The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs. The Sentencing Project has just released a report (pdf) finding that, for the first time in 20 years, the number of Black Americans in state prison for drug offenses has fallen. Between 1999 and 2005, the number of White drug offenders in state prisons rose about 43 percent, while the number of Black offenders declined by 22 percent. One cause may be a rise in the use of drug courts, which are locally administered programs that divert offenders into treatment rather than incarceration. The Sentencing Project has a recent report (pdf) on this issue as well.
In May 1995, the American government's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made an attempt to disrupt the supply chain of methamphetamine precursors, such as pseudoephedrine, by shutting down two major suppliers of the precursors under authority granted by the Domestic Chemical Diversion Control Act. Was it successful? Only temporarily, according to new research by Carlos Dobkin and Nancy Nicosia. (via)
The US Food and Drug Administration started regulating the labeling of food, beverages, and medicines after the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, and added food coloring and cosmetics with the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. They have just released a new website, the FDA Notices of Judgment Collection, 1906-1963, containing data from thousands of cases of mislabeled or misadvertised products and drugs, available in multiple forms (text, PDF, metadata XML, .TIF image, etc.), with searchable archives. Poking around in the data will yield information on cases ranging from misbranding methamphetamine tablets, to quack "Film-O-Sonic" devices, to bacteria-laden unproven abortifacients sold over the counter, to purported "4-way" cures for baldness, to hunks of radium sold for putting in your drinking water to "stimulate the sex organs" (judged against for stating an unproven use, not for actual danger of product). Organized by the FDA's history office, the new database is a fascinating resource for historians, public safety advocates, researchers, and librarians.
Under Pennsylvanian state law, it's illegal to sell containers if the store owner "knows or should reasonably know" that the buyer intends to use them to package drugs. A confidential informant entered a convenience store to buy tiny ziplock bags at about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2007. After making the purchase the Philadelphia PD Narcotics Field Unit raided the store for selling drug paraphernalia destroying the store's security system in the process and allegedly stealing money, batteries, cigarettes and food among other items. He's not the first one to make this complaint either.
The novlist Julie Myerson has written a book, The Lost Child, about her son's addiction to cannabis, the violent behaviour she says this caused and her tough love policy. Extract. Her son is angry that she's published it, and says his parents over-reacted: "I wasn't doing anything that most other teenagers do, but such was their naive terror of drugs they were acting like six-year-olds". It comes out through MumsNet that Julie Myerson was the anonymous author of a Guardian column, "Living with Teenagers," which described her children's behaviour candidly without their knowledge. Extract. Myerson first denied this. The Guardian discusses whether it was right to publish the columns. Myerson is interviewed about whether she was right to publish The Lost Child. Her partner, and son's father, Jonathan Myerson supports her: This is an emergency. Her son says she's addicted to writing. [more inside]
This month marks both the birth and the death of Bobby Driscoll, child star, Peter Pan, "Walt Disney's golden boy." He was penniless, drug-addled and buried in an unmarked grave by the age of 31. [more inside]
In a recent report for the Abell Foundation, University of Maryland Criminologist Peter Reuter asks whether, in light of the evidence from Switzerland, The Netherlands and elsewhere, Baltimore might not be the best place to try the first US heroin maintenance programme?
