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Today I got home early and flipped on the tube. Oprah was on and her show is about being 30 years old in different countries around the world. A very cool idea and well done to boot. When it came time for the 30 year old from Iraq, things took a turn.

The woman spoke of things being worse since the Occupation. She said there was no electricity, no water and women were being raped left and right and lived in constant fear for their lives. Oprah said "I thought things were much better", and was surprised to learn that it is much worse than when Saddam was in power (the woman's brother and father were killed under Saddam). She now owns a rifle and said women now stay home for days at a time out of fear for their lives.

THEN came the kicker. She said women in Iraq are now becoming terribly addicted to Valium. She said Valium costs about 20 CENTS a BOTTLE and NO prescription is required and women now get a bottle of Valium when they go out to get a bottle of water. She said you now see women and they are in a total daze as they can't deal with the extreme heat and the extreme and unrelenting fear. Oprah (and the audience) were absolutely shocked at what they were hearing.

My question is how can we get this to be talked about in the news media? I know that alot of people learned this today and it will be the stuff of conversation. But this needs to be brought up in a political arena and the news media.

We are now helping to create a nation of addicts. Valium is a horribly addictive substance and women are gobbling them up in Iraq like Tic-Tacs. They have no drug info and no counseling and detox facilities. This is a catastrophe in the making.

Any thoughts Kossacks?

Originally posted to wilfred on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 02:08 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow. (none)
    And recommending... no idea what to think about that, other than I think Oprah is the best way to get any news out about anything.

    "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

    by eebee on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 02:06:50 PM PDT

    •  Hopefully (none)
      there will be clips of this on the internet.  I would like to see it.
      •  This may sound insensitive, but i'll risk it (none)
        That Oprah Kerry endorsement should be right around the corner

        Idea:No Blood for Oil. Action:I use Biodiesel. site blog

        by KumarP on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 03:06:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd be extremely surprised if she did it (none)
          I've dreamed of Michael Jordan and El Tigre endorsing candidates too.  They won't do it.

          Why offend half your audience?  It goes against everything they stand for professionally.

          Oprah, who I have grown to andmire a great deal (I never watch it, but my wife does) was sued by rapacious capitalist pig republican beef producers in Texas.  She did the show off location when she went to trial.

          The law she was prosecuted for was rank, total kowtowing to the beed industry.  The US govt. bought'n paid for by rich guys who didn't like what she said. She still won't endorse a Democrat.

          •  Why Offend? (4.00)
            "I've dreamed of Michael Jordan and El Tigre endorsing candidates too.  They won't do it.

            Why offend half your audience?"

            Why?  Because there are things more important than making sure you get another $5 million next year.  I could understand a little guy not making a public statement because his family might go hungry because he makes a statement.   Someone who more money now than I or all my family put together for the few generations should not be fearful of alienating their audience.  they can easily afford to show where they stand on the most importasnt election of our time.  There are more important things than riches and we are looking at hard evidence of that.  

            •  I know, man (none)
              Look, I don't pretend to understand rich people.  Their screaming about their terrible plight and their taxes that ruin everything good about America is well on its way to wrecking the United States.

              I constantly dream but they just don't do it.  Look, I guess they always sorta dreamed or wanted to be universally loved and endorsing a Democrat would wreck that.

              I don't know.  It creases me somethin' fierce, but it is Oprah's life to lead.  Maybe it's her business, y'know?

              •  it just (none)
                pisses me off that many "liberals" are too afraid of the label to help out the cause they "believe" in.

                How can the rich be so short sighted to not realize that someday in the not too distant future they will have so much of the world's wealth that there will be none left too get and they will have no where to hide from the wrath that they will have produced from being so fucking greedy.

                I just don't understand why someone cannot be content with a few $million per year?

                I guess maybe it takes a few mill under the belt to become good and greedy.

            •  Dr. Phil (none)
              I know, I know, Dr. Phil interviewed both the Bush and Kerry families in recent weeks but how many of you are aware that, right before we invaded Iraq he clearly said on his show that he was against it?
          •  Don't expect help from Oprah (4.00)
            Anyone who would go out of their way to help Arrrrnold and Maria (for whom my dislike grows despite my admiration for most of the Kennedies), is more likely to vote for Bush than not.  Oprah is a shrewd business person, and Bush's tax cuts are really helping her.  she, of course, does do alot of donations to causes, but in the end, business wins out.
        •  oprah endorsement (none)
          Last week on Oprah's GOTV show with Cameron Diaz etc., Oprah said she was "very scared" about what would happen if Americans didn't vote. I took that as a tacit endoresement, fwiw.
        •  News media be damned (none)
          the best place that a message like this was on Oprah where all the security moms can see it. Only when these sorts of hard truths make it into mainstream info and entertainment outlets, beyond just the 'news',  will Americans snap out of their delusions about Iraq.

          George W. Bush does not want you to read the above...

          by mbryan on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 01:15:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  post her show (none)
      in the main page...there's a transcript available or you can view it on-line:

    •  Why isn't (none)
      the SCLM picking this up.  I have heard vague stories about rape being common in post-war Iraq.  I had no idea things were this bad.  I wonder if it's like this in parts of Afghanistan.

      It's hard work to love Poland the best we can.

      by Unstable Isotope on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 05:42:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How we get this into the Media now? (4.00)
    With Oprah as a springboard there should be a way.
    •  Call talk radio (4.00)
      People should call talk radio shows to discuss what they saw on Oprah.  Also we should email this to the people at Air America.  
    •  Oprah IS the media (none)
      I guarantee you that millions of viewers (mostly women) saw that episode--many more than watch all of cable news put together.  As Rhett points out below, there's some 30 million on a given day.  And all of them now know that things are worse in Iraq than before we invaded.

      In fact, Oprah's viewership rivals that of network news shows, if I recall my numbers correctly.

      Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

      by Jonathan on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 06:50:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  if Oprah wanted in the media (none)
      it would be in the media.  If she straight out endorses Kerry, there'll be a huge backlash.  And then when she reports on 30 year olds in Iraq saying its worse now than under Sadaam, millions of Republican women will scream "Partisan Oprah" and she'll lose her influence.

      I blindly trust Oprah to work her magic on the independents and non-voting couch potatoes in her audience.

      •  I'd bet (none)
        I'd bet Oprah knows how terrible things are, but framed her question to appear completely nonpartisan to avoid making this woman's honesty appear politically motivated.
        •  I must be off base (none)
          Because I thought having listened to several shows, especially after her endorsement of Arnold, which I still gag over, my impression was that she just might go republican.  I remember reading something that led me to believe that she is republican.

          Everyone is sure she leans dem.  I must be wrong.  Do not battle the kos currents.  Dangerous.

          •  i agree with you (none)
            Oprah used to be very left but now her show is about gift giveaways and makeovers more than constructive things. One out of every 5 or 6 shows now is about something constructive but it used to be about 1 out of 2. And I agree about her Arnold interview by the way, where was the Gray Davis equal time?

            But she still does a fair amount of good. The problem with this show is it was mostly fluff, but then it took a 3 minute hard hitting turn with Iraq and I want to fan those 3 minutes into a flame.

          •  She's probably (none)
            swinging both ways. Politically of course.
    •  Email (none)
      the story to Jon Stewart.  

