Friday, October 28, 2016

Sheldon Adelson Is A Fool Regarding Drug Policy

Sheldon Adelson and his 2nd and current wife Miriam

Is worth $28 billion, and the 18th wealthiest person on the planet.  Is a casino and media magnate and philanthropist.
- chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Sands Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Sands Macau in Macau, China, and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and the parent company of Venetian Macao Limited which operates The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

- owner of the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.[3]

- donates to a variety of causes, with his wife's initiative, the Adelson Foundation.
- a former supporter of the Democrat Party who now supports the Republican Party, who describes himself as "liberal on several social issues"

Rabidly opposes any liberalization from drug prohibition status quo.

Is quite anti Marijuana, even anti Medical Marijuana

Spent $5 million of his own money on political campaign to defeat a relatively restrictive 2014 Florida initiative to legalize Medical Marijuana for "debilitating diseases".

Has reportedly pressured the editorial board of the Las Vegas Journal Review to reconsider their pro Marijuana stance.

Is said to be anti Marijuana as he view it as a "gateway" substance to other illicit drugs.  Never mind the relative safeties, and that the criminalization of Marijuana or any other drug is a man made condition, is not something intrinsically pharmacological, and that most Marijuana consumers don't graduate to say injecting heroin.  If it were instead alcohol that were illegal, would he then oppose its legalization on the grounds that it was a 'gateway' substance to heroin use?

Is rabidly pro drug war as a personal passion for his son Mitchell - one of his three adopted children with his 1st wife Sandra who he divorced in 1988 -- who died of a drug over dose, who was said to have used cocaine and heroin from an early age, never-mind that it is prohibition that both shifts the availability and uses of these drugs into their most potentially dangerous concentrated forms and modes of administration.  For instance, cocaine, a stimulant, has never been actually been shown to be more dangerous than other naturally occurring in plants stimulants as caffeine and nicotine when used in like dilute forms, with Coca leaf regarded as very safe; that even caffeine can be quite deadly as a concentrated powder.  Supporters of our cocaine prohibition as this hopelessly confuse dilute and highly concentrated forms and modes of cocaine and its use.

Adelson should recognize the effects of drug prohibition, as he ironically claims to be pro free market!  For instance, in 2012, the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a think tank in Las Vegas, gave him its Chairman's Award for his efforts to advance free market principles in Nevada.[48]

Suggested readings for Sheldon Adelson & Co. about prohibition's effects upon drug use

With Trump surrounding himself with such rabid drug war supporters as Melvin Sembler and Sheldon Adelson, the former associated with coercive outfits as Straight Inc that has kidnapped youth for the sake of 'saving' them from Marijuana, the latter with bankrolling political campaigns to defeat Medical Marijuana legalization initiatives in Florida, it seems al the more likely that a Trump Administration would be rabidly pro continuing and even intensifying the drug war.

To his credit, Trump has come out at least in favor of medical Marijuanna.

One can pray that a President Trump would  be guided by God to rule wisely.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Bill Clinton Appointees Trash 2nd Amendment For MJ Users

'well regulated' need not be so well regulated, with Court assuming that a substances status as 'illegal' renders any assumptions valid.
922  (d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—

is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));

Jed Saul Rakoff (born August 1, 1943) is a United States District Judge on senior status for the Southern District of New York.[1]

Judge Rakoff was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 1, 1943. He grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and attended Central High School of Philadelphia.

Rakoff graduated with honors in English literature from Swarthmore College (B.A. 1964), where he was President of the Student Body, earned his M. Phil. from Balliol College at Oxford University (1966), and received a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School (1969), where he was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. He has received honorary degrees from Saint Francis University and from Swarthmore.[2][3] After serving as law clerk to the late Honorable Abraham Freedman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Rakoff spent two years in private practice at Debevoise & Plimpton before spending seven years as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. For the last two of those years, he was Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Prosecutions Unit. He then returned to private practice where he was a partner first with Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander & Ferdon, and then with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. He headed both firms' criminal defense and civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) sections.

On October 11, 1995, Rakoff was nominated by President Bill Clinton[4] to fill a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by David N. Edelstein. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 29, 1995, appointed on January 4, 1996, and entered on duty on March 1, 1996. On December 31, 2010, he assumed senior status.

