November 29, 2008

Drug Rehab

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Have you wondered if someone close to you is on drugs?

This holiday season may be made difficult by someone close to you who is addicted.

"Drug addicts will lie about their drug usage and can be very convincing, leaving friends and family doubting their own certainty," comments Mary Rieser, Executive Director of Narconon Drug Rehab Georgia. “Before you approach a family member about possible drug abuse, get the facts – verify that there is drug abuse. Home testing kits are very easy to fool, so know the signs of abuse and be certain.”

Sudden changes in behavior can be a clue that there is drug abuse, especially with adolescents. New friends, new flashy clothes and keeping late hours can be signs. Other indications include sudden decline in academic performance, lack of interest in known hobbies and the borrowing of money.

A person on marijuana will usually have red eyes and can appear to be in a daze or may go into fits of laughter for no reason. Marijuana has a strong pungent odor which is difficult to mask. Rolling papers or blunts around the house are tell tale signs of marijuana abuse.

Signs of cocaine or speed abuse usually include glassy eyes and very large pupils, which the person may try to hide behind sunglasses. Other signs are erratic behavior, irritability, nervousness, or aggression, lack of sleep and thirst.

Sign of opiate abuse (includes, heroin and oxycotin) can be constricted pupils, scratching, needle marks and lethargy. It might also include someone acting hyper, as some people are affected this way by opiates.

Benzodiazepine abuse is characterized by sedation, drowsiness/depression, unusual excitement, fever, irritability, poor judgment, slurred speech and dizziness. Xanax abuse amongst high school kids is at an all time high, so this is an important one to be alert to. Withdrawal from the drug can be life threatening and requires medical attention.

"Don't ruin your holidays by accusing someone of drug abuse or drug addiction when you don't have all the facts," comments Ms. Rieser. "If you have questions or doubts, call a professional. Look for signs and get help. be sympathetic, but firm. Get them the help they need. They will thank you for it."

For questions regarding suspicions on drug abuse, contact Narconon Drug Rehab.

If someone you love has signs of drug abuse, then get some help. Call an interventionist if needed, but don’t wait. Overdose is a real threat to any drug abuser. Get them the help they need.

For information on drug addiction signs, call Narconon Drug Rehab in Georgia at 1-877-413-3073 .

Source: Transworldnews

Painkiller risk goes beyond Vioxx

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Heart attack and heart failure patients have a higher risk of a second heart attack or death if they take painkillers, including the generic drug ibuprofen and Celebrex, made by Pfizer, a Danish study has found.

Patients who had suffered a heart attack and were taking Vioxx, a painkiller that has been withdrawn from the market, had 2.7 times the risk of having another heart attack or dying compared with patients not taking painkillers, according to research presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans. Patients taking Celebrex had double the risk; patients taking the generic diclofenac had 1.9 times the risk, and those taking ibuprofen had 1.3 times the risk, the study found.

Based on the findings, doctors should avoid prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for these patients, or give them at low doses, a researcher said.

Also Tuesday, researchers said that the risk of heart attacks and strokes for heart-stent patients taking the anti-clotting drug Plavix increased if they also took anti-ulcer medicines like Nexium.

Doctors implant about two million stents a year and often prescribe blood thinners like Plavix, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis, to avoid clots. But the drugs raise the risk of stomach bleeding, so they also prescribe Nexium, made by AstraZeneca, or a rival drug in a group known as proton pump inhibitors. About a third of these patients suffered complications within a year, the study said.


Source: NY Times

Structured settlement

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A structured settlement is a financial or insurance arrangement, including periodic payments, that a claimant accepts to resolve a personal injury tort claim or to compromise a statutory periodic payment obligation. Structured settlements were first utilized in Canada and the United States during the 1970s as an alternative to lump sum settlements. Structured settlements are now part of the statutory tort law of several common law countries including Australia, Canada, England and the United States. Although some uniformity exists, each of these countries has its own definitions, rules and standards for structured settlements. Structured settlements may include income tax and spendthrift requirements as well as benefits. Structured settlement payments are sometimes called “periodic payments.” A structured settlement incorporated into a trial judgment is called a “periodic payment judgment."

