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After spending his days teaching AP American history and economics at the public Live Oak High School in San Jose, Calif., Matt Barry drives for Uber.

Barry’s wife, Nicole, teaches as well — they each earn $69,000, a combined salary that not long ago was enough to afford a comfortable family life. But due to the astronomical costs in his area, including real estate — a 1,500-square-foot “starter home” costs $680,000 — driving for Uber was a necessity.

“Teachers are killing themselves,” Barry says in the new book, “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America” (Ecco), out Tuesday. “I shouldn’t be having to drive Uber at eight o’clock at night on a weekday. I just shut down from the mental toll: grading papers between rides, thinking of what I could be doing instead of driving — like creating a curriculum.”

In her book, author Alissa Quart lays out how America’s middle class is being wiped out by the cost of living far outpacing salaries while a slew of traditionally secure professions — like teaching — can no longer guarantee a stable enough income to clothe and feed a family.

“Middle-class life is now 30 percent more expensive than it was 20 years ago,” Quart writes, citing the costs of housing, education, health care and child care in particular. “In some cases the cost of daily life over the last 20 years has doubled.”

In one of her book’s many striking findings, Quart writes that according to a Pew study, “Before the 2008 crash, only one-quarter of Americans viewed themselves as lower class or lower-middle class. No longer. After the recession of 2008 . . . a full 40 percent of Americans viewed themselves as being at the bottom of the pyramid.”

One of the book’s main messages, therefore, is that people finding it impossible to make ends meet shouldn’t blame themselves. It’s the system, she says, that’s broken.

“The main problem is a basic lack of a 21st century safety net for families,” Quart tells The Post, offering the cost of day care as just one example.

“In Montreal,” where day care is government subsidized, it costs “$7 to $20 a day. That makes a huge difference for families.” Figured annually for 50 weeks a year, five days a week, people in Montreal pay $1,750 to $5,000 per year on child care.

For teachers with children, the problem is compounded by a decrease in salaries, benefits and general job security. The situation is equally dire for teachers of grade school, high school or college.By comparison, Quart says that here, “many of the families I spoke to, who were ostensibly middle class, were spending around 20 to 30 percent of their income on day care.” Annual averages in the US range from “$10,468 for a center-based child-care program to $28,905 for a nanny.” According to the Economic Policy Institute, the annual average cost of infant care in New York state is $14,144. The average New York family with just one child pays 21.2 percent of their income on child care. For two kids, that rises to 38.7 percent.

“These days, professors may be more likely than their students to be living in basement apartments and subsisting on ramen and Tabasco,” she writes.

At the professorial level, more colleges than ever, driven by bloated administrative bureaucracies, are relying on adjunct professors who receive low wages and no benefits. In the book, Quart cites one survey that found that 62 percent of adjunct professors earn less than $20,000 a year from teaching.

“A lot of things happened in [academia]. It became much more administrative,” says Quart, noting that tenured professor positions have been eliminated through attrition as more non-tenure track professors, such as adjuncts, were hired instead.

She writes that according to the Department of Education, “college and university administrative positions grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009 — 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.”

By contrast, in 1975, Quart writes, “full-time tenure-stream professors were 45.1 percent of America’s professoriate. As of 2011, they are only 24.1 percent: Only one professor in six (16.7 percent) actually has tenure.”

“Something like 40 percent of teachers in American colleges and universities are adjuncts, which is insane,” Quart adds. “Middle-class parents are spending all their savings to pay for colleges where [their children are] going to be taught by people making $3,000 a class [per semester]. It’s going to change the quality of education, because people are teaching four classes a semester for no money.”

Quart profiled several struggling adjuncts in the book. Justin Thomas taught a total of four to six classes a semester at two colleges in Illinois. The first paid him $3,100 per class; the second, a paltry $1,675. Quart writes that “his paychecks arrived a month after each semester began, and during those four weeks it was macaroni and cheese and baked potatoes every night for his two daughters.”

Brianne Bolin, 35 years old with a disabled 8-year-old boy, taught four classes a year at Columbia College in Chicago for a grand total of $4,350 per class, per semester, never making more than $24,000 a year from teaching. At the time of the book’s writing, she shopped at Goodwill exclusively and relied on Medicaid and food stamps to feed her son.

