Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Synthetic drug ban is more necessary than ever, Grassley says PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:56

Floor Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley

“We Must Stop the Spread of Synthetic Drug Use”

Delivered Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In the fall of 2010, I came to the floor to speak about my growing concern of synthetic drug use in this country. Specifically, I raised concerns about a popular new drug known as K2 or Spice after a constituent of mine, named David Rozga, committed suicide. David killed himself shortly after smoking a package of the drug he and some friends bought at a local shopping mall. At the time, David’s death in June 2010 was one of the first deaths associated with what was a new and very dangerous drug craze.  Now, nearly two years after David’s death, the use of synthetic drugs like K2 has exploded and is becoming a major problem across the country.

In 2009, the American Association of Poison Centers reported only 13 calls concerning synthetic drug use. In 2010, over 1,300 calls were made to poison centers about synthetic drugs. Last year, there were over 12,000 calls to poison centers regarding synthetic drugs. The Monitoring the Future survey, a survey of high school youth, asked students for the first time last year if they ever tried synthetic drugs. Roughly one in nine high school seniors responded that they had used synthetic drugs in the last year. These numbers are an astonishing increase in just two year, and this illustrates how rapidly the use of these drugs has come on the scene.

These drugs are having a terrible effect on those who use them. Emergency room doctors across the country are reporting increasing cases of synthetic drug users coming to the hospital. My staff heard from one such doctor from upstate New York about what she has seen. Dr. Sandra Schneider, from Rochester New York, reported that users in her ER experienced psychotic episodes, rapid heart rate, very high blood pressure, and seizures. In some cases users, many of whom were in their teens and twenties, suffered heart attacks and strokes, and died as a result. Other cases involved users who tried to kill themselves, harm others, or got into car accidents while high on these drugs.

How did we get here? The people who manufacture and sell these drugs have circumvented the laws to easily sell synthetic drugs online, at gas stations, in novelty stores at the local shopping malls, and in tobacco stores and other shops. Many of the drugs are manufactured overseas in counties like China and imported into the United States. They spray chemical compounds that have not been tested on humans and were not intended for human consumption on dried leaves. They package and market these drugs to appear as legitimate products like incense, bath salts, plant food, and snow remover. They slap a label on these packages stating that the product is not for human consumption to get around FDA regulation.

Over 30 states have passed laws to ban various synthetic drug compounds. The Drug Enforcement Administration has also acted to stop these drugs. Although the DEA has used its emergency scheduling powers to control seven chemical compounds, there are too many on the market now for the DEA to go through the long and laborious process to schedule each and every one. The makers of these drugs know this too well and have altered their chemical formulas, some as little as a molecule, to get around existing state and federal laws.

This is exactly the case in my home state of Iowa. Iowa passed a law last year that banned many chemical compounds; however, the law only listed a specific set of chemical compounds and the drug makers altered their formulas. Recently, two Iowa youths have become victims of the new drugs. One is a Polk County teenager who got into a high speed crash after smoking a product called “100% Pure Evil.” This teen had two other passengers in her car. After smoking this product, the driver became agitated and stated she wanted to kill herself. She started driving her car into several trees. When paramedics arrived on the scene they reported that everyone was badly hurt and the driver was vomiting blood. Thankfully, all passengers survived the crash.

Another teen in Central Iowa experienced a near death experience after smoking the same product. This teen purchased the product “100% Pure Evil” at a local store and started convulsing and vomiting shortly after smoking the drug. Once paramedics got this boy to a hospital he fell into a coma. He, however, woke from the coma the next day but had failed to recognize his mother or grandmother at the hospital. Thankfully, this boy has since recovered his memory. Now he suffers occasional anxiety attacks. When the boy’s mother told the police about the product and where he got it, she reported that the police told her there was nothing they could do about it because it was not known what was in the product and it may be legal. This product is still being reviewed to see if any compounds fall under Iowa’s ban.

Nearly a year ago, I introduced legislation, named after David Rozga, with Senator Feinstein, that bans the chemicals that comprise K2/Spice. We designed the legislation to capture a wide variety of compounds so it would not be so easy to circumvent this law by altering a molecule. In fact, the Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy is crafting new legislation, based on the legislation I introduced last year that captures more substances. My legislation was unanimously passed out of the Judiciary Committee last July. It is currently being prevented from consideration by the full Senate by one Senator. The House of Representatives passed its version of the Synthetic Drug Control Act overwhelmingly last December with more than 70 percent of representatives supporting scheduling these drugs.

Many of the opponents of this legislation stated on the House floor that by scheduling these compounds, we are preventing scientific research. That is far from true. Any scheduled substance, even current schedule I drugs like cocaine and heroin, can be researched. Any scientist can apply to be registered by the DEA to research any drug. Just because we are removing the drugs from the store shelves does not mean we can’t study them.

It is time for the Senate to take action. We cannot let the will of just one senator obstruct the will of many. I believe if our legislation received a vote and a fair debate, this body would pass it overwhelmingly. I urge my colleagues to support our efforts to get these drugs off the store shelves and off the streets. I urge the Senate leadership to allow a debate and vote on this issue. The American people, people like the Rozga family and others who have been victims of these drugs, want to see this poison removed from their communities.

 

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Braley Introduces Veterans Access to Care Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:39

Legislation seeks to attract top-notch medical talent to veterans’ care facilities

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced the Veterans Access to Care Act today, legislation that seeks to expand veterans’ access to quality healthcare by helping the Veterans Administration and state veterans’ homes recruit more highly-qualified doctors, nurses, and mental health providers to provide services to America’s veterans.

The legislation would make veterans’ care facilities eligible to hire National Health Service Corps fellows, helping attract recent medical school graduates to careers helping veterans.

