Dr. Randall’s Letter Exposes Truth of Pot Legalization

Dr. Karen Randall, an emergency physician of Pueblo, Colorado, sent a letter to the physicians of Vermont.  Their state legislature narrowly passed a bill that would legalize marijuana, but it’s hoped that Governor Phil Scott will veto it.  There was not enough time to read Dr. Randall’s at a Press Conference on May, 18, 2016.  Here’s the contents of that letter:

Firstly, I’d like to thank you all for the opportunity to share some of my experiences as a physician in a region with heavy legal marijuana use.

In 2012, Coloradans voted to pass Colorado Amendment 64 which led to the state-wide legalization of recreational marijuana beginning in January of 2014. Since then, the number of medical and recreational dispensaries in Colorado has grown to more than double the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. While individual counties could and did choose to abstain from allowing recreational marijuana sales, my county, Pueblo, was one of many that embraced Amendment 64 and the projected benefits of recreational legalization, even unofficially rebranding itself the “Napa Valley of Pot”.

A homeless camp along the river in Pueblo, one of many makeshift residences

This led to an influx of people looking to smoke without the risk of legal consequences and to cash in on the burgeoning “pot economy”. Unfortunately, many of these people arrived only to find that the supply of marijuana-related jobs was far outweighed by the demand, and few had backup plans. Since 2014, Pueblo’s homeless population has tripled, and our low-income housing have occupancy rates of 98% or more. We have seen a drastic increase in the number of homeless camps, and social services and outreach programs are buckling under the strain.

Our medical infrastructure is also reaching critical mass. Out of the 160,000 residents of our community, roughly 115,000 are on Medicaid. As a result, we have been losing primary care providers at an alarming and unsustainable rate.  The largest local clinic has been looking to hire 15 new doctors, but has only been able to hire 1 in the past two and a half years. My emergency medical group has been able to fill less than half of our open positions. The average wait time to see a new primary care provider is months with the wait for a specialist even longer, and many primary care physicians in the area are no longer taking new Medicaid patients.

Additionally, the legalization of marijuana has led to normalization of behavior that in my professional opinion is strongly impacting our youth. Despite sales being legally restricted to those ages 21 and over, the Healthy Kids Survey of 2015 shows:  16% of Pueblo High School kids under the age of 13 have tried marijuana, 30% of high school kids had smoked within 30 days of the survey, 64% feel that it would be easy or very easy to get marijuana, and that 6.3 and 6.6% of respondents have used heroin and methamphetamines respectively, compared to 2% for the rest of Colorado. The number of ED visits for cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, accidental

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome is an illness that is sending marijuana users to ER rooms.

pediatric ingestions, accidental adult ingestions and psychosis have sharply risen. There has been an increase in the number of babies testing positive for marijuana at birth (many internet and dispensaries are now recommending marijuana for nausea in pregnancy).

The potency of marijuana has risen tremendously since legalization, which is also a cause for significant concern. Almost all of what we do know about marijuana is based on studies where the marijuana was 1-3 mg of THC. Currently, dabbing provides 80-90 mg of THC; edibles provide 10 mg THC per bite and are frequently packaged in quantities to total 100 mg of THC.  Fortunately, legislation has passed so that edibles must be packaged in safety packages and can no longer be sold as appealing candy gummies, suckers, etc.  Currently, law requires that chocolate be labeled with a stamp and dose quantity but it still looks like a chocolate bar to a child.

Ads and claims to the health benefits of marijuana are rampant on the internet with reported cures for almost every ailment, yet there is very little research, if any to support those “health benefits” and frequently people come to the area with a disease process (for instance, Parkinson’s disease) and purchase marijuana.  Many of those looking for cures are seniors who are not toleratant to the dosage/strength of the current marijuana being marked and they come to the ED with side effects.

suicide-risk
Some people compare medical marijuana sellers to snake oil dealers of the 19th century. Certainly, the “snake bites” from the marijuana industry against those who disagree are brutal.

I deeply appreciate having been given a platform to share my experiences with you today, and I strongly encourage the physicians of Vermont to consider the broader medical, economic, and social ramifications of the legalization of marijuana.

Thank you for your attention,                                                                                 Dr. Karen Randall, FAAEM                                                                          Southern Colorado Emergency Medicine Associates                             Pueblo Colorado

Dr. Randall presented her experiences at a press conference in Pueblo on October 20, 2016.

