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Friday, August 29, 2008

Children Can Be So Cute

It's Saturday night and my technician and I are finishing up our current workload. A couple of adorable little boys peek their heads in the pharmacy. We ever so proudly told them we have a robot. They looked, shook their heads in disbelief, and said "That's not a robot."

Oh the insult. It's no Transformer but inside that ugly cabinet is a robot who's arms do all the work to fill prescriptions. It's not cute like an AIBO or robot puppy but it does make my job a lot easier. It is the "fill technician" when I am by myself and very busy.

It is amusing to see the disbelief of a child because the word "robot" evokes the cartoon images of Voltron, Transformers, Zords, and whatever crazy robot cartoon creations populate children's TV. As they get older they will understand the "robot" can cover many different creations like my Parata prescription filling machine.

Children are cute sometimes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mmm, Tea

I was enjoying an Arizona Diet Green Tea with Ginseng when I noticed a curious little warning under the Sue Bee Honey logo:

Contains a small amount of honey. Not for use by diabetics without advice of a physician.

Hmmm...the honey additive in a product with less than 1 gram of carbohydrate and a net caloric content of zero needs a warning about diabetes? I would like to know what lawsuit prompted this or has our litigious society pushed manufacturers to the brink of putting a warning on EVERYTHING. What's next? A warning on bottled water letting you know that it only takes 2 tablespoonfuls of water in the lungs to drown you? ...Product not intended for nebulization or inhalation. For drinking only. The surgeon general says inhaling water could result in choking, birth defects, coma, and death...

I would have put the diabetes warning under the ginseng. The Natural Standard: Herb & Supplement Reference lists warnings for diabetics under ginseng. Apparently ginseng causes big drops of glucose levels when taken in combination with oral hypoglycemic meds. Funny. I haven't seen a lot of this type of warning on ginseng-containing products and there are a lot of them out there.

This is just one more example of why you shouldn't take herbs without doing a little research when you are on medications, Whole Foods employees be damned...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Teen Dies After Father Gives Him Pills To Party, Police Say

This tiny article came from The Associated Press in my Sunday paper this morning:

Teen dies after father gives him pills to party, police say

Spring Hill. A Gulf Coast man says in a taped conversation that he gave his 15-year-old son powerful prescription drugs because he wanted the boy to know "how to party right," police said.
Steven Alfano is now charged with third-degree murder after son Vincent died of an accidental overdose in June. Witnesses say the 47-year-old Spring Hill man showed his son how to crush and snort pills like the pain-killer oxycodone and the heroin substitute methadone.
Alfano was arrested Friday and is being held without bail. Officials did not know if he had a lawyer. The father initially told police he kept the medications locked away so no one else could get them. Alfano later told two of Vincent's friends that he knowingly gave the drugs to his son to teach him to party. The conversation was recorded by police.

I was utterly speechless and disgusted that this douche-bag had not a single thought about the safety of his child. He just wanted to show his son how to be just as douche-y as himself resulting in the kid's death. Unfortunately this is a dangerously increasing trend. Prescription drugs are becoming the top notch street drugs, even more popular than cocaine used to be in the 70's. I turn away many many questionable pain management prescriptions for this reason, especially if they took the time to drive down from Kentucky to get them. That state continues to have higher rates of prescription narcotic overdoses than most other states.

On the one hand I say "Let them overdose." On the other hand, logic kicks in and I realize these "dealers" have absolutely no idea what they are doing when they sell or give these drugs to treatment naive people on the street. Opiates have a tolerance that is seemingly limitless depending on the length and extent of exposure. You hear all the time about someone who has been in rehab for heroin, they get out and fall off the wagon in a bad way. They mistakenly use the amount of heroin they were used to before rehab. Since their body is no longer accustomed to such high doses of heroin it is fatal for approximately 8 out of 10 former junkies who return to junk and then unwittingly end up meeting Jesus...I hear he is a lot shorter than I thought he would be...

There was also a story several months ago about a high school kid and his friend who bought methadone 40mg tablets from another kid at school, went to a football game with the kid's mom, took the pills and died in their sleep. The mother thought nothing was wrong because both boys were in good spirits and appeared fine when they went to bed. Late the next afternoon the mother goes to wake them up only to find them dead. She is now an advocate against prescription drug abuse, as are many others who have been thrust into an unfortunate and emotionally crippling fiasco.

This dirty little problem has gotten so bad that there are now anti-drug ads that show a street dealer complaining because kids don't buy from him anymore because they are getting high out of the medicine cabinet at home. "So if something goes wrong don't blame me (ie the drug dealer) because they are getting the drugs at home." There is even another ad that shows two dead teens, one from illegal substances and one from prescription drugs with the tag line "Which one seems more dead?".

I am calling on our dear self-important legislators to squeeze the life out of this illegal and lethal trade. We need to take control of the war on prescription drugs which is proving to be an even tougher battle than the war on illegal substances. Mandatory death penalties for ALL person(s) who were prescribed a controlled substance and are guilty of selling or distributing prescription controlled substances that resulted in the death or vegetative state of ANY other person. Send the message. Enforce the message. No plea bargains, no side deals, just DEATH! ...And I am not talking about sentencing with the death penalty and then using taxpayer money to keep the douche-bag comfy and fed, I am talking sentence and execution all within 30 days. While we are at it the same penalty should apply to all person(s) who commit armed robbery, child molestation, and knowingly bankrupting a corporation....Yeah that is for you ENRON douche-bags because you ruined more lives than any drug czar ever has.

Wow, now that I have that off my chest I feel like an enormous weight of hate has been lifted from my shoulders and I may now resume a normal life. Onward medical soldiers and remember to keep the patient's best health in mind whether they like your treatment or not.