Margaret Katcher

During an opioid epidemic, can cannabis be an alternative pain treatment?

Dani Geen was 18 when she was in a severe accident: the car spun violently and was smashed on all four sides. The force of the seatbelt broke all of Geen’s ribs and caused internal abscesses. She came to in an ambulance, panicking from pain and shock, and felt the sharp stab of a needle—the injection of a tranquilizer. Her recovery in the hospital and at home was bolstered by Norco and Percocet, to which she built up a hefty…

Oakland Ghost Ship fire death toll rises to 33; city prepares to release names

Speaking at a late afternoon press conference near the site of Friday’s Oakland Ghost Ship fire, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the death toll has officially reached 33, and that city officials have positively identified seven of the victims. Their names will be released via the city’s website and social media feeds later on Sunday. “At this time we have delivered the unacceptable and horrific news of losing a loved one to seven of our families. We will be releasing…

Buying a sandwich at Bakesale Betty

At 11:02 am, five people stand in line at Bakesale Betty, a small corner shop on Telegraph and 51st St that opens at 11:00 am. The soon-to-be customers are quiet, shuffling forward incrementally, eager for fried chicken sandwiches, but not making a fuss of it. Inside, it smells like seasoned oil and hot cookies. Customers order from the smiling, blue-haired Betty herself, who hands out paper bags pre-loaded with the joint’s specialty. Outside, the decadent aroma is swept away by…

Gabby Falzone translates the study of trauma

When she was 12, Gabby Falzone and her family became homeless in New York. At 15, she ran away. She moved between squats and stints with her family, but said she suffered too much abuse from them to stay for long. At 17, she moved to Boston, where she said she survived by exchanging sex for rent. At 19, she got into a friend’s car and drove to San Francisco. Within a month, she said, she was shooting heroin. “I…

On Friday, a small, peaceful crowd gathers to continue protesting Trump

On Friday evening, around 200 protesters gathered at Broadway and 14th Street near Frank Ogawa Plaza for a passionate but peaceful demonstration. Fewer people gathered than on previous nights–which drew crowds of between 2,000 and 7,000–but protesters expressed a need to come together in solidarity to condemn Donald Trump’s election and what they called state-sanctioned hate and violence. A woman with a megaphone rallied the crowd, saying, “This is bigger than Donald Trump. This is bigger than hate! We need…

Oakland reacts to early poll results

A tense election night fell over Oakland as the city’s residents prepared to watch eighteen months of campaigning come to a conclusion. A volatile national election characterized the mood of Oaklanders, who were optimistic of a Clinton victory, but also faced an extended ballot of local and national initiatives.

Digesting Proposition 61: regulating drug prices

Proposition 61, appearing on the ballot November 8, would prohibit the state of California from purchasing prescription drugs from a manufacturer for any price higher than that paid by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, better known as the VA. This would effectively place a drug price cap on what pharmaceutical companies can charge California, limiting them to VA prices.

New bill aims to address student mental health crises

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and a new bill aims to address the mental health crises faced by many California students. Assembly Bill 2246 would mandate that every California school serving grades seven through 12 adopt suicide prevention policies that specifically address high-risk students, including LGBTQ youth, those experiencing homelessness or foster care, those bereaved by suicide and those with mental illnesses or substance use disorders.