Tag Archives: Heroin

Kentucky drug overdose deaths jump 11.5 percent in 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky are increasing despite a drop in opioid prescriptions and heroin use.

A new report from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy says 1,565 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. That’s an 11.5 percent increase from 2016. Kentucky overdose deaths have increased by more than 40 percent since 2013.

Opioids are the main culprit in most deaths. Deaths attributed to heroin have declined. But more than half of the overdose deaths in 2017 were caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.

Every year, Kentucky lawmakers have been passing more laws designed to address the epidemic. Anti-drug advocates celebrate those changes, but their celebration is tempered once a year when the new numbers come out detailing how many more have died.

Nationally, opioids accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016.

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RELATED:

One could theorize that the passage of HB50 which included a provision to “provide funding for the purchase and administration of naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension”,   for Heroin overdoses was a calculated response to what they knew was going to happen when they discontinued “narcotics” at the Doctor’s office…more Heroin deaths.   Per the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary on July 27, 2015…  LINK

All roads in Kentucky lead you through Hell

Bayer and Monsanto: a marriage made in hell

US agriculture giant Monsanto has agreed to a US$66 billion takeover by German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer. If the deal is approved by international regulators, Bayer-Monsanto will become the world’s biggest agribusiness, controlling 29 percent of the global seed market and 24 percent of pesticides.

The companies have dismissed widespread concern about the deal among farmers and environmentalists as fear mongering. Separately, they claim, their products have contributed to a significant boost in crop yields over the past few decades. Together, they’ll be able to increase investment in research and development, driving the agricultural innovation necessary to meet the demands of a growing world population.

We can only imagine what kind of new health and environmental threats may lurk in the “step change” a company like Bayer-Monsanto will make in an effort to restore profits.

In assessing the claims and counterclaims, we would do well to heed the words of radical US historian Howard Zinn: “If you don’t know history, it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can you tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it”.

Monsanto’s horrible history

Monsanto is one of the world’s worst corporate criminals.

Founded in 1901 in St Louis, Missouri, as a producer of artificial sweetener for Coca-Cola, Monsanto had its first big break in the 1930s, when it established itself as the sole US manufacturer of polychlorinated biphenyls, otherwise known as PCBs.

Monsanto’s profits soared. Evidence quickly mounted, however, that the chemicals were highly toxic and carcinogenic. As early as 1955, an internal document acknowledged, “We know Aroclors [PCBs] are toxic but the actual limit has not been precisely defined”. Nevertheless, the company continued producing PCBs until they were finally banned by the US government in 1979.

During World War II, Monsanto partnered with the US government on the Manhattan Project to produce the world’s first nuclear weapon, turning over one of their labs to the manufacture of polonium – a highly radioactive substance composing part of the ignition mechanism for the bomb.

In the 1960s, Monsanto was one of the main producers of Agent Orange – the chemical used by the US military to defoliate vast swathes of jungle during the Vietnam War. It contained a highly toxic dioxin by-product, exposure to which is associated with reproductive and developmental problems, immune system damage, interference with hormones and cancer. Millions of Vietnamese people, and many US and allied country veterans, including Australians, continue to suffer the consequences to this day.

When it wasn’t busy with chemical warfare overseas, Monsanto was waging it at home. From the 1940s, it joined a number of other companies in producing vast quantities of the powerful insecticide DDT, the environmental and health effects of which – powerfully documented in Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring – led to it being banned in 1972.

In more recent times, Monsanto’s negative press has come mainly from its status as producer of the widely used herbicide Roundup. Roundup was first sold by Monsanto in 1974. However, until the mid-1990s its use was limited due to the fact that it killed many crops as well as weeds. This all changed after 1996, when Monsanto introduced its genetically modified “Roundup Ready” soybeans, followed by corn in 1998. Now farmers’ fields could be sprayed with herbicide without damaging the crop.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is now history’s most widely used agricultural chemical. In 1987, around 5 million kilograms of it were used on US farms. Today, that figure is 136 million. A 2015 study in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe calculated that, globally, 8.5 billion kilograms of it have been sprayed onto fields. Monsanto’s revenue from Roundup and associated products was nearly US$5 billion in 2015.

This is bad news for human health and the environment. As with PCBs, DDT and Agent Orange before it, it seems glyphosate may be another Monsanto contribution to the “cancer industry”. In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, and the company is currently defending itself against numerous lawsuits from farmers with cancer.

Given the widespread, and increasing, use of Roundup in Australia and around the world, this may be just the start.

Bayer: heroin and Nazis

Bayer may not boast quite the array of crimes of its US counterpart, but the sheer depravity of those it has committed is unmatched.

