Thursday, November 24, 2011

Taking Chances with Narcotic Painkillers

A recovering addict must avoid taking narcotic painkillers to treat chronic pain (if they wish to stay in recovery). However, what about the non-addict? Better yet, what about a person who is not an addict, but has the potential to become one?

For many recovering addicts, the idea of surgery causes a heightened sense of anxiety.

Aside from the slicing, bleeding and unique set of risks associated with any surgery, addicts have to wonder about the ensuing pain of going under the knife---and debate whether taking prescribed narcotic painkillers will affect their sobriety or bring about a relapse.

Narcotic painkillers serve a very useful purpose. A non-addict can and often should take narcotics like Oxycontin and Vicodin when they are prescribed by a doctor, especially if he or she will endure extreme pain following the procedure. Rather than lying in bed in misery, a person can pop a narcotic painkiller to make life bearable, even if it means sleeping or nursing banana popsicles until they can be semi-functional (and lucid again).
For the recovering addict, though, narcotics are rarely ever a viable option. Treatment centers (e.g. Ridgeview Institute) teach people that narcotics of any kind threaten an addict’s sobriety---and simply being prescribed something for pain is not reason enough to take it.
“Earth people” (as non-addicts are called in recovery circles) have the ability to take narcotics responsibly. After a knee surgery, many (if not most) people can simply take pills to relieve pain, as prescribed, and stop taking them when the medicine is rendered unnecessary. A non-addict will normally complain that the medicine makes them feel loopy or tired, and will stop taking them as soon as possible.

But for a recovering addict, pills like Oxycontin and Valium are the very drugs that threatened to bring them to premature deaths, prison, or suicide. An addict has difficulty comprehending why someone would complain about the buzz they might feel from a painkiller [Isn’t that the point?]. Narcotics can make an addict feel invincible, relaxed, and at peace again. Narcotics---while just another occasional drug for an Earth person to deal with---can get an addict high, and can compromise his or her very sanity and health.
After exhausting all other alternatives, some people in recovery will inevitably have to take a narcotic painkiller. Still, there are ways of managing the consumption to avoid relapse. A sponsor or trusted family member can secure the medicine, and administer it as prescribed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gambling Nun Condemned to Life of Solitary Confinement

Sister Marie Thornton had a serious gambling problem. So serious, she stole nearly $1 million from Iona College to fund her habit, where she served as a trusted financial officer.
A judge spared Sister Suzie (as she is known by the Order of St. Joseph) three years in federal prison after she pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement. The church was not so lenient, though.  If she stays with the convent, Sister Suzie will likely spend the rest of her life in solitary confinement, rarely allowed out of her small Philadelphia dorm room.
According to court records, the church forbids her from leaving the convent to see family or friends or being seen in public whatsoever. She can only leave the convent to go to therapy. She can’t take meals with fellow sisters, nor can she work in the Mother house doing clerical jobs.
“She can’t even go the store and get milk,” a source told the New York Post. “My belief is she will never have contact with people again.” The source said that the order will never allow her to teach again. Thornton holds a doctorate in education and served as an assistant school superintendent for the Archdiocese of Newark. She served in the convent 48 years prior to the criminal conviction.
Thornton should be punished. To be honest, she ought to have gone to jail for several years. Her actions were inexcusable, notwithstanding her inability to control the urge to gamble. She stole from a small college that trusted her, and threw away valuable (and limited) funds that were meant to educate students.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

White Kids Really Like Drugs, Says Study

The nation’s racists were shocked this week to learn that white adolescents are more likely to use drugs or alcohol than their black or Asian counterparts.
The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that about 39% of white teens between the ages of 12 and 17 admitted to using substances in the past year, compared to just 32% of blacks and 24% of Asians. White kids were almost twice more likely to have substance abuse disorders than black participants.
The findings contradict prevailing public perceptions about drug and alcohol users.
Surely, this will put unfair stereotypes about drugs and alcohol to rest in America!
No, but seriously, if you’ve seen any PSAs lately, you’d probably think that drug and alcohol abuse is a much bigger problem for black than white youth. Take for example, this commercial:

Or, how about this one? Exhibit B:

With these findings, perhaps “Above the Influence” should target a new demographic? Maybe there’s a drug problem outside of major urban (and black) areas? Perhaps in rural and predominantly white places, like West Virginia
“There is certainly still a myth out there that black kids are more likely to have problems with drugs than white kids, and this documents as clearly as any study we’re aware of that the rate of…substance-related disorders among African-American youths is significantly lower,” said Dan Blazer of Duke’s Medical Center, a chief author of the study, to Raleigh News & Observer.