Saturday, May 26, 2018

PFC James Clayton Reed (Repost)


My thoughts are turned this Memorial Day weekend to my first cousin, Jimmy Reed. He is one of 3 children born to my aunt Delores and Uncle Clay who lived in Los Angeles, California, light years from where I lived in West Virginia and later Montgomery, Alabama. We shared some happy childhood experiences. We did not see each other often but when we went to visit them or vice versa it was for extended periods of time. I remember him as being funny and entertaining. He was my younger brother's age almost exactly. They could always make me laugh.

Well here I am turning 65 in two days. I had a thirty year career with DuPont and got to travel a lot. I was able to carry some important assignments for DuPont and achieved some degree of recognition. I met a wonderful girl and we fell in love and raised 3 children. We have 7 grand children. I used to coach softball and baseball, volunteer in scouting, work in PTA, go on family vacations and just generally have had a great life.

Jimmy died just west of Khe Sanh during operation Purple Martin March 20,1969. That was just a little more than 30 days before his 19th birthday. He was a member of the D Company, First Battallion, Third MarDiv, USMC. He died that day along with 2nd Lt. Mike McCormick of Wellston, Ohio; LCpl Max Baer of Goshen, Ind; LCpl Steve Byars, Lakeland, Florida; LCpl Ernest Elders of Shelby, NC; PFC Norman Beck of Rockford, Il.; PFC Jeffrey Forry, Marion, OH and PFC Larry Knox of Harrisonville, MO.

I graduated from college in 1969 and rode a student deferrment to avoid military service. I also pulled a 344 as my draft lottery number. Were it not for those two happenstances I well could have had my name engraved onto that war memorial wall in Washington, DC. I have been there and was able to find Jimmy's name on that wall. It is a somber and eloquent memorial fitting as a requiem for those who gave their lives on various battlefields of the Vietnam war. For whatever purpose that war served I honor his memory this Memorial Day. I wish I could pick up the phone and call him and tell him a joke or two but that opportunity was nullified by the winds of war. His Mother, my aunt Delores, has grieved every day for her fallen son for 42 years now.

It is pure irony how some of us end up pursuing the military option. Today we have a totally volunteer military. You press the statistics on the makeup of our armed forces and you will see a lot of people who just seemed to have no other option than to join the military. The impetus is largely economic with job prospects being what they are. In mine and Jimmy's youth the draft was rampant. The selective service boards were steaming at full speed. In my case, had I not been a student it was a certainty that I would have been drafted into the miltary.

I recall that in those days you would report for a college class and two or three of the people that had been in the class the day before would be gone. You had to maintain a class standing to keep your draft exemption of 2-S. In order to do that you had to be in the upper 1/4th of your freshman class in academic performance. Fail to do that and you were draft fodder. Sophomores had to be in the upper 1/2 and Juniors in the upper 3/4. If you made it to be a senior then they left you alone. Along about my freshman year they administered the selective service standardized test. The guys at Harvard made the claim that the students in the bottom 3/4 of their freshman classes were superior to the upper 1/4 of the freshman class at State College X. So the selective service came up with the standardized test and administered it to us all in the second semester of my 1st year. You either had to maintain your academic standing or have scored 75% or better on the test. I remember scoring a 78 and my worries were ended.

There was also a point at which I was thinking I needed to drop out of college. I checked with the draft board and I was told the day after I did I would be reclassified 1-A and almost certainly drafted into the military. I do not know of Jimmy's circumstances but while I was studying Mark Twain in English 301 he was most likely doing basic training at Paris Island. Talk about worlds apart.

When I ponder the freedoms under which I live and also ponder the 58,220 war dead from the Vietnam war, the 405,399 from WW2 and the 116,516 from WW1 I feel guilty and appreciative at the same time. I do believe that those fallen willingly sacrificed their lives so that we could continue to breathe the free and unfettered air of liberty. I have to ask myself what sort of life have I led to justify the single death of my cousin Jimmy, not to mention the 100's of thousands of war dead who made similar sacrifices.

