‘When you take him to Trinity, tell them he’s a sex worker’ #HumanTrafficking

UPDATE: Was all of this some bizarre ‘Get Even’ stunt by Bustos and Bustos? 

What’s the link between human trafficking and shoplifting/petty theft?

I know there is one because human trafficking is something I am passionate about making people aware of, and it is something I have researched to the nth degree. I suspect I have known several victims of human trafficking since returning to the Quad-Cities in 2002, whether they admit to being victims or not.

As a person with PTSD who was the victim of a violent crime, I am obsessed with the Scott County (Davenport, Iowa) jail listing. I monitor it constantly and have done so for more than two years. I would do the same for Rock Island County if it were available.

So again, all of this said, I fully suspect that some people hauled in for shoplifting also may be human trafficking victims.

In fact, I long have said (and have widely shared my theory through the proper channels, the so-called ‘right way’ as opposed to the so-called ‘wrong way’) that I believe human trafficking and shoplifting/petty theft are linked right here in our community.

Why do I think this? Well, because I have heard enough stories to know that men who hook up with men on sites like Craigslist, or on apps like Grindr and Scruff, often get ripped off.

It’s no secret I’m a nosy reporter. Indeed, I recently was told the rumor around a subset population here in the Quad-Cities is, “The reporter is at it again, watch out.”

To that end, I can tell you the apps like Scruff and Grindr, and the Craigslist site, remain full of ads saying things like, “No, I don’t pay for sex!” as well as men just flat-out admitting they are sex workers.

So, men still are charging for sex on these apps. Men also are being rolled on these apps and ripped off.

Now, just because someone is a sex worker doesn’t mean they are a human trafficking victim, or a thief. I’ll admit that.

But how are they living? Do they have a place to live? If so, where? Who pays their rent if they don’t? Do they suffer from addiction or mental illness?

All of these questions must be answered. When shoplifting offenders are hauled in for stealing something from J.C. Penney’s, or from a trick’s house, they need to be questioned. Because beyond that petty theft, I have no doubt some of them are victims of crime themselves.

I believe these are opportunities to find human trafficking perps. Of course, the problem is, victims are scared as hell to talk.

I don’t blame them.

I hope my writing has made it easier for them, but considering what happened to me for talking, they may be even less inclined to talk now.

Check out My LinkedIn Special Report: Hooking up to Stay Alive: The Sexual Exploitation of Young Men and Boys

When I was released from the Rock Island County Jail after being held there on no charges at all, I heard someone in the jail say, “When you take him to Trinity, tell them he’s a sex worker.”

I’m not a sex worker, but I did go to authorities with information about human trafficking.

It’s super-gross disgusting what happened to me in that jail. Super, duper, filthy, gross disgusting.

All the while, my dad was rotting in a sh*thole that would “trespass” me after the jail incident. Meantime, daddy had $285,000 (including the house) just waiting to be divvied up between Cain and Abel in a simple share and share alike will.

I spent $10,000 to get my half. My brother had control of dad’s purse strings as POA so his lawyer was funded that way.

I was held in that jail on no charges at all.

And given how I was treated at Trinity, it’s clear the deputy who took me there indeed probably did tell them I was a sex worker.

And that would have had to have been the guy I went to college with. Augustana College.

Are people being trafficked out of jails? Hey, it’s just a question. I’m a reporter. I ask them.

Read more: Trinity, Genesis failing Quad-Cities mentally ill

If things couldn’t be any more woven in this web of hell I find myself in, absolutely for getting sober in my own community and for telling the truth, whether the 25-member county board wants to accept personal responsibility for that or not, the deputy who took me to Trinity is a guy I went to college with.

Careful when you take classmates-turned-cops to Mulkey’s

In fact, I took this Rock Island County Sheriff’s deputy – and an RIPD cop I went to high school with – to Mulkey’s, both of them, together, on my dime, to nose around about a story I was working on for Healthline. Just weeks (days?) before this all went down. It is a blur.

We see where that got me. I do not blame these cops directly, absolutely not. But I do think one of them could end this nightmare immediately by telling what he knows. I understand cops have to feed their families though and deal with filth politicians all the time. It happens everywhere.

By now it should be very obvious. I know all these heavy hitters and that each and every one of them has not offered a personal explanation is outrageous. It’s because the truth is being rewritten, I am sure.

It’s scary. I have said it many times. I often feel like I live in Soviet Russia or North Korea since sharing the information I shared. It takes an hour for me to download and read an email in my house, after all. Half the time my phone doesn’t work.

People ask why I don’t move.

Because I intend to still be here when this fine community of people trusting to a fault is CLEANED UP of corrupt filth. And I truly believe it’s coming. God, I hope I live in the country I said the pledge to each day down the street at Eugene Field.

But it is making for one hell of a book, so I’ll stop bitchin.

