08/21/11 Mary Lynn Mathre

Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre of Patients Out of Time, Steven Colbert disses drug reformers, Terry Nelson of LEAP & Drew Bairnsfather of Christians Against Prohibition

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Guest: 
Mary Lynn Mathre
Organization: 
Patients out of Time
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / August 21, 2011

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Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”

“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”

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DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.

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DEAN BECKER: Alright, this is Dean Becker. We’ve got a great show lined up for you today. It’s going to be all about, well, nearly all about marijuana.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: I’m a Registered Nurse, President and co-Founder of Patients Out of Time. Patients Out of Time is a non-profit, educational charity dedicated to educating health care professionals and the public about the therapeutic use of cannabis.

DEAN BECKER: Mary Lynn, as one of the co-founders of Patients Out of Time you are called upon to speak to various organizations. You’ve got one such event coming up in September, do you not?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Yes. September 7th through the 10th there’s a Joint Nursing conference that’s going to be held in Tucson, Arizona. It’s a big organization. It’s the primary nursing organization for addictions nurses, the International Nurses Society on Addictions. And then for pain it’s the American Society for Pain Management Nursing.

They’re coming together and the theme for their conference is “Managing Pain and Addiction.”

DEAN BECKER: Mary Lynn, there are so many stumbling blocks, if you will, to sharing and making use of the information in regards to cannabis for various means of treatment. Tell us what you’ll be talking about at this conference.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: I’ll be doing a pre-conference workshop on September 7th and that specifically is about the use of cannabis for chronic pain. My goal there really is to bring this issue in front of nurses and explain how the new science on the endocannabinoid system, let alone all our research on patients specifically and in animal research shows that cannabis can be helpful for chronic pain.

With the endocannabinoid system we understand how it’s really involved in pain processing, especially neuropathic pain. So a lot of it is just to try to help nurses understand so that when they come across patients using cannabis they don’t automatically assume substance abuse or people just wanting to get high. That this may, in fact, be a real serious issue.

Besides that workshop I’m going to do a concurrent session, a shorter session, on “To Test or Not to Test for Cannabis for Pain Contracts.” And that one, I think, is really more interesting. I think patients everywhere who are chronic pain patients, if they’re using opiates (morphine, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, the many, many opiate medications that are available for treating pain) they can be very helpful, certainly, but generally for long-term use patients need more and more over time.

Health care professionals get a little leery about giving them pain medication. So one of the things they do very often is have is have patients sign a contract. And part of that contract is … It tells them they can’t be going to other doctors and usually it’s something about, “You can’t call in for your prescriptions early.” “We’re not going to acknowledge that you lost your prescription.” Etc… And it will probably do random urine drug screening.

And this is just…You know the whole idea, therapeutically, is to make sure that if they are giving them opiates the patients are using the opiates correctly and not mixing it with dangerous drugs.

There is some federal issues there that a physician cannot prescribe an opiate to an opiate addict. In the old days they’d say a “narcotic” addict. And so all the time the cops and even the docs would throw in marijuana when you say “narcotic” and marijuana/cannabis is not a narcotic.

What I’m trying to convey to the nurses is that if the patients are going to have a pain contract and sign that and are going to do drug testing with that, why include cannabis?

There’s kind of two ways to look at it. 1, in the states where cannabis is legal and patients may be using it for pain… in fact, in the states where cannabis is allowed pain is the primary reason that patients use cannabis. So it’s overwhelmingly popular in those states.

DEAN BECKER: Mary Lynn, you mentioned that the amount of opiates tends to rise over a period of time and yet it has been found that through the use of cannabis people can more restrict their use of these dangerous opiates. Is that correct?

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Exactly. Exactly and that’s kind of the point I want to make especially for those states where it’s still not legal. They find the patients using cannabis and very often the patient gets kicked out of the pain clinic or their opiate prescriptions get cut off. You know, “We’re not going to write this prescription if you’re going to use illicit drugs.”

And my point to them is this is not good clinical judgment. “You’re too concerned about these laws.” I’m not telling nurses to break laws or anything like that but a patient who uses cannabis…I tell you, I would almost say 100% but clearly most of the overwhelming majority of patients because of the way cannabis works with opiates, they will cut their use of opiates. They won’t have the problem of constipation. They won’t have nausea that often accompanies patients who use opiates. And it actually helps with their depression.

So by using cannabis they decrease a lot of the other medication use and either get rid of their opiate use or cut it significantly. And they feel better. They feel more alert and they function better.

So clinically it makes great sense to add cannabis for somebody with chronic pain. And yet what we see happening is patients going to a pain clinic. They get put on opiates. Then they get drug tested and if the cannabis/THC shows up in their urine, the next thing they know they’re kicked out of the clinic.

