Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Grassley’s Synthetic Drugs Ban Gets Final Approval, on the Way to the President PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:44
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa tonight received final legislative approval of his legislation to ban the chemicals used to make a dangerous synthetic drug called K2 or spice.  The Senate gave final approval to the measure as part of a Food and Drug Administration bill, sending the measure to the President for his consideration and expected signature into law.  Grassley’s measure is named for David Rozga, an 18-year-old Iowan who committed suicide shortly after trying the product, bought from a local store.

 

“This ban can’t come quickly enough,” Grassley said.  “Just about every day, there’s a new tragedy related to K2 or bath salts.  The sooner this poison is off the store shelves, the better.  I hope the President will sign this measure into law very quickly.”

 

Grassley delivered a floor statement on his legislation this week.  Click here for the video.  The text follows.

 

Floor Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley

On Synthetic Drugs

Delivered Monday, June 25, 2012

 

Two years ago a constituent of mine named David Rozga committed suicide shortly after smoking a product called K2 — a synthetic form of marijuana.  A week before he passed away, David graduated from Indianola High School.  He was looking forward to attending my alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa, that fall.  David and his friends spent the week after graduation going to parties and celebrating their achievements. Some of David’s friends heard about K2 from some other friends who were home from college.  They were told that if you smoked this product like marijuana you could get a high.  David and his friends were about to go to a concert and thought smoking K2 before would be nothing but harmless fun. However, shortly after smoking K2, David became highly agitated and terrified.  His friends tried to calm him down and once he appeared calmer, he decided to go home instead of going out with them. Tragically, David took his own life shortly after returning home — only about 90 minutes after smoking K2 for the first time. The only chemicals in his system at the time of his death were those that constituted K2.

 

David’s tragic death is one of the first in what has been a rapidly growing drug abuse trend. In the past two years, the availability and popularity of synthetic drugs like K2, spice, bath salts, and 2C-E have exploded. These drugs are labeled and disguised as legitimate products to circumvent the law. They are easily purchased online, at gas stations, in shopping malls and in other novelty stores. Poison control centers and emergency rooms around the country are reporting skyrocketing cases of calls and visits resulting from synthetic drug use. The physical effects associated with this use include increased agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.  A number of people across the country have acted violently while under the influence of the drug, dying or injuring themselves and others.  Just a few weeks ago a man in Miami, Florida, attacked a homeless man and ate nearly half his face before police had to shoot him to stop him.   Bath salts are suspected in that attack.  Two weeks ago, police in upstate New York tasered a woman who was choking her three-year-old son after smoking bath salts.

 

These ongoing and mounting tragedies underscore the fact that Congress must take action to stop these drugs from causing further damage to our society.  I introduced the David Mitchell Rozga Act a year ago last March to ban the drugs that constitute K2. My colleagues Sens. Schumer, Klobuchar, and Portman have also joined me to ban synthetic drugs including bath salts and 2-CE compounds. Today our separate bills are included as part of the House and Senate agreement on the Food and Drug Administration user fee bill we’ll be voting on shortly.  I want to thank all who have worked very hard to get my bill, as well as the other bills banning synthetic drugs, through Congress. I especially want to thank Mike and Jan Rozga and their family for their tireless efforts to prevent more tragedy from befalling other families.  This legislation will drastically help to remove these poisons from the store shelves and protect our children from becoming more victims.  I urge my colleagues to support cloture on this bill and I yield the floor.

 
Is Facebook Addiction Similar to Alcohol & Drug Addiction? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 13:00
Addiction Specialist/Mental Health Counselor Opens Up

Social media sites like Facebook connect users with old friends, new acquaintances and everyone in between. However, studies are revealing an inverse link with online connections and deeper, face-to-face relationships.

Norwegian researchers recently developed a test for networking sites, called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale, which likens inordinate amounts of time spent on the networking site to drug and alcohol abuse. The test measures how often people use the site, if they do so to forget their problems and how using the site negatively affects their personal and working lives.

Researchers found the following groups of people most at risk for Facebook addiction:

Women, who are more social than men,
Young people, who are more tech savvy than older people
Anxious or socially insecure people

“Social media, and the new emphasis on the importance of ‘multitasking,’ have helped drive a wedge between family members,” says psychologist Gregory L. Jantz, author of #Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology and Social Networking (www.drgregoryjantz.com).

Ironically, people become less social the more time they spend on social sites, and they tend to get less done while multitasking because they do not focus on completing one task at a time, he says.

“When people abuse drugs and alcohol, they are trying to feel better, yet they are worsening their situation. We’re finding this is also true for those who spend excessive amounts of time on social networking sites,” he says. “Perhaps the hardest hit from social media addiction is the family unit.”

Parents should monitor their own time online to ensure it’s not further limiting the already shrinking amount of time available with their children, Jantz says. And they need to safeguard their children by monitoring their time, as well. Jantz suggests these questions for parents to ask themselves in gauging their kids’ media usage:

• How much time do your kids spend with various forms of media? There are plenty of distractions from homework. Estimate how much time your child spends with the television, internet, social networking sites, cell phone, Blu-rays and game systems. The more time spent with media, the lower a child’s academic performance, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.

