Data from 2015 indicate that 30 percent of current cannabis users harbor a use disorder -- more Americans are dependent on cannabis than on any other illicit drug. Yet marijuana advocates have relentlessly pressured the federal government to shift marijuana from Schedule I -- the most restrictive category of drug -- to another schedule or to de-schedule it completely. Their rationale? "States have already approved medical marijuana"; "rescheduling will open the floodgates for research"; and "many people claim that marijuana alone alleviates their symptoms."
Yet unlike drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration, "dispensary marijuana" has no quality control, no standardized composition or dosage for specific medical conditions. It has no prescribing information or no high-quality studies of effectiveness or long-term safety. While the FDA is not averse to approving cannabinoids as medicines and has approved two cannabinoid medications, the decision to keep marijuana in Schedule I was reaffirmed in a 2015 federal court ruling. That ruling was correct.
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Prince received drug overdose treatment six days before his death during his plane's emergency landing in rural Illinois, according to a report.
Medical examiners are investigating the cause of the 57-year-old legendary musician's Thursday death at his Minnesota estate. But doctors in Moline, Ill., only 48 minutes from his home, gave Prince a so-called "save shot" during the emergency stop last Friday, TMZ reported.
The "save shots" usually help combat opiates, such as heroin and narcotic painkillers, in the bloodstream. Doctors and paramedics have used the injectable medication, called naloxone, for years, according to WebMD.
As this tragic incident certainly seems to illustrate, "save" shots are not the answer as long as the next patch of drugs is available. We cannot play just defense against heroin and similar drugs; it just doesn't work. We have to play offense.
Question: Do we go on offense against illegal drugs by enacting softer sentences for their dealers, as the SRCA would allow? Answer: You don't need an answer. It answers itself.
[Jerome Butler's] death was one of 10 in the Sacramento area in just 12 days that doctors have traced to heavy fentanyl-laced narcotics being sold as generic opioids on the streets.
"This is not bathroom biochemistry. It's going to be very sophisticated." Sophisticated and deadly, said Dr. Timothy Albertson, a toxicologist at UC Davis Medical Center.
"It is probably 100 times more potent that than morphine."
DEA special agent John Martin says the illegal fentanyl has made a long journey to get here.
"We believe it is manufactured in China, it is being distributed to Mexico, it is brought up through the normal drug smuggling routes of the southwest border."
In other words, this is not the legitimate pharmaceutical industry, nor is it over-prescribing pain doctors. It's the drug cartels and their street pushers -- exactly the people backers of the SRCA blandly (and deceitfully) describe as "low-level, non-violent offenders."
Perhaps the comments section will tell us why people who distribute this stuff on Sacramento's streets should have softer sentencing at the very moment their quite lucrative business is making life busy in the morgue.
The problem with longitudinal studies, of course, is that they necessarily take a very long time to do. Some of the best work has come out of New Zealand. Magdalena Cerda, Terrie Moffitt, et al. have this article in Clinical Psychological Science on results from the Dunedin Longitudinal Study on the long-term effects of persistent marijuana use. Here is the abstract:
With the increasing legalization of cannabis, understanding the consequences of cannabis use is particularly timely. We examined the association between cannabis use and dependence, prospectively assessed between ages 18 and 38, and economic and social problems at age 38. We studied participants in the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, a cohort (N = 1,037) followed from birth to age 38. Study members with regular cannabis use and persistent dependence experienced downward socioeconomic mobility, more financial difficulties, workplace problems, and relationship conflict in early midlife. Cannabis dependence was not linked to traffic-related convictions. Associations were not explained by socioeconomic adversity, childhood psychopathology, achievement orientation, or family structure; cannabis-related criminal convictions; early onset of cannabis dependence; or comorbid substance dependence. Cannabis dependence was associated with more financial difficulties than was alcohol dependence; no difference was found in risks for other economic or social problems. Cannabis dependence is not associated with fewer harmful economic and social problems than alcohol dependence.
Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign was widely reviled and ridiculed by the "cool kids" of America's media and academia. But it worked. Drug use among America's youngsters took a major plunge. The abandonment of that effort was one of the worst mistakes of modern history.
Nancy Reagan did far more good for the country than the First Ladies more widely admired in popular culture. May she rest in peace.
Anyone convicted of selling any amount of heroin for the first time would be a felon in Kentucky under a bill that has cleared the state Senate.
The Senate voted 31-6 to approve the bill on Wednesday. Kentucky lowered penalties for some heroin dealers in 2011. Since then, heroin use has increased significantly and overdose deaths have soared.
State Sen. John Schickel of Union said he voted to lower the penalties in 2011 and has regretted it ever since. Some Democrats opposed the bill, arguing it would put low-level addicts behind bars without treating their underlying substance abuse problem.
Could someone remind me which state Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell represents?
A new, peer-reviewed in the contradicts the White House claim that the huge increase in heroin overdose deaths--440 percent in the past seven years--is directly related to prescription pain killers and changes in prescribing policies aimed at making them harder to obtain and abuse.
The article, authored by some of the federal government's leading addiction researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, surveys dozens of recent, peer-reviewed studies on heroin use, initiation patterns, overdose deaths, and the effects of policy changes in prescribing opioids. Ultimately, they find "there is no consistent evidence of an association between the implementation of policies related to prescription opioids and increases in the rates of heroin use or deaths." Instead, the authors conclude that "heroin market forces, including increased accessibility, reduced price, and high purity of heroin appear to be major drivers of the recent increases in rates of heroin use."
A man who made millions operating a half a dozen pill mills in South Florida wants his prison sentence reduced.
The attorney for Vincent Colangelo has asked a Miami judge to reduce his sentence from 20 years to 16 years. Attorney Alvin Entin says a retroactive change in federal sentencing guidelines justifies the reduction.
Colangelo was sentenced in 2012 after pleading guilty to federal drug, money-laundering and tax charges. Court show he operated six pain clinics that made an estimated $22 million in profits through illegal sale of oxycodone and other drugs.
Six other people were charged in the case. South Florida was once the nation's pill mill leader, but new laws and tougher law enforcement has all but eliminated them.
That last sentence is particularly interesting. New laws and tougher enforcement have helped take down one source of a huge amount of human misery. But now we propose -- through federal sentencing "reform" -- to turn away from this success and re-embrace failure. And pay for all of it with hefty amounts of taxpayer dollars.