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Jerry Aragon Ph.D (Phunny humor Doctor)

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Is America Becoming a Drunk Tank?
by Jerry Aragon Ph.D (Phunny humor Doctor)   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, February 24, 2012
Posted: Tuesday, December 01, 2009

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Alcoholims (DWI) and the use of illegal drugs in this country is a disgrace! I have two brothers and one sister who are alcoholics and that's a disgrace in itself. Together, they have managed to destroy the entire family!

I've never like to be around someone who has been drinking or doing drugs...you never know what they may or may not do!  It's best to stay away from people like this, if you have any sense! 

During the last decade or so, I have been laid off from six jobs.  Needless to say, all of this has changed my life...so much so...that I even found myself homeless and living on the grounds of the VA Medical Center for awhile. 

The VA has a work program for homeless veterans, to help them get back on their feet.  The work program is four months long, and there were about 15 veterans in the program when I was there.  Most of the veterans who were in the program were having problems with substance abuse...except me.  I was having job and financial difficulty, etc. 

This was a very anxious and nervous time for me...that is...living in a dorm with 15 other people with a background like this.  I was nice to everyone at the time, but I just kept to myself most of the time while I was in the program. 

From: Family Doctor.org: (Why do people use alcohol and drugs?)  Basically...people use alcohol and other drugs, because they like the way these substances make them feel.  Pleasure is a powerful force.  Your brain is wired, so that if you do something that makes you feel good, you will probably want to do it again.  All drugs that are addicting can activate the brain's pleasure circuit. 

*                     *                     *

None of us know, what a person under the influence of anything, is going to do.  It could be alcohol, legal prescription drugs or illegal drugs; sniffing paint or a hundred other ways to get high and stupid!

And, none of us know what a person might do out in the streets; at home; or in the emergency room of a hospital, either!  The following short article appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on December 1, 2009 and was written by Juan Carlos  Rodriguez.  The article is entitled:

"Facility Will Keep Drunks Out of ER"

THE ARTICLE READS:

"On any given night in Albuquerque, hospital emergency fooms, are host to some unwelcome guests...people who are too drunk to take care of themselves. 

They take up valuable emergency room space, so Bernallilo (the county); and the state of New Mexico (Department of Health) and the hospitals; Presbyterian; Lovelace and the Univerisity of New Mexico, have teamed up to give these people someplace else to go. 

On December 14, 2009, a new facility will open for those very inebrated...at the county's Metropolitian Assessment and Treatment Services center...a detoxification and treatment facility. 

'Our medical facilities, whether it be UNMH; Presbyterian or Lovelace are bombarded by individuals that really shouldn't be there,' said Bernalillo county manager Thadeus Lucero at a news conference. 

He said extremely drunk people, could be taken to the new unit, where they would sober up.  They can stay for up to 24 hours and potentially be referred to an alcohol abuse treatment program.  The new unit can accomodate up to 12 people. 

Presbyterian; Lovelace; UNMH and the county and State contributed up to $300,000 of seed money to get the two year pilot program started.  The New Mexico Department of Health will start the new Medical Observation Treatment Unit.  A total of 1.2 million dollars will fund the first year of the operation, but there are no formal plans for the second year."

END OF ARTICLE: 

My Two Cents: (opinions)

I think this is a great, great idea!  The citizens of Albuquerque and New Mexico (USA) should be proud!  At least, it's doing something about a terrible problem in this country...and everything has to have a start someplace.

On the other hand, the Albuquerque Journal publishes small color photos (every quarter) of the people, who got traffic tickets for DWI.  I don't know the exact count, but I think the number is somewhere between 60 to 100 .  This is a big black-eye and a shame for the city, the state and the nation! 

I was in the hospital emergency room about a month ago, and there was this stupid, vulgar guy sitting in a wheelchair cussing out the nurses and anybody who would listen to the jerk!  He had an oxygen tank on his wheelchair, and I think the issue was that he wanted to get more oxygen and the nurses wouldn't give it to him! 

He was yelling, cussing and pointing the finger at everyone in the place and could he could have been a danger to someone.  As it turned out, nothing happened. 

If a unit like this had been available at the time, this jerk could have been hauled off by police and locked up in this unit because...as I saw it, he was a danger to society the way he was acting! 

From: Safe Youth.org:  (Peer association risk)
Exposure and attachment to peers who use drugs and express positive views about substance use, can increase a youth's risk for substance use.  In contrast, peers who have conventional values, and who express negative views about substance use, can decrease the likelihood that a youth will use drugs. 

*                      *                     *

Nowadays...and because there is so much substance abuse and danger everywhere, I don't go anyplace  at night...and when I do walk to the grocery store or copy shop during the daytime hours, I'm always looking over my shoulder. 

Over the last few years, I've seen violent acts in the day time happen right in front of me, and right in the middle of high traffic areas!  People just don't want to get involved anymore... and I can't blame them for that! 

For those of you around the world who don't know, I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which I like to call a one-horse town of about 500,000 population.  The state of New Mexico is surrounded by the states of Texas; Colorado and Arizona.  Small towns and big cities alike all have substance abuse problems, and I think this is a great, great program. 

*                    *                    *

The following editorial was published in the Albuquerque Journal on December 2, 2009 and is entitled: "County Right To Issue Last Call for ER Drunks"

"It seems like a hefty bar tab: $1.2 million to keep just 12 drunks off the street and out of emergency rooms every night for a year.  But when the alternative is an $1,850 ambulance ride and ER bed for each of those inebriates...not to mention the ER logjam faced by those who have real medical emergencies...the $1.2 million looks like a heckuva deal.

If Bernalillo County's new Medical Observation Teatment Unit is full every night, it will divert more than $8 million in unnecessry hospital visits to this state-of-the-art drunk tank.  That doesn't seem unlikely given that in 2007, a drunk was dropped off at a local emergency room and tucked into one of the most expensive beds in town more than 500 times a month.  In fact, in 2004, the city's three major hospitals spent $11.9 million treating drunks in their ERs. 

The new unit, part of the county's Metropolitian Assessment and Treatment Services detoxification and treatment center, is funded by $300,000 contributions from the county and Presbyterian; Lovelace and UNMH.  It opens December 14, 2009 and will be staffed by the state Department of Health.  And it expands the MATS mission beyond treating the drunks who can stand up to caring for the ones who are falling down. 

Bernilillo County manager Thaddeus Lucero points out that  'our medical facilities, whether it's UNMH, Pres or Lovelace, are bombarded by individuals that really shouldn't be there.

Instead, those individuals will be in a place where they can safely sleep it off for up to 24 hours.  And people with appendicitis and serious asthma attacks and symtoms of heart attack and stroke will get treated instead of waiting for someone to sober up and free up an examination bed.

The $1.2 million will fund the unit's first year, there are no formal plans for how to fund it after that.  But if it frees up medical personnel and facilities for those who really need it while reducing the cost of treating people who really don't, everyone involved has a financial stake in keeping it running."

A few days later, another article appeared in the newspaper, and the writer was observing life at 2:00 AM in the morning when bars closed, and the title of the article read; "Closing Time Downtown:  Drunks as Far as the Eye Can See

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