UK & First World West: Let’s not count the real cost!

The true cost of legalising drugs

May 1, 2018

We hear an awful lot about the virtues of legalising drugs, but rarely about the costs of such an experiment.

Last week we were told that we should stop treating addiction as a crime (though we don’t) and start treating it as health problem (which we do already, to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds a year for mainly methadone treatment, questionable though this synthetic heroin substitute is, and some other interventions).

The Times reported, somewhat misleadingly, that hospital doctors, in the form of the Royal College of Physicians, were calling for all drugs to decriminalised – prompting the questions: even ketamine? Even the dangerous heroin substitute krokodil? Would they would be handing out medically prescribed and supervised diamorphine? Such are the dilemmas lurking in the Pandora’s Box of legalisation.

Further down the text you find that the RCP is not quite so gung-ho about legalisation after all. What it really had ‘thrown its weight behind’ was a campaign by nameless ‘public health leaders’ to give priority ‘to tackling the harm caused by drugs rather than attempts at reducing their use’.

Possessing drugs for personal use, the College thinks, should no longer be a crime, but it stops short of advocating legalisation, and believes that dealers should still be prosecuted. Which is pretty much a description of the Government’s current drug policy.

Exactly what hospital doctors are facing on a daily basis in A&E is the de facto decriminalisation of all sorts of illegal drugs, and a country overrun with drugs and drugs crime because of the laissez-faire approach of the police.

For complete article What drug policy?

Harmless? Never

Would highly recommend reading Peter Hitchens’s The War We Never Fought which is an insightful analysis of Britain’s failed experiment in drug liberalisation.

I myself used to abuse cannabis regularly when I was younger, partly due to being told by the police that it was harmless during school drugs talks in the late 1990s. The waste of money, time and potential harm to my education is hard to quantify, but I know it is immense. Fortunately I was eventually able to steer myself away from this path of self-destruction, but telling children drugs are harmless is unbelievably stupid policy.

Not Counting This – are we?

 

 

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USA: Could Weed be the New Thalidomide?

Dear  Caring Citizen!
 

As a supporter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, you have long known that the marijuana industry is concerned with one thing and one thing only…
Profits.
With that in mind, a recent study by the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that close to 70% of marijuana dispensaries in Colorado were recommending high-potency THC products to pregnant mothers as a “treatment” for symptoms of morning sickness.
Nearly two-thirds of dispensary workers who recommended marijuana to the expectant mothers did so based on “personal opinion,” and not any level of medical expertise.
Even more disturbing, so-called “medical” dispensaries were more likely to recommend marijuana than retail dispensaries were – 83% and 60% respectively.
As you and I well know, dispensary workers are only licensed to sell to people who have medical cards, most of these dispensaries are not staffed by medical doctors.
The fact is, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana use during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight and developmental problems.
Even worse, marijuana use during pregnancy has been linked to a rare, fatal developmental disorder known as anencephaly. This tragic development prevents parts of the skull from fully forming in the womb and usually results in stillbirth.
Frankly, I am outraged.
We knew that the marijuana industry was willing to go to vast lengths in order to make a profit, but this is going too far.
SAM is working diligently to bring the ugly truths of the harms of marijuana to the forefront of the national discussion, but it is neither easy nor cheap.
That said, would you please consider chipping in a small donationtoday?
Your donation, no matter the size, will go a long way toward providing SAM with the resources necessary to break through the noise and show the marijuana industry for what it really is…the rebirth of Big Tobacco.
In Health,
Dr. Kevin Sabet
Founder and President
Smart Approaches to Marijuana
P.S.  Your support in this fight for public health is greatly appreciated.
 

About SAM

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states. For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

 

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USA: How to help you addiction problem – Legalize more drugs???

STUDY: Washington, D.C. Has the Worst Drug Use and Addiction of Anywhere in the U. S.

May 2018 by Anders Hagstrom

Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of drug use and addiction of any state in the country, according to a WalletHub study released Monday.

Drug addiction has become an epidemic in the U.S., claiming the lives of more than 60,000 Americans in 2016 — more than during the Vietnam War. The eastern U.S. has been hardest hit, with state and federal lawmakers scrambling for a solution. Some have proposed legal “injection sites” where addicts can shoot heroin safely to cut down on overdose deaths.

