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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Urban Journal

Re: “The roots of addiction

A requirement of my office cleaning job is that I clean the restrooms. Not long ago, I found a pill on the floor in a restroom. I wondered what it was, so I took it home and identified it. I don't remember the exact drug name, but the purpose given was to relieve anxiety and to help prevent panic attacks.

Personally, I had to give up taking an anti-depressant because after several years it didn't really work, yet the side effects continued.

These types of drugs are not addictive like alcohol and we would all be better off to just "buck up" and not be on them.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Mike Bruton on 02/21/2014 at 3:53 AM

Re: “The roots of addiction

"It isn't drug addiction that kills addicts, it's drug prohibition. Addicts who get a steady supply of pure morphine or heroin at a known level of potency and clean hypodermics, can live long, happy productive lives."

The argument against this, of course, is that alcohol is legal and highly regulated, and it is the most abused drug, and has destroyed very many lives.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rochester Musician on 02/20/2014 at 9:47 PM

Re: “The roots of addiction


Drug "addiction" is not a disease. A disease manifests itself as a breakdown of one or more of our organs due to any number of internal or external factors. Drug addiction may seem to manifest itself as a disease because continued use of certain drugs is damaging to our organs: for example, the harm done directly to the lungs by cigarette smoke or to the liver by alcohol.

The term "addiction" simply implies a biological change of brain connectivity. This new connectivity causes the drug addict's brain to behave differently than someone whose brain has not been modified by addiction. Furthermore, addiction does not imply a simple cause-and-effect relationship between the drug and the resultant behavior: if it did, intervention by other drugs or behavior modification therapy would be much more predictable and successful.

In fact, the addict's brain as an organ is working just fine, doing what it has been reprogrammed to do: create a demand for the drug of choice, and release large amounts chemicals that induce pleasure to the user when the drug is used - dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, in particular.

This is not to deny that some drugs act directly on our organs, such as the heart, as in the case of amphetamines. Their impact on the brain is less of a rewiring than to create a sudden increase in neurochemicals that stimulate existing brain functionality.

The rewiring process in the brain continues with continued use of the drug or drugs that cause the rewiring. The rewired brain remains rewired even after the drug user ceases to use drugs. This explains "relapses." All the therapeutic treatment in the world is not going to cause the brain to return to its original, unmodified state, in a matter of weeks, months or even years.

As a result, the rewired brain continues to create a craving for the substance that created the intense pleasure so familiar to the user long after drug use ceases. Resisting is a matter of willpower generated in other higher-level brain functionality. However, the lower-level brain functions usually win this battle of wills, as they have a much more powerful impact on behavior.

You experience this sort of battle yourself whenever you find yourself in a situation where your brain is demanding that you urinate, and you are in a situation that doesn't allow it, at least in an unembarassing fashion. If you can't extricate yourself from this situation, you are going to pee your pants, regardless. And drug users will eventually find themselves in a situation from which they cannot extricate themselves.

One solution for the addict is to find activities that are pleasurable, but do not have harmful side effects, either on themself or others. Falling in love with someone is a good start; mountaineering is another; caring for other people will work too. Anything that produces a lot of good feelings to replace those that were being generated by the drugs. Our body doesn't care how they are generated, but we do.

Garrett A. Hughes

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Garrett A. Hughes on 02/20/2014 at 6:28 PM

Re: “The roots of addiction

It isn't drug addiction that kills addicts, it's drug prohibition. Addicts who get a steady supply of pure morphine or heroin at a known level of potency and clean hypodermics, can live long, happy productive lives.
Some high functioning addicts - Charles Dickens, Frank Sinatra, Florence Nightingale, the great surgeon William Halstead, Irving Berlin.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by Sam Abrams on 02/20/2014 at 4:12 PM

Re: “The roots of addiction

These treatments for drug addiction are inhuman treatment as addicts perpetuate until death usually with these regimes..

The problem with all western governments is that they are overridingly influenced by the ultra-financially powerful pharmaceutical giants. So much so that they control government policy on hard drug treatments and where of course they supply methadone et al that provides billions of dollars in revenues. But they don't care about the harm that this treatment does and only look at the bottom-line. That is why this maintenance treatment policy goes on infinitum as it creates vast profits for big Pharma. Indeed governments go out to suppress all information concerning a 'cure' for these terrible treatment drugs that enslave addicts for life through dependency. There is no humanity in this form of treatment only profits as addicts spend a lifetime on treatments that are more addictive than the drugs they purportedly try to eradicate. But wouldn't it be good for once that a western government did something out of the ordinary and stopped supporting big Pharma and introduced a 'cure' that is available at a cost of a mere 10% of present treatment regimes. Then addicts would come off hard drugs for good and thereafter lead a normal life in society and give something back. But will a single western government rebel against the powerful pharmaceutical cartel, I very much doubt it as they have our politicians and leaders in their back pocket. That is what is called democracy where big business rules supreme. For an introduction of what is going on and the 'cure' that is available readers should visit -

