Pharyngula

We are ruled by monsters

This is an unbelievable statement from one of our top medical advisors. Heroin overdoses kill many people; there is a cheap rescue option, though, kits called Narcan that cost a mere $9.50 and allow people to save lives. The Bush administration opposes their distribution.

Dr. Bertha Madras, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, opposes the use of Narcan in overdose-rescue programs.

“First of all, I don’t agree with giving an opioid antidote to non-medical professionals. That’s No. 1,” she says. “I just don’t think that’s good public health policy.”

Madras says drug users aren’t likely to be competent to deal with an overdose emergency. More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn’t as likely.

Madras says the rescue programs might take away the drug user’s motivation to get into detoxification and drug treatment.

Hang on there…Bertha doesn’t like non-medical professionals having access to an antidote? Does she also tut-tut the availability of defibrillators in places where someone without a medical degree might use them to save a life?

And it just gets worse. She opposes saving lives because watching a friend go into delirium, spasm, turn blue, and die in front of you is a pretty good deterrent to drug use. Even better, if you turn blue and die you won’t be repeating your filthy drug habits ever again — the War on Drugs chalks up a win! We have a public health official advocating more deaths among victims of drug abuse as part of their compassionate approach to improving the health of our citizens.

Hey, here’s another suggestion: let’s stop teaching people the Heimlich maneuver. Not only does it put a medical procedure in the hands of mere non-medical professionals, watching a few fat people in your local McDonalds choke and die, turning purple, thrashing on the floor, and clawing their throats, would be an excellent salutary lesson in the dangers of gluttony and poor dietary habits.

(hat tip to Abel)

Comments

  1. #1 Cyde Weys
    January 28, 2008

    This whole administration is corrupt and full of cronies far out of their depth. What use is this “Dr.” Bertha Madras if she doesn’t even obey the Hippocratic Oath? We need fewer fundamentalists and “moralists” and more people governing from common principles. Here’s hoping for 2009.

  2. #2 Marcus Ranum
    January 28, 2008

    It’s all tied into the *tian notion of “sin.” Because the great sky fairy disapproves of “sin”s of the flesh, victimless crimes like getting high or ruining your own body and brain are something that people should suffer for. It all makes sense, if you’re a complete fucktard.

  3. #3 andy
    January 28, 2008

    Well, if they are against HPV vaccine
    for girls because the odd girl contracting
    uterine cancer makes for a valuable moral
    example, why not? At least they’re consistent.

    That’s not to say these freaks shouldn’t be
    removed from office and whipped through the
    streets until they are bloody. It’s too bad
    the whipping part’s not gonna happen. It’s a
    moral lesson that would sink into even their
    heads.

  4. #4 gerald spezio
    January 28, 2008

    Suffer little children and wayward uninformed citizens in order to come to the holy Bejeebus.

  5. #5 Christianjb
    January 28, 2008

    Whadya know? Obama’s got a half-decent approach to drugs- he’s not in favor of locking up non-violent drug users for life.

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=nGzHgcrK75c

    It’s a start.

  6. #6 Christianjb
    January 28, 2008

    Turns out Hill’s drug policy is near identical to Barack’s as far as I can tell.

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle_blog/2007/jul/05/hillary_clinton_drug_policy_refo

  7. #7 Raynfala
    January 28, 2008

    Above all, we must continue with civility and respect to remind our fellow citizens that all life is sacred and worthy of protection.

    –President George W. Bush, January 22, 2004

    (citation: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/01/20040122-3.html )

    …except when it’s somebody icky, right, sir?

  8. #8 Narc
    January 28, 2008

    It’s actually very understandable. It seems that in Madras’s point of view, the policy is more important than the people. It’s a logical extension of a very bureaucratic mindset: the bureaucracy becomes the end in itself, and the thing the bureaucracy was put in place to protect is forgotten about.

  9. #9 Rasputin
    January 28, 2008

    These people want more people to die.

  10. #10 Ethan Romero
    January 28, 2008

    It’s amazing how the same people that claim to support absolute moral truths use highly contextual logic when it comes to helping people they don’t like (drug users, gays, women, dark skinned people).

  11. #11 Christianjb
    January 28, 2008

    Sorry for ruining an otherwise good page with Democratic politics, but since I mentioned both Hill and Barack, I feel it behooves me to mention that Edwards goes one better in supporting needle exchange programs:

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy_main/2007/sep/25/john_edwards_supports_needle_exc

    (For the record, I won’t be voting for any of these people. I’m not an American citizen.)

  12. #12 Nurse Ingrid
    January 28, 2008

    I actually worked for a narcan distribution program here in San Francisco, and it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Like needle exchange, it sends a powerful message to people who have been mistreated their whole lives: “We care about you, and we care whether you live or die.” It’s a way to connect with people, a way to encourage them to keep coming back. So if they ever did decide to quit drugs, they could come to us for help. And they did, and sometimes they succeeded.

    And surprise surprise, overdose deaths in San Francisco decreased dramatically after the program started. As we say in harm reduction circles, you can’t get clean if you’re dead.

    I agree with the other commenters — there’s just no escaping the conclusion that “conservative” thinking is ultimately shortsighted, and way more concerned with appearances than with results.

  13. #13 dwarf zebu
    January 28, 2008

    Not at all surprising since this is the same mindset that rejects condoms (globally) and clean needle exchanges to slow the spread of AIDS.

    It’s completely horrifying though because this is a further step in a very bad direction.

  14. #14 Bronze Dog
    January 28, 2008

    It’s actually very understandable. It seems that in Madras’s point of view, the policy is more important than the people. It’s a logical extension of a very bureaucratic mindset: the bureaucracy becomes the end in itself, and the thing the bureaucracy was put in place to protect is forgotten about.

    The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy. -Some Guy

  15. #15 Chris Bell
    January 28, 2008

    This takes “abstinence only” one step too far

  16. #16 Frac
    January 28, 2008

    My niece babysits for a four-year-old that has and knows how to use an Epi-pen. Better take that away from her, since it encourages her to play with bees.

  17. #17 charley
    January 28, 2008

    “Like needle exchange, it sends a powerful message to people who have been mistreated their whole lives: ‘We care about you, and we care whether you live or die.’”

    Exactly. That’s why the Republicans oppose it.

  18. #18 raven
    January 28, 2008

    Needle exchange programs work great. My county has one. It is very quiet but apparently those who need to know, know.

    One time during a budget crisis they suspended it. The rate of HIV+ among drug users immediately started increasing. This costs the government big bucks. You don’t think junkies pay for the $20-40,000/year for HAART drugs plus the hospitalizations for opportunistic infections and so on? Then there are the poor people they infect.

    Next time they had a budget crisis, they cut a lot of programs. They didn’t touch the needle exchange one. You don’t have to be a compassionate humanist to figure this out. You need some common sense and the ability to count money.

  19. #19 Dan
    January 28, 2008

    It’s almost getting to the point with this administration where a political assassination could be successfully defended in court with a plea of self-defense.

  20. #20 T_U_T
    January 28, 2008

    those guys want utterly to destroy anything that doesn’t fit in their fantasy. That is not only drug addicts, that is everyone who is not a fundagelical, and pretty much the entire universe. That is the reason why they wish for apocalypse.
    .
    For them, human life per se, has zero or negative value.

  21. #21 Anon
    January 28, 2008

    Funny… they don’t act like people who don’t believe in natural selection…

  22. #22 Seamyst
    January 28, 2008

    This reminds me of those idiots who said that the movie Trainspotting promoted drug use.

  23. #23 E in MD
    January 28, 2008

    Yay! I’m so happy to be an American under this administration!

  24. #24 Sergeant Zim
    January 28, 2008

    “You need some common sense and the ability to count money.”

    Well…. Bushco appears to have ONE of those attributes firmly in place…

    @ Nurse Ingrid – - You say that the deaths in SF decreased after the use of Norcan kits – - Well, that’s EXACTLY why the current admin. is so opposed to them! If something works, but it isn’t ‘faith-based’, then it cannot be a good thing, and must be disposed of. Contrariwise, if something IS ‘faith-based’, it must be supported vigorously, whether it works or not, or even if it is shown to be detrimental.

  25. #25 Peter Ashby
    January 28, 2008

    This is what I don’t get, it isn’t the lack of xian compassion, that was always conditional. It is the fact that these people are supposed to be xian but they see no possibility of redemption. MInd you it seems to be society wide with the lock up and throw away the key regardless or even better, just kill ‘em.

    It is this apparently callous disregard for anyone who isn’t straight up and successful (even if it is all only show) that is a prime reason I don’t want to live in the US, even if the level of religiosity went down an awful lot.

    Where does it come from?

  26. #26 Clonus
    January 28, 2008

    I’ve read somewhere that many heroin deaths described as overdoses are actually due to a combination of heroin and other drugs or heroin and alcohol. Would Narcan help in situations like this? Just asking…..

  27. #27 ema
    January 28, 2008

    Hey, here’s another suggestion: let’s stop teaching people the Heimlich maneuver.

    And while we’re at it, I must insist we stop teaching cops how to do emergency deliveries. I mean, the nerve of these non-medical people muscling in on Ob/Gyn procedures in an attempt to help fellow citizens. It’s scandalous!

  28. #28 Doozer
    January 28, 2008

    …rescue programs might take away the drug user’s motivation to get into detoxification and drug treatment.

    Ya think maybe this miscreant objects to lifeguards down at the swimming pool? My guess is yes…but only in certain parts of town…

  29. #29 Zara
    January 28, 2008

    This excretory specimen is not a medical doctor, but rather a Ph.D. psycho… uh, psychobiologist… so we certainly can’t hold her to standards like the HIppocratic oath. Because she’s a Bush Administration official, moreover, we cannot hold her to standards appropriate to civilized society. Plus, she’s an idiot. No wonder she “chose” to leave Harvard for the more fertilized pastures of BushCo.

  30. #30 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 28, 2008

    It’s almost getting to the point with this administration where a political assassination could be successfully defended in court with a plea of self-defense.

    Would eliminate the possibility of finding out what they knew and when they knew it.

  31. #31 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 28, 2008

    It’s almost getting to the point with this administration where a political assassination could be successfully defended in court with a plea of self-defense.

    Would eliminate the possibility of finding out what they knew and when they knew it.

  32. #32 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 28, 2008

    the more fertilized pastures

    ROTFL!!!

    I can almost smell them. Yuck. :-D

  33. #33 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 28, 2008

    the more fertilized pastures

    ROTFL!!!

    I can almost smell them. Yuck. :-D

  34. #34 RAM
    January 28, 2008

    “Well, if they are against HPV vaccine for girls because the odd girl contracting uterine cancer makes for a valuable moral example, why not?”
    I recently talked with a fundie who said just that, and claimed his minister said the women who get cancer deserved it for being sexually active. The supposed love and compassion of these people is just horrifying! When I informed him that as a Secular Humanist that I would advocate giving the vaccine, he said, with a straight face, that it proves I was the one without morals. These people are screwed up to the max

  35. #35 Mold
    January 28, 2008

    Narcan may be problematic outside the medical oversight.

    We have seen that “victimless” crimes committed by Our Dear Leader have come back to haunt us.

  36. #36 Dustin
    January 28, 2008

    More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn’t as likely.

    Any day now, I expect the sanctimonious douchebags to proclaim that epipens encourage the allergic to stuff themselves with shellfish or tree nuts. From there, they’ll move on to stopping cancer research since the possibility of treatment encourages old men to grow great big tumors in their colons.

    I can’t say that their claims aren’t without merit, though. I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say that, once instructed in the use of birth control, I started fornicating like a schizophrenic Roman emperor and, upon learning about antibiotics, I started licking doorknobs.

  37. #37 Rick R
    January 28, 2008

    The Enlightenment sure was nice while it lasted….

  38. #38 Tex
    January 28, 2008

    As always, things are even worse in Texas. Today’s Houston Chronicle has an editorial explaining the idiocy of our state not only lacking a needle exchange policy, but a DA who arrests people trying to make a difference.

    Details here:

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/5489994.html

  39. #39 Steve_C
    January 28, 2008

    this amounts to… “Fuck em, they’re addicts.”

  40. #40 Jim Royal
    January 28, 2008

    This is no surprise. True religionists are the ultimate moral relativists.

    Consider the mental gymnastics necessary for the Catholic Church to condemn condom use in a world where millions of Africans are dying from AIDS. They consider this pro-genocide policy as moral.

    Consider the moral confusion of a Jehovah’s Witness who refuses to allow the appropriate medical treatment for his dying child. Such a person believes that he would feel worse if his child survived than he would if he allowed his child to die. And considering the peer pressure he’s under, he’s probably right.

    No doubt that these idiots who would deny an inexpensive life-saving tool to a person suffering a overdose-related seizure believe that they have made the moral choice.

    Like I said: They are ultimate moral relativists.

  41. #41 True Bob
    January 28, 2008

    Well let’s just extend that logic as far as it will go:

    No public CPR
    No public epi-pens
    No public physiucal therapy equipment
    No public defibrillators
    No public antibiotic treatments
    No public pain killers/analgesics
    No public first aid (band-aids)

    Gawd these people are evil.

  42. #42 Kseniya
    January 28, 2008

    Chalk up another victory for Compassionate Conservatism!

    The Madras policy completely discounts the “wakeup call” effect of an OD, and apparently wishes to minimize the number of addicts who survive to answer that call. Furthermore, the abstract fear of death doesn’t keep the addict away from the needle. Fear of overdose isn’t necessarily the primary motive for getting clean. A common motivation is an increasingly desparate desire to escape the half-life of addiction.

  43. #43 Spartacus
    January 28, 2008

    Compassionate conservatism and good ‘ol, down-home, Christian values at it’s finest!

  44. #44 Brownian, OM
    January 28, 2008

    “From there, they’ll move on to stopping cancer research since the possibility of treatment encourages old men to grow great big tumors in their colons.”

    ‘Tis true, I’m afraid. I currently work as a health geographer in cancer surveillance, and I’ve had many discussions with my manager about the ethical consequences of my work.

    Basically, we’ve found that mapping disease only encourages people to be geographically dispersed.

  45. #45 MAJeff
    January 28, 2008

    And it just gets worse. She opposes saving lives because watching a friend go into delirium, spasm, turn blue, and die in front of you is a pretty good deterrent to drug use. Even better, if you turn blue and die you won’t be repeating your filthy drug habits ever again — the War on Drugs chalks up a win! We have a public health official advocating more deaths among victims of drug abuse as part of their compassionate approach to improving the health of our citizens.

    This is their general approach. For AIDS, it was, “let the faggots die;” for drugs it’s, “let the junkies die.” See, it’s easy: when all the people they don’t like die, the problems they don’t like disappear, so they do everything they can to foster death and simultaneously send messages about how bad the bad people are.

  46. #46 Dawn
    January 28, 2008

    @25 Clonus – Narcan will reverse the narcotic effects of any narcotic type drug (i.e. depressed respirations) and also “kill” the high. It can lead to immediate drug withdrawal, depending on habituation levels, but will keep someone from dying if the problem is due to the narcotic (as I referenced above, as an example, depressed breathing rates).
    It won’t reverse the effects of non-narcotic drugs (cocaine, amphetamines, etc).
    It’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed the drug action so can’t tell you exactly how it works anymore.

  47. #47 noahpoah
    January 28, 2008

    …watching a friend go into delirium, spasm, turn blue, and die in front of you is a pretty good deterrent to drug use.

    This is likely true. Of course, this doesn’t make it good policy.

    The Heimlich analogy is not very good, by the way. Choking isn’t typically due to gluttony or poor dietary habits. It’s more likely just an accident, I would think. Snorting or injecting heroin, on the other hand, is no accident. Getting rid of epipens, defibrillators, and analgesics is more along the lines of the no-narcan approach.

  48. #48 Anonomouse
    January 28, 2008

    Well let’s just extend that logic as far as it will go:

    “No public CPR
    No public epi-pens
    No public physiucal therapy equipment
    No public defibrillators
    No public antibiotic treatments
    No public pain killers/analgesics
    No public first aid (band-aids)

    Gawd these people are evil.”

    Meh.

    No one accidentally injects themselves with Heroin.

    I’m ok if a Drug Addict dies of an overdose.
    Thats one less addict.

  49. #49 T_U_T
    January 28, 2008

    Choking isn’t typically due to gluttony or poor dietary habits.

    seems you are not very experienced user of the Blame The Victim (C) method. Anyone who choked to death deserved it because he was not cautious enough while eating. As simple as that.

