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Surprise! The war on drugs doesn’t work

The United States’ ‘War on Drugs’ Really Did Make Things Worse, New Research Finds

After five decades of intense and expensive policing, the United States’ so-called ‘war on drugs’ has only created a bigger problem, a new study has found.

The research is based on a unique geographic model, called NarcoLogic, that was designed to figure out how cocaine smuggling networks have adapted to US drug interception over the years. […]

The updated model now suggests that drug traffickers are actively adapting and adjusting their routes, exploiting new locations to get around US drug control. This essentially means that the very presence of law enforcement has only made drug trafficking more widespread and harder to eradicate.

As a result, between 1996 and 2017, the space that drug traffickers use has spread from roughly 5 million square kilometres (2 million square miles) to over 18 million square kilometres (7 million square miles) – a 3.5-fold increase that will only make future enforcement more difficult and expensive.

“In other words, narco-trafficking is as widespread and difficult to eradicate as it is because of interdiction, and increased interdiction will continue to spread traffickers into new areas, allowing them to continue to move drugs north,” the authors write.

A detailed new study confirms what the basic laws of economics were telling us decades ago.

Will the U.S. care?

Of course, we’re dealing with science and facts here, which haven’t really been all that popular within the drug war apparatus.

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16 comments to Surprise! The war on drugs doesn’t work

  • thelbert

    the reason we have mothers fleeing gang violence, with their children, arriving at the southern border is the drug war. cracking down on socialists and smugglers in central and south america has it’s consequences. ronnie reagan’s iran-contra shenanigans are coming back on us like kharma. america has been earning its kharma for a couple of centuries, and i don’t see much sign of us slowing down.

  • claygooding

    This being the longest running blog on drug policy proves how schizophrenic US drug policy has always been.
    We need federal magistrates to be at each border crossing to inspect all US govt sealed loads,,just checking a seal number on a computer screen ain’t enough when dealing with the corruption ridden federal bureaucracies.
    80% of the drugs cross the borders at ports of entry,,a majority comes inside shipping containers.

  • Servetus

    More science and facts: the science of empathy is finally getting the attention it deserves. As the FDA becomes more empathic toward empathogens such as MDMA and psilocybin, the psychology and sociobiology of empathy recently received a jumpstart:

    8-Apr-2019 — Researchers at the Max Planck Institute and the Santa Fe Institute have developed a new model to explain the evolutionary origins of empathy and other related phenomena, such as emotional contagion and contagious yawning. […]

    Mafessoni and Lachmann posited that animals, including humans, can engage in the act of simulating the minds of others. We cannot read other minds — they are like black boxes to us. But, as Lachmann explains, all agents share almost identical “black boxes” with members of their species, and “they are constantly running simulations of what other minds might be doing.” This ongoing as-actor simulation is not necessarily geared toward cooperation: it’s just something humans and animals do spontaneously.

    An example of this process is represented by mirror neurons: it has been known for some time that the same neurons engaged in planning a hand movement are also used when observing the hand movement of others. Mafessoni and Lachmann wondered what the consequences would be if they were to extend that process of understanding to any social interaction.

    When they modeled outcomes rooted in cognitive simulation, they found that actors engaged in as-actor simulation produce a variety of systems typically explained in terms of cooperation or kin-selection. They also found that an observer can occasionally coordinate with an actor even when this outcome is not advantageous. Their model suggests that empathetic systems do not evolve solely because agents are disposed to cooperation and kin-selection. They also evolve because animals simulate others to envision their actions. According to Mafessoni, “the very origin of empathy may lie in the need to understand other individuals.”

    For Lachmann, their findings “completely change how we think about humans and animals.” Their model is grounded in a single, cognitive mechanism that unifies a broad set of phenomena under one explanation. It therefore has theoretical import for a wide range of fields, including cognitive psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, complex systems, and evolutionary biology. Its power stems from both its unifying clarity and its theoretical interest in the limits of cooperation as an explanatory frame.

    AAAS Public Release: Are you with me? New model explains origins of empathy

    Original Publication: The complexity of understanding others as the evolutionary origin of empathy and emotional contagion

    A better understanding of the etiology of empathy will enable scientists to understand why it’s lacking in prohibitionists and certain politicians.

  • Servetus

    The common OTC pain remedy acetominophen is an anti-empathy drug:

    8-Apr-2019 — A new study by an Ohio University faculty member showed that acetaminophen limited positive empathy a person has for others while taking it.

    The study, titled “A Social Analgesic? Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) Reduces Positive Empathy” was conducted by Visiting Assistant Professor Dominik Mischkowski. […]

    The study found that while the acetaminophen reduced personal pleasure and empathic feelings, it has no effect on perceptions of pleasure and positivity.