Questions about petty thefts

I wonder, who bails out all these young men in the jail listing who are hauled in over and over and over? Are there certain people bailing out the same people over and over for petty theft/shoplifting? Why do so many of these young men seem to run in the same circles and know one another?

When “a trick” steals a ring from someone’s house, for example, where does it go? A pawn shop, most likely.

The cops around here know what they’re doing. I have no doubt they are asking the hard questions to determine just how bad the human trafficking problem is in the Quad-Cities. Unfortunately, they are only half of the equation.

Just like the Law & Order intro says.

We know human trafficking is bad. It’s on TV all the time. Lots of seminars and training and pats on the back here in the Quad-Cities, never any convictions, it seems.

I have ideas about that, too. A blog post for later.

Malls are human trafficking hotbeds

The truth is, malls are a hotbed for human trafficking. However, when stories circulate that discredit alarmed mothers whose suspicions about human trafficking may have been incorrect, it makes it seem like human trafficking is an exaggerated problem.

It isn’t. And it’s only getting worse. Like the opioid epidemic.

Sometimes, human trafficking operations are operating right under our noses. Sometimes guised as a business. A hair salon or a barber shop, for all we know. The same goes for drugs, too, of course. You have to keep your trafficking victims doped up, ready to have rabbit sex, and so high they don’t see the forest for the trees.

Plus, this guy keeps giving me drugs, right? Yeah, I’ll do it! Hell, I even like sex!

They grow out of their traumas and learn to live responsibly and remained scarred forever, unfortunately. The perps must pay.

Low self-esteem puts off scent of blood to trafficking perps

From what I have observed and from what I believe to know, I long have said human trafficking victims all have a common bullseye marked on them: Low self-esteem.

As an alcoholic and addict, I had low self-esteem at one time. But do I, in my 40s, think I could have been a victim of human trafficking?

Yes. I do. I wasn’t, however, because even when times were tough, my dad made sure I had a roof over my head. I helped care for him in return.

But had I not had my father during periods of struggle, addiction, financial devastation, despair, hopelessness…and given the crowd I was dabbling in…anything could have happened to me.

And did, obviously. But it could have been a lot worse.

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I could be dead or missing. I was asked a chilling question by law enforcement when I first went to them about human trafficking. The answer was yes, and I could tell by their reaction that quite possibly I had a close call once.

Chilling.

Some might say this blog post is irresponsible conjecture. To that I say, keep rewriting press releases.

I could have ended up being trafficked when I moved to Los Angeles in 1992, but I didn’t. I met the right “first contact.” You can read that story here.

And I could have been trafficked right out of this community, too. I know it to be true, I blew a whistle, and the hornets are stirred.

Too. Bad.

Signed,

Lois

Buses get a new voice, stand especially tall Saturday

All the bus people were giggling this morning at the Cityline Transfer Point.

Route 30. GREEN.

And picture the man behind the voice smiling wide, nodding reassuringly, raising his eyebrows as he speaks.

Everything he says is quite dramatic. It’s enough to give you the giggles.

HYYYYYYYY-VEEEEEEEEEE. Just like that. Like maybe Hy-Vee paid extra for that.

And a new one we never had before, “Dong! Please collect all your belongings as you exit the bus at the transfer station. Thank you for riding MetroLink.”

But it is spoken like an ABC television announcer from the 1980s, “Alexis doesn’t have her cannabis….who will face her wrath? Dynasty. Only on A. B. C.”

But the buses had shinier rubber in other ways today, too. First off, they are so clean, a person does not know what to think. Wow.

Read more: My cannabis disappeared today on the Route 30 Green. Here’s what happened next

At Cityline, one rider offered as the top-of-the-hour parade approached, “Oh my God it’s the (XX). It’s never on time.”

And they rolled into sequence like clockwork.

“New management?” quipped a rider as she boarded.

Rumor has is that soon, we will have one combined Quad-City bus system. Perhaps this is old news that already has been reported by the local MSM and I just missed it. If so, my apologies!

Maybe it’s just a rumor. But I know something is going on, I can tell you that. I know it hurts so many to face this fact, but the truth is, my reportage accuracy score is quite good!

The buses are safe, too. I truly believe that. I have seen a county sheriff’s deputy turn lights on to pull a bus over to change the security tape before. The driver was a trainee, and you can bet all of us were a little curious that day!

Read more: Illinois lawmakers may let you use your opioid prescription to buy weed

Keep in mind I complain about a lot of things if they’re not done properly. And I’m here to say this bus system seems to be running like clockwork on many levels, and I’m not just talking about keeping to the schedule.

Utilization seems high. The routes go everywhere a person needs to go, really. I know many people complain the buses don’t run late enough, but in many places our size, they do not even have community-wide public transportation that runs until 9 or 9:30 p.m. There may have special routes that run later, and of course MetroLink does, too.

Recently, I clicked a link to send Congresswoman Cheri Bustos a letter proclaiming my support for public transportation. I hope you will do the same.