  50. #50 Rey Fox
    January 28, 2008

    “Basically, we’ve found that mapping disease only encourages people to be geographically dispersed.”

    If they ever fix the emergency dispatch system where I live, then everyone will just want to move here. Thbbt.

  51. #51 Chaosium
    January 28, 2008

    “The Heimlich analogy is not very good, by the way. Choking isn’t typically due to gluttony or poor dietary habits. It’s more likely just an accident, I would think. Snorting or injecting heroin, on the other hand, is no accident”

    Eating and doing heroin is no accident. Overdosing and choking are the accidents.

  52. #52 True Bob
    January 28, 2008

    Anonomouse, are you just as happy if a fat person dies due to unavailability of defib? I mean come on, they deserved it for getting fat. Likewise any PT equipment – used incorrectly, without a Doctor’s supervision (not just a PT) can cause more damage. This would make people injure their limbs less.

    And if people weren’t so careless, we wouldn’t need CPR. Or epi-pens, because really, you ought to know what’s in your food.

    Apparently you ignored what I wrote about pushing that (poor excuse for) logic.

    Death cult much, Anonomouse?

  53. #53 Heather
    January 28, 2008

    @ Tex (#35):

    I live in TX also, and just came across that article. Did you read the first several comments? Makes me sad. Those people have pretty much the same opinion as BushCo. What ever happened to love thy fellow man, or whatever they pretend they are doing when they are tying the noose up in the tree?

  54. #54 The Disgruntled Chemist
    January 28, 2008

    No one accidentally injects themselves with Heroin.

    Nobody accidentally drives too fast in the rain either.

    No ambulance rides on rainy days! Let those careless drivers die. One less car on the freeway, right Anonymouse?

  55. #55 Kerry
    January 28, 2008

    Anonomouse (#45)

    If I understand your comment you would be OK if my brother had died or if my daughter had died. If that is true you are below contempt and my writing this is as big a waste of time as you are of skin.

    BTW – my brother got clean and sober 25+ years ago and has been a contributing member of society ever since. I know that the taxes he has paid more than paid for the cost of his rehab. My daughter is straightening her life out and will once again be a contributing member as long as she gets the help and support she needs.

  56. #56 sublunary
    January 28, 2008

    #46 says (in sarcastic imitation fundie voice)”Anyone who choked to death deserved it because he was not cautious enough while eating. As simple as that. ”

    It’s funny how suddenly they reverse their attitude when it’s someone they like. Remember that whole incident a few years ago with Bush and the evil pretzel of death?

    You know that the second one of their loved ones developes a drug problem it becomes not their fault, or they claim it’s ok in these special circumstances since, obviously, the liberals/pro-choicers/science lovers/insert scapegoat here, corrupted them.

  57. #57 An
    January 28, 2008

    Your false analogies of Epi-Pens, Heimlich maneuvers, Defibrillators, and “Whoops! Coulda Happened To Anyone Accidents” need to stop.

    NO ONE accidentally and repeatedly shoves poison into their veins.

    Here I thought, as atheists, we’re all supposed to be logical. But when presented with the right kind of emotional argument you become just as illogical as a run of the mill creationist.

    Poster # 17 Raven is the only one that has presented logical reasons to agree with.

    #52 You go ahead and paint me with whatever hate brush you need to make yourself feel better. Just like a Creationist. Point is, was their lives saved by one of these kits? If not whats your point?

  58. #58 Tulse
    January 28, 2008

    Let’s stop all lung cancer treatments, since obviously no one accidentally smokes.

  59. #59 The Disgruntled Chemist
    January 28, 2008

    But when presented with the right kind of emotional argument you become just as illogical as a run of the mill creationist.

    If it’s a choice between getting lumped with “run of the mill creationist[s]” or being willing to let people die horribly for their mistakes, I know which one I’ll choose. Every time. There are probably many more circumstances that lead a person to become a heroin addict than I will ever know. The thing is, I know that I don’t know, and so I’m willing to err on the side of trying to save those people.

    This isn’t a difference between atheists and the religious. It’s a difference between people who think human lives are worth saving and, well, you.

  60. #60 Dustin
    January 28, 2008

    Here I thought, as atheists, we’re all supposed to be logical.

    We are. That means we’re also supposed to make some kind of attempt at understanding the psychology and pathology of addiction before hopping on the sanctimonious high-horse, which you haven’t done. Go read up on the social causes of drug use, then go read up on neurotransmitters. The latter might also be helpful in diagnosing whatever it is that has gone wrong with your ball of misfiring neurons.

    You go ahead and paint me with whatever hate brush you need to make yourself feel better.

    I feel like painting you with a stupid brush instead.

  61. #61 Anonomouse
    January 28, 2008

    “Let’s stop all lung cancer treatments, since obviously no one accidentally smokes.”

    Wow, and I thought I was cold blooded.

    If you want to stop a medical treatment that fights a disease contributed by the use of legal controlled substance. A substance that has had a widespread and systemic dis-information campaign waged by the companies that produce it, well I suppose…..

    Oh wait. You’re using one of those Really Really Bad Analogies again?

    Really, try to come up with something even close to Deliberately and Repeatedly shoving a toxic substance into ones veins.

  62. #62 Justin H.
    January 28, 2008

    I feel deeply ashamed for these people. How can they let something like the societal taboo on drug use overshadow the importance of saving lives? I can’t believe there’s even a need to point this out, but medicine should be evidence based–if there’s evidence that distributing naloxone can save lives, then by all means do so. It really couldn’t be any simpler. And yet, people let their emotional response to drugs and addicts get in the way of their jobs.

  63. #63 MAJeff
    January 28, 2008

    c’mon folks, don’t be so hard on anonomouse. They’re just hoping to get rid of society’s degenerates.

  64. #64 Brigit
    January 28, 2008

    #45- You disapprove on how some people deal with their mental-fucking-illness, so their lives are worthless? Well, of course that’s rational…

    Me and my husband had to live through the death of one of his best friends from OD. He was just another college kid like us. He was a good man. His death, not his life, was a waste. He was in a different campus than us, we weren’t there to help him, but I certainly wish there had been a program that could.

    Another friend of ours cleaned up his act, cold turkey, and almost died in the hospital when his body went into shock. He’s been rehabilitated for years and now he studies and volunteers to help others clean up.

    A college friend -a double major in biology and chemistry with a 4.00 average- went into breakdown, escaped when we tried to take her home, and injected herself some heroin in the slums next to our college. We took her to an emergency room, in which they could not tell us if she’d die or not. We waited there while she vomited, while other took her mom to the courts to get an order to temporarily place her in a mental institution. Thankfully she recovered, and is now in grad school.

    The fact that these people at some point “injected themselves with poison” does not make them worthless or any less human. However your comment does seem to make you an imbecilic douchebag.

  65. #65 raven
    January 28, 2008

    Irony, thy name is Death Cult Xian. We had one family of them in our neighborhood once. OK people but a little bit cuckoo.

    Their son was in and out of detox programs for years. Finally died of a heroin overdose. They were devastated.

    Somehow I get the feeling that if someone told them it was all god’s plan for dealing with drug addicts, they probably wouldn’t agree.

  66. #66 Pol Lambert
    January 28, 2008

    Anonomouse,
    “Really, try to come up with something even close to Deliberately and Repeatedly shoving a toxic substance into ones veins.”
    I would say smoking constitutes of deliberately and repeatedly inhaling a toxic substance into ones longues.
    Smoking is legal in some places (no-smoking allowed signs eh?) but that doesn’t make it healthy. So yes, by your reasoning, it’s ok to let the smokers die.

  67. #67 Anonomouse
    January 28, 2008

    “It’s a difference between people who think human lives are worth saving and, well, you.”

    No the difference is caring about saving human lives, and saving the human lives of people purposefully, repeatedly and knowingly committing a self-destructive act because it gives them pleasure.

    I have no problem with the uses of the drug in clinical treatments to end an addiction. The use of it as a safety net, however flimsy, because an addict might misjudge the quantity or quality of the poison they’re injecting themselves is silly.

  68. #68 BlueIndependent
    January 28, 2008

    Ah yes, the condom argument as shield from criticism. “If they’re not available, people won’t be tempted to use them for their intended purpose.” Or the pill argument: “If it’s not available they can’t have easy next-day internal abortions.”

  69. #69 GDwarf
    January 28, 2008

    #54

    Few things.

    First off, an Overdose is an accident. Well, is usually an accident. Yes taking drugs is risky, but then, going outside when it’s warmer than 5 degrees Celsius is risky for me, since all it takes is one wasp sting to kill me.

    Eating is risky since it’s so easy to choke.

    Breathing is risky, since you could inhale a deadly virus/bacteria.

    etc.

    Now, there are some differences, most of the examples given are for things essential to a normal life that are potentially deadly, unlike drug addictions which are just the deadly part. So I’ll certainly agree that quite a few people are making false analogies.

    However, I must ask, how is the no-antidote stance any different from denying a professional snake handler antivenin? Or an AIDS patient medicine? After all, both of those people presumably had a choice in getting bitten/infected, yet anyone who said that denying them something that could save their lives was a good thing would, quite rightly, be labled a monster. Yet, somehow, it’s OK when the person about to die is a drug addict?

  70. #70 SeanH
    January 28, 2008

    NO ONE accidentally and repeatedly shoves poison into their veins.

    Heroin is an addictive drug, but it’s no more a poison than alcohol, caffiene, or any other drug people ingest. Heroin use may not be a lifestyle choice most agree with, but users who takes proper doses are not shoving poison into their veins. When they overdose it’s generally because the potency is unpredictable, which is a direct result of the government’s ban on heroin.

    I’m not endorsing heroin use, but it’s just a high-risk behavior like smoking, speeding, or anything else. Raven’s comment on the costs makes a good point too. Even if what Dr. Madras said was morally right, uneccessarily hauling them into emergency rooms seems like a damn expensive way to teach a guy lesson.

  71. #71 Kermit
    January 28, 2008

    Anonomouse #58
    [regarding tobacco] “Really, try to come up with something even close to Deliberately and Repeatedly shoving a toxic substance into ones veins.”

    Ummm… you don’t think that repeatedly inhaling hot smoke infused with a toxic and highly addictive drug isn’t similar? My father did not die from tobacco, but he could have -he was an addict most of his life. He was also a military officer and a law-abiding taxpayer. If he had developed emphysema or lung cancer, would he not have deserved treatment?

    Why is one drug addiction a socially acceptable habit but another a capital offense?

    Our (US) president was a drug addict for twenty years. He showed contempt for others’ lives by driving drunk on a regular basis. Now he passes judgement on those who get stoned on the wrong drugs. As do you, in this post of yours.

    Kermit

  72. #72 firemancarl
    January 28, 2008

    Perhaps an irony is taking place here. My engine carries Narcan. We give it in cases of drug overdose or when the etiology of the patient is unknown and they are unconscious . If you are not using an opiate, there is no adverse reaction to Narcan. If you are using an opiate, you get a really rude wake up and the loss of your high. That being said, Narcan is a controlled substance that is under medical control and is, just like other drugs (medical ones ), is issues in measured vials. It is my own personal opinion that no one by health providers should give Narcan. Since the way we give it is through IV. I don’t see any druggies or their families starting an IV of normal saline then pushing the Narcan. Just a hunch, but call me crazy if you must.

    I am not sure of it being available at your local CVS or Walgreens.

    Of course, they give methadone to meth heads. So, who knows.

  73. #73 Kseniya
    January 28, 2008

    Oh, but Pol: Smoking is LEGAL. Apparently that makes all the difference to Anonymouse.

    The smoking analogy is apt. Anyone who can’t see (or won’t admit) it must have a very heavy axe to grind.

    Incidentally, boys and girls, most overdoses are accidental, just like most drunk driving accidents, etc. If the legality of the substance is the determining factor in the decision to provide or withhold life-saving procedures and technology, then I propose that if a person who has been hospitalized after a DUI crash, one for which they are responsible, is later determined to have been under the influence of an illegal drug, that they be retroactively maimed or killed to restore them to their original, unattended, post-crash physical condition.

    Once again, the politics of personal responsibility is used by its advocates to mask systemic discompassion.

  74. #74 Kseniya
    January 28, 2008

    Anonymouse sez:

    No the difference is caring about saving human lives, and saving the human lives of people purposefully, repeatedly and knowingly committing a self-destructive act because it gives them pleasure.

    Nope. That’s NOTHING like a cigarette habit, or compulsive consumption of food or alcohol.

    LMAO.

  75. #75 Brownian, OM
    January 28, 2008

    NO ONE accidentally and repeatedly shoves poison into their veins.

    I feel the same about those who purposely and repeatedly inject poison into threads.

    Feeding the trolls only encourage them to keep using. The only cure for trolls like anonymouse is to let ‘em OD on their own stupidity.

  76. #76 uncle frogy
    January 28, 2008

    WOW!! what can I say this thread is all over the place!

    It seems to me that the most important thing for the “Neocons” is that they should be consistent and “stick to their guns” and not change ideas to match the reality they find.
    Is not that clear with every policy statement. They must be “consistent”. Drugs are bad, drug use is bad, drug users are bad. We can not care for them we need to punish instead. Of course ourselves and our “friends ” are just victims and need our compassion and understanding.
    It is this element of judgment that is displayed here as in other instances that I find so hypocritical and distasteful. They condemn “activist judges” but see no problem in doing the judging themselves.
    It is OK to torture the terrorist and hold them as combatants forever because we say they are terrorists and have no human rights.
    So why should we be surprised by any of it, The “neocons” simply do not care for anything but themselves.
    As we can plainly see the “War on Terror” shows every sign of being just as successful as the “War on Drugs”

    Very depressing.

  77. #77 uncle frogy
    January 28, 2008

    WOW!! what can I say this thread is all over the place!

    It seems to me that the most important thing for the “Neocons” is that they should be consistent and “stick to their guns” and not change ideas to match the reality they find.
    Is not that clear with every policy statement. They must be “consistent”. Drugs are bad, drug use is bad, drug users are bad. We can not care for them we need to punish instead. Of course ourselves and our “friends ” are just victims and need our compassion and understanding.
    It is this element of judgment that is displayed here as in other instances that I find so hypocritical and distasteful. They condemn “activist judges” but see no problem in doing the judging themselves.
    It is OK to torture the terrorist and hold them as combatants forever because we say they are terrorists and have no human rights.
    So why should we be surprised by any of it, The “neocons” simply do not care for anything but themselves.
    As we can plainly see the “War on Terror” shows every sign of being just as successful as the “War on Drugs”

    Very depressing.

  78. #78 Pol Lambert
    January 28, 2008

    Re 64 by Anonymouse

    “No the difference is caring about saving human lives, and saving the human lives of people purposefully, repeatedly and knowingly committing a self-destructive act because it gives them pleasure.”

    So you take it upon yourself to decide who deserves to live and who gets to die. According to christianity, that choice belongs to god. So if you are a christian, you’re committing the same sin Adam did (right and wrong apple), the very sin that got them kicked out of paradise.

    So quite the contrary to your claim, you are not on christian moral high ground.

  79. #79 It is Dave
    January 28, 2008

    firemancarl: I don’t see any druggies or their families starting an IV of normal saline then pushing the Narcan. Just a hunch, but call me crazy if you must.

    I won’t call you crazy, just too lazy to RTFA and thus spouting uninformed nonsense. The Narcan in this situation is delivered as a nasal spray.

  80. #80 Sven DiMilo
    January 28, 2008

    I’m ok if a Drug Addict dies of an overdose.
    Thats one less addict.

    That’s one less:

    Miles Davis
    Lenny Bruce
    Jerry Garcia
    William Burroughs
    Billie Holiday
    Edgar Allan Poe
    Charlie Parker
    Sonny Rollins
    Janis Joplin
    John Lennon
    Chet Baker

    Just a quick list off the top of my head of one-time heroin addicts that have greatly enriched my life. Sure am glad these people didn’t die sooner.

  81. #81 firemancarl
    January 28, 2008

    @#76.

    Just because famous people die from ODing, it doesn’t mean they were any less a burden on the system. You forgot Len Bias, the Boston Celtic who OD’d on coke the night he got drafted. Maybe I am just jaded after going to so damn many ODs.

  82. #82 Tulse
    January 28, 2008

    Yeah, but Sven, if we broaden your list a bit, we could also include Rush Limbaugh.

  83. #83 Sideways
    January 28, 2008

    “At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,”
    said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than
    usually desirable that we should make some slight
    provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer
    greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in
    want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands
    are in want of common comforts, sir.”

