UK: Poms Popping Pills and Poisoning the Populace!

A nation of pill poppers: Record 1.1 BILLION prescriptions written in 2017 as figures reveal the 20 most popular drugs but critics slam the NHS for spending millions on paracetamol

  • Some 1.1 billion drugs were dispensed by pharmacists across England in 2017
  • NHS Digital figures today show that statins were the most common prescription
  • Campaigners blasted the statistics, which showed the NHS spent £9.1 billion

By Stephen Matthews For Mailonline PUBLISHED: 16 March 2018 |

A record number of prescriptions were dished out by the NHS last year, official figures reveal.

More than 1.1 billion drugs were dispensed by pharmacists across England in 2017 – the most since charts began 10 years ago.

Statins were the most common prescription across England – with more than 72.6 million prescribed. There were also 71.5 million prescriptions for high blood pressure and heart failure drugs.

Campaigners have today blasted the statistics, which also provided a full breakdown of the £9.1 billion the NHS spent on prescriptions last year.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said money was being ‘wasted’ on items available much cheaper in the supermarket.

The figures show health chiefs spent around £80 million on aspirin and paracetamol, which can be bought for pennies at supermarkets.

NHS Digital figures show that statins were the most common prescription across England – with more than 62 million prescribed

Each prescription of the 20 million paracetamol prescriptions cost the NHS £3.07. A pack of 16 tablets can be picked up for 20p at shops.

Number crunching by MailOnline shows the cash-strapped health service could have saved roughly £57 million by not giving out paracetamol.

On top of the higher prices, suppliers charge the NHS substantial delivery and administration costs to ship these products to pharmacies.

Figures also showed more than £16 million was spent on gluten free foods – which critics have previously claimed was a scandal.

Mr O’Connell called for NHS bosses to ‘think again’ about their priorities.

He said: ‘At a time when the NHS is failing to meet basic targets for cancer diagnosis, it can’t be right that taxpayers’ money is being wasted on basic items that are much cheaper to buy in the supermarket than they are to prescribe.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5505639/NHS-figures-reveal-20-drugs-dished-most.html#ixzz5A9IxbidV

 

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UK: ‘Skunk’ and the Serious Psychosis Segue!

Scientists show cannabis TRIPLES psychosis risk: Groundbreaking research blames ‘skunk’ for 1 in 4 of all new serious mental disorders

  • Researchers highlighted the dangers of a super-strength strain of cannabis
  • A study found ‘skunk’ was responsible for a quarter of psychosis cases
  • But weaker forms such as hash don’t carry the same risk of mental illness

By Stephen Adams for The Mail on Sunday PUBLISHED: 15 February 2015

Super-strength strains of cannabis are responsible for up to a quarter of new cases of psychotic mental illness, scientists will warn this week.

The potent form of the drug, known as ‘skunk’, is so powerful that users are three times more likely to suffer a psychotic episode than those who have never tried it.

The study, leaked to The Mail on Sunday ahead of its publication, is set to reignite the debate around Britain’s drug laws, and will add weight to calls for a tougher stance towards those caught dealing or in possession of cannabis.

Scientists are warning that super-strength strains of cannabis are responsible for up to a quarter of new cases of psychotic mental illness (file image)

According to Crime Survey figures for England and Wales, over a million youngsters aged 16 to 24 smoke cannabis. Regular users are most at risk, prompting experts to warn that youngsters need to be aware of the dangers of skunk, which has been specially cultivated to be four times as strong as the cannabis smoked by previous generations.

The researchers, led by a team at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College in London, conclude there is an ‘urgent need… to inform young people about the risks of high-potency cannabis’ amid a worldwide trend towards relaxing drug laws.

They will reveal there is a key difference between potent skunk strains and ‘hash’. Those who used these ‘weaker’ forms did not seem to suffer the same increase in risks.

Psychosis is defined as a form of mental illness where people experience delusions, hallucinations, or both at the same time. Associated with conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, some people are so badly affected that they end up committing suicide or seriously harming others because they believe they are being ordered to do so by voices in their heads.

The findings will add substance to a 2012 report by the Schizophrenia Commission, which recommended the need for ‘warnings about the risks of cannabis’ to mental health.

That report was chaired by schizophrenia expert Professor Sir Robin Murray, who also played a key part in the new study. It looked at cannabis use in two groups, each containing about 400 people, from 2005 to 2011. Those in the first group had all suffered ‘first-episode psychosis’– a diagnosed first occurrence of the disorder.

The research appears to show a striking difference between the effects of skunk and the weaker form of cannabis, hash resin, revealing that hash seemed not to add to a person’s risk of psychosis – even if smoked daily

The second group were volunteers who agreed to answer questions about themselves – including on cannabis use and mental health history – for a study. Some had suffered psychosis, others not. They were not told the nature of the project.

