Drug Use and Abuse

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know that I am currently rather pissed at the Huntsville CBS affiliate, WHNT, for their planned special tonight called the Dark Side of All Hallows’ Eve. In the ads for their story talk about Huntsville’s police department once having a special occult crime division. The ads also feature images of Jeffrey Franklin and comments about the crimes he committed on March 10, 1998. Jeffrey killed his parents before trying to kill three of his four siblings on that night. He also attacked the best friend of his 14-year old sister. I can tell you a lot about the night. More than a lot of people can. His sister was my friend. His sister’s friend was also my friend and on Yearbook staff with me; she talked about that night in class. My mom was the person who carried the medical records of his sister to the hospital. She stayed there until my friend was in the ICU. We went back to the hospital on a regular basis until it was time for them to leave town. From the start, Jeffrey was painted as evil by the media. Even when the evidence came to light that he had 10 times the normal dose of Ritalin in his blood twelve days after the crime.1 Even when people started mentioning that he was mentally ill. Even when the state of Alabama thought he was mentally incompetent from 1999 until 2001, and even though the state of Alabama has had him in the mental healthcare unit of the prison since his sentencing began, instead of in general population, he has been portrayed as this supernatural killer. That kind of stigmatizing attitude is damaging to the whole community and it needs to stop. Personally, I’m tired of reliving that night. It’s been almost twenty years and local news outlets are still pushing it. They keep trying to make a buck off of the suffering of my friend’s family. They keep trying to profit on the suffering of the people I grew up with, of the choir that we were in together, of me, of my mom. This has to stop at some point. I know that the story was shocking and gruesome and that it sticks with people. It’s stuck with me, too. At a certain point, enough is enough. I wish he hadn’t made the choices he did that night. I wish that a lot of things were different about that whole situation. But forcing us to go through it over and over is cruel. He had been in jail since the night it occurred. ↩

And then I fell down yelling, “Make it go away!”

Hello, it’s me. Yes, I’m back on the last day of the Democratic National Convention to give the fifth list of reasons to oppose Donald Trump’s presidency and to oppose him in general. But if this list doesn’t convince you, maybe the previous four (1, 2, 3, 4) will. If that’s not enough, there will be another list of 21 reasons next time, and another the day after that, and the day after that…and so on until there are 2016 reasons to oppose Trump. 85. Trump supported Brexit. Donald Trump viewed Brexit as the British people taking control over their own country and borders, and putting their needs first, or so he suggested. Unfortunately, a man who somehow got a graduate degree from Wharton doesn’t seem to understand much about the economy. Apparently, business degrees don’t require that a person understand economics or global policy. Liam Fox, Trade Secretary for the United Kingdom, explained how woefully inaccurate Trump’s assumption that Brexit is all about focusing on Britain are, “In fact it was the reverse: In my view, it was about Britain becoming a much more outward-looking country.” He also saw Brexit as an opportunity to bilk money out of his supporters. Donald can’t ever miss an opportunity to do a little song and dance for a check from unsuspecting, innocent people. Sad. 86. …But he didn’t know how Scotland had voted in the EU Referendum. How does a man who was raised by a Scottish immigrant not know that one should never confuse the will of the English with the will of the Scottish? Scotland, along with Northern Ireland, voted to remain in the European Union, a decision that could dissolve the United part of the United Kingdom. It would officially change the way that Scotland and England have functioned for over four hundred years. If ever there was proof that total assimilation within a culture was a bad idea, it would be Donald Trump’s inept understanding of how Scotland fits in to the Brexit situation and into the United Kingdom in general. How do people judge this man to be competent enough to vote for? 87. Donald Trump claims that he broke the glass ceiling for women all by himself. I’ll repeat. Donald Trump claims that he broke the glass ceiling for women all by himself. He told Bill O’Reilly, noted White House slavery enthusiast, “Number one, I have great respect for women. I was the one that really broke the glass ceiling on behalf of women, more than anybody in the construction industry.” He also told O’Reilly, “My relationship I think is going to end up being very good with women.” I don’t even know where to begin. Taking credit for breaking the glass ceiling? Even if he’s succeeded in helping women in one industry, it is not his place to say that he broke the glass ceiling. I guess if he was asked who gave women the right to vote, he’d claim he wrote the 19th Amendment and got it ratified on his own. I bet he’d even claim he was up in Seneca Falls. He might as well. He is taking credit for the achievement of women and of the hardwork put into giving full-fledged equal opportunities and rights to people regardless of sex or gender, even though he fails to pay women the same as men on his campaign. He is asserting his privilege to deny women the ability to say that they earned their position and that they fought for it. To quote the great philosopher and ethicist Taylor Swift, “I want to say to all the young women out there, there will be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work…you will look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there. That will be the greatest moment.” 88. Trump called pregnancies of employees an inconvenience for business. Yes, he actually said, “a wonderful thing for the woman, it’s a wonderful thing for the husband, it’s certainly an inconvenience for a business. And whether people want to say that or not, the fact is it is an inconvenience for a person that is running a business” on video. So there’s proof that he feels this way. To summarize: the pro-life party is now being represented by a man who once called pregnancy an inconvience for business; and he said this after he began identifying as pro-life. 89. Trump has called Elizabeth Warren ineffective. To Trump, ineffective means that Elizabeth Warren pisses him off and doesn’t put up with his bullshit. He’s said she is the least productive Senator, that she gets nothing done, that she is weak. Elizabeth Warren should channel Mean Girls character Regina George and ask Donald, “Why are you so obsessed with me?” Because, clearly, he is. 90. Donald Trump insulted Warren by saying she has a big mouth. Apparently, Trump thinks that women who stand up to his childish behavior are worthy of scorn and deserve to be silenced for it. He’s even said that he wants to shut her up. Way to go, GOP! You’ve nominated a man wanting to silence women. Classy stuff, if you’re in the 1950’s. 91. Trump accused Hillary of only being popular because of the “woman card” and not for any other reason. In yet another example of Trump being an misogynist, he decided that Hillary was somehow getting more support because she’s a woman. He said, in a news conference at Trump Tower in April, “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card. And the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.” He claims a former United States Senator and Secretary of State is unqualified. You know, unlike a “businessman” who has never […]