Susan Pia Graber (born July 5, 1949) is an American attorney and jurist. She is a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A native of Oklahoma, she was the 90th Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, and served on the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Susan Graber was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on July 5, 1949.[1][2] After high school Graber attended Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.[1] She graduated from Wellesley with a Bachelor of Arts in 1969, Phi Beta Kappa.[1] Graber went to law school at Yale where she earned her Juris Doctor in 1972.[1] She attended Yale with Hillary Rodham (now Clinton) and Bill Clinton.[3]

 Upon graduation Graber became an assistant attorney general for the New Mexico Bureau of Revenue, where she continued until 1974.[1] That year she entered private law practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico, until 1975.[1] In 1975 she moved to Ohio where she returned to private practice, this time in Cincinnati, until 1978.[1] Then in 1978 Graber moved to Portland, Oregon, where she became an associate at Stoel Rives Boley Jones and Grey (now Stoel Rives LLP).[1][4] In 1981 she became a partner.[1] In 1986, the Northwest Women’s Law Center gave her their Founder’s Award to recognize her pro bono service.[4]
In 1983, while she was a practicing attorney, Graber was designated to serve occasionally as a state district court judge on a temporary or pro tempore basis when the regular judges of the court were unavailable.[5] She also served as a mediator for the U.S. District Court from 1986 to 1988.[4]

Graber began her career as a judge when Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt appointed her to the Oregon Court of Appeals. She was appointed on February 11, 1988, to replace judge Thomas F. Young, who had died in office. Graber served on the court of appeals until May 2, 1990.[6] While on the bench she served as president of the Oregon Appellate Judges Association.[4]

On May 2, 1990, Graber was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court by Governor Goldschmidt to replace Robert E. Jones.[7][8] However, Jones, prior to resigning his position, filed for re-election and won the election.[7] Thus Jones resigned a second time and Goldschmidt appointed Graber a second time on January 7, 1991.[7] She became the second woman to serve on that court, following Betty Roberts.[3] Graber then won election to a full six-year term in 1992, but resigned on April 1, 1998, before the term expired.[7] While on the court she was considered to be a candidate for appointment to the United States Supreme Court.[3]

Graber resigned because, on July 30, 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to replace Edward Leavy, who assumed senior judge status.[1] She was subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate in a 98-0 vote on March 17, 1998, and received her commission two days later.[1] With her appointment she became the first female judge to serve on that court from the state of Oregon.[9]

Richard Charles Tallman (born March 3, 1953) is a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a judge on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.

Born in Oakland, California, Tallman received his Bachelor's degree in 1975 from the University of Santa
Clara and his Juris Doctor in 1978 from Northwestern University School of Law, where he served as the executive director of the law revie

Born in Oakland, California, Tallman received his Bachelor's degree in 1975 from the University of Santa Clara and his Juris Doctor in 1978 from Northwestern University School of Law, where he served as the executive director of the law review.

After serving as a law clerk for Judge Morell E. Sharp of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, Tallman worked as a trial lawyer for the Department of Justice and as an assistant United States Attorney in Seattle, Washington. From 1983 until his appointment to the Ninth Circuit in 2000, Tallman was an attorney in private practice in Seattle, including as chairman of the white-collar criminal defense practice group at the former Bogle and Gates law firm between 1990 and 1999. After that firm closed on March 31, 1999, Tallman formed the firm Tallman & Severin.[2]

Among Tallman's higher-profile clients in private practice was representing the Seattle Mariners in legal disputes over scheduling rights in the Kingdome.[2] Tallman also handled medical malpractice and defense procurement cases.[2]

Despite being a Republican, Tallman was nominated by President Bill Clinton to his current seat on the Ninth Circuit on October 20, 1999 and was confirmed by a voice vote of the U.S. Senate on May 24, 2000.[3][4] Tallman was nominated to fill the seat vacated by longtime Ninth Circuit judge Betty Binns Fletcher, who took senior status in 1998. Clinton's previous nominee to that seat, conservative Washington State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Durham, had been nominated in January 1999 as part of a bipartisan deal brokered by Washington's senators at the time, Slade Gorton and Patty Murray. However, Durham withdrew her nomination to the seat just four months later because of her husband's terminal heart condition.[5] Tallman then was nominated after he was one of three potential nominees that Gorton recommended to the White House.[2]

Defendant argues that §922(g)(3) runs afoul of the Second Amendment because it deprives him of his constitutional right “to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”
District of Columbia v. Heller
, 554 U.S. 570, 592
(2008). But, in Heller, the Supreme Court instructed that the
Second Amendment right “is not unlimited.

at 626. In

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sociopathic U.S. DEA Seeks to Make Kratom 'Schedule 1'

noun, Psychiatry.
a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

DSM-IV Definition. Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the local culture. There is a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules. Individuals with this disorder are sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths.
    some points:
    Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

    Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
DEA claims to be protecting the public from especially dangerous drugs.

The DEA not only enforces existing prohibitions, but also claims a right to prohibit substances on its own without legislative sanctification.

The DEA now wants to ban Kartom, placing it on its 'schedule 1' meaning no acceptable medicinal or otherwise uses.
Schedule I

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote

The DEA now is doing so with Karatom.

It cites 660 emergency room visits over a 6 year period with the U.S.A. with a population of over 300 million people.  Further putting this in to perspective, Jacob Sullum writes:

From January 2010 through December 2015, the DEA notes, “U.S. poison centers received 660 calls related to kratom exposure.” It adds that “during this time, there was a tenfold increase in the number of calls received, from 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015.” Reported symptoms included “agitation or irritability, tachycardia, nausea, drowsiness, and hypertension.”

