Tag Archives: Department Of Health and Human Services

Health and Human Services Secretary: ‘No Such Thing As Medical Marijuana’

Kettering, OH— While speaking on March 2nd at a press conference on opioids at an inpatient facility that treats newborns suffering from prenatal drug exposure, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar proclaimed that “there really is no such thing as medical marijuana” in response to a question regarding what he sees as the role of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain management. Azar went on to say, “There is no FDA approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant. I just want to be very clear about that.”

Azar, who was the president of the U.S. division of Eli Lilly & Co. from 2012 to 2017, added that the government will invest hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into “next generation pain therapies” as an alternative to opioids.

“We are devoting hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of research at our National Institutes of Health as part of the historic $13 billion opioid and serious mental illness program that the President and Congress are funding,” Azar said. “Over $750 million just in 2019 alone is going to be dedicated towards the National Institutes of Health working in public-private partnership to try and develop the next generation of pain therapies that are not opioids.”

Numerous recent scientific studies in states with medicinal cannabis programs have found that marijuana has drastically reduced opioid dependence. A recent study published by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis revealed that among patients known to be taking opiate painkillers upon their enrollment into the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.”

The results from Minnesota’s program align with numerous studies conducted in other states with active medical marijuana programs. In a 2016 report, using data gathered from patients enrolled in Michigan’s medical cannabis program, indicated that marijuana treatment “was associated with a 64 percent decrease in opioid use, decreased number and side effects of medications, and an improved quality of life.”

An investigative report by Politico revealed that during Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly, the company used erectile dysfunction drug Cialis on boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy to increase profits from the drug and extend its exclusive patent for another six months using a process often referred to as “pediatric patent extension”. While the move reportedly profited the company a billion dollars, critics noted that it crossed ethical lines and had no effect on the children’s condition.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), during Azar’s confirmation hearings in November, appears to predicted the former pharmaceutical executive’s allegiance to big pharma, stating:

I told you in my office you’ve got some convincing to make me believe that you’re going to represent the American people and not big pharma…And I know that’s insulting…because I’m sure you’re an honest and upright person…But we all have our doubts, because big pharma manipulates the system to keep prices high…We have to really fix it, and I — you need to convince those of us who are skeptical that you’ll be part of fixing it and won’t beholden to big pharma.

[WATCH: Ben Swann’s Reality Check: Jeff Sessions Wages War on Cannabis]

U.S. Government to Lower Amount of Fluoride in Water

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report recommending water fluoridation levels be lowered.

The HHS released their final Public Health Service (PHS) for fluoride, calling for a change from the recommended 0.7 -1.2 milligrams per liter to a maximum of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. This is the first major change to fluoride levels since 1962.

The HHS says the change is in response to growing cases of dental fluorosis, which causes yellowing and pitting of the teeth. 2010 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey found that approximately 41% of 12-15 year olds suffer from dental fluorosis, a consequence of fluoride overexposure.  Although the department says the issues with water fluoridation are simply cosmetic, a number of recent studies have called in to question the effectiveness of the treatment.

A recently published study  found  an association between widespread exposure to fluoridated water and increased Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) prevalence among U.S. children.

The study comes from the Department of Psychology at Toronto’s York University and was published in the Environmental Health journal. The researchers studied data on ADHD among children age four to seventeen collected in 2003, 2007 and 2011 as part of the National Survey of Children’s Health, as well as state water fluoridation data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected between 1992 and 2008 . It is the first study to analyze the relationship between exposure to fluoridated water and ADHD prevalence.

The York University study came on the heels of another study published in the BMJ’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, which confirmed Fluoride’s negative effect on the thyroid gland and a possible connection to depression, weight gain, and other negative health effects. Researchers with the University of Kent in England examined thyroid activity for those in areas with fluoridated water and those without. The team examined 95 percent of the English population in 2012 and 2013 and found high rates of underactive thyroid were 30% more likely in areas with high fluoride concentration. An underactive thyroid can lead to depression, weight gain, fatigue and aching muscles.

The researchers reference a previous study that found exposure to water fluoridated at relatively low concentrations and a reduced IQ among children. Based on that study they believe “it is plausible that fluoride is also contributing to attention-related symptoms given its association with lower IQ.”

For more on the history of Fluoride, health issues, and conflicts of interests with the CDC, check this article.

Truth In Media Accelerates National Cannabis Discussion

In March 2014, Benswann.com was alerted to the story of Shona Banda, a woman who was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2002. After seven years of suffering from the debilitating effects of the disease despite conventional treatment and medication, Banda took a bold step to manage her symptoms after watching an online documentary about cannabis oil being used to relieve a variety of ailments ranging from sleep disorders to cancer.

Banda went on to make her own oil at home, and told Ben Swann in an interview in May of 2014 about cannabis oil positively impacting her life. Banda told Swann, “I literally went from feeling the degradation of dying, the pain from dying, knowing that I wasn’t going to be here very long to literally waking up on day three knowing that I was going to live long enough to see my grandkids someday.”

Swann later released a Truth In Media episode last September about medical cannabis. This episode, made possible via donations made by Swann’s supporters through a crowdfunding effort, illustrated the government’s refusal to publicly accept cannabis as medicine while quietly holding two patents on cannabinoids and cannabis oil for the treatment of diseases including Alzheimer’s and indeed, auto-immune diseases like Crohn’s Disease.

Last month, Banda’s home was raided and her son was removed from her care because the boy had disputed common anti-marijuana talking points during school. Banda spoke exclusively to Benswann.com’s Barry Donegan last week about the ordeal. After the publication of Banda’s discussion with Donegan, the news began to spread nationwide.

Radley Balko, author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces and contributor at the Washington Post, wrote about the incident. Soon sites including Uproxx and Reason also covered it. On Monday, the hosts of ABC’s The View discussed the story; Rosie Perez pointed out the “hypocrisy” of the federal government’s classification of marijuana, which remains Schedule 1.

“Listen to this,” Perez said, referencing a key point made in Swann’s episode. “The US government has a patent, patent number 6630507, held by the Department of Health and Human Services, which covers the use of cannabinoids for treating a wide range of diseases.”

With great thanks to the fundraising power of individuals supporting Ben Swann’s Truth In Media Project, Swann’s episode is now sparking a large national discussion about the use of cannabis and the federal government’s deceptive behavior preventing access as well as government agencies punishing people like Shona Banda and her son for challenging government hypocrisy.