2016 Reasons to Oppose Trump: Reasons #85-105

In Scottsboro, there were 3 kids that were arrested for possession of LSD. The police said that they ordered it on the internet and that one of the students had the LSD at his home. This has obviously caused many parents to become outraged because they’re poor children might be exposed to some people who use illicit drugs. And who knew that teenagers tend to experiment with drugs? Suggesting that is just madness. What was surprising, other than the typical blaming of Obama & the Affordable Care Act and the complete ignorance of the person who wanted to nickname the three “the Scottsboro Boys“, there were people who were shocked about the fact that you can order drugs online. Seriously? They didn’t realize that you can buy drugs online? I know that people here aren’t really up on current events and probably don’t know about Silk Road. Still, how do you not realize that you can pretty much buy anything that you want online? Maybe they don’t realize that even a big site like Amazon sells Uranium Ore, though you have to have proper credentials to buy it. But surely they know that people can buy whatever they want if they look in the “right” places. The idea that things being illegal keeps a person from buying it online is absurd. If that were the case, there probably wouldn’t be so many stories about child porn on the news. Human trafficking would probably be a bit more difficult if that were the case. And the black market organ trade would be just a bit harder. The idea that you can’t find it online is just absurd. This is the internet. If you can think of something to buy, then someone else has probably already offered it up to sell. And if they haven’t, don’t worry; they will. I just don’t get how they can be so shocked about this.  There was another comment that stood out, but that I didn’t do a screengrab of:  ….and where are the parents? They should be banned from school…and the one with the terrorist threat needs to go to jail! Our kids need to be kept safe. The drugs weren’t on campus, so why should they be banned? Do we ban all students who’ve experimented with drugs? Does this person not realize that that’s what a lot of teenagers do?  And do we limit the banning to certain drugs or do we ban kids who’ve used alcohol or smoked cigarettes underage as well? Isn’t banning kids for this kind of stuff kind of an overreaction? No, not kind of. It is most definitely an overreaction. Must everyone in this area be a wackadoodle?

You Can Get THAT On The Internet?!