The company was founded in Barmen, Germany, in 1863. From its original line of business – making dyes from coal – it expanded into a chemical and pharmaceutical giant. In 1897, Bayer developed aspirin, which became the world’s first mass-market drug.

Two weeks later, it stumbled across a new “wonder drug” – a stronger version of opium which it named “heroin”. For the next 15 years, heroin was freely marketed and sold around the world as “a sedative for coughs”. Ironically, it was also often prescribed by doctors to patients struggling with morphine addiction.

During the severe economic crisis that followed World War I, Bayer merged with a number of other chemical and pharmaceutical companies to form the giant conglomerate IG Farben. In the early 1930s, IG Farben was among the biggest corporate donors to the Nazis – helping them consolidate power.

During World War II, the company was rewarded for its support with contracts for the supply of synthetic rubber, fuel and explosives to the Nazis and other Axis powers. One of its main centres of wartime production was Auschwitz. There and elsewhere, it made ample use of the slave labour of prisoners in the Nazi death camps.However, this wasn’t the darkest chapter in its alliance with Nazism. Not only was it profiting from the forced labour of Jewish and other prisoners in the camps. It was also profiting from their murder. IG Farben owned a 42 percent stake in another company, Degesch, which manufactured Zyklon B – one of the main chemicals used in the Nazi gas chambers.

After the war, the IG Farben conglomerate was broken up, and Bayer emerged again as an independent entity. Was it sorry for the direct role it played in the holocaust? Evidently not.

In 1956, Bayer appointed Fritz ter Meer as its new company chair, a role he continued in until his retirement in 1961. During the war, as a member of the IG Farben board, ter Meer played a leading role in the planning and construction of the forced labour camps at Auschwitz. On the stand at the Nuremburg IG Farben trial in 1948, he claimed that no specific harm was inflicted on workers in the camps as “without this they would have been killed anyway”.

In a particularly grotesque touch, following ter Meer’s death in 1967, Bayer established the Fritz ter Meer Foundation (later renamed as the Bayer Science & Education Foundation), to provide scholarships to German chemistry students.

Neither did Bayer hesitate at the prospect of getting involved again in the chemical warfare industry. In the early 1950s,it established the US-based Mobay Chemical Corporation, a joint venture with – you guessed it – Monsanto, that went on to supply one of the key, dioxin-contaminated, ingredients of Agent Orange.

Finally, in the 1980s, it was one of a number of companies selling plasma-based haemophilia treatments that infected thousands of people with HIV.

Should we trust Bayer-Monsanto with the future of global agricultural production? On balance, probably not.

Concentration of capital

The Bayer-Monsanto deal is just one among three proposed mergers among the “Big 6” global seed and pesticide giants, which also include BASF, DuPont, Dow Chemical and Syngenta. Dow Chemical and DuPont announced a US$130 billion merger in December, and earlier this year Syngenta agreed to a US$43 billion sale to China National Chemical Corporation.

In 1994, the four biggest global seed companies controlled 21 percent of the market. If all the proposed mergers currently on the table are approved, just three giant companies – Bayer-Monsanto, ChemChina-Syngenta and Dow DuPont – will control 59 percent of the global seed market and 64 percent of pesticides.

In Capital, Karl Marx wrote about this process of concentration and centralisation. In the short term, it can spur technological development and productivity gains. In the long term, however, it’s part of the capitalist system’s inherent tendency to crisis.

The agricultural industry shows the contradiction. The current rash of mergers isn’t a sign of health. Rather, like the heady rush to agglomeration in the banking and financial sector in the run-up to the 2008-09 global financial crisis, it’s a sign of an industry stumbling towards its destructive limits.

Past innovation has helped boost yields to the point where the world is now experiencing a glut of many products. Prices have declined, and farmers are struggling to stay afloat.

The total income of US farmers has dropped from US$123.8 billion in 2013 to just $71.5 billion in 2016. This, in turn, has put the squeeze on the profits of companies like Monsanto, as farmers simply can’t afford to pay the high prices demanded for their products.

At the same time, it’s clear that a new wave of innovation is necessary for yields to continue to grow in the decades ahead. The possibly devastating long term health and environmental impacts of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer aren’t its only problem. It also, increasingly, doesn’t work. Weeds are developing resistance, and new products will be necessary to address this.

There is a kernel of truth in the Bayer-Monsanto PR spin: to sustain its business model, it needs to innovate. Innovation, however, is expensive. According to Monsanto’s chief technology officer, Robert Fraley, “Fifteen years ago, we spent $300 million on R&D. Today we spend $1.5 billion … To realise a step-change, agricultural companies will need to invest more”.