Bolin began teaching at Westwood College in Chicago at age 26, switching to Columbia after one semester. She got pregnant at 28, then took two years off to care for her son.

When she returned to work, she got a rude awakening about how the realities of teaching had changed.

“Her boss warned her she’d never get a permanent job, [telling her], ‘Academia just isn’t a career choice anymore,’ ” Quart writes.

Those lucky enough to have a job in the field might find themselves needing to drive for Uber as well

Bolin quit teaching in 2016 and is now studying to become a speech pathologist. But the situation for professors has become so dire that before she left, she and two others founded PrecariCorps, a “nonprofit devoted to helping impoverished professors.”

So far, the “scrappy and fledgling” charity has “received over 100 donations and 50 requests for funding” and dispersed over $10,000 to professors in need.

If a charity for professors strikes you as sad, there is also a charity for members of another down and out profession, one that was once synonymous with high status and massive salaries — lawyers.

Leave Law Behind is an organization that helps lawyers exit the profession, declaring on its website that “there is an easier, less painful, less stressful and lucrative way to make money.” The organization’s founder, a former lawyer named Casey Berman, told Quart that “he saw his mission as ‘motivating’ former lawyers who are either broke or deeply frustrated, or both.”

In the book, Quart illustrates how lawyers are weighed down with massive debt while making a fraction of what they used to before the Great Recession — if they’re lucky enough to find a job at all.

“After the 2008 recession, law firms and corporations retained fewer lawyers,” she writes, noting that lawyers in some states have it worse than others.

“In Alaska, 56.7 percent of those with a law degree were not working as lawyers. In Tennessee, only 53.6 percent of degree holders were working as lawyers; in Missouri it’s 50.8, and in Maryland it’s 50.3 percent . . . there are excess attorneys in all but three states.” (For the record, those states are Rhode Island, North Dakota and Delaware.)

According to The New York Times, “10 months after graduation only 60 percent of the law school class of 2014 had found full-time jobs with longtime prospects.”

But those lucky enough to have a job in the field might find themselves needing to drive for Uber as well, since “lawyers may be making one-quarter of what they were making before 2008.”

The problem has been exacerbated by the automation of the review of legal documents, a task once accomplished by young lawyers. Programs like Viewpoint and Logikcull handle the organization, coding, retrieval and search of massive amounts of evidentiary documents, easily processing a slew of paperwork in ways that used to be done by people by hand. As a result, opportunities at the bottom of the profession have shrunk, taking pay levels down with them.

It’s the rare young lawyer who can get one of the few jobs remaining for this task, and they “are typically now earning just $17 to $20 an hour, while shouldering upward of $200,000 in student debt.”

As technology continues to advance, it will soon swallow the few entry-level jobs that are left, even as college debt continues to increase, Quart writes.

“The average law student’s debt was about $140,000 in 2012 — a 59 percent increase over 2004.”

While making ends meet is tougher than ever for teachers and lawyers, it’s even harder for those whose jobs have never been particularly secure.

Women in care professions, such as nannies, or even just professional women who become pregnant face similar standard-of-living obstacles, plus additional losses due to discrimination, Quart writes.

In the book, Quart notes that women’s salaries go down 7 percent for each child they bear and that cases of discrimination against women who become pregnant are on a massive upswing.

“In 2016,” she writes, “a report published by the Center for WorkLife Law found that so-called family-responsibilities discrimination cases had risen 269 percent over the last decade, even though the number of federal employee discrimination cases as a whole had decreased.”

This, Quart says, is due to a traditional lack of respect for caregivers.

“There’s a theory called Prisoner of Love, where people who do care work will accept lower wages supposedly because they love the people they’re being paid to care for. So they’re weakened by that, and they’re less part of a marketplace.”

As if these problems aren’t worrisome enough, Quart says technology is eliminating or degrading professions at a furious rate that will only increase, as “roughly 30 percent of the tasks within 60 percent of our current American occupations could soon be turned over to robots.”

The list of affected professions reads like a broad cross section of America, white-collar and blue-collar alike. Nurses, pharmacists, journalists, truckers, cashiers, tax preparers — very few professions will remain unaffected by advances in technology.