      "Politics is a weird business..." Hunter S. Thompson

      by Matilda on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:14:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow is right (none)
    Hopefully this should open a few eyes-Oprah's audience is huge.
    •  we need to find a way (none)
      to expand on this. People have a short term memory. Does anyone know anyone at the news magazines like 20/20 or Dateline or should we e-mail them en masse to ask them to investigate this?
  •  i lived in cambodia for awhile... (none)
    and the valium over there was just as easy to get.  $5 for a pack 30--  i ate a lot of them and can easily understand the appeal given all the stress they're facing.
    •  Q (4.00)
      Where does it come from?  Who is manufacturing so much cheap Valium?
      •  Every where else but in the USA. (none)
        Generic drug companies do it cheaper. Even the brand name pharmas sell it for less everywhere else than they do in the USA.

        "In the event of the rapture, I'm taking your car."

        by shaking my head in Ottawa on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 05:02:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  just like every drug n/t (none)
        •  Exactly (4.00)
          Having lived abroad myself in various countries I can tell you that paying a lot for prescription drugs is a distinctly american past time.  Why we put up with it speaks a great deal to the corporate grip on our media and our politics.  
          •  Someone should ask John Negroponte. (4.00)
            Having lived abroad myself in various countries I can tell you that paying a lot for prescription drugs is a distinctly american past time.

            Nevertheless that's pretty cheap valium anywhere. And I understand that the hospitals in Iraq are having a hard time getting necessary supplies. I think the question of who is pushing valium in Iraq is a good one and worthy of investigation.

            "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

            by colleen on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:10:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's quite simple (none)
            The cost of drugs is directly proportional the the importance of Big Pharma in the national economy. Big Pharma doesn't make the bulk of its profits by selling things abroad, it makes money by overpricing the shit it sells to you.
            And yes, I have no, as in zero, respect for these guys.
            •  big is right (none)
              Big Pharma rewrote our Medicare policy, our Africa AIDS policy, and are trying to rewrite education policy. Why would anyone dream that they would stay out of yet another potential captive subsidized market like Iraq? What difference does it make what country a particular company's headquaters is in or the drugs were packaged in? You think they care?
    •  Valium . . . mmmmm . . . (none)
      I could use a trip to Cambodia right about now, then.

      They're talkin' about nuclear war/It's a motherfucker/Don't you know/If they push that button/Your ass gotta go -- Sun Ra

      by Jason Bergman on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 08:59:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the hidden truth (4.00)
    Recommended diary.

    I recently read, or heard a report that said, oddly enough, that Oprah's show was extremely popular in Iraq - that it presented a dreamy reality so far removed from what's going down for them, that it's become an irresistible psychological elixir.

    There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. - Bill Clinton

    by bumblebums on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 02:14:03 PM PDT

  •  Not surprising... (4.00)
    Back in the days of the Shah of Iran, he made liquor plentiful and cheap in the country.  In fact, that was a driving factor in the rise of the Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollahs.

    "Opiating" the masses is an old technique of repressive regimes.

    I wonder who is providing the Valium?  If that gets pinned back onto U.S. personnel (and it is almost certainly coming from U.S. sources somehwere -- even if Iraqis are the ones distributing it), the religious leaders in Iraq will have yet another reason for preaching against our presence...

    •  It's gotta come out of America somehow... (none)
      you can't grow the stuff in the fields and the drug companies aren't keen on giving it away.  At 20 cents a vial, someone is.
      •  in cambodia... (none)
        they were indeed that cheap.  and they also had french packaging.  
        •  Let's not jump on an Anti-French bandwagon (none)
          Unless someone can show that a covert operation by any government would be more likely to leave an obvious trail back to themselves, I think packaging is a non-starter.

          And let's take every opportunity to recall, if the French had not been unfairly derided, weapons inspectors would have stayed in Iraq and proven what we now know. The French were right, according to yesterday's comprehensive report. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no programs to develop weapons of mass descruction. I'm not sure what a "weapons of mass destruction program related activity" is, but I suspect there weren't any of those either.

          Seek out the strongest arguments you disagree with - how else can you learn whether you're wrong?

          by Carneades on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 05:52:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  how is that anti-French (none)
            sounds like a fact to me, if it had French packaging then it had French packaging. However it could have been (and probably was considering the extreme low price) French-language packging from somewhere other than France.
            •  Maybe... maybe not (none)
              While it may be just a fact, it seemed like an odd one to inject into this conversation.

              Hunter wrote: "they were indeed that cheap.  and they also had french packaging." I may just be over sensitized by our government's and media's treatment of France, but "and they also" is generally an accusatory lead-in, and that's what it sounded like to me here.

              Apologies to Hunter, if it wasn't meant to come across this way.

              Seek out the strongest arguments you disagree with - how else can you learn whether you're wrong?

              by Carneades on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 07:45:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course I meant Hounds (none)
                not Hunter, who I have incredible respect for.

                Seek out the strongest arguments you disagree with - how else can you learn whether you're wrong?

                by Carneades on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 07:47:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Don't be too quick to jump on this (none)

                  The fact that the packaging was French is non-partisan.  It is a good idea to remember, every now and again, that the most high profile countries that opposed the war had a couple of reasons that were less than pure.

                  Even if France oppossed the war purely because they were making back door money off illegal oil deals (as the right wing nutjobs would have you believe) that wouldn't really bother me.  Right for the wrong reasons is still right.

                  The point being that a company and it's country are not synonymous and US companies do not hold the sole rights to being blood sucking scum, plenty of other companies all around the world put profit before people every day.

          •  Not anti-French. (none)
            Hounds is talking about Cambodia, a generation ago.

            If a landslide falls in the bit bucket... was there an election?

            by Canadian Reader on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 07:15:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  right... (none)
            i didn't mean this to be anti-french at all.  i find the wingnuts incessant bashing of the french to be simultaneously laughable and embarrassing.  i phrased the statement the way i did because i was responding to a question regarding the origin of the valium that was posed earlier in this thread.  my statement was poorly worded...  i can understand how it may be misinterpreted.  my bad--

            and to clarify, this wasn't a generation ago.  this was around 2 years ago and admittedly, they were not being sold for twenty cents a bottle, but were definitely damn cheap.  i was extremely happy (and subsequently quite mellow) after discovering their affordability.

    •  US plan to strike enemy with Valium (4.00)
      •  I knew it! (none)
        Thanks for the link!
        •  Drugs and War (4.00)
          while Iraqis have concerns about Valium it seems that our soldiers have their own concerns about another drug, Larium

          and what US Company just happens to be the manufacturer of both Valium and Larium?


          "One pill makes you larger...And one pill makes you small" -White Rabbit

          •  Damn... (none)
            ...for a moment there I thought you were blaming it on the Roches.  ;)
          •  And then suddenly (none)
            we are acting like pre-war Saddam.  

            I read Michael Crichton's book, Prey not too long ago.  It deals with nanotechnology - really small robots - for military purposes.  Of course, the little robots go berzerk and learn to self-replicate, and threaten to destroy humanity.  

            Using shit like genetically engineered bugs in war is pretty freaky.  Obviously we would be insane to use that kind of stuff.  But then again, who ISNT insane and running our country?

            •  Crichton inflates the MYTHS about nanotechnology (none)
              Nanotechnology today is about modest advances in materials technology. Nanotechnology tomorrow will be about desktop manufacturing with atomic precision.

              What can be made will include products that will change the world, both civilian and military. Amazingly cheap, amazingly high performance, amazingly disruptive products. Be hopeful and be wary, but mostly ignore the popular crap and pay attention to the people who are trying to get the facts straight: Foresight Institute.

              The medium shapes the message -- we need new new media, more biased toward truth.

              by technopolitical on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 04:43:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Roche... (none)
            is Swiss company, isn't it?
            • are right..i was wrong (none)
              I looked a little more into the history of Roche and they are indeed Headquartered in Switzerland..I apoligize for the mistake.