Learn all about becoming a public transportation advocate like myself at Voices for Public Transit.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

Treating addiction with cannabis works, and Illinois lawmakers have taken notice

It’s a movement that already has gone beyond “gaining momentum” to officially being put into practice in some places: Recovery through cannabis.

Once proclaimed the “gateway drug” by the behavioral health community, cannabis has slipped into the mainstream. Cries from opponents of marijuana about the plant’s alleged dangers increasingly are falling on deaf ears.

The reason? The proof is in the pudding: People concerned about the direction an addict or an alcoholic’s life is headed are seeing them get things turned around with marijuana use.

But the evidence supporting arguments for getting off hard drugs with weed goes beyond the anecdotal. In places where cannabis is legal, overdose death rates are going down.

Still, even the staunchest harm reduction advocates agree that in an ideal situation, a person should try to free themselves of all substances when seeking sobriety.

But when that’s not possible, a low-harm substance that increasingly is being used medicinally certainly is being viewed as a better choice than injecting heroin, or living the life of an angry alcoholic.

Read more: Check out my report for Sobriety Resources on what the recovery community had to say after 60 Minutes blew the lid off the D.C. opioid scandal

A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that overdose deaths are down 6 percent in Colorado since recreational cannabis became legal through the end of 2016.

“While numerous studies have shown an association between medical marijuana legalization and opioid overdose deaths, this report is one of the first to look at the impact of recreational marijuana laws on opioid deaths,” The Washington Post reported. “The authors say policymakers will want to keep a close eye on the numbers in the coming years to see whether the trend continues….” (1)

Post writer Christopher Ingraham notes that overall the research is a positive public health development, since the number of recorded cannabis overdose deaths is zero.

Read more: My portfolio of paid addiction and recovery content

However, he pointed out that the study’s authors also noted we don’t know whether recreational cannabis is translating into deaths elsewhere in Colorado, such as on its roads.

“Still, the study adds more evidence to the body of research suggesting that increasing marijuana availability could help reduce the toll of America’s opiate epidemic, which claims tens of thousands of lives each year.”

Research increasingly showing marijuana an exit drug

Dr. Dustin Sulak, a Maine osteopath, became one of the first doctors in the country to suggest cannabis be used to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. He began calling for it in 2013, even before the federal government had recognized just how severe the opioid epidemic had become.

Read more: Much of behavioral health community living under cloud of hypocrisy about cannabis, has no problem pushing addictive Pharma drugs to get off drugs

It’s an idea that has come an extremely long way in a very short time. In Illinois, which has a relatively tiny medical cannabis program with only 24,000 patients after three years, lawmakers are considering opening it up for anyone prescribed opioids.

Not only that, but approval of a cannabis card would be expedited – processing would be just two weeks instead of three months – and the background check waived.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Don Harmon, told the Chicago Tribune, “We should be actively helping people who are addicted to opioids instead of treating them like criminals.” (2)

Exclusive interview; Plain-talk television producer, author and recovery advocate Anita Devlin says President Trump in denial about opioid epidemic

 He has several doctors backing him up, including a noted Rush University neurologist who also sits on the board of Cresco, one of Illinois’ cannabis cultivators.

But other heavy-hitting medical scholars also are boarding the cannabis train in light of the opioid crisis.

“It is important to move with a deep sense of urgency to leverage the opportunity presented by increased legalization of medical marijuana to expedite the development of cannabidiol for therapeutic interventions for opioid use disorder, thus curbing the opioid epidemic,” wrote Yasmin L. Hurd of the Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Center for Addictive Disorders, Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System.

neuro

Hurd’s remarks stand behind a firewall in a piece published this month in Trends in Neurosciences. But Medscape quoted the doctor’s research in a recent piece investigating what little research there is to inform treating opioid use disorder with cannabis. (3)

Read more: Here’s even more proof the plant is a way out of addiction

The piece also quotes a study in Addiction Biology in 2013 that showed “cannabidiol interferes with brain reward mechanisms responsible for the expression of the acute reinforcing properties of opioids, thus indicating that cannabidiol may be clinically useful in attenuating the rewarding effects of opioids.” (4)

As for research on humans, one pilot study, also conducted by Hurd, showed cannabidiol reduces heroin-related anxiety withdrawals. (5)

It seems people in recovery could argue that the hardest part of giving up any substance in large part is the anxiety that comes along with it. 

Read more: Check out my portfolio of cannabis stories

Nora Volkow is director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She told CNN the government’s top scientific agency aimed at combatting addiction has begun to re-examine its approach.

“In principle, what we have aimed for many years is to find interventions that would lead to complete abstinence,” she said. “We have strted to explore the extent to which interventions that can decrease the amount of drugs consumed can have benefits to the individual. It would be valuable to decrease the amount of drug consumed.” (6)

Read more: Cannabis effective at treating nerve pain

CNN reported that a treatment center in Los Angeles has begun to officially treat crack cocaine and opioid addiction with cannabis.

