A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a crash than drivers who use alcohol. And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.
So much for coppers and politicians who were certain easing laws on ganja were going to kill us all.
The chart above tells the story. For marijuana, and for a number of other legal and illegal drugs including antidepressants, painkillers, stimulants and the like, there is no statistically significant change in the risk of a crash associated with using that drug prior to driving. But overall alcohol use, measured at a blood alcohol concentration threshold of 0.05 or above, increases your odds of a wreck nearly seven-fold.
The study’s findings underscore an important point: that the measurable presence of THC (marijuana’s primary active ingredient) in a person’s system doesn’t correlate with impairment in the same way that blood alcohol concentration does. The NHTSA doesn’t mince words: “At the current time, specific drug concentration levels cannot be reliably equated with a specific degree of driver impairment…”
What we do need, however, are better roadside mechanisms for detecting marijuana-related impairment. Several companies are developing pot breathalyzers for this purpose.
We also need a lot more research into the effects of marijuana use on driving ability, particularly to get a better sense of how pot’s effect on driving diminishes in the hours after using. But this kind of research remains incredibly difficult to do, primarily because the federal government still classifies weed as a Schedule 1 substance, as dangerous as heroin.
Reinforcing for the umpteenth time that our government really doesn’t give a crap about accuracy, evidence-based conclusions or the truth about much that’s important.
Think about that while everyone from Congressional hacks to the White House to assorted media sycophants, right-wing and barely-left-wing do their level best to encourage our participation in jolly wars in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Venezuela, Cuba, etc..
And, yes, let’s keep on picking up the tab for 750+ military bases around the world. Hey, we’re the richest country in the world, right? We can afford it.
Lots of ordinary citizens know the War on Terror, the War on Drugs – are just as [un]necessary as ever.
Meanwhile – Relatives of 43 missing students protest at the presidential residence in Mexico City –
– victims of the same interlocking directorate of government and gangsters in Mexico
With the Mexican government facing widespread public outrage over the alleged role of police and other officials in the September forced disappearance of 43 students, and the killings of at least six others, from Ayotzinapa Normal School, the country’s federal prosecutor (PGR) has for the first time declassified a document on the suspected participation of police in the kidnapping and massacre of hundreds of migrants in San Fernando massacres of 2010-11.
The new revelations, along with key U.S. documents on how violent drug cartels gained control of local police forces in parts of Mexico during the last decade, are the subject of “San Fernando-Ayotzinapa: las similitudes” (“San Fernando-Ayotzinapa: the similarities”), an article published online…in Mexico’s Proceso magazine in collaboration with Michael Evans and Jesse Franzblau of the National Security Archive.
According to declarations from members of the Los Zetas drug cartel named in the newly-declassified “Tarjeta Informativa” (“informative note” or “information memo”), the police acted as “lookouts” [“halconeo”] for the group, helped with “the interception of persons,” and otherwise turned a blind eye to the Zetas’ illegal activities.
Those crimes included the summary execution of 72 migrants pulled from intercity buses in San Fernando in August 2010 and an untold number of similar killings that culminated in the discovery, in April 2011, of hundreds more bodies in mass graves in the same part of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The victims were mainly Central American migrants making their way to Texas, which borders Tamaulipas to the north. The state’s highways are at once primary avenues for migrants and highly-contested narcotrafficking corridors.
One of the police detainees cited in the memo, Álvaro Alba Terrazas, told investigators that San Fernando police and transit officials were paid to deliver prisoners to the Zetas…
If the facts surrounding the San Fernando case seem eerily familiar, it is beacuse they follow pattern seen over and over again in recent years. Like the Ayotzinapa case, the San Fernando massacres are symptomatic of the dirty war of corruption and narcopolitics that has consumed parts of Mexico over the last decade. Killings like these are disturbingly common, and the forces behind the mayhem—usually drug cartels counting on the collaboration of, at a minimum, local police—are remarkably consistent.
RTFA for more details of government corruption than the most cynical might imagine.
The task of decriminalizing the Mexican government is Herculean. It feels like that nation and the government should take a year or two off from every other activity and simply focus on jailing all the politicians and their gangster compadres. Only then might Mexico start all over again as a free and democratic nation.
