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Partially Hydrogenated Oils July 30, 2011

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Metabolic Poisons:

What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?


Consuming partially hydrogenated oils is like inhaling cigarette smoke. They will kill you — slowly, over time, but as surely as you breathe. And in the meantime, they will make you fat!



Why Fats are Important

What is Hydrogenation?

What’s Wrong with Hydrogenation?

Partially Hydrogenated Oils Make You Fat!

You Eat More

Your Metabolism Slows

Avoiding Hydrogenation

Deep-Fried Foods: The Ultimate Killer

What You Can Do

The Legal Outlook

Epilog, 2009: Food Industry Sneaks Trans Fats Back In

The Bigger Picture


Metabolic Poisons:
What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?

Consuming partially hydrogenated oils is like inhaling cigarette smoke. They will kill you — slowly, over time, but as surely as you breathe. And in the meantime, they will make you fat!
[1700 words]

Why Fats are Important

The first thing to understand about fats is that the essential fatty acids they contain are truly essential. They are the “active ingredient” in every bodily process you can name:

  • brain cell function and nervous system activity
  • hormones and intra-cellular messengers
  • glandular function and immune system operation
  • hemoglobin oxygen-transport system
  • cell wall function:
    • passing oxygen into the cell
    • passing nutrients into the cell
    • keeping foreign bodies out of the cell
  • digestive-tract operation
    • assimilating nutrients
    • blocking out allergens

In short, the essential fatty acids (contained mostly in polyunsaturated oils) are the most important nutrients there are — more important than vitamins, minerals, or even proteins. Because, without them, there is no life. They are the substance and foundation of life energy.

What is Hydrogenation?

Hydrogenation is the process of heating an oil and passing hydrogen bubbles through it. The fatty acids in the oil then acquire some of the hydrogen, which makes it more dense. If you fully hydrogenate, you create a solid (a fat) out of the oil. But if you stop part way, you a semi-solid partially hydrogenated oil that has a consistency like butter, only it’s a lot cheaper.

Because of that consistency, and because it is cheap, it is a big favorite as a butter-substitute among “food” producers. It gives their products a richer flavor and texture, but doesn’t cost near as much as it would to add butter.

Until the 1970’s, food producers used coconut oil to get that buttery flavor and texture. The American obesity epidemic began when it was replaced with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil — most often soybean oil. For more information, see Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil: Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill.

What’s Wrong with Hydrogenation?

Unlike butter or virgin coconut oil, hydrogenated oils contain high levels of trans fats. A trans fat is an otherwise normal fatty acid that has been “transmogrified”, by high-heat processing of a free oil. The fatty acids can be double-linked, cross-linked, bond-shifted, twisted, or messed up in a variety of other ways.

The problem with trans fats is that while the “business end” (the chemically active part) is messed up, the “anchor end” (the part that is attached to the cell wall) is unchanged. So they take up their position in the cell wall, like a guard on the fortress wall. But like a bad guard, they don’t do their job! They let foreign invaders pass unchallenged, and they stop supplies at the gates instead of letting them in.

In short, trans fats are poisons, just like arsenic or cyanide. They interfere with the metabolic processes of life by taking the place of a natural substance that performs a critical function. And that is the definition of a poison. Your body has no defense against them, because they never even existed in our two billion years of evolution — so we’ve never had the need or the opportunity to evolve a defense against them.

But the worst part is that in the last stages of oil processing (or “refining”), the oil is literally steam distilled to remove its odor. So it doesn’t smell. But a hydrogenated oil is much worse than rancid butter. So it it did smell, it would smell worse than the most rancid butter you’ve ever seen. (And that goes for all refined oils, not just the hydrogenated ones. It’s just that hydrogenated oils are everywhere in the American diet.) So the next time you see “partially hydrogenated oil” on a label, think “rancid butter”.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils Make You Fat!

Partially hydrogenated oils will not only kill you in the long term by producing diseases like multiple sclerosis and allergies that lead to arthritis, but in the meantime they will make you fat!