The problems have surprised many by reaching into the middle and upper-middle classes. The only people doing well in this economy, writes Quart, are the already wealthy, and our massive levels of income inequality are a significant factor.

“The United States is the richest and also the most unequal country in the world,” she writes. “It has the largest wealth inequality gap of the 200 countries in the [Credit Suisse Research Institute’s] Global Wealth Report of 2015. And when the top 1 percent has so much — so much more than even the top 5 or 10 percent — the middle class is financially and also mentally outclassed at each step.”

While the problems Quart lays out are sprawling and complex, she believes the only way out is to strengthen the social safety net. This includes considering solutions like universal basic income (UBI), which was first endorsed by President Richard Nixon in 1969 and is today supported by an unlikely mix of pundits on both sides of the political aisle.

“It’s like a monthly allowance for families and individuals that’s across the board, so it’s less of a handout for people specifically,” she says. “When I heard about it, I was thinking how much it would help, say, a mom I interviewed with two kids who had been laid off, or the professor who has a disabled kid and is on food stamps. If that person had $21,000 extra dollars a year through a basic income guarantee, would that have made all the difference?”

However we dig our way out — and especially if we don’t — Quart wants those who are struggling financially to realize that more and more people are in the same boat.

“There is a larger reason that your job is precarious and your parents’ jobs weren’t,” she writes. “It’s a system failure. It’s bigger than you.

Why the middle class can’t afford life in America anymore


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2 Elderly Men Escape Nursing Home To Attend Heavy Metal Festival


You’re never too old to rock! Two elderly men in Wacken, Germany were reported missing Friday when they escaped from their nursing home to attend the world’s largest heavy metal festival.

The nursing home reported the missing elderly men to police when they were not found in their rooms.

The police found the pair at 3 am in the middle of the Wacken Open Air festival, the largest heavy metal festival in the world. The police reported that the men looked “dazed and confused” according to Deutsche Welle.

The police had some difficulty persuading the elderly gentlemen to leave the heavy metal festival. They were placed in a taxi and escorted by police back to the nursing home.

Over 75,000 people enjoyed the heavy metal festival with acts including Judas Priest, Hatebreed and In Flames, and Danzig.

You gotta love these guys; they were just following their hearts. Just goes to show you’re never to old to rock.


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Facebook Page’s Removal Angers Washington Protest Organizers

Facebook stunned and angered organizers of a protest against white supremacists when it disabled their Washington event’s page, saying it had been created by “bad actors” misusing the social media platform.


SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Facebook stunned and angered organizers of a protest against white supremacists when it disabled their Washington event’s page this week, saying it and others had been created by “bad actors” misusing the social media platform.

The company said the page — one of 32 pages or accounts it removed Tuesday from Facebook and Instagram — violated its ban on “coordinated inauthentic behavior” and may be linked to an account created by Russia’s Internet Research Agency, a so-called troll farm that has sown discord in the U.S.

But the organizers of next weekend’s protest in Washington say Facebook has unfairly and recklessly tarnished their work by suggesting their event could be linked to a Russian campaign to interfere in U.S. politics.

April Goggans, an organizer of Black Lives Matter DC, said protest organizers began planning the event before the Facebook page’s creation. Organizers have set up a new page, but Goggans fears Facebook’s crackdown left many people with the false impression that a Russian bot is behind their event.

“Our participation may take a hit because people are trying to find out what’s legit and what’s not,” she said Wednesday.

For weeks, activists have been planning a counterprotest to the Washington rally organized by Jason Kessler, the principal organizer of last summer’s deadly white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hundreds of Facebook users clicked on the event’s Facebook page to signal their intent to attend the counterprotest.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in a statement Tuesday that “inauthentic” administrators of a page called “Resisters” connected with administrators from five legitimate pages to co-host the event and enlist support from “real people.”

“These legitimate Pages unwittingly helped build interest in ‘No Unite Right 2 – DC’ and posted information about transportation, materials, and locations so people could get to the protests,” Gleicher wrote.

Gleicher’s statement said Facebook disabled the event page Tuesday and reached out to the administrators of the five other pages “to update them on what happened.” Facebook also planned to report the issue to approximately 2,600 users who had expressed interested in the event and to more than 600 users who said they planned to attend it.

