The Harm Reduction Hamsters Wheel

The phone rings, the voice on the other end of the phone is the daughter I love, but I rarely hear her voice, unless there is a need, and this time was no different.

“I need a place to crash tonight!” My immediate response is, of course, but then I ask; “Why what’s wrong with your place?”

The story comes back, not a new one, but one that is still both sad and frustrating to hear… “Oh, you know, my boyfriend is going on his monthly ‘bender’ tonight and he’s locked me out of the house!”

This, I understood. This is the ‘Harm Reduction Hamster Wheel’ that my poly-drug and methadone dependent daughter and her boyfriend are on. They line-up for their methadone, but don’t take it; they on sell it to other addicts or, as was the usual case this month, save them up for a ‘binge’, all courtesy of tax-payer funded and government supplied opiates!

This long term drug use started as a naïve and somewhat rebellious teenager. She ‘bought’ the propaganda of the pro-drug lobbyists, that ‘fun’ and individual self-determination free of societal conventions can be found in the mouth of a ‘bong’ and a peer group school-yard ‘puff’ on a joint.

Thanks to this ongoing drug use, now decades, this precious family member is not only so dysfunction but must be heavily medicated on antipsychotics and they must be administered through a Community Based Order, by a clinician, or our messed up daughter will end up back in the Psych ward over Christmas. But, hey, they say this ‘system’ is ‘reducing her risk of harm and ‘possible death’; How – is my confused declaration!  There appears to be not only a lessening of any risk of her using any drug at any time but these ‘peddlers of prescription opiates’ are adding another drug to her regime and so adding to the risk. This process enables her to continue to use unabated and her health and well-being are shattered – and it would appear for the rest of her time reduced life.

Meanwhile, she is lovingly, but futilely, trying to bring a new born life into her chaotic unrequited world. Sadly, an unbroken cycle of what could have been a life well lived!

This self-indulgent choreography has now morphed into an enslavement to dependent processes that have only one perspective – the meeting of every felt need, regardless of what that means to society, relationships, family or even self.

Anonymous (Grieving and Loving Father)

Dalgarno CommentThis tragic and true story is by no means in the minority. This level of chaotic dysfunction is growing and growing because the National Strategy of Harm Minimisation has been sabotaged and hijacked by one-dimensional thinking and policy interpretation. The Full strategy of Harm minimisation is Demand Reduction, Supply Reduction and Recovery focused Harm Reduction with prevention and even abstinence as part of the mandate. Instead, we now have the term ‘harm reduction’ interchangeable with Harm Minimisation and in practice, it seems to have only one goal… Keep the drug user supplied and using all under the faux banner of ‘care’ and ‘kindness’. Yet this ‘version’ of care and kindness is only creating more users, greater use and then… the call for ‘decriminalisation’ because ‘so many people are using’ we need to make it ‘less stigmatised’ so they will use… less, or more, ‘safely’ or…?

It’s time to stop this appalling poorly managed Harm Reduction Hamster Wheel and truly work toward prevention and recovery so that all our citizens can live a productive and healthy life.

(Reprinted with permission from Dalgarno Institute)


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The Unintended Consequences of Colorado’s “Social Experiment”


For the past 27 years, working as an addiction psychiatrist, I have struggled with big industries that push their products more for their financial gain rather than the best interests of the clients they serve. The most disconcerting piece occurs when physicians or other treatment providers or governmental entities appear to be influenced by big industry, touting the party line and minimizing any downsides to the product. I have experienced this with the tobacco industry, the pharmaceutical industry and now with the marijuana industry.

It is clear to me that wherever it happens, the push to legalize medical marijuana is simply a back-door effort, by industry, to legalize retail marijuana. However, the lack of any regulations on the potency of THC in marijuana or marijuana products in Colorado has allowed the cannabis industry to increase the potency of THC to astronomical proportions, resulting in a burgeoning public health crisis.

The potency of THC in currently available marijuana has quadrupled since the mid-1990s. The marijuana of the 1980s had <2% THC, 4.5% in 1997, 8.5% in 2006 and by 2015 the average potency of THC in the flower was 17%, with concentrated products averaging 62% THC.

Sadly, the cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations in currently available marijuana have remained the same or decreased. CBD is the component of marijuana that appears to block or ameliorate the effects of THC. Plants that are bred to produce high concentrations of THC cannot simultaneously produce high CBD. Higher-potency THC has been achieved by genetically engineering plants to product more THC and then preventing pollination so that the plant puts more energy into producing cannabinoids rather than seeds. This type of cannabis is referred to as sinsemilla (Spanish for without seed). (It has also been referred to as “skunk” due to its strong smell.)