    “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

    “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down
    the pen again.

    “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge.
    “Are they still in operation?”

    “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish
    I could say they were not.”

    “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour,
    then?” said Scrooge.

    “Both very busy, sir.”

    “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first,
    that something had occurred to stop them in their
    useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to
    hear it.”

    Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

    Pity we seem to be out of ghosts.

  84. #84 Phoenix Woman
    January 28, 2008

    It’s part of the Overall War On Pleasure.

    Substitute “sex” for heroin and you’ve got the rationale for why Fundies don’t want their daughters inoculated against common forms of VD.

  85. #85 Sideways
    January 28, 2008

    Sorry to double post, just realized I left off the money quote:

    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had
    better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

  86. #86 Sven DiMilo
    January 28, 2008

    Just because famous people die from ODing, it doesn’t mean they were any less a burden on the system.

    uh…what? I seem to have been misinterpreted. My list is not “famous people who ODed” (few of them did), and I do not claim that it is/was a good thing, in any sense, that they were addicts.
    My point was merely that writing someone off–anyone–because they happen to be, or have been, an addict is as stupid as it is cold. I consider the people I listed great artists and I’m happy they lived to produce the art that has enriched my life. Those who were killed by their habits I regard as a great tragedy.

    As for Limbaugh, hey, assholes have opioid receptors too.

  87. #87 Tulse
    January 28, 2008

    As for Limbaugh, hey, assholes have opioid receptors too.

    Yep, and when they get nice clean pharmaceutical-quality opioids, apparently it is OK for them to be hooked. It should also be noted that when such nice clean pharmaceutical-quality opioids are used, they don’t seem to cause such problems as bacterial infections from dirty needles, health problems from other foreign substances in the drug, etc. etc. etc. In other words, if it’s rich folks doing “good” opiates, we forgive them, but if it’s poor folks doing “bad” opiates, we let them die. (There is a strong parallel here with the legal treatment of crack versus powdered cocaine.)

  88. #88 Kseniya
    January 28, 2008

    List[cAddicts].Add(“Eric Clapton”)

  89. #89 firemancarl
    January 28, 2008

    Yes, but it’s the female “artists” who get hooked that is the real crying shame!

  90. #90 Mooser
    January 28, 2008

    I did not know Narcan could be administered by nasal spray. That is fantastic! I thought it had to be intravenous.
    That could be a real lifesaver, especially with the prevalence of very powerful pain pills like the high dosage Oxycontin. In an unacclimated user, the results can be dire, and nasal Narcan is great.

  91. #91 Nurse Ingrid
    January 28, 2008

    At the program where I worked, the Narcan was distributed in prefilled syringes for intramuscular (IM) injection. You just showed people how to inject it into the person’s thigh, right through their clothes if necessary (much like an Epipen, which another commenter pointed out that four-year-olds can be taught to use).

    As firemancarl points out, if they haven’t taken opiates, there is no effect. If they have taken opiates, the sudden onset of withdrawal can be quite unpleasant, but their life can be saved. I never heard of any bad outcomes as a result of non-medical people administering Narcan, and it’s hard for me to imagine what bad outcomes people are imagining (other than your friend being pissed at you for harshing their buzz!).

  92. #92 Sili
    January 28, 2008

    Well …

    if that was part of the entertainment I might actually start eating at McDonalds …

  93. #93 DiscoveredJoys
    January 28, 2008

    Double whammy here. The risk of OD is higher because the govenment has made heroin illegal, so the potency and quality is uncontrolled. So some of the ODs are due to governement interference… which they then refuse to allieviate. Double bastards.

    In the meantime the human race seems to go on merily dosing itself up with all sorts of psychoactive substances, some legal (including tea, coffee, chocolate, Coca Cola, tobacco, alcohol, nutmeg) and some not. I bet if cocaine (the drug of the upper classes) could cause the same massive overdose reactions and could be treated by Narcan you might see a different policy…

  94. #94 VoiceOfReason
    January 28, 2008

    I don’t know the lady, so I won’t speculate on her intentions. But do realize that Methadone, the drug used to ‘Cure’ heroin addiction, is itself often abused by drug addicts to get high on when they can’t find any Heroin. I don’t blame them, I’ve had friends who would buy Methadone on the ‘streets’, they come in a giant pill form, a kind of wafer. But they would just use that to get high.
    What I think the lady is trying to say is that she doesn’t want another drug, which is itself highly addicting and potentially abusable, available Over-The-Counter for any drug addict to get LEGALLY. I’m sure in this light many of you begin to agree with her assertions, especially if you believe that any drug should be illegal to any person in the United States. Personally I’m for the de-criminalization of victimless crimes, but until that dream becomes a reality in America, I think that she made the proper decision to keep her job.

  95. #95 Sven DiMilo
    January 28, 2008

    VoR: Why not learn something about Narcan before you offer your bullshit opinion?

  96. #96 Ray C.
    January 28, 2008

    #31: I recently talked with a fundie who said just that, and claimed his minister said the women who get cancer deserved it for being sexually active. The supposed love and compassion of these people is just horrifying! When I informed him that as a Secular Humanist that I would advocate giving the vaccine, he said, with a straight face, that it proves I was the one without morals. These people are screwed up to the max

    Even if we accept that a promiscuous woman deserves whatever diseases she gets, what about the faithful wife who gets HPV from her cheatin’ husband? Is it a sin to be married to a philanderer?

  97. #97 Kerlyssa
    January 28, 2008

    VoiceOfReason: It’s been repeatedly said that Narcan has no effects other than stopping the effects of narcotics. I’d take your opinion more seriously if it were informed by an actual reading of the article in question, rather than by a desire to pull a reasonable explanation for this woman’s homicidal policies out of your posterior.

  98. #98 Kerlyssa
    January 28, 2008

    Or, what Sven DeMilo said. So we meet again, Refresh Button, my old nemesis.

  99. #99 WestCoastMedic
    January 28, 2008

    Firemancarl: Go back to school. Narcan can be given IV, intramuscular (IM), subcutaneous (SQ), intranasal, the old-school sub-mental (under the jaw/tongue), down an ET tube — pretty much any way you can imagine. You can teach someone to use an epi-pen, they can give a buddy narcan.

    I’m not even going to waste time talking about how about half the drugs we have on our shelf are prescribed to people on an individual basis (epi? nitro? glucagon?) and there’s no public outcry. How many calls have you been on where someone’s been messed up because of perfectly legal drugs? Ever been on an insulin OD? Accidental epi-pen into the thumb? Ever coded someone who stuck two fentanyl patches on instead of one? All of those drugs are way more hazardous than narcan, and they’re all in the hands of the public.

    But I’ve got a better argument: Give narcan out to junkies, and guess what, boss? You’ll have a lot fewer stupid ODs to go on. I hate ‘em too. Wish I could go on less. This seems like an excellent way to both help people (isn’t that why you got into this job?) and reduce the amount of stupid in my day.

  100. #100 Zorn
    January 28, 2008

    Heh. Once again, it’s proven to us that the Bush administration never fails to find some stupid bullshit excuse to exercise the prerogative it thinks it inherently possesses. Typical.
    Honestly, this silly shit doesn’t surprise me at all. I don’t understand what the whole debate’s about. I hope you’re all not waiting for everything to get better, because the whole situation’s probably not heading in that direction for a while.

  101. #101 Anon Ymous
    January 28, 2008

    After reading this, my initial reaction is to link to the Atheist Ethicist of a few days ago, who was writing about the ethics of the cervical cancer vaccine:

    http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com/2008/01/cervical-cancer-and-hpv-immunization.html

    “The most common defense against the accusation of negligence in this case is religion. First, there is the claim that, in order to get the HPV virus in a way that causes cervical cancer, one has to have sex. Obviously, teenage girls who have sex are violating God’s law, and those who violate God’s law are subject to God’s punishment. This cancer is God’s divine wrath, and for humans to take steps to thwart God’s plan . . . for humans to take steps to ‘play God’ and make decisions that should be left in God’s hands . . . is objectionable.”

    and

    “If this argument actually made sense, then, if there was no such thing as cervical cancer, we could use the same reasons to support a law whereby every teenage girl who has sex puts their name in a bin, and each year a few names are removed, where those whose names are drawn are subject to months of torture, and a substantial percentage of them are actually tortured to death.

    The nation that would pass such a law is not civilized. These are barbarians. Yet, failure to protect one’s children from the ravages of cervical cancer is no different than putting the child’s name in a lottery bin to be tortured in killed for disobedience – disobedience driven by hundreds of millions of years of evolution promoting a desire to have sex.”

    (several paragraphs between those two quotes… anyone with a few minutes to spare [i.e. people who've read this far down the comments thread] should go over there and have a look at the full thing…)

  102. #102 bobc1029
    January 28, 2008

    Culture of life, baby. Culture of life.

  103. #103 Mold
    January 28, 2008

    How about some civility?
    Firemancarl may be that, a person going on-call with perhaps volunteer training. Not quite the same as EMT, Para or RN. Out here in Dumbf***istan, 90% of responders are VFD and have “pack and ship” med training.

  104. #104 raven
    January 28, 2008

    What I think the lady is trying to say is that she doesn’t want another drug, which is itself highly addicting and potentially abusable, available Over-The-Counter for any drug addict to get LEGALLY.

    Narcan has no psychoactive effects whatsoever. It doesn’t get you high. In fact, it does the opposite. It is an opioid antagonist.

  105. #105 notthatbad
    January 28, 2008

    Drug addicts and abusers die, I fail to see the problem with letting nature take its’ course. God, nature, stupidity, whatever you want to call it it’s a great way to rid the population of the scum of the earth who would easily rob/mug/kill for their next fix.

  106. #106 raven
    January 28, 2008

    Actually the two most destructive drugs in our society are alcohol and tobacco. We’ve simply learned to live with them and accept the deaths as wallpaper.

    Tobacco takes 2 to 4 decades to show effects but they are inevitable. Lung cancer is 1st or 2nd most common cancer in terms of mortality and most of that is smoking related. Add in the emphysema and CV problems and we have a major killer.

    Alcohol abuse kills way more than narcotic ODs. It isn’t limited to the abusers either. Drunk driving can result in innocent people ending up dead.

  107. #107 roystgnr
    January 28, 2008

    My first reaction to this story was “What does it matter if there’s a distribution program or not if this stuff costs ten bucks?”

    But of course it turns out that just paying ten bucks and getting an overdose antidote would be illegal without a prescription – it’s not just that the US government is refusing to subsidize the stuff, they won’t let people buy it for themselves without going through an M.D. (which probably isn’t an appealing option to junkies who might reasonably be afraid to confess to using illegal narcotics). I wonder if a heroin antidote black market will ever arise to complement the heroin black market?

    It makes one laugh at the stupid alcohol Prohibitionists, for thinking they needed the 18th Amendment just to tell the whole country what is and isn’t permitted for ingestion. Arguing about every little centrally micromanaged detail is way more fun without all that Constitutional red tape.

  108. #108 raven
    January 28, 2008

    I recently talked with a fundie who said just that, and claimed his minister said the women who get cancer deserved it for being sexually active.

    Look on the bright side. The fundies can’t prevent anyone from getting the HPV vaccine.

    We all know these people are just hypocrits. The teen pregnancy rate in fundie-Dumbfuckistan is way higher than the national average. Sure, fundie girls get pregnant a lot without having sex.

    Eventually the majority of cervical cancer cases will be in…fundie Death Cultists. Poetic justice there.

  109. #109 True Bob
    January 28, 2008

    Oh, notthatbad, you are one amazing satirist! ROFLMAO!! You captured the elitist attitude so succinctly!

  110. #110 Fedaykin
    January 28, 2008

    Anonamouse, you are a raving idiot.

    True. “No one” accidentally injects themselves with heroin.

    HOWEVER. A large number of people accidentally inject themselves with LETHAL DOSES of it. Drug users don’t intentionally overdose. That’s what this treatment is for, people who ACCIDENTALLY overdose while trying to get high.

    Get a frakken clue you idjit.

  111. #111 firemancarl
    January 28, 2008

    @#95

    Dude, you misunderstand me. I wasn’t saying that I disagree with it. The way we use it here is IV based. If they wanna give it to anyone any other way, thats fine by me. hey, I’m just the EMT. Thats wot they pay the medics for. I just hold the clip board anymore, that’s wot promotion does for ya. Irony of ironies, I just got an email for a protocol revision that says we can use Narcan IV & now…. IO

    As far as your other questions. No, NO, no, and no.

    I guess the real question is , do “we” really expect junkies to even want Narcan? Do we expect that junkies friends would actually give ‘em the Narcan? If there is a way to , as you said “prevent more stupid” i’m all for it!

  112. #112 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2008

    “Ya think maybe this miscreant objects to lifeguards down at the swimming pool? My guess is yes…but only in certain parts of town…”

    It depends. See if it’s a public pool that’s socialism. Get rid of the public pool and the issue goes away.

    If it’s a private pool, the decision about whether to have a lifeguard is up to the owner. If they decide not to and the state tries to require it that’s totalitarianism.

    See with a sufficient focus on the ideology it’s real easy to avoid seeing the drowning children.

    Besides, the Republicans want to empower private swimmers to rescue each other and lifeguards just get in the way of that.

  113. #113 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2008

    “Madras says drug users aren’t likely to be competent to deal with an overdose emergency. ”

    Well obviously if the Narcan is used incorrectly the OD victim could end up even deader.

  114. #114 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2008

    “Your false analogies of Epi-Pens, Heimlich maneuvers, Defibrillators, and “Whoops! Coulda Happened To Anyone Accidents” need to stop.

    NO ONE accidentally and repeatedly shoves poison into their veins.

    Here I thought, as atheists, we’re all supposed to be logical. But when presented with the right kind of emotional argument you become just as illogical as a run of the mill creationist.”

    Does your logic take into account the fact that there are millions (yes literally) of heroin users around the world who use it recreationally and intermittently for years while holding down jobs?

    The stereotypical junkie is in fact a minority of the heroin using population.

    Any one of those people could suffer an OD, not because they’re “injecting poison into their veins” but because the illegal and unregulated nature of the heroin market means the concentration of the product varies widely.

    Consider the case of people who died or went blind drinking alcohol contaminated with freon or methanol during Prohibition.

    Was it the natural and inevitable result of them “drinking poison” or a result of stupid laws?

  115. #115 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2008

    Let’s step back from the moral argument for a second and consider the economics.

    What does an OD cost society?

    Your basic ambulance pick-up, examination of the body, routine police paperwork and burial probably run to several hundred dollars minimum.

    Then there are the addicts left in a coma who end up requiring years of medical care at thousands of dollars a year at the expense of the taxpayer.

    So it seems to me if, say, 20 Narcan sprays prevent one OD, it makes perfect economic sense.

  116. #116 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2008

    “Even if we accept that a promiscuous woman deserves whatever diseases she gets, what about the faithful wife who gets HPV from her cheatin’ husband? Is it a sin to be married to a philanderer?”

    Women are the source of all sin – just read Genesis.

    If the wife had performed her marital duties properly, her husband wouldn’t have been forced to stray.

  117. #117 For the Gene Pool
    January 28, 2008

    Let anyone who has weak genetics, weak habits or is sitting ‘on the lower half’ of the gene totem pole die. In that way, we shall continue evolution of the human species in a positive direction. Why slow the process down helping inferior beings?

  118. #118 Kseniya
    January 28, 2008

    I fail to see the problem with letting nature take its’ course. God, nature, stupidity, whatever you want to call it it’s a great way to rid the population of the scum of the earth who would easily rob/mug/kill for their next fix.

    Ah – another ignorant, discompassionate lymph pump masquerading as a human being.

    I have an idea: Let’s round up every cigarette smoker, drug addict, and alcoholic – and all their children – and have them put to death or sterilized. That’ll solve the problem in a generation or two. I’m sure you’ll agree my solution is “notthatbad”.

  119. #119 Rupert Goodwins
    January 28, 2008

    I’m reminded of the infamous decision by the Air Board in charge of the Royal Flying Corps (the forerunner of the RAF) during the early days of World War 1, concerning equipping pilots with parachutes: “It is the opinion of the board that the presence of such an apparatus might impair the fighting spirit of pilots and cause them to abandon machines which might otherwise be capable of returning to base for repair.”

