Man Sentenced In Deaths Of 2 Girls Found On Colorado Farm

 ( San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

CORTEZ, Colo. (AP) — A man was sentenced to 24 years in prison in the 2017 deaths of two sisters who were banished to a car without food or water by members of a doomsday religious group because the girls were thought to have been impure.

Ashford Archer was found guilty in March of two counts of fatal child abuse and being an accessory to a crime for the deaths of 10-year-old Makayla Roberts and 8-year-old Hannah Marshall, The Cortez Journal reported Thursday. Archer was sentenced June 4 by District Judge Keri A. Yoder to 24 years in prison on the child abuse counts and six years on the accessory count, with the sentences running concurrently.

The bodies of the sisters were found in a car parked on a San Miguel County farm near Norwood in southwest Colorado in September 2017. Authorities said they died of heat, dehydration and starvation.

Archer was a member of a religious group that moved to the property earlier that year, according to court documents.

Investigators say they believe the group’s spiritual leader, Madani Ceus, declared the two girls were possessed by unclean spirits during a past life and ordered the girls kept in a car without food or water for days as the others waited for the apocalypse in advance of the 2017 solar eclipse.

Ceus and the girl’s mother, Nashika Bramble, were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of child abuse resulting in death. They have pleaded not guilty.

Bramble’s trial is scheduled for July 8 in Montrose, while Ceus’ trial date is pending, said Sherry McKenzie, spokeswoman for District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller.

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‘Enough Is Enough.’ California Governor Calls to Halt Racing at Santa Anita Park After 29 Horse Deaths

The staggering number of horse deaths at the Santa Anita race track has California Governor Gavin Newsom demanding change.

Enough is enough,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “I am calling on the California Horse Racing Board to ensure that no horse races until they are examined by independent veterinarians and are found fit to compete.”

Twenty-nine horses have died since the park’s racing season began in December, and with almost two weeks still to go before its formal end, alarm over the death toll has grown. Among the variables thought to contribute to the deaths are the use of whips, drugs and medications, and the general track conditions, according to The New York Times and other outlets. But the problem may lie with the nature of the industry itself, although some changes have recently been enacted.

The track shut down in March after the number of horse fatalities reached 23, but reopened just weeks later following the board’s passage of stricter safety reforms. Yet, the deaths continued.

Formal Dude and Truffalino, two horses who raced at the track, are among the most recent racing deaths. The horses, who passed away just one day apart earlier this month, suffered from race-day injuries. For Truffalino, it was believed he died of a heart attack. They join the dozens of other horses who have met an untimely end at the Arcadia track, located just outside of Los Angeles, this year.

According to the Santa Anita website, the park’s board enacted reforms in March to limit the use of anti-inflammatory and pain medications in an effort to improve the horses’ health and to prevent life-threatening injuries on race day. The website also states that California racing standards maintain “some of the strictest crop rules in the world.”

In a press release, The Stronach Group, which owns the track, claims that since the reforms passed, there has been a 50 percent decrease in “catastrophic” race-day injuries and an 84 percent decrease during training sessions. The group also says they are working with the California Horse Racing Board to resolve horse safety concerns.

This past Sunday, following the deaths of Formal Dude and Truffalino, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) asked Santa Anita to end their meet seven days early. However, the track currently remains in operation. Santa Anita is also still currently scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup this November.

The CHRB and The Stronach Group did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment.

With close to two weeks still left in the current season, and an even bigger event on the horizon, all eyes will be trained on the track—not just to see who crosses the finish line, but to see who might not.

Sports – TIME

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Mans Arrested In Deaths Of Transgender Woman, Two Others

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas police have arrested a 33-year-old man in the slayings of three women, including a transgender woman.

Kendrell Lavar Lyles has been charged with three counts of murder. Dallas police homicide Maj. Max Geron says he was arrested June 5 based on tips linking him to two homicides, including 23-year-old transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker last month . Geron says his car matched the description of the one witnesses reported seeking Booker enter on May 18.

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Lyles is being held without bond in the Collin County Jail in McKinney. Two of the homicides occurred in a section of Dallas in Collin County. Authorities haven’t disclosed the names of those victims.

Geron says Lyles also is being investigated in connection with the death of 26-year-old transgender woman Chynal Lindsey, whose body was found June 1 in a Dallas lake.