Dr David Hill
Chief Executive
World Innovation Foundation

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by David Hill on 02/19/2014 at 2:37 PM

Re: “The roots of addiction

Your article is moving and all too real. I do believe that many people do use drugs as a form of self medication, but it is only a fraction of initial users. Probably a greater fraction of those who are already recreational users begin to use in this way. Whatever the intial reason, we have proven that that which that which alters brain function can all too often also end up controlling it.
Also, there is frequently no bright line separating prescribed drugs and illicit drugs with respect to abuse and dependancy, they are frequently part of one slippery continuum.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Steve on 02/19/2014 at 12:56 PM

Re: “A place with no vision

It is easy to feel depressed by all the bad news. It's also possible to miss some of the good things that are happening. The key to long term solutions may be to draw energy from the good to overcome the bad. It was heartening, for instance, to hear of the adoption by Action for a Better Community (a long standing force for good in Rochester) of the Cure Violence model developed in Chicago. There are programs focused on students, like Rochester Mentors and the Borinquen Dance Company. As Martin Edic mentioned, there are federal funds coming in for revitalizing the spaces cut off 50 years ago by the Inner Loop. Young entrepreneurs are staying in the area, starting companies and getting support and mentorship from established business people.

Yet, as you say, here are problems that seem intractable, and may well be if we don't come together. What's missing is a collective sense of being in this together and a leadership voice that says, "Let's declare what we are FOR and work together on building energy and support for that. " There will be plenty of opportunities to discuss what we are against.

What if City were to call for a gathering of all segments of our community into a very large scale conversation, in the form of a Future Search or a World Cafe? I imagine one to two-thousand people in the Convention Center all invited to come together to answer a few basic questions: What do we want for our community? What do we share in common with each other across all our differences? What are we willing do together to bring about a future worthy of us and our children's, children's children?

Other cities have done this (Seattle comes to mind). We can too.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Charles Pfeffer on 02/16/2014 at 12:04 PM

Re: “A place with no vision

it's a Lovely situation we have here...

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Gary Indiana on 02/14/2014 at 8:14 AM

Re: “A place with no vision

Here we sit in Rochester, within an hour of 3 million people and we do nothing. Look at all of the development in Buffalo. Why? They have new buildings going up, while their tallest building is EMPTY. Syracuse is getting a whole new interstate 81, possibly a tunnel under their downtown. Billions are being thrown around everywhere but Rochester. To add more salt to the womb, we in Rochester are paying for it. Now they want a new stadium. Our political "representatives" must be the lamest in the whole country. Why not a 3 million plus metroplex centered on Rochester?

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by johnny on 02/13/2014 at 6:02 PM

Re: “A place with no vision

dead on.

welcome to little detroit.

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Gary Indiana on 02/13/2014 at 3:47 PM

Re: “A place with no vision

Fire, fire!
Another lame comparison to Detroit? Really? It might be time for an editor to retire and pass the torch to someone with vision. I completely agree with the situation with our towns, villages and splintered lack of vision. But there are incredible things taking place in Rochester these days. Downtown will be transformed in the next year. Inner Loop filled in. College Town, etc. But how did this happen? Most of it was driven by private sector investment and federal money. Detroit has no private investment.
Get a cup of coffee and take a long walk. You need a perspective shift.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Martin Edic on 02/13/2014 at 10:04 AM

Re: “URBAN JOURNAL: Still seeking solutions to city school problems

I read the article with interest and agree that it is going to take each person in the village to take a hard look at themselves to see if they have one finger pointing out but 3 fingers pointing back at themselves. Personally, I'm glad the Charter schools have come and made an impact. The Uncommon schools have one mission-to see that more urban children get to college because education is what changes the status quo. Everything about those schools implies that the student can make it and the staff is going to ensure that they do. That's been my experience. For children that don't fit the very structured mold of a charter school, I think we as parents and grandparents are going to have to realize that we are going to have to teach our children to read ourselves. No waiting for the CSD to do it. No waiting for a reading teacher to show up in the district. Each one teach one so when our children hit the front door of their school they have the basics down pat.
On Thursday, 1/30 Dr. Karsonya W. Whitehead gave students at the U of R the Carter G. Woodson lecture. To say the least, it was inspiring. Her point was that as teachers, educators, parents, we have an obligation to "spark the genius" in each child through our own ability to maintain the vision that genius is indeed there. so the child can become empowered. There are some teachers and parents (it is a team) who are able to hold on to the vision and see the gifts in each child and are able to cultivate that gift. this to me is the challenge in teaching... can the adult take the lead in establishing rapport, stirring interest, and ultimately inspire the passion in the child to be the best student he/she can be despite poverty or any other potential road block? The answer is yes. It has been done in other urban cities, and it can be done in Rochester.
On next Thursday, Dr. Raymond Winbush will be speaking at the Baobub Cultural Center on the strategies needed to raise African American boys. Any teacher or parent even remotely connected should hear what he has to say.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by GHarrion on 02/02/2014 at 4:37 PM

