Archive for December, 2013

The Cost of Addiction in Maine

December 31st, 2013

Today’s blog is a guest post submitted by the amazing folks at B.A.R.N. who make me very proud to be a Recovery Ally:

 Bangor Area Recovery Network

142 Center Street

Brewer, ME  04412

 (207) 561-9444

e-mail : BARN@bangorrecovery.org

www.BangorRecovery.org

On Oct 18, Governor LePage’s website announced he was hosting two Summits on Drug Crimes and Awareness following the release of a State report that indicated the total annual economic impact of substance abuse in the State of Maine in 2010 was 1.4 billion dollars. Yet, his response cited in the BDN on Oct 25 was that “the state’s drug problem is escalating and more money is needed to fund the law enforcement agents responsible for tackling the growing number of crimes fueled by addiction.”  At that Summit, attended by law enforcement officials, addiction treatment professionals were not invited.  This points to a sorely naïve and costly policy strategy, and history supports this conclusion.

Since 2000, the costs of substance abuse in Maine have more than doubled.  Penobscot County’s share of these costs in 2010 was over $160,000,000.  That is 77% greater than Bangor’s municipal and school budget combined!  Keep in mind these are annual costs, we get to bear these costs each and every year.  What is so terribly wrong with this picture?  

Like any commodity, alcohol and drugs are subject to principles of supply and demand.  Increased enforcement is a “supply reduction” strategy designed to reduce the amount of alcohol and drugs available.  Availability and access of alcohol

Article source: http://recoveryrocks.bangordailynews.com/2013/12/31/addiction/the-cost-of-addiction-in-maine/

Pot, guns and paparazzi: New laws run gamut in US

December 30th, 2013

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The new

Article source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20131230-NEWS-131239990

Maine DHHS: Marijuana can’t be used for Tourette’s

December 29th, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine public health officials have denied an Ellsworth man’s request to use marijuana legally to treat his Tourette’s syndrome.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services this week denied a request by Dr. Dustin Sulak to add Tourette’s syndrome to the list of qualifying medical conditions that marijuana use is allowed to treat.

Sulak said a denial letter signed by agency Commissioner Mary Mayhew arrived on Christmas Eve without any explanation for the decision.

Sulak and his patient, Peter Hasty, had testified in November that marijuana helped Hasty’s muscular tics caused by Tourette’s.

Hasty tells the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1dagyfA ) that marijuana allows him to function in society.

Studies that looked at the effectiveness of marijuana use to treat Tourette’s are inconclusive.

___

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Article source: http://www.chron.com/news/crime/article/Maine-DHHS-Marijuana-can-t-be-used-for-Tourette-s-5093641.php

New England editorial roundup

December 29th, 2013

They’ve been described as an electrical storm in the brain.

Seizures occur when large numbers of the cells that transmit information to muscles fire uncontrollably, causing everything from staring spells and twitches to falling, loss of consciousness and full-body convulsions. Anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent of children with a seizure disorder – also known as epilepsy – experience seizures that can’t be relieved by pharmaceutical medications.

Now these young patients’ parents think they’ve found something that can repress the seizures. The problem is that it’s illegal under federal law. The federal prohibition against marijuana intersects with Maine’s medical marijuana statutes in a way that poses major roadblocks to families and shows the need for federal action to ease these draconian limits.

The strain of marijuana that’s been in the spotlight is called “Charlotte’s Web,” named for the child who was having 300 grand mal seizures a week but is 99 percent seizure-free after two years of treatment with the substance.

Charlotte’s Web is low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – which produces the classic “high” – and rich in cannabidiol, or CBD – which is believed to be medicinal. (In children, the drug is taken in a liquid form that can be put into food or under the tongue.)

But Maine parents have had a hard time obtaining Charlotte’s Web. It’s apparently not being grown here. And it’s illegal to buy clones of the plant in Colorado, where it was developed, and bring them back to Maine. Anyone

Article source: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/12/22/4708368/new-england-editorial-roundup.html

Doctor, patient frustrated by DHHS denial of medical pot prescription for …

December 27th, 2013

AUGUSTA, Maine — A doctor whose failed petition to have Tourette syndrome added to the state’s list of ailments that can be legally treated with medical marijuana said he’s so frustrated with the process that he’s reluctant to try again on behalf of his patients.

Dr. Dustin Sulak, who runs a practice called Integr8 Health and who is known as one of the state’s leading medical marijuana proponents, said he learned earlier this week that the Department of Health and Human Services has denied his request. Sulak is part of a panel of doctors responsible for making recommendations to DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew on the 1999 medical marijuana law and the subsequent 2009 Maine Medical Marijuana Act.

Sulak said he has several patients who suffer from Tourette syndrome, which is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary muscular and verbal tics and outbursts.

“I’ve had several Tourette syndrome patients who have done very well with the use of cannabis,” said Sulak by phone Thursday. “It’s really common, too. People don’t realize how common. … It can make it very difficult for someone to function in public and just about any other situation. People don’t understand why they’re shouting or swearing, and conventional treatments are not very effective.”

One of Sulak’s patients, 28-year-old Peter Hasty of Sullivan, said he was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome in his teens and has tried numerous forms of treatment to control it.

“I’ve tried just about everything out there and none of them controlled the tics well and all

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/12/26/politics/doctor-patient-frustrated-by-dhhs-denial-of-medical-pot-prescription-for-tourette-syndrome/

Maine DHHS: Marijuana can’t be used for Tourette’s

December 27th, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine public health officials have denied an Ellsworth man’s request to use marijuana legally to treat his Tourette’s syndrome.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services this week denied a request by Dr. Dustin Sulak to add Tourette’s syndrome to the list of qualifying medical conditions that marijuana use is allowed to treat.