To watch the Press Conference of May 18, Orca Media presents the proceedings of the entire Press Conference.

 

Be Ready for the Long Term if Your Teen Needs Rehab

3 Tips for Finding a Rehab for Your Teenager       

by Julie Knight  

If you think your teen’s pot use is no big deal, you may be very wrong.  You may need to prepare yourself for the long-term recovery from drugs.

Over the past three years, I’ve struggled to find a rehab with counselors who could convince my teenage son that using marijuana two or three times a day is damaging his developing brain.

“It’s just marijuana,” he told me when he was 15-years-old. By the time he turned 16, he’d escalated to dabs, one of the most intense concentrates of marijuana, OxyContin and cocaine. He would drink alcohol until he blacked out.

A friend his age died after ingesting the same lethal mix of OxyContin and alcohol that my son was experimenting with.

I’ve sent my son to five residential rehabs for drug addiction. He’s relapsed after each rehab within a few weeks. When he turned 18, I offered to send him to sober living or said he’d have to live on his own. He’s living on his own now. I know he’s still using marijuana and alcohol. I’m not sure what else.

I’ve been asked to share some of my lessons learned. Here are my top three tips.

  1. Understand that the best program is probably going to be a long-term solution: short-term residential rehab followed by a long-term boarding school or after care program. As hard as it is to fathom giving up your child for up to a year, it’s so much easier than trying to stay two steps ahead of a drug- or alcohol-addicted child who is a mastermind of deceit.

The purpose of a short-term (30- to 90-day) residential rehab is just to get your child to wake up to the fact that drug or alcohol use might not be leading him or her on a path to success or wellness. The goal is to uncover the factors driving their use and offering tools to cope with those issues.

Prepare for sticker shock. That program can cost anywhere from $2K or $3K up to $50K+ for just one month.

The catch? After you spend that boat load of money for residential rehab, you’re not done. Then they tell you, “Oh, by the way, now you need to send your child to an ‘after’ program and that program has to be at least 6-12 months, so mortgage your house again because that will cost you at least $80K for a good program.”

What? You don’t have a house or an extra $80K stuffed in your mattress? Good luck.

  1. Get over the cost. Find any way you can to pay because that “after” program is the key to your child’s success. Don’t make the mistake I did by skipping it.

It should be a program where your child has no access to outside influences. Bringing a child home and trying to manage the process with outpatient counseling doesn’t work. At least not for my son.

My son fooled us all with his “miracle” recovery in his first wilderness program. He seemed transformed while safely tucked away in the mountains of Southern Utah. But he relapsed within a week of returning home, though it took me several months to discover this.

When my son came home the first time, I signed him up for outpatient counseling and sent him to a presumably “drug free” private school to get him away from his drug friends. I tested him for drugs but he figured out how to cheat the urine test. He also started using alcohol heavily since that didn’t show up in the urine test.

He met a boy at the “drug free” private school who introduced him to OxyContin, the pill form of heroin.

I didn’t think I could afford a 10-month boarding school / after program for my son because it was so expensive. Where was I going to get $80K? But turns out I went on to spend more than that with various other, shorter-term rehabs that didn’t work.

  1. Find an expert to help you find an appropriate rehab for your child. I used David Heckenlively in Walnut Creek. He did a great job of counseling me to find the best rehab for my son, a program called Open Sky Wilderness. Even though my son relapsed soon after returning from wilderness, I truly believe he learned valuable lessons there that influence him today in positive ways. It was one of the better programs my son went to, and it taught me a lot about how to parent a drug-addicted child.

In retrospect, I wish I’d listened to the advice that a longer-term boarding school is recommended after residential rehab. Not all teenagers will relapse and get into harder drugs like my son did but many will.

I was a single mom paying for all this myself. I didn’t have a house or relatives to help. I didn’t think I could afford a more expensive after program. But I later learned I could use my retirement money since this was a health-related expense. I could also borrow against my 401(k).

I also used Denials Management, which helped recover a portion of the cost of the wilderness program. A refund of about $10K came to me after about eight months of fighting the system. That was the best Christmas gift ever.

I believe all the counseling my son has received has helped him understand a few key concepts. He knows he can’t try meth, even once. He knows he can’t mix drugs and alcohol.