The academics found those in the first group were more likely to smoke cannabis daily – and to smoke skunk – than those in the second. The researchers say: ‘Skunk use alone was responsible for 24 per cent of adults presenting with first-episode psychosis to the psychiatric services in South London.’

This was almost double the previous highest estimate of psychiatric cases linked to the drug – 13 per cent – from a 2002 Dutch study.

The latest research, to be published in The Lancet, concludes: ‘People who used cannabis or skunk every day were roughly three times more likely to have a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder than were those who never used cannabis.’

Skunk is shorthand for around 100 strains of cannabis that contain a high proportion of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the drug’s primary psychoactive compound. But the levels of another compound, cannabidiol – which may have anti-psychotic effects – are the reverse, high in hash and virtually zero in skunk.

The researchers speculate this could be due to the differing chemical make-up of the two forms: ‘The presence of cannabidiol [in hash] might explain our results, which showed that hash users do not have any increase in risk of psychotic disorders compared with non-users.’

Michael Ellis, a Tory member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: ‘This powerful new study illustrates that those in government and the police must be careful to send out the right message. Cannabis isn’t a harmless drug: it can ruin lives.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2953915/Scientists-cannabis-TRIPLES-psychosis-risk-Groundbreaking-research-blames-skunk-1-4-new-mental-disorders.html#ixzz59gFkr27W

 

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USA: Why are We Taking This Toxin?

MARIJUANA IS POISONING MINDS OF AMERICAN YOUTH

March 13, 218 – A guest editorial which appeared in the Times of San Diego, on December 30, 2016, by Nardin Georgeos

In today’s society, we are all faced with obstacles, especially those of us who are young and still learning right from wrong, and good from bad. If someone were to offer me marijuana, I would immediately decline. I am a teenager and I have already been educated on this topic. I have developed my own choices and opinions.

Marijuana is a toxin. That does not prevent the youth of today from using it. It is the responsibility of adults to teach and encourage youth to make the right choice and not smoke weed.

This problem is mostly being ignored. Making marijuana legal — as California has done beginning Jan. 1 — does not make it less harmful. Teens usually make the decision to use marijuana based on one of four factors: curiosity, friends, self-medication or social media.

The Four Reasons Youth Use Marijuana

Many teens are merely curious about getting high and wonder what the big deal is. They begin by trying only for the experience, thinking they are invincible and they are not the type of people to get addicted.

Teens are mostly trying to fit in and find a place in their society. According to research, when teens were asked why they use marijuana, 29 percent said it was because their friends use it.

It is no secret that some teens are troubled. According to a recent article, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that one in five teens has a diagnosable mental health disorder, and about a third show symptoms of depression. To numb the pain, teens may turn to drugs.

Social media influences our lives in many ways, one of which is the sponsoring and promotion of marijuana in songs and ads. The music that teens listen to makes marijuana seem cool, according to 45 percent of teens who responded to a recent survey. And the same number of teens agree that movies and TV shows make drugs seem like an OK thing to do.

For more http://www.poppot.org/2018/03/13/marijuana-poisoning-minds-american-youth/

 

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Scotland: Children Casualties of Drug Induced Family Breakdown

Parents’ drug and alcohol abuse named among causes of family breakdown in Scotland

By BEN BORLAND March 10, 2018

A DAMNING new report has revealed the extent of the breakdown of family life for Scotland’s most troubled children over the past decade.

Families are more likely to breakup now than they were 10 years ago

The findings present a shocking picture of soaring drug and alcohol abuse, criminality and violence among today’s feckless parents.

Also, the number of children being taken into care has risen and families are more likely to be broken up by the state than they were a decade ago.

More generally, across the whole of Scotland, young people are facing more “complex” lives as a result of growing ethnic diversity and widespread drug and alcohol abuse.

Researchers from the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) took two sample groups of looked-after children, the first born in 2003 and the second born in 2013, and examined how their lives have changed.

They found the younger group were more likely to suffer “family fragmentation”, with more children living apart from their siblings and/or parents, instability as a result of the care system and “problem parents”.

Scotland’s most troubled children are those who suffer ‘family fragmentation’

It is clear we all need to work together to make changes to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable children

Malcolm Schaffer, SCRA’s Head of Practice and Policy

The children born in 2013 were far more likely to have a parent who was a drug abuser, involved in offending, in prison, a victim or perpetrator of violence or suffering from isolation, bereavement or mental illness.

