pain-related illnesses account for 35 percent of all the state’s suicides, as a recent state health department study found.

In the course of his fight with the medical board, the 63-year-old doctor said three of his former chronic pain patients have killed themselves after he and other doctors stopped prescribing opioids. The first of those patients died shortly after attending a hearing to show his support for Ibsen.

The deaths of pain patients haunt those who treated them and loved them. Meredith Lawrence, who sat with her husband to the very end, said, “It was as horrifying as anything you can imagine.”

“But I had the choice to help him or find him dead someday when I came home,” she added.

Lawrence was arrested and sentenced to a year’s probation for assisting a suicide. Now her goal is to fight restrictions on opioid prescriptions.

“If we don’t stand up, more people will die like my husband.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

Art Levine is the author of Mental Health, Inc: How Corruption, Lax Oversight, and Failed Reforms Endanger Our Most Vulnerable Citizens.

CONTINUE READING…

That study isn’t without flaws. Veterans die by suicide at higher rates than average ― currently accounting for 20 suicide deaths a day ― so they are not a nationally representative sample. And the VA study, which was released at a national opioid summit in early April, has not yet been submitted for peer review.

But another study, published last year in the peer-reviewed journal General Hospital Psychiatry, looked at nearly 600 veterans who in 2012 were cut off from dosages after long-term opioid use and found similar results. Twelve percent of the vets showed suicidal ideation or took violent action to harm themselves ― a rate nearly 300 percent higher than the overall veterans community.

(GOV) DO NOT tell me that there is no evidence to say that Cannabis has Medical Value! How long will mankind have to suffer for sins of the people who put into action this genocide against us?

20161104_095008

I am not a “legalizer”.  I will hold out for “repeal” of the Treaties and Statutes which made the cannabis plant “controlled schedule I” – to begin with – to grow on my own property, and consume in the manner in which I see fit, for  myself AND my family.  No one has the right to take what God has put forth on this Earth for our use as     humans.  No one has a right to tell me what I can treat my children’s illnesses with, providing I am not physically harming them.  The Government does the most harm to children, not the parents, though we have been told differently…

THIS is why our rights as human beings have been destroyed:

“Rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to purposes and principles of the United Nations.” HOW THE UNITED NATIONS IS STEALING OUR “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” TO GROW FOOD AND MEDICINE THROUGH THE U.N. CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS AND AGENDA 21.

I used to think that “they” did not know any better or just hadn’t figured it out yet and that it was our job, as people of the great United States of America to let them know, so that “they” could do something about it – – – that was back in the 70’s and early 80’s – – and it was “me” who just didn’t know any better!  By 2000 I knew it     couldn’t be that “they” didn’t know any better and by about 2003 I finally figured out they “they” were just plain evil.  Little did I realize just how evil “they” really were/are.  That article would be for another day.

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”  LINK

Cannabis/Marijuana is one of the most beneficial plants to be grown and used for food and medicinal reasons.  There are many others as well and they should not be forgotten because if we chose to let the World Government take ahold of our plants, we have lost the war for individual freedom…period.  If we cannot feed nor medicate ourselves we do not belong to “ourselves” in any form or fashion.  Is this where we have been led?  Is this where all of our individual freedoms comes to an end? 

In today’s modern world of pills and tablets, we tend to forget that probably more than seventy five per cent of all modern-day drugs are nothing more than plant extracts or synthetic chemical reproductions of them. In the early 19th century, that figure would be closer to 100 percent—which was a source of some trouble, as the medical properties of botanical drugs can vary greatly from one plant to another.
The U.S.P. dealt with this problem by dictating the exact parts of the plant that were to be used and the exact method of manufacture. Later on, it would also set up standards of potency for medicines. By the early 20th century, If the label read, “Made as per U.S.P standard,” the doctor or druggist could be assured of its standardized strength. LINK

While watching Dateline NBC:  “The future of marijuana in the United States”, it was pointed out that the Government keeps Cannabis in Schedule 1 of the CSA because there is NO Scientific evidence to prove that it is of medical value.  I beg to differ, (and so would a lot of other people).

There is a whole history about Cannabis/Marijuana at the Antique Cannabis Museum alone.  There is plenty of information to be had if you look for it.  Both scientific and anecdotal as well.  There are plenty of parents of children that have used CBD to give you up to date and current information. 

There is only one reason to leave this plant regulated as they now have it.  To be able to control it.  Control all aspects from who is allowed to sell it, who is allowed to grow it, who is allowed to consume it and who is going to get the money from it, and last but not least, who is going to be incarcerated for not adhering to the appropriate regulations and Statutes pertaining to it. 

How long will mankind have to suffer for sins of the people who put into action this genocide against us?

DO NOT tell me that Cannabis has no accepted medical use or has no scientific evidence to prove it’s usefulness!

Here is a few links of useful information on the subject.  This is just the beginning…

1851-1942  The United States Pharmacopea / Cannabis Medicines

RIGHT HERE IS A LINK OF:

“700 medical cannabis studies sorted by disease”

and

Find Medical Journals Associated With Cannabis

The Real Reason the Government Won’t Debate Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Re-legalization;  Documented Evidence of a Secret Business and Political Alliance Between the U.S. “Establishment” and the Nazis – Before, During and After World War II – up to the Present.

PrescriptA

FDA  (7.19.17)  Role in Marijuana regulation.

NIH/NIDA  Can a person overdose on marijuana?  An overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death. There are no reports of teens or adults dying from marijuana alone.

From the U.S. National Library of Medicine, NIH, April 29, 2008:  Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?

DOJ (1.4.18)  Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement

DEA (5.20.15)  Recommendation to Maintain Marijuana in Schedule I of the CSA

Dateline NBC:  I watched the show at the following link.  However, it has now been removed.

The future of marijuana in the United States, including state-of-the-art science and interviews.


https://shereekrider.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/rights-and-freedoms-may-in-no-case-be-exercised-contrary-to-purposes-and-principles-of-the-united-nations-how-the-united-nations-is-stealing-our-unalienable-rights-to-grow/

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/cderfoiaelectronicreadingroom/ucm522560.pdf

http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap16/Prescript_A.htm

http://web.archive.org/web/20041208084352/kentucky.usmjparty.com/policy_elkhorn.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleansing_of_the_Temple

https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/main.shtml

http://happyherbcompany.com/UN-submission

http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/docs/2006/resolution%202006-31.pdf

https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/laws/intlglobalconv.shtml

https://www.postsustainabilityinstitute.org/what-is-un-agenda-21.html

smk 5.24.18