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Nutjob Cop Lee Coel Shoots Librarian? It’s a Gun Safety Issue

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Aug. 12, 2016 (Fault Lines) – In June, I reported on a Florida police officer who pulled over an unarmed man on a bicycle and ordered his dog to eat him. A Facebook police reform group, Charlotte County Florida Cop Watch, was the first to release video of the October 30, 2015 incident, which shows the officer standing by and mocking his victim as the dog feasts on his arm and chest. The bike rider, later revealed to be Richard Schumacher, 26, can be heard begging the cop to call off his dog; the officer’s only response is to tell him to “stop resisting.”

By the time Schumacher’s ordeal was over, the K9 had mauled him for a total of two and a half minutes. The extraordinarily graphic video shows Schumacher twitching in a pool of his own blood, with large chunks missing from his upper body. The police officer, who at various points during the video can be heard congratulating his dog as it disfigures Schumacher, only called it off as other cops began to arrive arriving on the scene. Schumacher, who was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, survived after undergoing nearly two weeks of “surgery and treatment.”

On August 9, this officer, Lee Coel of the Punta Gorda Police Department, shot and killed an elderly librarian during a role-playing exercise.

At During a “Chamber Police Night” organized by the PGPD – an event designed to help non-cops understand and appreciate police work – Coel and the librarian, Mary Knowlton, 73, were selected to take part in a “shoot/don’t shoot” exercise. Knowlton was given the part of an armed “bad guy,” while Coel played a police officer in close proximity to the bad guy and faced with the decision of whether to shoot.

These exercises are par for the course at most citizen’s police academies. The point is to demonstrate the risks officers face when confronted with a suspect who may or may not be armed, and to make non-cops see the danger of taking too long to decide to shoot. When it’s the cop playing the “bad guy,” he’ll “shoot” his counterpart if he or she doesn’t immediately take action.

From a police PR standpoint, “shoot/don’t shoot” exercises are very useful. They make cops look heroic, teach non-cops to subscribe to the “split-second decision” trope trotted out after every officer-involved shooting, condition them to see every person shot by police as the simplistic armed, murderous suspect of academy lore, and emphasize the downside of hesitating too long when deciding whether to take someone’s somebody’s life. Even better, up until now, it appears these exercises have always been safe.

So it’s a shame pity that their effectiveness will be forever diminished by the actions of one rogue Florida cop.

For some inexplicable reason, the gun Coel used was loaded with live ammunition instead of blanks. And when he opened fire, it seems appears he didn’t immediately notice that Knowlton was hit; according to eyewitness reports, Coel fired at least three times.* Knowlton was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

In the wake of Knowlton’s killing, the Punta Gorda PD, which initially refused to confirm Coel was the shooter, released a statement describing what happened as a “horrible accident.” At a press conference held the next day, Police Chief Tom Lewis told reporters the officers at Police Night believed the gun, which he said had been used in previous shoot/don’t shoot exercises, was loaded with blanks. For her part, a PGPD spokeswoman, Katie Heck, said that at the events she’d attended, police officers had used “simunition” guns incapable of firing live ammo. It remains to be seen which of these stories reflects department policy.

For the time being, the PGPD is committed to standing behind Coel; a statement posted to its Facebook page confirms that Coel, who in typically bland police-spokesman language language, is described as “the officer involved in the shoot/don’t shoot scenario,” has been placed on administrative leave while the department investigates.**

Spokespeople from other police departments in north Florida and across the country were quick to virtue-signal condemn the Punta Gorda PD for its gun safety failings and try to salvage the reputation of their own events emphasize the security protocols in place at their citizen’s police when they take part in citizen’s academies. Different sources disagreed on the exact nature of these gun safety failings; one firearm instructor interviewed by The News-Press said officers should have made sure there was no live ammunition in the classroom and repeatedly checked the gun wasn’t loaded, while others, like spokespeople for the Tampa and St. Petersburg PDs and the National Citizens Police Academy Association, said the right move would have been to use only guns incapable of firing live ammo.

Police officers, except the ones who can’t tell donut crumbs from meth, aren’t total idiots, and if someone in the room had been adult enough to verify that the gun was loaded with blanks, Knowlton would still be alive. But the more important point is that the gun safety issue issues that every police spokesperson interviewed by the media saw see as the cause of the shooting is, at best, a secondary concern. Even if someone had noticed that Coel’s gun was loaded with live ammo, it would at best have forestalled, not avoided, another disaster. The biggest problem of all is that the man who pulled the trigger that night was Lee Coel, still employed as a cop Punta Gorda police officer despite his abuse of Schumacher and a record of misconduct at the last PD to give him a job. employ him.