Underlining the importance of our Crusade for the Children of Alcoholics, 45 per cent of the younger group had a parent with an alcohol abuse problem – up from 43 per cent of those born in 2003.

For complete article https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/929994/scotland-drug-alcohol-abuse-family-break-down-troubled-children

 

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Canada: Weapon Wielding Warriors on Weed! OHS issues, hmmm???

Military wrestling with marijuana legalization: Vance

February 26, 2018

OTTAWA — Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance says the military is currently wrestling with the implications of marijuana legalization, including whether to set certain time periods between when a service member uses the drug and when they go on duty.

Vance says he does not envision a complete ban or prohibition on military personnel or even certain occupations such as pilots and that he plans to take a common-sense approach that follows the law of the land.

But he says service members do dangerous and serious work and he doesn’t want them to do it stoned, which is why certain restrictions will need to be adopted, as is already the case with alcohol.

For complete article http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/military-wrestling-with-marijuana-legalization-vance

 

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USA: Opioid Crisis Continues!!!


Opioid crisis: overdoses increased by a third across US in 14 months, says CDC

Results show opioid overdoses increasing across all regions and in most states, for most men and women and most age groups

Jessica Glenza in New York @JessicaGlenza

Wed 7 Mar 2018 05.29 AEDTLast modified on Wed 7 Mar 2018 05.44 AEDT

The contents of a drug overdose rescue kit at a training session on how to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of heroin and prescription painkillers, in Buffalo, New York, on 13 May 2015. Photograph: Carolyn Thompson/AP

Opioid overdoses increased by roughly 30% across the US in just 14 months between 2016 and 2017, according to a new report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC called the data a “wake up call to the fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic”. It recorded 142,000 overdoses in US hospital emergency departments between July 2016 and September 2017.

Although not all overdoses in the study were fatal, they are part of the grim toll opioids have taken. In the US in 2016, illicit and prescription drug overdoseskilled 64,000 people.

“Our results through September 2017 show opioid overdoses are increasing across all regions, most states for most men and women and most age groups,” said Dr Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC.

“We’re currently seeing the highest overdose death rates ever recorded in the United States.” Schuchat later added: “The infrastructure to fully tackle this problem is fragile.”

The CDC’s Vital Signs study looked at two data sets. The first, the Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) program, is a snapshot of emergency department data from 16 states.

Eight of those states included saw “substantial” overdose increases of at least 25%. Two states reported overdoses more than doubled – including in Wisconsin with 109% and Delaware with 105% increases. Another dramatic increase occurred in Pennsylvania, where overdoses went up 81%.

Overdoses also increased in “cities and towns of all types”, the report said. Overdoses are often associated with rural America but metropolitan areas with 1 million or more people saw the steepest increase, at 54%.

While the CDC did not look at the source of opioids, Schuchat said illicit fentanyl-laced heroin is “a very major problem right now”.

For complete article https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/06/opioid-crisis-overdoses-increased-by-a-third-across-us-in-14-months-says-cdc

 

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COMPREHENSIVE STUDY FINDS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION DRIVES YOUTH USE

COMPREHENSIVE STUDY FINDS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION DRIVES YOUTH USE, CRIME RATES, THE BLACK MARKET, AND HARMS COMMUNITIES OF COLOR

Dramatic Increases in Fatal Drugged Driving Crashes, Workplace Accidents, Arrest Rates, Black Market Activity in States That Have Legalized Marijuana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14, 2018

Contact: Colton Grace Colton@learnaboutsam.org (864)-492-6719

(Alexandria, VA) – Today, Smart Approaches to

Marijuana (SAM), the leading, nonpartisan U.S. organization offering a science-based approach to marijuana policy, released the most comprehensive study to date today entitled: Lessons from Marijuana Legalization in Four U.S. States and D.C. This study, validated by scientists from around the country, found that since legalization, marijuana use has soared, the black market is thriving, and communities of color are being negatively affected.

The study found that legalized states are leading the nation in past-year marijuana use among every age group. Among

those states, Colorado currently holds the lead for first-time marijuana use among youth aged 12-17, representing a 65% increase since legalization. Young adult use is also highest in legalized states. Further, the number of young people arrested for marijuana use in Colorado saw an increase from 2015-2016.

Not only are more young people being arrested for marijuana use in states that have legalized the substance, but Colorado has also seen an increase in the amount of youth on probation who have tested positive for the drug.

This rise in youth use of marijuana is particularly frightening to see given the longterm implications involved with young people becoming addicted to marijuana. “Since commercialization, those of us in addiction treatment have been seeing an increase in the number of patients who have become addicted to marijuana. Their symptoms, particularly sleep disturbance, appetite disturbance and psychosis, don’t consistently remit after ninety days of treatment,” said Bari Platter, Clinical Nurse Specialist at the University of Colorado Hospital’s CeDAR (Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation). “We need to do more research about the devastating long-term effects of marijuana before considering commercialization in other states,” continued Platter.