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“One of the things is, we don’t have any evidence-based medication that has proven to be efficacious for the treatment of cocaine addiction,” Volkow told CNN. “So, we currently have no medicine to intervene, and it can be a very severe addiction and actually quite dangerous.”

Cannabis dependency hits you in the pocketbook

For an addict or an alcoholic who never has tried cannabis, introducing a new substance always carries with it a new dependency risk.

And depending on where you live, medical cannabis can be very expensive. A regular user easily could spend $500 per month (emphasis on “easily”) using cannabis as medicine.

And don’t be fooled. Marijuana “addiction” is a real thing, or if you prefer, call it “dependence.” In fact, some people may be genetically predisposed to marijuana addiction. (7)

The more you smoke, the more you need for the same effect, and the more it impacts your pocketbook.

There are a few ways of looking at the cannabis/hard drugs “pickle,” if one wants to call it that.

First, conventional wisdom says it does not make sense for someone who never previously used an addictive substance, such as marijuana, to be introduced to it. Particularly if they are prone to addiction in the first place.

But if we know people are subbing out opioids for it, and therefore choosing life over death, how can we ignore this lifesaving intervention?

The other apparent is that if marijuana as a “gateway” drug is true, then most hard drug users would have had to have started with marijuana. Why don’t they go back to it to get off the hard drugs, then?

It’s not a simple question, or one with a simple answer. But one thing is certain: If someone has been weaning themselves off hard drugs with cannabis on the DL, they have a better chance at life than the alternative.

Beyond potential financial devastation (let’s face it, insurance doesn’t cover cannabis), medical marijuana “addiction” so far does not seem to have more severe consequences.

And it’s certainly better than death.

Please like my Facebook page by clicking here!

You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

I also write about addiction and recovery (I live a sober life every day), medical cannabis (I am a legal cardholder), mental illness (I have chronic PTSD) and elder advocacy (lost dad to FTD, a rare brain disease). I have quite a story to tell and I hope you will indulge me. Thanks!

Bibliography

  1. Ingraham, C. (2017, Oct. 16) Legal marijuana is saving lives in Colorado, study finds. The Washington Post. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/10/16/legal-marijuana-is-saving-lives-in-colorado-study-finds/?utm_term=.d89e2529faef
  2. McCoppin, R. (2017, Nov. 17). Illinois doctors campaign for medical marijuana as alternative to opioids. The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2017, from
  3. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-medical-marijuana-doctors-pain-20171116-story.htmlMelville, N. (2017, Feb. 6). Role for cannabis for treatment of opioid addiction? Medscape. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2017, from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/875431
  4. Katsidoni, V. (2013, March). Cannabis inhibits the reward-facilitating effect of morphine: Involvement of 5-HTIA receptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Addiction Biology. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22862835
  5. Hurd, Y. et al. (2015, Oct. 12). Early phase in the development of cannabidiol as a treatment for addiction: Opioid relapse takes initial center stage. Neurotherapeutics. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604178/
  6. Scutti, S. et al. (2017, May 17). New potential for marijuana: Treating drug addiction. CNN. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/health/addiction-cannabis-harm-reduction/index.html
  7. Sherva, R. et al. (2016, May). Genome-wide association study of cannabis dependence severity, novel risk variants, and shared genetic risks. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2017, from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2504223

My cannabis disappeared today on the Route 30. Here’s what happened next

As I was riding home from the medical cannabis dispensary on the Route 30 Green, I peered into my grocery bag to make sure I had put my tiny dispensary bag in there, too. Because otherwise, where had my cannabis bag gone? I couldn’t find it.

And it wasn’t in the grocery bag either.

Initiating PTSD meltdown in three, two…

“Hey Dave! I can call over to the Route 70 Purple and see if you left it on that bus,” the truly compassionate bus driver announced.

He must have seen the smoke begin to roll out of my ears as I began to mumble, “Cannabis gone! Cannabis gone!” It may also have been a clue that I was on my hands and knees peering under the bus seats as it was barreling down 24th Street.

I counted to three, realized the cannabis was gone and that it was simply beyond my control, and got off the bus.

The driver, always friendly and courteous and just plain nice, suggested I call Centre Station. If I left it on Route 70 Purple, it would be returned to Centre Station by the driver if he finds it at the end of his route, the driver of the 30 explained.

Severely downtrodden and deflated, I walked home and nearly cried when I walked in the door. The truth is, I could have made it through the day without cannabis. But not now!

I called Centre Station and the switchboard operator transferred me to lost and found. I got voice mail, but halfway through leaving a message said, “Oh, forget it, you’ll never find it anyway.” I could not remember my telephone number (which I just changed) so I just got flustered and hung up.

Can you believe they took my number off the caller ID and called back? Indeed, my cannabis was in the lost and found at Centre Station!