              They do manufacture both Larium and Valium, though I am sure there could be generics for both.

          •  Not to just nag (none)
            But the drug is LariAm, not LariUm.

            And for a little perspective for those who do not know it: Lariam is a malaria profylaxis, and not some kind of opiate. Lots of people who travel to the tropics take it to prevent getting malaria. However, it is known to have quite serious side-effects, including nightmares, nausia, etc. It's nasty stuff, but generally considered the most effective available at the moment.
            •  sorry for the misspelling.... (none)
              I just found it interesting that while the people of Iraq are complaining of being doped up on Valium...
              The Soldiers talk about this Malaria drug like it is some kind of speed...appparantly it makes these guys freak out..there have allready been quite few instances where Iraqi have been killed by over aggresive soldiers...

              Lariam-Raged-Super-Soldiers vs. Valium-Doped-Iraqi- Zombies

              who knows what the "truth" of the matter is...but like i say..I do find it interesting that one drug company is playing both sides

        •  c'mon now ultrageek (none)
          the US isn't responsible for every evil in the world.  your pinning the wide spread distribution of valium on the US schmacks a little too much of the 'blame America first' syndrome.

          is the US responsible for the terrible situation in Iraq that is driving these women to use valium to ease their stress?  yes

          has the US flooded iraq with valium as a means to pacify the country?  probably not

          let's stay grounded here, eh?

          (and, yes, i am aware of the nefarious actions of the CIA in the past including the half-baked plans of poisoning castro and attempting to use LSD as a type of truth serum.)

          •  Don't be so quick to rule this out (none)
            I would direct your attenion to "The Politics of heroin in Southeast Asia" by Alfred McCoy. I would not be at all surprised if there was some convenient "deregulation" of pharmaceutical distribution under Bremer that facilitated getting lots of Iraqis hooked on meds of various sorts. Maybe its all demand driven, but I wouldn't rule our some liberal pump-priming of Iraqi docs with free samples and artificially low prices.

            "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral

            by Christopher Day on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 05:26:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps you didn't follow the link (4.00)
            that ultrageek was reacting to.

            No, the US isn't responsible for every evil in the world.

            But consider that the US developed plans to do exactly what was claimed.

            And consider, also, that the outcome of so pacifying the population would seem to align with US interests more than any other entity capable of carrying out such a grand and costly plan.

            And consider further that Billions of US dollars in Iraq have gone unaccounted for, so it's impossible to "follow the money" (at least from that side) and see whether the US was the purchaser of these mass quantities of drugs.

            The connections seem to be well reasoned.

            For those who don't follow many links, the article starts:

            US plan to strike enemy with Valium

            Pentagon scientists aim for future battlefield victories with the aid of tranquillising drugs and GM bugs

            Antony Barnett, public affairs editor
            Sunday May 26, 2002
            The Observer

            American military chiefs are developing plans to use Valium as a potential weapon against enemy forces and to control hostile populations, according to official documents seen by The Observer.
            US documents reveal that two years ago the Pentagon commissioned scientists at Pennsylvania State University to look at potential military uses for a range of chemicals known as calmatives. The scientists concluded that several drugs would be effective to control crowds or in military operations such as anti-terrorist campaigns. The drugs they recommended for 'immediate consideration' included diazepam, better known as the tranquilliser Valium, and dexmedetomidine, used to sedate patients in intensive care. The scientists advised that these drugs can 'effectively act on central nervous system tissues and produces a less anxious, less aggressive, more tranquil-like behaviour'.

            Seek out the strongest arguments you disagree with - how else can you learn whether you're wrong?

            by Carneades on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 05:40:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i could be wrong... (none)
              but i just don't believe that the US is culpable for Iraq being flooded with cheap valium.  i think the US is complicit in that we've bungled things to such an extent that Iraq is more of anarchy than anything else right now.

              i did follow the link too actually.  i would have a lot more confidence in the veracity of the claims in the article had it been run by the BBC rather than the Observer.  

              again, i could be wrong, but this one is just too far out there for me to buy into without considerable corroboration.

              •  If you don't like The Observer (4.00)
                even though it's well known that they and the Guardian break important stories that get suppressed in the US:

                Let's see if google can help out with this one.

                Here's an AP article from 2002 on related issues.

                Science Writer Military experts and toxicologists say Russian commandos probably pumped a gas containing Valium into a Moscow theater to subtly disable and disorient heavily armed Chechen rebels prior to Saturday's dramatic assault.
                "It's no surprise that the Russians have that kind of stuff [the gas form of Valium]," said Ron Madrid, a former Marine and an expert on non-lethal weaponry at Pennsylvania State University. "They spent 30 years putting it together. We're prevented from doing that by treaty and executive order."
                A recent U.S. Air Force paper on nonlethal weapons said "calmative" agents reportedly were used by Soviet troops against Afghan guerrillas during their 1980-89 war. The American and British militaries have discussed developing calmative weapons that would incapacitate or repel people. The effort intensified in the 1990s after hostile mobs confronted U.S. troops during peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in places like Somalia, Bosnia and Haiti. In 2000, researchers at a Pentagon-funded institute at Penn State prepared a 50-page report that said developing calmative weapons "is achievable and desirable" and suggested drugs like Valium for further research. However, it is unclear whether such weapons would violate the convention banning the use of chemical weapons, officials said.

                Here's another AP article that ran on March 2, 2003.

                A Pennsylvania State University institute prepared a 50-page report with Pentagon funding in October 2000 that explored a range of drugs - including Prozac, Valium and Zoloft - for use as "calmatives" for crowds.

                The researchers found "use of non-lethal calmative techniques is achievable and desirable."

                Seek out the strongest arguments you disagree with - how else can you learn whether you're wrong?

                by Carneades on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 07:07:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Setting aside the darker interpts (none)
                  The US really needs to develop more effective non-lethal weaponry. If you look at the kinds of operations the US military is currently involved in, and the kinds of operations it is likely to undertake over the next fifty years (peacekeeping, asymmetric warfare, and other operations with significant risk of death to civilians, rioters, etc.), it is imperative that we have the capability to opt for non-lethal force. Imagine the implications for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict if the Israelis were further along at using non-lethal force. Rubber bullets just don't cut it.
                •  i don't disbelieve... (none)
                  that the government has conducted any of these studies.  i just find it difficult to believe, given all that we know about how the war in iraq has been handled, that the administration has been implemented a policy of pacification via valium.  

                  the absurdity of such a tactic given the current situation is extreme.  maybe i'm wrong, but this is one conspiracy theory i'm having a hard time swallowing.  (pun intended)  my guess would be the pills are coming from over eager drug companies anxious to make a profit.  it will take more than a few reports indicating that the government has looked into valium as a means of pacification for me to believe this.  i am a skeptic by nature....  

              •  One thing for sure -- (none)
                it certainly gibes with the Administration's overall goal of opening Iraq up to every corporate jackal in the name of privatizing the economy.  More than some nefarious CIA plot, I'd attribute it to the neo-liberal lust of corporate globalizers.  