I suppose I have made small sacrifices but the bumper sticker I read once that said "All gave some but some gave all" makes me realize what an investment we all have in our freedom. Just about every American can tell a similar story as mine about my cousin, Jimmy. I contemplate why he had to lay down and die that day in Vietnam. It was because he felt the call to duty and like others of his family before him felt the obligation to serve. Pure and simple.

May we take a little time to really remember those who sacrificed their lives and well being to keep us safe and free this Memorial Day weekend. God bless you Jimmy. You were way too young to die. I hope to see you again someday, if I am worthy, and shake your hand and say thank you in person. I hope that you will see someone standing in front of you who you can feel justified your sacrifice. I need to work to become such.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sun burned Tonsils and the Masters

I took up golf later in life. Through the influence of a good friend who was a great athlete and gifted golfer my wife gave me clubs for Christmas in 1984. I played HS football, basketball and baseball and was always good enough to make the squads and was always a starter, first team and decent player. The various sports I participated in came pretty easily to me. Later on, I took up racquetball through the influence of a friend who flew big jets for Air Florida. I beat him consistently from the very beginning. I could never determine whether I was that good at the sport or if he was that bad. I am pretty sure it was the latter.

That brings me to golf. At 38 years of age I picked up a club for the first time. I am right handed so of course my wife bought me left handed clubs. However, that was OK because I always batted left handed in baseball and softball.I went to the range with my friend and pounded a couple of hundred balls. Mostly, I hit them very badly. It seemed that strength, swinging hard and getting angry when you missed a ball were all things to be avoided. 33 years later I still have not progressed much beyond that. I have scored 80 four times in the 33 years I have played. I scored a 77 on one course, one time out of hundreds of rounds. The best my handicap ever got was a 12.

Golf is a very funny game. The harder you try at it the worse you get. You basically have to play the game and swing the club as if you don't care about the result. About ten years into playing I took five lessons from a local Pro who is a wonderful teacher. He tried to talk me  into playing rightie. It was not worth the effort to switch. I heard many sayings about golf over the years. Most of them are not repeatable in mixed company. The one that I heard that was the most amusing and I think applicable was: " Golf is like sex. You do not have to be an expert at either to enjoy them."

I earned my living within the pharmaceuticals industry working 30 years for DuPont. It was a wonderful career and I enjoyed every minute of it. I worked my way up from Sales Rep to Government Affairs manager. As the GAM I was responsible for lobbying 3 states and staying involved with Professional Associations in medicine and pharmacy. When an issue heated up I would hire consultants to help me work compromises that would protect our business. These consultant/lobbyists became my friends. The money we paid them was decent for 3 months work surrounding the legislative session.So renewing the contract year to year was a lifeline for them all.

That brings me to the point of my post today. One of the consultants I had hired invited me to attend the Masters with him in 1999. I jumped at the opportunity. We played a round of golf on the way up and spent the night in Macon and then on into Augusta the next morning. I was in love with the game of golf at this point. Here I was attending the Masters on a beautiful spring day in April. After all the blood letting to find a parking place we gained admittance and there I was standing on the most famous course in the world. The place was overwhelming. I was very much like a Muslim making a pilgrimage to Mecca and walking around just soaking it all in.

Everywhere you looked there was nothing but the greenest grass you have ever seen. Azaleas were in full bloom. There was not a weed anywhere in sight. The greens were absolutely magnificent and the most lovely you have ever seen anywhere. Surprisingly the food and keepsakes, ie: hats, shirts, balls, etc. were very affordable. After eating a hot dog and some chips I was advised that I should find a space along one of the par three holes and get ready to watch the par three tournament. I did so. Sat down and prepared to watch the tournament. The onions I had eaten on my hot dog were laying sort of hard on my palate. I decided that I wanted to spit and I turned my head to do so. However, before I did the thought entered my head that " this is hallowed ground. This is Augusta National. You cannot spit on this ground." I forewent spitting and sipped my Diet Coke and got ready for the tournament. Such is the effect that that place has on golfers.

