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Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

Human Rights Defenders

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1

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Collaborative officials at all levels of government

Donald Ian Macdonald, M.D. was Straight Inc.'s former national research director and became the White House Drug Chief under President Ronald Reagan.  Robert DuPont [i] was the first Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-NIDA (1973-1978) and was the second White House Drug Chief (1973-1978). NIDA director Robert DuPont left his post at NIDA in 1978 and became a paid Straight Inc. consultant.  In 1978, Dr. DuPont also became the founding president of the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc.[ii]  In 1982, with his longtime colleague and former head of the DEA, Peter Bensinger, Robert DuPont founded Bensinger DuPont & Associates.  Dr. Robert DuPont is on Drug Free America Foundation’s advisory board. [iii]  Dr. DuPont is a Life Fellow in the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and also a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).  Dr. DuPont was chairman of the Drug Dependence Section of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) from 1974 to 1979.  

Drug Watch International (DWI) or its International Drug Strategy Institute division includes or has included the following: Robert L. DuPont and Peter Bensinger, Straight's former national research director Donald Ian Macdonald, Straight's former national clinical director Miller Newton and Straight-Springfield's former research director Dr. Richard Schwartz, MD. Straight's former national executive director Bill Oliver is an Honorary Advisor for DWI (he also became director of parent training for P.R.I.D.E.).  Joyce Tobias, formerly acting secretary for DWI, used to be a very active Straight parent.  Alex Romero, a DWI board member, and Nancy Starr are associated with DWI.  And, of course, the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) was also closely aligned with the Drug Free America Foundation.  

The Drug Free America Foundation claims that it provides education to the public about the dangers of drugs of abuse and efforts to legalize drugs.  Calvina Fay is the Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation and Save Our Society From Drugs (S.O.S.).  Save Our Society From Drugs (S.O.S.) is a Betty Sembler foundation.  Calvina Fay is the director of the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse. [iv]  Calvina Fay was also president of Drug Watch International, [v]  a network engaged in combating the drug legalization movement globally.  Professor Fay had served as an advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as well as several political leaders, including President Bush, on drug policy issues. The Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs is another organization founded by Calvina Fay.  She is also the former Executive Director of the Drug Free Business Alliance (DBA), a Houston-based nonprofit coalition of member businesses involved in attacking the drug problem in the workplaces of the Texas Gulf Coast area.

The Institute on Global Drug Policy, is a division of the Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF).  The director of DFAF's Institute on Global Drug Policy is Eric Voth, MD of Topeka, KS. [vi]  The Journal on Drug Policy and Practice is edited by Eric A. Voth, MD, FACP and David A. Gross, MD, DFAPA and published by Institute on Global Drug Policy and the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse.   Ambassador Levitsky (former career Minister in the US Foreign Service and Ambassador to Brazil 1994-1998) was a member of the Board of Directors of the Drug Free America Foundation, and the Institute on Global Drug Policy.   Ambassador Melvyn Levitsky [vii] has co-authored an article on drug policy with Dr. Eric Voth. 

Dr. Otto Hauswirth, M D, is from the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse.[viii] [ix]  The International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse sought to change public policy on how the U.S.A. handled the drug problem.

Drug Watch International (DWI) or its International Drug Strategy Institute division includes or has included the following: Robert L. DuPont and Peter Bensinger, Straight's former national research director Donald Ian Macdonald, Straight's former national clinical director Miller Newton and Straight-Springfield's former research director Dr. Richard Schwartz, MD. Straight's former national executive director Bill Oliver is an Honorary Advisor for DWI (he also became director of parent training for P.R.I.D.E.).  Joyce Tobias, formerly acting secretary for DWI, used to be a very active Straight parent.  Alex Romero, a DWI board member, and Nancy Starr are associated with DWI.  The Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) was also closely aligned with the Drug Free America Foundation and   DATIA’s mission is to provide education, resources, and advocacy to those involved in and interested in drug and alcohol testing.

