For the next few weeks I am going to share some of the common sense ideas that came out of looking into the overdose deaths that are plaguing our Commonwealth.
1) Tax equally every dose of every product licensed for sale. Sell any substance known and essentially abandon the practice of making substances illicit. Regulate the manufacturing and sales process, so that dosages are standardized and product safety is guaranteed. Earmark such monies.
Explanation: The tax does not have to be much to mount up. We Kentuckians (like all Americans) take a lot of drugs. We have not been “protected” by ruling drugs “licit or illicit.” We are protected when the manufacturing process is regulated and clean, and when we know what the impact of a single dose should be.
2) Heeding the earmark, use monies raised to police the process, and to underwrite research, education, and treatment of persons whose use results in addiction, dividing it into four equal pots of money.
Explanation: Police enforcement, alone, hasn’t yielded a solution in nearly 100 years. We have not really begun to research solutions to addiction. Education and Treatment never get enough money—and both have been proven to show results over time.
3) Require manufacturers to continue to run live data collection every five years on risks/benefits of use of their products from actual consumers as a condition for continued licensure as a manufacturer. Include data on overdose risks.
Explanation: Manufacturers have unleashed horror shows on an unsuspecting public. Much of addiction research has to be publicly funded because of the self-righteous lies promulgated by “responsible” manufacturers—characterizing product use as “mis-use.”
4) Require product users to participate in a manufacturer’s confidential user data base or forego use of the medication.
Explanation: Assure manufacturer confidentiality by prison terms and severe prosecution of confidentiality breaches, by and of manufacturers. Make drug manufacturing the risky business for owners that it has been for the rest of us.
5) Require overnight hospital stays to allow observation for overdose (OD) cases. Personal physicians should attempt some form of outreach to persons whose drug overdose resulted in emergency hospitalization: to screen for potential traumatic brain injury and to make them aware of their risks. Lecturing patients simply gets a defensive response.
Explanation: After all, near death is NEAR DEATH. It shouldn’t be treated casually. Making the patient defensive is a sure way to prevent him or her from hearing the truth of the situation, and does not prepare him or her to be aware of subtle changes in awareness.
6) Include neurological consults for all ODs.
Explanation: Why should not overdose cases receive a consult? Any other neurological insult is processed in this manner. Why not overdose?
7) FDA should monitor costs to assure that consumer costs are in line with production costs. Included in cost analysis is the maintenance of a publicly-searchable, but customer-confidential, data base.
Explanation: If nothing else results from this, rest assured that internal research of their products will improve. Thus, an unwritten obligation of the decision to use substances includes an implicit willingness to participate in general research about immediate and long-term drug effects.
8) Penalties should be equally burdensome on any human person who breaks the law. They should be monetary and stiff for any corporate entity that breaks the law.
Explanation: The equivalent of jail for a corporation is for it to have a moratorium on production, or to have an independent manager oversee its management with no ability to protect manufacturing secrets or patents.
Til next time….Peace!