If you were surprised by Punta Gorda’s refusal to condemn Coel after Knowlton’s shooting, don’t be. After all, the PGPD backed him to the hilt after Schumacher’s mauling. When video of that incident went viral, the department equivocated in the face of media interest, then claimed it had already conducted an internal affairs investigation and cleared Coel of wrongdoing. Coel himself was not punished, though he was sent for counseling; deliciously, it was his dog that was suspended and sent for retraining.

And it turns out that Coel, despite his young age, is a career bad cop. Back in June, Chief Lewis revealed that Coel, who was hired by the PGPD in 2014 at the age of 26, left his previous job with the Miramar PD after he was suspended following two excessive-force complaints in April 2013.***

For our purposes, there’s a lesson here. Despite the juicy systemic failures that led to Coel still being employed as a police officer the night he shot and killed Mary Knowlton, the media chose to focus on an unrelated issue. Together with constitutionally clueless reporting, like the Miami Herald’s insinuation that Coel’s actions towards Schumacher were justified because Schumacher flipped him off, the mainstream sources reporting on this shooting did a good job of missing the point completely.

If police reform is to have a chance of success, we need to stay focused. Guns are a trendy topic. But guns didn’t kill a 73-year-old librarian. Instead, it was a man, someone profoundly unsuited to being a police officer.

*Perhaps he thought Knowlton was an unusually good actress? Or maybe he’s incapable of understanding when he hurts others. That would certainly explain the mauling.

**The statement goes on to say that Coel is “receiving assistance from [the] department and the Police Benevolent Association.”

***Cops getting hired by Department A after being fired from Department B is a popular subject at Fault Lines.

The post Nutjob Cop Lee Coel Shoots Librarian? It’s a Gun Safety Issue appeared first on Mimesis Law.

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South Park: The Fractured But Whole's fart-smelling peripheral is a sin against humanity

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The smell of utter despair is a lot like a fart

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is here at Gamescom 2016, as is a new torture device from Ubisoft called the Nosulus Rift. Instead of dropping you into a virtual reality world, however, the Oculus Rift spoof has something far more sinister in mind. Its sole purpose for existing is to deliver a potent fart smell during specific game moments.

I tested the Nosulus Rift out during a brief demo of the game because I possess both an insatiable curiosity and a deep sense of self-loathing.  If you thought regular VR headsets made you look like a dork (and they really do), then the Nosulus Rift is not going to do you any favors. The device straps directly onto your face, covering your nose in a way that best resembles Bane from Batman or a high-tech Hannibal Lecter. It seems perfectly harmless at first, until you trigger the game's farting mechanic.

Nosulus Rift
am I cool yet

Farting is a key component of South Park: The Fractured But Whole. It's a command you can trip at any time with a button press; in the demo, it was also a way to jettison my tiny hero through the sky. Immediately after a fart, the Nosulus floods with a smell that I promise only gets stronger as you go. This horrible, noxious gas, I'm told, comes from oils within the device. It's sort of like aromatherapy in hell.

I don't know if I'd go as far as to call myself Polygon's resident smell expert — there are too many people on staff with children — but I can assure you I've smelt some truly horrible things that I have not personally dealt. Still, I'm sure you'd like to see my credentials. That's cool! I respect your integrity. In no particular order of importance, here is a list of just a few terrible things I have smelled in my life:

  • A smoothie I once forgot about and left in my car, in the dead heat of a Missouri summer, for five weeks
  • A fraternity house
  • San Francisco
  • Various spoiled foods left to die in my fridge, including milk that assumed a solid form; blackened fruit; and rancid meat
  • Gorilla poop
  • Many airport bathrooms, both international and domestic
  • An average of three video game industry conventions every year over the last four years
  • Wet laundry I forgot about and came back to three days later, only to find out it grew mold
  • Human urine and feces, incubated in a hot tunnel (You might be thinking this was also in San Francisco. It was not.)