Twelve by Nick McDonell My rating: 1 of 5 stars I’d seen the movie and hadn’t thought the movie was that bad. Sure, it needed improvements, but I didn’t realize just how much improvement had been made on the source material. Putting it bluntly, this book sucked. This was the kind of book that makes you want to, in a line from the television series Friends, “push my finger through my eye, into my brain, and swirl it around.” Yes, it was THAT bad. The writing style was choppy at best. The characters were undeveloped. The topic could have been interesting, but the writer seemed to believe that his purpose was not to develop a story. He just seemed to throw words and phrases onto the page without any regard for what they did to or for the story. I’ve read better from elementary aged children doing their first creative writing lessons. At least they understand some writing basics. I guess that McDonell never had anyone explain to him that a story has to have something to keep the attention of the readers. Or someone explained it to him and he just didn’t care. Honestly, it seems like it was probably the latter. I couldn’t finish the book because it was just that bad. I don’t understand how anyone makes it more than halfway. The only people I would recommend this book to are people that I think deserve to feel the agony of being tortured. View all my reviews

Review: Twelve

This, apparently,  was the question or accusation made by a certain family member to Nana earlier this week. Nana was confused and was having trouble communicating via phone with that relative, so that automatically meant she must be doing drugs. She wasn’t. I know we’re not staying with her anymore, but I know that most of her communication issues have to do with some dementia issues. She is forgetful and she doesn’t always know who she’s talking to and she confuses reality with dreams, and the past with the present. These may be worse due to a hypoxic incident that occurred a few years ago when she was at the pain clinic and had a bad reaction to a drug. (If the certain relative hadn’t treated her like she was a drug addict at that time, then she probably would have been there for the reaction and would have gotten her help more quickly.) That incident probably sped up the dementia. (Mom would have been there that day, except my mom was too sick to go.) Nana does sometimes take too much medicine and sometimes the medicine does impact how she reacts to things, but she doesn’t do it because she’s chasing a high. She does it because she’s forgetful. She needs the medicine, but she does make mistakes sometimes with when she takes it or how she takes it. (Not often, but it does happen.) She’s actually more likely to completely skip doses of Neurontin, anti-anxiety and pain medicine. She doesn’t like how they impact the way she thinks and how they make her sleep so much. She doesn’t like that loss of control over her sleep, even though she doesn’t sleep without pills to aid her. I was proud when I heard that Nana decided to hang up on the relative when the asked her that question. Good for her. If only she would have hung up all those times when that relative was telling her how awful we were and how we were killing her while we were there, then maybe I wouldn’t have grown to really dislike my grandmother so much. That relative and another relative would take to bullying Nana with phone calls that were almost back to back, telling her how awful Mom, Dad and I were. At one point, my mom said that the relative had once said she (my mom) faked her hypoglycemic episode in 2008 and that the kidney failure was some kind of hoax, too. They also said that Dad was faking his nervous breakdown and that we were stalling on getting the house fixed because we’re just such horrible awful people.  It was not the behavior that you’d expect from women who were in their late 50’s and early 60’s. You would expect that attitude from teenagers, not grown women. Every time Nana would get off the phone with either of them, she would tear into us and basically emotionally abuse us until her mind would clear up or would forget that she was told to hate us. Part of why my dad had that breakdown was due to the abuse. And most of why I was so stressed while we were there was that I basically had to experience a level of abuse that I hadn’t experienced ever. (Keep in mind that my father and I had both been emotionally/verbally abused by his father–a friggin’ sociopath–and other family members when we were children, and my parents had been emotionally/verbally abused by Dadada from 1992 to 1996. It was nothing compared to the wrath we endured with Nana.) Only my mom had had to deal with Nana’s anger before, and that level of rage. I know part of Nana’s anger was from Nana herself, but a good bit was anger that she was manipulated into having by those relatives. I can forgive her for that anger, but I won’t forgive them for their causing us to endure that or for them not understanding just how bad my dad was doing because of that. And I won’t forgive the certain relative for making my mother cry one night on the phone. I do not have to forgive people who make my mom cry. I do not have to forgive people who cause my family to be abused. I do not have to forgive people who manipulate relatives against other relatives. I’m a forgiving person, but I am NOT THAT FORGIVING. I used to try to chalk the relative’s childish behavior up to hormones or to some undiagnosed brain tumor that was causing such a major personality change, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think she’s just an unfeeling and cruel person. I think that she’s enjoyed having all of this drama in our family. And I think that she’s a beyond textbook case of untreated Borderline Personality Disorder. Where that disease makes some of us insecure, it has made her cruel. It has made her a different person, and that person has no place in my life. Oh, I would like for that relative to notice, since she or one of her friends will read this, that I didn’t use a cuss word in this entire entry. I don’t always use foul language. I do sometimes for emphasis, which is appropriate given my age and given the culture that I have been raised in. So, you can go run and call Nana and say, “Janet, didn’t cuss this time, but she said she doesn’t want me in her life. OMG. She’s just so evil.” I know that you’ll do that last part, and when you do, I will hear about it. I always do.