    It wasn’t about saving a few pounds in getting a chunk of damaged hardware back to base, of course. It was about the deathly fear that if a pilot could bail out, he’d succumb to cowardice — and if one did, then the whole game was up. It was far more important to maintain the moral standards of the Corps than to save lives. You just couldn’t trust people in peril to make sensible decisions. Better to lose a few than let the lot think they could get away with lack of spine, what?

    Oddly, after they’d reversed that decision (having lost some of their very best aces and faced open revolt), they found that the pilots were still capable of extreme acts of bravery. The last thing they had to worry about was cowardice. Those who messed up badly enough on their own account that they faced death but survived tended to either get out of the game (thus not putting their comrades in danger) or pay a lot more attention (thus becoming better warriors).

    No need to dwell on the record of RAF aircrew in WW2, nor that of any nation at any time, when parachutes were universally employed.

    Seems that saving people’s lives is a good thing, and rarely imperils morality.

    And yes, I know there’s a world of difference between putting your life on the line to defeat tyranny and the solipsism of shooting up in some shitty basement, but I don’t think it’s enough to cancel out the normal human duty of care towards those who could be saved.

    Perhaps God has told his favoured people otherwise. Is it his will that those most desperate be abandoned in their hour of need, to uphold the rule of Heaven? I missed that in my readings of the teachings of Christ. In fact, I got rather the opposite impression.

    Silly me.

  120. #120 Steve_C
    January 28, 2008

    wow… this post is attracting the idiots, crackpots and tools.

    For the gene pool… you don’t even UNDERSTAND genetics.

    It’s very simple. We have a tool that can prevent people from dying… easily. There’s no excuse to not use it.

  121. #121 Eric Paulsen
    January 28, 2008

    No the difference is caring about saving human lives, and saving the human lives of people purposefully, repeatedly and knowingly committing a self-destructive act because it gives them pleasure. – Posted by: Anonomouse

    Four little words quickly glossed over in a mental defectives statement of unremitting hatred for drug abusers. Here, folks, is the ENTIRE reason for all of the compassionate conservative religious Republican neglect and depraved indifference toward their fellow man – they DARED to enjoy something. Imagine their collective horror that SO MANY things can give people pleasure.

    Let’s begin with a war on sex, then a war on drugs, then a war on smoking… wait, we can’t do that because Philip Morris is our biggest campaign contributor. How about a war on poverty? I hate those fucking poor!

  122. #122 Kseniya
    January 28, 2008

    Why slow the process down helping inferior beings?

    Is this a joke?

    Oh yes. Let’s cull the weaker infants. That’s progressive. That’ll get us to the stars. Let’s ask Stephen Hawking what he thinks.

  123. #123 windy
    January 28, 2008

    Oh yes. Let’s cull the weaker infants.

    They are all kind of weak, aren’t they?

  124. #124 Cody Sortore
    January 28, 2008

    How in the world can you compare a defibrillator to an opioid antidote? That makes no sense at all. I don’t know, maybe it makes sense to you, but I see no relevance or similarities in the two. They both can save lives… that’s about it. One saves the life of someone who had no choice of what happens to them, the other is a potentially dangerous drug that saves the life of someone who chose to do something stupid. Yeah it’s true, they are both potentially dangerous, however to add danger to other peoples lives by passing out a drug kit so that some moron who chose to take something that could kill them is an unnecessary risk in my opinion. You have to look at it both ways, these drugs they would be passing out can kill. To pass them out puts children, and other non-users at risk (improperly stowed could cause problems as children get curious about everything). Yes, you have the same risk with a defibrillator, but that risk is more justifiable in my eyes as nobody really makes the decision to have a heart attack (although it can be increased with lifestyle choices it cannot be fully avoided by doing something so simple as… oh say… not injecting a lethal chemical into your body).

    And on another note whoever wrote:

    Women are the source of all sin – just read Genesis.

    If the wife had performed her marital duties properly, her husband wouldn’t have been forced to stray.

    You are a retard and give all Christians a bad name. Women are NOT the source of all sin. Women were first attacked by Satan (who by the way is the source of all sin) because Women were created to display the beauty of God. A job that was once given to Lucifer before he rebelled. Now out of jealousy he first and foremost attacks the beauty given to woman. And as far as who sinned first Adam was standing right next to Eve as she was being tempted, Adam failed to help her not because he was tricked (it is made clear that he was not ever tricked by the serpent) but because he wanted her to fail. He wanted her to become his god. It’s made clear that he knew that Eve taking the fruit would seperate them from God, he wanted her to be his god… and therefore who sinned first? Since the only sin is to worship anything over God Himself.

  125. #125 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2008

    “Let anyone who has weak genetics, weak habits or is sitting ‘on the lower half’ of the gene totem pole die. In that way, we shall continue evolution of the human species in a positive direction. Why slow the process down helping inferior beings?”

    Better yet, let’s forcibly sterilise them – and their relatives who probably share the same genetic weaknesses.

    Got anything in your family tree you want to tell us about?

    Also why do you assume that there’s a genetic basis for drug addiction?

  126. #126 Bride of Shrek
    January 28, 2008

    Cody @ #121

    Ian was being sarcastic, you know, a grammatical tool to point out the absurdity of the situation regarding HPV vaccination objectors. I think you need to lay off the coffee dude.

  127. #127 Kseniya
    January 28, 2008

    [a defibrillator] saves the life of someone who had no choice of what happens to them

    Right! Yes! Heart disease in no way correlates with lifestyle!

    Oh, but wait… what about a Len Bias, who did too much coke, who might have been saved by a defribillator? What about someone who spent thirty years eating Big Macs and shunning exercise like it was a diseased wolverine? What about someone who spent thirty years smoking Luckies and slamming down Old Mr. Thompson’s six nights a week?

    Good GOD but you people “let ‘em all die” people are blindly shallow.

    Oh, by the way, the Genesis comment was sarcasm.

  128. #128 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2008

    “How in the world can you compare a defibrillator to an opioid antidote? That makes no sense at all. I don’t know, maybe it makes sense to you, but I see no relevance or similarities in the two. They both can save lives… that’s about it. One saves the life of someone who had no choice of what happens to them, the other is a potentially dangerous drug that saves the life of someone who chose to do something stupid.”

    So you don’t think that smoking, drinking, over-eating and not exercising are stupid? Because some combination of those things cause the vast majority of heart attacks.

    Oh and why is Narcan “potentially dangerous”? There are several medical professionals on this thread with direct experience with Narcan and they say it isn’t.

    “You are a retard and give all Christians a bad name.”

    No I’m an atheist who obviously isn’t as good at sarcasm as I thought.

  129. #129 Brownian, OM
    January 28, 2008

    You are a retard and give all Christians a bad name.

    After reading the ‘theology’in the rest of your paragraph, I think you’re doing a fine job all by yourself.

  130. #130 Bride of Shrek
    January 28, 2008

    No Ian, your sarcasm is working just fine. The problem is the interpretation by dim-witted little christian 21 year olds with silly little blogs full of inane ramblings about how attractive they are to the helpless christian women in his world and being “seduced by someones eyes” in church.

  131. #131 dahan
    January 28, 2008

    I wish this feckin’ rapture they talk about would hurry up and happen so we could get rid of their sorry hateful asses. Perhaps then we could actually accomplish something in regards to helping people.

  132. #132 Bride Of Shrek
    January 28, 2008

    Kseniya,

    As a non-American I’ll have to assume “slamming down Old Mr Thompson’s” is the drinking of a beverage.

    The alternate interpretation being you lot are even more kinky than I thought!!!

  133. #133 GDwarf
    January 28, 2008

    So, if I’m understanding this right, the argument being made against this stuff by the posters who are against it is this:

    Everyone who does drugs deserves do die.

    Thank you for that glowing example of human kindness.

    Seriously, why the hell would they deserve to die? They’ve harmed none but themselves. In addition, I’d argue that not acting to save a life (that you knew you could save) is just as bad as killing that person directly in many cases, this being one of them, since you are actively withholding something that could save their lives.

    So presumably everyone against this is also all for going out and killing drug addicts.

    This boggles my mind.

  134. #134 windy
    January 28, 2008

    Women were first attacked by Satan (who by the way is the source of all sin) because Women were created to display the beauty of God. A job that was once given to Lucifer before he rebelled. Now out of jealousy he first and foremost attacks the beauty given to woman.

    CATFIGHT!!!

  135. #135 Uber
    January 28, 2008

    You are a retard and give all Christians a bad name. Women are NOT the source of all sin. Women were first attacked by Satan (who by the way is the source of all sin) because Women were created to display the beauty of God. A job that was once given to Lucifer before he rebelled. Now out of jealousy he first and foremost attacks the beauty given to woman. And as far as who sinned first Adam was standing right next to Eve as she was being tempted, Adam failed to help her not because he was tricked (it is made clear that he was not ever tricked by the serpent) but because he wanted her to fail. He wanted her to become his god. It’s made clear that he knew that Eve taking the fruit would seperate them from God, he wanted her to be his god… and therefore who sinned first? Since the only sin is to worship anything over God Himself.

    Is this satire? I honestly can’t tell.

    pass them out puts children, and other non-users at risk

    How is that goofus?

  136. #136 Bride of Shrek
    January 28, 2008

    Sadly Uber, its not satire.

    Briefly ( and I mean briefly- I WILL NOT be held responsible for the resulting loss of brain cells)flick over to his website. We’ve got our selves a real live Cristshun here in Atheistland folks! (but apprently one that doesn’t believe in all that pesky love one another and do un to others crap).

  137. #137 tourettist
    January 28, 2008

    “He who saves one life… it is as if he saves an entire universe. He who destroys a life… it is as if he destroys an entire universe” – TALMUD – Sanhedrin 4:5

  138. #138 Tulse
    January 28, 2008

    It’s made clear that he knew that Eve taking the fruit would seperate them from God, he wanted her to be his god

    If I can get Natalie Portman to eat an apple, can she be my god? I’m just askin’…

  139. #139 sean65
    January 28, 2008

    BDS is running rampant in the midst of this hysteria.

    It’s simple, really, the American people will not buy the rescue kit for the addicts, the addicts will have to buy the rescue kit for themselves. Addicts are not entitled to free rescue kits for their illegal activities, but they absolutely have the freedom to go get a prescription for the kit in case of an emergency.

    I think it’s called personal responsibility.

  140. #140 Bride of Shrek
    January 28, 2008

    Sean65,

    What is BDS?

  141. #141 Dwindle
    January 28, 2008

    You people are full of shit. You know damned well when some amatuer kills someone with this stuff, you’re going to be the first person to demand they be punished. Stop the Bu$h is teh dev1l!!! bullshit and use some common sense.

  142. #142 Kseniya
    January 28, 2008

    Bride O’:

    As a non-American I’ll have to assume “slamming down Old Mr Thompson’s” is the drinking of a beverage.

    The alternate interpretation being you lot are even more kinky than I thought!!!

    LoL… At the risk of tarnising my image, “kinky” is not next to my name in the Yearbook. Your first interpretation was on the money, but I confess that the amount of Old Mr. T. that I’ve “slammed down” myself might only fill a few thimbles.

    BTW, I clicked over that that blog you *cough* reviewed. o_O

  143. #143 Dwindle
    January 28, 2008

    Sean65: Have you ever met a heroin addict, so deep into it he is actually overdosing, and think he has (a) $10 to buy it, and (b) the ability to use while unconscious?

  144. #144 andy c
    January 28, 2008

    I read your article over a few times. I must say first that I am not a citizen of the United States of America. I live in Canada. Second, I’m certainly no bush supporter.

    I really don’t think your argument is sound. I think Bertha Madras has done the right thing by denying the distribution of NARCAN to non-medical professionals. To an addict the idea of something that could keep them alive for that one more fix and maybe, just maybe live through what would otherwise have been an overdose would be almost appealing as the fix that kills them. I’m not advocating that addicts should die, but it is a matter of protecting those who have not been trained in the use and distribution of something so coveted by the criminal community. It would be very similar to simply supplying shelters with heroine to help the users to get through withdrawl.”

    I also do not think that it is fair of you to attack Madras personally and put words in her mouth as you do. At the very least you are guilty of twisting the womans words to your own devices. She never said that she advocated drug addicts watching each other die was a better deterrent than offering the cure. She said that she believed that drug addicts would not think about the situation as we do. The would view it as another way to get high again. It would make the problem worse and put people into a high risk situation that they do not need to be in.

    I would advocate public education. Teach people about Narcan. It’s uses. It’s dangers. Advertise that such things are available in rehab clinics with professional staff and professional security.

    These are just off the cuff ideas. Probably not solutions that are entirely possible. But I always find that the more people know about something, the sooner people can start being helped.

    Thanks for your time.
    Andy.

  145. #145 nate
    January 28, 2008

    Gotta agree with andy c 100% on this one. And I live in the US.

  146. #146 Zarquon
    January 28, 2008

    To an addict the idea of something that could keep them alive for that one more fix and maybe, just maybe live through what would otherwise have been an overdose would be almost appealing as the fix that kills them

    Addicts don’t plan on overdosing, so this is just bullshit.

  147. #147 Seth
    January 28, 2008

    I’d say the real question is this: how do we communicate effectively with people who hold fundamentalist beliefs?

    I’d like to just avoid and revile them as much as anyone; but that won’t work, we share a country and a world. I think it’s important to build bridges, perhaps based on a mutual respect for a desire to do good (on some level at least).

    Name calling and vilifying won’t get us anywhere; hate the beliefs, love the believers.

  148. #148 Anonomouse
    January 28, 2008

    “I would say smoking constitutes of deliberately and repeatedly inhaling a toxic substance into ones longues. ”

    I’ll run right down to my pharmists and buy some heroin! Oh wait, It is illegal to manufacture, possess, or sell heroin in the US. Still really bad analogies.

    If Heroin was sold over the counter the same as Cigarettes, and Alcohol, then sure we should sell these $9.95 Parachutes to go with them (and I’ll buy stock in that company).

    Smoking and Drinking are not good metaphors no matter how much you wish otherwise. Nobody takes 2 cigarettes or 2 shots and risks immediate death.

    “Incidentally, boys and girls, most overdoses are accidental, just like most drunk driving accidents, etc.”

    LOL. Wrong. Nobody accidently injects themselves with Heroin.

    “Nope. That’s NOTHING like a cigarette habit, or compulsive consumption of food or alcohol.”

    Eactly! Or have I somehow missed the massive mis-information campaign spread by the Wealthy Corporate Manufacters of Heroin telling us how safe it is to consume their products. Oh wait there’s no such thing. You are just making another stupid analogy.

    “So you take it upon yourself to decide who deserves to live and who gets to die. According to christianity, that choice belongs to god. So if you are a christian, you’re committing the same sin Adam did (right and wrong apple), the very sin that got them kicked out of paradise. ”

    No, I take it upon myself to care if someone lives and dies. You’re the one sitting in judgement. Putting words in my mouth, trying to cram lothesome meaning into what I say. As if I care what Christians think. Although calling me a christian may make it easier to paint me with that hate brush.

    This is all very amusing, most of you are behving exactly like most evangelicals I’ve met. Demonizing people for holding a different view, tying to put words into their mouths, comparing apples to oranges. One side holding their bleeding hearts high, going on and on about the value of “lives” compared to Evangelicals holding up God and wailing and crying about the value of “souls”. I’m sorry you don’t recognize your similariaties.

  149. #149 Anon Ymous
    January 29, 2008

    Anonymouse, every statement you made in that long rant is exactly the same as last time you said it. Moreover, each statement has been thoroughly answered in the posts between your last one and this one.

    Would you care to either address those posts, or else listen in silence, please? It is the height of bad manners to demand a response and then ignore it when you receive it.

    It’s even more rude to then go and make the same demands all over again.

  150. #150 Dahan
    January 29, 2008

    “Nobody takes 2 cigarettes or 2 shots and risks immediate death.”

    Really? You can’t get drunk off a couple shots after a long day working in the sun and kill yourself while driving? My cousin would tell you differently…if he were still alive.

    Asshole.

  151. #151 Graculus
    January 29, 2008

    andy c: How many drug users plan their overdose thinking “it’s going to be a hell of a high?”.

    None.

    Overdoses are accidental.

    Anonymouse: LOL. Wrong. Nobody accidently injects themselves with Heroin.

    No one accidentally drinks and drives, either.

  152. #152 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    “One side holding their bleeding hearts high, going on and on about the value of “lives” compared to Evangelicals holding up God and wailing and crying about the value of “souls”. I’m sorry you don’t recognize your similariaties.”