I humbly believe that this list, while by no means extensive, will make you believe me when I tell you the Nosulus Rift is — can I swear? It's absolutely [Ed.'s note: Removed. Megan, please never use this word on our website again.] They call it a fart smell, but it is the scent that farts fart. It is a concentrated blast of an all-day music festival's worst port-a-potty. It is a used diaper left to wither and die in the desert sun, just after being sprayed with the bad breath of someone who loves eating heavy cheeses and corpses, probably.

If you think a few whiffs of fresh air will free you, please, let me assure you that it does not. The smell lingers. I've blown my nose no less than seven times today, forced my olfactory organ into every aroma-laden corner of Gamescom I could find, and yet it haunts me still.

According to the very lovely Ubisoft rep that subjected me to this nausea-inducing experience, only 8-10 of these monstrosities exist. They're unlikely to ever make it to retail. The thought helps me sleep at night.

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6 days ago
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NY Gov bans sex offenders from Pokémon Go, calls on Niantic for help

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Report details proximity of sex offenders to Pokémon items

The governor of New York is banning paroled sex offenders from playing Pokémon Go and asking that the game’s creator block those homes from attracting players.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to restrict sex offenders under community supervision from using Pokémon Go and similar games.

Both the letter and the new directive come in the wake of a report by state Senators Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino which showed that 73 percent of the 100 sex offender addresses checked were within a half-block of a Pokémon , a Pokémon stop or a gym in New York City. You can read the full report below.

He also sent a letter to Pokémon Go developer Niantic requesting their assistance in prohibiting dangerous sexual predators from playing Pokémon Go or using the game to literally lure children to their homes.

"Protecting New York’s children is priority number one and, as technology evolves, we must ensure these advances don't become new avenues for dangerous predators to prey on new victims," Governor Cuomo said in a prepared statement. "These actions will provide safeguards for the players of these augmented reality games and help take one more tool away from those seeking to do harm to our children."

In the report, the two outlined two solutions for what they believe is a game that while encouraging children to go outside and become physically active, also "creates an alarming safety issue that must be addressed immediately."

1. Legislation: Active Sex Offender Ban on Augmented Reality Games Currently, sex offenders in this category are banned from using social media, but the statute is not clear on whether a game such as this constitutes social media. This legislation uses the IDC’s new definition of "augmented reality games" to ban sex offenders on probation or conditional discharge pursuant to §65.10 of the New York Penal Law from downloading or playing any augmented reality game. This bill would keep the game out of the hands of known sex offenders with a recent history of offenses against children.

2. Legislation: In-Game Sex Offender Residence Restriction This new legislation would place restrictions inside the game that would prevent children from playing the game near a sex offender’s primary residence. The provisions include the following:

In-game objectives cannot be located within a 100-foot radius of the sex offender’s home.

The game developer must obtain information regarding all publicly-listed sex offender addresses from the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) website, and must update this information on a monthly basis.

The attorney general will have the power to enforce the provisions of the act, including issuing cease and desist orders against the game developer in the event that they are not complying with the act.

Penalties include a maximum $100 per day fine for each location in the game that does not comply with the exclusion requirements in the act. These fines could be substantial, as there are thousands of sex offender residences around the state.

While the governor’s letter and directive to the department of corrections and community services, doesn’t carry the weight of law, it could be seen as a stopgap until such a law is passed.

We’ve reached out to Niantic, the governor’s office and the offices of both senators for both reaction to the request and to find out if a law or laws are in the works. We’ll update this story when they respond.

"Pokémon Go entertains our children, but it forgets about the reality of this world: it can be dangerous. Sex offenders who download the game legally could pinpoint hot spots where children congregate, like Pokémon stops or gyms, and meet them in person," Savino said in a prepared statement included with the governor’s press release. "The investigation I conducted revealed that these spots were located near the homes of these dangerous individuals. I will continue to fight for legislation to keep our children safe. I thank Governor Cuomo for immediately responding to our investigation in the interest of children across New York State."

Klein said in another statement that Pokémon Go provides sex offenders with a "virtual road map to our children.

"We know that pedophiles always seek new ways to lure victims and this new technology that entertains our kids, could also bring them close to dangerous individuals instead of Pokémon," he said. "In fact, my Pokémon Go investigation uncovered a disturbing correlation between high level sex offenders' residences and in-game objectives. While this directive is a good first step, there's still more work to be done legislatively to protect children who use this technology and I will continue to monitor this situation. I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking action on my investigation within 48 hours to protect New York's children."