When I kicked him out, he could have moved to be closer to his drug-using friends but didn’t. He’s living 30 minutes from me in Sacramento. Thanks to all the counseling, he knows how much I love him. He visits often.

I think he’s using more moderately now because he’s able to work full-time and he’s finishing school. But I know it’s a progressive disease. I have to enjoy every hug I get while I can.

The cost of the five residential rehabs totaled more than a year’s salary. I drained my retirement fund to save my son. I’d do it again. For all I know, my son might be dead now or in jail if I hadn’t intervened.

In my next blog post, I’ll feature tips from other parents weighing in on “How to find the best rehab for your teenager.”

The author, Julie Knight, is a single mother living in Davis, California with her sixteen-year-old daughter.

Marijuana Legalization Policy Prioritizes Profit over Human Life

Callous Disregard for Human Life in Pursuit of Profit and Getting Stoned

In California, a mother will soon go on trial for the drunk driving crash that killed her daughter and daughter’s friend.  The girls were skateboarding on a rural road in Humboldt County when a vehicle hit them.  Toxicology reports revealed that the 14-year-old girls had THC in their blood.  Marci Kitchen allegedly fled the scene of the accident on July 12, 2016 and tried to get rid of the pot in the car.  A judge has called for a jury to decide if she’s guilty of drunk driving and homicide.

In Washington, a man high on marijuana killed  policeman Jake Gutierrez. He was holding his 6-year-old daughter while in a standoff with multiple police that lasted 10 hours.  The perpetrator claimed  to be a sheriff named “Zeus.”   Bruce Randall Johnson, 38, had been unraveling for weeks before police fired the shots that killed him.   “A regular marijuana user, he’d been smoking more lately,” according to KIRO 7. The autopsy revealed:  “Johnson’s body weighed in at a spindly 104 pounds. He had no drugs in his system, apart from high concentrations of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Left to right–Marijuana Victims Brandon Powell (Oregon), Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas (California) and Jake Gutierrez (Washington)

In March, Brandon Powell, an 18-year-old, went psychotic after smoking marijuana “dabs ” in Estacada, Oregon.  He left home barefoot in pajama bottoms and went missing until found dead in a river earlier this month.  Also in Estacada last weekend, a man carried a severed head into a convenience store and stabbed a store clerk.  The incident happened after a woman was reported dead in her home.  She was the mother of 36-year-old Joshua Lee Webb who has been connected to the crime.   He allegedly killed his mother first.  Nothing in reports links the killing to marijuana.

West Coast Problem Becoming a National Problem

States that legalize pot promote a substance which can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems.  Most of these hideous, vicious stories occurred on the West Coast of Weed.

It might be easy to pass judgment on people like Marci Kitchen and Bruce Johnson, but what about state policy that normalizes marijuana use?  Kitchen grew pot beside her garage, but she lives in a county where everyone does it.

Marijuana madness is spreading throughout the country.  In Massachusetts, two teens smoked marijuana together before one murdered and decapitated his  classmate.  In Texas,  Davie Dauzat murdered his wife after they had smoked marijuana together last August.  He said it was in a “battle between good and evil.”

Murders under the influence of marijuana often happen because the perpetrators become psychotic and hallucinate.

In Wisconsin recently, a mother murdered her toddler after smoking pot.   In West Virginia, the “Pretty Little Killers” planned and killed a friend under the influence of marijuana.    It is easy to judge and condemn the perpetrators of violent crimes, but what of the culture that promotes marijuana?  What of the culture that tells 14-year-olds it’s ok to get stoned and go skateboarding?

Profit Before People Drives the Legalization Ballots

Marijuana-induced insanity is recognized in every part of the world except North America.  It appears that the United States and Canada prioritize profit over mental health, safety and human life.   Voters pass these ballots even though there is no definitive, reliable test to detect stoned drivers, as there is for drunk drivers.

Legislative analysis for California Proposition 64 was written to emphasize that the state could earn 1 billion dollars annually.

The California government obviously thinks the tax money the state can earn from intoxication and addiction is the highest priority.  The opening statement on the ballot to legalize marijuana used profit as motivating reason to legalize. That’s government motivated by preying on its own people. The press is guilty of the same mentality that emphasizes profits over human costs.

Press Ignored Child Abuse Deaths in Colorado; Will Cover-up Continue?

