The police department that stopped arresting drug users just put 5 drug companies on notice.

The Gloucester Police Department in Massachusetts has been receiving tons of praise since it decided to stop arresting drug users who turn themselves in back in June.



Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.


The program — which was designed to funnel addicted persons into treatment instead of prison — is already seeing signs of success: Over 100 people have received care, and the department has been able to keep costs well below expectations.

In fact, the initiative has been so well received that it's already begun spreading to other communities around the region.

Gloucester is just one community in New England — and across the country — suffering from an opioid epidemic.

Photo by Be.Futureproof/Flickr.

According to Andrew Kolodny, senior scientist at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management, prescription drug and heroin abuse has exploded in the United States over the last 20 years, resulting in approximately 220,000 overdose deaths between 1999 and 2013.

“An enormous number of people … have lost their lives as a consequence of this epidemic," Kolodny told Upworthy, "And just to put that number into some perspective, that's [well more than] twice the number of Americans who died fighting in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined."

The Gloucester PD soon realized that solving this crisis meant confronting not only the drugs themselves, but the drug companies that make them.

Last week, the department published the names and contact info for the five highest-paid pharmaceutical company CEOs in America on Facebook and asked followers to (respectfully) give them a call:

"Don't get mad. Just politely ask them what they are doing to address the opioid epidemic in the United States and if they realize that the latest data shows almost 80% of addicted persons start with a legally prescribed drug that they make. They can definitely be part of the solution here and I believe they will be ... might need a little push."

A spokesperson for the Gloucester Police Department declined to comment further for this story.

What do drug companies have to do with this? And why are so many people developing addictions to "legally prescribed drugs?"

Photo by Luis Garcia/Wikimedia Commons.

According to Kolodny, beginning with the introduction of OxyContin in 1995, pharmaceutical companies began aggressively selling opioid painkillers, once used primarily to manage patient pain at the end of life, to hospitals and physicians for the treatment of chronic pain and exaggerating their benefits and downplaying the risk of addiction.

“There were many involved in this who truly fell for the campaign," Kolodny said. "It was compelling. There was this idea that we've got this gift from Mother Nature. Opioids [could prevent] people from suffering needlessly … and so the prescribing exploded."

Kolodny and his colleagues tracked the effects of pioid overprescribing in a recent study, which casts doubt on the assumption that addicted young people acquiring opioids illegally are the primary drivers of the epidemic. Their evidence demonstrates that, "middle-aged and elderly individuals commonly exposed to OPRs for pain treatment have experienced the largest increase in rates of opioid-related morbidity and mortality" since the late 1990s.

Inspired by their police department, the residents of Gloucester sure did give Big Pharma a "little push." And according to the chief, it worked.

On Sept. 18, 2015, Chief Leonard Campanello of the Gloucester PD announced via Facebook that Pfizer — one of the three largest pharmaceutical companies in the world — had agreed to meet with the department:

"Pssst ... Pfizer called (honestly) ... we are meeting with them. When you continue to make your calls, thank them because they could have ignored us all. Instead, within 48 hours ... they responded.

A Pfizer spokesperson confirmed that representatives from the company plan to meet with Campanello.

There's no word yet on the outcome of the conversation, but an open dialogue is a good beginning.

Photo via Unsplash/Pixabay.

If a police department can learn that arresting people isn't a cure for addiction, hopefully drug companies can learn from past mistakes too and start implementing some real, long-lasting solutions.

Bravo to the Gloucester PD for taking the first, important step in bringing much-needed relief to a group of people who badly need it.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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