I was not prepared. I knew that they played a 72 hole tournament, however, the fact that on the Wednesday practice round they played this little par three tourney that was mostly just fun had eluded me. The professionals had their families including their young children playing down the fairways with them. But it was the who's who of golf that caused me to revere the moment. There parading down the fairway were all the greats of golf. Nicklaus, Palmer, Trevino, Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Crenshaw, Player, Singh, etc. I could have almost reached out and touched them.

I spent the day traipsing around the course. My mouth hanging open and savoring every moment. That is why I ended up with sun burned tonsils. I don't think I would ever go back. There are far too many people there nowadays and the parking is impossible. The best way to watch any golf tournament is on the television. However, that one day I sat in the presence of the demi-Gods who had perfected the game. It was a sight to behold.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tylenol and School shootings

It has been almost a month since the Parkland, Florida Stoneman Douglas school shooting. The fallout has been a game changer on numerous fronts. The assault rifle has found fewer and fewer friends. The 2018 legislative session was turned on its ear towards gun control leaving many important issues laying in it's wake that were never taken up. Acne scarred adolescents were propelled into the limelight by the event as long as they were to parrot the talking points of those on both the right and the left. You could see them lined up endlessly on either CNN or Fox News on the nightly shows. The NAR, which teeters on the cusp of being public enemy number one or the salvation of mankind with their far reaching stance on the second amendment was seen in an endless stream of public discourse. They have now launched a law suit against the state's efforts to raise the age for lawful gun purchase. Mental health advocacy has seen a bit of the spotlight since we do not seem to be able to adequately sift out these threats hiding in personalities too endless to inventory.

I have 7 grandchildren that attend the public schools here in Leon county. I have always felt that they were safe here. I had occasion to consult with a gentleman named John Hunkiar sometime back on the purchase of a home. He was recruited out of the Miami police department where he was in charge of surveillence and controlling the gangs. He assumed the job of chief of security for Leon County schools. The brief time I spoke with him I got the impression that he was a capable and tough cop. I see no other reason to doubt that he is well capable of protecting my grandchildren with the help of many well trained and capable people.

I also think  back to a time when I made my living as an executive in the pharmaceuticals business. In 1982, in Chicago, 7 innocent people died after ingesting Tylenol capsules. Tylenol is a trusted brand name for acetominophen (APAP). Millions of people, adults and children , have ingested hundreds of millions of doses for headache, muscle aches and fever over many, many years worldwide.

It was determined that some maniac had decided to substitute potassium cyanide in place of the APAP in several individual boxes of the drug and replaced on market shelves. 7 innocent people lost their lives because of this maniacal and mercenary act. A few years later the same thing happened with the gelatinous form of Tylenol. Three lives were lost from that episode. They never caught, arrested or prosecuted anyone in relation to this crime. They did elevate product tampering to a federal crime making it easier to prosecute anyone caught from then on.

Johnson and Johnson, the manufacturer of Tylenol reacted swiftly and capably. They immediately recalled the product at a cost of $100 million. They seized the day and saved other lives by their action. As a result of that and the reaction of the FDA today we have a tamper resistant seal on every consumer product that you can imagine. The problem was solved swiftly and effectively. There was no emotional argumentation about need to curtail the sale of headache medication. 36 years later more people are swallowing Tylenol than ever before.

Ironically we also see an opiate bill coming out of this recent Florida legislative session that makes it illegal for you to have pain for more than 7 days. The wisdom of the legislators took on this issue with less debate. All focus shifted in the direction of  the school shootings. .

There is a plausible and practical solution to making our schools safer. Much like we made our airports safer post 9/11. School marshals alla Sky marshals could be a good approach. Taking politics off the table and emotion off the street we could fix this problem. If Johnson and Johnson made firearms they would solve the problem for us. The manufacturers of firearms, all represented by NRA, are unwilling to step up to the plate.

Do you think it has anything to do with the realm in which these two businesses are active? The pharmaceuticals business is directed towards extending and enhancing life. The gun business is mostly about protecting people from one another to the extent of taking life.