Are You On Drugs?

bubblyduckey: (NBC News) – Authorities in Alabama are warning parents to fully inspect Halloween candy after a video on Youtube has emerged showing how some types of candy soak up alcohol. They fear any candy tampered with may get into the wrong hands. Capt. Hal Taylor with the Alabama ABC Board explained,… I have a friend who tried to make vodka gummy bears and they were just a gooey hot mess… just saying. It seemed kind of weird to worry about kids getting vodka gummy bears, but this is Alabama. If we can worry about something completely illogical and start panicking about it, then we will because that’s how this state rolls. Dissolve into the Infinite: Warning against alcohol infused candy

(NBC News) – Authorities in Alabama are warning parents to fully inspect Halloween candy after a video on Youtube has emerged showing how some types of candy soak up alcohol. They fear any candy tampered with may get into the wrong hands. Capt. Hal Taylor with the Alabama ABC Board explained, “Kids and teens are soaking gummy bears and candy in vodka so they can get drunk, it is very undetectable, it’s very concealable, you have it in baggies and it looks like candy, looks just like candy, they are eating it and they have no idea how much alcohol they are ingesting until it’s too late. We found some on Youtube-tube, videos of the kids actually doing it and soaking the gummy bears in alcohol and it soaks up very well, the gummy bears mask the taste of the alcohol and the kids are trying to do this, they are getting around the authorities, us, local ABC, police officers and their parents.” (via WLTZ) Wow, when I was a kid, there were warnings that kids might get LSD that looked like candy.  

“I’m self-destructive,” I told my psychiatrist weeks after my brother’s funeral.“That’s what I like about you,” he said. “You’re honest.”Awkward pause. Did he really just say that? I wondered.“What I mean is, I don’t think my meds are working,” I said, although what I really wanted to say was shut.the.hell.up. It had been almost a month since my eldest brother, Donnie, died and still grief was difficult to reach. Twenty years my senior, Donnie was in and out of my family’s life based on his needs — money, a job, a place to crash, someone to keep his kids for the afternoon. He spent the rest of his time, as far as I understood, in pursuit of the next high.So it wasn’t a shock when his flirtation with death proved fatal. Showing up to his funeral was like showing up to a surprise party you already knew about. I couldn’t adequately feign the proper emotions. I was impatient watching everyone kneel by his body in tears. I was angry that his children were without their dad. I figured I’d probably never feel any sadness and explained away my lack of tears with the fact that our relationship, what there was of it, was complicated. And then one night, a month after his passing, I found myself drunk and full of rage, punching my pillows senseless until I passed out. The well was no longer dry.… – Dara Pettinelli: The One We Left Behind I actually cried reading this.

Milton Mathis, Convicted Killer, Executed In Texas Despite Evidence Of Retardation zainyk: A man convicted of slaying two people and critically injuring a third in a drug house shooting was executed on Tuesday evening by Texas officials, despite evidence that he suffered from mental retardation. Milton Mathis, 32, was sentenced to death in 1999, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that execution of the mentally retarded violated the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Intelligence tests, including one given by the Texas Department of Corrections in 2000, measured Mathis’s IQ in the low 60s, well below the threshold for mild mental retardation as recognized by almost all states. The argument used by the prosecution is that he was “street smart”, it’s a argument I have heard DA’s use about clients I have worked with during my time in NC. To be clear, the man had an IQ in the low 60’s, this gives him a mental age of 8-10. According to court records, Mathis began smoking PCP and marijuana soaked in formaldehyde, known as “fry,” as early as age 12. There is no excuse for what Milton Mathis did. He was convicted of murder. But what purpose is served, what good is it to society, other than vengeance, when you kill a man with the mind of a 10 year old. He was killed by the state, with the sanction of the people. His mind was that of a child, could he have not been locked away for life, as punishment? Could he not have been allowed to live yet deprived of his freedom as a result of what he did? What difference would it have really made to the people and to the state? I thought that the Supreme Court had ruled that it was unconstitutional to do executions of people with MR.