 

 



[i] Complete Biography Of Robert L. Dupont, M.D, Bensinger, DuPont & Associates website,  http://www.bensingerdupont.com/main/robertdupont.html

 

[ii] Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., www.ibhinc.org.

 

[iii] Drug Free America Foundation, formerly known as Straight, Inc. from 1976-1985.  DFAF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

[iv] Drug Prevention Network of the Americas (DPNA), http://www.dpna.org/DPNA%20Calvina.html.

 

[v] Drug Watch International, Drug Watch International, P.O. Box 45218, Omaha, NE  68145-0218, USA,  http://www.drugwatch.org/.

  The International Drug Strategy Institute is a group of physicians, attorneys, educators, law enforcement officials and drug prevention and treatment specialists who provide expertise on national and international drug strategies. The Institute pursues public policy on drug issues consistent with the mission and goals as established by Drug Watch International.

[vi] Journal of Drug Policy and Practice,  http://globaldrugpolicy.org/.

 

[vii] Ambassador Melvyn Levitsky, Professor of International Relations &  Senior Fellow of the Gerald R. Ford School's International Policy Center, University of Michigan,  Biography.               http://sitemaker.umich.edu/ambassador.levitsky.fordschool/ambassador_melvyn_levitsky_s_home_page.

 

[viii] Amicus Brief Submitted in School Drug Testing Case, NO. 01-332, IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, BOARD OF EDUC. OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. NO. 92 OF POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, http://www.datia.org/resources/amicusbrief.htm.

 

[ix] A New Approach To Reduce Drug Demand - Rooted In Hope, Growing With Success -Compiled by International Task Force on Strategic Drug Policy, Adopted February 2005,

http://www.itfsdp.org/pdfs/maindoc.pdf.

Fellows of ASAM

Members of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) can be recognized by the letters “FASAM” as part of their professional credential, with the “F” designating “Fellow of.”   ASAM supports research that furthers their financial goals and expands use of the ASAM principles of addiction treatment.  The ASAM wanted to create a new “Board” specialty in order to control federal grant funds and other public financing.   American Society of Addiction Medicine certification (FASAM) is not equivalent to medical board certification. On their website the ASAM admits that its “examination is not a Board examination. ASAM is not a member of the Board of American Board of Medical Specialties, and ASAM Certification does not confer board Certification." [i]

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is has never been recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) as a board specialty. There are professional organizations which provide “Board Specialty” training in medicine and psychiatry.  These organizations have clear and stringent guidelines as to who earns the honor and professional status as a “boarded” expert. Credentialing in these specialties as an MD is a challenging process that weeds out those without adequate clinical or academic skills. These ABMS recognized medical specialties include: pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery, psychiatry, neurology, internal medicine, urology, cardiology, anesthesiology, gastroenterology, emergency medicine, radiology, respiratory medicine, endocrinology and many others.

The field of psychology also defines strict guidelines for board certification.  The American Board of Professional Psychology was incorporated in 1947 with the support of the American Psychological Association. The ABPP is a unitary governing body of separately incorporated specialty examining boards which assures the establishment, implementation, and maintenance of specialty standards and examinations by its member boards. Through its Central Office, a wide range of administrative support services are provided to ABPP Boards, Board-certified specialists, and the public.  Specialization in a defined area within the practice of psychology connotes competency acquired through an organized sequence of formal education, training, and experience.  In order to qualify as a specialty affiliated with the ABPP, a specialty must be represented by an examining board which is stable, national in scope, and reflects the current development of the specialty.  A specialty board is accepted for affiliation following an intensive self-study and a favorable review by the ABPP affirming that the standards for affiliation have been met. These standards include a thorough description of the area of practice and the pattern of competencies required therein as well as requirements for education, training, and experience, the research basis of the specialty, practice guidelines, and a demonstrated capacity to examine candidates for the specialty on a national level.