You Eat More

It’s not like you have any choice in the matter. Remember that the essential fatty acids are vital to every metabolic function in your body. You will get the quantity of essential fatty acids that you need to sustain life, no matter what. You will not stop being hungry until you do.

If you are consuming lots of saturated fats, you really have no choice but to become fat, because saturated fats contain only small quantities of the polyunsaturated fats that contain the essential fatty acids you need. The key to being thin, then, is to consume foods containing large amounts of polyunsaturated oils. (Those foods include fish, olives, nuts, and egg yolks.) Over the long term, those foods remove your sense of hunger.

The difference between a “fat” and an “oil” is temperature. A “fat” is a lipid that is solid at room temperature. An “oil” is one that is liquid at room temperature. Both are lipids (or “oil/fat”). Change the temperature, and you can convert an oil into a fat, or vice versa.

Partially hydrogenated oils make you gain weight the same way that saturated fats do — by making you consume even more fat to get the the essential fatty acids you need. But partially hydrogenated fats are even worse. Not only do they produce disease over the long term, but they interfere with the body’s ability to ingest and utilize the good fats!

Picture it like this. The trans fats are now the guards along the watchtower. The essential fatty acids (the support troops) are waiting outside to get into the fort (the cell), so they can be distributed along the watchtower (the cell wall). But the guards won’t let them in! So they have to find someplace to stay in town. Over time, more and more troops are finding lodging in town. So new houses (fat cells) have to built to keep them in. The town grows more and more swelled with troops (fat), and it gets bigger and bigger (fatter). It’s not a pretty picture at all, when you realize that the town is your belly, buns, face, and neck.

Your Metabolism Slows

Worse, most partially hydrogenated oil is partially hydrogenated soybean oil. That’s a problem, because soybean oil depresses the thyroid–which lowers your energy levels, makes you feel less like exercising, and generally makes you fatter!

Of course, soybeans have been used for centuries in the Orient–but mostly as the basis for soy sauce and tofu. Asians didn’t have soy milk, soy burgers, soy this and soy that. Most of all, they never used concentrated essence of soybean, in the form of soybean oil. And they didn’t hydrogenate it, and they didn’t use it in everything.

Walking down supermarket aisles in America, you find product after product with partially hydrogenated oil–often in products you would never expect. But why not? After all, it’s cheaper than butter. And it’s not illegal. Yet. When you eat out, restaurant breads and fried foods are loaded with stuff.

As a result, Americans are consuming soybean oil–partially hydrogenated soybean oil–in virtually everything they eat. It’s no wonder that America is experiencing epidemic levels of diabetes, obesitiy, heart disease, and cancer.

Avoiding Hydrogenation

When you start reading food labels, it is astonishing how many products you will find that contain partially hydrogenated oils. In the chips aisle, there are maybe two brands that don’t: Lay’s Classic Potato Chips (not their other brands), and Laura Scudders chips. Most every other package on the shelf does.

Then there are the cookies and crackers. Most every single one does. About the only cookie that doesn’t is Paul Neuman’s fig newtons. Among peanut butters, the all-natural brands (Adams and Laura Scudders) don’t. All the rest seem to.

Even some items on the “health food” shelf, like Tigers Milk bars, contain partially hydrogenated oils. Can you imagine that?? A product marketed as a “health food” that contains partially hydrogenated oils? If they want to market it as a candy bar, fine. Caveat emptor. But to market it as a health food calls for a class action lawsuit on the basis of false advertising.

The more labels you read, the more astonished you will be at the variety and number of places that this insidious little killer shows up. Do read the labels. Do recoil in disgust, and do throw the product back on the shelf — or throw it on the floor, where it belongs.

And it’s not just partially hydrogenated oils, anymore…
When I first wrote this article in 1998, I asked myself, “What’s going to happen when consumers begin to become aware of the dangers of partially hydrogenated oils? Are manufacturers going to stop using it? I figured that the answer, unfortunately, would be “No”. They would probably just give it a new name. Well, it appears that the worst may have come to pass. Alert readers Robin Jutras, Gerard Lally, and ___ clued me in to the fact that manufacturers are now using mono- and di-glycerides–which are also hydrogenated oil products.