PHOTO: Ivan Bajic, ThinkStock


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Legalizing medical marijuana doesn’t curb opioid overdose deaths, study says

Lawmakers and marijuana advocates have argued that legalizing weed to manage chronic paid can help reduce opioid addiction, but researchers at Stanford University's School of Medicine say otherwise.
Health and Science

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Samuel Little, who claims to be one of the most prolific US serial killers, is connected to deaths in 14 states, a Texas prosecutor says

Samuel Little, the California inmate who claims to be one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, has been linked to 60 deaths, a Texas prosecutor said Friday.


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Detroit Man Charged In Deaths Of Gay Men, Transgender Woman

DETROIT (AP) — A man charged with fatally shooting three people and wounding two others at a Detroit home had targeted them because they were part of the LGBTQ community, prosecutors said Friday.

Devon Robinson, 18, of Detroit, was charged Thursday with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of assault and weapons charges in the May 25 shooting on the city’s east side, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office said. He was due in court Friday. Records don’t list a lawyer for him.

“We must remain ever vigilant in our fight to eradicate hate,” prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.

Police have said the shooting happened about 5 a.m. during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The shooting killed 21-year-old Alunte Davis, 20-year-old Paris Cameron and 20-year-old Timothy Blancher, all of Detroit. Davis and Blancher were gay men and Cameron was a transgender woman, the prosecutor’s office said.

Prosecutor’s spokeswoman Maria Miller provided the alleged motive in an email Friday but declined to release additional details, saying those would come out later in court.

The Fair Michigan Justice Project, which assists authorities investigating serious crimes against LGBTQ people, worked with prosecutors on the case. Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire said “This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community.”

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Romanticizing D-Day Ignores Thousands of Civilian Deaths

Ed Vebell via Getty

In 1979 I was a freshly minted college grad hitchhiking around Normandy, France, near the D-Day landing beaches. The 35th anniversary of the Allied invasion of France, D-Day, June 6, 1944, had just passed and the French people I met welcomed an American in their midst. I was about the same age as my father was when, as a soldier in the U.S. First Army, he had advanced through France and Belgium and on into Germany, to victory in World War II.

Despite the many glasses of Calvados I didn’t have to pay for at cafés in the towns where I stopped, at the time I couldn’t have told my new French friends where my father had been during World War II. The same could be said for many of my friends back home. Our fathers didn’t talk a lot about what they went through in the war. Thinking back to my travels around Normandy, one of the odd things was that there were so few other Americans there to mark a big D-Day anniversary. Tour companies and towns in England had advertised for former GIs to come back, but not many took up the offer. And France didn’t lay out the red carpet for returning Allied invaders like it does today.

On D-Day plus 35 years, not one world leader showed up to mark the day. The biggest commemorative event took place at Pointe du Hoc, the promontory cliffs which U.S. Army Rangers heroically scaled to knock out German artillery positions between the Utah and Omaha landing beaches. The elderly General Omar Bradley, who led U.S. Army forces during preparation for the landings, Operation Neptune, and commanded the First Army for the invasion of Normandy, Overlord, rolled out by wheelchair. He made a few dedicatory remarks at the new Ranger Dagger monument at the site. A wreath-laying ceremony was also held at a Canadian cemetery outside Caen, and a small parade of World War II-vintage jeeps and other military vehicles and soldiers ran through the narrow streets of Bayeux. (You can watch the video from the events here.) American media coverage was equally sparse, just a photo of a frail-looking General Bradley with a caption on the front page of The New York Times. That was pretty much it.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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U.S. biologists probe deaths of 70 emaciated gray whales

U.S. government biologists have launched a special investigation into the deaths of at least 70 gray whales washed ashore in recent months along the U.S. West Coast, from California to Alaska, many of them emaciated, officials said on Friday.


Reuters: Science News

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Man Charged In Deaths Of 6 More Dallas-Area Elderly Women

DALLAS (AP) — Authorities say a Dallas man previously arrested in the death of an 81-year-old woman killed at least six other elderly women whose jewelry and other valuables he stole.

Kim Leach, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County district attorney’s office, says 46-year-old Billy Chemirmir (CHEH-meer-meer) was indicted Tuesday on six more counts of capital murder.