Re: “Warren's shaky start shows she needs help

We have too many guns in this country. Altercations that used to end with bruises and broken bones are now ending in deaths.
We can justify carrying a handgun because of all the angry people out there. Unfortunely, we are all now seeing that it is ofen the defender who kills out of his own anger.
A gun is a poor mans bodyguard. When we justify bodyguards for the rich, we endorse guns for everyone else.
A bodyguard for the mayor may be necessary. However, this tacit approval of guns for the masses can only result in more shootings and deaths.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Michael Bruton on 02/02/2014 at 2:30 PM

Re: “URBAN JOURNAL: Still seeking solutions to city school problems

Eric Maloney: You have offered a reason for the problem, not a solution. Single-parent families do exist, many of them in the city are low-income, and the children in said families can have educational disadvantages. How do we fix that?

8 likes, 29 dislikes
Posted by Kathryn Quinn Thomas on 02/02/2014 at 12:30 PM

Re: “URBAN JOURNAL: Still seeking solutions to city school problems

I don't know why people look for complicated solutions to easy problems. The family unit (or lack thereof) in the city is the issue. The correlation between family life (eg number of parents) and graduation rate is clear cut.……

43 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Eric Maloney on 02/01/2014 at 4:51 PM

Re: “URBAN JOURNAL: Still seeking solutions to city school problems

"We also know that many Rochester children start school without the language skills and other basics that they need; they're behind from Day 1, and they don't catch up. We know that the community doesn't provide enough help to make up for those deficits.

We know that many Rochester children start school with serious physical and mental health problems. And we know that they aren't getting enough help."

Start with the Pre-k program. It is a colossal waste of money. Direct instruction will help kids get ready for school. Playing will not. Taught in UPK. Telling you, it is a waste of money.

5 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Rochesternative on 02/01/2014 at 3:48 PM

Re: “URBAN JOURNAL: Still seeking solutions to city school problems

"To single out only concentrated poverty as an obstacle and to single out only money as a solution is a cop-out." No, actually to pretend that RCSD convoluted and dysfunctional bureaucracy is anything but the result of the crushing and distorting burden of upholding modern educational standards, with the insufficient funding and outdated methodologies inherent in a school-districting system dating at least as far back as the 1800s is the real cop-out. None of Ms. Towler's laundry list of faults, carried out by the usual list of parties at which to point the finger of blame, will be fixed without the ability of those parties to act according to their consciences, rather than within the narrow range of outdated and powerless options currently being touted by those who do not face the same challenges personally.

I'll leave out (almost) entirely that improving the neighborhoods in question, and turning them from blighted to beautiful, is a form of wealth to be desired in its own right, regardless of its lack of impact on education. A better educational system *might* have a powerful effect on those neighborhoods eventually, but that is a change that would take generations in the making. Rochester neighborhoods, students, and citizens throughout the City do not have the luxury of waiting that long, and the argument lacks the explanatory power of putting the horse before the cart: invest the slopping-over ocean of capital where it provides the best return, which is in hard-working private citizens and their children, the Strategic Force of tomorrow.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Phillip Batz on 02/01/2014 at 10:36 AM

Re: “URBAN JOURNAL: Still seeking solutions to city school problems

Mrs. Towler, this is one of the best editorials I read regarding the school issues. I began reading it expecting to find a call for yet more money to be thrown at a problem that is no longer about money. I was pleased to find that more than one problem was touched on and solutions asked for those problems. Disengaged students are the result of a mindset, not necessarily caused by schools, these usually start in the home. When parents are engaged, care and tutor (or insist to their children they will stay after for help-as we often did with our failing teenagers) their children generally succeed.

20 likes, 31 dislikes
Posted by Gini Denninger on 01/31/2014 at 10:24 AM

Re: “URBAN JOURNAL: Still seeking solutions to city school problems



As you know, I had suggested (via the correspondence above) that Rochester Board of Education President, Van White publicize the names of individuals serving on the four (4) ad-hoc committees, which he recently established. I was not aware of the fact that he had already done so --- via the article at the link below.

OBSERVATION: In my view, it would have been good to provide contact information for the members of all committees --- in order to make it convenient for people who may want to contact committee members regarding suggestions, questions, input, etc... . I assume that some members can be contacted here on Face Book, but I'm not certain if this is true for all.

