Victor Denoble came to Foothill High to explain his experience about working with a tobacco comapany. He also explained how his experience helps save the people that use tobacco every day.
By STEPHANIE PARSONS
Posted March 24, 2014
|Victor Denoble addresses the juniors and seniors of Foothill High about the dangers of tobacco. Photo by Amanda Nekrassoff.|
A presenter from Kaiser Permanente came to Foothill High to educate the students about the effects on the body and brain caused by tobacco and nicotine. The assemblies were on Friday, March 7 during 4th and 5th periods. First were the juniors and seniors, second were the freshmen and sophomores. The message from Kaiser reminded students about the “Don’t Buy the Lie” program.
The “Don’t Buy the Lie” program is where a student draws a poster informing everyone about saving their lives and not buying the tobacco. The first prize winner of the school gets $50 and his or her poster goes into the state drawing. If that poster wins, the person that produced it gets $1,000, and the poster gets to be put up on a billboard on the freeway. The poster will be reveled at a Sacramento Kings game.
A scientist, named Victor Denoble, specializes in figuring out why animals get addicted to drugs. He had a monkey that he worked with for 20 years and her name was Sara. Sara was a drug addict and she would do anything for some drugs.
“Even though animals use drugs, humans are the only animals on Earth to voluntarily use drugs,” said Denoble.
The tobacco company he worked for wanted him to find a drug that was safe for the heart but also kept the customers wanting to buy it. The tobacco company figured out that nicotine causes heart problems and kills people every day.
While trying to find a replacement drug, he was working with rats to figure out why humans get addicted. He figured out that nicotine goes from the blood to the heart to the brain. Denoble was giving the rats small doses of a drug trying to see how long it took to get addicted. For rats it took three weeks to 30 days. Every day the rats would wake up and get another dose and by five months the rats had lost twenty percent of their body weight. If he had let the rats have any more, within months they would kill themselves.
If you stop taking or using drugs, your brain continues to change. Even after two years your brain is still changing.
A 63 year old man was dying of cancer. He hadn’t had tobacco in over two years. Denoble asked if he could have the guy’s brain after he dies. Once he died, Victor got a call from the guy’s wife, saying that he had died and now can have his brain. Denoble saw that the chemicals from the drug had been changing the brain still. It takes five years for your brain to go back to normal.
While this was happening, Denoble and his assistant, Paul Mele, had found the replacement drug called methol nicotine. They found this drug in December of 1982. In 1984, they were told that they can not use the drug they found because the tobacco company has been lying to their customers for so long that the customers would know that they had been lying.
Denoble did not want the tobacco company to get away with this but he had signed a contract saying that he can not voluntarily tell about they company and everything in it. He was fired in late December of 1984 and he decided to take all the important files that could help to court. He had hired a lawyer and the lawyer sent the files back to the company.
He found a picture of a rat that was given some drugs. He was not allowed to put a return address on it so he put finger prints so that the FBI could figure out it was him. The FBI came to his house and took him in. He made sure that the recorder understood that he was under oath and was forced to tell the truth. Denoble spilled everything. He later got a call from the President of the U.S. President Bill Clinton called him and asked if everything he said was true. It was, so he sent Denoble and his wife outside to find two Secret Service men and he was taken to a secret place for his safety. He was there so that the tobacco company couldn’t do anything to him.
The tobacco company had to take an oath saying that all the drugs in tobacco won’t have side effects that cause heart attacks.
Students at FHS benefitted from seeing the presentation.
“Overall the performance was very well descriptive and helpful,” said Aly Perez, a freshman at Foothill High, “and it wasn’t like the usual ‘Don’t do Drugs,’ and this time I actually listened.”
Overall the students did pay attention more to this guest speaker rather than the boring old “Don’t do Drugs,” and Denoble made it fun to listen to. Everyone was excited about the monkey brain and the human brain.
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