Taxes on cannabis, gambling are unreliable, study says
by DALE DENWALT: July 22, 2018
As Oklahoma prepares to collect taxes on marijuana, a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts urges caution when relying too much on that money.
The report released Thursday highlights the history of “sin taxes,” or revenue collected from things like marijuana, gambling, tobacco and alcohol.
“Sin taxes can provide short-term revenue boosts, but because of a combination of factors, they may also drive budget challenges in the long term,” said Mary Murphy, project director for Pew’s state fiscal policy division. “And relied on for ongoing commitments, (they) can create structural budget challenges.”
State Question 788 set the tax on medical marijuana at 7 percent, which will be collected at the retail level based on the amount of money a customer spends. Other states tax product at the warehouse, and others set levies based on potency or the quantity of marijuana sold.
Tax revenue will first be used to regulate the industry. If there is a surplus of funds, 75 percent of it would be earmarked for public education and 25 percent will go to Oklahoma State Department of Health for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
“Earmarking some of this revenue for specific purposes can prevent some of these volatile revenues from being baked into general fund spending. On the other hand, earmarks have their own challenges associated with them,” Murphy said.
U.S Study: More teens saying no to substances
Melissa Jenco, News Content Editor
The rate of teens abstaining from alcohol, cigarettes and other substances is five times higher than it was four decades ago, according to a new study.
However, researchers fear those trends could change as more states legalize marijuana.
The team set out to explore nonuse among teens by analyzing nationally representative data from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey. They detailed their findings in the report
“Trends in Abstaining from Substance Use in Adolescents: 1975-2014” (Levy S, et al. Pediatrics. July 19, 2018,
In 2014, 26% of high school seniors said they had never used alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other substances, up from 5% in 1976, according to the study. During that time, abstinence from current use increased from 23% to 52%. Lifetime and current abstinence also grew among eighth- and 10th-graders.
Alcohol was the most common substance high school seniors tried throughout the years. In 1976, only 8% had abstained compared to 34% in 2014. The increase may be due in part to the national drinking age being raised to 21 in the mid-1980s, according to the study.
More teens are abstaining from cigarette smoking as well. In 2014, about 66% said they had never smoked compared to 25% in 1976, the study found.
“The Truth Campaign was remarkably successful in shifting public perception of tobacco from glamorous to repulsive,” authors wrote.
The data showed teens who were male, black, religious or came from a two-parent household were more likely to abstain from substance use in 2014. Teens also were more likely to abstain if they did well in school, worked fewer hours at a job or spent fewer nights going out.
“Strategies that engage young people in positive activities that have successfully reduced alcohol and tobacco use may be similarly used to support campaigns promoting abstinence from all substances,” authors said.
Abstinence from marijuana has been relatively steady in recent years and only slightly higher than in 1976. Researchers expressed concern that increasing legalization could lead to increased use and said teens need more education on the dangers to their developing brains.
“Pediatricians have the opportunity and the credibility to deliver a generalized proactive prevention message that nonuse is best for adolescent health — a message that is simple to deliver and backed by our burgeoning knowledge of neuroscience and the special developmental vulnerability of adolescents to both acute and long-term morbidity and mortality associated with substance use,” authors wrote.
More People Are Inhaling Heroin, And It’s Destroying Brain Tissue
Ed Cara Jul 2018,
People living with opioid addiction are increasingly using the inhalation method to get high, warns a new review published Monday in JAMA Neurology. The technique known as “chasing the dragon”, which involves heating up heroin and inhaling its fumes through a pipe, may be safer in some ways than injection, but it comes with its own set of devastating side effects, including irreversible brain damage and dementia.
The doctors behind the study, led by neurologist Ciro Ramos-Estebanez of the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio, were inspired to study the topic after coming across a strange case in 2015.
A young woman suffering from opioid intoxication had fallen into a coma. The coma was caused by a build up of spinal fluid in her brain, a condition known as hydrocephalus. The woman’s spinal fluid had become trapped by chronic inflammation in the brain caused by inhaling heroin.
She ultimately recovered from her coma, though with lasting cognitive impairment, after doctors performed emergency surgery that drained the lodged spinal fluid.
It was the first case of hydrocephalus linked to inhaled heroin ever reported, and it made Ramos-Estebanez and his team eager to understand the phenomenon better
Looking at more than 30 studies and case reports, which included the cases of two other patients at their hospital, the team settled on some basic observations.
For one, while there’s sparse information on how often addicts are inhaling heroin, the little data that does exist suggests it’s the fastest growing method of use, the team found.
In countries such as Sri Lanka, Norway and India, over two-thirds of heroin users admit inhaling it regularly. In the US, injection is still the most common method, but inhalation is increasing, especially in cities and areas east of the Mississippi.
It’s also becoming more popular among teens. In 2014, the team found, 21 per cent of all inpatient hospital visits due to heroin abuse among 12- to 19-year-olds involved inhalation.
The extent of damage caused by inhaling heroin also runs along a spectrum. At its mildest, it can cause memory loss and mild but long-lasting cognitive impairment; at its worst, it can kill off and create sponge-like holes in the brain’s white matter, the bundles of connective fibre that allow brain cells to talk to one another. That can lead to seizures, problems speaking, progressively worse dementia, coma and death.
Ramos-Estebanez and his team also developed a theory as how and why this damage happens. The high temperatures used to vaporise heroin, they speculate, metabolise it into a chemical that can cross the blood-brain barrier with greater ease. And because how fast it gets to the brain, these chemicals aren’t metabolised by the body into a relatively less toxic substance. The end result is a potent high that is more directly dangerous to the brain.