I KNOW! It’s like a National Enquirer headline: “Cannabis found on mass transit returned to rightful owner.”

Or The Onion. Ha!

So, I offered an outpouring of gratitude to this QC Metro worker, and explained that I have PTSD because I just don’t like people very much. That I’ve had some terrible things happen to me. And that getting this cannabis back today wasn’t even so much about having my medicine back (but don’t kid yourself! Thank God I have it!) as it is a hopeful statement about decent, honest people in this community I have grown to so profoundly distrust.

“You will just need to show your medical cannabis card to a sheriff’s deputy at the station,” the lady on the telephone said at the end of our conversation.

What happened next? I borrowed $2 from a neighbor to ride down to Centre Station and, by God, I’ve got my medical cannabis back.

The truth is, I have my medical cannabis back because several QC Metro employees hustled and made it happen for me.

Read more: Magic bus my passport to quality medical cannabis

I appreciate it. It’s no secret that the bus is my social life. Hey, it’s a start. I’ve met some of the kindest people ever riding the bus, riders and drivers both.

Today has been tough. Cold, gloomy. I’m struggling. I need more work. Desperately.

But, I have my gram of Gobbstopper (yes, with the extra ‘b’ in ‘Gobbstopper’) cannabis, a heavy indica, testing at about 24 percent.  And I found out that people can be nice today.

To me.

People were nice to me.

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I truly believe those drivers know damned well I need my cannabis. Don’t forget – these drivers have been my friends a long time. They saw me leave Amber Ridge Memory Care in tears so many times I could not even speak. And they would drive me home like that. For more than two years.

There were many times while my dad was dying in those hellhole facilities that I thought I might die before him.

Read more: I legally bought weed today at this dispensary in Milan, Ill. Thank you, Lord.

I have known those drivers so long that they even can remember drunk Dave.

I always say I don’t have any friends. But I do have friends.

The people who used to be my friends are not anymore. Yes, sometimes people stay married for 35 years, too. And often it doesn’t end well.

No, the people I have ghosted from my life are gone forever. Most of my family, too. And what they did to me really stings bad, and I may not ever forgive any of them for it.

But I have to stop equating that with my current life, or new relationships never will form. I have to quit thinking about it all the time. Because my logical brain will say, “People are not good. Your own family and closest friends burned you so bad you could have died. Stay away from people.”

But you know what? People obliterated all the time on drugs and alcohol make poor choices. Is it any wonder I surrounded myself with the people I surrounded myself with, and that they hurt me the first chance they got?

No, there isn’t. But my mind isn’t as dark as theirs.

The darkness of everything related to what I have been through is incomprehensible to me, especially inasmuch as it was so highly organized by evil, sick people who knew me very, very well, and therefore knew exactly how to execute their plan.

It’s so chilling. But I’m not afraid anymore. Everyone knows the truth, regardless of whether justice ever is served.

I mean, really. That I even trust anybody at all is serious progress. Riding the bus again is huge, huge progress.  Maybe you have to be really close to the story to understand that.

So, before I get into negative thinking about why I live a life in isolation, and always on high alert, let me say this and then I’ll shut up for an hour:

Thank you #QCMetro pals, FRIENDS, for getting my cannabis returned to me. You’re all pretty darned swell.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

Finding old photo of dad’s bestie raises question: Is Peaches dead or alive?

Dad visits with his friend Audrey “Peaches” Phillips in his subterranean studio apartment at Oak Terrace in Rock Island in this undated file photo.

On Wednesday, I had a dementia caregiver horrific experience.

I was so broke, I did not have $2 for roundtrip bus fare to the dispensary. Only $1.73!

So, there I was, digging through furniture cushions. Including dad’s checkered chair that we bought right before he went into Amber Ridge (and that went with him to Amber Ridge).

Only people who have  been caregivers for people with dementia will understand how they have an uncanny ability to squirrel things away.

It can be really gross, especially when you find things in a chair, more than two years after your dad has been buried. And to think the chair has been in your house this entire time.

But I did find an amazing old picture of dad’s best friend, Audrey “Peaches” Phillips in that chair, too. And it’s so odd to find the picture because I just referenced Peaches yesterday in a blog post. Peaches was the MetroLink ambassador extraordinaire.

Longtime Rock Islanders will recall Peaches, the friendly black lady who would catch the bus outside Oak Terrace Apartments, always on the go, on one side of the street or the other.

My dad was the so-called “Mayor of Oak Terrace” for 30 years, living in Apartment B1. He moved in there after a short stint in a sleeping room after my mother had him removed from this home by court order.

Truly, dad’s old apartment at Oak Terrace should be made into a museum, velvet ropes and all. I’ve already done my part to make the homestead the Bernard L. Heitz Presidential Library.

Dad was ‘Mayor of Oak Terrace,’ Peaches was clerk

Peaches was my dad’s best friend, as she was one of the few people who could tolerate him for extended periods. They spent many hours chatting in his apartment. She always was extremely nice to me.

