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Overdose Awareness

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. It’s not something that the government appears to be talking about much today. No, this is something that is being discussed around the world in health and drug policy reform circles (and in the music industry).

Accidental overdoses have quadrupled since 1990, and more than 26,000 Americans die every year.

Prohibition has done absolutely nothing to address this problem, and, in fact, has been a significant contributor to these deaths. Almost all accidental overdoses for heroin, for example, are directly attributable to the lack of certainty of purity/dosage of the drug, which stems from the government letting criminals supervise heroin’s manufacture and distribution.

Other accidental overdoses are a result of lack of fact-based education. Just say no doesn’t help people know. Knowledge saves lives. Propaganda kills.

Even without stopping the destruction of prohibition outright, there are things that can be done now. As Jason Flom (president of Lava Records and former CEO of Atlantic Records, Virgin Records and the Capitol Music Group) writes in the New York Post:

The solutions are no mystery, and two stand out as no-brainers.

The first is expanding access to naloxone — a cheap, non-narcotic, generic drug proven to reverse the effects of opiate overdose and restore breathing. If we can make it easier to get, we’ll prevent thousands of deaths each year.

The other is passing “911 Good Samaritan” laws. New York last month became the fourth state to allow people to call 911 when witnessing an overdose without fear of prosecution.

We can’t forget the lives that have been lost, nor allow this catastrophe to continue. I’m calling on radio stations to help spread the word on International Overdose Awareness Day by playing music by bands that have lost a member to an overdose, like Sublime, Blind Melon, Hole, Alice in Chains, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Ramones. Music by legends like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. I hope radio stations will mention Overdose Awareness Day and give out the Web site drugpolicy.org/overdose so listeners can learn more about how to reduce overdose deaths.

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14 comments to Overdose Awareness

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    No Amy Winehouse songs though. Much to the disappointment of the Know Nothing prohibitionists she didn’t have any trace of illegal drugs in her system. Still, I’d wager we haven’t heard the last of how illegal drugs caused her death. Can’t let the facts get in the way of an effective piece of hysterical rhetoric, now can we?

    I’m still curious which legal drug(s) killed her though. My money’s on a benzodiazepine because it has such a cool name! Well that and because it’s so easy to turn fatal when mixed with drinking alcohol of which I understand Ms. Winehouse was particularly fond, and had allegedly quit with her family claiming that the DTs killed her. Benzodiazepines are the (third party) treatment of choice for delirium tremens, with the hair of the dog the first party’s treatment of choice.

    • darkcycle

      Duncan, according to her Father it was the DT’s that caused her death. Alcohol withdrawl, cold turkey. She’s certainly not the first. DT’s kill lots of folks. In jails the DT’s are a prime cause of death. The deaths are labeled as “siezures” or “convusions”, but the reason underlying those is usually alcohol withdrawl, and they won’t do anything about it medically, either. Interestingly, the treatment for Delerium Tremens is Benzo’s.

      • darkcycle

        Duh, I must have not processed the entire second paragraph of you post….I think I’ll take another BT and try again…

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .
          We do know that she had a BAC at the time of death so the family is just not facing reality. Presuming them honest in their claim that there were no “illegal” drugs in her system and that she was in fact attempting to quit the drinking alcohol habit it really isn’t a stretch to think that she had a script for Xanax/Lithium/Valium or another benzo for the DTs and that the anxiolytic* combined with drinking alcohol is what killed her.

          I’m sure that you’re old enough to remember that’s what led to Karen Ann Quinlan’s death after 10 years in a persistent vegetative state. It doesn’t take more than a couple of drinks and a 10 mg Valium to end up brain dead IIRC. On the other hand if she got a handful of oxycodone from a black market vendor Mom & Dad probably wouldn’t see that as an “illegal” drug. Shit, did you know that it’s against the law to use those pill calendar boxes that are so popular among old people with several to scores of prescriptions for this, that and the other thing?

          Hey, I just saw a stoner in a Perry Mason rerun. Lt. Tragg sniffed his cigarette and said, “I thought I smelled tea, did I?” Even better, his name is Buzzy, LOL. That’s my AKA in my FBI file. It was because a cop I didn’t like asked what my friends call me and seeing as how I didn’t believe we were ever going to be friends I said that they called me Buzzy which was on my mind because we were working on a song called “Buzzy Was He”(pronounced Buzzy Wuzzy) at the time. No one ever called me that. Later I found out that it’s an approved device in the official Cop interrogation handbook to trick people into revealing their AKAs. It doesn’t always work though.