Braley said, “The Veterans Access to Care Act will allow veterans’ healthcare facilities to hire from a top-notch pool of medical talent committed to practicing in the public interest.  This will improve veterans’ quality of care by encouraging the nation’s best and brightest young doctors to work in veterans’ healthcare facilities.

 

Braley continued, “The National Health Service Corps is a program with a well-established track record of attracting high quality medical professionals who have chosen to give back to their country by serving those who are most in need.  What better group of people to have caring for our veterans, who share this commitment to service?”

 

The National Health Service Corps is a national scholarship program operated by the US Department of Health and Human Services that pays medical school expenses for future doctors, nurses, and health practitioners who agree to work in medically underserved areas after graduation.  Braley’s bill would simply add Veterans Administration facilities and state veterans’ homes as eligible “underserved areas” in which graduates would be eligible to serve.

Dr. Douglas Steenblock, Director of Mental Health Services at the Iowa Veterans’ Home in Marshalltown, approached Braley with the idea for the bill.  Steenblock is himself a former fellow of the National Health Service Corps.

 

Steenblock said, “It can be difficult to attract medical professionals to work in the unique environment of a veterans’ facility, particularly those outside of our major metropolitan areas.  The Iowa Veterans’ Home Mental Health Department hasn’t been fully staffed since September 2010 despite ongoing efforts to hire new personnel.  The National Health Service Corps has proven to be a powerful incentive to recruit and retain quality providers in underserved areas.  It could be easily adapted to do the same for veterans’ facilities.”

 

The bill introduced by Braley today is similar to a proposal he introduced in 2010.  The text of the bill can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/QGP

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TODAY: Braley to Discuss Introduction of Veterans Access to Care Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:35

Braley will be joined by Iowa Veterans’ Home’s Dr. Douglas Steenblock

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will hold his weekly press conference call with Iowa reporters this morning at 10:30am CST.

Braley will discuss the introduction of legislation that will expand veterans’ access to quality healthcare by helping the Veterans Administration recruit more qualified health providers to America’s rural communities.  Braley will be joined on the call by Dr. Douglas Steenblock, the Director of Mental Health Services at the Iowa Veterans’ Home, who initially came to Braley with the idea for the legislation.

WHAT: Bruce Braley’s weekly press call with Iowa reporters

WHO: Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01)

Dr. Douglas Steenblock, Director of Mental Health Services, Iowa Veterans’ Home

WHEN:                 TODAY, Wednesday February 15th, 2012

11:30am EST // 10:30am CST

CALL-IN:               866-704-2208

PASSCODE:         2414543#

 

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Gilda's Club Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Melissa Wright   
Friday, 17 February 2012 15:38

Gilda’s Club and Genesis Cancer Care Institute are partnering to offer Cancer Transitions™ is a free 2 hour, six-week workshop designed to help cancer survivors make the transition from active treatment to post-treatment care.  Expert panelists including physicians, nutritionists and fitness experts will discuss exercise tailored to each participant’s abilities, training in relaxation and stress management and tips for nutritious eating. Cancer Transitions will answer many of your questions about cancer survivorship post-cancer treatment.  The course covers the following topics:

Session 1: Get Back to Wellness: Take Control of Your Survivorship

Session 2: Exercise for Wellness: Customized Exercise

Session 3: Emotional Health and Well-Being: From Patient to Survivor

Session 4: Nutrition Beyond Cancer

Session 5: Medical Management Beyond Cancer: What You Need to Know

Session 6: Life Beyond Cancer

Date: Wednesday, March 7 (meets for 6 weeks)

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Location: Gilda’s Club Quad Cities, 1234 E. River Dr,  Davenport, IA 52803

Contact for more information or to sign up: Melissa Wright, 563-326-7504 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cancer Transitions is a program of the Cancer Support Community and LiveStrong™

 
IHT World Offers Medical Tourism Services For Quality Low Cost Health Care Choice PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Pam Brammann   
Monday, 13 February 2012 15:22

LeClaire, IA (PRWEB) February 13, 2012

Although many people have never heard the term “medical tourism”, a growing number of Americans are finding it highly valuable to travel outside the United States for health care services.

While medical tourism has been popular in numerous countries around the world, Americans have only recently begun to understand the benefits of this low cost option.

“As a nurse, I became extremely frustrated with the outrageous costs of our health care system,” said Pam Brammann R.N., President and Managing Director of IHT World. “Upon discovering that American quality care can be obtained in other countries for a fraction of the cost in the United States, I decided to offer medical tourism services to help Americans save money on their health care costs.”

Typical savings are usually in the range of 50 to 80 percent compared to medical costs in the United States, including travel expenses for two.

IHT World offers valuable information that helps Americans make informed decisions concerning their health care choices. IHT World also offers a variety of assistive services, such as ensuring safe transfer of medical records abroad to the patient’s choice hospital, as well as forwarding medical records after surgery from the hospital overseas to the patient’s home physician for follow up care.

One common concern regarding medical tourism is what happens in the event of a complication? Although rare, surgery and health care treatment carries the risk of complication both in the United States and overseas.

If complications would develop, financial protection must be ensured. That’s why IHT World strongly suggests that all participants purchase medical tourism insurance. Such a policy is not expensive and offers coverage regarding unfortunate events that may arise.

IHT World works with a company that offers customized medical tourism benefits. Unlike other medical tourism companies, IHT World does not collect commission from insurance policies to help keep costs low.

Individuals, employers and insurance companies are all experiencing the financial burden of American health care.  IHT World offers customized medical tourism services that will help reduce health care costs, without compromising quality.

To discover more go to http://www.ihtworld.com

 
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