Big Pharma bought/intimidated enough of our government to halt law enforcement on opioids

❝ Newly unsealed documents in a landmark civil case in Cleveland provide clues to one of the most enduring mysteries of the opioid epidemic: How were drug companies able to weaken the federal government’s most powerful enforcement weapon at the height of the crisis?

The industry enlisted members of Congress to limit the powers of the Drug Enforcement Administration. It devised “tactics” to push back against the agency. And it commissioned a “Crisis Playbook” to burnish its image and blame the federal government for not doing enough to stop the epidemic.

❝ The Post has twice investigated the industry’s battles with the DEA, first in 2016 and again in 2017 with “60 Minutes.” But the full story has never been told because so few of the people involved will talk about it. The list of people who have declined to be interviewed includes former congressman Tom Marino (R-Pa.), who first proposed the bill; former acting DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg, whose agency surrendered to the pressure; former attorney general Loretta E. Lynch, whose department did not stand in the way of the legislation; and, finally, then-President Barack Obama, who signed it into law.

What? Did you expect our gallant elected officials to stand up for freedom, civil liberties and The American Way? RTFA and reflect upon the phony inability of Congress or the White House to get anything done. I’d suggest you start with throwing 80/90% of officeholders out the damn door!

W.H.O Research Says Marijuana’s Essential Ingredient Neither Dangerous Nor Addictive

❝ The main ingredient, Cannabidiol, CBD found in Marijuana is neither harmful nor addictive, a new World Health Organization, WHO report has confirmed.

CBD is a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis plants that has non-addictive relaxing properties and per WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, ECDD, there lies “no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” Also, the “current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol,” the report confirmed.

In fact, the natural component is known to help in treating epilepsy and several other medical conditions.

The Feds under Trump, Sessions and other science-illiterates aren’t expected to take any positive notice of this report. I hope you’re not surprised by that. Frankly, I’m not optimistic about sweeping medical reforms resulting from Trumpublicans and their Establishment allies crashing and burning in 2018 mid-term elections.

All I see from Establishment Dems, so far, is recycled campaign rhetoric from the Bill Clinton era.

Guilty verdict revoked for BC “terror” couple — “It was the police who were the leaders of the plot”


Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

A British Columbia couple convicted of terrorism charges have had their verdicts tossed out in a scathing court decision that flays the RCMP for its “egregious” conduct in manipulating naive suspects into carrying out a police-manufactured crime…

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce said the Mounties used trickery, deceit and veiled threats to engineer the terrorist acts for which John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were arrested on Canada Day three years ago.

❝ “The world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more,” Bruce said in a landmark ruling Friday as she characterized the RCMP’s methods as “multi-faceted and systematic manipulation.”

“There is clearly a need to curtail the actions of police … to ensure that future undercover investigations do not follow the same path.”…

She described the pair as marginalized, socially isolated, former heroin addicts dependent on methadone and welfare to subsist and said they were “all talk and no action.”…

Without the heavy-handed involvement of undercover officers, it would have been impossible for Nuttall and Korody to articulate, craft and execute a terrorist bomb plot, Bruce said.

“Ultimately, their role in carrying out the plan was minuscule compared to what the police had to do,” Bruce said. “It was the police who were the leaders of the plot.”

Three previous attempts at entrapment defenses failed in Canadian courts. This is the first that succeeded. I think our batting average in the US isn’t that good. I believe there have been successful uses of the argument a few times. But, mostly, arrogant coppers and prosecutors have a pretty good success rate with agents provocateurs.

For decades.

White America looks for a kinder, gentler War on Drugs

…When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences. But today’s heroin crisis is different. While heroin use has climbed among all demographic groups, it has skyrocketed among whites; nearly 90 percent of those who tried heroin for the first time in the last decade were white.

And the growing army of families of those lost to heroin — many of them in the suburbs and small towns — are now using their influence, anger and grief to cushion the country’s approach to drugs, from altering the language around addiction to prodding government to treat it not as a crime, but as a disease.

“Because the demographic of people affected are more white, more middle class, these are parents who are empowered,” said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, better known as the nation’s drug czar. “They know how to call a legislator, they know how to get angry with their insurance company, they know how to advocate. They have been so instrumental in changing the conversation…”

Their efforts also include lobbying statehouses, holding rallies and starting nonprofit organizations, making these mothers and fathers part of a growing backlash against the harsh tactics of traditional drug enforcement. These days, in rare bipartisan or even nonpartisan agreement, punishment is out and compassion is in…

On the campaign trail, presidential candidates acknowledge the problem of America’s growing addiction to legal, prescription and illegal drugs, and discover the bipartisan appeal of drug policy…

And in one of the most striking shifts in this new era, some local police departments have stopped punishing many heroin users. In Gloucester, Mass., those who walk into the police station and ask for help, even if they are carrying drugs or needles, are no longer arrested. Instead, they are diverted to treatment, despite questions about the police departments’ unilateral authority to do so. It is an approach being replicated by three dozen other police departments around the country.

