Thursday, April 5, 2012

Atheist Activist Who Threatened to Sue to Stop Texas Nativity Has Become a Christian

Pain Killer Sales Up In U.S Fueling Addicitions

NEW YORK (AP) — Sales of the nation's two most popular prescription painkillers have exploded in new parts of the country, an Associated Press analysis shows, worrying experts who say the push to relieve patients' suffering is spawning an addiction epidemic.

From New York's Staten Island to Santa Fe, N.M., Drug Enforcement Administration figures show dramatic rises between 2000 and 2010 in the distribution of oxycodone, the key ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Some places saw sales increase sixteenfold.

Meanwhile, the distribution of hydrocodone, the key ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab, is rising in Appalachia, the original epicenter of the painkiller epidemic, as well as in the Midwest.
The increases have coincided with a wave of overdose deaths, pharmacy robberies and other problems in New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Florida and other states. Opioid pain relievers, the category that includes oxycodone and hydrocodone, caused 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008 alone, and the death toll is rising, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Nationwide, pharmacies received and ultimately dispensed the equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone and 42 tons of pure hydrocodone in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available. That's enough to give 40 5-mg Percocets and 24 5-mg Vicodins to every person in the United States. The DEA data records shipments from distributors to pharmacies, hospitals, practitioners and teaching institutions. The drugs are eventually dispensed and sold to patients, but the DEA does not keep track of how much individual patients receive.

The increase is partly due to the aging U.S. population with pain issues and a greater willingness by doctors to treat pain, said Gregory Bunt, medical director at New York's Daytop Village chain of drug treatment clinics.

Sales are also being driven by addiction, as users become physically dependent on painkillers and begin "doctor shopping" to keep the prescriptions coming, he said.

"Prescription medications can provide enormous health and quality-of-life benefits to patients," Gil Kerlikowske, the U.S. drug czar, told Congress in March. "However, we all now recognize that these drugs can be just as dangerous and deadly as illicit substances when misused or abused."

Opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone can release intense feelings of well-being. Some abusers swallow the pills; others crush them, then smoke, snort or inject the powder.

Unlike most street drugs, the problem has its roots in two disparate parts of the country — Appalachia and affluent suburbs, said Pete Jackson, president of Advocates for the Reform of Prescription Opioids.

"Now it's spreading from those two poles," Jackson said.

The AP analysis used drug data collected quarterly by the DEA's Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System. The DEA tracks shipments sent from distributors to pharmacies, hospitals, practitioners and teaching institutions and then compiles the data using three-digit ZIP codes. Every ZIP code starting with 100-, for example, is lumped together into one figure.

The AP combined this data with census figures to determine effective sales per capita.
A few ZIP codes that include military bases or Veterans Affairs hospitals have seen large increases in painkiller use because of soldier patients injured in the Middle East, law enforcement officials say. In addition, small areas around St. Louis, Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Newark, N.J., have seen their totals affected because mail-order pharmacies have shipping centers there, said Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Many of the sales trends stretch across bigger areas.

In 2000, oxycodone sales were centered in coal-mining areas of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky — places with high concentrations of people with back problems and other chronic pain.
But by 2010, the strongest oxycodone sales had overtaken most of Tennessee and Kentucky, stretching as far north as Columbus, Ohio and as far south as Macon, Ga.

Per-capita oxycodone sales increased five- or six-fold in most of Tennessee during the decade.

"We've got a problem. We've got to get a handle on it," said Tommy Farmer, a counterdrug official with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Many buyers began crossing into Tennessee to fill prescriptions after border states began strengthening computer systems meant to monitor drug sales, Farmer said.

In 2006, only 20 states had prescription drug monitoring programs aimed at tracking patients. Now 40 do, but many aren't linked together, so abusers can simply go to another state when they're flagged in one state's system. There is no federal monitoring of prescription drugs at the patient level.

In Florida, the AP analysis underscores the difficulty of the state's decade-long battle against "pill mills," unscrupulous doctors who churn out dozens of prescriptions a day.