    Right because it’s not like there’s any more evidence for human life than there is for God.

    As I’ve already pointed out, the refusal to distribute Narcan almost definitely ends up costing US taxpayers millions of dollars every year.

    This doesn’t really affect me directly since I’m an Australian but id does mean that the other American posters here have a valid interest in arguing with you about this.

    Imposing Madras’ (and your) moral opinions on the US government isn’t just immoral it’s stupid and wasteful.

    Tell me how do you feel about allowing high school students to buy condoms.

    Having sex isn’t accidental right? So who cares if some teens ruin their lives or contract AIDS through unprotected sex.

    How about drugs for alcohol poisoning? Should access to them be restricted? How about if the drinkers are underage? I mean, they’re breaking the law too just like the heroin addicts.

    Let me guess, those are totally invalid analogies too. Now can you explain to us WHY they’re invalid other than the fact that you dislike heroin addicts more than, say, alcoholics.

  153. #153 Crudely Wrott
    January 29, 2008

    Not enough time to read all of the foregoing so this may be repetitive. Sorry.

    Dr. Bertha Madras said, “First of all, I don’t agree with giving an opioid antidote to non-medical professionals. That’s No. 1,” she says. “I just don’t think that’s good public health policy.”

    First of all she doesn’t agree with giving an opioid antidote to those who are most familiar with self-dosing. I wonder how her knowledge stacks up in terms of self-dosing and the useful street smarts that are attendant.

    She then just doesn’t think that the application of front line knowledge can contribute to public health awareness.

    Follow along as we all say together, “I just don’t think.”

    Sorry to be quote mining (and I am) but, geesh folks! cut me some slack.

    She does not agree so she does not think so her minority gets to rule? I say no. Resistance is necessary! Call a wise one cool and call a fool a fool.

  154. #154 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    Do I even need to point out that the genetics argument being advanced here is horseshit?

    There are dozens of genes involved in alcohol metabolism, for example.

    There are multiple genes for different versions of alcohol dehydrogenases. People who lack these enzymes get sick when they drink alcohol. That makes them far less likely to become alcoholics.

    A genetic advantage, right?

    Except in pre-industrial Europe, for example, public water supplies were downright dangerous and everyone who could afford to do so drank wine or beer – not to get drunk but for the antimicrobial effect. Back then, an inability to tolerate alcohol was downright dangerous.

  155. #155 Rey Fox
    January 29, 2008

    Psst, Cody. That bit about women and sin was sarcasm. Granted, Christians say horrible things like that all the time seriously, so I can understand how you might have gotten the wrong impression if you didn’t know us. Oh, and that Adam and Eve story? It’s just a story.

    No, I take it upon myself to care if someone lives and dies.

    Unless they engage in behaviors of which you don’t approve, of course.

  156. #156 Count Pointercount
    January 29, 2008

    They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let ‘em crash.

  157. #157 Freddy the Pig
    January 29, 2008

    Is this Madras a “Pro-Lifer” – just wondering – I assume she is a hypochristian.

    To those who make a huge distinction about heroin being illegal while alchohol and tobacco are not, this is just because the latter have been around longer. If either one was introduced today, they would be as illegal as heroin.

    As for harm to others – the town of Barriere (sp?) in British Columbia was burned down along with several square miles of forest due to a carelessly discarded cigarret.

    Also, should we deny assistance to someone who has highsided their motorcycle while exceeding the speed limit?

  158. #158 Kseniya
    January 29, 2008

    Anonomouse: Answerr me this:

    How do you swallow your own spit without choking to death?

    You’d have us believe that, over the past half-century, there has been no widely-disseminated public information regarding the health risks of cigarettes, excessive alcohol consumption, high-fat and high-colesterol diets, and sedentary lifestyles? And that everyone who has had health issues resulting from years of smoking is simply a victim of the tobacco industry’s disingenuous public relations campaigns, and had NO access whatsover to the mountains of information warning them against the cigarette habit? You think drinking to excess is perfectly safe and is in no way similar to opiate use simply because alcohol is legal?

    LOL. Wrong. Nobody accidently injects themselves with Heroin.

    I’ll spare you the embarrassment of elaborating on what others have already written about the mind-numbingly stupidity of this remark.

  159. #159 Michael X
    January 29, 2008

    Andy c. You make two assumptive errors in your post that when corrected lead to the view being advocated here. One is that you assume the mind set of a group of people, that like Madras, you apparently have no understanding of, and thus paint them as lowly, thoughtless criminals who expect overdoses and use this as a way around them. In order to do so you must be ignorant of not only what causes people to use drugs, but also the results of programs that allow for drug users to safely use. It also allows them all the continued chance to quit. As someone stated earlier, a dead man can’t turn their life around.
    Two, you assume that in instituting a Narcan program, no information or education will be included. This again, shows ignorance for how such programs work.

    Seth, your heart may be in the right place, but you also make a false assumption. That being that every atheist is out to evangelize or convert fundamentalists. In fact I know of very few atheists that hold to such a view. Pointing out that someones ideas are vile may not change someone who’s mind is basically made up, but it does have the effect of influencing others who are not so rigid that such beliefs are asinine and not worth ones time. There are many, many other reasons why taking the soft-touch approach is not always called for and sometimes detrimental. But I won’t go into an exhaustive list here. I disagree that bridges must be build with people who hold presumptions to absolute knowledge and morality. Instead, their ideas must be condemned and their social influence marginalized.

    Count Pointercount, you are a feckless twit. I’d encourage you to look up such words so as to understand how you are viewed by humanity, but I suspect that that may be too much exertion of thought for you.

  160. #160 Randy!
    January 29, 2008

    Just thought I’d point out in this ridiculously long thread that the HPV vaccine is good for BOYS and girls. I mean, in a biology blog, we should all know that, right?

    I read an article when the HPV vaccines came out that said that the drug companies had to market it for girls because the fundies would complain about it for boys as a purely sexually transmitted disease that doesn’t really harm the infected boys.

    As for me, my daughter was the first one at her doctor’s office to get the vaccine.

  161. #161 LifeguardUK
    January 29, 2008

    Policies like this are why I’m so incredibly glad I don’t live in Dumbfuckistan. Because the idea that anyone could reject a policy that would save lives – no matter the ‘quality’ they judge it to be – is morally abhorrent.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these happy-clappy lets all live in harmony type people. I live in the real world and am all too aware that some people drain far more than they contribute to society, leaving the hard working tax payers with the strain. But that’s life – suck it up and get on with it, because there but for the grace of a decent education, supportive family and common sense go I.

    And then there’s the entire fallacy that drug users are obviously non-contributors. There are thousands of functional addicts around the world, not to mention those who try it recreationally. You can just as easily OD upon your first try as you can your 50th. Drugs, whether legal or illegal, are ALWAYS a risk, and always something people are going to experiment with. Making this as safe as possible holds with the same morality as condoms, the pill, hell the safety equipment I strap on every time I go skiing! If I’m going to risk my life and health I’m going to risk them with or without these things.

    “Ya think maybe this miscreant objects to lifeguards down at the swimming pool? My guess is yes…but only in certain parts of town…”

    “Besides, the Republicans want to empower private swimmers to rescue each other and lifeguards just get in the way of that.”

    Ok this idea is just plain scary – I don’t even want to imagine the chaos having private swimmers trying to carry out lifeguarding duties would cause! Not only would I be out of a job to help fund my university education, but thousands of people would be, whilst possibly actually saved from drowning, most likely paralysed from the rescue itself.

    As for the idea of ‘anyone who’s ‘drowning’ deserves what they get’? Whilst I may hold some sympathy with this thought after a long and busy shift of watching people do incredibly stupid things likely to cause personal injury, I challenge any human being to stand and watch someone drown and not try to act – it’s heart wrenching enough to watch when you’re doing something to save them. Believe me, I’ve watched it start to happen. Those images will stay with me for the rest of my life. I don’t want to contemplate what the outcome would have been without vital pool rescue equipment.

  162. #162 Donald Way
    January 29, 2008

    A lot of the comments here seem to say that this is a Republican policy, and imply that electing Democrats is the way out.

    If only that were the case.

    What these candidates are saying now matters very little to me. I remember when even George W. B*sh promised to allow the states to make policy on medical marijuana (a promise that was promptly broken).

    Remember that Bill Clinton was the biggest drug warrior up until that point, overseeing a drug war that saw a million-and-a-half Americans arrested every year and hundreds of thousands sent to prison, all for non-violent drug offenses.

    Democrats still feature within their ranks people like Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein, both amongst the most rabid drug warriors found in Washington.

    Since some have decided to bring politics into this, let me just suggest to you that the only candidate who has consistently called the war on drugs the atrocity it really is is Ron Paul. Seeing this as a constitutional matter is exactly right, as it was our failure to follow the Constitution in the first place that allowed this tragedy to begin.

  163. #163 Nurse Ingrid
    January 29, 2008

    I’m only going to say this once more, people.

    Narcan. Is. Not. Fatal.

    Neither, by the way, are defibrillators. They are designed to take an instant reading of the person’s heart rhythm, and they only administer a shock if the rhythm is abnormal (AKA “fibrillation”). Five year olds have used them correctly and safely.

    As for the commenters who are only too happy for addicts to die, do any of you understand the concept of “public health”? That maybe it’s not good for us as a society if people die prematurely and needlessly? What about the families (including children) of the ones who died? Are you OK with punishing them too?

    If that doesn’t sway you, what about the bottom line? How much do we spend on the drug war? On incarcerating addicts? On emergency room visits, ambulance rides, hospitalizations, autopsies? There is some evidence that harm reduction programs are more effective than punitive or abstinence based approaches, at preventing HIV and hepatitis and MRSA as well as treating addiction. Just wishing that “they would all die” doesn’t really strike me as an effective public health strategy.

  164. #164 Nomad
    January 29, 2008

    This is an attitude I’ve frequently seen from the right. I’m convinced that they WANT people to suffer from the negative consequence. If given the option to either make the behavior completely safe and risk free, or continue to leave it dangerous, they’ll pick dangerous every time. They WANT pregnancy and STDs as consequences for sexual activity. It’s not about trying to help people, it’s about pushing their puritanical views on them.

    This is a new twist on it though, I’ve never seen this blatant an example. It helps me prove my point though.

    The name of the post is entirely right. These people are monsters. They choose to harm instead of help people in order to gain power over them.

  165. #165 Graculus
    January 29, 2008

    let me just suggest to you that the only candidate who has consistently called the war on drugs the atrocity it really is is Ron Paul.

    Too bad that he is bugfuck insane.

  166. #166 tikiloungelizard
    January 29, 2008

    I may have missed it in the comments, but has anyone pointed out the FACT that there are five times as many opioid deaths from legal opioids such as Vicodin and OxyContin as there are from heroin? Twice as many as from cocaine? Narcan doesn’t just work to help save the lives of heroin users, it also works to save the lives of people who overdose on legal drugs, whether they were used appropriately or not. Death from legal drugs is one of the top killers of young people, and this policy is just plain wrong-headed.

  167. #167 John C. Randolph
    January 29, 2008

    Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein, both amongst the most rabid drug warriors found in Washington.

    My take on Feinstein, is that she will never ever vote for a reduction of government power, because she hopes to wield that power someday. She’ll occasionally wring her hands about the way the other party abuses that power, but destroy the power? No way!

    -jcr

  168. #168 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    No, I take it upon myself to care if someone lives and dies.

    Yes, and you like it a lot when someone dies because they did something you don’t approve of. Are you also “pro-life”? If you are, then you claim to hold “living” as the perfect default position, no matter what, and ought to approve of any procedures that prolong life regardless of the circumstances.

    The general “conservative” position is that people ought to die if they do bad things. And then they go and call atheists immoral.

  169. #169 Matt Penfold
    January 29, 2008

    “I’ll run right down to my pharmists and buy some heroin! Oh wait, It is illegal to manufacture, possess, or sell heroin in the US. Still really bad analogies.”

    I hope you are kidding. Heroin is just an old tradename for diamorphine. Diamorphine is a very useful narcotic for the relief of pain, being better tolerated in large doses that morphine and more effective at pain relief in end stage cancer than morphine. If it really is illegal to prescribe diamorphine in the US then your law makers are even more fucked up than I thought.

  170. #170 truth machine
    January 29, 2008

    Let’s eliminate stomach pumps to discourage suicide. And no snake venom kits, to discourage those snake handling cults.

    But while we’re at it, we should also eliminate the “Republican” choice on the ballot, for obvious reasons.

  171. #171 truth machine
    January 29, 2008

    A lot of the comments here seem to say that this is a Republican policy

    Yes, the policy that PZ wrote about is a Republican policy, moron.

    Democrats still feature within their ranks people like Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein, both amongst the most rabid drug warriors found in Washington.

    That’s nice, but they aren’t supporters of this policy, cretin.

    Since some have decided to bring politics into this
    The thread is about a statement of policy by the Bush administration, peabrain.

    let me just suggest to you that the only candidate who has consistently called the war on drugs the atrocity it really is is Ron Paul

    Gee, wow, really? Too bad he doesn’t believe in evolution or separation of church and state, just to mention a couple of milder reasons among hundreds for why no sane person should support him.

  172. #172 truth machine
    January 29, 2008

    I’m ok if a Drug Addict dies of an overdose.
    Thats one less addict.

    I’m ok if you die of any cause; that’s one less sociopath.

  173. #173 Bride of Shrek
    January 29, 2008

    Truth Machine,

    If, for any reason you chose not to accept ERV’s previous advances of love, may I be the first to offer myself to you. With every verbal skewering of the stupid and vapid I fall a little bit in love with you.

  174. #174 Scrofulum
    January 29, 2008

    Those comments by Dr Madras (is she a hot chick?) show a blatant non-comprehension of narcan use. As it’s an opioid antidote, it actually stops the hit (as well as incidentally preventing all that dying business) so addicts are not keen on using it unless they have no choice. If they had it available, there’s nothing to suggest it would be used as anything other than an emergency treatment, and it beats the tragedy of a paramedic arriving two minutes too late.

    I have often been on the receiving end of abuse because I’ve wasted someone’s high after administering narcan. This usually ends with me giving them a graphic description of their smurf-like pallor prior to my arrival in an ambulance.

  175. #175 Pol Lambert
    January 29, 2008

    Anonomouse,

    I said: “So IF you are a christian,”. It seems you’re not and you don’t base yourself on christian moral. However, you seem to be basing your moral on the law: it’s OK if it’s legal. This kinda leaves your moral choices to the whims of the current legislative power. Nice way to live…

  176. #176 Tulse
    January 29, 2008

    I’ll run right down to my pharmists and buy some heroin!

    That’s pretty much what Rush Limbaugh did…

  177. #177 SharonC
    January 29, 2008

    Dear PZ, can you leave out the fat stereotypes next time, please? There are enough people already who assume all kinds of things based on fat people (including the erroneous link with McDonalds) without you reinforcing the stereotypes. Thanks.

  178. #178 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    “Narcan doesn’t just work to help save the lives of heroin users, it also works to save the lives of people who overdose on legal drugs, whether they were used appropriately or not. Death from legal drugs is one of the top killers of young people, and this policy is just plain wrong-headed.”

    Tikilonguelizard, much the same thought occurred to me, but how many of the deaths associated with overdoses of legal drugs would be stopped by giving addicts access to Narcan?

    For the people here who want addicts to die, the difference between users of illegal drugs and people using legal drugs in an illegal way is probably too fine a distinction to matter.

    I don’t expect anyone here to argue against Narcan being available to terminal cancer sufferers or people with severe intractable pain as a precaution against accidental overdoses or given to recovering burn victims to help them kick their unintentionally acquired opiate addiction.

    But hey I didn’t expect anyone here to say outright they wanted heroin addicts dead either.

  179. #179 Jimbo
    January 29, 2008

    Here’s a solution: Don’t f’ing become an addict = you won’t die of an overdose. Don’t have friends that are addicts = you won’t watch your friend turn blue and die. get an education, get a job, don’t join a gang, you MIGHT turn out ok.
    get a life, you liberal crybaby, treehugger.

  180. #180 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    http://www.anypositivechange.org/NALOXONE/

    Interesting video from one of the organisations distributing Narcan.

  181. #181 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    “get an education, get a job, don’t join a gang, you MIGHT turn out ok.”

    Yeah because people who don’t join gangs never get addicted.

    After Vietnam, there was huge incidence of heroin addiction amongst vets, think it won;t happen again?

    For the non-crazy readers, the vid0oe makes another interesting point.