An average of 110 cases a year may sound like a lot, but it’s not. It represents about 0.004 percent of the 3 million or so calls received by poison control centers each year. By comparison, exposures involving analgesics accounted for nearly 300,000 calls in 2014, while cosmetics and personal care products, cleaning solutions, antidepressants, and antihistamines each accounted for more than 100,000. The DEA not only fails to put the number of kratom-related calls in perspective; it does not mention that two-thirds of the cases were deemed “minor” or “moderate,” while only 7 percent (eight per year) were described as “life-threatening.” The CDC noted a single death in six years, “reported in a person who was exposed to the medications paroxetine (an antidepressant) and lamotrigine (an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer) in addition to kratom.”

These numbers are pretty reassuring, especially since the DEA says “millions of dosage units” are imported into the U.S. each year. But the agency draws the opposite conclusion, saying “such alarming quantities create an imminent public health and safety threat.”
The DEA goes beyond hyperbolizing about Karatom's alleged dangerousness, pretending that the substance has no legitimate uses and that any such use is somehow by definition "abuse".

The DEA is doing this under the apparent leadership of one 'Chuck Rosenberg'.

Chuck Rosenberg was appointed Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on May 13, 2015 by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Prior to joining DEA, Mr. Rosenberg served as the chief of staff and senior counselor to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Comey.  Before rejoining the FBI, Chuck was a partner at a Washington, D.C. law firm.  Prior to that, Chuck served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, which is routinely entrusted with many of the nation’s most sensitive terrorism and national security prosecutions.  As the chief federal law enforcement officer for the district, Chuck supervised the prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of all civil matters involving the federal government.  From June 2005 until March 2006, Chuck served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas – one of the largest districts in the nation with six offices, including one in Houston and three on the border of the United States and Mexico.

Chuck also served in several senior posts at the Department of Justice, where his work focused on counterterrorism, counterintelligence, national security, and criminal matters, including service as chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey (2004-2005), counselor to Attorney General John Ashcroft (2003 – 2004), and counsel to FBI Director Robert Mueller (2002 – 2003).  From 1994 to 2000, Chuck was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.  There, Chuck tried dozens of cases before juries and briefed and argued many of those cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Chuck prosecuted cases that ranged from complex financial fraud crimes to violent crimes and espionage.

Chuck is a graduate of Tufts University (BA), Harvard University (MPP), and the University of Virginia (JD).

Some comments at the Huffington Post article:
Roxie Gullikson Figaratto ·

Actions like this make a joke of the Controlled Substances Act! The DEA - FDA, etc, are fast losing any last shred of integrity they may have once enjoyed. Schedule 1 is fast becoming a go-to miracle cures reference list!

Schedule 1 = Natural cures that Big Pharma can't make any money on.
Unlike · Reply · 148 · Aug 31, 2016 1:26am
Dorothy E Ransom
In 2013 the CDC reported 480,000 deaths related to tobacco and 29,000 deaths related to alcohol, 0 deaths related to kratom, but alcohol and tobacco are legal and will remain legal. Why isn't the DEA trying to protect us from that? Could it be because alcohol and tobacco generates billions in revenue and kratom doesn't?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Progessive Secular Humanist" Outs Itself as Big Pharm Shill

Green Party Candidate Jill Stein makes sense on vaccine issue:

Jill Stein wrote:  I don’t know if we have an “official” stance, but I can tell you my personal stance at this point. According to the most recent review of vaccination policies across the globe, mandatory vaccination that doesn’t allow for medical exemptions is practically unheard of. In most countries, people trust their regulatory agencies and have very high rates of vaccination through voluntary programs. In the US, however, regulatory agencies are routinely packed with corporate lobbyists and CEOs. So the foxes are guarding the chicken coop as usual in the US. So who wouldn’t be skeptical? I think dropping vaccinations rates that can and must be fixed in order to get at the vaccination issue: the widespread distrust of the medical-indsutrial (sic) complex.

Vaccines in general have made a huge contribution to public health. Reducing or eliminating devastating diseases like small pox and polio. In Canada, where I happen to have some numbers, hundreds of annual death from measles and whooping cough were eliminated after vaccines were introduced. Still, vaccines should be treated like any medical procedure–each one needs to be tested and regulated by parties that do not have a financial interest in them. In an age when industry lobbyists and CEOs are routinely appointed to key regulatory positions through the notorious revolving door, its no wonder many Americans don’t trust the FDA to be an unbiased source of sound advice. A Monsanto lobbyists and CEO like Michael Taylor, former high-ranking DEA official, should not decide what food is safe for you to eat. Same goes for vaccines and pharmaceuticals. We need to take the corporate influence out of government so people will trust our health authorities, and the rest of the government for that matter. End the revolving door. Appoint qualified professionals without a financial interest in the product being regulated. Create public funding of elections to stop the buying of elections by corporations and the super-rich.
Stein’s answer is deeply disturbing. She gave a long winded and evasive answer to a simple and straightforward question. As a physician, and a scientist, her answer should have been clear and unequivocal: Vaccines work; homeopathy is bullshit.  Instead, her answer is a confused and muddled hash invoking big pharma conspiracy theory buzz: a convoluted political double-speak that would make the most jaded and cynical politician proud.
The Progressive Secular Humanist blurs this together with the idea that simply because vaccines work, then any formulation presented as a vaccine must be accepted without question and apparently without testing.

