Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Medical Model Discovers Heroin Addiction

Heroin Epidemic

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of heroin addiction and a sharp rise in opiate over-dose death. Contrary to addicts being introduced to opiate addiction through street heroin, 75% of new addicts became addicted through prescription opiates. When the OxyContin becomes too expensive ($80/pill), people switch to the cheaper street heroin ($5-10/hit). Nora Volkow of NIDA, Tom Frieden of the CDC, and Michael Botticelli of the President’s Office of Drug Control Policy have advocated the expansion of methadone programs and buprenorphine treatment to respond to the epidemic. SAMSHA, the federal agency which regulates methadone maintenance programs, suggests that we call these interventions “Medication Assisted Treatment” (MAT) rather than opiate substitution programs so as not to stigmatize people.

Mind Your Body: Inward Bound

The mysterious connection between emotion and physical sensation is coming into ever-sharper focus.

The sight of a blazing sunset, the sound of a ringing phone, the aroma of fresh bread as you pass a bakery—we tend to think of sensory perception as the way we process external stimuli with our eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and skin. Yet there’s another form of sensory perception, known as interoception, that involves the feelings that originate within the body, such as hunger, thirst, breathlessness, pain, temperature, heartbeat, muscle tension, and bladder pressure.

None of the Above An emerging group of transgender people is looking beyond “man” and “woman."

OUT OF THE BOX: "This isn't something people are making up," says CN Lester, who is genderqueer.

When CN Lester shows up in the waiting room of, say, a doctor’s office and is asked to fill out a personal information form, the inevitable question arises: M or F? The tattooed 30-year-old has developed a habit of inking an extra box and checking it.

“The sheer act of doing so often makes someone take the form back silently,” says Lester, a classically trained musician who lives in London. “You can sometimes feel like a legal nonentity. It’s really frustrating.”

Lester, who as a child hated being called a girl but never felt quite like a “man trapped in a woman’s body,” came out as transgender 15 years ago. As an umbrella term, the word transgender refers to those whose sense of their gender differs from what is expected based on the sexcharacteristics with which they are born.

Monday, June 1, 2015

How to Find Your Place in the World After Graduation

Like practically everyone else, I gave a commencement speech last week. Mine was for the Paris College of Art, an American art and design school in France whose roughly 200 students hail from 48 countries.

In deciding what to say, I couldn’t rely on my own experience with commencement speeches. When I graduated from college, a United States senator delivered his stump speech on Poland, then wished us luck.

So I listened to lots of commencement speeches online. I quickly realized that the good ones are under 15 minutes; that it helps if you can do impressions; and that just because you starred in a hit sitcom doesn’t mean you possess great wisdom.

I also realized that commencement speeches are mostly an American phenomenon. In Britain there are graduation ceremonies, but no outside motivational speakers. “Every year, thousands of young British people collect their degrees and head into the world in a dangerously uninspired state — not knowing, for example, whether or not they should say ‘yes’ to life, or follow their hearts, or dare to be different,” wrote the journalist Oliver Burkeman.




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