The popular Southeast Asian botanical Kratom may be part of the solution to America’s opioid and mental health epidemics, or it may be part of the problem.
By Mark D. Harris
Joe (not his real name) was a veteran and heroin addict in his mid-30s. He presented to the emergency room with a deadly blood infection. So weak that he could barely walk, Joe ended up in the intensive care unit in a major hospital. Heroin followed him there, with drug dealers delivering to him in his room. Slowly he improved. He is off heroin. Today, Joe is in rehabilitation, gaining strength and trying to put his life back together.
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Mental health is more than medications, therapies, counseling, patients, and doctors. It is about a milieu of family, friends, finances, faith, and a thousand other factors. Let’s look at them.
By Mark D. Harris
Years ago a friend of mine was abandoned by her husband. She and her sons have remained in the church but now the boys are out of the house and she is alone. A couple of months ago I saw her in the hall and greeted her with a big hug. Her eyes lit up – it had been a long time since she had been touched. The Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby is not just a song, but a statement of an exploding problem throughout the world – people are lonely. Doug Saunders captured this problem in his book Arrival City in which he remarked on “the silent isolation of the middle class.” He wrote of new immigrants “no longer would they hear every word and movement around them; no longer was the air constantly vibrating with the parry and banter of the entire community.” The only regular noise many people hear at home are the sounds of the television and the computer.
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Ever feel like your problems are so big that you can’t even understand them, much less deal with them? Ever feel impotent to grasp others’ problems, much less help them with them? Approaching the topic first from a medical and then from a larger perspective, the attached article may provide some insight.
A fellow student from the public health program at Johns Hopkins came to me with a research idea many years ago. Performing publishable research is a requirement of the program, and we were struggling with the most fundamental issue; thoroughly understanding the problem that you wish to address. Our team wrestled with the possibilities, explored lots of dead ends, and sought guidance from more experienced researchers. Eventually a reasonable, although not groundbreaking, plan took shape.
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What are magic, science, and prayer? How do they differ? How do they work in our lives? How should they work? What can be do to make them work better?
Last Sunday my family and I watched The Hobbit, the latest movie from the writings of the great fantasy author JRR Tolkien, which also includes the Lord of the Rings series. It was a good show, bringing the audience through sadness, excitement, laughter, and the whole range of emotions. During my time of prayer and meditation this morning I considered some of the differences between science, prayer, and magic, as it is portrayed in The Hobbit and the Harry Potter series.
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