    The chance of OD increases drastically if users stop shooting up, even for a few days. Hence all the stories about people leaving rehab and ODing almost immediately.

    In other words, the addicts most at risk of overdose are precisely the ones trying to get clean.

  182. #182 Bride of Shrek
    January 29, 2008

    Oh Jimbo

    You are more pathetic than those you condemn. People don’t set out to become addicts. Its not like some fucking goal they have in mind. And for “choosing” to not have friends that are addicts like you shittily espouse well, I didn’t choose too,my sister happened to be one. You suggest I fuck her over and not believe in her? Well, fuck you. you’re wrong. Four years on she’s clean, teaching and a charm of a person. And, I’m not hard pressed to assume, more of a fucking asset to society than you are.

  183. #183 jimbo
    January 29, 2008

    Actually, most of the more organized gangs will not allow you to do drugs. They are in the business of distributing, not consuming and you can get killed by your own if they find out. I was merely pointing out that choosing that lifestyle, more often than not, will lead you to an early demise. Rarely, do you see people successfully leave that lifestyle to go on to greater things.

  184. #184 Morpheus
    January 29, 2008

    I work in a (ghetto) hospital where the drug ODs are dumped on our doorstep…if they’re lucky. Thousands in care are spent on people who, in too many cases, arrived too late.

    The reason we care for these people is a little oath doctors and nurses take (note, I’m neither but support that in principle). If a very safe, inexpensive intervention can save lives earlier, so much the better.

    The addict has another wake-up call and a chance of entering treatment. A small chance, but a chance nonetheless.

    Given what happens around here, I’d advocate putting Narcan boxes on every telephone pole, with instructions clearly posted on the box front. Plus let’s give them away free.

    It’s simple, basic, and doesn’t require much “faith” except in the fact that life has value and saving that life is always a positive thing.

  185. #185 jimbo
    January 29, 2008

    Hey Bride, good for your sister, I’m truly happy for you and her. There are always going to be those “extenuating situations” however, your sister made a choice in the beginning which ultimately led her down her path. I hate to sound like the “cold hearted asshole” that I am, but to me… so what? Why do I care? It’s not my responsibility, nor my government’s to baby and coddle someone who makes the wrong choices in life. I think it’s “Darwinism” at it’s finest to cull out the imperfections. That being said, your sister was lucky to have people like you to care and help her along the way. Do you really care about “smoky” downtown in that abandoned building who just shot up his last $20 and now won’t be taking up a spot in the soup line, won’t be drawing an unemployment check/welfare check/food stamps, or whatever program you and I have to pay for?

  186. #186 True Bob
    January 29, 2008

    Well I guess we won’t be seeing jimbo at the Sanctity of Human Life rally.

  187. #187 MartinM
    January 29, 2008

    I think it’s “Darwinism” at it’s finest to cull out the imperfections

    We’ll add that to the list of things you don’t have a fucking clue about, then.

  188. #188 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    jimbo, you really didn’t just pull out the “what my taxes pay for” card, did you? I’m late to a meeting, but I’m sure someone would be happy to list all of the things you have that my taxes have paid for to make your life better. Schools, police and roads are just the first three that pop to mind. If you don’t like having some of ‘your’ tax money going to help the indigent, try tripping over them in the streets instead. I’m sure you wouldn’t like that either.

  189. #189 MartinM
    January 29, 2008

    If you don’t like having some of ‘your’ tax money going to help the indigent, try tripping over them in the streets instead. I’m sure you wouldn’t like that either.

    Better still, let’s withold ‘our’ tax money from a) drug addicts, and b) the police, and let the addicts take jimbo’s money directly. Cut out the middle man, so to speak.

  190. #190 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    “I was merely pointing out that choosing that lifestyle, more often than not, will lead you to an early demise.”

    In other words it was a total fucking irrelevancy – that or even you realised the utter stupidity of the statement after yu posted it.

  191. #191 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    So what, if anything, is the difference between Jimbo et al and the guys who torch winos and the homeless?

    Besides cowardice, of course.

  192. #192 bluto
    January 29, 2008

    Bertha Madras is a piece of trash trying to prove her loyalty to her neocon owners by being irrational and bloodthirsty.

  193. #193 jimbo
    January 29, 2008

    Carlie and Martin,
    wow, let’s withhold tax money from police officers? Which side are you on? The police serve a purpose in society. Addicts do not, they are parasites. I DO trip over indigents in the streets every time I leave the comfort of my office to get lunch. I have to pretend I don’t hear them when they ask me for a dollar so they can go get high. 3 Days ago, I’m on my way in to work, there’s a guy leaving a “cleveland steamer” on the sidewalk, right there in plain view. I hope he ODs soon. You’re losing the focus here. MOST of them are where they are because they made a choice. I made a different choice. Obviously, so did you two.

  194. #194 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    “Do you really care about “smoky” downtown in that abandoned building who just shot up his last $20 and now won’t be taking up a spot in the soup line, won’t be drawing an unemployment check/welfare check/food stamps, or whatever program you and I have to pay for?”

    Well it beats, as I’ve already pointed out, paying far more to bury them.

    That’s if we ignore the fact that most heroin users actually have jobs and pay taxes.

  195. #195 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    Martha: I’m sure someone would be happy to list all of the things you have that my taxes have paid for to make your life better. Schools, police and roads are just the first three that pop to mind.

    Jimbo: Carlie and Martin, wow, let’s withhold tax money from police officers?

    Generally I true to avoid personal abuse in internet discussions but at this point I feel obliged to point out that you a fucking moron and that if your version of social Darwinism is ever applied you’ll probably be on the one of the first trains to the camps.

  196. #196 Jimbo
    January 29, 2008

    So what, if anything, is the difference between Jimbo et al and the guys who torch winos and the homeless?

    The difference is that I obey the LAW. That thing that keeps SOME of society livable. I can’t wait for the day they legalize torching homeless people though.

  197. #197 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    http://www.idmu.co.uk/hemployment.htm

    “In the USA, Corty et al found 50% of addicts seeking methadone treatment reported full-time employment currently or within the recent past.”

    That’s heroin ADDICTS Jimbo. Most heroin users aren’t addicts.

    As I noted earlier, irregular users are at HIGHER risk of overdosing.

  198. #198 True Bob
    January 29, 2008

    jimbo, don’t you realize what the cops’ purpose is? They don’t prevent crime, they clean up afterward. They might find out who killed you, but they can’t stop it from happening.

    Also realize that not all addicts are begging change from you, and not everybody who begs change is an addict. It’s easy to lump them all together in the “untouchables” caste, but that’s intellectually dishonest, to yourself. You have no factual knowledge regarding a beggar’s intentions nor the personal vices of the respectable looking folks you see.

  199. #199 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    http://www.alcohol-and-drug-guide.com/heroin-use-usa.html

    “Another interesting finding emerges when we look at heroin use by employment status. The first thing to note is that 1.3% of those employed full time and a further 1.2% of those employed part time have used heroin. Remember that these are percentages of subjects in that category. So 3.1% of the unemployed is swamped by the numbers of employed. So what this means is that the unemployed heroin users are outnumbered over 20 to 1 by the employed users.”

  200. #200 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=670

    “As part of a recent study at a discreet NSP service (one of several health services under one roof) in inner-Melbourne, I conducted 150 survey/interviews with a representative sample of clients (identified by long-term NSP workers). More than a quarter of participants had gone on to further education beyond secondary school. Five had post-graduate qualifications. Nearly a third were either private home owners or living in private rental properties. A similar number were in paid employment with one public servant earning about $80,000 p.a. The following is an excerpt from the resume of 44-year-old participant:

    For the past 15 years I have worked … as a rigger and technical linesman. I am also a qualified horticulturalist … I have experience in the building industry – building houses, internal framing, rendering, painting, plastering as well as French polishing and renovating antique furniture.”

  201. #201 Jimbo
    January 29, 2008

    As I noted earlier, irregular users are at HIGHER risk of overdosing.

    Posted by: Ian Gould

    This anecdote is available to most then, presuming they have medical insurance. The article is about putting these kits in the hands of every derelict on the street so they have a safety net next time they shoot up… and all the expense of John Q. Taxpayer. Not a project I care to support.

    True Bob:

    You are right, I was making a generalization. I realize the errors in my statement, but you do get my point? You can surely understand the point of view of someone who has to deal with it on almost a daily basis? Someone who, when they’ve tried to offer help to an “untouchable” either got burned or refused because he wouldn’t just hand over the cash. (I tried to buy the guy lunch). (and it’s happened more than once).

    Cops can’t always be there to prevent every crime, but on a daily basis, I watch illegal substances taken off of the streets.

  202. #202 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    Let’s see the average person knows around 500-1000 people.

    Given that 1.3% heroin use figure, Jimbo, chances are at least one of your friends or relatives has used heroin at some point. (Factor in the other drugs Narcan is used to treat and it’s probably a lot higher than that.)

    Can you pick which one?

  203. #203 True Bob
    January 29, 2008

    I’ve had the same experience, where the beggar wants money, not a full belly. But that isn’t the overall point. You seem happy to provide people a death sentence based on the slightest piece of information about them. I find that reprehensible.

  204. #204 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    “I was merely pointing out that choosing that lifestyle, more often than not, will lead you to an early demise. Rarely, do you see people successfully leave that lifestyle to go on to greater things.”

    I don;t know abotu that, they could go on to be a syndicated conservative talk-radio host – or President of the US.

  205. #205 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    I can’t wait for the day they legalize torching homeless people though.

    Well, thank you for making yourself perfectly clear. Nice to know exactly what kind of sociopath we’re dealing with.

  206. #206 Tulse
    January 29, 2008

    I can’t wait for the day they legalize torching homeless people though.

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a more reprehensible statement on the Internet.

    Jimbo, your basic human decency called — it’s lost and wants you to find it.

  207. #207 Jimbo
    January 29, 2008

    You seem happy to provide people a death sentence based on the slightest piece of information about them.

    Not true, I don’t sentence or judge. This is a personal responsibility/personal choices issue. Other people choosing to poison themselves should not be a burden to me or society. I don’t expect you or society to pay my medical expenses when I get lung cancer because I choose to smoke. If there was a “magic kit” that cost $10 and would save my life, great, but I would not expect you to pay for it because of my poor choices.

  208. #208 Jimbo
    January 29, 2008

    HOLY SHIT, people…. The “Torching of homeless people” comment was cynicism. You people take yourselves too seriously. I didn’t take it personally when the original comment was made, it’s like apples and oranges. Unfortunately, I have to leave this fun thread and go help save the city from another dealer of death so one of your precious little addicts won’t be able to OD tonight.

  209. #209 True Bob
    January 29, 2008

    jimbo, so when you get drunk and wreck, don’t send any emergency vehicles for you. When your carelessness causes your house to catch fire, no fire engines to the jumbo manse.

    And yes, you do judge and claim to be ready to sentence. Above you looked forward to legalized addict torching. Your posts here are very judgemental. How do you know how someone came to be overdosed?

  210. #210 Steve_C
    January 29, 2008

    But he’s such a hero…

    Capturing the dealers is the solution right?

    Getting people off drugs isn’t.

    Genius. He doesn’t give a fuck about the addicts.

  211. #211 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    Let’s see:

    1. For about the tenth time, it makes sense to provide the kits BECAUSE THEY SAVE MORE MONEY THAN THEY COST.

    2. The issue isn’t that the government is being asked to pay for or give out the kits – the issue is that the government is TRYING TO STOP VOLUNTEER ORGANISATIONS FROM DOING SO USING PRIVATE MONEY.

  212. #212 Matt Penfold
    January 29, 2008

    The likes of Jimbo are very odd.

    Of course people make bad decisions, and sometimes those decisions can have pretty bad consequences. Sometimes those consequences can be life threatening. It takes some kind of monster to think that they deserve to die. What kind of society can create such people ?

  213. #213 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    So, jimbo, you don’t have health insurance, and refuse to get it on philosophical grounds, then? Because otherwise if you get lung cancer from smoking, you are absolutely having me pay for your medical expenses. You do not solely pay your own way in society, sorry to tell you.

  214. #214 Graculus
    January 29, 2008

    I don’t know about that, they could go on to be a syndicated conservative talk-radio host – or President of the US.

    Well, everything has it’s downsides.

  215. #215 Kseniya
    January 29, 2008

    The “Torching of homeless people” comment was cynicism.

    Indeed, but I think you mean “sarcasm.”

    Jimbo, your comments thus far have done little to suggest that you couldn’t possibly have meant that seriously. Basically, what you’re saying is that you’d rather save a few dollars per year than save the lives of addicts and drug abusers, many of whom who stand a decent chance of cleaning up and becoming productive members of society.

    So you bust drug dealers? Is that what you’re saying? You’re like a cop? Well, I appreciate your efforts, and I hope you keep yourself safe, but tell me: why the hell should I, or anyone else, pay your salary? Let the drug lords and junkies find their own destinies. I mean, really. Personal responsibility, and all that.

    Speaking of money, check this out: Assuming that 1.3 percent of the population is at risk of an overdose, and that one Narcan kit is distributed per month per addict at $10 per kit, the cost passed down to the average American taxpaying entity (both personal and business) would be $1.95 per year.

    But that’s too great a financial burden for some people to bear, apparently. Draw your own conclusions.

  216. #216 Rey Fox
    January 29, 2008

    “Count Pointercount, you are a feckless twit.”

    That post was a reference to the movie Airplane! actually. The conservative commentator in the movie was talking about an airplane in an emergency situation, and it pretty well represents the views of our guests here.

  217. #217 Kseniya
    January 29, 2008

    1. For about the tenth time, it makes sense to provide the kits BECAUSE THEY SAVE MORE MONEY THAN THEY COST.

    2. The issue isn’t that the government is being asked to pay for or give out the kits – the issue is that the government is TRYING TO STOP VOLUNTEER ORGANISATIONS FROM DOING SO USING PRIVATE MONEY.

    That’s a good point, Ian. :-)

    So, lessee… Government intervention is ok when ________________. [Fill in the blank.]

  218. #218 True Bob
    January 29, 2008

    “Government intervention is ok when ________________. ”

    You’re on dog’s side.

  219. #219 Interrobang
    January 29, 2008

    And all this “personal choice” stuff is completely ignoring the fact — stone cold fact — that a lot of the “choices” we make in life aren’t really choices at all; they’re constrained oftentimes by decisions other people make, over which we have no control, by societal systems or institutions, by accidents of birth, whatever. Five gets you ten most of these “choice” types are white, able-bodied men. From where they’re sitting — secure in their normativity — everything looks like a choice, because they have more choices than the rest of us.

    A lot of the people I’ve met who have been seriously disadvantaged could have solved all their problems at the outset by making better choices — like, say, choosing a better set of parents, or a different skin tone, or a different sex, or a different location in which to be born…

    Then again, what do I know? I live in a country where Tylenol with codeine in it is available in just about every drugstore, nonprescription, and I am a high-functioning addict myself, with a metabolic dependence on caffeine. (Thank goodness that one’s easy to manage.)

  220. #220 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    “Government intervention is ok when ________________. ”

    it persecutes the people you don’t like.

  221. #221 Kseniya
    January 29, 2008

    Interrobang (#216) wrote: a lot of the “choices” we make in life aren’t really choices at all

    Right on, brother.

    Recently I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who was claiming that alcoholism was ALL about “choice” – that no alcoholic who ever lived had ever taken a drink without the knowledge that it could be addictive. I asked him what “choice” he’d made about about becoming an alcoholic (or not) when he made the decision to have his first beer when he was 15 years old…

    Five gets you ten most of these “choice” types are white, able-bodied men.

    Ah! So you know this friend of mine? XD

  222. #222 Matt Penfold
    January 29, 2008

    Given that there is now ample evidence that addiction has a genetic element would anyone want to take a bet on those who go on about choice are also likely to deny things such evolution, climate change and second hand smoke causing cancer ?

  223. #223 Kseniya
    January 29, 2008

    Matt, you pathetic, tree-hugging, bed-wetting liberal crybaby! I deny that burying my head in the sand impairs my ability to accurately percieve and comprehend the world around me.

  224. #224 Nashphil
    January 29, 2008

    Oh my God! You whiny liberals. You are so full of crap.
    IF you read the article you would see that it is an opioid antidote!!

    Heres a Great Idea, lets give heron addicts an opiate.
    Shut up! and use the common sense your momma gave you. What will an addict do with an opiate??
    Maybe use it??
    Then when they overdose later they won’t have an antidote because they used it to get high!