Peaches health turned poor even before dad’s, and she ended up in a nursing home before he did. But dad could not remember the name of the nursing home. I spent a day calling around and nobody seemed to have her.

Still, I feel like I didn’t try hard enough (dad asked to go see her many times through the years).

I can’t help but wonder about finding that picture stuffed down there. I wonder if dad put it there for safe keeping. There were tons of playing cards stuff in the side, too. Perhaps he was cheating the others in cards at the memory care facility.

I did not know a whole lot about Peaches. I never have been able to find an obituary.

In fact, I am not convinced she is dead. Last I knew, she was living in a nursing home in East Moline, but I called all the East Moline nursing homes a long time ago.

I bet she’s in Hope Creek.

Does anybody know what happened to Audrey “Peaches” Phillips of Oak Terrace Rock Island fame?

If dad was Oak Terrace’s mayor, Peaches was its village clerk.

What a fun surprise finding this picture, even if some of the other things wedged in that cushion were pretty gross!

As for the dispensary, a friend came through. I would not have had any money for the dispensary either, but I hit my bonus points. I bought a strain called “Outer Space,” a sativa, which has been pleasant, uplifting and not at all overwhelming.

It has a nice, fruity taste, too.

Until next time.

The Green to The Purple: Magic bus my passport to quality medical cannabis

MetroLink’s Route 70 Purple approaches Nature’s Treatment of Illinois in Milan to pick up and drop off passengers. Business at the medical cannabis dispensary has boomed so profoundly they are asking seasoned, educated customers to pre-order online to make for expedited pickup. The staff at NTI always makes itself available for consults to patients. There are many new patients arriving at NTI every week. Increasingly, they take public transportation, which rolls right past the front door of NTI every half hour. Warning: Unpredictable trains can radically affect MetroLink bus schedules in Milan at any time.

“Dong! Route 30 Green.”

So announces the MetroLink bus as it pulls up virtually right outside my back door. Riding the bus for me is so incredibly convenient, why wouldn’t I ride it?

It makes me giggle when I hear “Route 30 Green.” Because it occurs to me that when I ride the bus to the dispensary, I take The Green to The Purple.

Green as in The Plant.

And purple as in Granddaddy Purple, one of my favorite medical cannabis strains.

When I get to CityLine and change buses, I board the Route 70 Purple.

No questions off limits on public transportation

Even though the Illinois Medical Cannabis program is a few years old now, only recently has it gained such incredible momentum. Bus riders pepper me with questions about the dispensary, usually after hearing the drivers and I banter about it.

For starters, everyone seems to think I get my cannabis free, with a prescription. And that there is only one type of cannabis.

How would they know any different? It’s a strict program. To quote one Uber driver, “In California you can say, oh, my tummy hurts, and get a cannabis card.”

In Illinois, it’s much more difficult. But if you suffer from a debilitating health condition and that can include trauma-induced emotional hell, you may be able to show need for certification.

Of course, as I always say, I’m glad I had $600 on hand at the time – that’s what the process to obtain a three-year card costs. And a trip to Chicago.

You can learn all about the Illinois Medical Cannabis program at the Nature’s Treatment of Illinois website.

Bus instead of Uber? A free joint

I slowly have “come out” again as a proud public transportation user after selling my Prius. I told an old friend I ran in the other day at Jewel-T that I sold it. He says, “What, are you taking the bus?”

I replied, “Well, Uber.”

And I was taking Uber, and I still do. But mostly the bus.

It’s fun. You meet people, you see the same people every day, it’s a sense of community.

The bus’s ridership is very diverse. And how do you describe public transportation users in the Quad-Cities? On the Illinois side, for the most part they are courteous. The drivers are extremely courteous.

The buses are clean, but honestly, I think they need several new ones. They are getting rickety.

The cost of riding the bus? A buck. Transfers are free. So, it’s $2 roundtrip for me to go the dispensary, door-to-door service, I kid you not. Uber, on the other hand, is $14 plus tip.

I have to transfer at CityLine from The Green to The Purple. The Purple snakes through the UnityPoint Trinity health complex and Hy-Vee/Target/Kohl’s strip mall before crossing the Rock River into Milan.

It’s a bit out of the way for me, and it does take a considerable amount of time as compared to Uber. But, with that $12 savings I can buy a one-gram Cresco pre-rolled joint in strains such as Girl Scout Cookies, Pineapple Express, Bio Jesus, and many others.

New app: It’s just like Uber (but glitchy)

For reasons which would be obvious to anyone who has followed my story closely, I have avoided using the MetroLink bus app since beginning to ride the bus again. But I did recently install it, and it’s an entirely new app.

Check this out:

Bus App

It’s a little glitchy. I have to reset my phone after each use or it doesn’t seem to know that I moved from my previous location. For example, I will get to CityLine (transfer point to The Green) and the app will still think I’m in Milan. So I either have to reset the phone or uninstall/reinstall and sometimes that doesn’t work either.