Andrew Batcher, an organizer for the Shut It Down DC coalition formed to protest Kessler’s rally, said the event page created by “Resisters” was taken over and controlled by “a lot of real people doing real work.” Batcher said he hasn’t seen any evidence that any of administrators for the “Resisters’ page was a “bad actor.”

“All the content on the page came from local organizers,” he said. “Facebook took it all down, which I see as censorship of a real protest event.”

Researchers at the Atlantic Council, a nonprofit working with Facebook to analyze abuse on its service, said the accounts identified for removal sought to promote divisions between Americans. The accounts seemed focused on building an online audience and moving it to offline events such as protests.

Facebook didn’t directly link Tuesday’s crackdown to Russia or U.S. midterm elections in the fall. But the company said it found evidence of “some connections” between the deleted accounts and accounts that Russia’s IRA created before Facebook disabled them last year. Facebook said one of the disabled IRA accounts shared a Facebook event hosted by the “Resisters” page, which had an IRA account as one of its administrators “for only seven minutes.”

“If that’s the case, then it’s pretty meaningless infiltration,” Batcher said.

But that discovery “could be a sign of something deeper” and not necessarily the full extent of the IRA account’s activity on the page, said Dipayan Ghosh, a former Facebook employee who worked on global privacy and public policy issues for the company.

“It just raises a bunch of questions that suggest there is a complicated ecosystem here and we’re only scratching the surface,” said Ghosh, a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

In February, a federal indictment accused 13 Russians of operating a hidden social media trolling campaign, posing as U.S. activists and posting about divisive political and social issues. Investigators have concluded the Russians coordinated and leveraged the support of unwitting Americans in carrying out their campaign.

Kessler scheduled his Aug. 12 event in Washington to mark the anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where hundreds of white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the streets before a car plowed into a crowd, killing 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer. The National Park Service approved Kessler’s application for a “white civil rights” rally at Lafayette Square, near the White House, but hasn’t issued a permit for the event.

Goggans said Facebook’s crackdown has been a time-consuming distraction for counterprotest organizers.

“Over the past 18 hours, we’ve been having to prove we exist,” she said.


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The World’s Greatest Gathering Of Young Entrepreneurs, The Forbes Under 30 Summit, Just Amped Itself Up

The Forbes Under 30 Summit, which brings together more than 7,000 superstars, culled in large part from the global Forbes 30 Under 30 lists, has over the past five years established itself as the world’s greatest gathering of young entrepreneurs and game-changers. Malala Yousafzai gave her first public speech after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and Monica Lewinsky gave her first public speech ever. Investors like Ashton Kutcher and Steve Case have written more than $1 million in checks on stage. Michael Phelps and Lindsey Vonn have led workouts, mentors like Richard Branson and Jessica Alba have shared wisdom, ascendant musical acts from Zedd and Halsey to Shawn Mendes and Wiz Khalifa have given private concerts. Plus, more networking and top young chefs and bar crawls than any four days deserve.

This year, the Summit returns to Boston from September 30 through October 3 and again boasts the killer lineup. But it’s also reinvented itself in several crucial ways:

Meet the Under 30 Village

Meet the Under 30 VillageFORBES

Specific Content/Community Tracks — From crypto to sports to venture capital to consumer tech, we now have 24 tracks that take a huge event (and all the amazing opportunities that go with that) and break it down into communities that you’re interested in. Each of the 24 tracks will have a specific networking hub, customized programming and an exploration day that will offer special experiences across Boston.

·      Networking On Steroids – From interest-specific meetup hubs to private dinners to the chance to get mentored by the legends of your field, we’ve designed the Summit this year so that it encourages and creates life-changing connections. All attendees will get a private app that will help accelerate it all.

·      Startup Bonanza – We’re showcasing scores of startups (and pairing them with venture capitalists), ready to partner, hire and inspire. We also have a custom content stage devoted just to creating the next unicorn.

·      The Under 30 Village – We’re building a city within a city, a hive of innovation, several football fields large, full of content, networking, activities, music food and beer. (See the rendering above.) Get ready to be dazzled.