Did you know that this month (April) was Autism Awareness Month? Quite possibly, especially if you watched any news.   Many channels and news outlets have covered the month with the kind of zeal that probably made many autism activists proud. Did you know that next month will have National Alcohol & Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Week, Anxiety Disorder Screening Day, Children’s Mental Health Month, Childhood Depression Awareness Day, Schizophrenia Awareness Week, National Mental Health Counseling Week, National Mental Health Month, and National Suicide Awareness Week? Probably not. You shouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know that any of these existed or didn’t know when they were celebrated. They are almost never discussed. I understand that Autism and Autism-spectrum disorders are important and are being diagnosed at an increasing rate. I don’t understand or appreciate that other mental health problems are often ignored or given less precedence. They are not less important. They are not less of an issue for the country or the world. They are just dismissed as being irrelevant. So how irrelevant are these problems? Let’s see. Children born to alcoholic and addicted mothers are more likely to suffer from conduct disorder (sometimes a precursor to sociopathy), depression, ADHD, physical problems, and become addicts themselves. They are more likely to have disruptive school experiences and get expelled or end up dropping out of school. They are also more likely (14% as kids and 60% as adults) to end up in legal troubles than children of mothers who didn’t drink. Anxiety disorders which range from specific phobias to obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are so irrelevant that in a given year, about 18% of American adults seek treatment for them. Almost 1/5th of the adult population is suffering from them, so we give them a day to find out what’s going on to cause them such anxiety and stress. They occur with other problems, physical and mental, and can be debilitating. Some, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, can also cause the sufferer to become violent. How unimportant is awareness of childhood mental illness? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Research shows that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. While the repercussions of these disorders can affect children for the rest of their lives, the knowledge about the significance of these problems is limited for some people. Some doctors are even unable to determine if the hyperactive kid you see in your kid’s class has ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Schizophrenia, or some other disorder. Studies about these disorders in children aren’t highly publicized, with the exception of some related to ADHD, and any medicines used to treat them are often greeted with public condemnation and cries of over-medicating children. Childhood depression is so insignificant that it can lead to the “unexplained” suicides that seem to show up in the news from time to time. It is also so unimportant that kids end up turning to forms of self-medication ranging from illegal drugs to alcohol to things like “the choking game”. They can also retreat into behaviors that include cutting, burning, starving themselves, binging/purging, etc. We all understand schizophrenia, right? It’s well portrayed on television as a goofy disorder that is extremely rare and leads to extreme acts of violent behaviors in every case. If you think that it is rare, then please note that approximately 0.5-1.0% (depending on the country) of people suffer from the disease. The number of people diagnosed with it every year will be 1 in 4,000 or 1.5 million people per year worldwide. That may seem small when compared to the total world population, but it is a lot higher than more sympathetic disorders like Multiple Sclerosis, Insulin-dependent diabetes, and Muscular Dystrophy. The earlier someone is diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia, the better. Though it is often diagnosed in late adolescence and early adulthood, it can occur at as young as five years of age and teens who suffer from it will have a 50% higher rate of attempted suicide. Without medication, the relapse rate is 80% within 2 years, but with treatment the relapse rate can be cut in half. Of people diagnosed with schizophrenia, after 10 years, only 25% completely recover, while others either improve, are hospitalized, or are dead (usually from suicide). The numbers are virtually the same 30 years post diagnosis. Schizophrenia contributes to around one-third of the entire homeless population in the United States. Schizophrenia has been considered the most chronic, debilitating and costly mental illness and costs $63 billion per year (30% goes to direct treatment, while the rest covers caregivers, social services and legal costs). Most schizophrenics cannot work and have to depend on public assistance. The cost of serious mental illnesses are expected to rise $2.6 billion per year. And even with all of these facts, schizophrenia receives a fraction of what other (often less prevalent) disorders receive-$74.65 per person compared with $2240.88 for HIV, $476.26 for lung cancer, $325.45 for cervical cancer, and $274.14 for multiple sclerosis. It does receive more, though, than bipolar disorder, depression, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder which receive $25.95, $18.60, $5.88, and $2.61 per person, respectively. The belief that schizophrenia is a disorder that causes extreme violence is a myth. People with the disorder are more likely to harm themselves than others. Most schizophrenics do not act violently, but end up being withdrawn and want to be left alone. The things that raise the risk of violence are drug and alcohol abuse, especially if the disease is untreated. (Drug and alcohol abuse are also more likely to make mentally healthy people commit acts of violence.) Twenty percent of people in jail and prisons are seriously mentally ill, but the vast majority of people with schizophrenia are more likely to be charged with misdemeanors. The numbers are higher for female inmates than for male inmates. So why should we be more open to acknowledging mental illnesses? Half of the people who suffer from severe mental […]

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