Tag: heroin

The Failed War on Drugs

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN):

“It is ludicrous, absurd, crazy to have marijuana at same level as heroin. Ask the late Philip Seymour Hoffman if you could. Nobody dies from marijuana. People die from heroin.”

“Every second that we spend in this country trying to enforce marijuana laws is a second that we’re not enforcing heroin laws. And heroin and meth are the two drugs that are ravaging our country,”

“And every death, including Mr. Hoffman’s, is partly the responsibility of the federal government’s drug priorities for not putting total emphasis on the drugs that kill, that cause people to be addicted and have to steal to support their habit.”

“When we put marijuana on the same level as heroin and crack and LSD and meth and crack and cocaine, we are telling young people not to listen to adults about the ravages and problems, and they don’t listen because they know you’re wrong.”

“You can’t name one person who’s died from a overdose of marijuana can you?”

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) tore into deputy drug czar Michael Botticelli on Tuesday, highlighting federal drug policy’s failure to address the substances “ravaging our country” while still considering marijuana to be as dangerous as heroin.

Speaking during a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform focused on the Obama administration’s marijuana policy, Cohen urged drug policy officials to rethink marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 substance, which the Drug Enforcement Administration considers “the most dangerous class of drugs.” Other Schedule 1 substances include heroin, LSD and ecstasy, while methamphetamine and cocaine fall under the Schedule II definition.

It is time to refocus and admit that the war on drugs has been lost.

The United States of Addiction

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In the tragic wake of the death of Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent drug overdose this weekend, has put the ugly fact that heroin addiction is the US is on the rise and crosses all social and economic boundaries. Drug overdoses now kill more people than auto accidents with 105 deaths everyday. In the last ten years, heron use has more than doubled and overdoses from prescribed opiate pain killer has gone through the roof.

MSNBC’s “All In” host Chris Hayes took a look at the rise of heroin use in the United States with his guest neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology at Columbia University, Dr. Carl Hart, who specializes in studying the effect of drugs on the populace.

Three Policies That Can Save Other Drug Users From Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Fate

by Nicole Flatow, Think Progress

As public discussion over the failed War on Drugs has escalated and politicians mull marijuana and sentencing reforms, one part of the vision is to redirect enforcement resources toward education, treatment, and other health-oriented programs that help those struggling with addiction. But for those entrenched in addiction, there are low-hanging fruit solutions passed into law in a minority of states that directly tackle the problem of stopping preventable overdose deaths.

Shielding ‘Good Samaritans’ From Prosecution

Last year, Vermont became at least the 13th state in addition to the District of Columbia to pass a law incentivizing witnesses to call 911, by explicitly providing legal protection to those witnesses who call the police for help. [..]

Anti-Overdose Drugs

In many states, pharmacists and other health care professionals face criminal and civil liability for distributing naloxone to third parties – even police officers – who can administer it in an emergency situation. The drug has been described as a “miracle drug,” because it knocks opiates off receptors that make a user stop breathing, without any other known side effects. [..]

Laws are now emerging in some states to provide immunity to those professionals and laypeople, while other programs are equipping police officers with both training and kits to administer when they report to the scene. In 2012, then-White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske for the first time endorsed broader distribution of naloxone. [..]

Treating The Addiction

Hoffman’s state of New York happens to be one that already has a Good Samaritan law, and just last week state lawmakers introduced another measure to expand the availability of naloxone. But neither of these solutions work for those like Hoffman who may have overdosed alone, since individuals in the midst of an overdose can’t self-administer or call 911. For that population, Clear believes the greatest tool is increased prescription of addiction treatment drugs like buprenorphine that mimic some qualities of opioids with more limited harms. Some approved U.S. doctors are permitted to prescribe these drugs to treat opioid addiction (users can take them for a less harmful high), but (Allan) Clear told ThinkProgress even those who have been through treatment should be prescribed the drug more often, recognizing the prevalence of relapse. In France, where all doctors have since 1995 been authorized to prescribe the addiction treatment, opiate overdose deaths decreased 79 percent between 1995 and 2004, according to one study.

Hoffman and the Terrible Heroin Deaths in the Shadows

by Jeff Deeney, The Atlantic

Addiction and mortality related to heroin and other narcotics in the U.S. has been steadily on the rise for years. Should it be easier for addicts to inject as safely as possible?

Now that Hoffman is gone the one purpose his passing can offer is to bring into sharp focus the fact that overdose deaths have long been on the rise in the U.S. (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from drug overdoses increased by 102 percent between 1999 and 2010), and to more vigorously continue the discussion about what to do about it. [..]

More people are using heroin, according to a 2012 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey. The survey found that between 2007 and 2012, the number of heroin users ages 12 and up increased from 373,000 to 669,000. [..]

