The opioid epidemic has thrust its nasty tendrils into every single facet of our society. From the seemingly innocent soccer mom to the truly innocent middle schooler, no one is safe from the plague that is the opioid epidemic.
Nobody enjoys taking a long hard look at the harsh truth of reality, but with a crisis such as this, to leave things unaddressed could prove to be monumentally fatal.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, last year over 72,000 people died from drug overdose. The majority of these can be attributed to opiates, killing more people than the Vietnam and Iraq wars combined. Every single day, at least two to three people die in the state of Utah from drug overdose, and the culprit is almost always opiates.
Damian Trujillo, CEO and creator of Inspiro, Recovery Soldiers, and an active member in the recovery community, speaks about the issue and who it targets, “It doesn’t matter what race, religion, creed or class, addiction doesn’t discriminate.”
When it comes to the opioid epidemic becoming such a prominent issue, Trujillo claims, “overprescribing pain pills was definitely a big push in the opiate epidemic with most people turning from pills to heroin because of the price. The biggest issue, I think, is that people are afraid to talk about it, especially in Utah.” The alarming part of this is that Utah is ranked 4th highest for drug overdoses in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Now, while all of this may seem daunting, that doesn’t mean there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Many youth find it difficult to reach out for help, which can be attributed to the lack of education on the matter. There are options for help, like the Junior Red Cross and Salt Lake County Youth Services. A SLCYS employee said, “I feel that if teens were more aware about the extent of patient confidentiality. They wouldn’t be so worried about getting into trouble and be more open to receiving help.” This is suggesting that the fear many teens share of getting into trouble when reaching out is unfounded due to the fact that what they talk about with mental health professionals stays between them and the professional. The only time mental health professionals can break confidentiality is if you are planning on hurting yourself or someone else. Programs like JRC and Youth Services also do not require insurance, which is beneficial for those who may be financially unable to find help otherwise. While there may not be a clear end in sight to this tragic epidemic tormenting our society, there are options to receive help for those who seek it. Staying educated and informed on matters such as these could mean the difference between life and death.
Published on November 5th, 2018.
The Nike Sacrifice
The latest Colin Kaepernick controversy.
by KARINA HANKS
On Sunday, September 2nd, Nike released an advertisement for their 30th anniversary featuring Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the 49ers. The ad was a close-up picture of Kaepernick with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
In 2016, Colin Kaepernick made the choice to kneel for the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. He explained his form of silent protest, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Kaepernick continued, mentioning police brutality. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick has remained unsigned from the NFL since the end of the 2016 football season.
Just days after the ad was released, pictures and videos of Nike products being mutilated began circling the internet. Some covered the famous swoosh logo with duct tape, while others cut off any trace of Nike symbols on their clothing. Some went as far as to light Nike products on fire. Those who were against Nike’s new ad used hashtags including #boycottNike and #justburnit.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the topic, saying, “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” Just a few days later, he tweeted again, saying, “What was Nike thinking?”
According to the website trends.edison.tech, the belief that Nike sales would have fallen, due to all the burning of the brand, was incorrect. Over Labor Day weekend, from Sunday, September 2nd to Tuesday, September 4th, Nike’s online sales grew by 31% compared to 17% this same time last year. Days after that, sales have been on a roller coaster with highs and lows, nothing too drastically different compared to previous years.
Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed, but his Nike ad made an estimated $43 million worth of media exposure in the first 24 hours. Although, he faced many consequences for his choice to stand - or rather kneel - for his beliefs, he continues to reap the benefits from speaking up.
Published on November 5th, 2018.
Safety on Public Transportation
by MAEGHAN BELNAP
People use public transportation everyday, whether it’s getting to and from work, school, going shopping or even for the fun of it. But what most people don’t know is how to protect themselves if they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation. In order to get more information on ways to stay safe, officer Uati Afele gave suggestions on what people should do in a dangerous situation.
When using public transportation, you always want to be aware of your surroundings and the people in it. As soon as you board and before you sit down, find the closest emergency button. Keep electronic use to a minimum, avoid using apps that make you lose track of everything around you. If you’re listening to music, keep the volume low and only use one earbud.
If something happens, don’t just sit there and let it happen; make sure you know where the safety officer is so you can report it. If there is no one on board, call the police and have them wait at the next stop so it can still be dealt with. Don’t sit in secluded areas by yourself, especially at night. If somebody starts making unwanted advances or is making you uncomfortable, move to a seat where there’s more people. It will reduce their chances of doing something without getting caught.
