Quick Hits – October 23, 2017

No more Nalaxone!

So, after some serious budget cuts, Kane County is spending $100,000 for 2,000 additional does of Nalxone, a drug used to counteract the effects of opioid overdoses. That kind of cash could’ve saved the Public Defenders office from being pushed to the brink of extinction.

Nalaxone

To be fair, this money is coming out of the riverboat grant fund, but that simply means the County spent that 100 grand somewhere else, because that’s the way the budget works. So it’s still our money. And if it comes down to it, I’d rather see those tax dollars go toward something like chemotherapy for Kane County’s indigent citizens, and here’s why.

1. Addiction is a choice and not a disease

Are some people more prone to addiction that others? Yep! Can an addiction become so powerful that it takes over your life? Yep! But make no mistake, taking that first OxyContin or shooting up for the first time is a choice. Given my fabulous family history, I won’t take any painkiller more powerful than extra-strength Ibuprofen.

2. Taking street opioids is a form of Russian roulette

Addicts overdose on prescription opioids despite the fact they know the dosage. With street drugs, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.

Have y’all heard of “gray death?” It’s a combination of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil (an elephant tranquilizer) and U-47700, a synthetic opioid. And it’s causing overdose deaths all across the eastern U.S.

Forget Russian roulette, taking that shit is the equivalent of writing a suicide note and, with some notable exceptions, you generally can’t save people from themselves.

3. If those overdosers were primarily black…

They’d be increasing the criminal consequences for doing heroin, not trying to save addicts, as a former law enforcement officer just said to me. And that’s what really frosts my cookies. Apparently, since Caucasian kids are dying from doing opioids, we’ll give them a break.

Ya gotta love white privilege!

I may be socially liberal, but I’m no fan of this kind of nanny state-ism. Perhaps the policy should be you get one dose of Nalaxone, but after that, you’re on your own.

 

“It wasn’t me!”

In the words of that great philosopher George Thorogood. I do not recall ever saying it would be the Cubs and Yankees in the World Series.

 

How to win friends and influence people

My Facebook friend and fellow runner, Debbie Mossburg, ran the recent Naperville half-marathon with her service dog Mina for the third year in a row. You see, some folks who suffer from PTSD – and especially our veterans – find peace and solace in service animals.

Mina

Why, you might remember the Quick Hits story on the service pig the Batavia City council exempted from their no farm animals ordinance.

Debbie registers Mina in honor of a cancer victim or a supporter of the cause. So, as they’ve done for the past two years, the race organizers announced that Mina completed the race for three straight years.

But when Debbie went up to get her participation medal, the same medal Mina received in 2015 and 2016, this is the conversation that transpired between Mossburg and race director Craig Bixler as he refused to give Mina her medal:

Debbie: She’s run every year with me, she is my service dog for PTSD

Craig: It’s a dog!

Debbie: She’s my service dog!

Craig: Yeah! So! You need a dog! No!

Personally, I love it when our canine friends participate in road races. I regularly run with my dog, the animal gets a huge kick out of running with such a large “pack” and the dogs are much more polite than some of the human runners.

Trust me, this never would’ve happened if George Pradel were still the mayor of Naperville! George would’ve passed out those awards himself!

Way to go Craig! It ain’t easy making me look good by comparison!

 

A political promise kept!

My hat’s off to 9th District Kane County Board member T. R. Smith for keeping a promise! Early on, he said he’d serve three terms and then give someone else a shot, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

TR Smith

Good for you T. R!

 

Elgin knows how to throw a party!

A capacity crowd of 16,000 enjoyed last Saturday’s Nightmare on Chicago Street – Elgin’s annual Halloween street festival. And according to EPD Chief, Jeff Swoboda, there wasn’t a single unnecessary incident either!

Way to go Elgin!

 

Coming up!

1. The real story behind the St. Charles father who murdered his two daughters and a local attorney’s suicide.

2. Who pickup truck fire bomber Dominic Castelvecchi really is according to former Geneva High School classmates.

3. Kane County prosecutor Alex Bederka complains about the blog.

4. A scandal involving Geneva Police officers having sex in the station while on duty. Oh! And in squad cars too!

8 thoughts on “Quick Hits – October 23, 2017

  1. keep telling yourself Jeff that addiction is a choice. You know, the first step is acceptance of something that you are powerless over. Obviously you haven’t reached that step yet.

    • I’m not telling myself anything – I’m telling the truth. No one takes one drink and becomes an alcoholic. It occurs over time.

      And taking that first drink or Oxycontin IS A CHOICE. And continuing to take it up the the point you can no longer control the addiction is a choice. Once it gets to that point, then it’s no longer a choice.

      I don’t care what the level of pain is, I will NOT take opioids, which I have been offered for various injuries. That is a choice.

      And the AMA once labeled homosexuality a “disease.”

  2. Meagan,

    First, beyond kim chi, I’m not addicted to anything. Second, with the exception of myself, every male in my family – on both sides – has been or is an alcoholic, so I certainly have some experience.

    Third, I noted in the piece that an addiction can become so powerful, a person has no control over it. Most alcoholics start drinking reasonably, move to abusing alcohol, and when they become addicted, that’s when they have to turn to a higher power.

    But it was their choice to get to that point. It’s NOT a disease.

  3. wow keep on telling yourself that. I’m sure the moms at Hearts of Hope, every treatment center in the country and Judge Jim Doyle would be happy to tell you differently. If drugs and alcohol are a choice why don’t people “choose” not to do it anymore? Obviously the choice isn’t theirs. Jeff even the AMA lists alcoholism as a disease, but I guess they are wrong too.