“Most people who take heroin intravenously don’t develop this condition,” Ramos-Estebanez said. “You’re actually washing out the dose a bit before it gets to the brain.”
Ultimately, Ramos-Estebanez wants doctors and the public to treat inhaled heroin as an emerging public health problem. Being able to recognise its signs in opioid users earlier might just be life-saving, too: Some small studies have identified a few drugs that seem capable of preventing further brain damage if administered quickly enough.
Outside of these sites, Ramos-Estebanez wants to dispel the notion that inhaling heroin is necessarily safer than other routes, such as injection. Many people, for instance, may inhale to avoid the risk of catching bloodborne diseases through contaminated needles.
“‘Chasing the dragon’ is not as safe as portrayed. And this isn’t something some doctor is saying to scare people away, it’s reality,” Ramos-Estebanez said. “It’s a heavy cost for patients, their families and society itself.”
In addition to creating accurate criteria that doctors can use to diagnose people who have brain damage caused by inhaled heroin, Ramos-Estebanez and his team are also currently trying to establish a registry so cases can be better tracked and studied.
#PREVENT DONT PROMOTE!
By Maya Eliahou and Debra Goldschmidt, CNN July 24, 2018
A recovering addict secretly paid for several EMTs’ breakfasts at an IHOP in Toms River, New Jersey.
As they ate breakfast after a long night shift, a group of EMTs was brought to tears by a heartwarming surprise: Their meal had been paid for.
Amsterdam ‘turns into a ‘lawless jungle’ at night’ and police are ‘powerless to stop crime and violence’, authorities warn
Official ombudsman Arre Zuurmond told Dutch paper Trouw problems have increased including illegal car and bike racing and open drug trading.
Mr Zuurmond said authorities set up three cameras in the busy Leidseplein square ringed by bars and clubs to monitor problems and were shocked at the results.
He said: ‘One night we counted 900 offences, mainly between the hours of 2am and 4am. The atmosphere is grim, and there is an air of lawlessness.
REALLY – AND THIS IS A SHOCK??? Whe you license and liberate every vice and expect people to behave with even a modicum of rectitude, you are delusional… by the way, was is rectitude again? I think that word slid from the cultural landscape?
Three new born babies A DAY are treated for drug addiction in shocking NHS figures
EXCLUSIVE: NAS – neonatal abstinence syndrome – affects babies whose mothers have abused drugs during pregnancy, leaving their babies to go cold turkey after birth. 22:26, 28 JUL 2018
Three babies a day are having treatment for drug addiction after being born hooked on heroin or cocaine.
Shock figures from NHS Digital show hospitals dealt with 5,000 cases of addicted tots over the last four years.
NAS – neonatal abstinence syndrome – affects babies whose mums have abused drugs during pregnancy.
When the umbilical cord is cut, the supply of drugs suddenly stops, so the addicted infant goes cold turkey.
Typical symptoms include high-pitched or incessant crying, tremors, vomiting and sweating.
But babies can also suffer dehydration, diarrhoea, fevers and even seizures.
Some may need medication to treat severe withdrawal symptoms, usually from the same family of drugs as the substance that the baby is addicted to.
Once the signs of withdrawal are controlled, the dosage is gradually decreased to help wean the baby off the drug.
Figures from the NHS show the problem is countrywide.
“Yet none of the women we support wanted to end up in this position. Most are victims of childhood sexual trauma and domestic violence.
“The shame and guilt they feel is huge. But all they need is help and support to break the cycle.
“A mum might come to us on baby four or five. Her previous children have all been taken into care.
“By getting her through treatment, addressing her underlying issues and enabling her to keep her child, we break that cycle of repeat removal.”
Cannabis-Based Drug is Priced at $32,500
GW Pharmaceuticals PLC said it plans to charge about $32,500 per patient annually in the U. S.
for its new treatment for rare forms of epilepsy, the first prescription drug derived from the marijuana plant.
The U. S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, also known as cannabidiol, in June to
reduce seizures associated with forms of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Davet syndrome, in patients 2 years of age and older.
GW Pharmaceuticals, based in the UK, makes cannabidiol from a proprietary strain of cannabis designed to maximize a therapeutic component while minimizing components that produce euphoria or a high.
Chief Executive Justin Gover said in an interview Wednesday that the company set the price to be in line with other brand-name epilepsy drugs, such as Lundbeck AS’s Onfi. He noted that the FDA designated the product as “orphan drug”, meaning it treats rare conditions, and that some other orphan drugs carry higher prices. . . .
Out of pocket costs for patients taking Epidiolex could range from $5 to $10 a month for those in state Medicaid programs to as high as $200 a month for some private insurance plans. . . . Uninsured patients may qualify for receiving the drug free.
Jacqueline French, chief scientific officer of the Epilepsy Foundation, said there are low-cost generic epilepsy drugs on the market, but many patients with rare forms of the disease have tried them and the drugs didn’t help much.
Dr. French said Epidiolex improved symptoms for many children in clinical trials, and she is happy the price isn’t significantly higher.
The company expects to make the drug available after the U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency assigns it a controlled substance classification, a decision expected by late September. GW Pharmaceuticals will distribute the drug through specialty pharmacies that ship directly to patients and caregivers.
Wall Street Journal, Aug. 9, 2018 – Business & Finance