                In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                by a gilas girl on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 07:39:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Dope the enemy... (none)
                Sorry, it's quite true. I have seen these U.S. military proposals (mass-tranquilizers for urban operations) mentioned in defense journals for 30 years. They make no secret about it.
                What better way to sedate the "terrorists" than by flooding the cities with cheap, addictive tranquilizers.
          •  Ever heard of the Opium Wars? (none)
            What do you think it was about?
            •  i'm actually... (none)
              very familiar with the opium wars.  i took a class in college called 'opium and power' and the opium wars were covered extensively.  in a nutshell, the english were addicted to tea and the Chinese were addicted to opium.  the English could only get their tea from china and the chinese would only accept opium or gold bullion in exchange.  when the Chinese emperor became concerned that a majority of his people were opium addicts, he proclaimed that the English would no longer be able to sell it.  the English said, 'screw you....we need our tea,' took a couple of warships inland, and kicked the shit out of the chinese.  it was definitely not one of the high points in English history.

              one could possibly draw some parrallels (sp?) with America's addiction to oil and the English addiction to tea, but other than that the analogy is rather weak.

      •  holy shit (none)
        That's worse than watergate if its true. Send it to Opera along with that URL, and to any other news orgs.
      •  I also found this (4.00)

        A drugs epidemic and accompanying crime wave is sweeping Baghdad.
        A boom in supply of hallucinogenic tablets has been coupled with the release
        of tens of thousands of criminals from prison before the US-led invasion to
        create a huge problem for the fledgling Iraqi police force.

        As well as the tablets, drugs like Valium and sleeping pills - in common use
        in Iraqi jails - are being used. The euphoria and lack of fear provided by
        the drugs, the police say, is giving desperate criminals the courage to
        carry out more crimes.


        Mr Zahed said that the tablets were of huge concern to the police force -
        and that their presence in Iraq was the result of a well-planned
        international criminal effort.

        "They only appeared in this country about two years ago," he stated.

        "We did a study and discovered it was a sabotage operation from outside
        Iraq. It had to be - because at first the tablets were coming in at a
        totally uneconomical price, just a few US cents per strip."

        This article is from October of last year, meaning that these drugs started pouring into Iraq just after 9/11.

        There's the makings of quite a conspiracy theory, here. It's more likely this is all coincidental and an inevitable result of the US destroying Iraq's economy. But it's tempting to connect some dots here.

        For too long, politicians have told [us] what's really wrong with America is [Them]...But this is America. There is no Them; there is only Us. -- Bill Clinton,

        by seaprog on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 05:02:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Heh, our senior citizens should start importing... (4.00)
      their prescription drugs from Iraq. Screw Canada, they're getting way too expensive. It's a free trade world now.
    •  This creeps me out (none)
      Take your Soma, "a gramme is better than a damn."  Or, watch Jacob's Ladder for a great fictional story on this theme (wait for the ending, it's mind bending).

      And Hounds, lest you think this is all too conspiratorial let's not forget the experiments on US troops with LSD, the amphetamines available to troops in Viet Nam, stc.  I have no trouble accepting the story from the Guardian

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

      by BigOkie on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 07:33:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i'd say the troops are as doped up as those women (none)
  •  this (4.00)
    this is exactly the type of thing that Kerry understands because he has been in a war zone and Bush and Cheney have no clue about because they have always ordered soldiers like pawns on a chess board and have never understood the context of those orders.
  •  Maybe Oprah should put down Grapes of Wrath (3.00)
    and read a newspaper, for cripes' sake.

    Liberals are conservatives who have been through treatment.

    by marjo on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 02:21:43 PM PDT

    •  unfair (4.00)
      I've never watched the Oprah show because I've always worked when its on, but it's not a bad thing to champion significant literature, and she has promoted some grest lesser knowns
      •  I had an English minor, btw (none)
        I was just responding to the quote that she didn't know about the true conditions in Iraq.

        jeez, I guess you can't dis Oprah without ramifications.

        Liberals are conservatives who have been through treatment.

        by marjo on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:02:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, (none)
      She's been talking about it for sometime.

      What I'd like to see is for her to keep talking about it.  As informed as Oprah is, her being shocked says a lot to me.  aNd yes, I have watched Oprah.  Prefer Phil, but maybe someday I'll get him to run for Senate in his home state...Ohio.

      •  Phil (none)
        Donahue, right?  I know he started out in Dayton, but I want to be very sure you're not talking about Dr. Phil running for Senate in Ohio.

        Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it... Mark Twain

        by Lipo on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 03:26:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  i must say (none)
      It's very easy to get caught up in the ostracizing of those in the upper class (ala Martha-bashing)...I am ready to start burying guns and water myself, what with the new Forbes listing claiming ever bigger chunks of our global population as billionaires.  (of whom Oprah is the first african-american).

      But.  It's really, really hard to trash Oprah.  I certainly dont think anyone needs $10k/month in say, fresh flower expenses for multiple houses, but I must stress, if you look at the record, and follow out all of Oprah's good deeds (scripted for television or otherwise) it's really, really hard to trash Oprah.

      •  If nothing else (none)
        the foundation/center she set up in South Africa to care for AIDS orphans.  Amazing stuff, that.  She alone probably gives more aid to AIDS in Africa that the entire US Gov't.

        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

        by a gilas girl on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:34:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  OK, let me go on record... (none)
        I have nothing against Oprah.  If, as Michael Moore suggested, she ran for President, I would vote for her, ok?

        All I said was (paraphrasing) I was surprised she didn't know more about conditions in Iraq, and suggested she might read a newspaper.

        So now I'm trashing the upper classes?

        no, I have nothing against rich people, esp. those on our side.

        Liberals are conservatives who have been through treatment.

        by marjo on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 05:23:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Recommended (none)
    People need to hear about this, beyond just the Oprah watching crowd.
    •  Hold on a sec (4.00)
      I think that this was a great place for this one to break. Women are the group that everybody is trying to cater to for votes, in one way or another. Supposedly the biggest dem-leaning swing group out there.

      And Oprah's audience is HUGE. It broke on her show, so even people who didn't catch this episode will hear about it, and that doesn't bode well for Bush.

      •  And they Repeat Oprah on Oxygen (4.00)
        so check your listings tonight
      •  i agree that Oprah is a great place to break it bu (none)
        as i said above, it's 3 minutes of hard hitting show in an hour of mostly fluff (the 30 year old from Mexico was a successful soap actress telling Oprah that men in Mexico love women with curves so they eat and don't diet (and she had Cindy Crawford's body) and then she and Oprah sipped expensive Tequila... this from Mexico! she wasn't even close to representative of what a 30 year old woman is in Mexico.
  •  wilfred, may I suggest changing the title? (4.00)
    Something like:

    Oprah reveals true situation in Iraq

    You'll get more readers and more recs for the diary...

  •  Wow (none)
    Perhaps this is Oprah's way of supporting Kerry without alienating Republican voters.

    I'm horrified and sad to hear about this. But grateful to Oprah for making it public.

    I'm anti-Bush and I vote.

    by slee on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 02:41:07 PM PDT

  •  Good Lord! (+ Recommended) (4.00)

    That's absolutely revolting. And Chimpco are carrying on like everything's roses and wine over there. I'd read the articles about Iraqi women feeling the need to prostitute themselves to American troops just to make ends meet; about the atrocities our troops have committed in Fallujah and Najaf and Sadr City; about the lack of basic resources; about the widespread guerrilla control... But somehow, this seems more horrifying than anything else.

    I'd say this, if it gets publicizied, is the final nail in the coffin of the "liberating Iraq" story. Tens of thousands of lives and billions of tax dollars spent to make Halliburton's bottom line look good despite a continuing economic depression. Our bombs destroyed power plants and schools and the reconstruction efforts Chimpco promised us were going smoothly simply never happened.

    No wonder the Iraqis are in widespread revolt!

