A Definitive Look at Winning the Lotto – A Matter of Life or Death

Gambling

A dollar and a dream, that all it takes to be a winner at Lotto a game of chance where everyone wants to be a winner. With phrases like, “You Gotta be in to Win it” and “All it Takes Is a Dollar and a Dream” seem to echo in the hallways of chance catapulting one to dash off to the local convenience store and purchase 10 or 25 tickets when the pot increases. Time and time again we watch the local news as they repeat  those “winning lotto stories” thus turning up the volume of the opportunity to become a millionaire. What if your life or loss of life was the “give-away”? What would you choose, would you play, what would be the driving force behind your decision? The answer to these questions may not be so easy to make based on many factors or perhaps just one.

The lottery has been around since about 1965. In fact lotteries were illegal until 1964 according to the NGISC (National Gambling Impact Study Commission). Seems like those things that are for one reason or another deemed under the header as may not be good for human consumption are the things  certain populations of folk will fight tooth and nail for.  Alcohol, marijuana, gaming, and even abortion to name a few were labeled as illegal activities. Come with me as we take a walk down the avenue of winners and losers.

Alcohol – The Prohibition Amendment was adopted in the 1920s allowing the making and selling of alcoholic beverages illegal. However the Eighteenth Amendment of U.S. Constitution established that only certain intoxicating liquors were prohibited, so for instance the medical field and some religious groups could participate in consumption as long as the intent was not to “intoxicate” oneself. The Volstead Act further went on to define “intoxicating” and briefly state the Act provided three definitions: (1) to prohibit intoxicating beverages, (2) to regulate the manufacture, sale, or transport of intoxicating liquor (but not consumption), and (3) to ensure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye and other lawful industries and practices, such as religious rituals.

Cannabis – In the 1600’s colonists were ordered to grow hemp for export and even George Washington grew his own batch of Marijuana. As in the “natural” course of things, pun intended, someone somewhere figured out that smoking it much like the consumption of alcohol provided a sense of well-being. There you have it in 2012 the smoking of marijuana purely for enjoyment was legalized in the state of Washington.

Abortion – A topic with grave proportions hit the circuit in Roe v. Wade. In 1973 the court ruled 7 – 2 that women had the right to abort a pregnancy, governed by the length of gestation, if she so desired. One little case that is rarely mention is the case of Doe v. Bolton where the state of Georgia would only allow abortions under the following conditions: (1) injury to the mother; (2) in rape cases; and (3) presumed deformity of the fetus. This topic continues to be a struggle today in deciding when life begins under the extreme headers of Life vs. Murder.

Gaming – Last but not least the highs and lows of “trooping” with the “Big Dawgs” a more commonly known phrase used by some young folk in urban neighborhoods. In this area the art of winning is defined as luck, chance, opportunity, a “feeling”. I’ve  watched some individuals play the gambling machines at the local casino and to my extreme surprise I have witnessed people (in hopes of manipulating “luck”) wiping the gambling screen, or attempting to calculate the number “wins” based on the amount of money used on each pull of the handle.  For example on the dollar machine with a max bet of $10 they would play $1 for 5 pulls of the handle and on the 6h pull increase their bet to the maximum $10 dollars.  I ask the question then what is luck and what is the driving force to achieve luck and can it be achieved and or manipulated?

According to Merriam-Webster, luck is defined as , “a force that brings good fortune or adversity”.  Adversity! What is this! I proclaimed. When I think of luck it has always been associated with  good fortune, and then I remembered – ahhh yes as the artist Harold Melvin states in his song Bad Luck written by himself and the Blue Notes the singer talks about bad luck may feel like the lyrics state, “…Played a number `cause that number’s hot stuff,  But the bookies get you for every cent you’ve got, Walk around in a daze with your pockets bare, Go to see your woman and she ain’t even there.”   Very descriptive of someone who has made a decision to gamble for what ever reason and now that’s he has spent all his money he goes to see his woman and she’s gone.  Geeze sounds like if you make a not so good decision everything subsequent goes awry.   Why would some folk make a decision to gamble, life stressors, i.e. a broken heart the possibility of foreclosure on a home or even watching your car roll backwards down a cliff just when the bank has demanded the return of the vehicle due to non-payment. These and other scenarios can be the catalyst for playing the lotto or gambling on the machines in the casino in hopes that the “luck” will change. Not to mention the players that have won and won exceptionally large amounts of cash in lottery drawings could make one believe they too can be a millionaire.

For example in Pennsylvania there was a winner of $250,000 in their Mega Millions ® Jackpot sales. The mere thought of receiving a quarter of million dollars for purchasing a PA Lottery Daily Number ticket coupled with paying off ones debt could surely be enough incentive to think that one’s “bad luck” will be changed in an instant. In CT and PA there are two chances to win on the same day. For example in Pennsylvania there is the opportunity to win the PA Lottery Daily Number in both the afternoon and again in the evening Yet in CT one would have to play twice to win either in the morning or in the afternoon.  I suspect that with even that small increase in the chances of winning from once a day to twice a day not only produce increase sales for the state  lottery – then why do schools not have enough books and supplies?  In the State of CT in 2012 the President and CEO of the CT Lottery indicated that not only did they celebrate multiple years of success but that they raised $7.2 billion dollars for programs such as education and public health again I ask why are teachers spending their own funds on supplies?