RTFA. It’s long, detailed, beaucoup examples of the disaster that is substance abuse – in this case, mostly heroin.

Yes, the hypocrisy of White America changing their tune when it’s their own kids getting hooked. That ain’t much news is it? At least being forced to react and think about a nationwide disaster – finally – may have an effect on the few politicians who don’t feel beholden to either the pundits or moneybags who haven’t entered the modern world.

Drug OD leading cause of death among homeless adults in Boston

Drug overdose was the leading cause of death among homeless adults in Boston from 2003 to 2008 and accounted for one-third of deaths among those ages 25 to 44. A study by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program compared rates and causes of death among those served by BHCHP with data from a similar 1997 study and found that, while drug overdose had replaced HIV as the leading cause of death, overall mortality rates had not changed.

The significant drop in deaths from HIV infection was offset by the increase in deaths from overdoses and other substance-abuse-related issues, resulting in no change in the overall mortality rates from the earlier study. Overall mortality was higher in white individuals than in black or Hispanic homeless people, which — the authors write — may be due to a disproportionate burden of substance abuse and mental illness among white homeless individuals as compared to homeless minorities.

“Our results highlight the dire need to expand addiction and mental health services and to better integrate them into primary care systems serving homeless people,” says Travis Baggett, who is also an instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “They also suggest that, while health care services like BHCHP can help improve the health of homeless people, they probably are not enough. Making a major impact on mortality for these patients will also require addressing the social factors that contribute to homelessness in the first place…”

“Our results highlight the dire need to expand addiction and mental health services and to better integrate them into primary care systems serving homeless people,” says Baggett, who is also an instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “They also suggest that, while health care services like BHCHP can help improve the health of homeless people, they probably are not enough. Making a major impact on mortality for these patients will also require addressing the social factors that contribute to homelessness in the first place.”

Somehow, I think the basic premises accepted by the medical staff and volunteers on this project need reordering. The portion of the homeless community they’re dealing with – who are junkies – probably ended up homeless as a result of being junkies not the other way round.

IMHO – and life’s experience on a certain number of very mean streets – social issues include family, friends, peers and most often lousy treatment by a government that doesn’t give a rats’ ass about mentally ill folks without money or insurance. Junkies are a separate category entirely.

Coppers free students chained in basement of Pakistan seminary


Two of the rescued children
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Police in the Pakistani city of Karachi have rescued 54 students from the basement of an Islamic seminary, or madrassa, where they said they were kept in chains by clerics, beaten and barely fed.

Police raided the Zakariya madrassa late on Monday on the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial hub. They were now investigating whether it had any links to violent militant groups, which often recruit from hardline religious schools. Most victims had signs of severe torture, and had developed wounds from the chains, police said. The main cleric of the madrassa escaped during the raid.

“Those 50 boys who were kept in such an environment like animals,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told journalists…

“I was there for 30 days and I did not seen the sky or the sun even once,” Zainullah Khan, 21, told Reuters at a police station where the students were questioned and then released to their relatives. “I was whipped with a rubber belt and forced to beg for food…”

Many people are too poor to afford non-religious schools or feel state institutions are inadequate so they send their children to madrassas, where they memorize the Koran, learn Arabic and study the traditions of Islam.

Many madrassas offer free boarding and lodging. Some of the more extreme schools churn out fighters and suicide bombers for militant groups like the Taliban or al Qaeda.

Not exactly the newest ploy in the world for a religion to gather loyal recruits.

Religious schools in many countries are run as recruiting tools, as centers for rehabilitation, for free and later for profit. People who are poor enough, ignorant and/or illiterate, foolish enough to believe in a religion-based free lunch get what they pay for.

Drugs sent to jail in coloring book paint for “Daddy”

Three inmates and their loved ones were charged with attempting to smuggle drugs into a New Jersey jail on the pages of a children’s coloring book…

The drug, Subozone, normally used to treat heroin addiction but itself classified as a controlled dangerous substance, was dissolved into a paste and then painted into the coloring book, said Cape May County Sheriff Gary Schaffer. Pages with “To Daddy” scribbled on top were sent to the prisoners at the jail in Cape May, New Jersey.

I’ve been in law enforcement for 38 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Schaffer…

Charged in the case were prisoners Zachary Hirsch, Charles Markham and Paul Scipione. Also charged were Markham’s mother, Debbie Longo, of West Wildwood, New Jersey, and Katelyn Mosbach, of Trevose, Pennsylvania, who was still being sought.

The New Jersey drug bust was the second one this month involving Suboxone smuggling behind bars.