It’s because they are afraid of the legal repercussions…the clinicians are afraid of legal repercussions as opposed to really being open to the science and seeing what is good patient care. Granted maybe they can’t break the law but, again, the hope here is to, once they understand that use of cannabis for chronic pain is a good idea and often very helpful for a patient, they should be advocating to change those laws in the states that don’t allow it. Frankly all health care professionals should be advocating to get it out of Schedule I.

You know the fight goes on and on and on with trying to reschedule cannabis and every rational argument , every study with professionals who understand the science clearly know that it doesn’t belong there. And yet the stubborn DEA continues to keep it in Schedule I.

DEAN BECKER: Once again we’re speaking with Mary Lynn Mathre, Patients Out of Time. Mary Lynn, I …and I’m not casting dispersions on doctors and nurses because, especially the nurses, I think you guys are in the trenches. You see what goes on and you know, first-hand, how it affects the patient by being around their bedside. What I want to bring out here is I’ve heard it said that if you have a fence up and sheep come along and they jump the fence and this goes on for some time and you take down that fence, the sheep will still jump where that fence used to be.

The Drug War, the belief system, this dang-near religion has been in place so long that people are just afraid to object…For too long people have just done “what has been done” without daring to question why.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Yes and it’s tough to try to put that into words but I’m with you 100% on that. Sometimes I’ve asked clinicians when they say, “Well, it’s against the law.” And I just look at them and ask, “But why?!” You know, stop and think. “Why are you just accepting this?!” “Your just thinking like it was always written in stone.”

And, that’s one of the reasons we always use the word cannabis. I keep trying to tell health care specialists that this was a popular medicine. For centuries it’s been a medicine. In the United States it was a popular medicine until “Reefer Madness” came about and they used “marijuana” and they’ve got it ingrained in our heads. Marijuana equals substance abuse.

There’s no science to back that up. The whole marijuana prohibition was based on lies and racism so you just have to, hopefully, get people to stop and think about it. I was saying, you know, sometimes we make stupid laws for whatever reason and those laws need to be changed. This is one that, in general, people just think that there really must be a reason that it’s illegal. It’s got to be bad or the government wouldn’t continue this. And that’s just naïve thinking.

No, there are people with…whether it be law enforcement, the DEA…as my husband says, “It’s jobs program.” Keeping marijuana illegal means a lot of jobs for cops. We arrest, you know, how many people do we arrest every year for marijuana possession alone?! It’s ridiculous.

The urine testing industry. Marijuana is probably the biggest one that get used for that because it does stay in the system. There’s a lot of people making a lot of money with marijuana being illegal.

Even to the extent that sometimes there…NORML does good work but yet there’s been the sense that sometimes NORML lawyers are involved…

DEAN BECKER: I want to interject here that the NORML lawyers she’s talking about are the lawyers that are affiliated somehow with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: There are good lawyers and bad lawyers and I don’t mean to say anything negative in that respect but there has been a sense that as long as it’s illegal, the lawyers are making money.

Yes so everybody’s making money off it being illegal and meanwhile the patients are suffering. For those using it recreationally it’s a lot less harmful than the opiate epidemic we’re getting now where kids are dying from overdoses. Or methamphetamine or other drugs that people get into recreationally.

So, from a harm reduction standpoint, we’re making much ado about nothing. But from a patient perspective this is really harming patients and yeah, I don’t know either, Dean. It’s just tough to break through people’s …The fact that they’ve grown up knowing it’s illegal and they just want to believe it no matter what. They just can’t fathom that we’ve been lied to all these years.

DEAN BECKER: Mary Lynn, as a recovering alcoholic, just over 26 years, my heart goes out to really millions of Americans who have a problem with alcohol and yet have a problem with drug testing and therefor they cannot substitute the use of alcohol, debilitating, physically/mentally etc., for just a bit of cannabis each day to kind of take away the nervousness and the need to reach outside one’s normal existence.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: Well congratulations on your recovery. My background is Addictions Nursing and alcohol is a huge problem in the United States. And it doesn’t mean that alcohol itself is bad but a lot of people have a problem with it.

And what we’re finding too in some of those states where…the 16 states that do have laws for medical cannabis, some are keeping better track of it than others, and some of the dispensaries are keeping track of their patients…cocaine, methamphetamine, other opiates…they come in and they’re finding the cannabis actually helps them get off those other drugs and stay off them.

Phillipe Lucas from British Columbia who ran the Vancouver Island Compassionate Society has coined the phrase that “cannabis is an exit drug” not a gateway drug. It helps people to get off of addictions rather than move you into stronger and harder drugs.

I think that’s a real important concept and that’s another concept that’s important for health care professionals to understand. If someone is going to be using something illicitly, they need to ask why. Asking patients, “Why are you using this drug and what is it doing for you.” We can get an answer back.