The District of Columbia, Missouri, New Hampshire, Michigan, and West Virginia have been most ravaged by the crisis, while Minnesota is faring better than any other state, according to the WalletHub study.

WalletHub ranked the jurisdictions based on three factors: rate of drug use and addiction, how law enforcement treats the drug trade, and the amount of drug health issues as well as the availability of rehab. D.C. was rated the worst in the country for both the drug addiction rate and drug health issues, while coming in 22nd in law enforcement, with one being the worst.

For complete article https://tennesseestar.com/2018/05/15/study-washington-d-c-has-the-worst-drug-use-and-addiction-of-anywhere-in-the-u-s/

 

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UK: Self-Medicating Minors not Managing, but why?

Xanax: The cult drug engulfing anxious young Brits

Xanax is rapidly becoming the “cult” drug of choice among young people and requires an immediate inquiry, parents, doctors and MPs have warned.

Teenagers and young adults – seduced by its popularity in rap lyrics and American culture – are experimenting with the potent tranquilliser, also known as alprazolam, as a party drug or even to self-medicate against their anxiety.

Many we spoke to for our story spoke of “popping Xans” or “Xannies” – which is around 10 times stronger than Valium – as if it is the equivalent of drinking alcohol or smoking.

Some obtain it from local dealers, others from the dark web or US pharmacies, but there is also a booming market on social media.

Within a matter of minutes, we were able to contact a dealer on Instagram and was offered 10 Xanax pills. Ten minutes later, a second seller offered us 100.

So what is fuelling this craze? How prevalent is it? And why are doctors so worried?

For complete article http://www.itv.com/news/2018-05-03/xanax-the-cult-drug-engulfing-anxious-young-brits/

 

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GLOBAL: S.A.M and Sabet – Dispatching the Myths on Marijuana

Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana Second Edition Now Available!

“A most compelling look…Sabet explores this challenging landscape and arrives at more comprehensive, effective solutions than either legalization or incarceration could provide to deal with marijuana use.”  - Dr. Drew Pinsky

Newly revised and updated in order to keep debunking the myths as they arise, ”Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana” is now available in its second edition!

Reefer Sanity, authored by Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and former Senior Drug Policy Advisor to President Obama, examines the socio-economic impact of marijuana policies, the ideological underpinnings of the issues at hand, and the stubborn myths that perpetuate around the drug.

Dr. Sabet handily demonstrates how the false dichotomy of legalization versus prohibition is flawed and also how it is hindering our ability to find better solutions to drug policies. Don’t take our word for it, the reviews are in:

  • “For backers of legalization, Sabet is dangerous, because he can’t be easily dismissed as a reefer-madness-style propagandist. The marijuana reform community should play close attention to his arguments, and the prohibitionists, if they have any plans to reverse the tide, should do the same.” - Ryan Grim, DC bureau Chief, The Intercept
  • “A clear-cut argument dispelling the hazy myths about a dangerous drug that threatens all of us, especially the next generation.” - William C. Moyers, VP, Public Affairs, Hazelden
  • “Compassionate and knowledgeable, Kevin Sabet is the most important new voice in the American drug policy debate. Policymakers, parents, and concerned citizens should heed his meticulously factual case against marijuana legalization.” - David Frum, Senior Editor, The Atlantic

Be sure to pick up your copy of “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana” today by clicking here!

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Trainings and Speaking Engagements

SAM Trainings and Speaking Engagements are now available to organizations and corporations around the country who want to educate their communities and employees on all issues surrounding marijuana. For more information please email us at trainings@learnaboutsam.org.

About SAM

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states. For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

www.learnaboutsam.org

 

 

SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), 400 N. Columbus Street, Suite 202, Alexandria, VA 22314

 

 

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USA: Oregon – How do you move mountains of unwanted weed?

Oregon farmers have grown three times what their customers can smoke in a year, causing bud prices to plummet and panic to set in

Matt Stangel and Katie Shepherd Wed 9 May 2018 

‘People losing their life’s savings are unable to declare bankruptcy because marijuana is still a federally scheduled narcotic.’ Photograph: Henry Cromett

Arecent Sunday afternoon at the Bridge City Collective cannabis shop in north Portland saw a steady flow of customers.

Little wonder: a gram of weed was selling for less than the price of a glass of wine.