    And You would still blame Bush for the stupid asshole addicts death.
    What a bunch of hypocritical morons.
    Get an article writer that can think.

  225. #225 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2008

    We are ruled by monsters because we vote for monsters. Not only on November Tuesdays but every damn day because (as a friend taught me back in 1980) in this country we vote with our money. There are more trollassholes like Jimbo out there voting every day than there are human beings. It’s so difficult to avoid cynical misanthropic pessimism. Somebody help me out here.

  226. #226 Sven DiMilo
    January 29, 2008

    *sigh* Nashphil, that didn’t help. Buy a dictionary. Look up “antidote,” “agonist,” and “competitive antagonist” and then return to the shelter of your bridge, you dick.

  227. #227 Matt Penfold
    January 29, 2008

    Nashphil,

    You really are totally devoid of a clue. Has your village missed you yet ?

    Narcan is NOT an opiate. Do you get that ? In cannot make a person high. In fact it does the opposition. Give it to someone who on an opiate high and they will come crashing down very quickly.

    Narcan stand for NARcotic ANtagonist. Sven told you you look up what an antagonist is. I will save you the bother. It is a drug that counteracts the effects of someother drug or substance. In this it counteracts the actions of opiates.

    May I suggest you actually try to learn about something before pontificating on it ? If you find that hard then may I suggest that commenting on blog posts you know nothing about is something you refrain from doing, and that you ask your mental health team to reassess you as it would seem your current medication is no longer working.

  228. #228 American Bisoneater
    January 29, 2008

    I certainly advocate the use of recreational drugs for expanding your mind and waging the war against the demons of mental illnesses. But yes, more people will jump out of airplanes with a parachute than when there are no parachutes available. I disagree with the author and most of the other commentators here.

  229. #229 GDwarf
    January 29, 2008

    Nashphil, I think you misunderstand what an “opiate antidote” is.

    It would, in fact, be something that is an antidote to opiates. It is not itself an opiate.

    It is also, apparently, impossible to get high off of.

    Jimbo: Even if I agreed that we shouldn’t help people who get into trouble because of their choices (which I don’t, after all, it’s your choice to not hire a full security team to watch your house 24/7, if you don’t presumably we shouldn’t help you if your place gets robbed.) this isn’t a case of the government having to foot the bill to pay for addicts lives (which would be justifiable anyways.) rather, it’s the government banning the use of something that could save a life because they don’t want those lives saved.

  230. #230 Kseniya
    January 29, 2008

    But yes, more people will jump out of airplanes with a parachute than when there are no parachutes available. I disagree with the author and most of the other commentators here.

    The parachute analogy is weak. Nobody participates in recreational skydiving without a parachute. EVER. People engage in (reckless) recreational drug use ALL THE TIME. The lack of parachutes has not deterred them. EVER.

    Your point? I mean, aside from the implicit “Let ‘em all die?” Do you really think that increasing the availability of Narcan will create more junkies, that it will entice those too fearful to risk heroin overdose to try the drug for the first time? That may be a point worth investigating.

  231. #231 Ray C.
    January 29, 2008

    Remember, boys and girls:

    * Ten bucks to save an addict’s life: BAD.
    * Unlimited funds to blow shit up in Iraq: GOOD.

  232. #232 Ric
    January 29, 2008

    The funny thing to me is that Kseniya and Nashphil’s comments are so hilariously similar, even though Kseniya is satirizing conservative thought. I originally thought Nashphil’s comments were satire. I guess that, just like creationism, satire about conservativism is hard to recognize, since true conservativise thought is so ridiculous.

  233. #233 Michael X
    January 29, 2008

    “AIRPLANE?!?!” Isn’t that movie from like, the stone age, before people had shoes? Well, then I take back the last part. And I’m glad, Count Pointercount is too good a handle to waste on morons.

  234. #234 roberta robinson
    January 29, 2008

    Hummm, sounds like alot of people on hear have fallen for the black propaganda perpetuated in movies, news media, etc (quite subtly)that people’s lives are deserving or not deserving based on costs on society. this is the population is too high rhertoric spewed by the ruling elites who find we are too numerous to control easily. think about the reason pharoah killed many baby hebrew boys.

    well we have no right to decide who has a right to live or die or who should live or die. if you have the means to save someone from dying whether heart attack drowning (without putting yourself at too great a risk)or by not giving warnings to someone about dangers your aware of and they aren’t you can become bloodguilty. you have become god by deciding who should be saved or not. if you can’t swim and you see someone drowning and can’t save them that is another matter.

    also the ruling elites are always looking for ways to take control and responsiblity out of our hands because they consider us cattle ( cattle do not get to decide what drugs to take, what treatments to get or whether to even save a sick cow or not)they consider us a resource (human resources or human capital sound familiar?) to be managed as such adn we are not allowed to make decisions with regard to our lives in anyway, I mean it is pretty bad when they want to even control a persons thermostate electroncially deciding whether you can be warm or cold.

    one way they do this is by micro steps, first they exaggerate a problem, get the reaction they want then they offer the solution they wanted all along. if they consider us property you can see the implications of that considering we the only property who can usually think for ourselves and say no, and have free will.which for them is a problem. so how to deal with it? propaganda, they have professionals help them come up with ways to get us to allow them to enslave us without our knowledge via spin, half truths, propaganda mind control techniques etc.

    they the elites (bankers, corporations leaders politicians)are the ones perpetuating the idea we are too many and a person should be contributing to society (making them a profit, the elites I mean) and costing minimally to them. so they don’t like the ones who cost them any money (not that it does it costs us but still pinches their pockets) they demonize them as deserving of dying or being put to death directly or indirectly. this is nothing knew the chinese do that the russians do that. they put to death excess populations who are hard to control and there is not enough jobs and need state aid. here in america if they tried this their would be a revolution, so they have to do things more subtly. such as making euthanisa easier and more acceptable.

    another way they do that is demonize medical treatments herbs etc as harmful and get public opinion to want these things banned, but in reality these drugs like asprain, narfan epi pens, defiberlators, etc save lives and they can’t have that. it allows individuals to decide the best option for their health, by saying people are incompentent to handle drugs or machines they are actually trying to take control out of our hands our own life, so they can decide who lives and dies. they are taking control away from us little by little so that we will not have any choices on what jobs we do, where we live how many hours we work, how much we get paid, when we can leave an area, when we can get medical treatment etc. henry kissinger calls americas useful idiots, I heard some call people cannon fodder, this is their attitude towards us, so we shouldn’t be having that attitude towards each other.

    RRRRRR

  235. #235 Rey Fox
    January 29, 2008

    “Isn’t that movie from like, the stone age, before people had shoes? ”

    Actually, it’s from that long-bygone era where people could wear shoes on airplanes.

    Count was actually me in disguise, and yes, I am sometimes too subtle for my own good.

  236. #236 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    I have to admit that I have Airplane! almost memorized, and I didn’t catch it either. But then again, it’s the beginning of the semester. I’m not quite on top of my game.

  237. #237 az
    January 29, 2008

    Jimbo, if PEOPLE WHO AREN’T YOU want to pay for Narcan so that PEOPLE WHO AREN’T YOU can administer it to PEOPLE WHO AREN’T YOU, what is your objection? That it isn’t sufficient for you to stand by while someone dies, everyone else must be compelled to stand by as well?

  238. #238 Eric Paulsen
    January 29, 2008

    So what, if anything, is the difference between Jimbo et al and the guys who torch winos and the homeless?

    Besides cowardice, of course. – Posted by: Ian Gould

    No Ian, I read Jimbos post where he whined about his taxes paying for things he doesn’t like… Jimbo is too CHEAP to pay $3.00 a gallon to burn a bum.

  239. #239 frank
    January 29, 2008

    let the smack heads die i say….

  240. #240 zevgoldman
    January 29, 2008

    Marcus;
    Your idea of a victimless crime is nonsense. Whatever drug you choose to get high on is the end product of a criminal enterprise that is supported through violence, intimidation, corruption and death.
    If you wish to ruin your body and brain your care falls to the society around you. Therefore, you are nothing but a thief because you have stolen from that society for your personal, petty selfish gratification.
    If you want to flat ass kill yourself, at least the only thing that society might be responsible for is putting you in the ground. But, by destroying your body in any manner that requires others to pay the bills for your care is far from victimless.
    Having said that, I will further state that I think Dr. Madres’ position is as insightful as Dr.Elders, from the Clinton administration, who though children should be taught how to engage in autoeroticism. Both positions are thoughtless and border on insanity.

  241. #241 MAJeff
    January 29, 2008

    Whatever drug you choose to get high on is the end product of a criminal enterprise that is supported through violence, intimidation, corruption and death.

    Sounds kind of like petroleum.

  242. #242 zevgoldman
    January 29, 2008

    “Sounds kind of like petroleum.” Not very sound reasoning but clever. It might get a chuckle in a stand up routine.
    None the less, petroleum has improved the standard of living in every nation where petroleum derivatives are used.
    If you think we need to reduce our dependence on petroleum, I agree. The use of clean coal technology and nuclear power would do much to reduce our petroleum needs. France has shown the way in the use of nuclear power. We would do well to follow the example France has developed.

  243. #243 Ian Gould
    January 29, 2008

    “Your idea of a victimless crime is nonsense. Whatever drug you choose to get high on is the end product of a criminal enterprise that is supported through violence, intimidation, corruption and death.”

    You saw the bit where ODs from legal drugs are five times higher than from heroin, right?

    “If you wish to ruin your body and brain your care falls to the society around you. Therefore, you are nothing but a thief because you have stolen from that society for your personal, petty selfish gratification.
    If you want to flat ass kill yourself, at least the only thing that society might be responsible for is putting you in the ground. But, by destroying your body in any manner that requires others to pay the bills for your care is far from victimless.”

    You saw the bit where most heroin users actually have jobs right?

    And the bit where ODs are much more common amongst addicts who are trying to quit?

    Oh and the bit I quoted – I assume you apply the same “The State owns your body and mind” reasoning to sky-diving, smoking, drinking and overeating.

  244. #244 Kseniya
    January 29, 2008

    Other issues aside for the moment, “victimless” is a relative term here. Zev may be drawing excessively hard and dark lines around this, but he isn’t wrong.

    That’s a key mistake most addicts make: they delude themselves into believing that what they’re doing doesn’t affect anyone but themselves. That’s wrong in many ways, on many levels.

    Relative to, say, murder, rape or larceny, abusing OxyContin is victimless. But only relatively.

  245. #245 recreational drug user
    January 29, 2008

    None the less, petroleum has improved the standard of living in every nation where petroleum derivatives are used.

    Beer, cannabis, LSD, psilocybin and MDMA have improved my standard of living. I have never tried heroin, but if I ever do, I won’t continue unless it improves my standard of living. I have a job; that’s how I buy drugs. I pay my taxes. I am doing nothing wrong, and I will never feel guilty for not playing your games, square.

  246. #246 LesserOFTwoWeevils
    January 29, 2008

    ZevGoldman:

    Oh good god, Zev! All Jocylyn Elders ever tried to say was that Masturbation was NORMAL, and children shouldn’t be taught that they’d go to hell for it! But please, if you think otherwise, I welcome you to post a citation.

    That you so exaggerate that old issue makes it pretty clear how far I can trust anything you say about anything else – About as far as I can toss a VW Microbus.

  247. #247 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    I’m pretty sure children don’t need to be taught autoeroticism; they figure it out on their own. And yeah, way to misrepresent Elders’ position on it.

  248. #248 thalarctos
    January 29, 2008

    I’m pretty sure children don’t need to be taught autoeroticism; they figure it out on their own.

    I don’t know, Carlie–after all, if Matteo Colombo hadn’t published his “discovery” of the clitoris in De Re Anatomica in 1559, who knows how long it would have taken women to figure it out?

  249. #249 Rey Fox
    January 29, 2008

    Yes, think of all the kittens that have gone to early kitten graves due to Dr. Elders’ reckless statements.

    *shakes head slowly, sadly*

  250. #250 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    thalarctos, it’s a good thing I wasn’t taking a drink right when I read that, or I’d need a new monitor.

  251. #251 Grruel
    January 29, 2008

    I don’t support a lot of what our current white house staff has done/is doing, however, in this case I can’t support the comments made on this board.

    Narcan is a drug. It is an amazing drug. I have dispensed it several times in my career as a paid and volunteer EMT/Firefighter and it it 100% true that it saves lives.

    With that being said, it is a drug! In this nation we have a system for the dispensation of drugs, most are controlled substances which require prescriptions aka review by medical professionals!

    I have no experience with drug-overdose programs (and my thanks goes out to those of you who do), but this isn’t a snazzy little pill you hand out to people to pop when they think they might be overdosing. For one, the drug must be intravenously injected, secondly it has contraindications for use and finally even when used properly it can have major side effects. For example, the only bone I’ve ever broken is my nose owing to a heroin addict in NYC whose life I just saved. He awoke in a murderous rage, broke my nose and then almost killed me with an oxygen canister before the cops took him down.

    Lets take some of the analogies you guys are throwing around:

    1) Epi-Pen, this is the most realistic analogy made, except that you still need a PRESCRIPTION to have an epi-pen and it works b/c it is a precisely metered out dose of epinephrine that can be administered intramuscularly(just slam it into your thigh) as opposed to intravenously

    2) Defibrillator, or as the ones used by the public are called AUTOMATIC external deibrillators (AEDs). Defibs have been around for a LONG time. The reason they are in airports and such now is b/c someone finally developed a unit that is idiot proof. If you ever have to use an AED, you listen to a voice tell you where to put the pads, then you stand back and press a button, it does everything else.

    3) I saw one about cancer treatment… the more appropriate analogy would be to roll up a mobile radiation treatment trailer to a ghetto.. throw the keys to some kid and tell him to help people in the neighborhood out.

    And on and on….

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m with you in spirit, but poster #55 is right. If you don’t do your research and think out a logical opinion you end up looking as bad as the people we hate. We have the advantage of science, reason and logic being on our side.. use it!

  252. #252 Grammar RWA
    January 29, 2008

    Grruel, you obviously did not read the comments here, or you would know that the Narcan they are talking about is a nasal spray.

  253. #253 zevgoldman
    January 29, 2008

    Lesser;
    Clinton Says Ouster Was Not for Politics
    Published: December 12, 1994
    President Clinton denied today that he had forced Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders to resign in response to pressure from Republicans, saying, “If I wanted to do it for political reasons, it would have been done before the election, not afterward.”

    Speaking to reporters at the Summit of the Americas in Miami, Mr. Clinton said he had demanded Dr. Elders’s resignation on Friday because “at some point, the President is entitled to have people in certain positions who agree with him, and who don’t depart from the policy positions and personal convictions that a President has.”

    The President asked for the Surgeon General’s resignation after learning that at a recent conference on AIDS, she had described masturbation as “part of something that perhaps should be taught” in schools as a way of curbing the spread of the virus.
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01E2DC1E39F931A25751C1A962958260
    I hope it’s not a 15 window micro-bus you are going to launch.
    I will acknowledge an error in my paraphrase of her statement.

  254. #254 Carlie
    January 29, 2008

    She didn’t say that children should be taught how to masturbate, she said that one prong of an anti-AIDS educational curriculum could be telling people that masturbation is a risk-free way of taking care of those biological concerns. WHICH IT IS. Well, except for the kittens who die, and the blindness, and the hairy palms.

  255. #255 Ed Darrell
    January 29, 2008

    You don’t have to be a compassionate humanist to figure this out. You need some common sense and the ability to count money.

    So Bush and Cheney Choir miss it on both counts, eh?

  256. #256 zevgoldman
    January 29, 2008

    Lesser;
    Surgeon General Is Undone By Her Outspokenness
    By DOUGLAS JEHL
    Published: December 11, 1994
    Jocelyn Elders has been nothing if not controversial. So it was no surprise that the abrupt end to her tenure as Surgeon General on Friday generated controversy itself.

    The White House said President Clinton had seen no alternative but to dismiss Dr. Elders after learning about her latest surprising remark — this one, a suggestion that she could support teaching schoolchildren to masturbate because that might limit the spread of AIDS.

    That statement was not the most inflammatory made by the Surgeon General since she took office 15 months ago and began to outrage conservatives. But even as she called for legalizing drugs and distributing contraceptives in public schools, her long service to Mr. Clinton that began in Arkansas appeared to render her untouchable — until Nov. 8.
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9801E0DE1E39F932A25751C1A962958260

  257. #257 Brian X
    January 29, 2008

    Matt Penfold:

    Yes, diacetylmorphine is a Schedule I drug in the United States — it has been deemed by the Powers That Be to have no medical use and is illegal in all forms, from the worst quality black tar up to sterile, precisely metered dosages for use in cancer wards.