·      Food Festival – We’re expanding this Under 30 Summit favorite, which features the best young chefs in the world, so that all attendees get a taste. Plus, we’re adding a music stage and even more entertainment.

There’s a lot more (registration details are available here), with some huge announcements to come. In less than two months.

Follow me on Twitter: @RandallLane


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Facebook Identifies an Active Political Influence Campaign Using Fake Accounts

WASHINGTON — Facebook said on Tuesday that it had identified a political influence campaign that was potentially built to disrupt the midterm elections, with the company detecting and removing 32 pages and fake accounts that had engaged in activity around divisive social issues.

The company did not definitively link the campaign to Russia. But Facebook officials said some of the tools and techniques used by the accounts were similar to those used by the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked group that was at the center of an indictment this year alleging interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook said it had discovered coordinated activity around issues like a sequel to last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Activity was also detected around #AbolishICE, a left-wing campaign on social media that seeks to end the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“At this point in our investigation, we do not have enough technical evidence to state definitively who is behind it,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy. “But we can say that these accounts engaged in some similar activity and have connected with known I.R.A accounts.”

The jolting disclosure, delivered to lawmakers in private briefings on Capitol Hill this week and in a public Facebook post on Tuesday, underscored how behind-the-scenes interference in the November elections had begun.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of other meddling, including a Daily Beast report that the office of Claire McCaskill of Missouri, one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this fall, was unsuccessfully targeted by Russian hackers last year, which Ms. McCaskill confirmed. American intelligence officials have indicatedthat at least one other unnamed Democratic senator up for re-election has been targeted.

Officials at Facebook, which is based in Silicon Valley, said they were working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other intelligence agencies on their discovery of the influence campaign. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, and other executives also mounted a media blitz to explain what the company did and did not know about the efforts.

Those actions were a change from last year, when Facebook was widely criticized for failing to detect Russian interference in the 2016 election. It took Facebook executives months to acknowledge the extent of the Russian operation and release information connected with their investigation.

Since then, Facebook and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, have been under scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators for other scandals, including data misuse, a misinformation epidemic and accusations of political bias. Last week, the company lost over $120 billion in market value as it projected it would spend more money on moderation and security.

Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, did not directly address Facebook’s findings with reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday, but he said President Trump had “made it clear that his administration will not tolerate foreign interference into our electoral process from any nation-state or other malicious actors.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Trump declared again on Twitter that there had been “No Collusion” between his campaign and the Russians, and asserted that, in any case, “collusion is not a crime.”

Lawmakers from both parties quickly set aside questions of who had perpetrated the influence campaign and said Facebook’s disclosure only clarified what they had feared since the extent of Russian involvement in 2016 became clear more than a year ago: that social media companies would be unable to keep up with the pace and scope of malicious efforts to abuse their platforms.

Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said he would make the disclosure a central part of a previously scheduled hearing on Wednesday, when lawmakers plan to press outside experts on the pervasiveness of foreign influence on social media networks like Facebook.

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the committee, praised Facebook on Tuesday for bringing the activity out into the public, but asked for its cooperation in updating laws to prevent influence campaigns.

“Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation,” he said.

Facebook executives characterized the battle with foreign campaigns as a cat-and-mouse game, but said they were making progress to detect suspicious activity more quickly.

“Security is an arms race, and it’s never done,” Ms. Sandberg said in a conference call on Tuesday.

Facebook said the recently purged accounts — eight Facebook pages, 17 Facebook profiles and seven Instagram accounts — were created between March 2017 and May 2018 and were first discovered two weeks ago. More than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of the suspect pages, which had names like Aztlan Warriors, Black Elevation, Mindful Being and Resisters, the company said.

Between April 2017 and June 2018, the accounts ran 150 ads costing $11,000 on the two platforms. They were paid for in American and Canadian dollars. The pages created roughly 30 events over a similar period, the largest of which attracted interest from 4,700 accounts.

Finding suspicious activity was harder this time around, Facebook said. Unlike many of the alleged Russian trolls in 2016, who paid for Facebook ads in rubles and occasionally used Russian internet protocol addresses, these accounts used advanced security techniques to avoid detection. For instance, they disguised their internet traffic using virtual private networks and internet phone services, and used third parties to buy ads for them.