I must note that the Progressive Humanist is a site with such junk code that must be edited out in order to coherently quote from it,.  Go figure.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

End Opioid Prohibition

The media hysterics against opioids, such as The New York Times, ought to be ashamed of themselves!

Bob Bee- It's prohibition that serves to ensure opioids are more dangerous than they otherwise would be, due to uncertainty of purity and dosage of unregulated, black market drugs. Thus prohibition makes fatal OD's more likely, not less. Opioids should be legalized, regulated, and taxed like tobacco and alcohol. That way, users would know exactly what they were buying and the dosage. Also, opioid legalization would mean good, old, natural opium would be legally available. Users could opt for opium (active ingredients include morphine & codeine. It can be eaten, smoked, or consumed as a tea) as a safer alternative to ultra-potent pharma-junk powders & pills. Opium's safer as it's less concentrated and is harder to fatally OD on. End the counter-productive, hypocritical, unjust, indefensible war on opioids.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Are Petro Chemical Corporate People Shilling Comments Boards?
A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps or gives credibility to a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization. Shills can carry out their operations in the areas of media, journalism, marketing or other business areas.
Shill typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that they are an enthusiastic independent customer of a seller (or marketer of ideas) for whom they are secretly working. The person or group who hires the shill is using crowd psychology to encourage other onlookers or audience members to purchase the goods or services (or accept the ideas being marketed). Shills are often employed by professional marketing campaigns. "Plant" and "stooge" more commonly refer to any person who is secretly in league with another person or organization while pretending to be neutral or actually a part of the organization he is planted in, such as a magician's audience, a political party, or an intelligence organization (see double agent). 

Shilling is illegal in many circumstances and in many jurisdictions[1] because of the potential for fraud and damage; however, if a shill does not place uninformed parties at a risk of loss, but merely generates "buzz," the shill's actions may be legal. For example, a person planted in an audience to laugh and applaud when desired (see claque), or to participate in on-stage activities as a "random member of the audience," is a type of legal shill.
Shill can also be used pejoratively to describe a critic who appears either all-too-eager to heap glowing praise upon mediocre offerings, or who acts as an apologist for glaring flaws. In this sense, such a critic would be an indirect shill for the industry at large, because said critic's income is tied to the prosperity of the industry.
Cracked Magazine has run an article "5 Terrible Secrets Big Drug Companies Don't Want You To Know"

The article has a robust array of comments.

Some of these delve into the issue of vaccines and the idea that such or some are to blame for the reported spike in cases of autism.

Most of such comments do not believe that vaccines are to blame.

Indeed, the use of vaccines per se long pre-dates this autism spike.

Thus, the cause would not be vaccines per se, but perhaps a recently introduced combination of vaccines.  Or perhaps recently introduced vaccine formulations, perhaps some additive.  Or perhaps a combination of such vaccines and something else introduced into widespread use.  Or perhaps nothing to do with vaccines at all, but rather just something else introduced into widespread use.  All of these possibilities would not mean that one would accept the idea that vaccines per se are to blame.

Indeed, as one such comment would note:
mduce88  6-23-2014 
Interesting. But I'm convinced there is something unnatural about the mind-blowing spike in Autism over the last 30 years or so. In 1975, the rate of autism was 1 in 5,000. At the end of 2009, it was 1 in 110. Today, it's risen even more than that to about 1 in 80. The condition being diagnosed more is not a reasonable explanation for such a dramatic rise in my opinion. It's probably not vaccines, it is more likely due to environmental toxins, the increase of heavy metals pollutants, etc., but it is a serious issue that deserves attention, every possible cause should be examined.
OK.   "... It's probably not vaccines, it is more likely due to environmental toxins, the increase of heavy metals pollutants, etc., but it is a serious issue that deserves attention, every possible cause should be examined".

Yet notably, this comment has the highest negative rating in the article's entire comment section: -117, with 18 likes and 138 dislikes.

Are petro chemical corporate connected people stacking the deck with an exceptionally high participation in such comments sections?