    “I’m still surprised about the striking psychological effects of such a common painkiller such as acetaminophen,” Mischkowski said. “However, based on previous research we expected acetaminophen not only to reduce empathy for pain but also empathy for pleasure. It is nice that it came out that way.” […]

    “Given that an estimated quarter of all U.S.-American adults consume a drug containing acetaminophen every week, this research really matters,” Mischkowski said.

    Ohio University Press Release: OHIO study: Acetaminophen can reduce positive empathy for others

    Now that acetaminophen is taking on the demon drug role of reducing or eliminating empathy, marijuana can be exonerated from accusations by prohibitionists that it causes crazy people to commit mass shootings and other acts of violence.

    Beware of the fiends who snort Tylenol.

  • Servetus

    Alfred W. McCoy, the author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, and who holds the Harrington chair in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has written a concise summary at Truthout on failures of the drug war, in which he reflects on the question: “What had 50 years of observation actually drilled into me, beyond some random facts, about the character of the illicit traffic in drugs?”

    Calculating the Damage From a Century of Drug Prohibition

  • Servetus

    Billionaire Philip Anschutz, who promotes the annual Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, at the Empire Polo Club, is also a cannabis prohibitionist who funds SAM:

    04.13.18 — …While it’s not exactly shocking that a billionaire dude is a Republican, Anschutz’s politics don’t align with those of many Coachella festivalgoers, not to mention performers. This tension has become even more untenable with the revelation that Anschutz, who, through Goldenvoice, also operates Panorama, Hangout, and FYF Festival, may be anti-marijuana. According to Freedom Leaf, a pro-legalization magazine, Anschutz has donated “thousands of dollars” to anti-drug groups; in 2016 alone, “the Anschutz Foundation donated $50,000 to SAM Inc., and another $110,000 to its partner organization, Smart Colorado.”

    The report continued, “It gave another $50,000 to Smart Colorado in 2015. The goal was to counter the impact of Amendment 64, the recreational-marijuana legalization initiative the state’s voters passed in 2012.”

    Freedom Leaf hypothesized that Anschutz’s personal biases may be standing in the way of Coachella attendees and their kush—while recreational marijuana is legal in California, Coachella is adamant that, “No Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia, Marijuana, Marijuana products will be allowed” at the festival or on the camp grounds.

    So it seems that Coachella-heads won’t be able to get high and forget that they’re funding the passion politics of an arguably homophobic septuagenarian after all.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/your-coachella-money-is-going-to-a-right-wing-billionaire-who-funded-anti-lgbt-and-anti-marijuana-causes?ref=home?ref=home

  • Servetus

    Regular use of cannabis affects the amount of sedatives some patients need during medical procedures:

    April 15, 2019– …Researchers in Colorado examined medical records of 250 patients who received endoscopic procedures after 2012, when the state legalized recreational cannabis. They found patients who smoked or ingested cannabis on a daily or weekly basis required 14% more fentanyl, 20% more midazolam, and 220% more propofol to achieve optimum sedation for routine procedures, including colonoscopy.

    “Some of the sedative medications have dose-dependent side effects, meaning the higher the dose, the greater likelihood for problems,” says lead researcher Mark Twardowski, DO, an osteopathic internal medicine physician. “That becomes particularly dangerous when suppressed respiratory function is a known side effect.”

    AAAS Public Release: Regular cannabis users require up to 220% higher dosage for sedation in medical procedures: Physicians concerned over possible rise in adverse side effects, according to the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

    • DdC

      Title: cannabis users require up to …

      1st paragraph:
      Patients who regularly use cannabis may require

      Disclaimer … not responsible for the accuracy

      mho… It looks like the doctor is concerned and should sound an alarm. The article seems bias in ruling cannabis a culprit, disregarding what benefits daily use has for some people. Where the surgeries are hopefully more rare.

      It could seem logical, if the ECS balances the body to its original state. A sedative would be considered a toxic foreign entity taking the norm out of the ECS parameters. So it would reject/divert them. I’ve always gone by the premise decades ago that Ganja doesn’t have any known negative interactions with big pharma outside of competition.

      The research said the problem was banning research. Its beyond reason society should still have to put up with banned science. I passed this to a friend who said she was having surgery and the Anesthesiologist/Nurse put her under, doc came in and she heard them talking, then opened her eyes. They quickly gave her an injection and knocked her out and had difficulty reviving her.

      I would have presumed each patient is dealt with according to their own history and vital stats during the sedation. Many things can change a persons dosage. If some take more then so be it, the danger is in generalizing and banned research. Seems a blood test would aid in the thc/sedative ratio. Perhaps large doses of CBD could counter?