Authorities at a prison in Carbon County, Pennsylvania earlier this month arrested 11 people in what they said was a scheme to hide the drug beneath postage stamps on letters mailed to inmates from family members.

Hey, with nothing but time on their hands would you expect a slammer full of junkies to be inventive about anything other than getting drugs inside?

Desperate, dumb and Darwin

Desperate heroin users in a few African cities have begun engaging in a practice that is so dangerous it is almost unthinkable: they deliberately inject themselves with another addict’s blood, researchers say, in an effort to share the high or stave off the pangs of withdrawal.

The practice, called flashblood or sometimes flushblood, is not common, but has been reported in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on the island of Zanzibar and in Mombasa, Kenya.

It puts users at the highest possible risk of contracting AIDS and hepatitis. While most AIDS transmission in Africa is by heterosexual sex, the use of heroin is growing in some cities, and experts are warning that flashblood — along with syringe-sharing and other dangerous habits — could fuel a new wave of AIDS infections.

“Injecting yourself with fresh blood is a crazy practice — it’s the most effective way of infecting yourself with H.I.V.,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which supports the researchers who discovered the practice. “Even though the number who do it is a relatively small group, they are vectors for H.I.V. because they support themselves by sex work…”

In most East African countries like Tanzania and Kenya, only 3 to 8 percent of adults are infected with the AIDS virus, far fewer than in southern Africa, where the rates reach 15 to 25 percent.

But among those who inject heroin, the rates are far higher. In Tanzania, about 42 percent of addicts are infected. The rate is even higher — 64 percent — among female addicts, Dr. McCurdy said, and since most support themselves through prostitution, they are in two high-risk groups, and their customers are at risk of catching the disease.

Most of the addicts she has interviewed who practice flashblood, Dr. McCurdy said, are women. For them, sharing blood is more of an act of kindness than an attempt to get high: a woman who has made enough money to buy a sachet of heroin will share blood to help a friend avoid withdrawal. The friend is often a fellow sex worker who has become too old or sick to find customers.

By contrast, on Zanzibar, it is mostly among men, according to a 2006 study in The African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies, which found that about 9 percent of the 200 drug-injectors interviewed practiced it.

They’ll all be gone sooner or later. Leaving behind everyone they’ve infected.

U.S. arrests over 400 in latest Mexican drug gang sweep

More than 400 people accused of having ties to trafficking for Mexican drug cartels were arrested in 16 U.S. states this week.

As part of the latest sweep, 429 people were arrested and nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana, 247 pounds of cocaine, $5.8 million in U.S. currency and 141 weapons were seized, the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration said.

The suspects were charged with various offenses, including conspiracy and distribution of illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines.

The sweep is the latest effort by Mexico and the Obama administration to try to clamp down on drug trafficking along the border where violence has escalated. Pressure has grown on the two governments to tackle the problems…

There is a bond that exists between Mexico and the United States,” Eric Holder told reporters during a news conference to announce the drug arrests. “We have shared interests and I think that is what we focus on and that is what will keep this relationship strong…”

With the escalating violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, President Barack Obama plans to seek an additional $500 million for security and to send up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the border.

Thirty-nine of the arrests were in New Mexico – mostly up in the Española Valley north of Santa Fe. No one was surprised. Probably least of all the junkies and drug dealers.

They’re been there for decades. Once in a while there is a wave of arrests. It keeps the newspapers and TV happy and, after all, elections are coming, this autumn.

The week’s leading attack by the Morality Police

Or – how to chase votes by preaching puritanism.

Harm reduction in New York City came under attack last weekend when the tabloid New York Post ran an article titled Heroin for Dummies, excoriating the city for spending $32,000 for a 2007 harm reduction pamphlet that, among other things, gave injection drug users advice on how to reduce the harm of injecting.

But while the assault on evidence-based harm reduction practices is worrisome, it also sparked a vigorous defense of the pamphlet from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city health officials and has provided an opportunity to broaden public awareness of harm reduction. By Thursday, despite demands that they be pulled, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley had decided that the pamphlets will continue to be distributed.

The pamphlet, Take Charge, Take Care, was distributed by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and was aimed at injection drug users in the city. The harm reduction purpose behind it was to save lives and prevent overdoses and the spread of blood-borne disease. It counsels things like quitting, not sharing needles, and seeking treatment.

But also included in its advice were things like “Find the vein before you try to inject,” “If you don’t register [hit the vein], pull out and try again,” and “Warm your body (jump up and down) to show your veins.” Such common-sense harm reduction advice was like waving a red flag for Post and the drug warriors it interviewed…

RTFA if you need to see the predictable. It’s a easy parallel to the religious dimwits who sold Bush’s foolishness about how abstinence programs will make teenage pregnancy diminish.

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