When marijuana stores opened in Colorado in January 2014,  a toddler died in a fire while his parents smoked pot in another room.  The mother was a medical marijuana cardholder, and the press should have covered the incident.  During the same month another mother  who smoked pot while her two sons died of carbon monoxide poisoning went on trial.  These stories were in the local Press, but did not make national news.

According to NBC News, the driver who rammed into crowds in Times Square yesterday admitted to smoking marijuana before driving.  He killed an 18-year-old girl and injured 22 others.  Condolences to the heart-broken family of Alyssa Elsman.  Other news services reported “he smoked something” or  “mind-altering drug” or “synthetic marijuana.”  Are they covering up behalf of the pot industry?   Like the New York Times, do they want to legalize marijuana and try to downplay the bad news about pot?

In Oregon last fall, a driver smoked pot, went psychotic and deliberately killed a construction worker.  

When stoners argue in favor of legalization, they use the deaths caused by alcohol to promote their cause.  The truth is that neither drunk driving nor stoned driving should be tolerated.  But marijuana has more of a propensity to cause madness and psychosis.  National policy which refuses to warn the public, along with states that promote a dangerous drug industry,  share the blame for deaths.

No state successfully regulates to keep potent marijuana extracts — as used by Brandon Powell — away from teens.  Those who value  profit and tax money over people claim legalization is  successful.    Sadly, profit over human life is becoming the American way.

Miley Cyrus-Woody Harrelson-Quit-Marijuana

Miley Cyrus quits pot, other celebrities renounce marijuana

Miley Cyrus is Latest Celebrity to Renounce Marijuana

About a week ago,  24-year-old Miley Cyrus announced that she hasn’t smoked marijuana for three weeks  The star stated that, “I like to surround myself with people that make me want to get better, more evolved, and open. And I was noticing, it’s not the people that are stoned.”

Cyrus began her career at a young age when she landed the role for Hannah Montana in 2004. Two years later she launched her singing career with the release of the Hannah Montana soundtrack which featured her father, Billy Ray Cyrus.  In 2012 in an attempt to distance herself from the Disney persona she decided to chop off her hair, thus creating the Miley with whom we are all now very familiar.  Some of her most “famous” antics were when she twerked on stage with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV awards, and also when she pulled out a marijuana cigarette on stage European Video Music Awards.  There were several weed references when she hosted the awards in 2015.

Recently the star is approaching life with a new attitude. Miley insists that the decision to stop smoking pot was entirely her call and also shared that, “I’m completely clean right now!” She is now excited to focus on some new music.  She also began talking to her ex-fiancé again, Liam Hemsworth, as well as working as well as working on her relationship with him. It’s rather amazing to see the change in a person after they stop using drugs.

Miley Cyrus-Marijuana

Woody Harrelson Says Pot Kept Him from being Emotionally Available

Another celebrity who recently renounced their love for marijuana is long-time activist Woody Harrleson, who held a position on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).  After 30 years of partying and smoking marijuana he said, “The drug kept me from being emotionally available.” In 2016 the actor submitted an application to start open a medical marijuana dispensary on his island home of Hawaii. His request was denied in May and this might have been around the same time as he started to quit smoking pot. As of March 21st of this year Harrelson told the media that he had been clean from marijuana for the past year and he intends to stay clean in order fto live the life he wants.

Celebrities who quit smoking for their kids

Clifford Smith, also known by his stage name Method Man, is a famous rapper who is known for his role in marijuana advocacy. His role in the movie, How High, and lyrics in the song, Tical, are a few examples of how the celebrity promotes marijuana use to his audiences. Although Smith has not completely sworn off marijuana, he has definitely backed off the forefront of advocacy. In an interview he mentions that raising his kids is more important than being high all the time. And it has come as a major shock to fans and people who have seen and heard his work. Method Man is part of the rap group, “The Wu-Tang Clan” which consists of 10 different artists, two of them being nick named RZA and GZA. These two members decided to stop smoking before Method Man; their decision to quit may have rubbed off on their friends!

Mark Wahlberg’s Secret Unveiled in Surprising Way

Boston native, Mark Wahlberg, also recently quit using marijuana because of a conversation he had with his daughter. He said, “One day we were driving and you could smell it from somewhere. My daughter asked what the smell was so I told her it was a skunk. Then she said, ‘Sometimes Daddy smells like that!’ to me and my wife. So I knew I had to quit.”

These are just a few celebrities who have quit using marijuana. For a longer list, please click here.