Friday Catchall: Another War on Drugs, ‘fake’ news & MVD
The Friday Catchall:
• OPIOID WAR — The Courier has published quite a lot on the opioid crisis in Arizona and locally. It is a new way humanity suffers that has surpassed meth and other drugs.
Mostly this is because it is so addictive and kills so easily.
Some people use these drugs for everyday pain management (think: morphine, methadone, hydrocodone, OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Demerol, among others). They are legal users walking among us.
Still, when someone like international rock star Tom Petty can die from opioid use (he was medicated because of a broken hip, and still performing), it is easy to see why some people are confused about Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan to regulate opioids with the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act.
After all, if you use a drug it’s up to you to not abuse it, right?
Consider that 800 people died from opioid use (abuse) in the past year. And in Mohave County, where the population is about 200,000, doctors prescribed 6 million of the pills in 2017.
You can’t tell me those all went to legitimate uses.
Critics have said the governor is micromanaging what doctors do, by stating “first fills” (new patients) would be limited to five days’ worth. Current users, call them chronic pain sufferers, would not be affected.
In a conference call with rural media on Wednesday, Ducey said the state is not acting as a medical doctor, nor is he; what he cares about is public safety.
I equate the ideas with the pharmacy check-in for certain drugs that previously were simply over-the-counter; this was done to track who was buying what — that could also be used to make other drugs such as meth. Also, I recall using an allergy pill that suddenly was no longer available because it was linked to a pro-baseball player’s death.
Sometimes we need to adjust.
Besides, when the odds of opioid addiction rapidly increases in the first days of its use, that’s something that needs watching.
For some who use such drugs, addiction is a certainty, not merely a risk.
(Late note, the state House and Senate on Thursday evening unanimously approved the Governor’s changes in laws on opioids, and Ducey signed it into law on Friday.)
• HITLER — I bristle when someone compares a leader or politician with Adolph Hitler. It feels like any comparison downgrades the horrors of Hitler — in killing millions of Jews and others in World War II.
Thus, it caught my attention when Reuters News put out an article this week stating: “Fake news is not new; the Nazis used it too, says Holocaust exhibit.”
Basically, an exhibit in Brussels calls on visitors to see a parallel in Nazi Germany. The exhibit in the halls of European Parliament — the U.S. State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda — was inspired by months of debate on how, and how much, fake news may have influenced the 2016 presidential campaign and election.
Fake news is the same as propaganda. It may have been used to guide or control the masses then, and the same can be said about it now.
And, not all news is created equally. Biased news, in my book, is just as bad as untruths, half-truths and “fake” news.
• MVD — I do not often hear from multiple people in one day cheering a government agency; when I do it tells me something’s up.
On Wednesday I received multiple calls about the Motor Vehicle Department in Prescott and how its new effort to eliminate long lines is working. In fact, it is working very well — even though you now have to stand, rather than sit to wait.
Kudos to MVD officials and front-line workers. We may not all visit your offices often but, when we do, a quick turnaround is a nice thing to expect.
• PICK OF THE WEEK — (Proving there’s always something good to do that’s cheap or free in the Prescott area): History is a love of mine, thus: “Buckey O’Neill: Dauntless Courage and Boundless Ambition” presentation at the Prescott library at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, and at the Phippen Museum Highway 89 at 1 p.m. Feb. 3, promises to be really good.
Tim Wiederaenders is the senior editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or email@example.com.