    CNN - about as "trusted" as a compass in an active MRI machine.

    by RHunter on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 02:54:44 PM PDT

  •  No need (3.66)
    to get to the media. Oprah is the media. Oprah has 30 million viewers... O'rielly has 4 million on his best day.
  •  Oprah should bring W. on (4.00)
    And she should show him this and confront him with it.
  •  Can anyone dig up more info on the Iraqi.. (none)
    author? When I sifted through Oprah's web site, she was just described as Sabah, a writer living in Baghdad. I tried a few quick google searches to no avail.

    She's got a powerful story, but the name Sabah (at least as a surname) is associated primarily with the ruling family in Kuwait. I'd hate to see us pump this story only for someone to reveal some unknown connection that undermines her credibility.

    I don't doubt her story at all. It's just that all this media spin is making me paranoid. ;)

    Visualize Whirled Peas

    by Hoya90 on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 03:15:12 PM PDT

  •  Another interesting and related issue... (4.00)
    Yahoo is now running a front page story about how non-religeous Iraqi women are wearing head scarves now (against their true wishes) because they fear reprisal by extremists if they don't.  They did not have such fear under Sadam.  

    Surely this strikes a nerve with bush's nut bar religeous base on some level.  

    The story is here:

    •  rate it to keep it there (none)
      I just went and gave it a 5 - the more the better. One way to tell Yahoo that real news is read and appreciated.

      George "W is for weak" Bush - He's not my pet goat!

      by Wee Mama on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 04:59:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And not just Iraq, either (4.00)
      Nicholas Kristof's column in the NY Times today talked about the situation faced by women in Afghanistan. The short version: things may have improved since the Taliban, but women still face forced marriages, beatings for trying to get an education, and the like. The subject of the piece is in prison not because she did anything wrong, but to protect her from more beatings. Here's the whole thing
      One scary statistic--87% of Afghans think that women should get their husband's permission to vote.
      Yes, let's hear more Bush/Cheney happy talk.
  •  This is huge (none)
    Wow.  This may be as significant to the election as the debates, maybe more so.

    I suspect that the debates as mostly watched by serious partisans, but Oprah is watched by a lot of folks who are likely less informed than the political junkies and more apt to be influenced.  Oprah's demographic covers a lot of swing voters, and she is probably more trusted than any of the candidates.  

    Put it together with Bush's bad debate 1, Cheney's now publicized lies, and the race definitely has a new dynamic.

    This also raises the ante for the next few debates, which is not good for Bush.  He strikes me as a man who can be calm in a crisis like post 9/11, when America is under attack but he personally is not.  When the fire is coming directly after him, I don't think he does well, and there's a whole bunch starting to come his way.


  •  Wait until the next time a Republican talks about (none)
    how great things are for women, then pound the media with the Oprah info. If you could find other sources that back the show up on the internet, that would also help.

    Even before that, I would contact not just "hard" news organizations, but magazines. Like, contact the view. Tell them you're concerned and would like to hear more about it. Contact those crappy enterntainment shows like Extra and tell them to do a story on Oprah's story.

    Also, contact the other newsmagazines like 20/20 and Dateline. They can kind of bridge the gap between Oprah and "real" news. (Even though I have often seen Oprah do more in depth analysis on issues than "real" news.)

    •  Other sources (none)
      try looking at codepink and the Iraqi women's center they helped to found and still sponsor. Madre also has a lot of information about the status of women and women's daily lives in Iraq.

      In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:32:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Invest in ValiumCorp. (none)
    Especially if Bush is re-elected.

    Class warfare IS the answer.

    by bink on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 03:47:34 PM PDT

  •  And things aren't much better in Afghanistan (none)
    Which we've also known for some time, but Kristof has a scary piece in today's NYT about Afghan women now being brutalized by their families and imprisoned for three-year sentences for losing their virginity -- even when they've been raped.

    I guess this is the "freedom" Dear Leader says those terrorists hate so much.

    PS: I sincerely wish "women's" issues -- in the sense that these are issues faced by 51% of the human race -- would become an important part of this campaign. Bush doesn't have a toe to stand on when it comes to women.

    •  sadly (none)
      and imprisoned for three-year sentences for losing their virginity -- even when they've been raped.

      Sadly, that's probably an improvement. Traditionally their fathers or brothers kill them.

      Was it Saudi Arabia a couple of years ago people here were making a big fuss about for not punishing men for murdering women who "shamed their families" by losing their virginity (even by rape)?

      "You're born naked and the rest is drag." -Ru Paul

      by cshardie on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:00:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  teaser text & image here (4.00)
    Please put the link and the text (and probably the picture, but remember to put it into "extended") in the diary entry, so that can pick it up.

    What is it like being a 30-year-old living in a war zone? Sabah, a writer living in Baghdad, has lived through three wars and the death of her father and brother under Saddam Hussein's regime. She says the situation for women in Iraq has never been worse than it is now.

    "I mean, welcome to the real world," she says. "For me, as an Iraqi woman, I don't feel safe. Anyone can attack me. Anyone can rape me. Anyone can even kill me, you know? We are full of fear. Iraqi women are losing their freedom instead of gaining freedom, because there is a lack of security. Now we're supposed to be free. But now we are more afraid."

    Most Iraqi people are living in misery, and Sabah says when her life became unbearable, she turned to Valium for escape. In Iraq, Valium is sold without a prescription and costs only 20 cents a bottle. Sabah says the constant state of fear is driving more and more women to the highly addictive drug.

  •  another one (4.00)
    Seems like there was another woman on the Iraq issue.

    Zainab Salbi is an Iraqi-American and founder of Women for Women International, an organization that helps women around the world who have survived the atrocities of war. She says Iraq is in complete disarray and, for women especially, unbelievably dangerous.

    "The first month after the war, the first sector that got targeted was women," Zainab says. "The rape and the kidnapping of [Iraqi] women happened in June and July [2003.]" Zainab explains since the liberation of Iraq, law and order have collapsed, leaving many women terrified to leave their homes and literally in the dark. "There's chaos. There's anarchy. There's no police force. There's no system anymore. The electricity is on two hours a day, off four hours and it's 120 degrees in the summer. So the electricity situation, which we have to notice, has economic impact. A lot of women who are running businesses in their homes are no longer able to do that. It has a security impact, because, especially in the winter, you know, it's darkness. An education impact, because in school, the kids are no longer able to do their homework. And it's basically taking a toll on everyone's life."

  •  NYT Op-Ed (none)
    Today's NYT Op-Ed page had two columns in the same vein about Afghanistan.  William Safire wrote about how everything is great and wonderful and hurtling toward democracy.  Nicholas Kristof (who I usually dislike) was actually in Afghanistan and wrote about visiting a jail containing teenage girls that had been arrested for refusing to marry the men picked by their fathers.  Upon arrest  girls have their genitals examined,  If the hymen is broken they are sentenced to 3 years in prison.  If a girl is declared to be a virgin she is jailed until she agrees to marriage.  Kristof reported a survey which showed 87% of Afghans (women and men) beleive a women should need permission from her husband to vote.  He didn't bother to mention that outside of Kabul all the women still wear the burkas.  The article is even  more disturbing than I have described.
  •  I don't want to sound mean but (3.66)
    I think you sound like a lovely bunch of people.  However, you do come across as sounding a little bit naive - and please, don't get upset, do you know why?

    Well, because in countries where war has been raging for years like Iraq, there needs to be a way for people to calm down, otherwise, people become basket cases.  In fact, I am sure that there are all kinds of mental health problems that will become apparent when things get better, as people are now just focusing on getting through each and every day.

    I am sure there is a lot more domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction and over-eating.  I am sure that people who would never have done anything like this before are beating their dogs and their cats, and their children.  I am sure that the rape victims have nowhere to go to get some sort of relief, or people who have seen their relatives killed before their very eyes.