The July study, entitled How Pokémon Go and Augmented Reality Games Expose Children to Sex Offenders, looked at the primary addresses of sex offenders in each borough of New York City. The list was prioritized using residential addresses of sex offenders who are currently under supervision and whose crimes involve the sexual abuse of children or the possession of child pornography.

The researchers then visited 100 of those addresses to see what in-game activities or objectives were located in the area of the sex offenders’ addresses. They also used maps created by MapPokémonGo and cross-referenced the Pokémon stops and gyms found there with the addresses they had. Finally, they looked at portals used in Niantic’s Ingress, which uses the same GPS coordinates and locations and Pokémon Go.

The findings show that there was a Pokémon directly in front of a sex offenders home 57 percent of the time and Pokémon stops or gyms were located within a half block radius 59 percent of the time.

The report also notes how seemingly hard it is to use Niantic’s existing system to have a stop or gym relocated and that filing a complaint over inappropriate behavior seems to generate a response that tells the complainant to contact their local law enforcement.

Under current New York State law, sex offenders are classified as low, moderate and high risk of committing another sex crime and harm to the community.

As of Jan. 21, 1996, anyone who is on parole or probation or incarcerated for a sex offense must register with the state as a sex offender. A sex offender who is on parole or probation can be prevented from living within 1,000 feet of a school or other facility caring for children. Local laws in New York can include further restrictions.

The state maintains a publicly available database of registered sex offenders which includes their crimes, details about the person and where they currently live. Level one, low-risk offenders must register for 20 years to life depending on the crime. Level 2 and level 3 offenders must register for life.

In his letter to Niantic CEO John Hanke, Governor Cuomo points out that the state’s Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (which he introduced as the state’s attorney general) requires sex offenders to register and keep up-to-date all current email accounts, screen names, and any other Internet identifiers with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

That list is then given to more than two dozen social networking companies on a weekly basis and those sites use it to purge offenders from their membership rosters, according to the letter.

Concerns over Klein and Savino’s report as well as the ability for a sex offender to purchase a lure in the game to attract children to their home, or close to it, prompted the governor to direct the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to reach out to Niantic.

He writes in his letter (which you can read below) that the division will be providing "the most up-to-date information of offenders within the Sex Offender Registry.

"With this information, we hope you will be able to prevent identified sex offenders from using this game," he writes. "DCJS will also contact Apple and Google to inform them of these public safety concerns and will work with them to enhance user safety. Software developers that operate augmented reality games likePokémon Go should be entitled to the same information that is regularly shared with companies like Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.

"Pokémon Go has generated enormous popularity among users across New York and beyond. Through these common sense actions, we can together act swiftly to create a safer environment for Pokémon Go players and all New Yorkers."

Update: Added an explanation of current sex offender state law in New York.

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23 days ago
Technology is killing your children! Vote for me so I can make it stop!
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The Security of Our Election Systems


Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee's computer network that led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the party's convention began, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded.

The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation's computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November ­ that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack.

If the intelligence community has indeed ascertained that Russia is to blame, our government needs to decide what to do in response. This is difficult because the attacks are politically partisan, but it is essential. If foreign governments learn that they can influence our elections with impunity, this opens the door for future manipulations, both document thefts and dumps like this one that we see and more subtle manipulations that we don't see.

Retaliation is politically fraught and could have serious consequences, but this is an attack against our democracy. We need to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin in some way ­ politically, economically or in cyberspace ­ and make it clear that we will not tolerate this kind of interference by any government. Regardless of your political leanings this time, there's no guarantee the next country that tries to manipulate our elections will share your preferred candidates.

Even more important, we need to secure our election systems before autumn. If Putin's government has already used a cyberattack to attempt to help Trump win, there's no reason to believe he won't do it again ­ especially now that Trump is inviting the "help."

Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with Internet voting. These systems are insecure and vulnerable to attack.

But while computer security experts like me have sounded the alarm for many years, states have largely ignored the threat, and the machine manufacturers have thrown up enough obfuscating babble that election officials are largely mollified.

We no longer have time for that. We must ignore the machine manufacturers' spurious claims of security, create tiger teams to test the machines' and systems' resistance to attack, drastically increase their cyber-defenses and take them offline if we can't guarantee their security online.