  4. Jeff, I don’t know how serious you are (some people have fun making outrageous comments), but your argument on with-holding Naloxone is based on economics instead of compassion. You’d rather that $100,000 be spent elsewhere.

    Let’s look at the money.

    Consider that the FDA pegs the value of a human life at around $7.9 million dollars.

    Treatment for opioid addiction has about a 50% success rate. So, we’re looking at $4,700 for a year of Methadone treatment and $2000 for the Naloxone to save the life initially. Yes, there would be an emergency room visit bill and an ambulance bill, and a court bill. Maybe this cycle has to repeat. A rough ballpark would cost $20,000 per person in intervention costs.

    Now, there are 2 million people in our country who abuse painkillers and a little over 52,000 people die each year in our country from an opioid overdose.

    If we treated all 2 million painkiller abusers, that would cost $20,000 X 2,000,000 people = $40 Billion dollars. Ignoring all the social benefits of 1,000,000 less addicts we would also save 26,000 lives. 26,000 * $7,900,000 = $205 Billion in human life.

    That is $10 in savings for every $1 spent. Some of that spending comes from the county, other spending is from the State, municipality, the non-profits (like the hospital), and the private citizen’s family. None of this investment can start if the guy dies due to no Naloxone. Granted, the actual savings are more nuanced than this (for example, the average age of the addict plays into this). But for a community, saving lives with a $2,000 Naloxone shot is far cheaper than losing people.

    • Todd,

      While well-reasoned, your argument is flawed. That human life value is for legal purposes. I’m not advocating letting addicts simply die, but considering their cost to the public (crime, rehab, ect..) sometimes we might want to let natural selection take its course.

      Minimally, I’m advocating that addicts should have to pay the full freight – first responders and the medication – for being resuscitated.

      Maximally, I’m arguing that the money would be better spent elsewhere. The County has limited resources and I’d rather see those tax dollars go to folks who want to live, not those who are trying to kill themselves.

      I don’t care what anyone else says, because I’ve seen it firsthand so many times. Addiction is NOT a disease. The road to addiction IS a choice. My brothers did NOT become alcoholics after their first drink. It took years for the addiction to become so powerful they can’t stop drinking

      The other thing you left out is, it generally takes opioid addicts 4 rehab tries before it succeeds.

      And remember, no one was a greater advocate of the proposed Campton Hills rehab center than me. If an addict wants help, I’m all for providing that help at almost any cost. But if they OD more than once, you can’t save everyone from themselves.

  5. Jeff, saying addiction is a choice is like saying depression or schizophrenia is a choice. Some people absolutely DO become addicted on first use of a substance, although quiting at that point would be easier than it will be later. I get that you are looking at this through a very personal filter, and 30 something years ago I was saying the same thing. Addiction is a neurological outcome of substance use. There is no choice involved for an addict once the right receptor sites are formed. I know you’re a reasonable guy who seems to in joy a little research. Take some time to talk to an addiction specialist or two- remarkable things are being discovered about the brain every day.

    • Steve, First of all, like Todd, thank you for using your real name and for a truly cogent response. And given the response to that particular story, I’ll probably need to go a little further down the road.

      But let me be clear that it’s more than just my personal experience – though I’d love for anyone to medically explain why I’m the only male on either side of my family who isn’t an alcoholic. I had one bad early experience and I simply stopped drinking until much later in life.

      I think the answer has much more to do with my choices. A bigger box, years of therapy to undo some damage, and a capacity to stay true to myself, so I never let drinking become the answer.

      Due to my former radio show, I struck up a friendship with Johann Hari, the author of “Chasing the Scream,” which I highly recommend. His explanation of addiction is the best and most accurate I’ve ever heard. If we box ourselves in, we look for an internal way out – drugs, alcohol, sex etc… But if we allow ourselves to expand, we don’t fall prey to addiction.

      So when I say it’s a choice, I don’t simply mean someone chose to take that first Oxycontin – I also mean they chose a life that primed them for addiction. What’s that line about living lives of quiet desperation?

      And please! I’m not talking about massively economically disadvantaged folks who were born into an untenable situation. That kind of addiction is their only means of escape, which makes it an entirely different dynamic.

      When you said “once the right receptors” are formed, you were dead on. I’ve seen it in so many alcoholics above and beyond my family. It starts off with social drinking, then it moves to abuse, and if left unchecked, it goes into addiction. But that path is a choice. Please read my posts on the Rak trial. The decedent, Jeffrey Rak, followed that exact pattern.

      It’s funny you mention schizophrenia, because I worked at a social service agency that worked with schizophrenics from 1985 to 1990. And through dealing with so many of our “members,” I realized it seemed as if their brains were rebelling against their choices. It was almost as if they were having an internalized spiritual experience.

      But what that agency didn’t want getting out is, all sorts of our members would suddenly “recover” and no longer need medication. Two of them were very good friends of mine and they actually came back to work for the agency. And no one could figure out how they were “cured.”

      I think it was because they came back in line with themselves. PLEASE don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they chose schizophrenia, and that’s certainly not the case for all mental illness, but I think their choices lead to the disease, and when they made the appropriate corrections – with outside help – they miraculously “recovered.”

      People frequently underestimate the amount of research I actually do, though this blog doesn’t pay any bills. I do stand by what I wrote.

      Jeff

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