Watch a video of my prison and opioids play "Streets Like This," performed by actors who have all dealt with incarceration

In 2018, I was commissioned by Civic Ensemble of Ithaca, New York to help devise and write a new play based on their ReEntry Theatre Program — a free arts initiative for people who've experienced incarceration and/or drug rehabilitation. The program participants developed the raw material through theatre games and writing exercises, which I then took and transformed into a full-length script.

Streets Like This originally ran for 3 sold out performances in May 2018, featuring a cast of program participants, whose personal stories of addiction and incarceration inspired the script. The people involved in this show from the start have gone on to make some tremendous policy changes for social services and criminal justice reform in Tompkins County, New York, and decided to remount the show again this spring.

Then the COVID-19 outbreak happened.

But the cast and company got together one last time and filmed their production without an audience. It's streaming now for free between April 30 and May 17, 2020; and since they can't raise any money through ticket sales, they're hoping the video will bring in some donations so they can keep this program going.

Working on this play and getting to know these actors was an eye-opening and inspiring experience for me, and I know it's had a positive impact on their lives, too. I hope you'll check it out, and if you're feeling generous, throw some money their way so they can keep doing good work in changing the ways our society deals with addiction and incarceration. Read the rest

Giuliani helped to keep Oxycontin in the hands of addicts

If you or someone you care about is addicted to OxyContin, former New York City Mayor and current Worst Frigging Lawyer on the Whole Damn Planet, Rudolph Giuliani, is partially to blame.

300,000 Oxycontin-related deaths? He can have some props for those, too.

According to The Guardian, the United States government managed to slap a criminal charge on Purdue Pharma back in the mid-2000s for the way that Purdue was marketing Oxycontin, a powerful and, oft-times addictive, painkiller. In their advertising for the drug, Purdue buffed up how safe Oxycontin is to use: They claimed that the drug would be slowly released into the patient’s body, providing pain relief while ensuring that the possibility of addiction was kept to a minimum.

Which is why so many people inject and snort Oxycontin for a near-instant high.

Unfortunately, when it was first released back in the 1990s, doctors had no idea that the drug would prove to be as addictive as we now know it to be. It didn’t take long, however, for physicians who were prescribing the Oxycontin to their patients to discover that many became hooked on the painkiller – hard. The American government took exception to Purdue’s bullshit. A US Attorney began the work to take the drug company down. The matter went to trial.

Giuliani, fresh off his stint as Mayor of NYC, was hired by Purdue to help them escape prosecution. This was the same Giuliani, who announced a program to curb illegal drug use back in the late 1990s. Read the rest

Dopey, a podcast on the 'dark comedy of drug addiction'

A few years back I wrote about Dave, one of the hosts of Dopey podcast. It was before Dopey though. Back then, he was working on another project that caught my fancy. It was good but can't tell you about it because he's gone anonymous for this one.

I can tell you about Dopey though, in Dave's words:

The show is about all things addiction related; using, crazy stories, consequences, and of course recovery. The format is basically a hang out between me, and my podcasting partner Chris. Between the two of us we’ve been to a million detoxes, rehabs and jail as well as used every substance under the sun besides angel dust. Our show is the first ever media platform to deal with addiction in a new way, a funny way, a way that doesn’t shame addicts for destroying their lives. Instead, Dopey celebrates the absurd life of an addict, the horrible mistakes, and the crushing defeats. We also champion recovery and sobriety without pandering or ever being overly sanctimonious.

Since they started just two years ago, they've gained a dedicated audience (known as "Dopey Nation") who downloads their show 40K times a month.

Dave writes, "Many of our listeners who have gotten clean have offered some gratitude to Dopey, saying it helped point them in the right direction. Others have said if two idiots like you guys could get clean, then anyone can."

Dr. Drew Pinsky will be a guest on their show this Saturday to talk about the opioid epidemic "raging through our country." Read the rest

House passes bill to help children who are born hooked on opioids

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation to improve safety planning for babies born dependent on opioid drugs. Read the rest

That time Dick Cheney complained Donald Rumsfeld drank too much coffee

Back in 1975, Dick Cheney, the worst person in the world, was Deputy Chief of Staff in Gerald Ford’s White House.

Here's a memo he wrote to Staff Secretary Jim Connor complaining that his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, also the the worst person in the world, was drinking too much coffee in the White House. According to Cheney's memo, Rummy was running up a bill in excess of $100 a month, which is around $450 in today's money.

What was in that coffee? Read the rest