Due to “credible death and kidnapping threats”, T-Pain has cancelled a concert in Guyana for Mashramani, the festival that marks the anniversary of Guyana’s independence from Great Britain. Last years, celebration was soured by a killing spree perpetrated by a heavily armed gang led by man known as “Fine Man”. Because the 23 victims were mainly of East Indian descent, the massacre was a powder keg issue for the tiny South American nation. With a population of 44% East Indian and 30% African ancestries, Guyana tends to be socially and politically divided along ethnic identity lines. [more inside]
Ecstasy's long-term effects revealed. "Enough time has finally elapsed to start asking if ecstasy damages health in the long term. According to the biggest review ever undertaken, it causes slight memory difficulties and mild depression, but these rarely translate into problems in the real world. While smaller studies show that some individuals have bigger problems, including weakened immunity and larger memory deficits, so far, for most people, ecstasy seems to be nowhere near as harmful over time as you may have been led to believe." [Via]
"To make off with hubby's fortune, yea, I think I heard of that happenin' once or twice around L.A. And… you want me to do what exactly?" He found the paper bag he'd brought his supper home in and got busy pretending to scribble notes on it, because straight-chick uniform, makeup supposed to look like no makeup or whatever, here came that old well-known hard-on Shasta was always good for sooner or later. Does it ever end, he wondered. Of course it does. It did. Thomas Pynchon's next novel, the 416-page Inherent Vice, is described by Penguin Press as "part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon — private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog." While we wait for its August 4 publication, we can read an essay on the dystopian musical he co-wrote at Cornell or watch a clip of that movie they made of Gravity's Rainbow. [more inside]
Father takes a video of his 7 year old son after he had his tooth removed. SLYT
(Some links NSFW) Any down on their luck stoner is familiar with so called, "legal bud" Herbs of all kinds have been marketed online to the connectionless or legally restricted that offered a marijuana like high without the legal consequences. Everyone knows they are all scams. It might surprise you, that some were not. Commonly sold under the names Spice or Zohai, mixtures of herbs sprayed with synthetic cannabinoid substances such as HU-210 or JWH-018 have been available online for at least the past four years. [more inside]
Prescription for Disaster: The dangers of teens using prescription pain killers and other doctor-prescribed drugs.
Salon has an article up which is a pretty solid summary of why marijuana is illegal.
The Economist on Drugs -- Scientists in North America, Europe and Israel are studying the use of MDMA, LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and other banned psychoactive substances in treating conditions such as anxiety, cluster headaches, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are supported by private funds from a handful of organisations: the Beckley Foundation in Britain; the Heffter Research Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in America. [related]
The Caffeine Examiner will review any product containing caffeine. For example: chewing gum, sprays, energy drinks, soft drinks, hard drinks, perplexingly hard drinks, patches...? The sidebar on the right points to reviews of more caffeinated products than I had ever dreamed existed. Products are also rated by taste, packaging, nutrition/buzz, and website functionality. [via]
Poppy For Medicine. "America's drug war in Afghanistan has been a miserable failure. So why not legalize opium production and let Afghanistan become the Saudi Arabia of morphine?"
Dock Ellis, an American baseball pitcherprev, won more games for the champion 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates than anyone else that year. Of course, he was under the influence of the performance-enhancing drug known as LSD on at least one no-hit occasion. Ellis died yesterday at the age of 63. [more inside]
Anti-drug propaganda is invariably lame, but the latest campaign for Frank, the UK drugs information helpline are actually very clever. Meet Pablo the Drug Mule Dog, Nostril and Baggie.
Probation officers rejoice! We've talked about the Whizzinator before. Oh, c'mon, you remember? The fake penis that's capable of storing a warm, pre-mixed solution of "clean" urine so as to fool drug testers? Three weeks ago its developers pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia and are awaiting sentencing. [more inside]
Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy - a commentary in Nature that says, "we call for a presumption that mentally competent adults should be able to engage in cognitive enhancement using drugs". Farkesque debate here. [more inside]
Surrendering to the Spirit Vine. Artist Alex Grey (previously) describes his experience with "the champagne of ayahuascas."
'There are two Americas - separate, unequal, and no longer even acknowledging each other except on the barest cultural terms. In the one nation, new millionaires are minted every day. In the other, human beings no longer necessary to our economy, to our society, are being devalued and destroyed' David Simon on The Escalating Breakdown Of Urban Society Across The US
Binaural Beats have been mentioned before, but that was when they were innocent, before someone thought of the children.
A SWAT team in Maryland raids a city's mayor's house and kills his dogs. Oh, and the warrant was wrong.
Is Afghanistan a Narco-State? "Drug-related corruption pervades the government in Afghanistan, a former U.S. counternarcotics official says."
The Coffee Junkie’s Guide to Caffeine Addiction. Caffeine's a hell of a drug. In fact, it's the world's most popular psychoactive drug. And more and more of us are getting hooked on the stuff. [more inside]
Christiane F was a 1981 German film that portrayed the life of young heroin addicts growing up in 1970's Berlin. Notable for the collaboration of David Bowie, the film became well known for its realistic portrayal of drug use. [more inside]
Amy Winehouse has Emphysema. The 24 year old artist, whose career has netted multiple awards but has often been overshadowed by her drug use, now faces a lung condition that can be slowed but never reversed, with effects ranging from shortness of breath to cyanosis and heart faliure.
