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October 2014
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Open Thread

Heading off to Kansas City for an International Fine Arts Deans conference. Hoping to get some ribs while I’m there.

bullet image Here’s a little bit of absurdity… 5 Ridiculous Anti-Drugs Posters

Of course, there have been plenty of others, but these are a pretty bizarre bunch.

bullet image Speaking of irresponsibility… Do the media talk down to teenagers over drugs? (Hint: the answer is “yes”)

And, according to one of its authors, the reporting of studies around drugs such as this can leave young people more confused because the issues are often oversimplified and subject to spin. [...] “When we do our research, we want it to have an impact in the real world, we want to give the best advice. But we find it frustrating that, so often, the media give exaggerated headlines. Sometimes, it is even untrue and you wonder if the journalist has read the piece,” said Professor Curran.

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News that the war on drugs is on its way out is slow to reach certain areas

Those of us who are information consumers and see the long-term inevitability of reform should be reminded now and then that some people are completely oblivious.

This hit me again today as I read this strangely clueless article:

What’s next in war on drugs?

OLEAN — News that Chautauqua County was recently added to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) list could affect law enforcement efforts in neighboring Southern Tier counties as well. [...]

“Funding is still one of the biggest priorities,” said Lt. David Bentley of the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and a member of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force for more than 20 years. “We need more people for this fight we’re in.”

Since Chautauqua County was included in the HIDTA just a few weeks ago, officials are “still trying to figure out what to do with HIDTA,” said Lt. Bentley.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, a former U.S. attorney from Indianapolis, said HIDTA will “bring another layer of bureaucracy, but it does bring a lot of resources.” She urged Chautauqua County to make sure it has a representative on the New York-New Jersey HIDTA in order to secure competitive funding.

Of course, the war on drugs looks a lot more interesting when your big problem is figuring out what to do with the money.

And here’s someone who clearly has not been keeping up:

Lt. Bentley said there is a lack of a deterrent for heroin and other drug sales. “People are not being put away for long enough,” he said, calling jail time “a mild to moderate business expense.”

I was also interested by this little tidbit, where a politician seemed to momentarily recognize one of the problems of the war on drugs and then everyone’s brain immediately shuts down. Watch it happen…

Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, R-Gowanda, who also attended the roundtable held at The Depot at the Cattaraugus County Campus of Jamestown Community College, said the heroin problem has spread to all parts of the state. Interstate 88, he said, “is a conduit” for drugs coming into the Southern Tier. Heroin use is an unintended consequence of law enforcement’s fight over first prescription drugs and meth, he added.

Rep. Reed said that illegal drug use and sales doesn’t end at the county line, and encouraged Chautauqua County’s Drug Task Force and that of the city of Jamestown to continue to partner with their counterparts in area counties.

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Facebook takes on the DEA

Good for them.

Facebook Tells DEA to Stop Operating Fake Profile Pages

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook wants assurances from the Drug Enforcement Administration that it’s not operating any more fake profile pages as part of ongoing investigations.

Facebook’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, said in a letter Friday to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart that law enforcement agencies need to follow the same rules about being truthful on Facebook as civilian users. Those rules include a ban on lying about who you are.

I wonder if DEA administrators have offices with windows that open. Have they noticed the change in the wind?

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Defining addiction

Maia Szalavitz continues to put out excellent material, and while I personally don’t agree with how she wrote everything in this article — Of Course Marijuana Addiction Exists. And It’s (Almost) All In Your Head — there’s one part that really resonated with me:

Addiction is a relationship between a person and a substance or activity; addictiveness is not a simple matter of a drug “hijacking the brain.” In fact, with all potentially addictive experiences, only a minority of those who try them get hooked—and people can even become addicted to apparently “nonaddictive” things, like carrots. Addiction depends on learning, context and psychology, not just neurotransmitters.

One of the best definitions I’ve heard.

This, to me, has been a huge problem in our discourse about drugs — a disconnect on even the definition of “addiction.” It’s a word that has had competing political, scientific, and common definitions.

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Now here is an action from the President I can support

Obama to nominate ACLU lawyer to lead Justice Department’s civil rights division

Vanita Gupta, a longtime civil rights lawyer, deputy legal director of the ACLU and director of its Center for Justice, will be appointed acting head of the division Wednesday by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., administration officials said.