In my view, this is no different than when the tobacco industry increased the potency of nicotine by genetically engineering tobacco plants to produce more nicotine and then used additives like ammonia to increase the absorption of nicotine. Industry’s efforts to increase the potency of an addictive substance seem to be done purely with the idea of addicting as many people as possible to guarantee continued customers. This certainly worked for the tobacco industry. And we have increasing evidence that high potency THC cannabis use is associated with an increased severity of cannabis dependence, especially in young people.12… Most of the research indicates that it is likely the CBD that is more helpful but we obviously need research on this. There is no evidence that increasing the potency of THC has any medical benefits. In fact, a study on the benefits of smoked cannabis on pain actually demonstrated that too high a dose of THC can cause hyperalgesia – similar to what is seen with high dose opiates – meaning that the person becomes more sensitive to pain with continued use. They found that 2% THC had no effect on pain, 4% THC had some beneficial effects on chronic pain and 8% resulted in hyperalgesia.3

There is also evidence that marijuana use contributes to anxiety and depression. A very large prospective study out of Australia tracked 1600 girls for 7 years and found that those who used marijuana every day were 5 times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than non-users.6

Teenage girls who used the drug a least once a week were twice as likely to develop depression as those who did not use. In this study, cannabis use prior to age 15 also increased the risk of developing schizophrenia symptoms.

While there definitely are people who can use marijuana responsibly without any untoward effects, similar to how some people can drink alcohol responsibly and not have any problems, there are people who are very sensitive to the effects of THC, and its use can precipitate psychosis. The higher the potency of THC the more likely this may happen and we have no idea how to predict who will be affected. In one of the first double blind randomized placebo controlled trials on smoked cannabis (maximum of 8% THC) for the treatment of pain, a cannabis naïve participant had a psychotic reaction to the marijuana in the study and this then required that all future study participants have some experience with smoking marijuana.7

This kind of makes it difficult to have “blind” unbiased participants.

A 2015 study out of London analyzed 780 people ages 18-65, 410 with first episode psychosis and 370 healthy controls, and found that users of high potency (“skunk-like”) cannabis (THC > 15%) are three times as likely to have a psychotic episode as people who never use cannabis, and the risk is fivefold in people who smoke this form of the drug every day.89 There was no association of psychosis with THC levels < 5%. Most of the marijuana in the U.S. is of the high-THC variety. Many retailers in Colorado sell strains of weed that contain 25 percent THC or more. For complete article


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U.K. Opiate Tragedy and the world of H.R. activism!

Heads up on the ‘opiate’ crisis!

Again, we look at a shocking crisis, leap into ‘damage management’ mode and use compassion mantra’s with new robust vitriol and flail around on social media ‘slack-tavism’ demanding greater Harm Reduction measures like, legalizing drugs, more and easier to access drug taking equipment, injecting rooms to name the chief culprits!

However, the fact that ‘legal’, that’s right, medical grade drugs, regulated and distributed by the government, are often now doing the greater harm.

So, now ‘legalizing’ as a Harm Reduction measure is now surely redundant and an option ‘off the table?’. What of other drug use endorsing, empowering and enabling mechanisms – injecting rooms, Needle Syringe Programs and even Opiate Substitute programs? Are they helping reduce, remediate or facilitate recovery from drug use, or endorsing and empowering even greater involvement in drug use, enabling, even more, drug using episodes - each event putting the drug users health and life further at risk?

Who is driving this agenda? Certainly,  it cannot be concerned, loving, compassionate citizens who want people not merely ‘alive and using’, but whole, restored and healthy, can it? So, who is pushing this one dimensional and clearly failing agenda, that seems to save fewer people and at the same time promoting more drug use? Who are they, and when will they be accountable for actions?

Number of deaths by drug poisoning where any opiates were mentioned on the death certificate, local authorities in England & Wales, deaths registered in 1993 – 20161,2,3,4
Area Code Area Name 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
E92000001 ENGLAND 444 625 718 873 967 1096 1260 1270 1423 1235 1007 1108 1222 1159 1299 1464 1473 1384 1306 1167 1469 1688 1841 1867

Prescription drug pregabalin linked to death rise Deaths linked to a drug readily prescribed on the NHS has increased dramatically after claims it has flooded the black market.

Pregabalin, used to treat pain, anxiety and epilepsy, is being sold illegally to addicts and taken with other drugs such as heroin, leading to overdoses.