Chemirmir has been in custody since March 2018 in the death of the 81-year-old. Police said at the time that investigators were reviewing about 750 unattended deaths of elderly women for possible links.

Authorities say he posed as a health care provider or maintenance worker to gain access to the women’s apartments and rob them.

His attorney, Phillip Hayes, says this week’s charges were a surprise and he hasn’t had time to review them.

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Horse Deaths Are Haunting the Racing World Ahead of the Kentucky Derby. Here’s What’s Being Done to Stop Them

The Kentucky Derby, which will be run for the 145th time on May 4, is the oldest continuously held major sporting event in U.S. This year, however, talk of mint juleps, stylish hats and Triple Crown dreams may be overshadowed by a disturbing spate of horse deaths — and fresh calls to regulate the sport.

Between late December and early April, nearly two-dozen Thoroughbred horses died while racing or training at California’s Santa Anita Park. The cause of the fatal injuries is unknown, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney is investigating the deaths. As with all horse injuries, multiple factors may be at play, say safety experts, including heavy rainfall that may have compromised the track surface. The track shut down for much of March and adopted several new policies, including banning the use of drugs on race day and increasing the time required for horses to be on-site prior to a race.

“While the cause of the injuries on the racetrack might be varied, they have one thing in common: the industry has yet to do everything that can be done to prevent them,” wrote Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of the Stronach Group — which owns Santa Anita — in a March open letter. “That changes today.”

That’s a small start. But reforms at one track likely won’t be enough to fix the sport’s systemic problems. Last year, 493 horses died or were euthanized within 72 hours of sustaining a catastrophic race injury. That’s about 10 horses each week. In the last ten years, a total of 6,134 horses have died. That tally doesn’t include deaths from training.

PETA and other animal-rights advocates are sounding off. So are notable horse racing organizations, which say that many horse deaths are preventable. In March, the Jockey Club, which holds the registry for Thoroughbred horses, released a scathing report calling out the sport for tolerating performance-enhancing drugs and running horses that are medicated to dull the pain of pre-existing injuries. “The issue isn’t about a single track,” the report reads. “Horse fatalities are a nationwide problem, one that has shocked fans, the industry, the regulators and the general public.”

An industry overhaul would be difficult, if not nearly impossible, to implement because horse racing has no national rule-making body. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), which sets best safety practices, has no teeth to mandate them. Instead, 38 racing jurisdictions set their own standards.

“We are more of a carrot organization than stick,” says Steve Koch, executive director of the Safety and Integrity Alliance at NTRA, which has accredited 23 tracks. Another 40 tracks are making efforts to be accredited, while others are not engaged with the alliance at all. “We’re making progress, but are not quite there yet.”

Federal oversight is still far off. The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019 was introduced in the House earlier this year to establish a private, independent horse racing anti-doping authority. It has 69 cosponsors, but does not have full support from the industry. Prior versions of the legislation also failed to make headway in Congress.

History has shown that reforms triggered by horse deaths roll out slowly and inconsistently, from state to state and from track to track.

For instance, after beloved Thoroughbreds Barbaro and Eight Belles died in the late 2000s, the industry began to collect fatal injury data for every U.S. track. Today, every racetrack reports injury death rates to a national database. But only a handful make those numbers public. In Kentucky, Keeneland and Turfway Park both report publicly. But Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, does not. In March, the Louisville Courier-Journal discovered via a public records request that the death rate at Churchill Downs was 2.73 per 1,000 racing starts last year—more than 60% higher than the national average.

This week, the Derby track released a list of safety initiatives that it plans to support in the coming years, as well as a statement from Churchill Downs Inc. chief executive Bill Carstanjen: “As the host of the Kentucky Derby and a key leader in the racing industry, Churchill Downs has a heightened responsibility to implement the world’s best practices for caring for racehorses at our facilities.”

The NTRA’s Koch believes that efforts over the last decade, such as curbing doping drugs and evolving veterinarian protocols, have made a difference. While the U.S. racing fatality rate rose 4% in 2018 compared to the year before, since 2009 the fatality rate has actually declined 16%, from 2 deaths per 1,000 race starts in 2009 to 1.68 last year.

More change could be underway. In mid-April, 20 leading tracks pledged to phase out a drug called Lasix in the coming years. Lasix treats a rare lung condition, but, according to the Jockey Club, it is given to about 95% of horses on race day because it induces urination. Lighter and faster, the horses perform better, but need days to recover and rehydrate.