Deep-Fried Foods: The Ultimate Killer

Fortunately, this information is beginning to penetrate the public consciousness. Recently, a news special covered the subject. The reporter got some of the details wrong, but the general message was right on the money. And the one surprising tidbit of information in the report was the fact that most of the deep-fried foods served in fast food joints are fried in partially hydrogenated oils!

Now, deep frying all by itself is pretty bad. After all, you are applying a lot of heat. But if that heat is applied to a saturated fat, there is a limit to how much harm it can do. A saturated fat doesn’t have a “business end”. There is no part of it that is chemically active. It’s inert. Your body can burn it for fuel, but it can’t use it to carry out any of your metabolic processes.

But because a saturated fat is inert, it can’t be hurt much by heat. It’s not all that good for you, but it’s not terrible either. So if you’re going to fry, fry in a fully saturated fat like lard, or coconut oil. Or, use butter, which consists mostly of short-chain saturated fats that are easily burned for fuel, plus conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which improves health (Bruce Fife, Detox, 68). And butter tastes great. It’s so good, in fact, that you don’t even need to use very much to get a lot of flavor. So at home you can fry with butter to get gourmet-quality food that is also healthy.

Even better, you could fry with coconut oil — which consists of medium chain fatty acids that contain 2/3’s the calories of long-chain saturated fats. They’re also metabolized differently, so they’re burned for energy instead of being stored as fat. And if that’s not enough, 50% of coconut oil consists of lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungus, and anti-yeast. (For more information, see Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil: Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill.)

For commercial deep frying, though, butter is prohibitively expensive. Things were better when foods were fried in beef tallow and coconut oil, because they had a lot of flavor and the saturated fats aren’t harmed by the heat. But all that saturated fat sounds bad, so restaurants switched to partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. One “healthy” Mexican restaurant even advertised that they fried in vegetable oil. That would be somewhat better than partially hydrogenated oil — assuming that they weren’t using partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in the the first place — but subjecting the unsaturated fatty acids contained in a vegetable oil to the high heat of a deep frying vat is deadly, especially when the oil is used and reused all day long. The result would be the same kind of trans fats that you get in the hydrogenation process!

But the absolute worst commercial frying is done by the fast-food chains, who almost uniformly do their deep frying in cheap, deadly partially hydrogenated oil. Any fats that escaped being transmogrified in the hydrogenation process are now subjected to the deep frying process. It’s a miracle that any of the unsaturated fats escape being transmogrified, if any of them do.

What You Can Do

For starters, read food labels and avoid anything that contains the words “hydrogenated”. That means partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils, or anything of that kind (and mono-diglycerides, as well).

In 2006, a new FDA regulation takes effect that requires manufacturers to list the amount of trans fats on their product labels. Much as I would like to tell you that you can simply look for “0% trans fats” on the label, it would be useless for you to do so. The FDA wanted to put the words, “Warning: Trans fats may be dangerous to your health” on the labels–the same warning that first appeared on cigarettes–but the industry wouldn’t let them. And the way the labeling law works, the product can contain a significant percentage of trans fat, and still claim “0%”. Simply put, the labeling law is nearly useless. For more information, see What’s Wrong with Trans Fat Labels?

When eating out, avoid deep-fried foods at all costs, and pretend you’re allergic to wheat. (You probably are! Something like 50% of the population is. See What’s Wrong with Wheat?) And when you avoid wheat you stay away from both partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup–another deadly ingredient in the American food supply that is rarely used in other countries–except where American corporations are involved.

If you follow those steps, you will do a good job of protecting yourself. But there is a simple thing you can do to help protect others, as well:

When you see a food that contains partially hydrogenated oils (especially if it claims to be healthy), put it back on the shelf upside down and backwards. (Sometimes it’s impossible to put things back upside down, so at least put them on the shelf backwards.)

To find out why this is an effective boycott strategy, see How to Carry Out an Effective Consumer Boycott.