BBC News meets addict Martin Hopkins from Plymouth, Devon, as he takes the drug.

In 2012 there were four deaths linked to pregabalin, last year there were 111.

Filmed and edited by Patrick Clahane

Powerful painkiller use ‘doubled in 15 years’

By Dominic HughesHealth correspondent, BBC News - 8 September 2017
Strong painkillersImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionOpioid painkillers include tramadol, codeine and morphineThe use of potentially addictive painkillers across England has doubled in the last 15 years, according to a report by leading public health experts.

Researchers found one in 20 people was being prescribed opioid painkillers, such as codeine and tramadol.

They also found that drugs were being prescribed for longer periods of time.

Experts say long-term use leads to a risk of addiction while the benefits become greatly reduced. For More



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Federal enforcement to stop the implementation of Prop 64 and MMRSA. (Open Letter)

Take Back America Campaign

P.O. Box 459., Lincoln, Calif. 95648 (916) 434 5629 ________________
September 5, 2017

Phil Talbert – US Attorney                             By Fax (916) 554 2900

Eastern District – California

(916) 554 2900 Fax  (916) 554-2700 Phone

Dear Phil:

It has been two months since I/we requested a personal meeting to discuss the dire need for federal enforcement to stop the implementation of Prop 64 and MMRSA. Since obviously, you are busy, as are we, I want to summarize our request and ask that you pass it up the line to the AG Sessions, and in turn to the President and Cabinet.

1)      There are public health reasons to enjoin the implementation of both Prop 64 and MMRSA (Medial Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act).  Had the general public been informed that marijuana causes permanent brain damage, psychosis, mental illness, addiction, cardiovascular problems, cancer, birth defects, DNA damage that can affect offspring four generations out and more, in all likelihood the outcome would have been different. The legislative analysis for Prop 64 stated:

“…Although research on the health effects of marijuana use is limited, there is some evidence that smoking marijuana has harmful effect….”

That is frankly a joke, with criminal intent.  There are over 27,000 research projects on file showing enormous harm to vital organs dating back to the 60s, when the potency of pot was only ½ to 2%.  Now that smoked marijuana is in the 25 to 30% range, edibles 50 to 70% and waxes and oils used in vaping as high as 98%, the human impacts have increased proportionally.  By allowing states to legalize pot for any reason, current and future generations are being destroyed, as are our communities and natural resources.

The most important responsibility of elected officials at all levels is public health and safety. Owing to the lack of federal or state enforcement, the burden has fallen almost entirely on local law enforcement, who are overwhelmed, and the general public. We shouldn’t have to bear that burden.

2)      While AG Sessions obviously understands this problem, we are concerned that neither the President nor Congress understands the dangers of marijuana.  It is the first drug used by the vast majority of those who die by opioid and heroin overdose.  To reduce the overdose problem you have to start by preventing the onset of marijuana use.  That requires education, random and suspicion based drug testing, Student Assistance Programs and proper utilization of the massive funds given to SAMHSA and others.  Many of us have been on the front lines of this battle for decades, and believe we can help …. if given an audience.  To that end, we respectively request a visit by the President or his staff on a listening tour.  We are prepared to go to the Capital as well, if necessary.

3)      If California is to have a future, federal law must be enforced immediately.  We have less than 4 months before Prop 64 will allow 6 plants in any house, and “medical marijuana” will be commercialized throughout the State.  The state and some local communities are planning their economic future taxing and laundering marijuana drug money on the backs of the people.  There is no justification for rewarding them for violating federal law. Withholding federal funds is an easy fix, and justified. It doesn’t burden limited resources.  Recovering the estimated billion dollars already collected is in order.  Private cultivation and dispensaries must be banned.  FEDERAL LAW MUST BE ENFORCED.

Addiction, mental illness, and death from alcohol and drugs impact one-third of America families.  The diminished work force, homeless problem, academic failure, mental illness, crime, traffic deaths, physical harms and enormous welfare costs, et al., inflict more human and economic terms than all problems facing this nation.  It is time to establish federal policy that reverses the damage down in the last eight years.   The President must make that a priority.