Notably the article includes this:
#2 Planting Shills Everywhere
You can't read any product label nowadays without discovering that it's been endorsed by the American Society of Whatever, recommended by the National Center for Stuff, or enjoyed by the International Institute of Things.
As it turns out, most of these groups are pharmaceutical industry shills recommending medication based not on rigorous research, but rather the name that appears on their checks. Take the American Acne and Rosacea Society, for example. It's a theoretically impartial organization that's factually funded almost entirely by manufacturers of acne medication like Galderma, which has 13 of the 15 AARS experts on its payroll. So when AARS recommended a treatment for acne, it was no surprise that they went with Galderma's $2,500-a-year plan, instead of the equally effective $120-a-year generic alternative....
... Let's take what drug giant Wyeth did in 2002, after discovering that their hormone therapy drugs for menopause increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. The problem was that the drugs Prempro and Premarin were already on the market, so instead of recalling them, the company spent $12 million forming the Council on Hormone Education, 85 percent of whose members were working for Wyeth. They then spent the next six years conducting an online course "educating" thousands of doctors about how totally awesome hormone therapy is, and how all that cancer/stroke business was probably due to something the patients did in their free time.
 'Everywhere' of course would include internet comments boards.  138 dislikes to 18 likes for a comment suggesting an exploration of environmental toxins, indeed!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Opioid Prescriptions Down; Deaths Up, NY Times reports
"...for each of the past three years — 2013, 2014 and 2015 — prescriptions have declined, a review of several sources of data shows."

" IMS Health, an information firm whose data on prescribing is used throughout the health care industry, found a 12 percent decline in opioid prescriptions nationally since a peak in 2012. Another data company, Symphony Health Solutions, reported a drop of about 18 percent during those years. Opioid prescriptions have fallen in 49 states since 2013, according to IMS, with some of the sharpest decreases coming in West Virginia, the state considered the center of the opioid epidemic, and in Texas and Oklahoma. (Only South Dakota showed an increase.)" ...
... One important development that may have helped propel the decline came in 2014, when the federal government tightened prescribing rules for one of the most common painkillers: hydrocodone combined with a second analgesic, like acetaminophen. In the first year after the measure took effect, dispensed prescriptions declined by 22 percent, and pills by 16 percent, according to an analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine. Refills — which the change made much more difficult — accounted for 73 percent of the decline.

" So far, fewer prescriptions have not led to fewer deaths: fatal overdoses from opioids have continued to rise, taking more than 28,000 lives in 2014, according to the most recent federal health data. That number includes deaths from both prescription painkillers, like Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin, and heroin, an illegal opioid whose use has been rising as access to prescription drugs has tightened."

The NY Times article reports this has led to a controversy. 
While experts agree that the decline is real, they differ on what it means for patients. Some say opioid prescribing has been too loose for too long, and that it must be tightened, even if that means extra hurdles for patients in pain.

“The urgency of the epidemic, its devastating consequences, demands interventions that in some instances may make it harder for some patients to get their medication,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We need to set up a system to make sure they are covered. But we cannot continue the prescription practice of opioids the way we have been. We just can’t.”

Others argue that efforts to rein in prescribing have gone too far and are penalizing patients who take the medicines responsibly and need them for relief.
Indeed, such efforts have led to a growing fear among doctors to prescribe opioids in general.
“The climate has definitely shifted,” said Dr. Daniel B. Carr, the director of Tufts Medical School’s program on pain research education and policy. “It is now one of reluctance, fear of consequences and encumbrance with administrative hurdles. A lot of patients who are appropriate candidates for opioids have been caught up in that response.”...
... Dr. Mitchell Stark, an oral surgeon in Rockville, Md., said he cut his opioid prescribing this year after reading an article about teenagers getting addicted after having their wisdom teeth removed. Now he tells even patients recovering from multiple extractions to try prescription-strength ibuprofen first.
“I don’t want to be the person who gets a call from someone saying, ‘My kid had an overdose with the Vicodin he had left from getting his wisdom teeth out,’” Dr. Stark said.
Yet further restricting prescriptions for opioids has led to other worsening problems.
Many experts say that the drop in prescribing is at best a half victory, in light of the rise of deaths from heroin and illicit fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller. Some addicts who started with prescription painkillers are merely turning to such street drugs or getting their hands on prescription drugs by other means.

“We are seeing, in our area, many more pharmacies being robbed,” said Dr. Richard Vaglienti, the director of outpatient pain services at WVU Medicine, a health system in West Virginia.

Interestingly, these policies relay heavily upon lumping different matters together.

Different types of users.

And especially, different types of opioids in general, particularly the lumping together of pills which are of known predictable potency, with black market 'heroin' of vastly variable potency, and even adulterated with far far stronger opioids as fentanyl.

It is as if they view predictability of potency almost irrelevant.

Let alone  the type of user.  Such as those who take relatively modest doses, versus those that massively escalate their doses, especially those who instead take them not orally by mouth as intended, but those who grind them up to sniff them or to dissolve in a solution to be injected.

The May 21, 2016 NY Times article does not delve into any of this, including neglecting to mention that escalation to serious physical addiction via overuse-abuse is confined to a small minority of prescription receivers.  In other words, punish most consumers for the actions of a small minority, never-mind that such would be seen as insane if for instance applied to consumers of alcoholic beverages (despite alcohol actually being far more potentially toxic than opioids!!!).

Nor does it delve into the matter qualitatively, by choosing to focus simply quantitatively upon the number of prescriptions and pills for such issued.  Though it quotes NIDA's Nora Volkow as saying that "... we cannot continue the prescription practice of opioids the way we have been. We just can’t...", the article simply fails at any analysis that is qualitative rather than quantitative.  For instance, failing to ask such questions as:

- why prescribing doctors insist that opioids be taken regularly rather than more infrequently.