The Legal Outlook

With any luck, the first lawsuits against “food” producers will begin in the next 10-20 years. The scientific knowledge has been available since the early 1990’s, at least, so there is no doubt they are fully aware of what they are doing. They have been ignoring the health effects for the sake of profit. Such behavior is both unethical and immoral. With luck, some day it will be illegal, as well.

When I originally wrote this article in 1998, I feared that as soon as the public became educated as to its danger, corporations would simply change the name of the substance or find something equally dangerous to replace it with. Fortunately, the FDA required labeling of trans fats, rather than partially hydrogenated oils. That forestalled the inevitable name change. But corporations have indeed found another process–one that may or may not be safer. To find out more, read What’s Wrong with Interesterified Oils?

Epilog, 2009: Food Industry Sneaks Trans Fats Back In

Once the FDA started requiring trans fats to be listed on the label, I thought that we were finally home free. Unfortunately, it turns out that the food industry has other options. Mono- and Di-Glyceridesare designated as “emulsifiers” rather than fats, so the trans fats they contain “don’t count”. (Until you ingest them.)

The Bigger Picture

As described in What’s Wrong with American Foods?, there is more than one thing wrong with the American food supply. It is a sad fact that American corporations put profit above all other considerations–above morality, above truth, above your health. They don’t regulate themselves, they’re not held in check by government, and the fiction that they are regulated by “the market” is, quite simply, a lie. That problem, and the only possible solution, is described more fully in What’s Wrong with American Corporations?. It’s a problem we must solve, for the sake of our children’s health, if for no other reason.


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Partially Hydrogenated Oils.


Food for Memory and Concentration – 3 Memory Foods that help students concentrate ~ Smart Study Guide for Better Grades July 30, 2011

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Food for Memory and Concentration – 3 Memory Foods that help students concentrate A healthy, iron-rich breakfast early in the morning is the best food for memory and concentration. It keeps you alert all day long and gets you through the mental and physical rigors of school and college.Apart from this, there are three foods that when consumed regularly, are proven to increase brain power, memory, study retention and better performance in tests and exams.These are: Fish – They contain omega-3 fatty acids which is great for your hair as well as the grey cells. Cranberries – They contain vital antioxidants that help in boosting memory function. Egg yolk – Rich in choline, egg yolks are important for optimum brain health and hence, superior concentration.

via Food for Memory and Concentration – 3 Memory Foods that help students concentrate ~ Smart Study Guide for Better Grades.

Hunger for salt co-opted by drug addiction July 28, 2011

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prevention an aid against drug addiction


When the first slimy amphibians crawled onto dry land a few million years ago, they brought with them a powerful craving from that salty, primordial sea.

How powerful? It turns out that the genes and neural networks in the brain that regulate hunger for salt seem to be the same ones at play in drug addiction. And that could have some far-reaching implications — helping to explain why narcotics addiction is so hard to treat, and maybe why people are so drawn to some pretty unhealthy foods, said an international team of scientists with localties.

“The desire to ingest salt is an instinct that has been known for a while,” said Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke, assistant professor of neurobiology at Duke University, one of the lead authors of a new study. “But now comes this notion that salt appetite uses pathways that also have been taken advantage of by cocaine and opiate addiction. That helps us understand why the lust to gratify salt appetite has such a powerful influence on human behavior.”

Salt is a critical part of diet, maintaining healthy fluid levels in the body and important for muscle and nerve function. Beyond that, its ability to keep food from rotting helped forge early civilizations. Roman soldiers were paid with it.

Yet inland, the mineral is relatively hard to come by. Early humans learned to mine it from the earth. Meat-eating animals get salt from the flesh of their prey. But veggie-loving animals sometimes go to great lengths to get it.

Liedtke points to mountain goats in Italy that scale an almost vertical dam to reach salt deposits in the rock, and a herd of elephants in Kenya that learned over generations to march single-file a mile into a dark cave to reach a saltlick.

“And all of that, just to lick salt,” he said. “It’s crazy, but that’s what they do.”