Gupta has been a critic of the drug war and has been regularly outspoken about the need to change our racist marijuana laws.

Plus…

Her first case involved leading an effort to win the release of 38 defendants in Tulia, Tex., whose drug convictions and long sentences were discredited by her legal team. All of the defendants were pardoned in 2003 by Gov. Rick Perry, and Gupta helped negotiate a $5 million settlement for the defendants.

I guess I just wish this wasn’t happening so late in the game.

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Because I Got High Remix

Cute…

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Interesting ‘non-shift’ in U.S. position on drug treaties

US calls for major reinterpretation of international drug laws

In a little-noticed October 9 press conference, Assistant Secretary of State for Drugs and Law Enforcement Bill Brownfield acknowledged that the UN Drug Control Conventions, the pillar of international drug laws, should be reinterpreted to allow more policy flexibility. “The first of them was drafted and enacted in 1961,” he said. “Things have changed since 1961.”

Brownfield specified that the treaties should “tolerate different national drug policies, to accept the fact that some countries will have very strict drug approaches; other countries will legalize entire categories of drugs.”

Brownfield spent a lot of time specifically discussing marijuana legalization in Colorado, Washington state, and Uruguay. “How could I,” he said, “a representative of the Government of the United States of America, be intolerant of a government that permits any experimentation with legalization of marijuana if two of the 50 states of the United States of America have chosen to walk down that road?”

But just to be clear…

A spokesperson for the State Department clarified that Brownfield’s remarks didn’t intend to call for changing the UN Drug Conventions. The remarks instead advocated for a reinterpretation of the treaties.

So, apparently the US position is, rather than changing the outdated conventions to something appropriate or at least reflecting reality, we should just sometimes look the other way? Or perhaps we could just use them to arbitrarily punish the countries we don’t like.

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Busybodies protecting children from the horror of mellow parents

There’s a small group of pot-obsessed prohibitionists who don’t have anything meaningful to do and instead have decided…

Cherry Creek parents to spy on Aurora’s new pot stores

One parent commented on our news item Monday morning that he or she has organized more than 24 other parents from neighboring Cherry Creek Schools to spy on the city’s new recreational pot shops — to see if they recognize anyone, to take photos to share with one another, to “publicly shame those who think pot is cool,” according to the comment from user the3Ds, who apparently works at Denver International Airport, lives in Tallyn’s Reach and volunteers at her daughter’s school library.

According to the reader’s comment, their group will “document every person who walks into that shop. We will also make an effort to take a photo and send it around to each other to see if it’s a parent at one of our kid’s schools. We have also promised to tell everyone we know that the parent is a pot-head and make sure to notify the Principals that we don’t want that parent chaperoning our children’s field trips, driving carpool to school events or hosting our kids at their house for slumber parties and playdates.”

How ridiculous.

Hmmm… this seems like a good opportunity for a counter spying operation. Take pictures of those taking pictures and shame the shamers. I can imagine flyers with the picture of one of them taking a picture from their car, with the caption: “Have you seen this person lurking in your neighborhood?”

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The lies and abuses of the drug war machine can no longer withstand the power of the light

 

 

… and go.

 

 

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Pain med regulation

I’ve been a little out of touch this past week, as I’ve been dealing with a large kidney stone, which was finally removed by laser last night. I really don’t recommend having a kidney stone.

I got a little lesson about the problems of over-regulating drugs this week. One of the common pain meds prescribed by doctors is Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen 5/325. Now, realize that this is already set up to prevent abuse of Hydrocodone — because the Acetaminophen will kill you if you take enough to abuse the Hydrocodone. But on October 6, Hydrocodone combinations were moved by the DEA from Schedule III to Schedule II, over the objections of much of the medical community. What this means is that doctors can no longer phone a prescription to your pharmacy — you have to take a physical signed piece of paper — and there can be no refills.

As several doctors told me this week, this concerns them because patients have to come in more often, and may be stuck without pain medication when they need it. They also indicated that the practical result is that they’ll end up prescribing larger amounts, just to be sure, resulting in lots more leftover drugs.

More stupidity by the feds.

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