That’s good news leading into the Kentucky Derby. This year, like every year, America will fall for — and bet on — the Thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs. Now, the racing industry is under pressure to take better care of them.

Sports – TIME

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Fisher-Price recalls sleeper after dozens of infant deaths over last decade

Fisher-Price is recalling some 5 million “Rock ‘n Play sleepers after more than 30 infant suffocation or strangulation deaths over the past decade have been linked to the product rolling over. The recall, announced Friday night, had been urged by child safety experts. “This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately,” Kyle Yasuda, president…
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Amnesty Demands Inquiry Into Civilian Deaths In US Drone Strikes In Somalia

Amnesty International alleged that 14 civilians were killed in US drone strikes in Somalia, and demanded that US government carry out impartial, thorough investigations into “dramatically increased” air strikes in the impoverished northern African country. In a report released on Wednesday, the London-based human rights watchdog said it estimates that there have been more than 100 strikes by US
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Santa Anita Racetrack Cancels Racing Indefinitely After Deaths of 21 Horses

(ARCADIA, Calif.) — Santa Anita has canceled racing indefinitely to re-examine its dirt surface after the deaths of 21 horses in the last two months.

Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that racing won’t be held this weekend, when two major races were scheduled: the San Felipe for 3-year-old Kentucky Derby hopefuls and the Santa Anita Handicap for older horses.

Ritvo wouldn’t speculate on when training and racing would resume. After this weekend, races were to be run again starting March 14 at the storied racetrack that will host the Breeders’ Cup world championships for a record 10th time this fall.

“In whole, we feel confident in the track and we’re just being very proactive,” Ritvo said. “We want to do all the testing that needs to be done. When we believe we’re in good shape, we’ll start to train over it again.”

The Daily Racing Form first reported the cancellation.

The latest fatality occurred during training on Tuesday, when a 4-year-old filly got injured and was euthanized.

“Obviously, one horse is too many,” Ritvo said. “The recent rash is just horrible. We need to definitely take a step back and evaluate everything.”

Santa Anita received 11½ inches of rain and had unusually cold temperatures in February, but it’s unclear whether track conditions played a role in any of the fatalities.

The National Weather Service was forecasting 1 to 2 inches of rain in Los Angeles County starting overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday.

“We think that (rain) could definitely contribute even though our experts are telling us not,” Ritvo said. “The tracks out here are built not for weather like that.”

Ritvo said officials are “a little bit concerned” with the latest impending storm and how the dirt surface can change from muddy to fast in a short time.

Besides re-examining the dirt track, Ritvo said all racing protocols would be looked at.

“We won’t rush it,” he said. “Everybody takes a deep breath.”

Ritvo was uncertain whether the San Felipe and Santa Anita Handicap would be rescheduled.

“Those are huge races,” he said. “We hope so.”

Seven deaths have occurred during races on the dirt oval at Santa Anita since the track’s winter meet began on Dec. 26. Five have occurred on the turf course and nine came during training on dirt. The highest-profile horse to be euthanized was Battle of Midway, winner of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The 5-year-old bay also finished third in the 2017 Kentucky Derby for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The horse suffered injuries during a workout on Feb. 23.

Last week, Santa Anita was closed for two days while the dirt surface underwent extensive testing and was declared fit for racing.

Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally said 4-year-old filly Lets Light the Way “took a bad step or something” on Tuesday.

He said the injury was a shattered sesamoid in her right front leg. Sesamoid bones provide anchor points for the two branches of the suspensory ligament. The bones are under stress each time a horse takes a step. Lets Light the Way was X-rayed and later euthanized.

“I think the weather has a lot to do with it,” said McAnally, whose wife, Debbie, owned the filly.

“Santa Anita has been a wonderful track, and they’ve done all kinds of tests,” McAnally said. “I don’t know what else they could do. It’s a fluky thing.”

Also Tuesday, Vyjack was pulled up after completing a five-furlong workout, according to trainer Phil D’Amato. The graded stakes-winning 9-year-old gelding was taken off the track in a van. But D’Amato told the Daily Racing Form that Vyjack “took a couple of funny steps” and was OK.