Structured Settlements in the United States

The United States has enacted structured settlement laws and regulations at both the federal and state levels. Federal structured settlement laws include sections of the (federal) Internal Revenue Code[1]. State structured settlement laws include structured settlement protection statutes and periodic payment of judgment statutes. Medicaid and Medicare laws and regulations affect structured settlements. To preserve a claimant’s Medicare and Medicaid benefits, structured settlement payments may be incorporated into “Medicare Set Aside Arrangements” “Special Needs Trusts."

Structured settlements have been endorsed by many of the nation's largest disability rights organizations, including the American Association of People with Disabilities [2] and the National Organization on Disability [3].

Definitions

The United States definition of “structured settlement” for federal income taxation purposes, found in Internal Revenue Code Section 5891(c)(1) (26 U.S.C. § 5891(c)(1)), is an "arrangement" that meets the following requirements:

  • A structured settlement must be established by:
    • A suit or agreement for periodic payment of damages excludable from gross income under Internal Revenue Code Section 104(a)(2) (26 U.S.C. § 104(a)(2)); or
    • An agreement for the periodic payment of compensation under any workers’ compensation law excludable under Internal Revenue Code Section 104(a)(1) (26 U.S.C. § 104(a)(1)); and
  • The periodic payments must be of the character described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of Internal Revenue Code Section 130(c)(2) (26 U.S.C. § 130(c)(2))) and must be payable by a person who:
    • Is a party to the suit or agreement or to a workers' compensation claim; or
    • By a person who has assumed the liability for such periodic payments under a qualified assignment in accordance with Internal Revenue Code Section 130 (26 U.S.C. § 130).

Legal Structure

The typical structured settlement arises and is structured as follows: An injured party (the claimant) settles a tort suit with the defendant (or its insurance carrier) pursuant to a settlement agreement that provides that, in exchange for the claimant's securing the dismissal of the lawsuit, the defendant (or, more commonly, its insurer) agrees to make a series of periodic payments over time. The insurer, a property/casualty insurance company, thus finds itself with a long-term payment obligation to the claimant. To fund this obligation, the property/casualty insurer generally takes one of two typical approaches: It either purchases an annuity from a life insurance company (an arrangement called a "buy and hold" case) or it assigns (or, more properly, delegates) its periodic payment obligation to a third party which in turn purchases an annuity (which arrangement is called an "assigned case").

In an unassigned case, the property/casualty insurer retains the periodic payment obligation and funds it by purchasing an annuity from a life insurance company, thereby offsetting its obligation with a matching asset. The payment stream purchased under the annuity matches exactly, in timing and amounts, the periodic payments agreed to in the settlement agreement. The property/casualty company owns the annuity and names the claimant as the payee under the annuity, thereby directing the annuity issuer to send payments directly to the claimant. If any of the periodic payments are life-contingent (i.e., the obligation to make a payment is contingent on someone continuing to be alive), then the claimant (or whoever is determined to be the measuring life) is named as the annuitant or measuring life under the annuity.

In an assigned case, the property/casualty company does not wish to retain the long-term periodic payment obligation on its books. Accordingly, the property/casualty insurer transfers the obligation, through a legal device called a qualified assignment, to a third party. The third party, called an assignment company, will require the property/casualty company to pay it an amount sufficient to enable it to buy an annuity that will fund its newly accepted periodic payment obligation. If the claimant consents to the transfer of the periodic payment obligation (either in the settlement agreement or, failing that, in a special form of qualified assignment known as a qualified assignment and release), the defendant and/or its property/casualty company has no further liability to make the periodic payments. This method of substituting the obligor is desirable for property/casualty companies that do not want to retain the periodic payment obligation on their books. Typically, an assignment company is an affiliate of the life insurance company from which the annuity is purchased.

An assignment is said to be "qualified" if it satisfies the criteria set forth in Internal Revenue Code Section 130 [1]. Qualification of the assignment is important to assignment companies because without it the amount they receive to induce them to accept periodic payment obligations would be considered income for federal income tax purposes. If an assignment qualifies under Section 130, however, the amount received is excluded from the income of the assignment company. This provision of the tax code was enacted to encourage assigned cases; without it, assignment companies would owe federal income taxes but would typically have no source from which to make the payments.


Source: Wikipedia

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