And while the researchers aren’t suggesting that a craving for salt makes one more likely to crave narcotics, Liedtke said that ancient, ingrained desire for the salty might explain why drug addiction is so stubborn to overcome. “Our findings imply that abstinence-aimed therapies are up against reward systems that have evolved over hundreds of millions of years, thus conferring a powerful survival advantage.”

The discovery, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, that the mechanisms in the brain were similar in salt appetite and drug addiction came from studying how genes turned on and off when rats were fed or deprived of salty water.

In some cases, medication was used to increase the animals’ hunger for salt. In others, they were given a drug to block the effects of dopamine — a chemical messenger in the brain also linked to drug addiction — which decreased the animals’ desire for salt.

That activity was in the hypothalamus — a part of the brain that controls hunger, thirst and sleep. In particular, they found a link to orexin, a substance that’s been implicated in appetite, sleep and addiction.

The other lead author, Dr. Derek Denton, an Australian scientist who also has an adjunct appointment at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, has studied instinctive behavior, including salt appetite, for decades. Also taking part in the study was Dr. Donald Hilton, clinical associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center, who has a “side-interest” in addiction and recently co-wrote a controversial paper on the parts of the brain that might be responsible for pornography addiction.

Some addiction experts have long speculated that narcotics addiction might have piggybacked onto some ancient system of craving, including Dr. George Koob, who studies the neurobiology of addiction disorders at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

“I think it’s really exciting,” said Koob, who didn’t take part in the study. “They’re studying a basic, metabolic drive that converts into motivated behavior. And they link it to the hypothalamus and orexin.”

Laura Almasy, a geneticist at Texas Biomed who studies the genetics of addiction and also wasn’t involved in the study, agreed the findings make sense.

“Addiction is damaging, but the way it starts is that someone takes a substance and it feels good, so they do it again,” Almasy said. “And I think what this paper suggests is that the mechanism for why it feels good is that cocaine and opioids are hitting the pathways that were laid down to help us regulate salt intake.”

via Hunger for salt co-opted by drug addiction – San Antonio Express-News.


Posted by ADAM PARTNERS in DRUG ADDICTION, Pharmacology.
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A box of bath salts with some of the contents ...


Dr. Jeffrey J. Narmi could not believe what he was seeing this spring in the emergency room at Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Pa.: people arriving so agitated, violent and psychotic that a small army of medical workers was needed to hold them down.

They had taken new stimulant drugs that people are calling “bath salts,” and sometimes even large doses of sedatives failed to quiet them.

“There were some who were admitted overnight for treatment and subsequently admitted to the psych floor upstairs,” Dr. Narmi said. “These people were completely disconnected from reality and in a very bad place.”

Similar reports are emerging from hospitals around the country, as doctors scramble to figure out the best treatment for people high on bath salts. The drugs started turning up regularly in the United States last year and have proliferated in recent months, alarming doctors, who say they have unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects.

Though they come in powder and crystal form like traditional bath salts — hence their name — they differ in one crucial way: they are used as recreational drugs. People typically snort, inject or smoke them.

Poison control centers around the country received 3,470 calls about bath salts from January through June, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, up from 303 in all of 2010.

“Some of these folks aren’t right for a long time,” said Karen E. Simone, director of the Northern New England Poison Center. “If you gave me a list of drugs that I wouldn’t want to touch, this would be at the top.”

At least 28 states have banned bath salts, which are typically sold for $25 to $50 per 50-milligram packet at convenience stores and head shops under names like Aura, Ivory Wave, Loco-Motion and Vanilla Sky. Most of the bans are in the South and the Midwest, where the drugs have grown quickly in popularity. But states like Maine, New Jersey and New York have also outlawed them after seeing evidence that their use was spreading.

The cases are jarring and similar to those involving PCP in the 1970s. Some of the recent incidents include a man in Indiana who climbed a roadside flagpole and jumped into traffic, a man in Pennsylvania who broke into a monastery and stabbed a priest, and a woman in West Virginia who scratched herself “to pieces” over several days because she thought there was something under her skin.