In contrast to these accepted board credentials, ASAM certification [ii] requires only a medical degree, a valid license to practice medicine, completion of a residency training program in ANY specialty, and one year’s full time involvement plus 50 additional hours of medical education in the field of alcoholism and other drug dependencies.  ASAM does not require any specific formal training or experience in the diagnosis and treatment of physical or mental illness.  But regardless of the lack of training in these fields, the state physician health programs have extended their outreach into areas in which they have no professional qualifications.  In most of today's state physician health programs, “Regardless of setting or duration, essentially all treatment provided to these physicians (95%) was 12-step oriented.” [iii]  In these programs, ASAM practitioners routinely impose their spiritually-based 12-step abstinence recovery program.  This system is imposed on medical professionals through threats to remove medical licenses or curtail practice or hospital privileges.



[i] American Society of Addiction Medicine, ASAM.org, http://www.asam.org/ExamHistory.html.

[ii]  The ASAM certification process now included board certification by the ABAM.  http://www.asam.org/Certification_home.html  In 2009, The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) transferred the certification examination to the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), and the next examination will be offered by ABAM on December 1, 2012 and in subsequent years.  A physician certified by ABAM is board certified. For More information please visit the ABAM Web site at www.abam.net.

[iii] DuPont, R.L.; McLellan, A.T.; White, W.L., Merlo LJ, Gold MS.  Setting the Standard for Recovery: Physicians' Health Programs, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.  2009;36:159-171.

 

Creating a new “Board” Specialty

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)   is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders.  The ASAM refuses to acknowledge the DSM-IV-TR criteria for various addictive disorders.  Instead, the ASAM has its own criteria which were defined by its own doctors with addiction histories.   Dr. George Talbott was a primary contributor to the ASAM manual on addiction.  This book is used by ASAM doctors to diagnosis people with "addiction".   The vast majority of ASAM fellows also still believe that the only effective treatment for addiction must be based in the 12-steps of recovery expounded by the A.A. program.

Based on the new diagnostic manual defined by the ASAM members, the organization started their own credentialing program, called the graduates trained in their revised diagnostic approach “Fellows,” and designated them as experts.  The ASAM now seeks to “grandfather” their “FASAM” members as equivalent to boarded experts in behavioral medicine without the required strenuous “residency” training currently necessary to obtain a doctor certification as a “boarded” expert.  With stains caused by addictive behavior permanently erased from the doctor's record without unbiased evaluation, he or she can move easily into a position of national political influence and privilege. Such placements can permit a grateful recipient to return favors to sponsors.

It must be remembered that funding for the state PHP is provided in part by medical malpractice insurance companies.  The state PHP is not designed to help targeted doctors recover and go back to practice, nor are they designed to protect vulnerable populations from abuse, neglect and medical fraud. The state PHP is designed to make money for its constituents, to protect large hospital and medical corporations from medical malpractice lawsuits.  The state PHP will readily sacrifice an “uncooperative” or whistleblower's career for corporate profits. “Disruptive” professionals threaten cash flow.

The Federation of State Medical Boards

In May 1993, Federation of State Medical Boards [i] (FSMB) President Hormoz Rassekh, MD, established a special Ad Hoc committee on "physician impairment" in order to develop medical board strategies for identifying, evaluating, regulating, and managing “impaired” licensees.  In 1995 the FSMB stated this policy, “After discussion of several forms of physician impairment, the committee elected to focus primarily on chemical dependency, because of its prevalence.” [ii]

ASAM has with political support managed to establish forty-six physician health programs in the U.S.A., with 42 of them being members of the FSPHP. [iii]  ASAM continues to promote the A.A. 12-step model of substance abuse treatment and maintain that impaired physicians be cured by religious belief.  Although originally started as simply chemical dependency treatment programs, these programs now extend into areas of medicine and psychology for which the ASAM doctors are not professionally trained or qualified.  According to the ASAM, the “impaired physician” is suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.  ASAM believes that these “impairments” need lifelong monitoring and are to be treated by surrendering one's “will and life over to the care of God” and completely immersing the individual in some variation of A.A.'s spiritually-based 12-step program.