Reefer Man - Heroin - Cokane In My Brain - Sister Morphine - Purple Haze - Don't Bogart Me - The Pusher. [more inside]
Jacqui Smith to reclassify cannabis - despite pressure from the UK Government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the Home Secretary has announced the reversal of Tony Blair's 2004 decision to downgrade cannabis. Critics see the move as pandering to tabloid scaremongering
A southern California family is standing by the wife and mother who lived under a false name and with a colossal secret: Susan M. LeFevre escaped from a Plymouth prison 32 years ago.
Albert Hofmann, the inventor/discoverer of LSD, has died at the age of 102. Wiki. The Albert Hofmann Foundation. Erowid entry on LSD. Hofmann's often-cited essay, "LSD, My Problem Child." Late in his life, he questioned his own invention. A conversation with Dr. Hoffman. [more inside]
Thirty-six years after the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse recommended that "simple possession" of pot be decriminalised, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three-and-a-half ounces) of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce (28.3 grams). Drug reform advocates
lit up hailed the legislation as "an important step toward bringing federal law into line with scientific fact, practical reality and public opinion." Is America, at long last, having a collective moment of sanity?
Carlos Castaneda And The Shaman. A BBC documentary on the anthropologist, best-selling author, con-artist, drug guru and cult leader: Carlos Castaneda. (google video, 1 hour)
James Brown was known as the hardest working man in show business. Most people concentrate on his musical legacy while others see him as a central figure in the civil rights movement. And while there are many who view Mr. Brown as a "moral conscience for black people" those inside his his private world seem to have viewed him as a drug fueled maniac who grew up in a whore house and had little regard for women. via
American Drug War - The Last White Hope (in case you missed it on Showtime) Includes footage of and interviews with gang members, narcs, prisoners (like Tommy Chong), and other folks on the front lines of the drug war including Freeway Ricky Ross (infamous for starting the crack epidemic) and DEA Agent Celerino Castillo who both wound up working for the CIA. [more inside]
He laughs and leaves. I sit alone in the room, staring at the walls, just about every inch of which is covered with more memorabilia: a photo of him with Lennon, a photo of the Beatles circa 1965, a photo of Muddy Waters.... After maybe five minutes, Richards wanders back into the room, laughing. “Sorry, mate,” he says. “I got lost. I don’t come here often!”]... Why do you think some people live and some die..? ...there’s that line between recklessness and stupidity, and you— "No, you bring up a good point...."
"I found these in a red photo album marked "Darlene" at a swap meet in Huntington Beach, California." The Cocaine Photos. Images from a more innocent time.
ALLDEAD by Christopher Keeley. Photos of and commentary about the many friends he has made and lost during his years in the intervention business. (Some NSFW artsy nudity.) [more inside]
"I'm not a politician, I'm an artist. Depravity is part of the job description," says self-styled dandy, former drug addict, and controversial British author Sebastian Horsely, who was denied entrance to the US by customs officials at Newark Airport on the grounds of "moral turpitude," a wide net that encompasses everything from fornication to being a "nuisance." Shades of Oscar Wilde.
Federal Court rules Drug-Free Workplace Laws are unconstitutional. A federal appeals court ruled Thursday a city can't require all job applicants to be tested for narcotics and must instead show why drug use in a particular job would be dangerous. Decision here (warning PDF)
I honestly do not remember a time in my life when I didn't have headaches Wilco's Jeff Tweedy discusses his lifelong battle with migraines, panic attacks, depression, drug addiction, and the influences of all on his music.
The lavishly-furnished custom Boeing 727 figures in the current tempest over his relationship with female lobbyist Vicki Iseman who provided and flew with McCain on the plane. Lots of colorful background in this investigative report by Daniel Hopsicker, the best muckraker since Gary Webb [more inside]
A new peer-reviewed meta-analysis of clinical data demonstrates that four widely-prescribed SSRI anti-depressants, including Prozac and Effexor, are not more effective than placebos. Summary from the Guardian. [more inside]