A North Carolina man was arrested after he allegedly stole a safe from a pharmacy and then dragged it behind his car. The suspect, Ryan Mullins, may have gotten away with it too, except he passed an officer while he was driving.
The 22-year-old allegedly swiped the safe from Family Care Pharmacy and dragged it for more than two miles before the officer saw him.
Individuals near the pharmacy reportedly saw Mullins’ vehicle parked outside with the safe nearby.
“You could just tell he was messing with something and having a struggle,” witness Carmen Fickling told WCTI12. “A lot of things crossed through my mind as to what could possibly be going on and none of them were good. But I never expected to see him pull a safe with the rope. It was strange.”
Mullins is charged with felony breaking and entering, larceny, possession of stolen goods, two felony counts of trafficking opium or heroin, one count of safe cracking and misdemeanor DWI.
Here in New Mexico we take a somewhat warped pride in being the home of some of the dumbest crooks in America. I think we should make Ryan Mullins an honorary New Mexican.
Not-very-good athlete of the day
A Michigan man faces felony charges for allegedly trying to hurl a football stuffed with heroin and cell phones into a state prison yard…
The man hopped out of a vehicle on Sunday morning and heaved the football, which landed short, between two security fences at a state prison in Jackson, Michigan, about 75 miles (120 km) west of Detroit, prisons spokesman Russ Marlan said…
The football had been sliced open, stuffed with drugs, phones and chargers and stitched back together, Marlan said.
The man, identified as Christen Deon-Sterling Moore of Detroit…was charged with furnishing contraband and cell phones to prisoners.
A prison officer apprehended the would-be quarterback and the driver after seeing him toss the football and turned them over to Michigan State Police, Marlan said.
We already know that being a crook doesn’t require lots of smarts. Apparently, having a strong throwing arm doesn’t always make it to the job description either.
Italy’s gross domestic product is poised to rise with the addition of estimates for its narcotics, prostitution and contraband trades in its calculations.
Estimates of black market revenue will be included to comply with new European Union rules, Italy’s statistics agency Istat announced Thursday. Hidden economic activity, including prostitution, the drug trade, contraband tobacco products and illegally manufactured alcohol will be included, an Istat report said.
The information will be blended into gross domestic product (GDP) data beginning in 2015.
The new list of illegal revenue producers will be included so the European Union gets a better picture of member states’ true economies. An accurate depiction of a country’s economic status is useful in ascertaining if certain target ratios, such as debt-to-GDP, are being met.
Har. Imagine some of the other places we could use this kind of interpolation?
Congress? Non-profit charities with CEOs receiving 7-figure salaries? Twelve-step religion-du-jour?
The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said Monday, effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest.
The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company — although others may be considering similar moves — and it comes at a particularly sensitive time for Glaxo. It is the subject of a bribery investigation in China, where authorities contend the company funneled illegal payments to doctors and government officials in an effort to lift drug sales…
Under the plan, which Glaxo said would be completed worldwide by 2016, the company will no longer pay health care professionals to speak on its behalf about its products or the diseases they treat “to audiences who can prescribe or influence prescribing,” it said in a statement. It will also stop providing financial support directly to doctors to attend medical conferences, a practice that is prohibited in the United States through an industry-imposed ethics code but that still occurs in other countries. In China, the authorities have said Glaxo compensated doctors for travel to conferences and lectures that never took place.
On one hand, what should we think of doctors who have been taking these bribes – for that is what they are – to influence which pharmaceuticals they prescribe?
On the other hand, perhaps we have simply come to a place and time where pharmaceutical companies are assured of a massive portion of public spending on drugs and medications by the number of politicians they own?
…Four people have been arrested after a remote-controlled helicopter was allegedly used to fly tobacco into Calhoun state prison, Georgia…
Prison guards at the Calhoun state jail spotted a drone hovering over the prison yard and alerted police who began a search of the local area.
Inside a nearby car they found a six-rotor remote-controlled helicopter, between 1lb and 2lb of tobacco and several mobile phones.
Four people were arrested and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of attempting to smuggle contraband into the prison.
“It is a surprise. I’ve never seen a helicopter,” Sheriff Josh Hilton told reporters.
It follows a similar attempt at the weekend in a prison in Canada.