Roger Morgan


Take Back America Campaign

(Published by Permission)




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FIRST LOOK: National Survey Shows Soaring Marijuana Use Among All Americans 12 and Older; Heavy Use Also on the Rise

FIRST LOOK: National Survey Shows Soaring Marijuana Use Among All Americans 12 and Older;
Heavy Use Also on the Rise
National survey highlights jump in pot use among young adults in era of marijuana legalization;
Almost twice as many adolescents regularly use marijuana than cigarettes
(Alexandria, Va., September 7, 2017) – Every day, 7,000 new people try marijuana for the first time — a figure far greater than trends seen in the early 2000s, according to the most comprehensive survey on drug use released today by the federal government.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) also found the number of daily or near-daily users of marijuana in 2016 doubled compared to the number of heavy users about a decade ago. Use rose significantly among age groups 12 and up, 18 and up, and 26 and up. Almost twice as many 12-17-year-olds are using pot as compared to cigarettes on a past-month basis. And among those 18 and over, there has been a significant jump in the percent of marijuana users who are unemployed as compared to 2015.
“Big Marijuana – just like Big Tobacco years ago – continues to glorify marijuana as a cure-all that can do little or no harm,” said Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former White House drug policy adviser. “If it wasn’t for marijuana, overall drug use in this country would be going down. Rising mental health issues, drugged driving crashes, and an increasingly stoned workforce won’t help us get ahead. We should put the brakes on marijuana legalization and start a national science-based marijuana awareness campaign similar to successful anti-tobacco campaigns.”
White House Office of National Drug Policy Acting Director Baum announced that NSDUH state-level data, which shows the gulf between use in states with legalized pot versus those with no legalization laws, is expected later this year and not included in this report. The last state estimate report showed Colorado is the #1 state in the country for youth marijuana use.
According to a recent  report by SAM, the three states with the most established retail marijuana markets – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – have seen negative public health and safety consequences, including increased marijuana use and car crashes related to marijuana.
“We shouldn’t incarcerate people for marijuana use, but legalization is promoting a commercial industry driving heavy pot use among young people. We need a smarter approach that focuses on prevention, awareness, and recovery,” said Sabet.
NSDUH also reported a non-significant reduction in marijuana use among 12-17 year-olds versus 2015 and a non-significant increase among 18-25 year-olds versus 2015. However, use is up significantly among young adults 18-25 compared with earlier years. Research has found that marijuana affects the developing brain negatively, and that most people’s brains develop well into their 20s.
SAM will be updating info about NSDUH as we receive the full report.


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Cumbrian children as young as nine addicted to cannabis

22 June 2017 6:28AM

Children as young as nine have turned to a north Cumbrian drug and alcohol charity as they battle to kick a cannabis habit.

There are fears that the scale of the drug’s damaging impact on young people across the county remains hidden, with many wrongly believing the class B drug poses no risk.

Experts say that potent modern strains of cannabis can have a devastating effect on youngsters, leaving them sleep-deprived, paranoid, and aggressive.

There is also evidence linking early cannabis use and poor mental health.

The courts in Carlisle and Workington have regularly dealt with young adults prosecuted after dabbling in the drug.

One schools boss described levels of cannabis use among youngsters in Carlisle as “alarming” while in west Cumbria a drug charity has worked with primary school children affected by the drug. For more


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California is about to open its first legal cannabis shops and it’s posing a huge problem for local pot farms

Wow! Check this out! These people are just openly admitting that they will sell to the black market in CA. Do these people expect us to feel sorry for them that decades long businesses of growing and selling pot ILLEGALLY (clearly drug dealers!!!) is going up in smoke because of legalization???? This is so amazingly absurd that it’s hard to believe it’s real. They cry when marijuana is illegal and now they are complaining that making it legal is too much of a hardship for them to follow through on.

Legalizing Weed creates three markets, now –  ‘legal’  - ‘Grey’ –  ‘Illegal’ (unregulated)… so much for ‘legalizing marijuana will stop the illegal trade!’ mantra!

From the Article – “It’s putting us in a situation where if we’re not able to sell to that market anymore we’re having to find new, illegal channels in a saturated market,” says June. “We would either have to shut down or find new avenues of sale on the black market or the unregulated market.”

“It’s been a lot more difficult than we thought,” says Shivawn Brady, operations director for an Illinois-based medical cannabis company called Justice Grown that operates a farm in Sonoma County. She urges financial assistance to be given to smaller-scale growers, noting a single permit can cost $10,000 to $20,000 – not to mention land use requirements that can compel people to relocate. “It’s hurting a lot of people,” she says.

Brandon Levine, director of a dispensary called Mercy Wellness, says he doubts 10 per cent of the hundreds of growers he currently works with will be able to get licensed.

“There won’t be legal outlets for all the people that cultivate and have gone to dispensaries, so the black market is going to explode,” Levine says, calling the situation “hugely urgent”.