As noted above, the Parent Engagement Committee had it's first meeting earlier this evening (6-8 pm). It was generally a productive meeting. PLEASE LOOK FORWARD TO A FORTHCOMING, FULL REPORT.

Also I thought that some of you may be interested in the information below regarding potential opportunities to serve as parent / student representatives on the following Board Committees:

*Policy Development & Review Committee
*Excellence in Student Achievement Committee
*Community & Intergovernmental Relations Committee
*Finance & Resource Allocation Committee
*Audit Committee

See additional information below (TWO SEPARATE ARTICLES)……

3 likes, 36 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 01/30/2014 at 10:59 PM

Re: “URBAN JOURNAL: Still seeking solutions to city school problems…



First, I would like to apologize for the lateness of this correspondence. It was my intent to communicate about this --- way before now. In any case, I will make every effort to report updates in a timely fashion.

I am writing to inform you that I have decided to participate in one of the ad-hoc advisory committees ("parent engagement") mentioned in the article at the link below.

As many of you know, I have probably been one of the biggest, and most consistent critics of the Rochester Board of Education's "leadership" and members. Thus, I assume that some would question my participation in this sort of initiative.So, I wanted to explain my reasons for doing so.

I have always maintained that I am ready, willing, and able to work cooperatively and collaboratively with anyone who is serious about actions designed to produce much-needed, and much-deserved, widespread, permanent change and improvement for Rochester City School District (RCSD) students and families. Whether this particular initiative has the potential to accomplish this --- is yet to be seen. I have also (for many years) maintained that until, and unless WE establish a well organized, and well financed / resourced, broad-based, mass movement of parents, guardians, students, educators, activists, and anyone else who is really serious about academic and general change and improvement --- it will not happen. The latter point is articulated in our 2013 Board of Education Election Platform, and has been articulated in all previous Election platforms that I have been a part of. Rochester Board of Education President Van White knows that this is my belief, which was reiterated during a phone conversation earlier this month concerning my participation in this initiative.

As noted in the article at the link below:

"White also said he has reached out to every candidate who participated in the 2013 [General] school board election to offer an opportunity to serve on one of the advisory committees."

“These people represent constituencies; had thousands of people vote for them, and spent the better part of last year listening and learning from the people of our city. It only makes sense that we would tap into that resource as we look to develop a list of solutions to address the district’s most pressing issues.”

With regard to the quotes above, I had informed Commissioner White that I take very seriously the responsibility of attempting to represent those who give me permission to do so, and that (with regard to my participation in this initiative) I would make every attempt possible to identify, and communicate with, and seek input from those who supported me in the Election and/or otherwise. Therefore, this represents my first effort to do so.WITH REGARD TO THOSE WHO SUPPORTED ME IN THE 2013 GENERAL ELECTION, OF COURSE, I DON'T KNOW WHO ALL OF YOU ARE, BUT I DO KNOW THAT THERE ARE AT LEAST 2,194 OF YOU, AND I DO KNOW THAT MANY OF YOU ARE HERE ON FACE BOOK. If you know of others who supported and/or still support me, but are not here on face book --- please share this correspondence with them.

I also articulated to Commissioner White during the above referenced phone conversation that my participation is dependent on the condition that there will be ample opportunity for what ever recommendations these ad-hoc committees come up with --- to be vetted (subjected to examination and evaluation) via the broader community --- BEFORE they are formally submitted / recommended to the full Board of Education. He agreed that this is an important step, and that it will happen.

Thus far, the parent engagement ad-hoc advisory committee has two meetings scheduled. THE FIRST ONE IS THIS EVENING, AND THE SECOND ONE IS SCHEDULED FOR FEB. 18TH. I sent Commissioner White a note expressing my belief that it is NOT realistic that any committee could come up with quality recommendations in the course of two meetings. His response was that he is leaving it up to the various committees to determine additional meeting dates. Thus, this represents one of the first issues that I will put on the table this evening, i.e., the need to schedule additional meetings. AGAIN, I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE FOR THE LATENESS OF THIS CORRESPONDENCE, BUT PLEASE KNOW THAT (FROM THIS POINT ON) --- I WILL MAKE EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT TO KEEP YOU ALL INFORMED --- IN A TIMELY MANNER.

At this point, I am not aware of who other members of the parent engagement committee are. However, I will report this information as soon as I know. Nor am I aware of who any members are of the other three ad-hoc committees (student achievement, student and community safety, and concentration of poverty). However, in my view, as part of keeping the broader parent / family / general tax-paying community informed, and maximizing opportunities for broad-based input, support, and buy-in --- I would suggest that the names of all committee members should be made public.


The Struggle Continues...…

4 likes, 38 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 01/30/2014 at 4:59 PM

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