The $4 and $5 grams enticed Scotty Saunders, a 24-year-old sporting a gray hoodie, to spend $88 picking out new products to try with a friend. “We’ve definitely seen a huge drop in prices,” he says.

Across the wood and glass counter, Bridge City owner David Alport was less delighted. He says he’s never sold marijuana this cheap before.

“We have standard grams on the shelf at $4,” Alport says. “Before, we didn’t see a gram below $8.”

The scene at Bridge City Collective is playing out across the city and state. Three years into Oregon’s era of recreational cannabis, the state is inundated with legal weed.

It turns out Oregonians are good at growing cannabis – too good.

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In February, state officials announced that 1.1m pounds of cannabis flower were logged in the state’s database.

If a million pounds sounds like a lot of pot, that’s because it is: last year, Oregonians smoked, vaped or otherwise consumed just under 340,000lb of legal bud.

That means Oregon farmers have grown three times what their clientele can smoke in a year.

Yet state documents show the number of Oregon weed farmers is poised to double this summer – without much regard to whether there’s demand to fill.

The result? Prices are dropping to unprecedented lows in auction houses and on dispensary counters across the state.

Wholesale sun-grown weed fell from $1,500 a pound last summer to as low as $700 by mid-October. On store shelves, that means the price of sun-grown flower has been sliced in half to those four-buck grams.

For Oregon customers, this is a bonanza. A gram of the beloved Girl Scout Cookies strain now sells for little more than two boxes of actual Girl Scout cookies.

But it has left growers and sellers with a high-cost product that’s a financial loser. And a new feeling has descended on the once-confident Oregon cannabis industry: panic.

For complete story https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/09/how-oregon-grew-too-much-marijuana-to-sell

 

 

 

 

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UK – Want ‘Coke’ with that order?

Cocaine delivered quicker than pizza in England and Scotland, according to drugs survey

The trend is matched globally with 30% of all respondents saying they could pick up cocaine within

Cocaine can be delivered quicker than a pizza in England and Scotland, according to a global drugs survey.

Some 36.8% of people surveyed in England said they could get cocaine within 30 minutes, and 37.4% in Scotland, placing them fifth and sixth in the world rankings.

This compares with 12.2% of people in England and 19.8% in Scotland who said they could get a pizza delivered in this time.

A third of those surveyed in England found that they could order cocaine quicker than pizza.

The 2018 Global Drug Survey questioned 130,000 drug users across 44 countries, including more than 5,000 in the UK, about recreational drug use and its impact on health.

The report said: “With many cities covered with CCTV cameras, traditional street dealing is becoming less attractive to many suppliers and consumers.”

“It’s not surprising that the next customer service upgrade was going to be the growth of sophisticated and rapid drug delivery services in many of our big cities.”

For complete article http://www.itv.com/news/2018-05-09/cocaine-delivered-more-quickly-than-pizza-in-england-and-scotland-report/

 

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USA: Make Producers, Permitters, Promotors – PUSHERS PAY!

Drugmakers push back against lawmakers’ calls to tax opioids

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Facing a rising death toll from drug overdoses, state lawmakers across the country are testing a strategy to boost treatment for opioid addicts: Force drug manufacturers and their distributors to pay for it.

Bills introduced in at least 15 states would impose taxes or fees on prescription painkillers. Several of the measures have bipartisan support and would funnel millions of dollars toward treatment and prevention programs.

In Montana, state Sen. Roger Webb, a Republican, sees the approach as a way to hold drugmakers accountable for an overdose epidemic that in 2016 claimed 42,000 lives in the U.S., a record.

“You’re creating the problem,” he said. “You’re going to fix it.”

Opioids include prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin as well as illegal drugs such as heroin and illicit versions of fentanyl. Public health experts say the crisis started because of overprescribing and aggressive marketing of the drugs that began in the 1990s. The death toll has continued to rise even as prescribing has started to drop.

A Pennsylvania opioid tax bill was introduced in 2015 and a federal version was introduced a year later, but most of the proposals arose during the past year. The majority of them have yet to get very far, with lawmakers facing intense pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to scuttle or soften the legislation.

Drug-makers and distributors argue that it would be wrong to tax prescription drugs, that the cost increases would eventually be absorbed by patients or taxpayers, and that there are other ways to pay for addiction treatment and prevention.