One thing for sure honesty and law abidedness has certainly not been attained by the passing of any bill, law or ordinance at any level so far.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Football Fanaticism and Voting Out the Preacher

I have been entertained recently by the events surrounding the departure of coach Jimbo Fisher from Florida State University. Whereas he was the Seminole sweetheart at the beginning of the year he was the devil in blue jeans these past few weeks. I have not ever seen a man free fall so quickly through job security that would have made the Ceasars envious. However it has always seemed to me that the fan base here in Tallahassee has always been a bit fickle if not mean spirited surrounding football.

I will offer up one piece of evidence. That would be the departure of Bobby Bowden, my neighbor and iconic coach of the Seminoles from 1976-2009. This man was successful by any measure. He took FSU from a struggling 0-11 season and turned them into a football program that owned the decade of the '90's. He led the Seminoles to 2 national championships and 12 ACC championships. His lifetime record was 377-129-4. He is one of the winningest football coaches in history. The field at Doak is named after him. He has a statue out in front of the stadium. However, as you recall, the fans turned on him at the end of his football career like a pack of hyenas. He asked for one more year to coach at the end. Many believed that he should have been granted that if for no other reason than the fact that he was Bobby Bowden The boosters, fans and most of the administration denied him the one more year. For what reason? He had gotten old. If they had run him off because he was black, female or transgendered the university would now be called Bobby Bowden University with many buildings bearing the name of his attorney. However, he had gotten old and as we all know there is no defined EEO criteria for that. I don't believe that anyone has successfully won many age discrimination law suits so far to date.

I recall coming here from Alabama in 1972. I went to a lot of football games out at the stadium. There was a small grandstand that might have held 7,500 fans on a good day. The Seminoles were ranked in the top 20 by UPI and AP polling. After a bunch of losses I remember being in the stands and being overcome by the fact that the fans stood and collectively booed the team as they came off the field. I was shocked. I don't recall ever having seen that before in college football. I don't suppose,  based on that experience, that I should have been surprised at the current events.

Now to be fair to Seminole nation I don't think that they are a whole lot different than most other fan bases around the country in the final analysis. Heck, I like to see the Seminoles win and would count myself as a fan. I declare myself to be a Bama-nole. My 'Bama devotion supercedes my FSU devotion. Heck I paid a lot of money to educate 2 of my 3 children there. The other wanted to leave town for a while and went to Gainesville to become a Gator. I also like to see them win.

It should be noted that following Bear Bryant's 27 year run at Alabama there were 8 coaches succeeding him, none of whom could fill the Bear's shoes sufficiently. Ray Perkins lasted 3 years followed by Bill Curry who was a wonderful person and a pretty danged good coach. He only went 2 years before someone parked a moving van in front of his house. Gene Stallings went for 6 years and produced a national champion in '92. He also got us placed on the NCAA death sentence for recruiting violations. From 1996 to 2006 winning was pretty scarce at Alabama. We went through 4 coaches in that run of 10 years: DuBose, Franchione ( who left to go to Texas A&M), Price who never called the first play but had fun with hookers in Florida at a coaching meeting, and then Mike Shula. I liked Mike Shula but he could not beat Auburn so that ended his days there. Then in 2007 Nick Saban, after telling the Miami Dolphins that he was their coach for life, agreed to coach at Alabama. Enter the new dynasty of Alabama football.

The simple fact is that college football has become a big soap opera. That fact has been abetted by the 24/7 talking heads on half a dozen networks who stir the pot as things develop. Most everyone has a team. As a devotee they all feel that they have a say in how the football program is run. Everyone from the CEO of Nike to Joe Sixpack feel obligated to comment on the ups and downs of their respective teams. Don't believe me? Watch the Paul Finebaum show for 15 minutes or until you become physically ill and listen to the people who call in. I think Finebaum is a great analyst however when he opens the phone lines for all the alcoholics and mental patients to start calling in the program immediately falls into an advertisement for what I am saying in this Blog. Everyone has an opinion of some sort related to their team.

