Inmate Dies From Withdrawal, FBI will investigate

Janaburson's Blog


An interesting article from this week’s issue of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly caught my eye today. On page 4 is the article, “Video of jail drug-withdrawal death leads to FBI inquiry.” This seized my attention, since I view the awful treatment of U.S. prisoners as one of our nation’s biggest moral failings. I get particularly agitated when patients enrolled in medication-assisted treatment for addiction are denied access to medical care.

This story is heart-wrenching.

In June of 2014, David Stojcevski , 32 years old, was jailed in the Macomb County, Michigan, jail for thirty days for failure to pay a traffic ticket. He was denied access to his usual medications; news sources said he was being prescribed methadone, Klonopin, and Xanax for the treatment of addiction. No mention was made of whether he was a patient of an opioid treatment program.

David died seventeen days into his thirty day…

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The Sin of Evil

United Methodeviations

Warning:  This is a vent, a rant, a yawp and a tantrum.  I received an email today that had me shaking while I read it and has been a distraction all day.  I seek the catharsis of putting my thoughts in writing so I can let it go.  The gist of the email was a chastisement that I criticized people who are bothered by “sin”.  In the writer’s opinion, Christians aren’t “crybabies” when they are opposing real “evil”.  She queries, “Don’t you believe sin is evil?  If not, you aren’t much of a Christian.”  I can emphatically say that I am not her kind of Christian.  You see, the “evil” she was pointing to — evil that “forced” her to leave the Methodist Church — included Harry Potter, Katy Perry, churches that host Halloween activities, “loving faggots and queers”, letting women preach, giving money to “abortionists and feeding the children…

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2015 Smyth Lectures Announced

Columbia Connections

Distinguished scholar Dr. Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity at Yale Divinity School will present the Smyth Lectures at Columbia Theological Seminary on October 13-15, 2015.

Details About the 2015 Smyth Lectures:
Dr. Sanneh will deliver the following series of three lectures offered free to the public each day in the Harrington Center Chapel on the Columbia Seminary campus located at 701 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA.

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Education, Formation, or Teaching?

Some great thoughts and food for reflection regarding Christian Education in churches… all faith educators should read and ponder!

Columbia Connections

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

I find that clergy and educational staff continue to struggle to define the nature and scope (as well as the methods and techniques) of what constitutes Christian education. In some instances people choose one camp over the other, like “formation” over “education.” Some have dropped any reference to the term “education” believing that concept is antithetical to discipleship or to their idea of Christian formation or the development of disciples.

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Long-Term Buprenorphine/Naloxone Outcomes for Prescription Opioid Users

CTN Dissemination Library - What's New

rxdrugsDespite the growing prevalence of prescription opioid dependence, longitudinal studies have not examined long-term treatment response.

This study examined outcomes over 42 months in the CTN Prescription Opioid Abuse Treatment Study (POATS, CTN-0030) to see what, if any, improvements in abstinence from opioids was seen over a longer term.

The original POATS study was a multi-site clinical trial lasting up to 9 months, examining different durations of buprenorphine-naloxone plus standard medical management for prescription opioid dependence.  A subset of participants (375 of 653) enrolled in this follow-up study.

Telephone interviews were given approximately 18, 30, and 42 months after main-trial enrollment.

Results found that at Month 42, much improvement was seen:

  • 31.7% were abstinent from opioids and not on agonist therapy;
  • 29.4% were receiving opioid agonist therapy but met no symptom criteria for current opioid dependence;
  • 7.5% were using illicit opioids while on agonist therapy;
  • 31.4% were using opioids without…

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The Christian Case for Vaccinating Your Kids



Look, I get that nostalgia is big right now.

We’ve got more 19th century beards, vinyl records, backyard gardens, and banjo music in the United States than at any other time in probably the past 50 years.

It’s a throwback to those halcyon days of previous generations.

But do you know what I’m not nostalgic for?


Like not in the least.

I’d be just fine without a new revival of one of the world’s most infectious diseases.

Or any other disease, for that matter, preventable by a readily available vaccine.

Of course, nostalgia, like the decision not to vaccinate one’s children, tends to be primarily an indulgence of the white and wealthy. Parents who refuse vaccines tend to be in both of those demographics. Any time a trend like this, with such clear and dire public health consequences, skews white and wealthy, then we must acknowledge that it’s…

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Steve Hayner, 66, Seminary President and Interdenominational Leader

Columbia Connections

The Rev. Dr. Stephen (Steve) A. Hayner, president emeritus of Columbia Theological Seminary, passed away today at the age of 66 surrounded by family and friends in the Columbia community. Known by many throughout the world with love, affection, and gratitude, Steve was a person of many honors and degrees who refused to categorize others or himself by achievements. His goal was to always live to and for an audience of One, and his hope was to live life with wide open arms and relational integrity. His life was imbued with joy and freedom, which touched and changed many people along the way.

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The Problem With Treating Pain in America


Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million Americans, and between 5 to 8 million use opioids for long-term pain management. Data shows the number of prescriptions written for opioids as well opioid overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, highlighting a growing addiction problem in the U.S. In response, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a report on Monday citing major gaps in the way American clinicians are treating pain.

In September, the NIH held a workshop to review chronic pain treatment with a panel of seven experts and more than 20 speakers. The NIH also reviewed relevant research on how pain should be treated in the United States. On Monday the NIH published its findings in the Annals of Internal Medicine, detailing a lack of research into better treatment methods and poor preparedness among physicians. “The prevalence of chronic pain and the increasing use of opioids have…

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We are More Than Our Disease

We are Not Our Disease by Dr. Jana Burson… One of the most honest, blunt and important pieces written in 2014.

Janaburson's Blog


Imagine you are a diabetic, complaining to your doctor’s office manager about poor treatment you’ve received by the doctor’s staff. How would you feel if the office manager said something like this?

“That’s just your disease talking. Your perceptions are wrong because your diabetes wants you to feel resentment and self-pity. Your diabetes wants to give you an excuse to go back out there and eat a bunch of sweets. Your diabetes has you confused. You really weren’t mistreated. Your thoughts and feelings aren’t real.”

Sounds kind of nutty, doesn’t it? Yet people with addiction are sometimes told similar things by their treatment programs.

While it is true that addiction can damage the structure and function of the brain, patients don’t lose all their higher brain functions and often have very accurate perceptions.

This week I encountered a patient who said workers at his opioid treatment program discounted his legitimate…

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