“These bad actors have been more careful to cover their tracks, in part due to the actions we’ve taken to prevent abuse over the past year,” Mr. Gleicher said.

But there were clues that the suspicious accounts may have been connected to the Internet Research Agency. Mr. Gleicher said an account known to be associated with the agency had been listed as an administrator of one of the pages for seven minutes.

Like the 2016 Russian interference campaign, the recently detected campaign sought to amplify divisive social issues, including through organizing real-world events.


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Trump tweets skepticism about 3D-printable guns. But his administration cleared the way for them.

Eight states are filing suit against the Trump administration over its decision to allow a Texas company to publish downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun, contending the hard-to-trace plastic weapons threaten public safety. (July 30) AP


WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Tuesday he’s “looking into” easy access to blueprints for 3D-printable guns, saying in a tweet that “doesn’t seem to make much sense.”

Trump’s tweet comes less than 24 hours before that technology becomes widely available under a legal settlement his own administration reached earlier this year with Defense Distributed, a Texas-based nonprofit that will release blueprints for guns online starting Aug. 1.

“The age of the downloadable gun begins,” Defense Distributed stated on its site after its settlement with the State Department. Its founder, Cody Wilson, tweeted a photograph of a grave marked “American gun control.”

Under the legal agreement, the company will be able to post downloadable instructions for 3D-printable guns starting Wednesday, making such firearms available to anyone with the right machine and materials. All 3D-printed guns will be untraceable, and since you can make them yourself, no background check is required.

That prospect has startled gun control advocates, who say it could worsen the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. and make it easier for terrorists to gain access to a raft of deadly firearms.

“The Trump Administration’s sickening NRA giveaway undermines the very foundations of public safety,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday.  “Metal detectors and other security measures will be completely useless against the flood of undetectable and untraceable ‘ghost guns’ that the GOP is inviting into our schools, workplaces, airports and public buildings.”

In his tweet, Trump said he had already talked to the NRA about the issue. An NRA spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Donald J. Trump


I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested last week that he would review the issue, in response to questions from lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But a State Department official said Tuesday that Pompeo was not planning to take further action on the issue. The Department of State has completed its obligations under its settlement with Defense Distributed, said the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

“The decision to settle the case was made in the interest of the security and foreign policy of the United States and in consultation with the Department of Justice,” the State Department source said.

More: Make an AR-15 at home: 3D printed ‘downloadable guns’ available Aug. 1


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Clean, Sober and $41,000 Deep in Out-of-Pocket Addiction Recovery Costs

People recovering from opioid addiction and their families discuss the financial and emotional costs of treatment.

Tess Henry with her rescue dogs, in a photo taken by her mother. Ms. Henry was the subject of a recent Sunday Review essay, which generated over 400 reader comments.CreditPatricia Mehrmann

Tess Henry’s family paid $12,000 for 30 days of rehab from opioid addiction. She had done two more cycles of treatment without achieving sobriety. So her family agreed to pay $20,000 for 28 days of more rehab. But they never got the chance.

A few days after assuring her mother that she planned to fly to Virginia to resume treatment, Ms. Henry was murdered.

The tragic end of Ms. Henry’s six-year struggle to recover from an opioid addiction that began with a prescription for cough syrup was chronicled last week in The New York Times by Beth Macy, a journalist who covers the opioid crisis.

It takes eight years, and four to five attempts at treatment, for the average person addicted to opioids to achieve one year of remission, according to John Kelly, a researcher and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, whom Ms. Macy cited in her Sunday Review essay.

Ms. Henry’s story prompted readers to share with us in our comments section their own struggles with recovery or the struggles of their family members.

Here is a selection of the comments that cite costs — in out-of-pocket expenses, as well as in time, insurance payouts and human patience — of recovery. They are condensed and lightly edited.

‘I’m lucky it didn’t cost me more’

$25,000 for Suboxone, $16,000 of doctor appointments, $200,000 paid by insurance

I abused opiates for four years. I quit one-time and have been sober for five years. I’ve been on Suboxone [a drug that helps prevent opioid withdrawal symptoms] for five years as well. Luckily I make enough money to spend $400/month on Suboxone. I also moved 1,500 miles away from where I bought OxyContin when I quit, went to a $100,000 rehab on private insurance, and then stayed for 10 more months working as a nighttime janitor and going to A.A. like 10 times a week.