[i] The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is a national non-profit organization representing the 70 medical and osteopathic boards of the United States and its territories. The FSMB leads by promoting excellence in medical practice, licensure, and regulation as the national resource and voice on behalf of state medical and osteopathic boards in their protection of the public. http://www.fsmb.org/.

 

[ii] The Federation of State Physician Advocacy Groups (FSPAG) was founded in late 2007 as an independent  physician-run alternative to the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) http://www.fspag.org/.

 

[iii] Federation of State Physicians Health Programs – State Listing, http://www.fsphp.org/State_Programs.html.

 

Establishment of state Physicians Health Program (PHP)

Medical professionals can have emotional, psychological and physical illnesses and can become a patient in need of compassionate care.  The needs of the doctor as a patient must be balanced with the need to protect the public from an “impaired” doctor in practice. 

The Federation of State Physicians Health Programs has a state “Physicians Health Program” in almost every state.  This program is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with tax-exempt status and incorporated to limit legal liability for their board of directors.  The state Physicians Health Program (PHP) has become the primary investigator of any medical professional suspected of impairment or labeled a “disruptive doctor.”  The state Physicians Health Programs contract with medical associations, in each state, to provide “monitoring” services of licensed professionals reported to be “impaired.”  The cost is paid from both the state health department funding and federal funds, as well as financial support from professional medical associations, malpractice insurance companies and large medical corporations.   The state PHP, a non- government entity (NGO) over which the state health department has very limited supervisory oversight, has been given almost police-like prerogative to revoke the license of any medical professional they choose to target.  In addition, the PHP has been granted, by most of the state legislatures, a quasi-governmental immunity from legal liability for damages suffered by injured persons.  Medical professionals unwittingly sign a contract for this NGO to “monitor” them if deemed necessary when they apply for professional licensure now. The FSPHP is the umbrella organization of all the state PHPs. 

 

The Federation of State Physicians Health Programs

The Federation of State Physicians Health Programs (FSPHP) [i] arose from state chapters of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).[ii]  For example, Washington Physicians Health Program is the former Washington state chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.  The FSPHP was originally established in order to monitor physicians with addictive problems in diversion programs.  But over the years the FSPHP expanded its outreach to include any “impairment” or “suspected impairment.”  In 2008 ASAM President Dr. Louis E. Baxter, Sr. MD (addiction psychiatrist FSPHP president 2009-2011) proclaimed that Physicians Health Programs (PHP) now includes, “To provide a means to identify, evaluate, and treat physicians who have diseases of impairment.” [iii]  The use of the wording diseases of impairment is not coincidental as it is the language used in the legislation that provides governmental authority for the PHP’s existence and also it’s funding through the state departments of health.  This expanded mission now includes not only drug addiction and alcoholism, but also smoking, eating disorders, mental health issues such as disruptive behavior, psychiatric disorders, psychosexual disorders and even physical diseases and metabolic disorders.   In this mission creep volunteers and paid “agents” of the PHP now feel they are authorized by the state medical board to address as diverse problems as grief, sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, child custody, bulimia, asthma, diabetes and hypertension.  But these volunteers and “agents” may not have any professional qualifications to handle these issues and they are supervised by the PHP director who is only qualified in “addiction medicine”.  The PHPs are run by supervisory committees made up of addiction specialists and people “in recovery” who are not physicians at all.  Staffs of the PHPs are often recovered addicts who have Chemical Dependency Counselor (CDC) credentials or some other similar training which was gained while they were “recovering” from their own addiction.   True to the vision of Bill Wilson, co-founder of the A.A. or 12-step program, the ASAM and the FSPHP is run by addiction peers who supervise the “peer mentoring”.