I had a friend of mine invite me to attend church many years ago. It was a baptist church. I advised my friend that I was not baptist but was a mormon. I did not think I would be welcome at their church meeting. He said for me not to worry about that. They were meeting that night to vote out the preacher and all that I needed to do was raise my hand when he and his wife did. The preacher had stepped on too many toes at the last meeting and he needed to be gone.

People feel a right of entitlement after they have invested time and money into a focus of their interest. I think that is a little of what is in play with the fan uprisings in football and people who go to church. I am not sure if there have been any doctoral thesis pursuits on that subject. I find it somewhat entertaining and fun to watch. I guess sort of like a reality television show or a soap opera.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Lightning rods, Antioxidants and Radon Levels

Lets talk about radon and its implication on selling homes. Every home buyer has the right to inspect the property they are purchasing. Most home inspectors are geared towards inspecting the plumbing, electric, hvac, appliances and the roof. The first four on this list are referred to as warranted items. They have implication with home insurers. If you are getting a loan you certainly must have all these items in proper working condition to obtain property insurance.

There are some home inspectors that stress the importance of getting the home inspected for radon levels. Some of these inspectors also will advise you that they are licensed to mitigate radon levels. I would suggest that you turn away from such offers. You do not want the same person who discovered the problem, repairing the problem. That, at a bare minimum, represents a conflict of interest, in my opinion.

Radon is a naturally occurring substance that emanates from the earth's crust. It is perfectly innocuous until you build a structure over it and encapsulate the gas under a roof. It is measurable and the inspectors do a good job of convincing you that it puts you at risk. Anything over 4.0 Picocuries per liter of air is considered to be high. The mitigation process involves drilling your slab and putting in some sort of apparatus that uses PVC pipes and fans to vent the radon out of your home. The cost can run into the thousands. of dollars.

I was raised in southern West Virginia. I spent much of my early life living in an old farm house that was built in the late 1800's. I recall several drummers coming by our place and pitching my father on the benefits of lightning rods. The Consumer Price Index was at its inception in those days so dollars then compared to dollars now put the modern cost to install at thousands. I never understood the process nor the science behind it. I do know that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity by playing with lightning. I also remember learning along the way that no one has ever really defined electricity. It can only be defined by what it does. I only recall that the sale of lightning rods has always been on the edge of science and been subject to many congressional investigations.

I do remember that a neighbor of ours installed lightning rods and I was awakened one evening after a severe thunder storm. My mother was standing out on the front porch watching the neighbor's home burning to the ground, lightning rods and all.

A few years ago I had an acquaintance ask me to stop by his office. He had something that he wanted to show me. I did so. There sitting on his desk was a little apparatus that looked sort of like a glucometer. He told me to put my finger in to the little hole allowing that. I did so. He pressed a button and a number appeared on the screen and a little piece of tape printed the number out. He presented the tape to me and advised me that my antioxidant level was low. The accepted norm was 10,000 and mine was at 7,500. He then advised me that I should be on a regimen of the vitamins that he sold that would build up my antioxidants and do something with the free radicals floating around in my blood stream. The Utah based company he got these magic elixirs from had a whole line of vitamins that would fix me up.

I said hold on for just a moment. What does that number mean? He responded with what do you mean what does it mean? I said well if you take my blood pressure you will get  numbers that represent millimeters of mercury over baseline telling me that I have high systolic and diastolic pressure or normal pressure. The mean is 120/80. If you take a drop of my blood and measure the clotting time you will get a number representing clotting time ( PTT). Normal is 21 seconds. So what is this apparatus measuring and how? He just shook his head and answered a phone call. I left wondering how much money I could make selling Nuskin products.

If you look at the websites for The American Cancer Society and The American Lung Association they will mention that radon is the second leading cause of cancer. They also point out that radon is associated with about 20,000 deaths each year. Smoking cigarettes causes 480,000 deaths per year. If you divide 350 million citizens into the radon group you get an incidence rate of .000057. That would amount to 5.7 deaths per 100,000 people. Smoking would cause 136.8 deaths per 100,000. Putting all that into perspective tobacco smoking causes 24 times the deaths of radon.