It may very well be my service. I’m working on that. Isn’t our cell and internet service always a work in progress, an ongoing headache, a reason to smoke medical cannabis?

Tip Jar

Thank you for helping me by donating a small amount toward what I do. You can adjust the amount donated by scrolling the up and down arrows next to the $10 denomination

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If you work from home, or have a job that allows for a semi-flexible schedule (the buses are not always on time, but most of the time they are) I strongly encourage riding the bus.

Riding the bus also has eliminated any chance of my driving impaired under the influence of medical cannabis.

One day more than 10 years ago, I spent the day riding the Quad-City bus systems as a reporter for the Quad-City Times. I ran into dad’s neighbor and best friend, Audrey “Peaches” Phillips on the bus.

 Check out the piece by clicking here. Peaches’ quote at the end is priceless.

 Until next time.

Please like my Facebook page by clicking here!

You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

I also write about addiction and recovery (I live a sober life every day), medical cannabis (I am a legal cardholder), mental illness (I have chronic PTSD) and elder advocacy (I lost dad to FTD, a rare brain disease, and served many years as his caregiver; even jailed on no charges at all while doing so). I have quite a story to tell and I hope you will indulge me. I am frequently hired by news sites and top brands to create actionable content on all of the aforementioned topics. Thanks!

BREAKING: Some online CBD oil contains THC, may not live up to claims

Brand new medical research released today shows if you’re buying tinctures and oils online that claim to contain CBD, and can cure everything, you may not be getting what you’re paying for.

Or, in some cases, you might be getting more than you’re paying for. It depends on what CBD products you’re buying, and how you look at and interpret “unproven” medical claims.

Concurrently, the FDA last week issue a stern warning to several CBD companies telling them to quit claiming CBD cures cancer when there is no scientific proof.

In a report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine obtained CBD oils and tinctures from several online manufacturers. Only online manufacturers were tested.

They found that a quarter of the 84 products they sent to a lab for testing had lower levels of CBD than what the labels claimed.

The report also showed that some CBD products for sale actually contained higher amounts of CBD than what it advertised. And some even contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

“Of tested products, 26 percent contained less CBD than labeled, which could negate any potential clinical response,” reported the authors in a research letter. “Underlabeling is less concerning as CBD appears to neither have abuse liability nor serious adverse consequences at high doses; however, the THC content observed may be sufficient to produce intoxication or impairment, especially among children.”

You can read the entire research letter for yourself by clicking here.

The one-two punch from the research and the FDA comes as the greening of America — the marijuana legalization movement taking root from coast to coast — is giving cancer patients new hope.

Does CBD really cure cancer? Why facts must accompany hope

When I first received my medical cannabis card – and summarily had a gig end with a Fortune 500 healthcare company (maybe totally unrelated) – I knew right away I wanted to start writing professionally about medical cannabis.

I eagerly began to join some online Facebook groups about CBD. Admittedly, I cringed a bit at the cancer-curing claims. The marketing by these companies in the Facebook rooms is relentless. I was told I was being too self-promoting with my blog so I left the rooms.

But I saw a lot of testimonials (and videos) of children being helped with seizures. Overwhelmingly so. And yet, there was a parent or two who said their child began to cry on the medication and was not helped by it.

Of course, some of these people were buying CBD oil with THC legally inside of it, and undoubtedly it had higher levels.

I’m not sure why the cancer testimonials bugged me, other than I always saw my mother grasping for hope. But hope is necessary. How selfish of those of us not going through the battle to scoff at those grasping for hope.

And there is some scientific evidence that CBD destroys certain types of cancer cells. So, it’s not grasping!

On the other hand, when I used to frequently write about HIV and Hepatitis C, my articles would be “spammed” with snake oil advertisements. And that made me very angry.

When I turned to the American Cancer Society to see what they had to say about CBD/cannabis and cancer, I was glad to see an honest assessment of the situation:

Studies have long shown that people who took marijuana extracts in clinical trials tended to need less pain medicine.

More recently, scientists reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells growing in lab dishes. Some animal studies also suggest certain cannabinoids may slow growth and reduce spread of some forms of cancer.

There have been some early clinical trials of cannabinoids in treating cancer in humans and more studies are planned. While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease.

Relying on marijuana alone as treatment while avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences.

Adding CBD to proven cancer-killing methods may save your life

My take on all of this from day one, quite cynically (and incorrectly, as science has shown CBD to kill some cancer cells at least in laboratory dishes) is that people using CBD and cannabis in general fare better during cancer treatment and therefore win the battle.

Wellness consultant Devon at Nature’s Treatment of Illinois told a news crew during a recent medical cannabis expo how he beat cancer with a stem cell transplant. He never could have survived the harsh treatment, he explained, without cannabis.