The number of deaths has drawn both concern and criticism. A handful of animal-rights activists gathered outside Santa Anita’s main gate on Sunday, carrying signs and shouting.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk agreed with the track’s decision to close.

“This was the right thing to do,” she said in a statement. “The track should remain closed until the California Horse Racing Board dumps the drugs entirely, or injured horses whose soreness is masked by legally allowed medication will continue to sustain shattered bones. PETA renews its call for a criminal investigation into the trainers and veterinarians who may have put injured horses on the track, leading to their deaths.”

Ritvo said, “The first and most important thing is the health and welfare of the horses and jockeys.”

In 2017, 20 deaths occurred among a total of 8,463 starts over a span of 122 racing days at Santa Anita, according to the most recent figures compiled by The Jockey Club. That’s a rate of 2.36 deaths per 1,000 starts.

There were 1.61 deaths per 1,000 starts in the U.S. in 2017, according to the most recent figures from the Equine Injury Database, compiled by The Jockey Club. That was a slight increase in the rate of fatal injury compared with 2016, when there were 1.54 deaths per 1,000 starts.

The deaths were more frequent on dirt surfaces (1.74 per 1,000 starts) than on turf (1.36).

Santa Anita was closed for two days last week while the dirt surface was tested.

Mick Peterson, a soil and safety expert brought in from the University of Kentucky, proclaimed the track “100 percent ready” to resume racing.

Peterson said radar verified that all of the silt, clay and sand, as well as the moisture content, were consistent throughout the track. Its dirt surface was peeled back 5 inches and reapplied.

Since Peterson’s comments, two horses have died, including McAnally’s filly. The 86-year-old trainer is one of the most respected in horse racing and has won three Eclipse Awards as the nation’s outstanding trainer.

Lets Light the Way had one win in four career starts and earnings of $ 18,500, according to Equibase. She last raced Feb. 2 at Santa Anita. McAnally purchased the filly for $ 15,000.

The other death occurred Saturday during the third race when 4-year-old filly Eskenforadrink was in the lead. Jockey Geovanni Franco pulled her up with an injury to her front leg. The filly was taken off the track and was later euthanized.

Track officials announced Tuesday that a former track superintendent is returning immediately to Santa Anita as a consultant on site as “a precautionary measure with regard to the condition of the one-mile main track.” The consultant, Dennis Moore, worked in Arcadia from 2014 until retiring Dec. 31. He currently holds the same position at Del Mar and Los Alamitos racetrack in Orange County.

In 2014, Moore oversaw a major renovation of the dirt surface using sand that was dug up in the coastal suburb of El Segundo for construction projects at Los Angeles International Airport. The sand was screened for foreign materials and large rocks.

At the time, track officials said the reddish-brown sand would ensure balanced drainage during periods of wet weather and a consistent, safe cushion for horses year-round. That’s important at Santa Anita, which added several additional weeks of racing to its schedule after the closure of Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California, in December 2013.

Sports – TIME

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County By County, Researchers Link Opioid Deaths To Drugmakers’ Marketing

Researchers sketched a vivid line Friday linking the dollars spent by drugmakers to woo doctors around the country to a vast opioid epidemic that has led to tens of thousands of deaths.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, looked at county-specific federal data and found that the more opioid-related marketing dollars were spent in a county, the higher the rates of doctors who prescribed those drugs and, ultimately, the more overdose deaths occurred in that county.

For each three additional payments made to physicians per 100,000 people in a county, opioid overdose deaths were up 18 percent, according to the study. The researchers said their findings suggest that “amid a national opioid overdose crisis, reexamining the influence of the pharmaceutical industry may be warranted.”

And the researchers noted that marketing could be subtle or low-key. The most common type: meals provided to doctors.

Dr. Scott Hadland, the study’s lead author and an addiction specialist at Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction, has conducted previous studies connecting opioid marketing and opioid prescribing habits.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to link opioid marketing to a potential increase in prescription opioid overdose deaths, and how this looks different across counties and areas of the country,” said Hadland, who is also a pediatrician.

Nearly 48,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2017, about 68 percent of the total overdose deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 2000, the rate of fatal overdoses involving opioids has increased 200 percent. The study notes that opioid prescribing has declined since 2010, but it is still three times higher than in 1999.

The researchers linked three data sets: the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Open Payments database that shows drugmakers’ payments to doctors; a database from the CDC that shows opioid prescribing rates; and another CDC set that provides mortality numbers from opioid overdoses.

