Saturday, January 26, 2008

So much for compassionate conservatism

In fact, would someone just take that notion out to Miller's Crossing and put a couple of .22 rounds behind the left ear? There is nothing compassionate about these authoritarian jackasses - they are all about punishment - and if that punishment is capital, all the better so far as they are concerned.

Here is what has me all pissed off this afternoon.

For less than ten bucks apiece, rescue kits can be put in the hands of drug users, and people who die of overdoses could be saved. (Chart here) Frequently, when a person overdoses on heroin, or Rush Limbaugh's favorite substance to abuse, Oxycontin, they are not alone; but the person who is with them doesn't call for help because they are afraid they will be arrested, or lose their housing, or lose custody of their kids. The opiate-overdose rescue kit is a nasal spray that administers a drug called Narcan, and if it is delivered in a timely manner, approximately 75% of overdose deaths can be prevented.

But of course, the Bush drug policy office disagrees vehemently.

Dr. Bertha Madras, who heads up the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, gets downright apoplectic at the notion that common rabble and not the ordained high priests of medicine might administer a lifesaving treatment. "First of all, I don't agree with giving an opioid antidote to non-medical professionals. That's No. 1," she says. "I just don't think that's good public health policy." [Yes, we all know that death is a better public health policy than life.]

Madras takes the position that drug users are not likely to be able to handle an overdose emergency. Then she makes the same leap of illogic that all of the "drug free America" idiots take - if they have access to the kits, they won't be motivated stop using drugs, because they aren't likely to be scared by the prospect of an overdose. "Sometimes having an overdose, being in an emergency room, having that contact with a health care professional is enough to make a person snap into the reality of the situation and snap into having someone give them services." [Yes, we all know that addicts are supremely reasonable and make rational choices.]

Her statement is also patently dishonest, but honesty isn't the long suit of these people, as we have tragically learned. Heroin and Oxycontin are both extremely long-acting opiates, and Narcan is a short-acting opiate agonist. The person needing Narcan should still seek medical attention - and the street-level training that is given along with the rescue kits stresses this. (In my experience in emergency medicine, it is not uncommon for Narcan to be administered four or five times to an OD patient.)

And by the way, in case you think this frame sounds vaguely familiar, it is the same one they use to argue that teenagers shouldn't have access to birth control, because if they didn't have the specter of a life-changing pregnancy hanging over their heads, they might be inclined to fuck.

Like I said, it's all about punishment and "just desserts" with these fascistic bastards prone to adhere to the authoritarian/punishment line.

[Tip o' the cap to Kevin Drum for getting me off my ass to finally post about this. I've been putting it off in favor of politics for days.]

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