- why they must only be made available in far more easily abuse-able concentrated forms.

Educating people on how to use and how not to uses opioids would reduce problems as overdoses.  Such as do not take too frequently, nor escalate the dosage to compensate for tolerance, nor mix with certain other drugs, as many fatal overdoses involve such, rather than an opioid alone.

Making opioids available in safer forms, such as those more dilute and perhaps not very tasty would likewise discourage overuse.

Likewise, the availability of products to occasionally 're-set' one's level of tolerance, such as with Iboga-Ibogaine, as an alternative to more synthetic forms of opioids as methadone and buprenorphine that require regular use and may be more physically addictive than the opioid they are used to replace.

Education, combined with safer forms would serve to counterbalance making opioids more available, while undercutting the black market.

Current policies to not educate people, to increase doses, to provide only in abuse-able concentrated forms, and to encourage continued use via such highly questionable more recent practices as drug testing patients to ensure they are taking their opioids frequently, and cutting off such prescriptions, all serve to steer people towards black market heroin.

Even reforming the prescription system to allow metered, rationed refills over longer periods of time, based upon a patient's needs -- aka injuries -- would be a step in the right direction.   Since many people have suffered like injuries, why has not the medical profession developed a guide for such a rationing, at least for lower doses?  Indeed, why has the medical profession so tolerated a government meddling in medical prescribing since 1915, so lacking in any concrete definitions of "professional [medical] practice", since the initial 1914 U.S. Harrison Act's delegation of regulatory authority to the U.S. Department of Treasury?!

If the State of Montana's "reasonable and prudent" speed limit could be struck down as unconstitutionally vague, how about the entire regulatory meddling in opioid availability?

Why is the medical profession generally so complacent?

Why do they not challenge such policies?

Because current policies are designed primarily to increase costs and thus profits.

Reforming opioid availability would reduce the need for separate visits to a doctor for each refill.

More dilute forms of opioids to displace pills would mean less profit per shelf space.

More alternatives, particularly those for reversing tolerance, would undercut the "treatment" industry empire, including that of methadone, buprenorphin, all requiring separate visits to doctors, let alone the cultivated guilt placed upon addicts to opioids dissimilar to those of say nicotine.

Thus they choose to blur together different types of users, along with different general types of opioids- aka measured dosage pills with variable strength 'heroin, to actually undermine health, including by undermining efforts to provide safer legal forms of opioids to consumers- never-mind that opioids are arguably far far less toxic than the abuse of alcohol let alone the regular use of mass marketed Tobacco.

For what they are doing is part of a political agenda, to maintain a set of policies set in place during the early 1900s- which includes the "great" drug war, as part of a broader agenda of centralized control over the fields of medicine and diet.

One that was sold to the public as a means of serving their health, but in fact subvert such by interfering with markets to reduce choice for the benefit of those interests that saw and used such means to protect and advance their own markets via criminalizing their competitors.

From the numbers of medical schools and health care providers- aka the American Medical Association/Flexner Report.

To the types of drugs in use, via a process of elimination favoring not what was necessarily safer, or more effective, but rather what was more potentially profitable if not better established.

As with any propaganda campaign designed to deceive, that which brought this agenda about had its share of terms used to confuse the general public.  "Patent Medicines" in fact would be those that would be patented as they were man-made rather than natural creations- aka pharmaceuticals rather than herbs, plants found in nature.  Yet that term would be flung at what were actually "proprietary" medicines -- trademarked names upon man-made mixtures of natural substances as extracts of herbs, which could not themselves be patented and thus could not be monopolized, and which were generally preparations- products that were dilute liquids intended to be drank, and hence far bulkier than highly concentrated powders and pills.  Hence, scaring people away from un-patentable herbs and bulky liquid medicinal products meant using such prerogatives as "nostrums" and 'quackery".  And such a disfo campaign, as that promoted in the ironically named "The Great American Fraud" article series in Colliers Magazine authored by the 'muckracker' Samuel Adams Hopkins in collaboration with U.S.D.A Bureau of Chemistry Chief Harvey Washington Wiley (who also served with the American Medical Association-American Pharmaceutical Association), would rely heavily upon confusing the potential dangers of highly concentrated derivatives as morphine and cocaine in powder forms with the parent substances of Opium and Coca, with an utter disregard of dosage matters of potency and route of administration.