In 2000, Florida's oxycodone sales were centered around West Palm Beach. By 2010, oxycodone was flowing to nearly every part of the state.

While still not as high as in Appalachia or Florida, oxycodone sales also increased dramatically in New York City and its suburbs. The borough of Staten Island saw sales leap 1,200 percent.

Tornado Blows Check 170 Miles From Indiana To Ohio

A woman walking her dog made an unusual discovery when she looked down at the sidewalk, 10TV News reported Tuesday.

Donna Stevens said that she found a check from Henryville, Ind. dated 1982.

“A light switch went off in my head – horrible tornadoes.”

March tornadoes wiped out much of Henryville, including the town’s high school, middle school, buses and almost every home in the city.

The E-F 4 tornado had winds of 175 miles per hour, 10TV News reported.

The check, made out to cash and signed by Patricia Walden, is clearly legible.

Stevens said that her cousin did a Web search, and the family discovered something interesting.

“When she read the people’s names exactly as it is on the check that I’ve got, I knew then that I had something that had traveled a long distance to Grove City,” Stevens said.

Two other Ohio families had found items belonging to the Walden’s – one in Jamestown, Ohio from 1980 and one outside Cincinnati dated 1984.

Stevens said that she was still trying to find the couple.

“I was hoping maybe somehow that maybe someone would see a story or something and know something about this or have found other items from this family that we can return things to them,” Stevens said.

Read More From 10 TV

Churches Sign Goes Viral Saying "God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians"

Rose City Park United Methodist Church Sign About Atheists, Christians Goes Viral
Image Credit: UM Portal

Christians and atheists are typically at odds, at least when it comes to theology. So when a church posted a sign that praised “kind atheists” over “hateful Christians,” it’s no surprise the message gained a great deal of attention. While some were offended, many more were supportive of the sentiment the church was attempting to spread.

The United Methodist Church is reporting that Rev. Tom Tate of Rose City Park United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon, chose to make the bold statement about the state of Christian character and the need for believers to be nice and loving to those around them. The church sign, which reads, “God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians,” has been spreading wildly via social media, prompting hundreds of calls to the church from across the nation and the globe.
While the message may be a tough pill to swallow for some Christians who believe that non-belief is a tragic societal occurrence — even more tragic than Christians behaving badly — Kay Pettygrove, an administrator at the church, says that positivity has been the predominate sentiment. Pettygrove claims that there has been 30 positive comments for each negative one and says that the church is “flabbergasted” over the response.

“I got an email from a young Mormon man saying, ‘Thank you so much. It made me rethink how I treat people,’” she explains. “Many atheists have said, ‘If there were more churches like yours, we would probably reconsider.’”
Rev. Tate, whose church has 385 members, claims that the sign shows “radical hospitality” to those who feel alienated from faith systems.

“It has touched a reservoir for people in a way that is very surprising for me,” Tate proclaimed.
Read More From The Blaze

School Removes "God Bless" From Lee Greenwood Song "God Bless The U.S.A."

An elementary school in Massachusetts has told kids not to say the word “God” in the Lee Greenwood song “God Bless the USA” during a recent assembly. Instead, they wanted students to say, “We love the USA.”

Many parents were not happy with this move, but some agreed that the principal did the right thing. The school decided that they would pull the song from the assembly all together instead of continuing a debate about it.
Michael Graham, a conservative radio talk show host with WTKK in Massachusetts, joined Martha MacCallum on America’s Newsroom to discuss the matter. Graham disputes the point that there was a debate at all. “No one came to the elementary school in Bellingham, which is 15 minutes from my house and said, ‘We’re offended by God Bless the USA’ … What happens is these bureaucrats inside government get so afraid that someone might be offended that they preemptively censor themselves. This is censorship, this is good old fashioned government limiting speech.”

Lee Greenwood weighed in on the matter issuing this statement: “We can’t take God out of the song, we can’t take God out of the The Pledge of Allegiance, we can’t take God off of the American currency … The phrase God Bless the USA has a very important meaning for those in the military and their families, as well as new citizens coming to our country.”
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