          Oh for the love of christ, Buzzy was the culprit.

          The crack about benzo’s having a really cool name was just a sad attempt at humor and I’d most likely delete that line if I could take a mulligan.

          (*Thanks for the new word Anxiolyticaction!)

          http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/drugs-killed-amy-winehouse/story?id=14364250

          quoted from link above:

          But Pittsburg forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht cautions against reaching a conclusion from the family’s statement.

          “The fact that the family said no illicit drugs were found does not mean in and of itself other drugs obtained legally were not found,” Wecht told ABCNews.com. “Most drug deaths are from legally obtained drugs. That’s one caveat I would express in regard to the family’s statement.”

          …and Dr. Wecht is good people too. His testimony in front of PA lawmakers in favor of medicinal cannabis patient protection in August 2010:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTlT0iwxndI
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnltNOsn9-g

  • Anxiolyticaction

    …. have been documented as causing organic brain damage leading to speech disorders such as stuttering and cluttering, aphasia, dysnomia, delusional disorders, severe memory problems, motor coordination damage, and neurological problems …

  • jenna keaton

    i’m so mad at all the books and sayings that say time heals…. i’de like to share my story, i was a teenage mother of a 2yr old, just graduated and was bored, so i moved to fla. to hang with my big sister and live and work.. at a party one night there was a man that kept commenting on my looks and everything i said, later, we had sex. after that night(i didn’t know his name even) he always was around talking to me.. we started going out, emediatly, he had me and my son move into a friend of his, then all the abuse started. if you think your face cant change to make you look totally diffrent your wrong! in front of my son always and as i was down he’de take him and run, YES! i called the police everttime! 1 time though he threw me out of his truck going 45 and kept going…… he had my son! after i recovered from hospital the police were already involved and they did not know where my son or this man was…I HATE SAYING THIS!! but i tried yr after yr to find him with police help. then, 4 in a half yrs later i got a call from police saying a school reported a child being abused, and i went to court and got my son (my love) back. 🙁 he was not himself, no spark in his eyes any more, mad at the world, and hated me!! then i got the reports of what that man did over the yrs to MY son and how my son went to 20 diffrent schools in 4 yrs, i was horrified! but kept it together for my son. it was difficult, he was so mean, he fought in school, this is now when he was 13-14 yrs old. he had his loving side then he had this awful side that i did not know. he started smoking weed, then drinking with friends. yes i caught him and yes he was punished but he would jump out his window, and i would drive around. always came home by my self.. he would come home but there was no reasoning w/ him. i called the police and they came and talked to us and they told him the road he was heading… :(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:( 3 days later, a detective called me and told me my son had…………(i cant say it) i dropped to the floor saying i thought he was in school!! after daysssss i got a report that my son accidently overdosed, well, me being his mother and knowing what we both went threw, then him alone with this man.. i knew he was taking anything he could to not think that happened to him and eventiualy, he took to much and he never woke up…….i will never forgive myself EVER!! and i must say, IF ANYTHING IS WRONG OR ANYBODY IS DOING WRONG PLEASE TELL SOMEONE! it might just save a life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love you danny. 1-11-90/ 8-18-05….R.I.P. mommy.

    • DdC

      Jenna,
      In the late 60’s, early 70’s I tried most of the known drugs of the time. Many could have been deadly. Sometimes just dumb luck more than likely. I was fortunate in having enough friends with knowledge and connections to get quality. Nor did I ever go so far I couldn’t see how to get back. I think we’re all wired differently and some aren’t sucked in as deep. PTSD is most known for returning vets but it deals with all stress disorders. Traumatic experiences have negative consequences on us all. And each of us deal with it in our own capacity. Past experience, environmental conditions and health all are part of dealing with the trauma. When it gets beyond our ability to cope we as survivalists seek whatever we have too to survive. Drugs are the most common and perhaps easiest escape. Thrills and chills and liquid drugs aid others. I find Ganja relieves stress. As a Hospice Home Health Aid I deal with stress and stressful situations more than average. Most aren’t equipped to deal with dying. The church may give a shoulder and if spiritual guidance helps then go for it. Getting assistance is not a weakness. Now for 40 years I’ve smoked Ganja and occasionally some mushrooms in-between patients. For 40 years of drug awareness not one time did I ever try to blame my parents. You can’t take the blame for what isn’t yours to take. You and your son are victims of abuse. The asshole doing this is to blame.
      Be well,
      DdC

