Family of opioid-addicted Vermont mother, 30, sues police over her death

Video of Linsenmeir after her arrest shows her asking for water and telling police that it felt like her chest was caving in and that she was in pain.

‘I might need to go the hospital,’ she said.

Instead of being taken to the hospital, Linsenmeir was taken to the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center, the family says. 

The family says she repeatedly told staff there she was sick and needed medical help but was told ‘the situation was her own fault for using drugs’.

Family of opioid-addicted Vermont mother, 30, sues police over her death | Daily Mail Online

mmmhmmm, a culture that allows police to be self-righteous kills.


Waking the Giants: Progressive DAs

His office has ended bail payments for nonviolent offenders; reduced the supervision of parolees; decriminalized marijuana possession; opened a sentencing review board to evaluate past cases and sentences; pushed for safe-injection sites to lessen the rate of opioid overdose; and diverted low-level drug offenses, some gun violations, and some prostitution cases from criminal prosecution to addiction treatment or other social-service programs. Krasner’s office has also given priority to reforming the police force, reportedly compiling a list of officers with a history of abuses like violence, racial profiling, or civil-rights violations.

…Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore have gained national attention for the reforms their new DAs have enacted.

Krasner and other DAs are at work remaking a criminal-justice system focused on fairness, rehabilitation, and community. They are providing admirable examples of how to resist Trump’s politics of fear.

Waking the Giants | Commonweal Magazine


A new kind of rehab uses human connection to treat addiction — Quartz

The tagline for SeekHealing, the nonprofit she launched in 2018, is “Rethink Rehab.” It is far more radical than a typical addiction-recovery program. Funded by state health organizations and private donations, it’s one of a growing number of initiatives around the world aimed at tackling loneliness, social isolation, and deep-rooted disconnection by helping people develop critical social skills and offering a safe place to practice them, as well as a menu of ways to meet connect, interact, build trust, and give back.

…There’s a growing realization that supply is only part of the problem. Widespread loneliness and despair—from losing jobs to automation and trade, to mental health problems and a dearth of adequate opportunities—drive people to seek the relief that opioids and heroin seem to offer.

…They do not have to aim to be sober, only to improve their relationship with the substance which is causing them harm.  The program refers to addiction as bonding, since we bond to substances or behaviors …when we can’t bond to one another. Relapse is “returning to patterns one is trying to avoid.”

…Listening training, a core educational component of the program, aims to undo the transactional way many people converse—with an intent to fix, solve, be clever, or respond quickly. Instead, the goal is to actually listen without judgement. This creates the conditions which allow the types of interactions that flood the brain with natural opioids and make us feel good.

…Aside from listening training, the calendar is packed with ways of building connection muscles, meeting people, doing things, and learning. There are Sunday meet-ups in West Asheville and connection practice meetings in which facilitators encourage vulnerability and substantive conversation. There are pick-up basketball games, Reiki workshops, art therapy, and Friday night emotional socials (“no substances; no small talk”).

“The whole project is a playground of different ways to help people feel connected in this intentional, non-transactional way,” says Nicolaisen.

…A lack of strong social connection disrupts the balance among the brain circuits that use these feel-good chemicals produced by close relationships. When we are really hungry, Wurzman says, we will eat anything. “Similarly, loneliness creates a hunger in the brain which neurochemically hyper-sensitizes our reward system,” she says.

…“We need to practice social connective behaviors instead of compulsive behaviors,” she says. It is not enough to just teach healthier responses to cues from the social reward system. We have to rebuild the social reward system with reciprocal relationships to replace the drugs which relieve the craving.

“Our culture and communities either create environments that are either full of things that cause addictions to thrive, or full of things that cause relationships to thrive,” Wurzman says.

…SeekHealing offered something those programs couldn’t: access to a world that is not defined by addiction, but connection to others. “I am interested in things I never thought I would be interested in— growing plants, art, poetry,” he says. “Not the violent things I grew up with. I am always looking for new ways to grow.”

He has been sober for one year, and says he now gives way more than he takes—something he notes is remarkable for an addict, who has spent most of his life taking.