Some supporters of legalization have argued that the relaxing of marijuana laws would lead to lower rates of alcohol consumption. The data prove otherwise. In the immediate year following legalization of marijuana, there was a clear drop off, but by year three alcohol consumption was at a multi-year high.

Commercialization advocates have long argued that legalization will reduce black market marijuana activity in legalized states. However, criminal activity has only been amplified. In 2016 alone, Colorado law enforcement confiscated 7,116 pounds of marijuana, carried out 252 felony arrests, and made 346 highway interdictions of marijuana headed to 36 different U.S. states. The U.S. mail system has also been affected by the black market, seeing an 844% increase in postal marijuana seizures. Narcotics officers in Colorado have been busy responding to the 50% increase in illegal growing operations across rural areas in the state.

“It’s very concerning that this data is not what we’re hearing in the news, but is instead spin jobs, incomplete information, and biased information promoted and pushed by Big Marijuana,” said Dr. Aaron Weiner, PhD, Director of Addictions at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health. “It’s impossible to read this brief and not want push back to keep our kids and young adults safe from this predatory industry,” Wiener continued.

One of the most common arguments prevalent amongst the pro-marijuana lobby is that the legalization of the substance will greatly assist communities of color. The study found that the common disparities among use and criminal offense rates continue among race, ethnicity, and income levels. The District of Columbia saw public consumption and

distribution arrests nearly triple and a disproportionate number of those marijuana-related arrests occur among African-Americans.

Finally, the study found a disturbing trend in that drugged driving and motor vehicle fatalities have increased in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. The number of drivers in Colorado intoxicated with marijuana and involved in fatal traffic crashes increased 88% from 2013-2015 and marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 66% between the four-year averages before and after legalization.

“The gradual normalization of marijuana commercialization in Colorado and other states means people become accustomed to the rise in THC-impaired driving fatalities or to witnessing psychosis induced by marijuana,” said Dr. Christine Miller, PhD, former instructor and research associate at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

“The marijuana industry is actively working to become the next Big Tobacco. The use of THC candies and drinks are catering to young people and getting them into the drug at an early age,” said SAM President Kevin Sabet, PhD. “At a time when our nation is struggling with a crippling opioid epidemic, the last thing we need is young people getting caught up in drug use thanks to a relaxing of drug laws. This study should serve as an eye-opener for our policy makers at both the state and federal level,” continued Sabet.

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GLOBAL: United Nations Report Scolds Countries for Cannabis Legalization

United Nations Report Scolds Countries for Cannabis Legalization

SARA BRITTANY SOMERSET March 12, 2018

The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recently issued its 2017 annual report, and the takeaway with regard to cannabis is clear: The INCB is deeply concerned with the spread of adult-use legalization.

Countries pursuing legalization are acting in ‘clear violation’ of the UN’s 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, says the International Narcotics Control Board.

The report contains stern warnings, accusing countries like Uruguay of acting in “clear violation” of global drug control accords.

The Board, which monitors compliance with international drug control treaties, is made up of individuals, not U.N. member states. That’s meant to protect it from political pressure. The Board’s charter also stipulates, however, that it must include individuals with “medical, pharmacological or pharmaceutical experience.” That means Big Pharma is well represented, while advocates for cannabis legalization—whether medical or adult-use—have no seat at the table.

International drug control treaties, signed by most member states decades ago, are meant to prohibit the proliferation and non-medical use of of dangerous drugs. Cannabis is specifically covered under most of the treaties.

However, in recent years countries like Uruguay have legalized and regulated the non-medical use of cannabis. Canada is planning to legalize later this year. In the United States, nine states and the District of Columbia have implemented some form of adult-use legalization.

That does not sit well with the INCB. “Governments and jurisdictions in North America have continued to pursue policies with respect to the legalization of the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes, in violation of the 1961 Convention as amended,” states the Board’s 2017 report.

Warnings to Uruguay, Jamaica

The Board strongly cautioned Uruguay, which legalized cannabis nationally in 2013, and currently sells cannabis in pharmacies, that the nation is “acting in clear violation” of the drug treaties.

“The limitation of the use of controlled substances to medicinal and scientific purposes is a fundamental principle to which no derogation is permitted under the 1961 Convention as amended,” the INCB report says.