    This is what war is all about, and the sad thing is that the psychological marks will endure on both the Iraqis and the Americans who have seen terrible things.  My parents grew up in Europe during WWII and they still sometimes have nightmares.

    This is why WE MUST STOP ALL WARS.  There is no such thing as a good war.  There must be other methods used, not the senseless violence (both physical and psychological) on an entire population.  

    This is what Europeans all know, and what Americans are still denying.

    •  Please (none)
      You make some valid point here, but I could do without the sweeping generalizations.

      All Americans and all Europeans?

      Most, some, certain?

      Maybe the point was lost in translation. I recant in that case.

    •  Good point, but... (none)
      I think you're right that a little too much is being made of the described situation on this board.  After all, you can get cheap valium without a prescription in lots of Latin American countries (Mexico and the Dominican Republic, at least, that I know of.)

      However, when you make an all-caps statement like WE MUST STOP ALL WARS and call others naive, I have to conclude that this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Of course we should strive in our lives to minimize conflict, but we are more likely to suceed in that mission if we are not burdened by illusions about the perfectability of human nature.

      And while I usually side with the Europeans on a whole host of political issues (Iraq, Cuba, global warming, health care, etc., etc., etc.) let us not forget that Clinton brought Europe to Kosovo kicking and screaming.  If we had not fought that war (which yes, was a noble one) then a million Kosovans would still be separated from their homes today, living the life of permanent refugees.

      Coming up: the most important election of our lifetimes.

      by Wagster on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 07:11:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  don't blame the valium (none)
    it's the conditions.
    •  Its a way to profit from the conditions (none)
      now chaos in Iraq is profitable, how is that good?
      •  read the post preceding mine (none)
        valium is a way to treat anxiety.  The anxiety is really there due to conditions.  There are worse ways to deal with it than valium.

        Don't get me wrong, I agree with the diary, get it out there, it's a shocking symptom that conveys a message (to people that didn't already know things were worse right now in Iraq, espc. for women...)

        My comment is just to be clear, the problem is that we need to fix Iraq because of the Valium.  The valium is helping them cope with the -real- problems.

  •  re:A New Iraq Situation You Haven't Seen Before (none)
    I don't think any gives a rats ass. And since the Republicans keep talking about how much "better things are for women in Afghanistan and Iraq
    stories like this get buried.If I hear "w is for women" one more time I'm  gonna hurl.

    But I bet you would be interested.They have been covering  womens issues related to this election. I'll contact them....

  •  re:A New Iraq Situation You Haven't Seen Before (none)
    I don't think anyone gives a rats ass. And since the Republicans keep talking about how much "better things are for women in Afghanistan and Iraq
    stories like this get buried.If I hear "w is for women" one more time I'm  gonna hurl.

    But I bet you would be interested.They have been covering  womens issues related to this election. I'll contact them....

  •  Just how bad is Valium? (4.00)
    Accoding to my wife, a psychologist very knowledgable about psychotropic drugs, says that if you take 30mg a day for 3 weeks, you are hooked.  To stop, you have to taper off very carefully or else you can have seizures.
    •  It can be pretty bad . . . (none)
      Valium is of the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.  What most people don't realize is that benzos can cause psychotic reactions.  Rather than having the expected sedative effect, these meds can cause disinhibition, as mentioned in a post above, and can manifest as euphoria,  impulsivity, delusions, hallucinations, mania, etc.

      Sometimes this paradoxical reaction occurs as a result of taking an overdose of the medication; sometimes it just happens because of the persons' physiological particulars, regardless of dose.

      I have seen some scary things happen to people on these meds and I wouldn't mess with it lightly. Our current administration however, given their narcissistic arrogance,lack of insight, and  propensity to "cherry-pick" intelligence, might not be above doing a little "distributing", thinking it was a smart move.  

  •  In The Town Hall Debate (none)
    Mr. President, what help are you offering the thousands of Iraqi women who have been raped, abused and terrorised by their new living conditions to the point of become addicted to Valium as an escape from their post-Saddam reality?
  •  BREAKING: Limbaugh to move to Iraq (4.00)
    He appreciates their "Supply Side" Prescription Program
  •  Not to be fooled with (3.90)
    Valium is nothing to be eaten like candy, even if these women are suffering from anxiety, they need to have their wits about them, because they are also in constant threat of attack, as well as their children.  How about the risk to fetal growth and development? Death? Valium can depress the respiratory system enough to cause asphyxiation.  Valium is no longer a popular drug in the United States because of the harm it caused to families during it's popularity. Mothers would be zombified, barely able to connect to their children.  This is a tragedy in the making.

    Valium (C16H13ClN2O), manufactured by Roche, is a benzodiazepene derivative is in the anti-anxiety agent drug class. Chemically, diazepam is 7-chloro-1,3-dihydro-1-methyl-5-phenyl-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one. It is a colorless crystalline compound, insoluble in water and has a molecular weight of 284.74.

    Diazepam is the well known generic name for Valium which is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepenes. Other popular "benzos"includes Ativan, Alcelam, Alplax, Alpram, Alprax, Alprazolam Intensol, Alzolam, Anpress, Ansiopax, Pharnax Prinox Ralozam, Tafil, Trankimazin, Tricalma, Zacetin, Zanapam, Zenax, Zolarem, Zoldac, Zoldax and Zotran.

    Street names for Valium include candy, downers, sleeping pills, and tranks.

    Valium is in the anti-anxiety agent class and in Schedule IV of the DEA Controlled Substances Act.
    DEA: Drug Enforcement Agency

    Early in 2004, Valium celebrated its 30th anniversary. After three decades of both appropriate use and inappropriate abuse, the drug has stayed well mired in ongoing controversy. Much of the dispute around the use of Valium is because new prescriptions written in good conscience can turn out to be a problem later. Known generically as diazepam, the drug was widely prescribed in the 1960s and 70s, before its potential for serious addiction was realized.

    Valium and chlordiazepoxide (Librium)were introduced in the early 1960s by Roche. These benzodiazepines were lauded as a safer alternative to barbiturates and meprobamate because they were thought to be non-habit forming and less lethal in overdose. Since the late 1960s there has been considerable debate over their side effects, potential for addiction, and abuse.

    Valium is prescribed for anxiety disorders and the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. Valium is also used to relieve the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal; to relieve skeletal muscle spasm; to control involuntary movement of the hands (athetosis), to relax tight, aching muscles; and, with other medications, treat convulsive disorders such as epilepsy.

    In acute alcohol withdrawal, Valium provides symptomatic relief of acute agitation, tremor, impending or acute delirium tremens and hallucinations.

    Valium is also used as an adjunct prior to endoscopic procedures if anxiety or acute stress reactions are present.

    As a long-acting benzodiazepine, Valium is often prescribed to patients withdrawing from shorter-acting benzos, such as Xanax.

    Valium tablets are intended to be swallowed whole and are available in the following strengths: 0.2 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg. Valium injectable emulsion is intended for intravenous use only and should never be administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously.

    One inappropriate use of Valium is by snorting, which many users will try to minimize the unwanted effects of street drugs, such as cocaine.

    Never increase the amount or frequency without your doctor's approval, or take this drug for any reason other than the one prescribed.

    The effects of Valium are felt within thirty minutes after oral injestion and one to five minutes after injection. This medicine works by increasing a chemical in your brain (gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA) that acts as a sedative.

    Valium is one of the most slowly eliminated benzodiazepines. It has a half-life of up to 200 hours, which means that the blood level for each dose falls by only one half in about 8.3 days. This makes it an ideal choice for withdrawing off the shorter acting benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan.