Now please tell me what the radon level is at the place where you work?  What is it at that school you send your child to? What is it where you go to church?

If it  is an issue to you then you should exercise your options to measure it and act upon it. I had a client who is a cancer researcher at our local university. When I mentioned to him in the buyers disclosure about radon he looked at me and smiled and squelched a belly laugh. He ordered some test kits for about $2 apiece through a scientific company he used and tested the home himself. I cannot remember the levels but he signed the paperwork and moved into the home. That was almost 20 years ago.

As with all consumer issues a good dose of caveat emptor is a good way to proceed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Some call it sexual harassment ( Repost from 2011)

When Eve told Adam why she ate the apple she explained that she was beguiled by the serpent and he influenced her to make an unwise choice. So called Lucifer, the son of the morning star, must have had powers of suggestion, some sort of compelling appeal, charisma. He used those along with his other talents to change the course of creation. To this day this sort of influence continues all across the network of humanity.

A little third grade boy gives up his favorite dessert from his lunchbox to a little third grade girl for no other reason than she influenced him with some sort of fascination with her personna and appearance.

Some years ago the corporation where I worked for thirty years required that I attend a conference that was dedicated to sexual harrassment in the work place. I spent a week in a luxury hotel listening to a team of hired specialists that represented a hired consultant organization that had developed training on this subject. I was required to sign a document that stated that if I ever became aware of any sort of sexual harrassment in the workplace that I had a singular responsibility to report it to our human resources department.

Why do you suppose that they would go to all that expense and effort to lay down such a footprint on the conduct of business? The answer is clear and concise. There had been many instances of supervisors intimidating female workers into embarrassing situations that surrounded their jobs and the security of their jobs. Some had filed law suits successfully and had received large awards for having had to endure these unsolicited advances. Once a person had attended one of these seminars they were locked into a dangerous place. An off color joke, a ride in a car unchaperoned with a person of the opposite gender or a compliment on appearance could land you in some hot water. The female person only had to raise the spectrum of impropriety. If they threatened a lawsuit the corporation was safe because they had held a work shop on the issue. You see Mr. John Doe attended our workshop and agreed that he would abstain from such tomfoolery. Here is his written affadavit that he would eschew such a practice. You can go after Mr. Doe, who incidentally doesn't work here anymore, but you cannot pursue us because we have done all that is necessary.

The roll out on all this over the years has been interesting. Did it curtail fooling around in the work place? Not hardly. To me it seemed like it put the whole work place into absolute role reversal. It was always presumed that the more aggressive male workers were the culprits. I have personally seen that it seemed to make women much more bold. They seemed to become more aggressive. Not only in their new supervisory positions but in their speech and actions. It seemed to me that whereas males were on alert as to anything that they said and did might be interpreted as sexual harrassment, women went just the opposite direction.

I have been out of the workplace for almost ten years. I work by myself and have not thought much about all that until the headlines of this morning and Mr. Cain's predicament brought it back to my mind. In the court of the people's minds, the accusation has only to be raised and the perpetrator is considered guilty. Mr. Cain is most likely guilty of repeating a joke delivered in bad taste. If you are the boss, welcome to the world of sensitivity of the female mind. "Why, I was appalled by his comments. I was made to feel diminished, small, an object of lust and derision." I have been in the presence of females who have unabashedly told a joke or made a comment to which they have no accountability. If you were a man and went to human resources reporting that you were sexually harrassed by a female co-worker you would be laughed out of the office. Yet we all know it goes on and have experienced it at one level or another.

At the heart of all this is the tort system that protects some of us and throws the rest of us under the bus. The same book I read the stuff about Lucifer and Eve I also read a quote about lawyers and hypocrites. And so it goes in this fallen, ever worsening world that we live in. You just have to wonder what is next?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Supplanting one Plant for Another

I am fascinated that our government has awakened another crisis in America. The opiate crisis.
I turned on the news this morning to see our Attorney General, my former class mate, speaking on this subject. I am intrigued with the concept.