…“The epidemic is not to drugs—the epidemic is the loneliness and the pain and the feeling that you can’t belong anywhere,” he says. 

…“Even people who are still using, once they start making connections, the chance of them staying alive, and not OD-ing, and moving into greater levels of service, to maybe using medicine-assisted treatment, and becoming productive members of society increases.” Rather than limit recovery to those who are ready for abstinence, the theory goes, try giving help to those who aren’t ready yet, but may become so. This falls under the approach known as harm reduction, defined by the National Harm Reduction Coalition as “a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with risk-taking.”

…There’s funding for emergency care, which gives anyone at risk of overdosing, whether because they are recently out of detox or because they have had a major negative life event, free access to counseling, acupuncture, work with a program manager, body work, and Lyft rides to the center. No drug tests are required.

…She had been thinking about how to help people heal through real connection and communication—not just because there was such a dearth of services for care after rehab, but also because a lack of social connection affects everyone, and drives people to whatever substance they can find to sate the hunger they feel: Screens, social media, porn, shopping, alcohol, Adderall, heroin.

…She’s a big believer in the importance of rituals and the need to find non-religious ways for those who are not religious to have them. Rituals, she says, are a fundamental human thing, bringing people together. 

A new kind of rehab uses human connection to treat addiction — Quartz

sounds promisingly logical.

Opioid Crisis Update: Purdue Pharma Owners Shielded $1B From Lawsuits, NY AG Says

The family is worth $13 billion, Forbes has estimated, but many of the attorneys general involved in the case say they believe members are worth a lot more. Twenty-six states have filed suit against family members individually for their roles in the crisis.

Court documents filed Friday by James’ office represented findings from a single financial institution, the New York Times reported. A series of transfers highlighted in the documents named Mortimer D.A. Sackler, a Purdue board member who transferred $64 million in 2009 from a previously unidentified trust through a Swiss bank account.

Investigators say they believe much more money is involved.

“Already, these records have allowed the state to identify previously unknown shell companies that one of the Sackler defendants used to shift Purdue money through accounts around the world and then conceal it in at least two separate multimillion-dollar real estate investments back here in New York, sanitized [until now] of any readily detectable connections to the Sackler family,” David E. Nachman of the attorney general’s office wrote in the court filing.

The lawsuits accuse family members of aggressively marketing OxyContin as safe despite its addictive nature.

Opioid Crisis Update: Purdue Pharma Owners Shielded $1B From Lawsuits, NY AG Says


Sacklers Accused Of Shielding One Billion Dollars As Hedge Against Litigation

The filing comes after nearly two dozen states and 2,300 local governments reached a tentative settlement with Purdue Pharma to resolve thousands of lawsuits alleging that the company helped fuel the opioid crisis. New York and others states rejected the settlement.

…The court filing highlights the activities of Mortimer D.A. Sackler, a former Purdue board member. It alleges that Sackler transferred millions of dollars from trust companies, at least one of which was previously unknown, through Swiss bank accounts to himself as early as 2009. Some of the funds were directed to real estate companies that owned Sackler family homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons, the filings said.

…The New York attorney general’s office believes there is much more to be learned about the family’s holdings and that information is central to arriving at a just settlement. Prosecutors want the court to enforce subpoenas of companies, banks and advisers tied to Purdue and the Sacklers.

Forbes estimates the Sackler family fortune at $13 billion, making the Sacklers the 19th wealthiest family in the nation.

Sacklers Accused Of Shielding One Billion Dollars As Hedge Against Litigation : NPR


Purdue Pharma ‘offers up to $12bn’ to settle opioid cases – BBC News

Purdue Pharma, the opioid drug-maker owned by the billionaire Sackler family, is reported to be offering between $10bn and $12bn to settle thousands of lawsuits against it.

The firm is facing over 2,000 lawsuits linked to its painkiller OxyContin.

…Purdue is one of 22 opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies named in over 2,000 cases which are due to go to trial in October.

The cases, which have been brought by states, cities and counties, allege the company used deceptive practices to sell opioids and is responsible for fuelling an opioid addiction crisis in the US.