• How much time do your kids spend with you versus online media? Remember, simply being in the same room isn’t necessarily interacting. The less the scales tip in favor of human-to-human interaction, the more likely there may be a problem.

• Do you know how each device works and how it can be used? Familiarity with your children’s gadgets gives you a better perspective of what their habits may be like.

• What are the consequences of their tech habits, and what should be changed? Make a list of the good and the bad consequences of your family’s technology use. After comparing the two lists, consider changes that can turn negatives into positives.

“Technology continues at its accelerating pace, and we are in unchartered territory,” Jantz says. “Increasingly, social networking infiltrates our personal lives, but we need to remember that it is created to serve us, and not the other way around.”

About Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D

Gregory Jantz has more than 25 years experience in mental health counseling and is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, near Seattle, Wash. The Center, “a place for hope,” provides comprehensive, coordinated care from a treatment team that addresses medical, physical, psychological, emotional, nutritional, fitness and spiritual factors involved in recovery. He is the best-selling author of more than 20 books on topics from depression to eating disorders.

 
Synthetic drug ban nears enactment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sen. Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 12:39

Floor Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley

On Synthetic Drugs

Delivered Monday, June 25, 2012

 

Two years ago a constituent of mine named David Rozga committed suicide shortly after smoking a product called K2 — a synthetic form of marijuana.  A week before he passed away, David graduated from Indianola High School.  He was looking forward to attending my alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa, that fall.  David and his friends spent the week after graduation going to parties and celebrating their achievements. Some of David’s friends heard about K2 from some other friends who were home from college.  They were told that if you smoked this product like marijuana you could get a high.  David and his friends were about to go to a concert and thought smoking K2 before would be nothing but harmless fun. However, shortly after smoking K2, David became highly agitated and terrified.  His friends tried to calm him down and once he appeared calmer, he decided to go home instead of going out with them. Tragically, David took his own life shortly after returning home — only about 90 minutes after smoking K2 for the first time. The only chemicals in his system at the time of his death were those that constituted K2.

David’s tragic death is one of the first in what has been a rapidly growing drug abuse trend. In the past two years, the availability and popularity of synthetic drugs like K2, spice, bath salts, and 2C-E have exploded. These drugs are labeled and disguised as legitimate products to circumvent the law. They are easily purchased online, at gas stations, in shopping malls and in other novelty stores. Poison control centers and emergency rooms around the country are reporting skyrocketing cases of calls and visits resulting from synthetic drug use. The physical effects associated with this use include increased agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.  A number of people across the country have acted violently while under the influence of the drug, dying or injuring themselves and others.  Just a few weeks ago a man in Miami, Florida, attacked a homeless man and ate nearly half his face before police had to shoot him to stop him.   Bath salts are suspected in that attack.  Two weeks ago, police in upstate New York tasered a woman who was choking her three-year-old son after smoking bath salts.

These ongoing and mounting tragedies underscore the fact that Congress must take action to stop these drugs from causing further damage to our society.  I introduced the David Mitchell Rozga Act a year ago last March to ban the drugs that constitute K2. My colleagues Sens. Schumer, Klobuchar, and Portman have also joined me to ban synthetic drugs including bath salts and 2-CE compounds. Today our separate bills are included as part of the House and Senate agreement on the Food and Drug Administration user fee bill we’ll be voting on shortly.  I want to thank all who have worked very hard to get my bill, as well as the other bills banning synthetic drugs, through Congress. I especially want to thank Mike and Jan Rozga and their family for their tireless efforts to prevent more tragedy from befalling other families.  This legislation will drastically help to remove these poisons from the store shelves and protect our children from becoming more victims.  I urge my colleagues to support cloture on this bill and I yield the floor.

 
Schilling’s Plan for Quality, Convenient, Patient-Centered, and Affordable Health Care PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 12:00

Moline, Illinois - With the Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care reform law - the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - expected soon, Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) released the following statement on his plan for health care reform moving forward:

"Before Independence Day, the Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling on the President’s health care reform law.  The court could decide to uphold the entire law, strike it down entirely, or strike parts of it – parts like Medicaid expansion or the individual mandate, which requires nearly every American to buy health insurance.

"Regardless of the court’s decision on the law, I want to work in a bipartisan and transparent way to replace it with common-sense, step-by-step policies that actually lower the cost of health care, preserve Medicare for our children and grandchildren, and put patients and their doctors back in charge of health care decisions.  There’s significant support for the law’s repeal, and there’s also widespread agreement that the American health care system is broken and in need of reform.  

"Simply put, our work doesn’t stop if this law is taken off the books.

"We should take up-or-down votes on individual improvements to our health care system – particularly those that seek to lower costs and ultimately make care more affordable and more convenient. It’s important that folks with preexisting conditions be able to find coverage, for example.  And in a tough economy like this, I agree that young adults should be able to find affordable coverage.  Individuals should be able to buy health insurance plans across state lines, with the goal of increasing competition and driving down costs.  We should vote to advance common-sense liability protections, stemming defensive medicine and lowering the cost of care.  We should also vote on a plan to ensure Medicare physicians won’t see their reimbursement rates cut.  This issue must be resolved to ensure physicians aren’t pushed out of Medicare, creating serious access problems for seniors across the country.  