The poppy is as old as mankind. You remember it had a starring role in the movie The Wizard of Oz. It was the beautiful field full of them that put Dorothy, and her traveling companions, out like the proverbial light. That way the wicked witch and her flying monkeys could harvest them all and carry them back to her evil castle where they were to meet their end.

The substance that mankind became so enamored with early on was opium extracted from the seed of the poppy plant ( Papaveraceous ). In the 18th century laudanum opium was mixed with alcohol and a lot of citizens sat on the front porches in America sipping their little lives away. Early in the 19th century Laudanum's little brother was born, Morphine. It came along just in a nick of time to address the numerous incidents of pain associated with cannon and rifle ball injuries associated with the Civil War. Make that the War between the States. My wife always corrects me and tells me that there is nothing "civil" about war.

Nonetheless morphine, named after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, eased the pain of many confederate and union soldiers. Unfortunately, just as welcome as they had been to taking it they found that quitting it was more troublesome. Thus addiction to narcotics was born. It was thought during that period that perhaps if physicians injected it into the patient the addiction would be less if it bypassed the GI tract. The hypodermic needle invented for that purpose only served to get recipients blood levels and relief much quicker and the addiction was to become more intense than ever.

Codeine was isolated in 1830 and was quite useful for relieving cough as well as pain. The Brits, early adapters in most all things, drove usage to alarming levels. Their government sent ships to the coast of China in 1839 in an attempt to curtail the exporting of opium and thus incurred the first "opium war." In 1874 chemists tried to make a less addicting form of morphine and came up with a product named heroin. We all know where that led us.

My interest in this subject decries the fact that I was involved in the distribution of many of these products. I worked for a pharmaceutical company by the name of Endo Laboratories. Our flagship products were, at the time I went to work for them in 1972,  Hycodan ( hydrocodone ), Percodan
 ( oxycodone ), Numorphan ( oxymorphan ). Endo was purchased by the DuPont company and I retired with them in 2002. So that is 30 years that I went about and promoted the usage of these products. Percocet came along in the early 1980's. I carried samples around in the trunk of my car during that time of the hydrocodone products. Nowadays, I would be shot in the head and dumped in the river if certain people knew I had that stuff in the trunk of my car.

So what is my point? Here it is, simply stated. I remember discussing these products with the prescribing physicians I called on. " Dr. I would like to discuss the relative merits of using Percodan in your patients with severe pain." The response of the physician was usually, "I am afraid of using that product for fear of causing addiction in my patient." The company line was " Dr., we respect your position. However, you have a greater responsibility to treat your patient for pain. Nothing does it better than Percodan." Continuing, " When your patient is in severe pain they trust you to relieve it. This product does that better that anything else out there, excepting the needle. Treat the pain. Get your patient well and wean them off the product. They will love you for it." When I got out of the business Percodan, Percocet, Oxycontin, Codeine, Hydrocodone was a multi-billion  dollar market.

Now we come to an Opiate crisis. Whose fault is it? Is it the prescriber? Is it the dispensing personnel, ie: pharmacist? Is it the manufacturing science, pharmaceutical companies? Is it the drug dealer who shoots somebody in the head to get supplies and then sells them on the black market? Is there ever a point at which the patient, end user is responsible?

Is it a crisis because America has turned to something else to help us escape our depressing world? The God of dreams has stolen our dreams. We seek the euphoria that comes with the next fix. This situation is a mess. There will be billions of dollars in TV ads with snappy slogans. Ad companies and grassroots, advocacy professionals will pocket a huge portion of those billions. We will lose the battle. People will become more addicted as we move along.

Think of the juxtapositional cross roads we find our selves at today. It used to be that the plant we most feared was one that produced TCH, Marijuana. Nowadays, state by state, we have accepted the role of that plant to cure our pain, our depression, our glaucoma, etc. The innocent little poppy plant will now take a back seat to the more promising marijauna plant. And round and round we go.

Was it the prophet Isaiah who lived roughly 2000 years ago that foretold that one day "good would be bad and bad would be good." ? I tell you from my vantage point we are there.