Suppressing the black market was a central argument for proponents of legalisation, who argued that legal outlets would undercut the illicit trade. While it is an open secret in marijuana country that the black market absorbs some of what is grown, many cultivators have embraced legalisation as a way to come out of hiding and grow conscientiously, touting environmental protections and a way to finally jettison the ever-present threat of prosecution.

But some of them won’t be able to get their products into the regulated market, and “people who work with dispensaries and can’t get permitted aren’t going to stop growing,” says Sonoma cultivator Julie Terry, voicing a widely shared sentiment.

“Many, many people will not be in that regulated market,” says Sam Magruder, a Sonoma County grower who has sunk millions into obtaining properly zoned land and getting it up to code for his growing operation.

For More


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National Study Finds One in Two Americans Tested May Misuse Prescription Medications

I thought you might be interested in a study released today by Quest Diagnostics that offers new insight into our nation’s prescription and illicit drug epidemic.

The study, “Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™: Prescription Drug Misuse in America,” is based on an analysis of about 3.4 million prescription medication monitoring laboratory tests performed by Quest Diagnostics between 2011 and 2016.

Quest is the leading provider of diagnostic information services, providing laboratory testing to about one in three American adults each year. The company analyzes this de-identified data to provide objective insights into critical healthcare issues affecting millions of Americans. I thought the latest data might interest your staff, members and online followers. You can access the full study at

Key findings include:

  • More than half (52%) of test results of patients tested showed evidence of potential misuse in 2016, suggesting a majority of patients took their prescribed drugs in ways that were inconsistent with their physician’s knowledge or instruction.
  • Dangerous drug combination: opioids and benzodiazepines. Among 33,000 specimens tested for opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol, more than 20% were positive for both opioids and benzodiazepines, more than 10% were positive for both alcohol and opioids, and 3% were positive for all three.
  • Heroin and fentanyl also combined. Among all specimens positive for heroin, 19% were also positive for non-prescribed fentanyl. When combined with heroin, fentanyl heightens the risk of drug overdose death.
  • Drug misuse rates were high among most age groups and both genders. However, adolescents (10 – 17 years of age) showed a striking improvement, with the drug misuse rate dropping from 70% to 29% between 2011 and 2016.

Prescription medication misuse infographic 9 6 17USA

Quest is sharing these study findings at the medical conference PAINWeek 2017 in Las Vegas this week as well as with traditional and social media outlets.

Call to Action: We encourage you to consider sharing these findings with others who may take an interest.

Attached is an infographic with the key findings. Additionally, you may go to to access:

  • The full study in PDF form
  • An interactive map of misuse states by state

Also below are suggested Facebook posts and Tweets that link to the study:

Facebook Twitter
National study finds people often combine prescription drugs, like opioids, with other drugs, putting their health at risk. #PainWEEK 2017: @QuestDX  study reveals prescriptions widely, dangerously combined
Examination of 33,000 prescription drug lab results shows widespread misuse. Learn more at @QuestDX provides new insights into the nation’s prescription drug epidemic based on lab data
Did you know half of all American adults tested misuse their prescription medications? Learn more here: Did you know half of all American adults tested misuse their prescription medications? @QuestDX


Supplied by KP P U B L I C   A F F A I R S w.


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Faces & Voices of Recovery UK – Recovery Walk 2017

Please download this year’s Brochure for all the info you will need for The 9th UK Recovery Walk Blackpool.

Download this years Walk Brochure here

Register for the Walk here


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On the four year anniversary of the “Cole Memorandum” – the Obama-era guidelines allowing marijuana legalization in some U.S. states – Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing evidence-based marijuana laws and led by a former Obama-appointed official released a new report demonstrating that states with legal marijuana have failed to meet U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) rules designed to keep federal officials from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in states with legal marijuana. The report, entitled “The Cole Memo: 4 Years Later” is the first comprehensive census of open source information measuring state compliance of the eight rules designed to keep federal officials from interfering in state markets.
According to the report, the three states with the most established retail marijuana markets – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – have failed to meet at least 7 of the 8 compliance guidelines in the Cole Memo. Most notably, states with legal sales have failed to prevent distribution of marijuana to minors, the trafficking of marijuana to other states, and the production of marijuana on public lands. Additionally, drugged driving is increasing and criminal enterprises are continuing to exploit the legal market as a cover for a wide array of criminal activity. DOJ’s “hands off” enforcement posture is contingent on states meeting these requirements “on paper and in practice.” For more


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