Recovering from opiates has cost me over $25,000 for Suboxone, $16,000 of doctor appointments, and it’s cost my insurance about $200,000. It cost me five years of my life. I’m lucky it didn’t cost me more.

Days of phone calls to rehab programs to demonstrate desperation

I’m a recovering heroin addict myself, and in my experience the system for getting into rehabs (without a lot of money up front and good insurance, at least) is like a grotesque game show in the spirit of “Black Mirror.” The standard practice is this: if you’re an addict who needs to go to rehab, you call and leave a message.

If you string together a long enough sequence of mornings calling in, and thus demonstrate enough desperation to satisfy them, they will eventually call you back, for you have passed the first test. If you’re lucky, they’ll make you an offer that expires in about 4-5 hours, telling you to come that moment. If you don’t have a car or a guardian angel who will take you to their strategic position in the middle of nowhere, too bad.

But without real long-term treatment, many of those addicts will overdose again and again, and odds are they won’t get that lifesaving opioid blocker in time, one of those times. Consider the resources wasted every day by having potentially productive citizens reduced to unemployability, and then spending money to have police fight the “drug war,” and to institutionalize addicts in jails and prison. Consider the extra burden on Medicaid, welfare programs, and homeless shelters. Consider the cost of drug-related crime — which is to say, the majority of crime. More important, forget all of those expenses and simply consider what it means for millions of families to have loved ones in the grip of untreated addiction.

— Steve, New Jersey

‘Free. Nearly everywhere. Tested.’

$0 for 12 steps, endless daily hard work

As someone for whom the 12 steps did miraculously work (along with endless, daily hard work), my meetings are filled with similar stories. Decades of recovery. We’re never cured, but we’re alive and not using. I was not in a position to pay for rehab or leave my three young kids, and A.A./N.A. was incredible. Free. Nearly everywhere. Tested. It deserves much more credit.

— Ella Jackson, New York

‘Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent’

A sibling in and out of treatment for more than 10 years

Having a sibling who has been in and out of treatment for over 10 years (hundreds of thousands of dollars spent) and the undivided and dedicated attention of a parent figure (who has dedicated her life to him), I assure you that recovery success is not directly tied into family support but rather to the individual’s desire to be well.

Having read individual success stories I find one common thread. A commitment to a goal and grit seem to be the driving forces behind recovery. Love, time, forgiveness and patience are all complementary ingredients.

— Korry, New York

He got sober ‘without expensive rehab programs’

$0 for 12 steps

My brother was a high functioning addict for years before his final painful trip to bottom. Then 4 years in a spiral as he lost everything before a series of court mandated A.A. meetings lit a light bulb (the first meetings he attended, he was high).


He got straight and sober within the 12 step program without expensive rehab programs (we were lucky). Then he spent 8 wonderful years of giving back to his community; became a mentor to many first offenders while holding down a job working with disabled adults, taking them camping and using art and music to enrich their lives. When he died from liver cancer (from hepatitis C from his old drug injections), a line stretched a block at the funeral. I never shook so many hands or heard such heart warming stories as I did at Dean’s funeral.

We don’t hear about the successful stories of recovery so there’s one for you. We were lucky to get him back and to have such good memories now.

— Bill Cullen, Portland, Ore.

‘All I had was the 12 steps’

$0 for 12 steps, a hard road

Rest in peace, Tess, and God bless all those who loved and helped her. I know well the heartbreak and hurt that addicts inflict on others because I am one and have done those things. I know even better the never ending cycle of deepening addiction and the effects on every aspect of your life, from loss of health, any hope of a career, financial ruin, utter hopelessness and the hollowing out of one’s soul. But I know better the flip side, of hope and happiness and redemption and overcoming the darkness, as I have been continuously sober now for more than 32 years. And if there was hope for me, there is hope for anyone and everyone.

There were no maintenance drugs other than methadone when I got clean and sober decades ago. All I had was the Twelve Steps and the love and hope and care and example of others in recovery. And that worked for me, although it was the hardest road I ever traveled early on.

— Rich D., Tucson


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