Purdue Pharma ‘offers up to $12bn’ to settle opioid cases – BBC News


A Lawmaker Wants To End ‘Social Media Addiction’ By Killing Features That Enable Mindless Scrolling

The bill by freshman Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. – the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act – would make it illegal for social media companies such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat to use infinite scroll, autoplay video or techniques like Snapchat’s “streaks,” which reward a user with badges for repeated use.

…It proposes regulatory measures that would force users to actively choose to engage for prolonged periods rather than being mindlessly sucked into the void.

The bill would require platforms to implement “natural stopping points,” or places where a video or post stops and the users are prompted to click or select another piece of content, rather than it appearing or playing automatically.

…Too much of the ‘innovation’ in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away. This legislation will put an end to that and encourage true innovation by tech companies.”

…”Studies have shown that tech companies utilize computer design techniques embraced by casinos, like the idea of “stickiness” – which give “just enough positive feedback to want to return to the game but deny users enough pleasure so that they don’t get satiated.”

Baltimore Jewish Life | A Lawmaker Wants To End ‘Social Media Addiction’ By Killing Features That Enable Mindless Scrolling


Mike Pence abruptly cancels New Hampshire trip, reason unclear

Randy Gentry, a representative from Pence’s office, announced the event was canceled.

“There’s been an emergency callback,” Gentry told those waiting. “The vice president was asked to return to Washington so at this time we’re going to cancel today’s event.”

Farah, however, said Pence never left Washington.

“There was no “emergency callback,” she tweeted.

A Defense official confirmed that the aircraft never took off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. The flight was cancelled by the requestor, the official said. 

…A White House official confirmed there was no medical issue related to the president or the vice president.

Mike Pence abruptly cancels New Hampshire trip, reason unclear


Involuntary Commitment For Addiction Treatment Raises Troubling Questions

Involuntary Commitment For Addiction Treatment Raises Troubling Questions : Shots – Health News : NPR

1.) The criminal justice system does not care about your loved one.

2.) If you put your loved one into the criminal justice system you are sentencing them to being treated like a criminal. Or worse.

3.) Parent your own fucking kids people.

Fentanyl deaths skyrocketed more than 1,000% over six years in the US. Here’s who it’s killing

A National Center for Health Statistics report released in December found fentanyl to be the drug mostly commonly involved in overdose deaths. In 2016, the drug was responsible for nearly 29% of all drug overdose deaths, making it the deadliest drug in America.

…And while there were increases in fentanyl-related fatalities in all age groups, the largest rate increases were among younger adults between the ages of 15 and 34. The rate of 15- to 24-year-olds who died from fentanyl overdoses increased about 94% each year between 2011 and 2016, and about 100% each year for 25- to 34-year-olds.

Researchers also found that while whites had the highest overall rates of fentanyl fatalities, death rates among blacks and Hispanics were growing faster. Between 2011 and 2016, blacks had fentanyl death rates increase 140.6% annually and Hispanics had an increase of 118.3% annually.

Fentanyl deaths skyrocketed more than 1,000% over six years in the US. Here’s who it’s killing – CNN


Sackler Family’s Donation To British Museum Is Quashed Over Opioid Fallout

The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma, the company that has made billions of dollars off of OxyContin and is accused of pressuring doctors to prescribe the opioid while also misleading the public about its dangerous addictive qualities.

“The Sacklers are major donors to museums, galleries and theaters in the U.S. and Europe,” NPR’s Elizabeth Blair reports. “Artists and activists are putting pressure on those institutions to stop taking their money.”

Purdue Pharma has previously admitted to committing a felony and paid millions of dollars in fines, and it’s currently facing numerous lawsuits. But one suit in particular, from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, seeks to implicate eight members of the Sackler family, accusing them of trying to maximize their profits even as they knew the painkiller was causing deadly overdoses.

…Oxycodone — the semi-synthetic opiate whose forms include OxyContin and other brand names — was the No. 1 cause of overdose deaths in 2011, in cases where at least one specific drug was mentioned. Since then, heroin and fentanyl have become the top overdose threats in the ongoing opioid crisis. But through at least 2016, oxycodone’s overdose rate also rose slightly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sackler Family’s Donation To British Museum Is Quashed Over Opioid Fallout : NPR