We can only imagine what kind of new health and environmental threats may lurk in the “step change” a company like Bayer-Monsanto will make in an effort to restore profits. Given the history, we can, unfortunately, expect that it will come at a high cost to human society and the environment on which we depend.

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The reality of addiction…

Eva Holland

Yesterday at 1:38pm · Instagram ·

I’m sure this photo makes a lot of people uncomfortable it may even piss a few people off but the main reason I took it was to show the reality of addiction. If you don’t choose recovery every single day this will be your only way out. No parent should have to bury their child and no child as young as ours should have to bury their parent. This was preventable it didn’t have to happen but one wrong choice destroyed his family. I know a lot of people may be upset I’m putting it out in the open like This but hiding the facts is only going to keep this epidemic going. The cold hard truth is heroin kills. You may think it will never happen to you but guess what that’s what Mike thought too. We were together 11 years. I was there before it all started. I knew what he wanted out of this life, all his hopes and dreams. He never would’ve imagined his life would turn out this way. He was once so happy and full of life. He was a great son, brother, friend but most importantly he was a great dad. He loved those kids more than anything. But as we all know sometimes life gets tough and we make some wrong choices. His addiction started off with pain pills then inevitably heroin. He loved us all so much he decided enough was enough and went to rehab at the end of last year. He got out right before Christmas as a brand new man. He had found His purpose for living again, he found his gorgeous smile again, he became the man, the son, the brother, the dad that we all needed him to be again. He did so good for so long but then a couple months ago It started with a single pill for a “tooth ache” which inevitably lead him back down the road of addiction instead of staying the coarse of recovery. He said he could handle it, that he could stop on his own and didn’t need to get help again. Well he was wrong, last Wednesday he took his last breath. My kids father, the man I loved since I was a kid, a great son and a great person lost his battle. I just needed to share his story in case it can help anyone else.

Eva Holland's photo.

Bali nine men brace for execution on Tuesday

April 26, 2015 – 11:27PM

 

Jewel Topsfield

Jewel Topsfield
Indonesia correspondent for Fairfax

Myuran Sukumaran has painted what could be his last self-portrait: a torso with a palm-sized black hole over the heart dripping with blood.

The eerie painting, brought back from Nusakambangan by their lawyer Julian McMahon, is a portent of Bali nine pair’s  ghastly fate –  death by firing squad.

Michael Chan and Chinthu Sukumaran, brothers of the two Australians facing execution, give a press conference at Wijaya Pura, Cilacap.

Michael Chan and Chinthu Sukumaran, brothers of the two Australians facing execution, give a press conference at Wijaya Pura, Cilacap. Photo: James Brickwood

Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were officially given 72 hours warning of their executions on Saturday.

 

Chinthu Sukumaran said his brother’s last wish was to paint for as long as possible. Chan’s was to go to church with his family in his final days.

The Indonesian government has not officially announced the execution date but the men are bracing for Tuesday night  – the earliest it could be held.

 

The government had previously said it was waiting on the outcome of Indonesian marijuana trafficker Zainal Abidin’s court case before setting a date.

However on Sunday Attorney General spokesman Tony Spontana told Fairfax Media the Supreme Court had rejected Abidin’s request for a judicial review late on Friday.

The Chan and Sukumaran families were once again forced to make the grim ferry trip to Nusakambangan to visit their loved ones..

Lawyer Julian McMahon carries a self-portrait painted by Australian death row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran.

Lawyer Julian McMahon carries a self-portrait painted by Australian death row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran. Photo: Reuters

Chan’s fiancée, Feby Herewila, brother Michael, mother Helen and long-term friend and supporter Senior Pastor Christie Buckingham all boarded the ferry.

Michael Chan said the two Australians  are still holding up “pretty well considering they feel that it is unjust given what has has happened over the last 10 years with their case”.

Michael Chan and Myruran Sukumaran’s brother, Chinthu, pleaded with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to intervene and spare their brothers’ lives. 
“it still doesn’t have to be this way,” a tearful Chinthu Sukumaran said.

“I would ask the president to please, please show mercy. There are nine people with families who love them – mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. We ask the president to please intervene and save their lives.”

Somewhere in the legal system in Indonesia, Michael Chan said, there has got to be mercy. “The president needs to show that now. He’s the only one that can stop it and it’s not too late to do so. so I ask the president please show mercy.”

Sukumaran’s mother Raji, brother Chinthu and sister Brintha also visited Besi prison.

