USA: Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2016

Key findings Data from the National Vital Statistics System, Mortality

● In 2016, there were more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in the United States.

● The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in 2016 (19.8 per 100,000) was 21% higher than the rate in 2015 (16.3).

● Among persons aged 15 and over, adults aged 25–34, 35–44, and 45–54 had the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016 at around 35 per 100,000.

● West Virginia (52.0 per 100,000), Ohio (39.1), New Hampshire (39.0), the District of Columbia (38.8), and Pennsylvania (37.9) had the highest observed age-adjusted drug overdose death rates in 2016.

● The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) doubled between 2015 and 2016, from 3.1 to 6.2 per 100,000.

Complete Report Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2016


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USA: California Green Gold…Maybe Not?

Legal Weed Isn’t The Boon Small Businesses Thought It Would Be

As California opens its market Jan. 1, Washington state’s experience serves as a warning.

By Lester Black

The business of selling legal weed is big and getting bigger. North Americans spent $6.7 billion on legal cannabis last year, and some analysts think that with California set to open recreational dispensaries on Jan. 1 and Massachusetts and Canada soon to follow, the market could expand to more than $20.2 billion by 2021. So it’s no surprise that you see eager business people across the country lining up to invest millions of dollars in this green rush.

But here’s a word of warning for those looking to dive head-first into these brand-new legal weed markets: The data behind the first four years of legal pot sales, with drops in retail prices and an increase in well-funded cannabis growing operations, shows a market that increasingly favors big businesses with deep pockets. As legal weed keeps expanding, pot prices are likely to continue to decline, making the odds of running a profitable small pot farm even longer.

Washington offers a cautionary tale for would-be pot producers. The state’s marijuana market, for which detailed information is available to the public, has faced consistent declines in prices, production consolidated in larger farms and a competitive marketplace that has forced cannabis processors to shell out for sophisticated technology to create brand new ways to get high.

“A lot of people (in Washington) are surprised, and a lot of people are in denial about the price dropping,” said Steven Davenport, a researcher with the RAND Corporation. “The average price per gram in Washington is about $8, and it’s not clear where the floor is going to be.”

For more


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S.A.M. : DOJ Needs to Hear About Cannabis Chaos & Carnage

Dear Friend,
By now, you’ve seen the news. The Cole Memo, which has shielded marijuana businesses from accountability, has been rescinded. The marijuana industry is reeling, with its stocks dropping and investors nervous about their future profits.
But this policy change is under attack from Big Pot. They desperately want to see it reversed, and they will stop at nothing to get their addiction-for-profit business model back on track.
The Department of Justice needs to hear from you. Even if you disagree on other matters, they need to hear your stories of how high-potency pot and edibles have harmed you, your family, and your community. Please thank them for taking action to protect public health by rescinding the deeply flawed Cole Memo.
We’ve started the message. We just need you to add your personal story. Please take a few moments to compose your thoughts, then click the link below to get started.
Kevin Sabet
SAM Action

About SAM Action

SAM  Action is a non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to promoting healthy marijuana policies that do not involve legalizing drugs. Learn more about  SAM  Action and its work at visit


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UK: Diversion Program – Rehab better than jail!

Criminals could avoid jail if they go to rehab under plans being considered by ministers to tackle racial bias

Teenage inmates at a Young Offenders facility CREDIT: HEATHCLIFFE O’MALLEY

19 DECEMBER 2017 • 12:01AM

Criminals will have charges dropped if they go to rehab under plans being considered by the Government to tackle racial bias in the justice system.

David Lidington is in talks with the Mayor of London to extend a pilot scheme which would allow those accused of low-level crimes to get treatment for alcohol or drugs rather than go to court.

The plan formed part of a comprehensive review by Labour MP David Lammy about the way black and minority ethnic people are treated by the criminal justice system.

Accepting the need to do more the justice secretary confirmed the Government is looking at each of the 35 recommendations made by Mr Lammy in a bid to improve the treatment of BAME people.



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USA: Sessions Address Legal Dissonance in Drug Law

Legalized marijuana use threatened as Sessions rescinds Obama-era directive that eased federal enforcement

By Matt ZapotoskySari Horwitz and Joel Achenbach January 4 at 3:42 PM 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded several Obama-era directives that discouraged enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized the substance.

In a memo sent to U.S. attorneys Thursday, Sessions noted that federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana, and he undid several previous Obama administration memos that advised against bringing weed prosecutions in states where it was legal to use for recreational or medical purposes. Sessions said prosecutors should use their own discretion — taking into consideration the department’s limited resources, the seriousness of the crime, and the deterrent effect that they could impose — in weighing whether charges were appropriate.

“It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission,” Sessions said in a statement. “Therefore, today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.” For complete story RESCIND


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AUSTRALIA: OTC Meds Abused By One Million!

Prescription drugs misused by 1 million Australians in year, report shows

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report also finds ‘substantial rise’ in drug-induced deaths involving prescription drugs


Oxycodone painkillers

Oxycodone, morphine and codeine accounted for 550 drug-induced deaths in Australia in 2016, new analysis shows. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

Australian Associated Press Tue 19 Dec ‘17 10.28 AEDT

One million Australians misused pharmaceuticals in the previous 12 months, a new report has found.