    Jimbo, Anonomouse, other assorted douchebags:

    You’re pretty much the epitome of the “they deserve to die, fuck ‘em” crowd that PZ is lambasting in this article to begin with. When I was a kid, no more than about ten, we were on our way into a Friendly’s one day and there was a guy whose buddy was lying on the parking lot next to him in the middle of an OD. I don’t remember most of the details (apart from the fact that the victim had bad acne), but a shot of Narcan nasal spray or autoinjector would have saved one young child from a very confusing experience. In fact, my dad having been a cop, he probably would have had some on him at the time if it had been available.

    Firemancarl:

    You I have no problem with. You know your training, and you’re willing to listen when someone tells you something different.

  258. #258 zevgoldman
    January 29, 2008

    Carlie;
    If you want to take the time to search; Joclyn Elders New York Times, you will find accounts in which she is reported to have advocated the teaching of Cuffing Your Kielbasa, at least for boys. Maybe tickling your Rose Bud for girls. But, advocate the teaching of the practice in school is exactly what she reportedly did.

  259. #259 Grruel
    January 29, 2008

    Grammar (#249), fair enough, that makes my point about needles moot, but it still doesn’t address the fact that this is a regulated drug with possible detrimental side effects from misuse.

    It is not same as the analogies being listed.

    -G

  260. #260 Matt Penfold
    January 30, 2008

    Aspirin is also a drug. Apart from being used for mild to moderate pain relief it is also useful in the treatment of heart attacks. Research has shown that placing a soluble aspirin under then tongue of someone experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, before the ambulance has even arrived, can have significantly reduce the severity of that heart attack. For this reason many doctors now recommend that anyone over the age of 40 carry a soluble aspirin tablet with them.

    However this is a flaw in this, and that is aspirin is a drug. Thus those who think drugs should only be administered by trained medical personal will have to oppose this life saving treatment.

  261. #261 Carlie
    January 30, 2008

    All right, zevgoldman, you seem to be extremely obsessed about what Elders said about masturbation. Why? How is that at all relevant to the topic at hand (boom), which is whether keeping people from dying of drug overdoses is moral? Going back, I see you used it at first as a throwaway comparison as being thoughtless and bordering on insanity. So addressing that specifically, no, acknowledging that masturbation exists and is a good outlet apart from sexual activity with another person is not bordering on insanity, nor thoughtless.

    Back on topic, there are a lot of non-controlled substances that have significant potential for harm. They have already been mentioned, and some, like tobacco and alcohol, have few to no benefits that offset their dangers. Narcan as a nasal spray is extremely heavy on the benefit side (prevention of death) and, as far as I’ve seen, very few dangers. So why not make it available and be happy about it?

  262. #262 Scrofulum
    January 30, 2008

    I’ve met many addicts, some of whom have been addicted from early teenage years and are now in their 30′s, still suffering from immature decisions they made two decades previously. Seems a bit mean to abandon and judge them on that basis. I also know of addicts who have OD’d on purpose because of the drain they feel they’re placing on the family, friends and society. Not exactly your stereotypical image of the drug-addled criminal underclass mindset, is it?

    Narcan can be given IV, nasally AND intramuscularly (useful if you want to prevent a relapse as the effects of heroin can outlast the effects of IV narcan). You don’t need to be particulalry well-trained to give it. If it goes into the arse you might hit the sciatic nerve if you’re unlucky, but it beats the alternative IMHO.

    Seems cost effective to provide a cheap nasal spray to me.

  263. #263 MartinM
    January 30, 2008

    For one, the drug must be intravenously injected

    If you don’t do your research and think out a logical opinion you end up looking as bad as the people we hate.

    Heh.

    …it still doesn’t address the fact that this is a regulated drug with possible detrimental side effects from misuse.

    I’ll see your ‘possible detrimental side effects’ and raise you 2600 lives saved already.

  264. #264 Carlie
    January 30, 2008

    It amazes me that there are people who agree with actively preventing saving lives. It crosses the line from apathetically standing by while someone dies to holding back someone else who is trying to help them. It’s somewhat the trolley car dilemma, and in most cases people thing the ethical boundary is clearly at the point of action. Those who think that it’s wrong to allow people access to an antidote are throwing the switch.I honestly don’t understand people like that.

  265. #265 daedalus2u
    January 30, 2008

    As Nurse Ingrid pointed out:

    Just wishing that “they would all die” doesn’t really strike me as an effective public health strategy.

    No, it isn’t.

    But it is the only public health strategy that the neocons have. Just like the only economic policy is “tax cuts for the rich”. The only energy policy is “invade oil producing countries”. The only war fighting strategy is “bring it on”. The only global warming policy is “support God’s plan for the Apocalypse”.

  266. #266 E. Baylis
    January 30, 2008

    Ah, the old “Regulated drugs should only be used by healthcare professionals” argument. Ye gods.

    If that were true I’d be at a severe risk of heart attack or stroke due to the aspirin which I take to thin my blood (and it’s a different dose from that sold over the counter). Well done douchebags.

  267. #267 T_U_T
    January 30, 2008

    the line is largely an illusion, because someone who hates you enough to be able to watch you while you die without helping you, would most likely kill you at the first best opportunity as well.

  268. #268 Kseniya
    January 30, 2008

    “Regulated drugs should only be used by healthcare professionals.”

    I’m sure Dr. Limbaugh would agree.

  269. #269 zevgoldman
    January 30, 2008

    Mocking anyone who is or has been addicted to drugs, regardless of their political position, is below contempt.

  270. #270 Rayzilla
    January 30, 2008

    Mocking anyone who is or has been addicted to drugs, regardless of their political position, is below contempt.

    i agree. Rush Limbaugh was a grade A jerk for all the mocking he did of drug users.

  271. #271 zevgoldman
    January 30, 2008

    Carlie:
    I used Dr.Elders as example of how far out of touch political, medical appointees from the past were: they were no more so than political, medical appointees are today. They have all seemed to have forgotten about people and embraced politics.
    If you notice, after my initial post I was responding to posts which questioned my integrity with regards to Dr. Elders.

  272. #272 zevgoldman
    January 30, 2008

    Rayzilla;
    Do you have some examples?

  273. #273 Rayzilla
    January 30, 2008

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1159

    You want to see my Marion Barry impersonation? Do you want to see that? All right. I’ll do the Marion Barry impersonation.

    You put some stuff out here on the table and you go [pretends to snort cocaine]. “You tell Jesse to stay out of my town. This is my town, and Jesse–you tell him to stay out. [More snorting.] And I said no, no, no, no, I don’t smoke it no more. Tired of ending up on the floor.” [More snorting.]

  274. #274 zevgoldman
    January 30, 2008

    Rayzilla;
    Please provide the source.

  275. #275 Kseniya
    January 30, 2008

    Mocking anyone who is or has been addicted to drugs, regardless of their political position, is below contempt.

    Surely you mean “beneath contempt.”

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, Zev – get over yourself. You have no idea who you’re dealing with here. I have a lot of compassion for Limbaugh and his struggles. The point of irony is that HE had no compassion for the struggles of addicts not named “Rush”.

    Howeer, I do admit that he’s an easy target – perhaps too easy.

    Anyway, the point is not to expose ol’ Rush – that’s old news, and he did a fine job of exposing himself. So to speak. The point is that all the folks who are saying that prescription drugs should only be “used” my medical professionals are claiming something that is easily refuted. The point is that someone like Limbaugh, who is not a medical professional, had no trouble whatsoever using (and abusing) fully legal, if controlled, substances.

    Prescription drugs should be PRESECRIBED by qualified prescribers such as MD’s. Prescription drugs should be DISPENSED by qualified dispensers such as pharmacists. But the claim here is that the prescription drugs should only be “used” (and, to be fair, these folks probably mean “administered”) is obviously wrong. If we’re talking about setting up a saline drip and pushing a medication, then yeah. No argument from me. But the whole point of setting up a nasal-spray delivery system is to make it unnecessary to ensure that a medical professional is on hand to administer this potentially life-saving drug.

    Isn’t that painfully obvious?

    This is about saving lives, isn’t it? Or is it about following protocols that doesn’t even apply to the kinds of situations that are under consideration?

  276. #276 Kseniya
    January 30, 2008

    PS – Zev, are you really unaware of Limbaugh’s long-standing smug and discompassionate public stance toward drug addicts??? You question this? Holy crumbling shortcake!

    Well, this knowledge shortfall can be address. But why don’t you do your own homework, instead of insisting that Ray do it for you?

  277. #277 Tulse
    January 30, 2008

    Or just read the link that Rayzilla gave in #269.

  278. #278 Rayzilla
    January 30, 2008

    the source was right there, the link just before the quote.

  279. #279 Carlie
    January 30, 2008

    zev,
    I know; I see how the tangent got started. But it does have a point, which is that the Elders comparison is really the opposite of what you have here. This is a statement that goes for politics and against helping people; with Elders, she was for helping people and got run over by politics.

  280. #280 Ian Gould
    January 30, 2008

    More from Rush:

    “I want to let you read along with me a quote from Jerry Colangelo about substance abuse, and I think you’ll find that he’s very much right…”I know every expert in the world will disagree with me, but I don’t buy into the disease part of it. The first time you reach for a substance you are making a choice. Every time you go back, you are making a personal choice. I feel very strongly about that.”…

    What he’s saying is that if there’s a line of cocaine here, I have to make the choice to go down and sniff it….”

    The use of the first person in that second paragraph reads differently now, doesn’t it?

  281. #281 Kseniya
    January 30, 2008

    Gah… I shouldn’t try to post anything substantial when I’m in a hurry. Comment #271 needed proof-reading. I hope the meaning was clear enough. Embarrassing, though, for someone (me) who claims to know how to string more than two words together.

  282. #282 zevgoldman
    January 30, 2008

    Kseniya;
    I’m not insisting about anything. I asked a question about a supposed quote so that I could verify it.
    The reason I asked is that for many years I have heard all of the claims about Limbaugh and believed them even though I had never listened to him. I simply accepted what Daily Kos and Media Matters had to say. Finally I decided to find out for myself what the man had to say. I was surprised at what I heard.

  283. #283 Kseniya
    January 30, 2008

    Zev: I hear you. Limbaugh has been widely demonized by the left, for pretty good reason, but he’s not all bad and not all wrong. (Just mostly.) I’d rather hang out with him than with Coulter. Hey, he’s an addict, I can get with that. LOL.

    He’s said a great number of contemptible and outrageous things, and of course his opponents highlight his worst moments (does that surprise you?) but my real peeve with Rush is not over any single stance he’s taken, nor even his overall ideological bent, but rather with the significant contribution he’s made to polarizing and poisoning American political discourse and to the pathologizing of liberalism over the past 15 (?) years. The number (and nature) of whatever zingers he’s shot out over the airwaves over the years is less relevant than his overall influence. The zingers, however, make pretty good signposts.

  284. #284 WestCoastMedic
    January 31, 2008

    Grruel (and other medical and non-medical professionals):

    I know others have said it, including myself, but I’ll say it again: Narcan can be administered by almost any route you care to use. Intravenous, intramuscular, intranasal mist, subcutaneous, down an endotracheal tube… Christ, I bet you could make a suppository and it would work just fine.

    Second off: It is a competitively binding mu-receptor antagonist with no physiological action of its’ own. That is to say, all it does is block the receptors that opiates work on, and keep them blocked so that the effects of the opiate wear off (in rather sudden and dramatic fashion). If you don’t have opiates in your system, it does nothing.

    Let me say this clearly: In a patient with an opiate overdose there is no contraindication to narcan administration.

    Now, I’ll qualify that by saying it can be dangerous for you, because people get angry when their high is gone. It can also be cruel if you’re reversing the opiates that the chronic pain patient uses daily. People go into withdrawls. They feel bad. They sneeze and puke and spit and cough and generally seem to be pretty miserable. I don’t think any folks want to get shot up with it more than once.

    Bottom line: Yes, it is a prescription drug. Lots of prescription drugs that are way, way, way more dangerous are prescribed to folks every day. Narcan basically has no side-effects and can do no direct harm. Millions of people out there are running around with nitro tabs, insulin, prescription narcotics, and tricyclic antidepressants, just to name a few. I’ve personally seen more people screwed up from these legal prescription drugs than I have from heroin. And I work in an area where heroin is big.

    The arguments that it can’t be self- or buddy-administered by street drug users are invalid (if you can use Afrin or Nasonex or whatever allergy nasal spray, you could administer Narcan). The arguments that it’s a prescription drug, so it’s in some magical class where it could never ever be handed out, are invalid (both in terms of legally — obviously, because pilot programs exist — and medically, because as I said above so many more dangerous drugs are given out for people to self-administer). The arguments that it could hurt people are bunk (it can’t).

    What are we left with? The meat of the whole ugly debate on what we really think of drug abusers, and how to deal with them. Enough’s been said on that.

    (Aside to firemancarl: Right on, basically. I may well have been cranky coming off a long shift when I wrote that first post. I don’t know that the junkies will use it, but it’s worth a shot.)

  285. #285 Kseniya
    January 31, 2008

    What are we left with? The meat of the whole ugly debate on what we really think of drug abusers, and how to deal with them.

    Good post there, WestCoastMedic. Thanks for clearing that up.

  286. #286 Annie
    February 5, 2008

    Very late to the convo, but wanted to reflect on a couple of things.

    First – the policy of denying narcan isn’t the first or even most egregious act of with-holding treatment and care by the Bush Administration. Sending service members into repeated and prolonged combat assignments literally wears them out until they die – thus “saving” the costs of life long health care and the costs of supporting them in societal reintegration. If they do arrive home alive, there is systematic and programmatic denial of diagnosis and treatment for TBI and PTSD/acute symptoms of mental illness.

    The earlier comment thread argument of denying care didn’t go far enough, IMO. It could have also included the systematic dismantling of the public health system, the CDC – total failure of pandemic flu preparation and response, the FDA – now totally in shambles, the Consumer Product Safety Commission – suspended operations leaving all products suspect, etc.

    But the one thing that hasn’t been directly discussed here, although tangentially referenced is the toll these policies take on the people who provide direct care: the nurses and physicians. They are the public’s face of care received and care denied. They are the ones who carry out the social contract. And increasingly, they are denied the tools and resources needed. Increasingly, non-nurses and non-physicians dictate medical and nursing practice.

    I can’t begin to fully share with you the soul sickening experience of turning someone away from needed care. Of discharging someone to the street. Of denying care, such as an optimal treatment, prolonged support or a viable choice so that the person can engage in making feasible health choices. Of knowing that someone suffering a mental health crisis will not get ANY appropriate care – and that is the norm, not the exception. (Over one half of ALL inpatient psychiatric care is delivered in prisons. We criminalize the untreated mentally ill – that’s a real piece of inhumanity, if ever there was one.)

    Most of this is very hidden from the public’s view, and it is intentional, programmatic and systematic.

    I wrote a blog post last year about happening on a youth who was experiencing a heroin OD. It was typical and one-of-a-kind. Except for a medic, no one ever asked even her name (she wasn’t awake and alert during the time I cared for her), and no one even thought to inquire about contacting someone for her. She was a real life, walking, talking non-person to almost everyone. Who, being treated like that, would see any hope, would feel any connection, and would ever have any support and resources, in breaking an addiction?

    Where is the humanity? And why is the inhuman-ness allowed to continue? Oh yeah – return on investment for shareholders. Feel the love.

  287. #287 Doug L
    February 5, 2008

    Hmm…the Christian morality and compassion. Maybe the Romans were on to something.

  288. #288 wileywitch
    September 3, 2008

    Hi all.

    How can you have a War on Drugs*TM without deaths from drugs? There has to be a consequence in order to justify the consequence of breaking a law regulating personal behavior that does not, of itself, harm anyone else.

    The state must always be portrayed as a beneficent governing body faced by hordes of drug-users and ____________, and _____________…(fill in the blank) who threaten honest, decent, hard-working people, and cost them money. The fact that no individual or type of individual could ever possibly cost anybody as much as the state and its Wars on Nouns is beside the point.

    Sometimes Big Brother has to let a person die to teach him a lesson. It’s like Killing the Village to Save It*TM.It’s all semantic, really. People don’t count.

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