“We have been engaged with states to help move forward comprehensive solutions to this complex public health crisis and in many cases have seen successes,” Priscilla VanderVeer , a spokeswoman for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement. “However, we do not believe levying a tax on prescribed medicines that meet legitimate medical needs is an appropriate funding mechanism for a state’s budget.”

Two drug companies that deployed lobbyists — Purdue Pharma and Pfizer — responded to questions with similar statements.

A spokesman for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, which represents drug distributors, said a tax would mean that cancer patients and those in end-of-life care might not be able to get the prescriptions they need.

The pharmaceutical industry has emphasized that the name-brand drug companies that make up its members already give rebates to states for drugs funded by Medicaid. Those rebates amount to billions of dollars nationwide that states could use to address opioid addiction, the trade group says.

State legislation to tax opioids comes as manufacturers and distributors are defending themselves in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments seeking damages for the toll the overdose epidemic has taken on communities.

David Humes, whose son died from a heroin overdose in 2012, has been pushing for an opioid tax in Delaware, which did not increase funding for addiction treatment last year as it struggles to balance its budget.

“When you think about the fact that each year more people are dying, if you leave the money the same, you’re not keeping up with this public health crisis,” he said.

Humes, a board member of the advocacy group AtTAck Addiction, supports legislation that would dedicate opioid tax revenue for addiction services

For complete story go to Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. https://apnews.com/fd2ec67de61e41b584bf2d9191234741/Lawmakers-debate-opioid-taxes-as-states-grapple-with-crisis

 

 

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UK: George Michael and Methadone?

GEORGE ON METHADONE

George Michael’s cousin claims heroin substitute in lethal cocktail of drugs and booze contributed to icon’s death

Cousin says George given methadone in a bid to calm his anxiety just days before death

EXCLUSIVE By Michael Hamilton 6th May 2018, 1:52 am

GEORGE Michael was given heroin substitute methadone in the run-up to his death, his cousin has sensationally claimed.

Andros Georgiou fears the superstar, 53, died because he took the drug plus anti- depressants, GHB and booze.

George is said to have been taking methadone to help calm his anxiety

He says George as given methadone by an associate in a bid to calm his anxiety — two days before he was found dead at home on Christmas Day 2016.

And he said the star then asked the pal for more pills, which were taken by taxi disguised as a Christmas present, to his home in Goring, Oxon.

KEVIN DUNNETT – THE SUN

George’s cousin Andros Georgiou says methadone may not have shown up in George Michael’s toxicology report

Andros, 55, accused the singer’s boyfriend Fadi Fawaz of holding up the release of the will by threatening to tell secrets of his life.

And he said the star’s fortune could be £50million less than the reported £105million.

Methadone is an opioid used to treat people with a heroin dependence

Talking about the singer’s final days, Andros said: “George went to see someone, who he knew as a friend.

“This person is a former addict, and he told him about these pills and said they calmed him right down.

For complete story https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/6220132/cousin-george-michael-meth-death/

 

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USA: Another Phase of Opioid Fight

NEARLY 475 TONS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS COLLECTED ON NATIONAL TAKE BACK DAY

Americans dropped off nearly 475 tons of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs last month as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Posted: May. 7, 2018 3:44 PM   Posted By: Zac Carlisle

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVA) – Americans dropped off nearly 475 tons of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs last month as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Law enforcement agencies set up approximately 6,000 sites across the country where people could drop off the drugs.

The day was on Saturday, April 28, but several North Mississippi agencies held their day on Friday, April 27, including the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and Tupelo police.

Lee County officers collected approximately 387 pounds.

This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to approximately 4,982 tons. For story http://www.wtva.com/content/news/Nearly-475-tons-of-prescription-drugs-collected-on-National-Take-Back-Day–481964561.html

 

 

 

BE BEST Whitehouse Campaign

It remains our generation’s moral imperative to take responsibility and help our children manage the many issues they are facing today, including encouraging positive social, emotional, and physical habits…

Melania TrumpFirst Lady of the United States

The mission of BE BEST is to focus on some of the major issues facing children today, with the goal of encouraging children to BE BEST in their individual paths, while also teaching them the importance of social, emotional, and physical health. BE BEST will concentrate on three main pillars: well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse.

For complete story https://www.whitehouse.gov/bebest/

 

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