      Ganja 4 PTSD & Depression

      Cannabis, the Importance of Forgetting

  • You can’t overdose on marijuana. 🙂

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      An overdose need not include fatality to qualify as an overdose. One most certainly can overdose from taking too much cannabis.

      I do find it interesting just how many people seem to think that the word overdose is a synonym for the word death.

      I came to know about the potentially deadly combination of benzodiazepines and drinking alcohol mentioned above because of the rather well publicized case from the middle 1970s of a woman named Karen Ann Quinlan who did not die from a synergistic overdose of valium and drinking alcohol. She did spend 10 years in a persistent vegetative state until she finally died of pneumonia after 10 years.

      For those of us old enough to recall Ms. Quinlan the Terry Schiavo case was just a rearranged rerun with different actors. The difference being that Ms. Schiavo actually cooperated by dying after being removed from artificial life support. Ms. Quinlan lingered for several years, and after all that arguing about whether it was right to just let her die.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Ann_Quinlan

      • DdC

        Drowning doesn’t always mean death. Heart attacks. The quote most people use is “cannabis has never produced a death by overdose.” I’ve read of several deaths occurring indirectly. One choked while hysterically laughing and drinking milk. More than we know were killed by police, swat and bored rednecks. Many in prison. One when a hundred pound bail of hemp fell on his head.

        “As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth’s final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master. ”
        ~ Commissioner Pravin Lal,
        “U.N. Declaration of Rights”

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        …and for the 27th time in the last 30 days, Duncan does not rise to the bait, although today he does sniff it and gag from the excremental smell.

        Note to self: try to avoid sniffing turds.

  • DdC

    The Churchies are most interested in the before and after, not so much, what’s in-between. The fetus and death bed is their domain. Heroin may reach pain 80 times faster than legal morphine, But what would the kids think. If ole dying auntie. Looks like she’s really happy. If a toke of Ganja took away her aches and pains. She might crack a smile and just ruin the prayer vigil. They all worked so hard on. Not enough to keep her in her own home. Warehousing is more convenient said the Real Estate agent. Oh we can’t let these incantations of witches. Take hold of the masses. LSD and Shrooms, Peyote, Ayahuasca and Ibogaine. Preventing and Curing our AMA Pharma Prophets Profits. With a Free Weed grown in the garden. Jus tain’t natrell. White Powders in Rainbow gelatin caps. Pretty pressed pills with binders and fillers.

    Synthetic Treatments is how our forbearers soothsayed it. These bearded long straggly haired Herbal Mendicant’s Medications aren’t non-renewable. The Monks make the Vino. As their business slows. Idol hands and Alter boys fill the time tasting. Fisherman’s oil replaced by mercury free Hemp Oil’s Omega 3, 6 and 9 EFA’s, in human balance. Nutritional protein like a pound of meat. Without the chemicalized 12 pounds of grain and tons of fresh water. Oil that polishes wood. Stops hinges squeaking the same as OPEC crude we send kids to fight wars for. Fibers without the 90 million pounds of petropesticides used on US cotton. Spontaneous Abortions pretty common among the Bible Belt Op-Res-Q farm land community. What if these Novices happen to drop a big bud. Onto some hot rocks in a bed warmer. They took to their chambers. Then breathed it and found God on their own? Holy underwear! Innocent women and children! We have to protect our phony baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph! I didn’t get a “harrumph” out of that guy! Give the Preacher a harrumph! Harrumph! You watch your ass.

  • […] August 30th, was overdose awareness day. Last year USA Today reported that most of the 26,000 annual overdose deaths in the US were […]

  • […] August 30th, was overdose awareness day. Last year USA Today reported that most of the 26,000 annual overdose deaths in the US were […]