    This slow elimination of diazepam allows a smooth, gradual fall in blood level, allowing your body to adjust slowly to a decreasing concentration of the drug. With more rapidly eliminated benzodiazepines such as Ativan (with a half-life of 10-20 hours) the blood concentration drops rapidly and withdrawal symptoms can occur between doses, because your body has little time to adjust to low concentrations.

    Benzodiazepines act at the level of the limbic, thalamic and hypothalamic regions of the CNS, producing any level of CNS depression including sedation, hypnosis, skeletal muscle relaxation, anticonvulsant activity, and coma. The action of these drugs is mediated through the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Central benzodiazepine receptors interact allosterically with GABA receptors, potentiating the effects of GABA and increasing the inhibition of the ascending reticular activating system. Benzodiazepines block the cortical and limbic arousal that occurs following stimulation of the reticular pathways.

    Clinically, all benzodiazepines cause a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis.

    Side Effects:
    While side effects cannot be anticipated, typical side effects of Valium include: drowsiness, abdominal cramps, clumsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, fatigue, light-headedness, heart palpitations, slurred speech, difficulty urinating, convulsions, hallucinations, amnesia, difficulty breathing, loss of muscle coordination, trembling, headache, and confusion.

    If any of your side effects change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Valium.

    If you experience any of the following symptoms they should be brought to the immediate attention of your physician.

    Cautionary Notes:
    Valium intoxication symptoms include, but are not limited to: confusion, diminished reflexes, sleepiness, coma, and death. If overdosage or life-threatening withdrawal is even suspected, seek immediate medical attention.

    Side effects due to rapid decrease in dose or abrupt withdrawal from Valium are abdominal and muscle cramps, convulsions, sweating, tremors, and vomiting.

    Fatalities have been reported in patients who have overdosed with a single benzodiazepine, such as Valium, and alcohol, although the blood alcohol levels in some of these patients was lower than those usually associated with alcohol-induced fatality. In other words, alcohol and benzodiazepines is a potentially fatal combination. Again, immediate medical attention is required if this ingestion of this combination is suspected.

    Combining Valium with certain other drugs can increase, decrease, or alter its effects. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Valium with:

    *Antiseizure drugs such as Dilantin
    *Antidepressant drugs such as Elavil and Prozac
    *Barbiturates such as phenobarbital
    *Cimetidine (Tagamet)
    *Digoxin (Lanoxin)
    *Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    *Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    *Isoniazid (Rifamate)
    *Levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet)
    *Major tranquilizers such as Mellaril and Thorazine
    *MAO inhibitors (antidepressant drugs such as Nardil)
    *Narcotics such as Percocet
    *Omeprazole (Prilosec)
    *Oral contraceptives
    *Propoxyphene (Darvon)
    *Ranitidine (Zantac)
    *Rifampin (Rifadin)

    Other Medical Problems:

    The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of benzodiazepines. If you have any of the following conditions, make sure you discuss your use of Valium with your physician. Examples include:

    • Alcohol or Drug abuse or dependence (or history of)
    • Brain disease - Benzodiazepine use may increase CNS depression and other side effects
    • Emphysema, asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic lung disease
    • Glaucoma
    • Hyperactivity
    • Mental depression
    • Mental illness (severe)
    • Myasthenia gravis
    • Porphyria
    • Sleep apnea (temporary stopping of breathing during sleep)
    • Epilepsy or history of seizures
    • Kidney or liver disease

    Dependency and Withdrawal:
    Valium depresses the nervous system much like alcohol and is abused by all segments of society. Valium is both physically and psychologically addicting and as is considered one of the toughest addictions to break. With chronic use, its abuse potential is high. Withdrawal symptoms can be seen after only 2 or 3 days of repeated use.

    Tolerance to Valium builds quickly and is the effect of cellular adaptive changes or enhanced drug metabolism. This tolerance develops over days, weeks, or months is a diminished response associated with chronic use of this drug.

    All benzodiazepines, even when used as recommended, may produce emotional and/or physical dependence. Valium has the potential to cause severe emotional and physical dependence in some patients and these individuals may find it exceedingly difficult to stop using. It is important that your physician help you discontinue this medication in a careful and safe manner to avoid severe withdrawal.

    To abruptly stop Valium after an extended period of use is extremely dangerous and can cause seizures and sometimes death. Discontinuation of the medication must include a physician supervised gradual taper schedule and/or adjunct medications to minimize acute withdrawal.

    Essentially, withdrawal symptoms from Valium are like the mirror of its therapeutic effects. Valium withdrawal can produce especially severe withdrawal symptoms similar to those in alcohol and barbiturate withdrawal, including jittery, shaky feelings and any of the following: rapid heartbeat, tremor, insomnia, sweating, irritability, anxiety, blurred vision, decreased concentration, decreased mental clarity, diarrhea, heightened awareness of noise or bright lights, impaired sense of smell, loss of appetite, loss of weight, muscle cramps, seizures, tingling sensation, and agitation. In more extreme cases, typically associated with sudden cessation of the drug, users may experience convulsions, tremor, abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting and sweating. After extended abuse, abrupt discontinuation should be avoided and a gradual dosage tapering schedule carefully followed.

    Obviously, the severity of withdrawal symptoms is directly related to the amount of the drug taken and the length of time over which it has been taken.

    Long term Valium users must taper down slowly under a knowledgeable physician's care, or enter a detox center for 24/7 treatment. With a moderate to severe addiction from relatively long term use, an in patient detox in a hospital or medical supervised setting is highly recommended for its multi- disciplinary approach.

    However a person chooses to free themselves from the clutches of a drug, there is one constant each needs: Support. Narcotics Anonymous remains a successful choice for many addicts, with world-wide availability. The "information age" has produced numerous on line support forums, popular with many recovering addicts, useful to some addicts as their sole means of support and for others, as adjunct therapy. Drug addiction is treatable, with help out there for everyone.

    Treatment Information:

    Self Help:

    Treatment Centers:

    More Information:

  •  Here's your libertarian paradise, friends (3.66)
    Isn't this what the libertarian party dreams of? Here we have a state -- if you can call it that -- where there are no constraints upon the economy, people are free to do what they want to, whenever they want to, and the profit motive drives all.

    And it has, of course, descended into chaos, anarchy, and rampant violence.

    "But this is different!" I can here the libertarians shout. To which I reply: no, it isn't. This IS the way things are. People are at heart animals, and the job of government is to keep people above that natural state.

    Eat poo, Badnarik. Here's uranium in your shorts, Norquist. You market fundamentalists got your wet dream of a blank slate to work with, and this is where it has gotten us. You are wrong about human nature. It's not greed that is the primary human motivator, it is a fear of death and the desire to make our egos survive our physical forms.

    "Truth is my god, and Justice his bride."

    by JamesC on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 06:00:04 PM PDT

  •  email of WSJ reporter Farnaz Fassihi (none)
    In case you haven't seen this brutally honest account of the ground truth in Iraq, here is Farnaz Fassihi's personal email to a friend:

    Now her job at the WSJ is under threat for being so honest.

    Will this idiocy never end?

  •  kudos (none)
    I'm gratified to see this response, as I half-expected a snarky dismissal of Oprah. I don't know how many people know that Oprah Winfrey underwent a profound personal transformation last year as a result of her visits to Africa. She has sincerely and genuinely decided to devote the rest of her life to making a difference and to use her power and money and influence to help those with the least of voices. Oprah herself is very open about how sheltered a celebrity life she has lead in recent years, and how much she took things for granted, and also how relatively trivial and insignificant much of the old "can we talk" kind of feel-good show was in the scheme of things. I have enormous respect for her and, if any of you saw the documentary about the school children she is sponsoring in South Africa, you are I am sure as convinced as I am of her sincerity and integrity and her personal courage in doing what is right, popular or not. It takes quite a bit to get a skeptic like me on board. Oprah is the real thing.