As could be expected with such a deceptive campaign, it was used to achieve passage of the U.S. Foods and Drugs Act of 1906, that, though not outright prohibiting any substance, would be the steeping stone to prohibition.  Ostensibly, it mainly required the labeling of the amount of certain substances in food and drug products; yet, the 1906 Act would grant dictatorial power to Wiley's U.S.D.A. Chemistry Bureau to prohibit from interstate commerce any product containing a substance which he/it deemed 'dangerous' or 'deleterious to human health' - without any required scientific backing!   Though the Act would for instance include cocaine as a substance required to be labeled, Wiley's Bureau wasted little time in prosecuting beverage manufacturers for "adulteration" for containing a supposedly dangerous and deleterious ingredient, with absolutely no showing of any actual harms to health for the relatively low concentrations of cocaine present, generally 1/2 to 3 milligrams per fluid ounce, and never-mind the implied legality via cocaine's inclusion within the labeling requirement list not only for products sold as medicines but as well as those sold as foods (aka more frequent use).  The subsequent push to eliminate cocaine, irregardless of how dilute and harmless the amount, from commercial products, including those sold as medicines, came with the legislative campaign to limit such products to prescription use only, and make such prescriptions non-refillable.  Such was what brought about the U.S. Harrison 'Narcotics' Act of 1914.  Though that Act would still allow over the counter sales of lower potency opiate preparations containing under  "two grains of opium, or more than one-fourth of a grain of morphine, or more than one-eighth of a grain of heroin . in one avoirdupois ounce", it made no such allowances for cocaine, regardless of how low the amount.

As should be expected from such a deception, this campaign was not about reducing addiction nor serving the public health.

It grossly confused Opium and Coca with highly concentrated forms of opiates and cocaine, thus rendering any such remaining popular use of such substances in their most dangerous forms, owing to the dynamics of prohibition 's iron law of shifting availability to ultra concentrated forms.

Though it arguably reduced the total size of the drug using population of opiates and cocaine, it hardly reduced the overall size of the population of people who used drugs as it served to protect and promote other competing drugs- particularly mass marketed Tobacco.

Such were more physically addictive than even heroin, and far deadlier from chronic use.

That latter fact can be true regarding non opioid pain killers, as Tylenol with their ill effects upon the liver.

Yet one would not likily realize this from the relative official attitudes towards these different classes of substances.

See also:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Trump To Accept Funding Via 'Straight' Drug War Fanatic Mel Sembler

Trump has abandoned his earlier idea of being self-funded.

Trump and the RNC on Tuesday announced new additions to the financial operation, including New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, roofing company owner Diane Hendricks and former Ambassador Mel Sembler, who helped raise major money for previous presidential candidates.
About Mel Sembler's assault on freedom of medicine and diet, particularly Cannabis.

In 1976, Sembler and his wife Betty founded Straight, Inc., an adolescent drug treatment program which has treated more than 12,000 addicts. The group now operates as the Drug Free America Foundation.[18]
In May 1983, Straight, Inc was convicted of false imprisonment after being sued by then 20-year-old Fred Collins Jr, who alleged he had been held captive by the program against his will. The program was ordered to pay $40,000 in compensatory and $180,000 in punitive damages.[19][20]

In 1990, a jury awarded Karen Norton $721,000 in damages due to mistreatment by Straight. In 1982, while a patient in Straight's Florida facility, Norton alleged that staff members assaulted her, and denied her health care.[21]

It has been suggested that licensing for Straight's Florida-based programs had been renewed under pressure from Sembler on state senators.[22]

Sembler's Drug Free America Foundation continues to campaign for hard-line drug policy. Former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, the brother of President George W. Bush, Former Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Karen Tandy, and Congressman Dan Lungren of California are on the advisory board.[23]

Saturday, April 30, 2016

DPA's Ethan Nadelmann Thwarts Discussion Beyond Marijuana Legalization

The Drug Policy Alliance is the successor to the Drug Policy Foundation founded in 1986, in response to the hysteria over cocaine, to go beyond the mandate of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.

Yet it continues to stifle serious discussion about the details of legalizing drugs other than Marijuana, such as Coca-ine and Opiates, despite the lip service to 'Harm Reduction', as I have written about previously.
This sad situation would be highlighted at panel held at the November 18-21 2015 D.P.A. Conference Panel 'Beyond Marijuana: Legalization and the Movement to Reform Other Drug Policies', held that Friday at 11:30AM.

From the conference description:
Despite the growing social acceptance of marijuana nationwide, marijuana law violations still make up almost half of all U.S. drug arrests. Marijuana legalization is, therefore, often touted as a major step toward dismantling the drug war and scaling back mass incarceration. How can marijuana legalization be used to propel efforts to decriminalize other drugs, mitigate recidivism, minimize collateral consequences of drug convictions, and increase harm reduction policies? How might marijuana legalization repair – or exacerbate – the disparate harms of the war on drugs?
Moderator: Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

• Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), Executive Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Silver Spring, MD

Kassandra Frederique, Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Antonio Gonzalez, President, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project & William C. Velasquez Institute, San Antonio, TX & Los Angeles, CA

Harry Levine, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York; Co-Director, Marijuana Arrest Research Project, New York, NY

Lisa Sanchez, Latin American Programme Manager, TDPF/MUCD, Mexico D.F., Mexico

• Senator Tick Segerblom, Member, Nevada State Senate, Las Vegas, NV

Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director, NORML, Washington, D.C.