Patients many times use alcohol for the pain. We can, at least, explain and show them how it is not a healthy pain remedy and that when it blocks the emotional pain it doesn’t fix it. It doesn’t make it go away. It’s still there. And long-term, heavy use of it is going to destroy you mentally, physically, etc. We can show them that and the patients actually…most alcoholics know they’re having a problem with alcohol down the road. They just can’t stop.

But with cannabis it’s kind of like you’re trying to convince them that it’s hurting them when a patient is only seeing that it’s helping them. It’s different things that I think health care professionals need to wake up and look at the patient and clinically help them see if it’s helping or hurting them. If it’s not hurting them and trying to convince them that they need to stop, it doesn’t build a relationship between the health care professional and the patient,

DEAN BECKER: Mary Lynn, if you would like to share the details of that conference next month, please provide that.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: It’s Management of Pain and Addictions - Broadening Our Perspectives and it’s a Joint Conference between the International Nurses Society on Addiction and the American Society for Pain Management Nurses. It’s going to be held in Tucson on September 7th through 10th at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa. Hope to see many, many nurses there. It’s two huge issues that nurses, even if that’s not your specialty it’s really important to understand both issues.

DEAN BECKER: Mary Lynn, the website for Patients Out of Time.

MARY LYNN MATHRE: We’re at http://medicalcannabis.com. I encourage everybody to go. I also encourage any health care professional to take a look at that website and on the front page you can actually link to earn continuing education units by attending some of our courses online.

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(Game show music)

DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.

A 2009 study recommended treating heroin addicts with diacetylmorphine, the active ingredient in this.

(gong)

Time’s up!

The answer: From a recent edition of Jeopardy…”What is heroin?”

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DEAN BECKER: The following courtesy of Comedy Central.

STEVEN COLBERT: Welcome to the Persuaduala where eloquent speech becomes good and stuff like that. Now I had my staff generate something called a word cloud, a visual representation of your most frequently used words. The more you use them, the larger they would appear in the cloud. So nation, I give you “What you stand for.”

(audience laughter)

OK, there it is.

(audience cheering and applause)

Evidently, marijuana…very high on your list. I have forwarded all of your contact information to the DEA so they can find out just how much you care about it. Your voices will be heard.

Now folks, while this is good and this tells us a lot. I believe democracy means “One man, one vote.” …for one dollar. Remember SuperPACs only exist because the Supreme Court ruled that money equals speech.

So we generated another word cloud. If you gave me one dollar you go one vote, one hundred dollars = one hundred votes. Meaning while this is what you said, this is what I heard…boom.

(audience laughter)

As you can see, marijuana now much smaller. I can barely read it particularly with my Glaucoma. Now, that’s a lesson to you stoners. If you want to make a difference…If you stoners want to make a difference, spend less on the wacky tobaccy, more on the SuperPAC-y.

DEAN BECKER: Colbert…damn funny…no mistaking that. And the fact is he’s also right on the money he talks about the failure of the marijuana community, the anti-drug war community to cough up the dollars to pay the lobbyist to get the job done. Because that’s really where it’s at.

The fact of the matter is he also kind of sneers at the lack of capability. I know that’s his job and don’t think it’s really what he believe but it’s indicative of the way stoners are treated. You know, first they kick in your door and take all your stuff and send you to jail and you lose your car, your wife and your kids and your future. And then you’re supposed to do something about it.

I realize we do need to work a little more cohesively. We do need to work together to end this madness. But, it is my hope that Steven Colbert was just kind of bluffing and that he will provide focus to the grave concerns of millions of American citizens.

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DEAN BECKER: After 40 years of smoking Marlboros which I quit years ago and after 45 years of smoking crummy Mexican cartel weed I find my lungs are in need of some relief.

So I saw this notice of a new type of vaporizer, which is a means to inhale the good stuff from cannabis without actually having to set it on fire.  I bought one a week ago from VAPIR  its  the NO2.

It's small, portable, cheap and battery operated.  The drawback is that it does not hold a lot of stash

I personally found it not only makes it easy to take a hit but that it actually enhances the product,  hydro, hash or even cartel crap beyond that which can be derived by using a pipe or a joint and its effects last much longer, very close to the effects of eating a cannabis cookie.

So If you're old like me and need a milder means of intake or if you're young and don't want to become a wheezer, check out http://VAPIR.com

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(music)

DEAN BECKER: What gives the Drug War life? Is it the cartels? Maybe it’s the Baptist, the bankers, the gangs or the cops. Who’s in charge of it? Which politicians? Peasant farmers? Big Pharma? Is it the street corner vendor? Is it you? Is it me? It is fear that gives the Drug War life.

