This is the third installment of observations and recommendations that arose from studying the deadly results of the drug related death epidemic directly from the report card: autopsy results. Some will say that making drugs more available to persons 21 and over will result in an awful increase in the death rate for that and youngre populations. I will respond that I cannot imagine how much worse the problem could be than what we are seeing (but not comprehending), now.
17) Develop and keep publicly-funded, researchable data-bases on all drugs on the market.
Explanation: This should include the relative frequency with which a substance appears in the toxicology reports for overdose. Research unrelated to patent information should become commonly held property.
18) Utilize feedback loops with consumers to develop lines of drug study on every impact from social functioning to fine motor skills, and everything in between.
Explanation: As stated elsewhere, an unwritten obligation of the decision to use substances should includes an implicit willingness to participate in general research about immediate and long-term drug effects.
19) Use these latter feedback loops to determine results of drug interactions, particularly, harmful ones.
Explanation: This is information that companies and manufacturers cannot now access. Their obligation to do ongoing research implies an obligation on the part of drug users to participate in that research.
20) Require companies to include mention, in all advertising, of their informal and formal support of “supposedly independent think tanks” until it becomes too cumbersome an expense.
Explanation: This “would-be” regulation is self-explanatory. A sham is a sham unless you pay me to call it a “shaaaaam.”
21) Pour federal money into marijuana research. Fund equal numbers of marijuana proponents and the opposition. Include questions regarding accidental deaths related to use. (Require any state considering legalization to open itself to civil litigation if it has not done marijuana research in advance and/or has not provided its citizens with the same.) Following production of the research, allow citizens to determine for themselves, armed with data, as to marijuana legalization.
Explanation: Currently, there is little actual research on marijuana before the fact of legalization, in most states. The federal government did not “waste” money on research of an illicit substance—albeit one already in use, before legalization, by a majority of the younger population.
22) The Benzodiazepine/Opiate Death Syndrome ( BOD Syndrome) risk list should be widely promulgated.
Explanation: In conducting the Mickey S. Recktenwald Drug-Related Death Survey, stories about the deceased whose records were researched revealed that among persons who had died of overdose many of the following were common findings:
1) the person has chronic pain;
2) there is history of regular long-term [beyond 30 days] use of benzos and opiates together;
3) there are multiple drug users among the individual’s constellation of family/friends;
4) s/he has a steady source of retirement or disability income or medical cost coverage,
5) s/he was not in treatment for addiction–including legally sanctioned treatment—or attended sporadically;
6) s/he routinely ignores or flouts black-box warnings about drinking or other drug use;
7) s/he chose medical providers who did not do drug screens or pill counts;
8) the deceased has multiple “dress rehearsals” for death including previous ER or hospital admissions for overdose; and
9) the deceased has had a family member or close friend die from overdose less than ten (10) years previously.
We named these common findings the “benzodiazepine/opiate death risk factors” and the “BOD Syndrome Risk List.”