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July 2005

Over the counter emergency contraception bill passes in New York. Will Pataki sign it?

It disturbs me when politicians mettle in health care. The topic at hand is emergency contraception. Should women be able to buy it without a prescription over the counter?

Thank God, in New York, the state with one of the worst legislatures in the country, the boys and few girls gave the go ahead showing guts that the feds don't have. Will Pataki have the courage to sign it or will he cave to the pressure of the religious right fundamentalists?

From the June 24, 2005 New York Times:

"In a heartening advance with national reverberations, the Republican-led New York State Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that will permit local pharmacists to dispense emergency contraceptives to women who do not have a prescription. The surprising 34-to-27 vote, which followed easy approval by the Democratic-led Assembly, catapults the issue to a noncommittal Gov. George Pataki. Mr. Pataki has no principled course but to sign it.

The measure is a necessary response to the ideological gridlock at the Food and Drug Administration. The F.D.A. is still stalling over granting all American women over-the-counter access to the morning-after contraceptive known as Plan B, a step overwhelmingly supported by the agency's advisory panels in 2003 and by the existing scientific evidence. Under the bill, participating New York pharmacists and registered nurses would be able to obtain blanket prescriptions from doctors that name no individual patient, and dispense the pills to women and girls of any age."

Link: A Victory for Women.

Presription drugs kill much more than pain

The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information has posted a good webcast on their web site dealing with prescription drug abuse which has quadrupled in the last two years from about 1.5 million to 6 million Americans.

"Back in 2000, about 1.5 million Americans abused prescription drugs. Two years later, that number quadrupled – to more than six million. That’s a 400% increase. Thousands of people die each year because they overdose on prescription medications. Many abusers think they're an FDA-approved high, while others become addicted after using powerful painkillers to treat legitimate pain. During this broadcast, learn how abusers are getting their drugs and how law enforcement, doctors, and pharmacists are fighting the problem. Hear from recovering addicts, treatment providers, doctors, robbery victims and more.

Prescription drugs kill much more than pain."

To watch and/listen to the webcast click on the link below.

Link: Webcast.

Quote of the day

"When you start to lose hope, realize that nothing lasts forever - that the current cycle will end and a new one will begin. Be patient. Spirit is on your side. It is only a matter of time until all will be healed."

Douglas Bloch

Theology begets sociology which begets psychology which can beget pathology.

It seems that I have been writing a lot about theology and religious themes lately. You might wonder what theology and religion has to do with a behavioral health blog? And before I try to explain let me remind you that Freud, Jung, Bill W. & Dr. Bob, and many of the pioneers in the fields of psychiatry and addictions were very interested in and commented on theology, mythology, and religion too.

Here's the deal in my mind: theology begets a sociology which begets a psychology which can beget pathology.

In other words, theology which is the study of god leads to certain beliefs being taught to various populations and cultures of people which influence and inform their cultural beliefs and their social behavior. These sociological norms, attitudes, beliefs, practices influence individual's psychology, that is, the way they perceive, think and feel about themselves, others, and the world.

These beliefs about the nature of God and what God wants shape sociological and psychological functioning in important and profound ways.

If you are interested in why people and groups behave in the ways they do, it would behoove you to understand what they think and how they feel about what they think.

If religion teaches that certain people, gender, cultures, are bad and will be punished for their apostacy is it any wonder that we live in a violent world where humans seek to murder, kill, subjugate, and abuse others? In your heart, is this really what you believe God wants? It may be what the preacher, priest, Iman, Pope want so they can increase their power and riches, but is it what God wants?

My God wants nothing because my God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent and doesn't need anything because HE/SHE/IT already has everything and doesn't need anything more.

My God is too big for any one religion.

My God takes great joy in watching the world develop to its full potential so that all can become all.

The greatest power in the universe is our power of thought. As they say, "Be careful what you wish for, you'll get it."

Our thoughts can be life giving, and they can be life destroying. As humans, what do we want? I want a theology which is life giving not life destroying. I want a theology that is inclusive and not exclusive. I want a theology which is empathic and validating and not judgemental and dismissive. I want a theology which nurtures love and not hate. I want a theology that leads to a positive sociology and psychology that nurtures healthy human functioning not pathological human functioning.

Jesus said, "By their fruit, you will know them." when asked by His disciples how they could tell the difference between true and false prophets. Many of the prophets today are bearing bad fruit. It is time for a new theology which paradoxically may be no theology at all because people who claim to know what God wants are arrogant, meglomaniacs who divide people against one another for political power and gain. It is in separating people and their interests that the greatest damage from theology is done. Does God want that? What is the fruit?

If you want to understand what makes people tick individually and socially, understand their theology. Everyone has one. Whatever they believe in and value, that is where their heart is. Do those beliefs and values produce good fruit or bad fruit?

We all have secrets

We all have secrets.

People are like onions. They have circles of privacy which are layer upon layer upon layer, and how far down through the layers can you go?

On the outside layer people who can see us can tell things about us just by looking at us like how tall we are, how much we weigh, what race we belong to, approximately how old we are, etc. Down the next layer they would not know what religion we are, or what political party we are registered in unless we told them.

As we go deeper through the layers the things we know about ourselves become more private, more secret. We finally get to the layer where we know things about ourselves which we have never told to any other human being. One step lower and there are things that we don't even know about ourselves.

There is an interesting blog called post secrets. People send their secrets on postcards to a guy named Frank Warren in Maryland and he puts them on his web blog.

If you would like to learn more, check out the story that All Things Considered did on the postsecret web blog on March 30, 2005.

Thanks to my brother, Dan, for referring me to this web blog.

Here is my favorite post secret so far.


Link: PostSecret.