A drone was spotted flying over the Gatineau jail in Quebec on Sunday. Guards there failed to find either the device, its payload or those flying it.
Remote-controlled flying devices are becoming the tool of choice for those determined to smuggle in contraband, Stephane Lemaire, president of Quebec’s correctional officers’ union, told the Ottawa Sun.
“Usually the drones are carrying small packages of drugs or other illicit substances,” he said…”Now that drones are relatively cheap to buy, they’ve become the best way to smuggle drugs inside,” he added.
Makes sense to me. Once again, our military demonstrated new and useful technology to civilian society. Why expect the criminal portion of our nations to avoid technological progress.
A Missouri woman who left a loaded rifle in her toddler’s crib has received a suspended sentence, officials said. Cheryl Darlene Dudley, 37, of St. Peters, pleaded guilty to eight counts of child endangerment…
St. Peters police were called to Dudley’s home in July after a witness reported seeing Dudley’s 22-month-old daughter tied to the garage with a rope.
While investigating the incident, police found drugs a dresser drawer within reach of the toddler and Dudley’s 7-year-old son.
Dudley told the police that she put the rifle in the crib because she heard noises in her back yard and hadn’t put it away yet.
Dudley’s daughter also had flea bites and appeared to have been scratched by a dog. Five dogs were seized from Dudley’s home during the investigation.
Police further found dog feces, dirt, cigarettes and mold inside Dudley’s home.
Circuit Judge Nancy Schneider sentenced Dudley to five years of probation, during which she must meet 17 requirements, including mental health counseling, prosecutors said.
If Dudley does not meet the requirements, she will be forced to serve a 10-year prison sentence.
Who has custody of the kids? I read several articles – all pretty much the same as the original in the St.Louis POST-DISPATCH. Nothing about the kids life after mom’s release into probation.
Drugs companies publish only a fraction of their results and keep much of the information to themselves, but regulators want to ban the practice. If companies published all of their clinical trials data, independent scientists could reanalyse their results and check companies’ claims about the safety and efficacy of drugs.
Under proposals being thrashed out in Europe, drugs companies would be compelled to release all of their data, including results that show drugs do not work or cause dangerous side-effects.
While some companies have agreed to share data more freely, the industry has broadly resisted the moves. The latest strategy shows how patient groups – many of which receive some or all of their funding from drugs companies – have been brought into the battle.
The strategy was drawn up by two large trade groups, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and outlined in a memo to senior industry figures this month, according to an email seen by the Guardian.
The memo, from Richard Bergström, director general of EFPIA, went to directors and legal counsel at Roche, Merck, Pfizer, GSK, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis and many smaller companies. It was leaked by a drugs company employee.
The email describes a four-pronged campaign that starts with “mobilising patient groups to express concern about the risk to public health by non-scientific re-use of data”. Translated, that means patient groups go into bat for the industry by raising fears that if full results from drug trials are published, the information might be misinterpreted and cause a health scare…
A recent review of medical research estimated that only half of all clinical trials were published in full, and that positive results were twice as likely to be published than negative ones.
Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Like insurance companies, big banks, investment brokerages, any number of robber barons, pharmaceutical manufacturers fear transparency like a literal plague. Who knows? Honesty in marketing might be forced upon them next.
A grandmother in Liverpool was sent to prison Friday…for helping her sons launder the proceeds from their heroin trafficking business.
Christine Fitzgibbon, 60, was given a two-year sentence at a hearing in Crown Court in Manchester, The Liverpool Echo reported. Her son, Jason, 40, got 16 years and his younger brother, Ian, 39, 14 years and six months.
The brothers were arrested in 2011 when police foiled a plan to import a large quantity of heroin from Turkey. Investigators said the drugs had a street value of 7 million pounds.
“The drug dealing involved huge quantities of both heroin and ecstasy,” Paul Mitchell, the prosecuting lawyer said. “It involved the importation of multi-kilogram quantities of the drugs into this country and then the onward supply of those drugs. The scope of the enterprise was truly breathtaking.”
Mitchell said investigators seized large amounts of cash, some of it found in Christine Fitzgibbon’s home, and described her as the family “banker.” The Department of Work and Pensions said she was collecting benefits while enjoying a large income from her sons’ business.
As the slogan so aptly states, “A family that preys together stays together”.