Under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA) there has emerged a covert ability to impact or revoke a medical professional’s license without requirement of standard, valid legal evidence or court procedures.  Thus, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, chiropractors, dentists, and even veterinarians are now subject to control by this organization FSPHP, the grandchild of ASAM.  Persons placing complaints against a doctors license are allowed to do it anonymously under the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA) and do not even have to legally state what they allege is even true. There is no standard for admission of evidence.  Fabricated and false statements can be placed in the doctor’s professional record without any transparency, no legal standard for evidence and no due process.  This HCQIA legislation, originally intended to provide an avenue for patients to provide complaint information about doctors to state medical boards and federal agencies, has now had unintended consequences and instead protects hospital administrations from malpractice liability.  This immunity granted to “Good Samaritans” who come forward with complaints under HCQIA regarding medical care has been subverted by those wishing to hide malpractice and medical fraud.

Doctors who lost their medical licenses for participation in drug diversion, medical fraud, insurance fraud, and patient abuse sought a way to be reinstated and gainfully employed as ASAM substance abuse treatment professionals.  Working as an addiction peer mentors to “impaired” physicians was lucrative work.  These captive patients had good insurance coverage and could be forced to pay extensive long-term monitoring and care.  There was little ethical concern for human rights, patient rights or proper informed consent.  Pharmaceutical and behavioral researchers along with ASAM fellows found that there was less governmental oversight and scrutiny of the treatment of addicts in private residential treatment centers, outpatient clinics, hospitals, and prisons.  These target populations of “human subjects” were controllable and could be given drugs in clinical trials while in lock down in facilities such as prisons, mental hospitals or drug treatment centers. 

In return for facilitating the pharmaceutical industry’s corporate goals, there would be political influence exerted to soften certain legislative language to permit ASAM doctors to regain their medical license and to erase the records of their own addictive behaviors and/or criminal activity.  The ASAM leaders strategically analyzed how to circumvent the medical quality control system that prevented them from expunging the history of their addictive behavior from their records. The ASAM addicted doctors established a system for “monitoring” professionals accused or suspected of substance abuse or other addictive behaviors (i.e., sex, gambling).  Through the Federation of State Physicians Health Programs they attempted to gain a controlling access to professionals in every state.  Through contracts made with the state departments of health, they established themselves as the only capable competitor for state funds related to medical licensing fees that were designated to ensure quality professional performance. 

ASAM doctors through the state PHP’s were able to effectively obtain non-competitive bids for state governmental contracts to do investigations and monitoring functions.  Thus, doctors who had been so impaired that their medical privileges were revoked or curtailed were now permitted to monitor every licensed medical professional within the state.  An aggressive and expensive advertising campaign through medical and nursing association journals presented the newly established Physicians Health Programs (PHP) as advocates for “impaired professionals.”  Everyone in the medical field was encouraged to report other doctors, nurses, dentists, chiropractors, pharmacists and other related professionals who might need to be “monitored” by the PHP.  Strategic marketing to allied professionals such as non-medically trained assistants, office managers, and paraprofessional staff to report “suspects” allowed the ASAM to target selected doctors and other healthcare professionals and force their participation in an unregulated monitoring system. 

There were no protections against gossip, rumor or fabrications against licensed medical professionals.  Private investigators could be hired to probe the personal lives and background of professionals. Anyone with criminal interests could make a complaint against a doctor or other professional and expect to have the PHP take action.  This could neutralize or eliminate a competitor or whistleblower and halt investigation into criminal behavior. 

The ASAM embraced staff and volunteers who not only had substance abuse problems (i.e., alcoholics and drug addicts) but also “sex addicts” and compulsive gamblers as members of their growing non-profit organization. Expunged histories provide no warning to patients about a past sexual-compulsive history.  The ASAM and the Federation of State Physicians Health Programs politically worked to change legislative law in each state to facilitate their control over the investigation into any quality control issues related to doctors or other licensed medical professionals. These legislative changes were achieved with no media attention, and few professionals knew these changes occurred.  Thus, legislation was passed to strengthen the authority of ASAM doctors while limiting legal liability by grant of quasi-governmental status and resultant governmental immunity.  