“She looked like she had been dragged through a briar bush for several miles,” said Dr. Owen M. Lander, an emergency room doctor at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va.

Bath salts contain manmade chemicals like mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV, also known as substituted cathinones. Both drugs are related to khat, an organic stimulant found in Arab and East African countries that is illegal in the United States.

They are similar to so-called synthetic marijuana, which has also caused a surge in medical emergencies and been banned in a number of states. In March, the Drug Enforcement Administrationused emergency powers to temporarily ban five chemicals used in synthetic marijuana, which is sold in the same types of shops as bath salts.

Shortly afterward, Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, asked the agency to enact a similar ban on the chemicals in bath salts. It has not done so, although Gary Boggs, a special agent at D.E.A. headquarters in Washington, said the agency had started looking into whether to make MDPV and mephedrone controlled Schedule I drugs like heroin and ecstasy.

Mr. Casey said in a recent interview that he was frustrated by the lack of a temporary ban. “There has to be some authority that is not being exercised,” he said. “I’m not fully convinced they can’t take action in a way that’s commensurate with the action taken at the state level.”

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, introduced federal legislation in February to classify bath salts as controlled Schedule I substances, but it remains in committee. Meanwhile, the drugs remain widely available on the Internet, and experts say the state bans can be thwarted by chemists who need change only one molecule in salts to make them legal again.

And while some states with bans have seen fewer episodes involving bath salts, others where they remain fully legal, like Arizona, are starting to see a surge of cases.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio, an emergency room doctor at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, said he had to administer general anesthesia in recent weeks to bath salt users so agitated that they did not respond to large doses of sedatives.

Dr. Justin Strittmatter, an emergency room doctor at the Gulf Coast Medical Center in Panama City, Fla., said he had treated one man whose temperature had shot up to 107.5 degrees after snorting bath salts. “You could fry an egg on his forehead,” Dr. Strittmatter said.

Other doctors described dangerously elevated blood pressure and heart rates and people so agitated that their muscles started to break down, releasing chemicals that led to kidney failure.

Mark Ryan, the director of the Louisiana Poison Center, said some doctors had turned to powerful antipsychotics to calm users after sedatives failed. “If you take the worst attributes of meth, coke, PCP, LSD and ecstasy and put them together,” he said, “that’s what we’re seeing sometimes.”

Dr. Ryan added, “Some people who used it back in November or December, their family members say they’re still experiencing noticeable paranoid tendencies that they did not have prior.”

Before hitting this country, bath salts swept Britain, which banned them in April 2010. Experts say much of the supply is coming from China and India, where chemical manufacturers have less government oversight.

They are labeled “not for human consumption,” which helps them skirt the federal Analog Act, under which any substance “substantially similar” to a banned drug is deemed illegal if it is intended for consumption.

Last month, the drug agency made its first arrests involving bath salts under the Analog Act through a special task force in New York. Undercover agents bought bath salts from stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where clerks discussed how to ingest them and boasted that they would not show up on a drug test.

“We were sending out a message that if you’re going to sell these bath salts, it’s a violation and we will be looking at you,” said John P. Gilbride, special agent in charge of the New York field division of the D.E.A.

The authorities in Alton, Ill., are looking at the Analog Act as they prepare to file criminal charges in the death of a woman who overdosed on bath salts bought at a liquor store in April.

“We think we can prove that these folks were selling it across the counter for the purposes of humans getting high,” said Chief David Hayes of the Alton police.

Chief Hayes and other law enforcement officials said they had been shocked by how quickly bath salts turned into a major problem. “I have never seen a drug that took off as fast as this one,” Chief Hayes said. Others said some people on the drugs could not be subdued with pepper spray or even Tasers.

Chief Joseph H. Murton of the Pottsville police said the number of bath salt cases had dropped significantly since the city banned the drugs last month. But before the ban, he said, the episodes were overwhelming the police and two local hospitals.

“We had two instances in particular where they were acting out in a very violent manner and they were Tasered and it had no effect,” he said. “One was only a small female, but it took four officers to hold her down, along with two orderlies. That’s how out of control she was.”

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