"We can also vote on bills that I introduced – like the Charity Care Tax Deduction Act, for example, that would provide a tax deduction to physicians who administer charity care for those can’t afford health insurance, or the Enhanced Veteran Health Care Experience Act that would allow veterans to access the health care they need in their hometowns with their home doctors.

"Another solution to lower health care costs is the bipartisan Health Flexible Spending Arrangements Improvement Act, which passed the House and would allow 35 million Americans to save unused money in their flexible spending accounts for future use on unexpected medical costs.  The current “use it or lose it” policy is hurting American families.

"Unless the court throws out the entire law, I will continue working to repeal whatever’s left and apply any savings to a deficit reduction plan.  We can’t tax, spend, or regulate our way into a stronger economy and better health care, nor can we prepare ourselves for future threats to our national security while taking a meat cleaver to the Department of Defense’s budget.  

"Over the last year and a half, the House has voted 30 times on different bills to repeal, defund, or dismantle the health care reform law.  Most recently we voted to repeal its tax on medical devices.  This is a tax that would be harmful to companies like Cook Medical, which has been hoping to expand its operations in Canton.  The medical device tax would destroy jobs in an industry that employs more than 400,000 Americans throughout the country – 70 in Canton alone.  We have also voted to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB); a board of unelected bureaucrats tasked with saving money by restricting access to health care for Medicare beneficiaries.  I voted to repeal this board to keep health care decisions between patients and their doctor.  

"The bottom line is that I want to make quality health care more convenient and more affordable.  I want you to be able to visit the doctor of your choosing and be given the care that your doctor thinks is best.  

"Every American is impacted by the health care reform law, and will be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.  We need to continue to work to ensure folks in Illinois and across the country have access to health care that’s high quality, patient-centered, convenient, and affordable, but the best ideas often don’t come from Washington DC, they come from the folks I represent.  Please contact my office at schilling.house.gov or (202) 225-5905 with your ideas to improve care."

# # #


To send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click hereTo send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click here

 
Doctor: With Cancer, Patients Are First Line of Defense PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 25 June 2012 09:49
Early Detection Makes a Big Difference
for 6 Common Complications

Often, it’s not cancer that kills; it’s the complications of cancer, says physician Stephen Garrett Marcus, a senior biotechnology research executive.

Complications are common and become more frequent and severe if cancer progresses or spreads, he says. Spotting them early and treating them quickly can lessen their impact and save lives.

“Patients and their families are the first line of defense; they need to know what to watch for and seek treatment immediately,” says Marcus, author of a comprehensive new reference, Complications of Cancer (www.DrStephenMarcus.com). “Many can be successfully treated if they’re addressed at the first signs of trouble.”

What to watch for? Marcus describes the symptoms of six common complications:

• Malignant spinal cord compression: Compression of the spinal cord is caused by a malignant tumor or by bones in the spine damaged by cancer. Symptoms may include pain in the neck or back and weakness in the arms or legs. This is a medical emergency and should be promptly treated, or patients risk paralysis. Cancers of the lung, breast, and prostate, commonly spread to the spine and are the most likely cancers to produce spinal cord compression.

• Neutropenic sepsis: This condition often occurs during chemotherapy. The most common signs of infection are fever, chills, difficulty breathing, a new persistent cough, a sore throat, or a change in mental clarity. An easy way to lower risk is to keep hands clean. If there is an intravenous access line in place, it is important to keep the area clean.

• Pulmonary embolism: Symptoms usually include sudden, severe shortness of breath associated with pain in the chest area. Treatment may include supplemental oxygen and blood pressure support, if necessary, and administration of blood thinning “anticoagulant” medications.

• Bacterial pneumonia: Cancer or treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and steroid medications can diminish a person's ability to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria in the lungs and increase the risk of pneumonia. Symptoms can include cough, fever and chills. Antibiotics will generally cure pneumonia caused by the most common types of bacteria. If the person also is having severe difficulty breathing or low blood pressure, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics may be required.

• Intestinal obstruction: The most common first symptom is bouts of severe pain in the middle of the abdomen. Treatment includes intravenous fluids and along with a tube passed into the stomach to decompress the intestine by withdrawing excess fluid and air. Emergency surgery may be necessary to relieve the obstruction.

• Delirium, stupor, and coma: The most common causes of these symptoms in people with cancer are problems with blood chemistry, spread of cancer to the brain, side effects of medications and infections. These complications have various treatments after the cause is identified.

“Attitude is the great wild card for surviving cancer,” Marcus say, “both in vigilance for possible complications, and the courage to keep fighting.”

About Stephen Garrett Marcus, M.D.

Stephen Garrett Marcus, M.D. received his medical degree from New York Medical College and completed a medical oncology fellowship at the University of California in San Francisco. As a senior research executive in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry since 1985, he played a lead role in developing Betaseron as the first effective treatment of multiple sclerosis, and has led multinational research teams for other treatments. Marcus is the president and CEO of a biotechnology company developing new treatments for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

 
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