Marijuana stands in contrast to the other popular illegalized drugs as they are popularly available and known as an un-refined plant that is vastly safer than such substances as concentrated cocaine hci/sulfate and heroin, and pills.

Marijuana is virtually non-toxic, with an LD-50 of some 1,500 lbs, is non physically addictive, and is non dopaminergic.

Substances as the concentrates are dopaminergic, meaning that they can be highly reinforcive (psychologically addictive), with heroin being additionally physically addictive.

However, Marijuana is not the only popular illegalized drug that is a plant.   Both cocaine and heroin are derived from natural plants, directly with cocaine from the leaves of the Coca shrub, and less directly with heroin (actually morphine modified with an acid) which is found in the sap of the Opium poppy.  And like other popular drugs, particularly those that remained legal during the 20th century's drug war, notably caffeine and nicotine, all of these are found to occur naturally in small amounts in their respective plants as Coffee, various 'Teas' and Tobacco.  It is the iron law of a prohibition that prohibits both the parent plant and their respective most active components, with equal penalties for equal weights of either, that has led to the proliferation of the concentrated derivatives with the virtual disappearance of the far bulkier and safer parent substances of Coca and Opium, let alone commercial preparations of such.

So I ask this panel's moderator Ethan Nadelmann, what about dilute substances and preparations of such as Opium and Coca?

And all he can say is, we are not going to talk about that, only marijuana.

Never-mind that the Drug Policy Alliance's predecessor organization the Drug Policy Foundation was founded in 1986 by American University professor Arnold Trebach and NORML's Kevin Zeese to take the challenge to drug prohibition beyond Marijuana, in response to the media hysteria over cocaine following the fatal OD by University of Maryland Boston Celtics pick Len Bias that June 19).

The DPF had done much good work in this broader field during the late 1980s and early 1990s, before taking a far more timid approach starting about 1993.

Why not rename the Drug Policy Alliance the Marijuana Policy Alliance?

1986 - The Creation of the Drug Policy Foundation

198X - 1992 The Drug Policy Foundation's Steps in the Right Direction

1993 - America North DPF Takes a 'Lead' by saying "Just Say Whoa"

PETER LEWIS: IRA GLASSER is a waste of $$
Don't Spend Funds on Organizations Headed by the likes of Ira Glasser

Letter to Lewis, from a long time activist since the latter 1980s, about the mismanagement of the DPF-DPA

Monday, March 28, 2016

More reporting should be done on the lives saved and enhanced by opioids, addressing chronic pain, sleep disorders and associated depression.

To the Editor: Re “A Strong Response to the Opioid Scourge” (editorial, March 17):

There are longtime users of low-dose opioids, like me, who never require an increase in dose and who find that this medication provides quality of life. How? By addressing chronic pain, sleep disorders and associated depression.

The alternatives proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, like aspirin and ibuprofen, can cause long-term damage to body organs and short-term stomach pain. For many of us, spare use of a low-dose opioid is the very best alternative.

Unfortunately, voices like mine are not heard often. Why? Because the media climate right now is so fiercely anti-opioid that those who rely on this drug can feel hesitant to speak out. More reporting should be done on the lives saved and enhanced by opioids, in addition to the terrible consequences of addiction. Policy should reflect a more complete picture of this important medication.

Alameda, Calif.
The writer is a social worker.

To the Editor: The proper treatment of pain disorders by physicians should not be directed by the fear of lawsuits or pressure by insurance payers but rather by sound guidelines developed by organizations like the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

The news media has readily noted a “prescription drug epidemic,” but overdoses mainly result from drug diversion and misuse rather than from taking an opioid as prescribed. Epidemiological data has reported up to 16,500 deaths a year from the aspirin-ibuprofen family of medicines, which can cause ulcers, kidney failure and liver inflammation, none of which occur with opioids.

The major health issue for an opioid is addiction, which rarely occurs in a properly selected and treated patient. One must understand the difference between dependency and addiction.

Chronic, nonmalignant pain conditions are difficult to treat. Physician judgment is crucial and should not be inhibited by arbitrary limits that are not supported by the data.

San Francisco
The writer is a pain doctor.

To the Editor: For many people with chronic pain, opioid painkillers are a lifeline. The new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while perhaps reasonable as a first approach, are unrealistic for patients who have done well (sometimes for years) on carefully monitored opioid doses under continuing medical care. As The Times has reported, these longtime patients must now be subjected to humiliating “pain contracts” and random drug tests.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are just short of laughable: If they worked for severe pain, no legitimate patient would be taking opioids. Nonpharmacological solutions like physical therapy and acupuncture may be effective for those who can afford them but are subject to strict, onerous insurance limitations or not covered at all.

It’s hard not to conclude that the politics of the very real and tragic opioid addiction crisis are drowning out the cries of people in pain. The medical profession only recently began to give serious attention to complaints of chronic pain, which not incidentally affects many more women than men.

Sadly, it looks as if a return to the bad old days will be upon us very soon.

Needham, Mass.