They found that drugmakers spent nearly $ 40 million from Aug. 1, 2013, until the end of 2015 on marketing to 67,500 doctors across the country.

Opioid marketing to doctors can take various forms, although the study found that the widespread practice of providing meals for physicians might have the greatest influence. According to Hadland, prior research shows that meals make up nine of the 10 opioid-related marketing payments to doctors in the study.

“When you have one extra meal here or there, it doesn’t seem like a lot,” he said. “But when you apply this to all the doctors in this country, that could add up to more people being prescribed opioids, and ultimately more people dying.”

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, said these meals may happen at conferences or industry-sponsored symposiums.

“There are also doctors who take money to do little small-dinner talks, which are in theory, supposed to educate colleagues about medications over dinner,” said Kolodny, who was not involved in the study. “In reality this means doctors are getting paid to show up at a fancy dinner with their wives or husbands, and it’s a way to incentivize prescribing.”

And those meals may add up.

“Counties where doctors receive more low-value payments is where you see the greatest increases in overdose rates,” said Magdalena Cerdá, a study co-author and director of the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy at the New York University School of Medicine. The amount of the payments “doesn’t seem to matter so much,” she said, “but rather the opioid manufacturer’s frequent interactions with physicians.”

Dr. G. Caleb Alexander, who is the co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness and was not affiliated with the study, said that the findings about the influence of meals aligns with social science research.

“Studies have found that it may not be the value of the promotional expenditures that matters, but rather that they took place at all,” he said. “Another way to put it, is giving someone a pen and pad of paper may be as effective as paying for dinner at a steakhouse.”

The study says lawmakers should consider limits on drugmakers’ marketing “as part of a robust, evidence-based response to the opioid overdose epidemic.” But they also point out that efforts to put a high-dollar cap on marketing might not be effective since meals are relatively cheap.

In 2018, the New Jersey attorney general implemented a rule limiting contracts and payments between physicians and pharmaceutical companies to $ 10,000 per year.

The California Senate also passed similar legislation in 2017, but the bill was eventually stripped of the health care language.

The extent to which opioid marketing by pharmaceutical companies fueled the national opioid epidemic is at the center of more than 1,500 civil lawsuits around the country. The cases have mostly been brought by local and state governments. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, who is overseeing hundreds of the cases, has scheduled the first trials for March.

In 2018, Kaiser Health News published a cache of Purdue Pharma’s marketing documents that displayed how the company marketed OxyContin to doctors beginning in 1995. Purdue Pharma announced it would stop marketing OxyContin last February.

Priscilla VanderVeer, a spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, said that doctors treating patients with opioids need education about benefits and risks. She added that it is “critically important that health care providers have the appropriate training to offer safer and more effective pain management.”

Cerdá said it is also important to consider that the study is not saying doctors change their prescribing practices intentionally.

“Our results suggest that this finding is subtle, and might not be recognizable to doctors that they’re actually changing their behavior,” said Cerdá. “It could be more of a subconscious thing after increased exposure to opioid marketing.”


KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Kaiser Health News

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6 Surprisingly Sad Movie Deaths

Tragic deaths, and the emotional devastation that they deliver, have been a part of movies since film began. There are deaths that we expect to sadden us: a family member succumbs to cancer, a loyal friend makes the ultimate sacrifice, a beloved pet is put down. Then there are the deaths, both real and figurative, that have no business tugging our heartstrings, but somehow manage to tear us up anyway.

Wilson — Cast Away


The most strategically placed handprint in cinematic history.

When Fed Ex engineer Chuck Noland washes up on a deserted island following a plane crash, he survives the crushing loneliness by befriending a volleyball, on whom he makes a face using a bloody handprint. “Wilson” becomes Chuck’s companion, confidante, and, occasionally, his conscience. When Chuck builds a raft to escape the island, he doesn’t even consider leaving Wilson behind.

Chuck falls asleep on the raft, and when he wakes up, he sees Wilson floating beyond his reach. Desperate to save his friend, Chuck swims after him, but is forced to abandon the rescue in order to keep his raft. Helpless to prevent it, Chuck — along with the audience – watches in despair as Wilson floats out to sea. Everyone involved in this movie will live forever in the annals of great filmmaking for causing us all to tear up over a lost volleyball.