Presenting themselves as experts on the treatment of addictions, the ASAM doctors offered educational programs to train others to view “problem” doctors through the lens of ASAM principles, based on the Dr. Ruth Fox tradition of abusive and coercive control.  They could protect their own addicted or criminally involved members and remove the medical license from anyone who could report their criminal behavior. 

The ASAM started another organization which prevents licensed medical professionals from ability to access their own medical credentialing verification documents.  The PHP requires that individual state licensing boards refuse to accept records that document professional credentials without applicants sending requests for credential verification to an independent incorporated centralized agency that the ASAM corruptly controls.  This prevents whistleblowers from seeking a professional license in any state in the U.S.A. and eliminates a doctor’s ability to go abroad with a clean record and obtain a license to practice.  It ends a professional career.  

ASAM and FSPHP control over professional licensing is not vulnerable to law enforcement scrutiny and is not under the control of any government body.  This is unrecognized covert power is exerted with no government supervision or accountability. The state PHP is incorporated as an NGO to limit liability but operate as a non-profit to reap advantage of US tax laws.  The state boards of medicine do not control what transpires behind the closed doors of this ingenious monopoly. 

The U.S. Congress cannot pierce the covert halls of this power.  Even the FBI is stymied by the provisions of HIPPA regulations that were enacted to protect patients’ confidentiality, and which require a high burden of proof to obtain a legal subpoena.   ASAM doctors have created a system they control and in which they can hide whatever criminal activity is necessary to further financial goals.   Money laundering is possible with much less risk within the medical community collaborating with corrupted interests within the FSPHP and associated interests.  It is possible to threaten or professionally destroy any whistleblower naïve enough to report their criminal activity.  The FSPHP has the power and ability to force residential or outpatient “treatment” on whistleblower opponents under the auspices of the substance abuse treatment legislation and the mental health legislation at the state and local level.  Fewer medical professionals, psychologists and therapists are courageous enough to risk loss of their professional licenses if they report as “mandated reporters.”  Yet, they are required to do so by law. Unfortunately, many do not learn about this treachery until they report and are then brutally attacked from unanticipated directions. 

If law enforcement wants to prevent medical fraud, the ASAM and FSPHP corrupted system of power and control must be dismantled. It is necessary to ensure quality in our healthcare delivery systems.  That responsibility must be returned to properly elected and/or appointed officials collaborating with medical professionals in systems that are sufficiently transparent to assure that professionals with integrity and consumers are protected.

We need to provide an ethical professional alternative to the ASAM/PHP.  It would be beneficial to take control of the official systems so that they can be developed to protect patient safety and medical integrity.  Medical professionals with addiction problems must be treated as human beings and patients not as commodities to extort insurance money and means to obtain federal and state funding.

Because reports of abusive practices by the State physician health programs have leaked out,  media attention, state legislative actions, court decisions and voiced concerns of Congress have lead to the removal of PHP programs from many states including: CA, MN, NV, TX, WI, and OR.

 



[i] Federation of State Physicians Health Programs Inc., 515 North State Street – Room 8584, Chicago, IL  60610,  Phone: 1.312.464.4574 Fax: 1.312.464.5841.

 

[ii] American Society of Addiction Medicine. 4601 N. Park Ave., Suite 101, Chevy Chase, MD  20815. www.asam.org/.

 

[iii] Baxter Sr. MD, Louis E., “Physician Health Programs: How They Work,” 2008 presentation on Physician Health Programs (PHP's) before the FSMB (Federation of State Medical Boards) at their 2008 annual meeting, given by 2009-2011 ASAM president FSPHP Dr. Louis E. Baxter, Sr., MD (an addiction psychiatrist), PHP missions now include, "To provide a means to identify, evaluate, and treat physicians who have diseases, at the Conference 2008. 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
 
― Leo Buscaglia

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

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