Analysis by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed the misuse of powerful prescription medications for non-medical reasons was rising and accounted for more drug-induced deaths than illegal drugs.

“Over the past decade, there has been a substantial rise in the number of deaths involving a prescription drug, with drug-induced deaths more likely to be due to prescription drugs than illegal drugs,” said an institute spokesman, Matthew James.

For more Nearly 4% of Australians Hitting Hillbilly Heroin!


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RUSSIA: Parliament Talks Drug Policy

“No Liberalisation”: How Drug Policy was Discussed in the Russian Parliament

The chairman of the conference was Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma. As the first speaker, he suggested introducing stronger penalties for drug use. One measure, for instance, included toughening the penalty for advertising and propaganda of forbidden substances:

“…we need to press for imposing more responsibility for propaganda and advertising of drugs and psychoactive substances. To form a sustainable hostility in the society against not only the drug itself but also the subculture built around it”.

Volodin also mentioned drug distribution done through anonymous, online instant-messaging platforms. Here, he advised the Duma to expand legislation that combats “propaganda” of drug use on social media, and to react “flexibly” to the issue, recommending pre-court bans:

“Drug dealers [have now moved] to anonymous messengers and modern payment systems. And we need to be quick and flexible in decision making. In the Russian Federation, there are already legislative acts on counteraction against the propaganda of drug use in media and social networks. In accordance with them, the pre-court bans of these resources are possible”.

He also spoke against countries that legalise “light drugs”, accusing them of creating difficulties amongst their neighbours. Rather, Volodin suggests opposing this trend by creating a unified legal model:

“We need to base [ourselves] on the principle of united and equal responsibility of all countries. We need to conduct analysis to avoid situations in the future when one country can create difficulties and problems in the neighbouring states by changing its legislation. It primarily concerns the liberalisation and legalisation of so called ‘light drugs’”.

For more Russian Parliament Talks Drug Policy



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USA: DEA Submission for Denial of Permission to Reschedule Marijuana

FEDERAL REGISTER – Dept of Justice (Vol. 81 Friday, No. 156 August 12, 2016)

Drug Enforcement Administation21 CFR Chapter II and Part 1301Denial of Petition To Initiate Proceedings To Reschedule Marijuana; Proposed Rules and Applications To Become Registered Under the Controlled Substances Act To Manufacture Marijuana To supply researchers in the United States; Policy Statement

Document One – DEA Submission Federal Register Denial of Cannabis Rescheduling Petition 2016

Document Two – Dalgarno Institute Summary Federal Register Document Sumary_JV_19_12_17

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USA: Opioid Crisis – Shortening the Life Span of a Nation!

America’s opioid crisis behind ‘shocking’ two-year drop in life expectancy

Boston paramedics face front lines of U.S. opioid crisis CREDIT: REUTERS Rozina Sabur, Washington DECEMBER 2017

America’s worsening opioid crisis has caused life expectancy to fall for the second year running for the first time in more than half a century.

The average life expectancy in the US is now 78.6 years – down by 0.1 years, figures from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) found.

It is the first consecutive drop in life expectancy since 1962-63 and surpasses the previous one-year dip in 1993 at the height of the Aids epidemic.

America’s opioid addiction crisis – caused by the over-prescription of opioid-based painkillers – has been blamed for the trend. For complete Story click here Lifespan


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USA: SAM Slams CNN Pro-Cannabis Coverage of NYE

Contact: SAM Press Office/Luke Niforatos          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE; 303-335-7584           January 2, 2018

Mothers of Children Affected by Marijuana Admonish CNN’s New Year’s Eve Coverage Glamorizing Marijuana
CNN Reporter Attached Gas Mask With Bong to Her Face

(January 1, 2018 – Alexandria, VA) - A group of mothers with children who have died or been severely hurt by today’s highly potent marijuana admonished CNN today for their coverage of pot during their New Years Eve programming, calling it a “free infomercial for Big Marijuana.”

Sally Schindel, whose US Veteran son died by suicide and left a note blaming marijuana for his condition stated, “No ratings are worth glamorizing drug abuse. Today’s highly potent marijuana is not something to joke about – for some, like our family, it is the cause of constant grievance and loss.”
The CNN coverage showed a clearly embarrassed Anderson Cooper hiding his eyes as CNN anchor Randi Kaye was surrounded by a man inhaling marijuana with a gasmask on.
Corinne Gasper’s daughter, Jennifer, was killed by a stoned driver on her way to work a few years ago. “Jennifer wasn’t home for the holidays again, but we were reminded of her horrible death courtesy of CNN glorifying pot use.”
SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), a non-profit organization founded by a former member of Congress and a former Obama Administration drug policy advisor, is organizing these voices and others, as well as looking into CNN’s compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC). SAM is also discussing options with private counsel.
Jody Belsher, whose son was triggered with a debilitating mental illness as a result of using pot, was watching CNN with her 6-year-old grandson when the marijuana coverage started. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. We were quickly reminded of our everyday nightmare. Why would CNN play a free infomercial from Big Marijuana, and where were the warnings to our children?”
SAM’s thousands of members are filing FCC complaints by using this link.
This story is developing.
About SAM

S mart 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.


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