Even though taking an Uber or Lyft is supposed to be safer than taking Trax or the Front Runner, it still has its moments of danger. You always want to take precaution. Before you get in the car, confirm it’s your driver. Make sure the license plate, driver photo and drivers name all match what’s listed on the app. Let people know where you are, where you’re going, and how long it might take to get there. If something does happen, stay calm. Let someone know what’s going on and give them any form of information as to where you are. The minute the car stops or slows down, get out. If the child lock is on, do whatever you can to get out.
Always carry something with you that makes noise. If you are under the influence of anything, have someone you trust go with you or pick you up. If there’s nobody who can, call the police. Getting in trouble is a lot better than getting hurt.
Published on November 5th, 2018.
Dangers of Cyberbullying
The psychological effects of cyberbullying.
by KAITLYN KOOPMAN
As a society, how attached are we to our cell phones? Our phones are sometimes the first thing we check when we wake up in the morning, and the last thing we see before we go to bed. Our phones taken with us everywhere we go. We get to see every single comment made about us on social media, and it sometimes is not pretty or sweet in the slightest. Even with our hearts and souls poured out onto a tiny screen, we still sometimes have to face something nobody likes: bullying.
Cyberbullying is a form of psychological cruelty. Children that have been bullied are at higher risk of developing mental health problems later on in life. According to a study team at Four Winds Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Westchester County, New York, 20% of their patients have been cyberbullied. Cyber bullying impacts the human brain in sdrastic ways that people become unrecognizable.
When people are bullied, it affects their psyche. When people are exposed to negative experiences, it affects their thoughts, emotions, and outlook on life. It can cause irreversible damage, though some people refuse to seek help for it.
Unfortunately, cyberbullying is less spoken about than other forms of bullying. There is a stigma surrounding it. Finding help is important; therapists, counselors, psychologists are all viable options. Having somebody there to listen is an optional coping mechanism for this issue.
Allie Hoesch, a psychologist at Valley High School, emphasised on the fact that everybody has been a part of some form of bullying. “A high percentage of people who engage in cyberbullying either were bullied themselves and/or had some issues at home.” While this is not always the case, sometimes there are kids with severe baggage that take it out on others to feel a sense of power or control.
If somebody is cyberbullying, make sure you don’t encourage it, report it and move on. When a bully is hurting someone and tearing them down, it doesn’t reflect what the victim has done; it reflects the bully and their personal issues. Regardless, whether or not somebody that you know has been bullied or is a bully, there are people that are willing to help. Included below are some crisis hotlines for anybody to access:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453
Day One Crisis Hotline 1-866-223-1111 Crisis Text Line Text 741-741 from anywhere in the USA.
Published on November 5th, 2018.
The American Dream, or immigration control?
by ALIZON MARTINEZ
Immigrant families are coming from Central America to the United States border, risking it all in order to give their children a better life than their parents had. Once the families reach the U.S. border, the parents and children are put into detention centers together, and are separated days later.
According to Univision, CNN, and other news sources, the Caravan of Immigrants coming from Central America were seeking asylum in the U.S. because of gang violence, health problems, and unbearable living conditions. Some children even arrived sick at the U.S. border. Their parents knew of the consequences once they asked the U.S. government for asylum. One of those consequences is family separation.
The policy of separating families may not be new to our country. African-American slave mothers were forced by owners to put their children in auction and were often never seen again. During the late 19th century, the government allowed missionary groups to enter Native American reservations and take their children away in order to put them into boarding schools. The Native American children were forced to speak English and worship Christianity. The boarding schools would also force Native American children to give up anything that had to do with their culture. This includes their traditional clothings, they had to cut their hair, and change their names.
Earlier this year, the Trump Administration made the new “zero-tolerance policy” for anyone crossing the Mexico and U.S. border with children. During a law enforcement event in Scottsdale, Arizona, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated, “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law.” Sessions continued saying, “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” As parents are being prosecuted, their children are being separated from them. These children are then being sent to detention centers and facilities run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, according to TIME.
Many people are concerned about what trauma these separations may cause. While parents are being prosecuted by the government, children are suffering and trying to process the events while being held at detention centers. More than 25,000 doctors in places including American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association are against family separation because of the effects it has on the children. The Washington Post wrote an article describing what happens to the children being separated from their parents, “Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites — the little branches in brain cells that transmit messages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and — especially in young children — wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain.”
Univision has also done coverage and stated the effects, these includes depression, alcoholism, post traumatic stress disorder and many more. It can also affect biological and cognitive problems as well. It has been scientifically proven that childhood experiences can shape the children for the rest of their lives. Once that happens, “They will never be the same again.” Family separation has irreversible psychological effects on children that have fallen victim to the zero-tolerance policy. It is important that we acknowledge this and do whatever we can to help these kids get to their homes safely.