Sulak said a denial letter signed by agency Commissioner Mary Mayhew arrived on Christmas Eve without any explanation for the decision.

Sulak and his patient, Peter Hasty, had testified in November that marijuana helped Hasty’s muscular tics caused by Tourette’s.

Hasty tells the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1dagyfA ) that marijuana allows him to function in society.

Studies that looked at the effectiveness of marijuana use to treat Tourette’s are inconclusive.

___

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Article source: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Maine-DHHS-Marijuana-can-t-be-used-for-Tourette-s-5093641.php

Maine DHHS denies bid to make marijuana legal for Tourette’s

December 26th, 2013

9:12 AM

Maine DHHS denies bid to make marijuana legal for Tourette’s

Advocates say they will keep trying for approval after an Ellsworth man’s request to make the syndrome a qualifying condition is rejected with no explanation.

By Joe Lawlor jlawlor@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Peter Hasty said if he couldn’t use marijuana to control severe muscular tics caused by Tourette’s syndrome, he would be confined to his home in Ellsworth.

“I would not be able to go out the door,” Hasty said. “It (marijuana) has vastly improved my quality of life.”

Although medical marijuana is legal in Maine, Tourette’s syndrome is not one of the conditions permitted for treatment, so for now Hasty has to obtain marijuana illegally if he wants to use it to control the disease.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services this week denied a request by Dr. Dustin Sulak to add Tourette’s syndrome to the list of qualifying medical conditions that marijuana use is allowed to treat.

Sulak, who prescribes medical marijuana out of his Falmouth practice, said a denial letter signed by Mary Mayhew, health and human services commissioner, arrived on Christmas Eve without any explanation for the decision.

A panel including four doctors gave a recommendation to Mayhew, after a hearing that Sulak and Hasty testified at in November.

Sulak said no one from the opposing side testified.

DHHS offices were closed on Tuesday, and Mayhew could not be reached for comment.

If Tourette’s syndrome had been added to the list of qualifying conditions, patients would have

Article source: http://www.kjonline.com/news/Maine_DHHS_denies_bid_to_make_medical_marijuana_legal_in_treating_Tourette_syndrome_.html

Maine DHHS denies bid to make marijuana legal for Tourette’s

December 26th, 2013

9:12 AM

Maine DHHS denies bid to make marijuana legal for Tourette’s

Advocates say they will keep trying for approval after an Ellsworth man’s request to make the syndrome a qualifying condition is rejected with no explanation.

By Joe Lawlor jlawlor@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Peter Hasty said if he couldn’t use marijuana to control severe muscular tics caused by Tourette’s syndrome, he would be confined to his home in Ellsworth.

“I would not be able to go out the door,” Hasty said. “It (marijuana) has vastly improved my quality of life.”

Although medical marijuana is legal in Maine, Tourette’s syndrome is not one of the conditions permitted for treatment, so for now Hasty has to obtain marijuana illegally if he wants to use it to control the disease.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services this week denied a request by Dr. Dustin Sulak to add Tourette’s syndrome to the list of qualifying medical conditions that marijuana use is allowed to treat.

Sulak, who prescribes medical marijuana out of his Falmouth practice, said a denial letter signed by Mary Mayhew, health and human services commissioner, arrived on Christmas Eve without any explanation for the decision.

A panel including four doctors gave a recommendation to Mayhew, after a hearing that Sulak and Hasty testified at in November.

Sulak said no one from the opposing side testified.

DHHS offices were closed on Tuesday, and Mayhew could not be reached for comment.

If Tourette’s syndrome had been added to the list of qualifying conditions, patients would have

Article source: http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/Maine_DHHS_denies_bid_to_make_medical_marijuana_legal_in_treating_Tourette_syndrome_.html

Maine DHHS: Marijuana can’t be used for Tourette’s

December 26th, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine public health officials have denied an Ellsworth man’s request to use marijuana legally to treat his Tourette’s syndrome.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services this week denied a request by Dr. Dustin Sulak to add Tourette’s syndrome to the list of qualifying medical conditions that marijuana use is allowed to treat.

Sulak said a denial letter signed by agency Commissioner Mary Mayhew arrived on Christmas Eve without any explanation for the decision.

Sulak and his patient, Peter Hasty, had testified in November that marijuana helped Hasty’s muscular tics caused by Tourette’s.

Hasty tells the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1dagyfA ) that marijuana allows him to function in society.

Studies that looked at the effectiveness of marijuana use to treat Tourette’s are inconclusive.

___

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Article source: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/Maine-DHHS-Marijuana-can-t-be-used-for-Tourette-s-5093641.php

Maine parents face hurdles with medical marijuana

December 23rd, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Medical marijuana is legal for children in Maine if they pass a state certification process, but about two dozen families who want to try it say they have run into numerous obstacles.

The parents are eager to obtain a strain of medical marijuana that’s extremely low in the psychoactive component that makes people high but has been shown to be effective in treating children with epilepsy. But the so-called “Charlotte’s Web” strain is not available in Maine, and parents told the Maine Sunday Telegram (http://bit.ly/1fw6lu5) that even if it was, they worry about bringing it across state lines when their children go to doctor’s appointments in Boston.

“The legal component is huge for me,” said Heather Bowie of Berwick, whose son was born with neurological impairments and has about 20 seizures a day. “I am not going to cross that line, because ultimately I am no help to Aidan behind bars.”

Meagan Patrick of Acton on Monday is flying with her daughter to Colorado, where the strain of medical marijuana is dispensed, to start the process of becoming a resident. Her 13-month-old baby, Addelyn, has severe epilepsy.

“If they were growing something on Mars that might help my daughter I’d be in the backyard building a spaceship,” she said.

___

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Article source: http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Maine-parents-face-hurdles-with-medical-marijuana-5066685.php