U.S. drug policies are shifting. Slowly, and not enough, but there is progress. Mandatory minimums are being phased out. Treatment is increasingly available to those caught up in the criminal justice system. As the Affordable Care Act begins to take effect, treatment will become more broadly funded, especially for the poor. There is concern among public health professionals, myself included, that the policy shift will fall short of what we need to change conditions for injecting drug users.

Legal pot isn’t enough. For there to be an American version of Insite, Vancouver’s celebrated, medically-supervised, legal injecting space, the U.S. would need to decriminalize entirely. If Philip Seymour Hoffman had taken his last bags to a legal injecting space, would he still be alive? Had he overdosed there, medical staff on call might have reversed it with Naloxone. Had he acquired an abscess or other skin infection, he could have sought nonjudgmental medical intervention. Perhaps injection site staff could have directed him back to treatment.

Safe injecting sites are an amazing, life saving, humanity restoring intervention we can’t have because our laws preclude them. Too frequently, heroin addicts instead utilize abandoned buildings and vacant lots to shoot up in order to evade arrest. The risk for assault, particularly sexual assault for women, in off-the-grid, hidden get-high places is incredible. Overdosed bodies are routinely pulled from such spaces in North Philadelphia. [..]

Those of us in recovery need to remain vigilant in maintaining our mental health. There is much work to be done on America’s addiction problem. It involves ensuring effective treatment, expanding the science of the field, and making sure that those who are actively using can do so in a way that is safe and dignified. There is a way to make meaning from the otherwise senseless early death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, and that is to let it refocus our efforts on making sure the smallest number of people possible find the same fate.

Phil Hoffman’s death was a shock to his, family, his friends and his many fans. May this terrible loss bring attention to much needed reform of drug policies and laws, as well as, a change in attitude in how we approach drug addiction in the US. If in death Phillip saves one life, he will not have died in vain.

The Deep State, Part 2, PD Scott

SCOTT: Well, it certainly informs the vision of people around him. It was the neocon vision for the world. Brzezinski was certainly not a neocon, but on this point he sounds very much like them. You know, when [Paul] Wolfowitz and [Lewis “Scooter”] Libby were working for Cheney, when Cheney was secretary of defense back in 1992, they came up with this defense planning guidance draft which was later disowned, but it was the same thing, that we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role. And then there was a JCS [Joint Chiefs of Staff] strategic document, Joint Vision 2020, which for all I know is still in force, calling for “full spectrum dominance.” And this is a quote from the document: full spectrum dominance means the ability of US forces operating alone or with our allies to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations. I mean, this talk is just insane, but it is the language of geopolitics, and I think it’s the language that people learn in military schools. And that’s why it’s wrong to think it was just neocons. I’ve written something very recently and I’d like to quote it: all thought is socially conditioned, and at the center of large, highly developed societies, all bureaucratic thought is bureaucratically conditioned. But at the heart of dominant societies, this bureaucratic thinking slowly acquires the features of a dominance mindset, and those conditioned by this mindset come to participate in what I call the war machine. We saw it in Britain. And ironically, you know, when Britain started talking about global dominance, it was Sir Halford Mackinder, and the year was 1919, when Britain was already, after World War I, destined to no longer play the role that it played before. It’s a way, I think, of trying to keep the morale up. And I think that Brzezinski, when he wrote that book in 1997, he was worried that America would not be interested in playing the dominance role. And he, of course, is by background a Pole, for whom the great enemy in the world was Russia. And so he was trying to cheer America on to do things which it’s not capable of doing. His metaphor is The Grand Chessboard, which is, of course, a zero-sum model for world politics. The good sense of geopolitics is the way it’s been talked about by, say, Kissinger, when he says it’s seeking a mode of equilibrium in the world. And that, I think, is [inaudible] I think a better model than a chessboard for the world would be a canoe, an overloaded canoe with some very heavy players and it, and the art of geopolitics is to learn not to capsize the canoe.

JAY: And when you look at President Obama’s own statements during the election campaign when asked about foreign policy, he always rooted himself very clearly in what he said was the tradition of American pragmatic foreign policy, starting with Truman. He even included George Bush senior, Reagan. He never differentiated himself fundamentally, other than with George Bush junior. But the idea, even his opposition to the war in Iraq, had to do with that it was a stupid war that would weaken America’s ability to project power. So if you look at, in terms of Latin America, Afghanistan, his relationship with Russia, in terms of this either change of mindset or traditional, dominant theory of dominance, where do you put him after one year?

