Friday, May 5, 2017

Opioids Don't Work, and Michael Soucheray Should Be in Jail

For today, two outrages unrelated to the current health insurance story, both from the local section of the Star Tribune.

First, a new study at the Minnesota VA hospital found that patients with chronic pain had the same amount of pain with or without opioids. The study split 240 people with chronic back pain or arthritic knees or hips into two groups and treated half with opioids.

After a year, pain levels dropped by the same amount in both groups, and pain intensity decreased more in those who didn’t receive opioids such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. (emphasis added)
And, of course, complications were more frequent in the opioid treatment group.

The outrage here isn't the study, of course, but the fact that doctors have been prescribing opioids from chronic pain for years without research showing they were effective, let alone safe.

The second outrage is on a smaller scale, but more intense. A Ramsey County jury acquitted Michael Soucheray, a St. Paul cop yesterday. I've been doing a rolling boil on this story since I first heard about it.

Back in December, Soucheray and his partner were called to a home for sexually exploited (i.e. OBVIOUSLY vulnerable) girls because a 14-year-old was suicidal. Staff wanted her sent to a hospital. She didn't want to go, and screamed and cried. After they cuffed her behind her back and put her in the car, she spat on Soucheray. In response, he punched her twice, grabbed her by the neck, and called her a "fucking bitch." It's all shown in a video within the Star Tribune article linked above.

In the trial, Soucheray claimed self defense (!). He said he didn't so much hit her as use a "startle flinch response" technique to distract her, and used minimal physical contact. This is patently absurd if you watch the video. It was minimal only in the sense that the blows were very fast, but they were clearly punches, and you can tell that he did it out of anger from the way his body moved and what he said afterward.

These are some of the details described in the story about Soucheray's defense during the trial:
Defense attorney Peter Wold said that his client acted in self-defense. Wold also used a derogatory term to compare the girl to people with severe mental disabilities.

“They probably gave her the best lesson she’s benefited from in a long time,” Wold said of Soucheray and his partner, officer Chris Rhoades. “They didn’t enable her to manipulate the situation.”

“It was like that,” Wold said, snapping his fingers. “She turned into a good young woman. … She said she was sorry.”....

Wold ended by trying to discredit the girl’s testimony. He recalled growing up in North Dakota, where his grandmother cared for troubled children with mental disabilities.

“I was reminded of that seeing [the girl],” he said. “She doesn’t get a free pass under the law because life may have been unfair to her to this point.”
Where free pass = not being punched in the face by a cop, I guess. (Emphasis added to the quote.)

Despite all of these outrageous statements, the jury of five women and one man found Soucheray not guilty of assault. What is wrong with those people? What does a cop have to do to be convicted?

I know it was a messy, difficult situation, but the girl was restrained and no threat to him. She just wasn't cooperating. The defense attorney's description of teaching her a lesson and turning her into a "good young woman" by hitting her is abuser 101 talk.

Soucheray returns to work, "protecting and serving" the people of St. Paul. I hope he never has contact with the public again in an official capacity.

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