The U.N. board members also criticized Jamaica for legalizing cannabis for religious use three years ago. Cannabis is considered a religious sacrament among adherents of the Rastafarian religion. Rastafarians take their spiritual name from Ras Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael, (Emperor Haile Selassie I, of Ethiopia). Selassie is considered a direct descendent of King Solomon.

While the U.N. claims to promote global religious tolerance, the INCB strongly disagrees with the religious nature of the rasta cannabis ceremony.

“The Board reminds the Government of Jamaica, and all other parties, that under article 4, paragraph (c), of the 1961 Convention as amended, only the medical and scientific use of cannabis is authorized, and that use for any other purposes, including religious, is not permitted,” the report states.

https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/united-nations-report-scolds-countries-for-cannabis-legalization

 

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USA: Drug Dealers & Death Penalty

Donald Trump calls for drug dealers to face death penalty

Mar 11, 2018

Donald Trump has called for drug dealers to face the death penalty in a bid to tackle the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States.

In a speech on Sunday (AEST), Mr Trump argued America should adopt similar drug policies to those in Singapore, where he claimed there was “no problem”.

The President, who announced a 90-day public health emergency in October, said he had been impressed by the Asian nation’s approach during discussions with Singaporean officials.

“These guys don’t play games,” Mr Trump told a rally in Pennsylvania.

“I said, ‘How are you doing on drugs?’ ‘No problem’. I said, ‘What do you mean no problem?’ ‘That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty’.

“And they don’t have a problem.”

Mr Trump argued that in the US, people convicted of murder often received a life sentence or the death penalty, but drug dealers did not, despite killing “thousands of people”.

“I don’t know if you’re ready. I don’t know if this country’s ready for it, but I think … it’s a discussion we have to start thinking about.”

Though Mr Trump’s remarks on Sunday were not scripted, he also suggested executing drug dealers earlier in the month.

And the Trump administration is said to be examining policy changes that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty, according to The Washington Post.

Last year, a United Nations study found the US led the world for drug overdose deaths. It had 27 per cent of all fatalities, but only 4 per cent of the world population.

Meanwhile, a third of all drug overdose victims in 2016 had taken synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse.

Singapore has among the lowest rates of drug abuse in the world, but its drug policies are often described by critics as draconian.

The country imposes a mandatory death penalty on a person carrying a specified quantity – for example at least 500 grams of cannabis, 30 grams of cocaine or 250 grams of methamphetamine.

The burden of proof also falls on the defendant, rather than the authorities.

It means anyone who owns a car or house where drugs are found is presumed to have possessed them, while a person can also be arrested merely for being in the presence of drug users.

Critics of Mr Trump’s call have suggested capital punishment could drive drug users further underground and could lead to fewer people seeking treatment.

Public health experts have urged the government to provide more funding for cash-strapped treatment centres in the worst-hit states, such as West Virginia.

For More https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2018/03/11/trump-drug-dealers-death-penalty/?utm_source=Responsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20180312_TND

 

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USA: ‘Blaze Haze’ still hasn’t stupefied the majority!

POLL: ILLINOIS RESIDENTS REJECT LEGALIZED MARIJUANA BY HUGE MARGIN

March 2018

A poll in November found that only 23% of Illinois residents support the legalization of recreational marijuana, while 69% support other options such as maintaining the current decriminalization law.  Pollsters interviewed 625 registered voters in Illinois by telephone, making the margin of error plus or minus 4 percent.

We constantly hear that the majority of Americans support legalization of marijuana. What reports don’t always reveal is that results always depend on how the questions are asked.  When voters know there’s the option of decriminalization, the polls are very different, as was the case in New York.

The Mason-Dixon Poll stated: “Now I want to ask a few questions more specific about marijuana policy in Illinois.  Currently, possessing 10 grams of marijuana, enough for about 30 joints is not a crime in Illinois. Instead, it is a civil violation, like a traffic ticket.  Many people call this policy ‘decriminalization.’  Medical marijuana use is also legal in Illinois.  Knowing that personal possession is already decriminalized in Illinois, which one of the following marijuana policies do you prefer: (order rotated)

  • Keep the current policy of decriminalization and medical marijuana
  • Keep the current policy of decriminalization but repeal medical marijuana
  • Change the current policy of decriminalization by legalizing commercial production, use and sale of marijuana for recreational use
  • Make all marijuana illegal. “

In Illinois, by far the largest groups wants to keep the things the same, 47%.  The voters identified as conservative, 31%, moderate, 38% and liberal, 29% and not sure, 2%.   Almost half of these voters registered as Democrats, 46%, while 28% are registered as Republicans and 26% are Independents.

For Complete article http://www.poppot.org/2018/03/08/poll-illinois-residents-reject-legal-marijuana-legalization-margin/

 

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