SCOTT: Well, as long as he’s trying to look forward to a second term, he’s going to fit into Washington. And I watched Brzezinski’s interview with you-a very good interview, I thought-and I can see how Brzezinski repeatedly said that he’s now no longer inside the system; he’s an outside adviser and remote from the way power decisions are made. I think that’s true. That allows him to be much wiser than he was when he wrote his book or when he had his famous interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998. He is a wise man now, and almost by definition that means he doesn’t have as much influence. The wise are not the people who prevail in Washington. So that Obama, now that he’s at the heart of things, he’s got to live with his joint chiefs, he’s got to live with his Democratic Party. I mean, a lot of us like to think that democracy is the answer, but if we mean by democracy the two-party system that we have, the two-party system is very definitely part of the problem, because he is going to get attacked. If he does anything to pull back from Afghanistan, if he does anything that looks like he’s knuckling under to those outside forces there, he will be jumped on by members of both parties, who are, of course, all elected with the same money from the same big donors. We used to emphasize how the big donors came from the military-industrial complex, but we have to add to that now, having seen what’s happened in the last couple of years, they’ve come also from Wall Street and the big banks. They’re all part of the same -.

Real News Network – February 1, 2010

Full Transcript here

New mindset for US foreign policy? Part 2

Peter Dale Scott: If you unleash the dogs of war it’s not easy to pull them back.

Part 1 of this interview is here.

The Deep State, A Powerless President, The CIA, Afghanistan, And Heroin

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His most recent books are Drugs, Oil, and War (2005), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (2008) and Mosaic Orpheus (poetry, 2009).

This is part one of an interview in which Scott talks with Paul Jay of The Real News Network about the corrupted mindset in Washington that chooses who becomes president, and about the war machine that co-opted Obama into his escalation of a drug-corrupted war and is not just a bureaucratic cabal inside Washington, but rather is solidly grounded in and supported by a wide coalition of forces in society, and about the need for a new kind of American foreign policy.

SCOTT: I think I have talked about the deep state. I prefer now just to talk about deep politics, that there are things which we just don’t face in our society, things we’re not willing to talk about. With respect to Afghanistan, one of the things that we don’t want to face and talk about is the presence of drug trafficking in the plans of the CIA for controlling remote areas of this world. And when you have a number of facts which are not being talked about, our politics becomes more and more like an iceberg, in which the visible part, the public politics, or, if you like, what goes on in the public state, is only a small percentage of the totality of what’s going on, a lot of this is not subject to the restraints of the Constitution at all. And that’s the part that I call deep politics. The phrase “deep state” is a bit dangerous, ’cause it might make people think that there’s a secret Pentagon and a secret White House, it’s nothing like that. It’s more this matter of the mindset that I’m talking about.

JAY: When you described the war machine, you use the words “drug-corrupted war machine,” and everyone knows that Afghanistan is now the manufacturer of the majority of the world’s heroin, but it doesn’t ever get talked about as a policy issue or as an underlying driving force in this struggle for all sides. So talk about this.

SCOTT: Well, I would say, actually, it has become talked about in the last year, with the beginning of Obama’s campaign. You know, when Bush first went in in 2001, they had a list of the main refineries, and they were never touched, because America’s coalition for developing local support in Afghanistan was made up very largely of warlords who were involved in the drug traffic. Our principal ally was going to be [Ahmad Shah] Massoud, and there was a big debate in Washington, before we went into Afghanistan, whether to make him an ally or not, because they knew he was involved in the drug traffic. Well, he was in fact assassinated, just a day or two before 9/11. But the Northern Alliance, which was the only faction in Afghanistan in that year that was growing poppy, they were our allies. And if you look at almost any newspaper story about drugs in Afghanistan, it’s going to be talking about the Taliban. But the Taliban are getting at most about a tenth of the revenues that are being raised by opium and heroin in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of it is going to the big warlords who essentially make up, to this day, the coalition that are supporting [Hamid] Karzai in Kabul.

Real News Network – January 31, 2010

Full Transcript here

New mindset for US foreign policy?

Peter Dale Scott: The President does not choose the mindset, it chooses the people who become President

Reporting from Int’l Conference on Drug Policy Reform

(Not quite live from the Albuquerque Convention Center, I’ll be updating through the weekend.)

Opening plenary

El Paso City Councilman Beno O’Rourke:

With a District bordering Ciudad Juarez which had been rocked with 1600 “cartel” murders in the previous year,  the City Council took up a resolution deploring the deaths.

He moved an amendment, calling for the US and Mexican governments to begin an open and honest debate on ending Prohibition to stop the violence. To his surprise, the amendment carried unanimously.

Congressman Reyes, who represents the El Paso, then  called all the City Council members, threatening to cut off funding to the City. In a subsequent vote, the Council retreated.

Dystopia 14: Body of Evidence

However muted its present appearance may be, sexual dominion remains nevertheless as perhaps the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concept of power.


Mitt Romney Says Fuck Off to Dying Medical Marijuana Patient

Good Job, Mitt!  Your Cruelty knows no bounds!
More down there…