Published on November 5th, 2018.
Birds and Limes
The up and coming e-scooter craze.
by DAWSON SCHRADER
Smart mobility companies Lime and Bird are reinventing public transportation, giving users access to electric scooters to get around. With a similar concept to Uber, the new smart mobility companies use customers’ cell phones to connect them to their ride.
If you’re ever in downtown Salt Lake City, you’ll notice a new trend: men in their best work suits barreling down the streets on what looks like a child’s toy. These aren’t kids toys, though, with the scooters garnering top speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. The scooters’ range of 40 miles on one charge is nothing to scoff at, either.
The cost to start a Bird or Lime scooter is one dollar. For every minute you ride, fifteen cents are charged to the rider. People in welfare programs, however, have the option to apply for a reduced price on their rides, as long as they have proof that they are included in a government-run program. This allows a plethora of people to gain access to these devices, and they are overtaking metropolitan areas.
If traveling far into the city to find scooters isn’t your forte, though, worry not. The app shows users if any scooters are in their area. With the press of a button, they can then locate exactly where they are via GPS and find the scooter closest to them. On this screen, it also shows how much of a charge they currently hold. Unfortunately, these scooters aren’t powered magically with pixie dust and glitter, though. They need individuals to collect and charge them overnight. These individuals are referred to as Juicers. Signing up to become a Juicer brings the possibility of earning 150 dollars per night, with a possibility of earning up to 20 dollars per scooter. The chargers for these scooters are given to the individual in the mail once they sign up.
The scooters cost about 7 cents in electricity per scooter to charge. Once they are charged, you can drop them off wherever you’d like before 7am. After that, you get paid that morning for the fully charged scooters and can be on your merry way.
E-scooters are molding the way that individuals transport themselves. Even if you aren’t having scooter races between skyscrapers, the scooters are a fantastic alternative to crummy traffic lights and engine exhaust. The next time you find yourself a few blocks (or miles) away from your destination, consider using your gas money elsewhere and hop into the bike lane.
Published on November 5th, 2018.
A Ballot Breakdown
A list of what's going on in the ballot.
by DYLAN McINTYRE
With October quickly flying by and with Election Day rapidly approaching on November 6th, it can be confusing to try and process everything that is on that little slip of paper. It nearly seems like another language at times, plagued with terms that hardly anybody would bother to recognize. The people that are able to vote might not even be aware of what they are voting for due to the puzzling vocabulary. To help clear it all up, we can start by answering what everything actually means.
Non-binding opinion question 1:Non-binding opinion question 1 is on the ballot as an advisory question. It’s designed to explore the public’s opinion on a 10 cent gas tax increase. This tax increase would go towards local road construction and maintenance, therefore freeing up more funding for education.
Prop 2:Proposition 2 is designed to legalize the use of medical marijuana for individuals with qualifying conditions. You could still only receive a medical marijuana card with a doctor’s recommendation. Those eligible for a card could not smoke marijuana or facilitate the smoking of marijuana, although card holders will be allowed to purchase unprocessed marijuana or products with no more than 10 grams of THC. Recently, legislators have proposed a new version of the bill that addresses concerns revolving around medical marijuana that would correct loopholes and ensure the safety of law-abiding citizens.
Prop 3:If voted on, Proposition 3 would require the state to provide Medicaid for people under the age of 65. Medicaid will also provide insurance to those that receive an income that is 138 percent or less of the federal poverty line . The initiative would increase sales tax from 4.70 to 4.85 percent.
Prop 4:Redistricting is designed to organize or divide to political parties. With Prop 4, this would allow for less manipulation in the government and would allow for the other citizens to be more easily heard and recognized in the political world.
Active military prop tax exemption amendment:Persons in the military are going to gain more days of tax exemption. The amount of days will jump from 200-360, and the measure would change the required time served in the military — making it easier for families to gain these tax exemptions.
Tax exemption for property leased by a government entity amendment:This measure will make all real property that is leased by the local government from a private owner free from property tax. All land owned privately is considered real property; this includes everything established on that land.
Legislature able to convince special sessions amendment:If Utah voters vote for this, this measure will allow the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate to call the legislature into a special session of up to 10 days. In order for the legislature to be called in to session, it would require approval from two-thirds of legislators.
On November 6th, Election Day is coming. If you are 18 or older, please vote. Voting for what you believe in will impact not only you, but it will also impact your future and the community you live in.
For more information on voting, see vote.utah.gov (you only have until November 6th!)