Longer term, we need to return to election systems that are secure from manipulation. This means voting machines with voter-verified paper audit trails, and no Internet voting. I know it's slower and less convenient to stick to the old-fashioned way, but the security risks are simply too great.

There are other ways to attack our election system on the Internet besides hacking voting machines or changing vote tallies: deleting voter records, hijacking candidate or party websites, targeting and intimidating campaign workers or donors. There have already been multiple instances of political doxing ­ publishing personal information and documents about a person or organization ­ and we could easily see more of it in this election cycle. We need to take these risks much more seriously than before.

Government interference with foreign elections isn't new, and in fact, that's something the United States itself has repeatedly done in recent history. Using cyberattacks to influence elections is newer but has been done before, too ­ most notably in Latin America. Hacking of voting machines isn't new, either. But what is new is a foreign government interfering with a U.S. national election on a large scale. Our democracy cannot tolerate it, and we as citizens cannot accept it.

Last April, the Obama administration issued an executive order outlining how we as a nation respond to cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure. While our election technology was not explicitly mentioned, our political process is certainly critical. And while they're a hodgepodge of separate state-run systems, together their security affects every one of us. After everyone has voted, it is essential that both sides believe the election was fair and the results accurate. Otherwise, the election has no legitimacy.

Election security is now a national security issue; federal officials need to take the lead, and they need to do it quickly.

This essay originally appeared in the Washington Post.

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27 days ago
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Maryland Switches Opioid Treatments, And Some Patients Cry Foul


A demonstration dose of Suboxone film, which is placed under the tongue. It is used to treat opioid addiction. M. Spencer Green/AP hide caption

toggle caption M. Spencer Green/AP
A demonstration dose of Suboxone film, which is placed under the tongue. It is used to treat opioid addiction.

A demonstration dose of Suboxone film, which is placed under the tongue. It is used to treat opioid addiction.

M. Spencer Green/AP

Maryland Medicaid officials have made what appears to be a small change to the its list of preferred medications to treat opioid addictions. The agency used to pay for the drug in a dissolvable film form. Now it's steering patients to tablets, which some doctors say are not as effective for their patients.

Those doctors say the change is having a profound effect on some people struggling to stay clean.

Starting on July 1, Maryland's Medicaid program removed Suboxone film — a drug that can be used by people addicted to opioids to keep their cravings at bay — from the state's list of preferred drugs and replaced it with a tablet form of the medication called Zubsolv.

State officials say the change was made to stop the illicit flow of the drug into jails and prisons.

"Those Suboxone strips were diverted and smuggled into jails and later were sold or traded in criminal activity that was happening in jails," says Shannon McMahon, deputy secretary of Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "The numbers were frankly staggering, the amount of diversion that was happening in the jails."

So far this year more than 2,300 hits of Suboxone have been seized in Maryland jails and prisons, according to Gerald Shields of the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. That's about 40 percent more than at this time last year, Shields says.

The drug helps people control their opioid habit. But it is also an opioid itself. It doesn't produce high as strong as many opioid painkillers that have turned into popular street drugs. But it does stave off cravings and can create a mild sense of euphoria.

It comes as a tiny dissolvable film — about the size of a Listerine breath mint strip — that's transparent and easy to hide.

"They have been cut up into multiple different pieces," McMahon tells Shots. A single strip can be worth as much as $50 on the street and they are often divided into several "hits" that are sold individually, she says.

"They were coming into prisons through letters – backs of stamps, corners of folks' eyeglasses," she says. McMahon says the strips were causing problems in prisons because of illegal sales and trade.

So at the recommendation of the Department of Corrections, along with a panel that advises the state's Medicaid program on medications, officials decided to replace the Suboxone strip with Zubsolv, made by a Swedish company called Orexo AB.

The choice is raising eyebrows because Maryland's health secretary Van Mitchell used to work for Manis Canning & Associates, the lobbying firm that represents Orexo. Mitchell's spokeswoman says he left the firm before Orexo became a client.

Mitchell and Steven T. Moyer, Maryland's Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services, argued in an article in the Baltimore Sun that the change would save lives. They said Maryland's correctional system, since 2010, "has seen 13 fatal overdoses." However, a spokeswoman for the state's health department acknowledged that those were overdoses on opioids in general, and not specifically overdoses on Suboxone film.

Doctors say Suboxone film, as well as the Zubsolv pill that replaces it, actually protect against overdoses because they contain both the opioid Buprenorpphine and a drug called naloxone that reverses the effects of an overdose. Naloxone is used by emergency responders to revive people who overdose.