Is it possible that the forces that drive one to play lotto can have severe consequences? Absolutely, if this is indeed a game of chance then all attributes of chance become optional. There was a moment in time where if you were “chosen” the prize would be the life of your child. That’s right, in the book of Exodus in the Bible the writer tells of a story where God released a plague that would kill the first born of Egypt from the Pharaoh’s son to the first born of the cattle. It would appear that “luck” was not on the side of the Hebrews unless they envoked the power of the blood and brushed in on their front door, again what’s luck got to do with it?  Again I ask what is it to have “luck” and what is the driving force of luck just how does it work? In my summation “luck” would be a combination of everything about a person, their desire to seek great things without doing much work.

 

Good luck in all your endeavors or not.

 

REFERENCES

King James Bible – http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org
Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission http://aglc.ca/gaming
National Gambling Impact Study http://govinfo.library.unt.edu
National Archives – http://www.archives.gov
Merriam Webster – http://www.merriam-webster.com
You Tube – http://youtu.be/AzZRQHjvx-A
Pennsylvania Lottery – http://www.palottery.com
Connecticut Lottery – http://www.ctlottery.org

 

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Is There a Difference Between Medical Marijuana and Recreation Use?

Medical marijuanaMedical marijuana has been legal in Maine for almost 20 years. But Farmington physician Jean Antonucci says she continues to feel unprepared when counseling sick patients about whether the drug could benefit them.

Will it help my glaucoma? Or my chronic pain? My chemotherapy’s making me nauseous, and nothing’s helped. Is cannabis the solution? Patients hope Antonucci, 62, can answer those questions. But she said she is still “completely in the dark.”

Antonucci doesn’t know whether marijuana is the right way to treat an ailment, what amount is an appropriate dose, or whether a patient should smoke it, eat it, rub it through an oil or vaporize it. Like most doctors, she was never trained to have these discussions. And, because the topic still is not usually covered in medical school, seasoned doctors, as well as younger ones, often consider themselves ill-equipped.

Even though she tries to keep up with the scientific literature, Antonucci said, “it’s very difficult to support patients but not know what you’re saying.”

As the number of states allowing medical marijuana grows — the total has reached 25 plus the District of Columbia — some are working to address this knowledge gap with physician training programs. States are beginning to require doctors to take continuing medical education courses that detail how marijuana interacts with the nervous system and other medications, as well as its side effects.

Though laws vary, they have common themes. They usually set up a process by which states establish marijuana dispensaries, where patients with qualifying medical conditions can obtain the drug. The conditions are specified on a state-approved list. And the role of doctors is often to certify that patients have one of those ailments. But many say that, without knowing cannabis’ health effects, even writing a certification makes them uncomfortable.

“We just don’t know what we don’t know. And that’s a concern,” said Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a practicing doctor in Pennsylvania.

This medical uncertainty is complicated by confusion over how to navigate often contradictory laws. While states generally involve physicians in the process by which patients obtain marijuana, national drug policies have traditionally had a chilling effect on these conversations.

The Surgeon General warns against the use of Marijuana, on August 13, 1982 – 34 years ago. Today physicians are still confused about it’s use, the side effects and when, why and if prescribing this drug is beneficial to their patients. One would think the first question would be, (1) will the effects of the drug negatively impact the user; i.e. will the euphoric effects override the necessity of being able to remember to smoke the weed?
The Surgeon General of the Public Health Service has issued the following warning on marijuana:

Marijuana use is a major public health problem in the United States. In the past 20 years, its’ use has increased 30-fold; it is estimated that more than a quarter of the American population has used it. The age at which persons first use marijuana has decreased gradually to the junior high school years. Until recently, nearly 11% of high school seniors used it, and although that figure has declined to 7%, its daily use still exceeds that of alcohol; more high school seniors use marijuana than smoke cigarettes. In a recent study, 32% of those surveyed had used marijuana during the previous 30 days, while 25% had smoked tobacco.

On March 24, 1982, the Department of Health and Human Services submitted to Congress a report reviewing the consequences of marijuana use. Marijuana and Health, 1982, ninth in a series, is primarily based on two recently conducted, comprehensive, scientific reviews by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Canadian Addiction Research Foundation, and the World Health Organization (WHO). Both independent reviews corroborate the Public Health Service’s findings of health hazards associated with marijuana use: Acute intoxication with marijuana interferes with many aspects of mental functioning and has serious, acute effects on perception and skilled performance, such as driving and other complex tasks involving judgement or fine motor skills.

Among the known or suspected chronic effects of marijuana are:

  1. Short-term memory impairment and slowness of learning.
  2. Impaired lung function similar to that found in cigarette smokers. Indications are that more serious effects, such as cancer and other lung disease, follow extended use.
  3. Decreased sperm count and sperm motility.
  4. Interference with ovulation and pre-natal development.
  5. Impaired immune response.
  6. Possible adverse effects on heart function.
  7. By-products of marijuana remaining in body fat for several weeks, with unknown consequences. The storage of these by-products increases the possiblilties for chronic, as well as residual, effects on performance, even after the acute reaction to the drug has worn off. Of special concern are the long-term developmental effects in children and adolescents, who are particularly vulnerable to the drug’s behavioral and psychological effects. The “amotivational syndrome,” characterized by a pattern of energy loss, diminished school performance, harmed parental relationships, and other behavorial disruptions, has been associated with prolonged marijuana use by young persons. Although more research is required, recent national surveys report that 40% of heavy users experience some or all of those symptoms.

The Public Health Service concludes that marijuana has a broad range of psychological and biological effects, many of which are dangerous and harmful to health, and it supports the major conclusion of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.

Read Kaiser’s full story here