    "The problems of today will not be solved by the same thinking that produced the problems in the first place" - Albert Einstein

    by galiel on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 07:21:58 PM PDT

  •  Maybe I'm a total idiot, but in a country (none)
    where one runs the risk of being blown up, shot, abducted and beheaded, or brutally murdered in some other unspeakable way at any given moment, the widespread use of benzodiazapines (the class of drugs that includes Valium) just doesn't strike me as a particularly compelling problem. In fact, 20 cent bottles of valium are maybe the best idea anyone has yet provided me with taking my next vacation in Iraq. In signficant doses, used daily, valium (like other benzodiazapines) can be both physically and psychologically addictive, but most third world valium is less potent than indicated on the label (not like I'd know - I swear I never bought any from that Salvadoran grocery), and in any event the withdrawal is in a majority of cases no more serious than nicotine withdrawal (unpleasant, but hardly life threatening). In any event though, Iraqis have bigger things to worry about. Oprah viewers would do better than to send Iraqis helmets and body armor than coupons for the Betty Ford clinic.

    "He needs a slave for his vision of the promised land / No I don't believe a word" Stone Roses

    by spot on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:43:44 PM PDT

    •  And after Oprah viewers send over a boatload (4.00)
      of helmets and body armor to Iraqi civilians the best thing they can do for Iraq is to vote for John Kerry.

      "He needs a slave for his vision of the promised land / No I don't believe a word" Stone Roses

      by spot on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 08:47:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think an (none)
    appearance by John and Elizabeth Edwards on the Oprah show would a slam dunk.

    I think the middle aged women who watch the show would be very impressed with both of them and the fact that John (face it...he's incredible) adores his slighly older plumper wife would appeal to many women.

    (I don't mean to offend anyone...I'm just trying to think like a woman who watches Oprah...personally shows like hers bore me to tears!)

    GWB will pry my 19 year old son from my cold dead fingers.

    by Momagainstthedraft on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:20:37 PM PDT

  •  She also said (none)
    that women couldn't vote, but Kuwait was a democracy.  So take her with a grain of salt.

    In Kuwait, 10% of the population can vote.  And I think it's just for legislative.

    I think Oprah also said the average 30 year old Cuban woman had 3 divorces and 4 abortions.  I have no idea what the real statistics are but that doesn't seem right either.

    Are you more bitter now than you were four years ago?

    by CountAsterisk on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:27:30 PM PDT

    •  As I understand it (none)
       I have no idea what the real statistics are but that doesn't seem right either. this isn't far-fetched.  Just a read through some contemporary Cuban fiction will inform you of the role that sex plays in the Cuban economy and daily life. Sex is one of the few ways left to earn some money. Not hard to image this, as such statistics were also the case in the USSR before the fall of the Soviets. (Strange for a Catholic Country, but...)

      In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Oct 06, 2004 at 10:36:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Iraqi Army Had Valium During Desert Storm (4.00)
    I was an army medic during Desert Storm.  I was assigned to do sick call on Iraqi POWs.  They were, for the most part, seriously addicted to Valium.  Probably about half of the patients in line to be seen during sick call were there to try to get Valium.  They had been given this in the Iraqi Army, and after capture, had a hard time doing without it.  It was one of the most surprising things that I witnessed, that an army could be given such drugs.
  •  Not to be flip ... (none)
    but I've been telling friends that if Bush wins, I'd like to get a four-year supply of Valium for myself. Now I know where to get it. I guess it's no laughing matter.
  •  The first I'd heard of the Valium was yesterday. (none)
    My girlfriend mentioned it to me. She doesn't pay much attention to the news. She's in nursing school so I figured she heard it there. Maybe she was watching Oprah. If not, someone who did watch Oprah may have told her about it.

    The thing about Oprah is that if she says something, people, especially women, will eventually hear about it.

  •  I wrote to Riverbend this morning (none)
    and have asked her to comment on this situation from her perspective. Hopefully she will post about this on her blog. I directed her to this thread so she can see our questions.

    If she responds to me via e-mail with relevant info, i will post another diary and let you know.

  •  Actually, This is Pretty Common... (none)
    In a lot of developing countries, drugs which are legal but normally require a prescription are available without any such controls.  Either prescriptions aren't required, or the rules are enforced in such a lax manner that anyone can bribe a pharmacist for an extra dollar or two.

    I remember when I was a student at the American University in Cairo (during the first Gulf War), we used to buy generic antibiotics (ampicillin mainly) for the recurring stomach bugs we kept getting.  I don't know what the law is there, but when the pharmacist would ask about a "prescription," that was just a way of saying "another two dollars, please, because you're American."

    There was one American student that semester who, after discovering this, developed a pretty serious Valium habit...

    But anyway, I've experienced this is many places (I travel a decent amount in the developing world for my job).  The last time I was in Nepal, three months ago, I needed to get some Cipro for a bad intestinal bug, and without prompting, the pharmacist asked if I'd like some 'benzos' to help kill my jetlag...  (turned it down, btw.)

    •  Mexico (none)
      Last time I was in Mexico, one day we swung by the pharmacy and loaded up on some tasty meds.  It was great fun for a day, but knowing my personality I'd be a total junky if such pharmacies existed in MI.  But then the libertarian in me says, it's my right to be a junky if I like.  As in the example you gave, a person is always free to refuse drugs.

      Abusing antibiotics is a different matter.  Antibiotics are a societal drug, in other words, abuse of an antibiotic by one person can affect society as a whole.  The reason is that unnecessary and improper use of antibiotics selects for bacteria resistant to the particular antibiotic being used in a gradual process.  Sometimes the bacteria infect several people before a fully resistant strain evolves, and then this resistant strain is free to move through the population.  So in this sense, abusing antibiotics is far worse than enjoying a few Valium, because there is a risk of selecting for resistant bacteria that will inflict suffering upon the entire population.  At this point, the antibiotic loses its effectiveness and a new one must be developed to replace it.

      The solution is to only take antibiotics for bacterial infections, and then to take them for the entire treatment time (usually 10 days).  It's not always possible to tell what the nature of an infection is without a time-consuming lab culture, so doctors often pass out antibiotics for all sorts of viral infections, just to be safe (or sometimes to appease patients).  But to just take antibiotics anytime one gets sick is irresponsible and puts all of society at risk.

      "Revolutionary debris litters the floor of Wall Street." -Kurt Cobain, Diaries

      by Subterranean on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 01:48:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think Valium is the problem. (none)
    The problem is the horrible conditions that create such great fear and anxiety 24/7.  Thankfully these women have the Valium to help the cope, but V is only a temporay band-aid to the inhuman conditions in which they live.  

    I'm sure we'll soon hear about some right wing crusader who's trying to get Iraqi women off Valium, but I predict such a crusader won't address the source of these' womens' anxieties.  We'll just get, "drugs, Iraqis are bad, BAD people!"

    "Revolutionary debris litters the floor of Wall Street." -Kurt Cobain, Diaries

    by Subterranean on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 01:33:02 PM PDT

    •  disagree (none)
      Valium is a horrible addiction. What happens if the situation in Iraq goes to a Civil War (very likely) and these women's supply gets cut off? an addict will do anything for their drug and it could be horrendous to these women. Also they have no info or detox facilities. It will be a nightmare.
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