It makes sense that people using CBD oil who are undergoing cancer treatment will be better able to tolerate treatment symptoms such as nausea, as well as cancer-related pain. That will lead to lead to better outcomes for patients undergoing proven, yet harsh, cancer therapies.

Read more: Does pot slow the spread of HIV? My 2013 report for Imstilljosh

But Washington won’t even admit that much. They don’t have to. I would not hesitate one millisecond to treat symptoms of cancer treatments with cannabis, nor would I pause for even a fraction that long before recommending a total stranger do the same.

The same could be said of people undergoing old-school Hepatitis C interferon treatments in terms of how cannabis could help them get through treatment.

Despite all of that, and the science that shows CBD does kill cancer cells (even if not in humans…we don’t know), here’s what the FDA had to say last week:

The companies used these online platforms to make unfounded claims about their products’ ability to limit, treat or cure cancer and other serious diseases. Examples of claims made by these companies include:

   ”Combats tumor and cancer cells;”

     ”CBD makes cancer cells commit ‘suicide’ without killing other cells;”

      “CBD … [has] anti-proliferative properties that inhibit cell division and growth in certain types of cancer, not allowing the tumor to grow;” and

      “Non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) may be effective in treating tumors from cancer – including breast cancer.”

FDA Quotes

I’m extremely disturbed by the FDA’s handling of this, particularly in light of the 60 Minutes investigation on the Washington, D.C. opioid scandal.

Pharma…pharma…PHARMA…pharma…PHARMA!

Those Pharma coins fuel our country. Cannabis already has taken a big bite out of their profits. And Washington’s assault on cannabis is all about protecting Pharma profits.

Let’s ramp up the capitalism machine and see who wins: Legal cannabis tax revenue or Pharma.

It’s obvious why the states are making the smart choice. If cannabis is ever to become legal as medicine, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services will need to begin negotiating with all the nation’s cannabis cultivators to pay for our medicine. CMS is our nation’s largest third-party payer after all.

Can you imagine?

Lots of poppycock and nonsense in healthcare that has nothing to do with the best interest of your health.

The bottom line seems so less sleazy in other businesses, and ones where Washington’s not involved.

Of course, I’m not a medical professional. But as someone with PTSD who gets through each day with CBD-rich cannabis strains, I don’t have to be.

Read more: My report for Real Stoned Times on how CBD helps people with PTSD when all hope is lost 

Wouldn’t it be something if God gave us a cure for every disease that ever would haunt the planet? In the form of a delicious-smelling plant growing right out of the ground ?

Why, it would mean the end of Pharma! What would we have for commercials, and who would we have on Capitol Hill?

I report. You decide.

Until next time.

Please like my Facebook page by clicking here!

You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

I also write about addiction and recovery (I live a sober life every day), medical cannabis (I am a legal cardholder), mental illness (I have chronic PTSD) and elder advocacy (lost dad to FTD, a rare brain disease). I have quite a story to tell and I hope you will indulge me. Thanks!

Black Cherry Soda medical cannabis a sweet, soothing mid-day treat

It was like finding an old-fashioned Nesbitt soda pop machine that dispensed marijuana flower instead of bottles of soda.

Black Cherry Soda.

A mouthwatering, uplifting bud. It tasted like I was smoking through a black cherry chocolate shaving funnel made to top a fancy French pastry.

“Breathe in and get a bit higher,” sings Savage Garden in their pop song “Cherry Cola” in the late 2000s.

I long have been a huge Savage Garden fan. The song “Crash and Burn” is a tune any addict, any victim of trauma, anyone who ever has had a breakdown can relate to. Listen.

And yet the uplifting “Cherry Cola” is a finger snappin’, butt-shakin’, hip-swayin’ type of song.

Same with the Black Cherry Soda medical marijuana strain.

Listen to the ‘chica Cherry Cola’ song right here…I’ll make Savage Garden fans out of everyone!

My favorite Illinois medical cannabis brand? Gold Leaf

I received a sample of GTI’s Black Cherry Soda earlier this month in a GTI Flower Flight variety pack.

I can only tell you that when you light it and inhale, it’s as delicious as your first cold bottle of strawberry pop at age 5.

Cola

The high, and it is a high, is just pleasant, uplifting, groovy. Not impairing, though. Those who work from home and do not operate moving or heavy machinery ought to be fine psychoactive wise with this strain. (I am not a doctor)

This is a good strain to have on hand for daytime use. This is an indica-dominant hybrid, but I did not find it remotely impairing. It’s just so incredibly tasty and pleasant that I blew through a gram far too quickly!

I felt it “In the base of my spine, sweet like a chica cherry cola,” to quote Savage Garden.
Great stuff! I highly recommend it. Black Cherry Soda tests at just under 18 percent THC. It’s just $40 per eighth at Nature’s Treatment of Illinois, Milan, for qualifying, card carrying medical cannabis patients.

Read more: Blood pressure down, anxiety receding: Me. Pharma free.