The change has drawn broad opposition from doctors who treat people with substance abuse problems and from advocates for people who are recovering from addictions. Those include the Behavioral Health System of Baltimore , a nonprofit that oversees the city's behavioral health system, and the Maryland Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence.

The change has wreaked havoc on some people with substance abuse problems who, until a few days ago used Suboxone film, says Adrienne Breidenstine, vice president for policy and communications at the Behavioral Health System of Baltimore.

One of them is Nicole, a mother of two who has been in recovery for about eight years. Nicole became addicted to painkillers after she was injured in a car accident. She was stable on Suboxone strips but switched to Zubsolv 10 days ago. She asked NPR not to use her full name because her history of addiction is not common knowledge.

"When I got on Suboxone I didn't even have custody of my son," she says. "After I got clean, I got put on Suboxone. I've got both my kids now, we have our own house, I'm working, they're doing good in school, I finished school, and that's why it's so scary to me that they completely switched me over."

Since the change, she says, she's been feeling sick, having trouble sleeping, having cravings and symptoms of withdrawal.

"It hasn't been working for me," she says. "I don't know what I'm going to do if they don't cover it again. I just don't want to go back to that life and I don't want my kids to go there."

Nicole's doctor, Michael Fingerhood, has a primary care practice at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. His practice, which overlooks downtown Baltimore from across the water, welcomes people with substance abuse problems. The group treats about 450 patients who, until this month, were using Suboxone strips.

He says just two weeks into the change many of his patients, like Nicole, are struggling.

"This is taking patients who are stable, who are doing really well. and saying we're going to do something to disturb how well you're doing," he tells Shots.

Fingerhood says Zubsolv is supposed to be the equivalent of Suboxone. But not all patients react the same to different medications. Many, like Nicole, have been clean for years and for the first time, they're feeling sick again and some, he says, are in real danger.

Feeling even the slightest bit of withdrawal symptoms can be awful for someone in recovery, he says.

"In the midst of addiction people are searching for a high, they're having withdrawal, they're running the streets. They're lives were horrible," Fingerhood says. "Having withdrawal brings back all those memories of how terrible life had been and it's a terrible feeling to be in withdrawal."

Shaking up all the Suboxone patients across the state to keep a relatively safe drug away from a handful of inmates doesn't make sense, Fingerhood says. And the numbers are indeed pretty small.

If those 2,300 Suboxone hits seized in prison were whole strips — and prison officials say they weren't — that's still only the equivalent of about 10 prescriptions from January through last week.

Instead, Fingerhood says, "We should be providing treatment in the prison system."

He says if someone who was on Suboxone gets arrested, it makes sense that family members or friends would try to get them the drugs in prison.

The only place in Maryland that inmates can legally get any medication to help get or keep them off opioids is in the Baltimore City Jail, according to Shields, the Department of Corrections spokesman. He says the system provides methadone to some inmates to help wean them off opioids before moving them to another prison.

State officials say Medicaid patients can still get Suboxone if they really need it. Doctors just fill out a form requesting a waiver, known as a prior authorization, and get an answer the next day.

Fingerhood made that request for Nicole. Five days later, he still had no response.

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36 days ago
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More House Science Committee subpoenas target Exxon investigators

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Texas Congressman Lamar Smith has had an eventful run as chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology so far. And his most colorful highlights revolve around climate science. Smith, who rejects the central conclusions of climate scientists, has been demanding the e-mails of NOAA scientists, whom he has accused of manipulating data for a 2015 study published in the journal Science, even though that work is publicly available, independently replicated, and scientifically uncontroversial.

Recently, he has turned his focus to several state attorneys general who are pursuing investigations of Exxon Mobil. Some recent media reports revealed that Exxon’s own climate research in the 1970s and '80s concluded that climate change was human-caused. But the company later reversed course and campaigned to block any climate policies. Several investigations are now looking at whether, in doing so, Exxon mislead its shareholders. The investigations are modeled after the cases brought against tobacco companies in the 1990s.

In May, Smith subpoenaed 17 attorneys general and 8 environmental groups for any communications related to these investigations, describing them as “a coordinated attempt to attack the First Amendment rights of American citizens”.

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41 days ago
Reminder that if you vote Republican you're voting for people who think you're stupid.
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