Bing Bong — Inside Out


Bing Bong: “Take her to the moon for me.” Everyone Else: *sobs uncontrollably*

Inside preteen Riley’s mind, her emotions, Joy and Sadness, struggle to return to headquarters. On the way, they meet a strange but energetic dolphin-elephant-cat hybrid made of cotton candy named Bing Bong, Riley’s former imaginary friend. Eager to be useful again, Bing Bong offers to help them get back to where they belong, and perhaps, to return to Riley’s active memory himself. However, due to his childlike nature, his efforts to assist tend to hinder as much as help.

As Riley’s Personality Islands crumble around them, Joy and Bing Bong — who had reached out to grab Joy — fall into the Memory Dump and risk fading from existence. They attempt to escape on Bing Bong’s wagon, but each attempt to fly out falls short. Jumping out of the wagon on the last jump, he sacrifices himself to save Joy, so Joy can save Riley. As he fades away, he calls out to Joy, saying “Take her to the moon for me. Okay?”

The Brachiosaurus — Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

As Isla Nublar‘s volcano erupts sending lava and ash across the island, Dinosaur Protection Group operatives Claire Dearing, Owen Grady, and Franklin Webb race to avoid the destruction. They sneak onboard the Arcadia just as it leaves the dock, and just before the volcanic Armageddon overtakes the island. As the ship leaves Isla Nublar behind, they watch a lone brachiosaurus race to the edge of the pier and call out helplessly as the flames and smoke consume her.

It’s hard watching this poor creature cry and reach out for a life-saving hand that will never come. But you know what, a lot of creatures perished on that island and an entire ecosystem disappeared. This one particular dinosaur shouldn’t — wait, what? It’s the same brachiosaurus from the first film? The one reaching up to eat the leaves? The very first dinosaur we ever see? Aw, man.

Yondu — Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2


Michael Rooker as Yondu.

We first meet Yondu leading the Ravagers, a terrifying band of space pirates with which Peter Quill spent a fearful childhood. Yondu spends the first film alternating between chasing Peter — whom he’d kidnapped and terrified as a child — and threatening to kill him. He even reveals he kept young Peter from his father. No one would shed a tear at his demise.

In Vol. 2, we find out that Yondu refused to give Peter to his father to save him from a terrible fate. He admits that though he remained distant and chose not to show affection, he thought of Peter as his own son. His love for Peter costs Yondu his ship and the lives of his crew. The long-overdue father-son reconciliation comes just before Yondu sacrifices himself to save Peter’s life, and we discover — too late — how much of a hero he really is.

Ellie — Up


“Cross my heart.”

Before Carl Frederickson flew his balloon-propelled house to Venezuela, he was a young boy who dreamed of adventure. He meets Ellie, and she instantly captivates him. She shows him her Adventure Book and makes Carl promise to go with her to Paradise Falls one day. They become best friends and eventually, husband and wife. In a devastating wordless montage, dreams of adventure give way to the necessities and heartbreaks of adulthood until old age creeps up on them.

Carl finally decides they’re going to Paradise Falls, but it’s too late, as illness takes Ellie away, and he’s left alone. It’s not surprising that the death of a beloved wife and childhood sweetheart would be sad. What is unexpected is that a movie about a grumpy old man flying a balloon house could rip our hearts out in the first ten minutes. But then, it is Pixar, so we should have seen it coming.

HAL 9000 — 2001: A Space Odyssey


“What do you think you’re doing, Dave?”

All is well aboard Discovery 1 until its AI operating system, Hal 9000, decides that the only way to successfully carry out his mission is to kill the crew. Suspicious of HAL’s strange behavior, crewmen Dave Bowman and Frank Poole discuss deactivating HAL. HAL strikes first, but Bowman survives. He navigates HAL’s defenses and begins the process of shutting HAL down.

Helpless to prevent his deactivation, HAL pleads for mercy, but Dave continues undeterred. Hal expresses fear as he realizes the end is near, “My mind is going; I can feel it.” Although he murdered the crew and needed to be stopped, he wasn’t evil. He was simply a faithful servant who, in the end, had gone a little mad. Imagine Old Yeller if the dog sang “Daisy Bell” while Travis loaded the gun.

Smart Horror Movie Characters Who Died Anyway

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