They will be allowed to visit every day until the final hours when only a spiritual counsellor of their choice can be present.

The lawyer of another condemned man, Martin Anderson, described scenes of desolation and crying as the nine prisoners on death row began to say their goodbyes.

Anderson, Filipina maid Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, and Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte all refused to sign their notification of exemptions, although this will have no effect on the execution.

Anderson’s lawyer, Casmanto Sudra, said his client kept repeating in disbelief: “Fifty grams. Death”.

He was convicted of possessing just 50 grams of heroin in Jakarta in November 2003.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made a last-ditch bid for mercy for the Bali nine pair.

Mr Abbott made the appeal to the Indonesian president while in Turkey on Saturday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign.

He asked the president to extend clemency to Chan and Sukumaran, describing them as reformed individuals and asking for them to not be executed.

Mr Abbott said the government had been making representations “at every possible level to the Indonesian government for many months now”.

“We abhor the death penalty, we oppose it at home we oppose it abroad and I want to reassure Australians that even at this late hour we are continuing to make the strongest possible representations to the Indonesian government that this is not in the best interests of Indonesia let alone in the best interests of the young Australians concerned,” he said.

“I know that this is obviously a late hour and so far our representations haven’t been crowned with success – so again I simply make the point that it is not in the best interests of Indonesia, it is not in accordance with the best values of Indonesia.

“This doesn’t accord with the Indonesia that I know well and respect very greatly to go ahead with something like this.”

He said the topic was likely to come up in discussions on Monday with the French government, and he expected all like-minded countries would stand together in wanting to uphold “the best values of civilisation”, which did not accord with the death penalty.

The Prime Minister has had limited success in his attempts to speak to Mr Widodo about the pair; after an initial phone call, Mr Widodo said he was too busy to take the second and third calls.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who is also in Turkey, said the news that Chan and Sukumaran could be executed as soon as Tuesday was a “deeply worrying development”.

“No one thinks they deserve to escape punishment, but they don’t deserve this,” he said.

“Labor opposes the death penalty in every circumstance, in every country. I believe it demeans us all.”

Earlier on Sunday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spoke to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi about the pair during a brief stop in the Middle East while flying back to Australia.

Ms Bishop stressed the need for all legal processes to be determined before any action is taken.

Evangelist preacher Matius Arif Mirdjaja, a former drug addict and prisoner in Bali’s Kerobokan jail who was baptised by Chan, said Indonesia would be remembered as a nation that killed a pastor and an artist, not drug kingpins.

“History will write that we are a nation that killed all the repented, a nation that loses empathy and compassion for people who have transformed their lives and helped others,” he said.

On Monday Amnesty International will spell out the words #KeepHopeAlive with thousands of flowers at Blues Point Reserve, overlooking Sydney Harbour.

A public protest will be held outside the Indonesian Consulate General in Sydney at 4pm on Monday.

Indonesia Institute president Ross Taylor said retribution in the wake of the Bali nine executions would not be in the best interests of Australia or the region.

“With (the Australians’) deaths will come calls for retribution, including withdrawal of aid funding, trade and tourist sanctions and perhaps even the withdrawal of Australia’s new ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson,” Mr Taylor said.

“To impose retribution of this kind would be counter-productive to Australia’s interests in the region, and such action will invite an increase in the already high level of nationalistic sentiment, and a ‘tit-for-tat’ response from the new Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo government.”

Meanwhile, lawyers for Gularte, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, will lodge a request for a judicial review into his case on Monday.

They say Gularte was mentally ill when he tried to smuggle six kilograms of cocaine into Indonesia hidden inside surfboards and should be hospitalised not executed.

Gularte’s lawyer, Christina Widiantarti, said he became angry and upset when he was notified of his execution on Saturday.

“He said, I’ve been here for seven years, I did one mistake, everybody uses illegal narcotic, why do I have to be executed?” Ms Widiantarti said. “Everybody there knows Rodrigo is mentally ill. He refused to sign the notification of his death. “Because he was angry, he didn’t say what his last request was, he didn’t say what to do after the execution.”

On Friday lawyers for Veloso lodged a request for a second judicial review on the grounds she was “primarily a human trafficking victim in the first place, and therefore, must be protected”.

However Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told Fairfax Media that under Indonesian law only one judicial review was allowed.

Veloso maintains she was tricked by her godsister into carrying a suitcase lined with heroin into Yogyakarta, where she was seeking employment as a domestic helper.

Veloso’s plight has captured the sympathy of Indonesians still reeling from the beheadings of two Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

The hashtag #SaveMaryJane has been trending on Twitter with several local celebrities supporting her case for mercy.

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