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Missive #66

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: April 28, 1935

Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched.

This is a good book that provides a lot of background that explains the opioid epidemic in the United States. There was a eight episodes TV series based on the book that was shown in 2021 which probably got more attention than the book since people in the United States get most of the information/entertainment from TV rather than books. Recommended! I plan on reading more of Macy books.Beginning with a single dealer who lands in a small Virginia town and sets about turning high school football stars into heroin overdose statistics, Macy endeavors to answer a grieving mother’s question-why her only son died-and comes away with a harrowing story of greed and need. From the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, Macy parses how America embraced a medical culture where over treatment with painkillers became the norm. In some of the same distressed communities featured in her bestselling book Factory Man, the unemployed use painkillers both to numb the pain of joblessness and pay their bills, while privileged teens trade pills in cul-de-sacs, and even high school standouts fall prey to prostitution, jail, and death.

Through unsparing, yet deeply human portraits of the families and first responders struggling to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows, astonishingly, that the only thing that unites Americans across geographic and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But in a country unable to provide basic healthcare for all, Macy still finds reason to hope-and signs of the spirit and tenacity necessary in those facing addiction to build a better future for themselves and their families. — Book promo @ goodreads.com

This may not be a repeat of the opioid push, and subsequent addiction issues, for pain management but it sure could rhyme.

As the researchers caution, unless more academics and influential media figures like Oliver acknowledge the facts rather than utopia-fueled fiction, the psychedelic industry risks becoming an untamable monster, driven by greed and dangerously exaggerated claims. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is being sold as the next frontier in mental health treatment. As is clear to see, such assurances appear to be built on weak evidence. The promise of psychedelic drugs as a miracle cure for mental disorders is driven by hype and supported by intense confirmation bias. We must proceed with caution, because these powerful drugs could open a Pandora’s Box of “cures” that are infinitely worse than the ailments they pretend to treat. — Psychedelic-assisted treatment for mental illness is no panacea by John Mac Ghlionn

Climate science should be less political, while climate policies should be more scientific. In particular, scientists should emphasize that their modeling output is not the result of magic: computer models are human-made. What comes out is fully dependent on what theoreticians and programmers have put in: hypotheses, assumptions, relationships, parameterizations, stability constraints, etc. Unfortunately, in mainstream climate science most of this input is undeclared.

To believe the outcome of a climate model is to believe what the model makers have put in. This is precisely the problem of today’s climate discussion to which climate models are central. Climate science has degenerated into a discussion based on beliefs, not on sound self-critical science. We should free ourselves from the naïve belief in immature climate models. In future, climate research must give significantly more emphasis to empirical science. — There Is No Climate Emergency by World Climate Declaration AMBASSADORS

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