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TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson speaking on behalf of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The Drug Czar’s office proudly displays information on their website about how many children they take from parents that abuse drugs. Bear in mind that the mere use of a drug is called abuse by the Drug Czar’s office. Some statistics that they have displayed are:

“Between 2002 and 2007, an estimated 2.1 million children in the United States lived with at least one parent who used or was dependent on illicit drugs.”

“Studies of children in foster care find that 40% to 80% of families involved with child welfare having substance abuse problems. “

“A 2003 study analyzing administrative data regarding persons treated for substance abuse in California found that 60% of persons treated for substance abuse in California's publicly-funded treatment system were parents of minor children.  Of those treated, 295,000 parents (or 27%) had one or more children removed from their custody by child welfare services.”

So, in California alone, the Drug Czar’s policy has removed approximately 75,000 kids from their parents and they proudly display these statistics. Perhaps they have not made the connection that also approximately 25% of the people that go to jail today come from foster homes or institutions.

These parents fight to get their children back but it is tough to battle the State. However, the State does provide them an attorney to assist if they cannot afford one. You can readily see why we are in a budget crisis. The State takes children, pays someone else to take care of them, jails their parents, pays for their detention, they get out on parole, the State pays the Parole Officer to monitor them, they want their children back so the State pays the attorney to help them fight the State to get them back.

All of this comes out of your tax dollars. This is so irresponsible and so illogical that it staggers the imagination.

These children are not taken from their parents because the parents are abusive to the kids. They are taken because the parent uses an illicit drug. A drug made illicit by the very government that takes the kids.

The same government that says cannabis is as dangerous as heroin, LSD and PCP. This idiocy has to stop. Let’s quit this madness. Legalize all drugs and quit taking parent’s children from them unless they are being physically or mentally abused.

Let’s begin a process of credible education about the dangers of drugs that cause major harms to the user but let’s not put people in jail for doing harm only to themselves and causing absolutely no harm to others.

Let’s all work to change this failed policy and help protect our future generation from the violence that we have had to endure during this policy failure.

Stay safe. This is Terry Nelson of LEAP at http://www.leap.cc

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(music)

DEAN BECKER: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. These men and women have served in the trenches of the Drug War as prosecutors, judges, cops, guards and wardens. They have seen first-hand the utter futility of our policy and now work together to end drug prohibition. Please visit http://www.leap.cc

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DEAN BECKER: Long-time listeners to the Drug Truth Network may remember the name Drew Bairnsfather. He was one of the winners of the DASH award but then he gave it back and then he started listening to programs more and then got involved with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and other organizations and is now endeavoring to help change people’s attitudes. Drew, what are you up to?

DREW BAIRNSFATHER: Trying to champion LEAP, mainly, since I think LEAP is one of the premium organizations that will us end the Drug War. I decided to start Christians Against Prohibition.

DEAN BECKER: How are you proceeding in spreading the word?

DREW BAIRNSFATHER: First, mostly I was trying to collect my own thoughts in a public way on the internet but I knew that I wanted to reach out and I knew that flyers that I could put in people’s hands was one of the first ways. Being a huge fan of LEAP, I created flyers specifically using LEAP’s slogans based on their bumper stickers.

Then I graduated to flyers based on my own writings so I have three flyers that people can download. They are aimed at the grassroots level. In other words, they don’t use a whole lot of ink. They are meant to be printed on people’s inkjet printers. There’s three flyers that are currently available.

The first one I did was “Drug War Tree and Fruit” which is meant to just be a convincing little flyer as to why the Drug War has failed us and done nothing but bad.

Then I did another flyer called the “Bungee Jumping and Drugs – A Lesson in Harm Reduction.” Which is intended to help people bring Alcohol Prohibition to focus on modern drug prohibition.

And, last but not least, I created a flyer called, “What We are Saying and What We are Not Saying.” And that’s based on one of my earliest writings on the http://christiansagainstprohibition.org website where I wanted to help people understand that because we want to legalize drugs doesn’t necessarily mean we want excessive party time. What we’re really saying is that we need to get drugs out of the black market.

DEAN BECKER: Drew, I know that you’re certainly not nationwide but from a small mustard seed a large tree may grow.

DREW BAIRNSFATHER: (chuckling) That’s right.

DEAN BECKER: Drew, I do appreciate the work you do and I’ll leave it at that. Drew Bairnsfather, one more time, your website.

DREW BAIRNSFATHER: http://christiansagainstprohibition.org

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(wind)

DEAN BECKER: The winds of prohibition howl as the irrational maelstrom blows. Pipe dreaming warriors raise their eternal chant, dancing for rain in the deluge of a drug war hurricane. Drug Truth dot Net.

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DEAN BECKER: As always I remind you that because of prohibition – you don’t know what’s in that bag, Please, be careful.

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DEAN BECKER: To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org
Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.