  • Servetus

    CBD may become a Trojan horse to facilitate medications needing to cross the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). For now it’s being recommended for use in mouse studies involving brain and pharmaceutical research that involve nanocarriers:

    17-APR-2019…The BBB consists of a layer of tightly linked cells that line capillaries in the brain, preventing substances from exiting the blood and entering the brain. However, the BBB does permit some molecules to pass, such as glucose and certain amino acids and neurotransmitters. For example, a class of neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids bind to proteins called cannabinoid receptors in the BBB, and the receptors help transport the molecules across the barrier and into the brain. Ana Torres-Suárez and colleagues wanted to make use of this system to sneak drug nanocarriers into the brains of mice.

    To do so, the researchers attached CBD, which resembles endocannabinoids made by both mice and humans, to the outside surfaces of lipid nanocapsules. Instead of loading the nanocapsules with a medication, the researchers packaged them with a fluorescent molecule so they could track the particles. In experiments with human brain cells that mimic the BBB, the researchers showed that the CBD-displaying nanocarriers caused more of the fluorescent molecule to pass through the cells than nanocarriers of equal size that lacked CBD. Similarly, when injected into healthy mice, the CBD-nanocapsules targeted about 2.5 times more of the fluorescent molecule to the animals’ brains.

    AAAS Public Release: Cannabidiol could help deliver medications to the brain

  • Servetus

    Marijuana munchies do not make people fat:

    19-APR-2019 –New evidence from Michigan State University suggests that those who smoke cannabis, or marijuana, weigh less compared to adults who don’t.

    The findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, are contrary to the belief that marijuana users who have a serious case of the munchies will ultimately gain more weight.

    “Over a three-year period, all participants showed a weight increase, but interestingly, those who used marijuana had less of an increase compared to those that never used,” said Omayma Alshaarawy, lead author and an assistant professor of family medicine. “Our study builds on mounting evidence that this opposite effect occurs.”

    Results also suggest that new and persistent users are less likely to be overweight or obese, overall.

    “We found that users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight,” she said. “Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users.” […]

    “An average 2-pound difference doesn’t seem like much, but we found it in more than 30,000 people with all different kinds of behaviors and still got this result,” Alshaarawy said.

    So, what is it about marijuana that seems to affect weight? Alshaarawy indicated it’s still relatively unknown but it could be several factors.

    “It could be something that’s more behavioral like someone becoming more conscious of their food intake as they worry about the munchies after cannabis use and gaining weight,” she said. “Or it could be the cannabis use itself, which can modify how certain cells, or receptors, respond in the body and can ultimately affect weight gain. More research needs to be done.” […]

    AAAS Public Release: Marijuana users weigh less, defying the munchies

    • DdC

      mho, Once again the research is treating Ganja like a drug treating symptoms. Or a firm grasp of the obvious. As a supplement to the ECS (EndoCannabinoid System discovered 1980s?) Ganja brings the individual back to where it once belonged jojo. The ECS eats Ganja. It can add weight for wasting syndrome. Or reduce the urge to eat for obesity. Anything in the body going outside of the DNA parameters at the cellular level. The ECS brings back. The munchies happen after drinking too. Mostly later or more time since the last meal. What is eaten and drank is also a problem of obesity.

      Ganja also regulates the two amygdalae. Reduces the fear triggers, inflammation and quenches the hate emotion driving hormones for primitive fight or flight reactions. Stoners tend to have less rage and more individual thought where ECS deficiencies have larger fear centers and tend to seek authoritarian orders over thinking. Feed Your Head.
      https://twitter.com/DendeCannabist/status/1119263218667376641

      ☛ 5 Best Marijuana Strains for Wasting Syndrome
      (Cachexia)

      ☛ 5 Best Marijuana Strains To Help Reduce Obesity
      [2019 Update]

      ☛ Wasting Obesity on Ganja

      ☛ 9 Essential Questions about Your Body’s
      Endocannabinoid System

      Simply put, we may not have ever discovered this all-important system in our bodies if it weren’t for cannabis. (Stoners)

      ☛ What Happens in the Brain When We Feel Fear

      ☛ Ganja 4 PTSD & Depression

  • Servetus

    Cancer patients use cannabis to fight pain:

    22-APR-2019 — …Pain is a common symptom of cancer, and many affected patients do not receive adequate pain relief. In light of rapidly evolving marijuana legislation and a growing opioid epidemic, a team led by Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, MD, and Kathryn Ries Tringale, MD, MAS, of the University of California, San Diego, examined trends in the self-disclosed use of marijuana and opioids among patients with cancer.

    After analyzing data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2014, the investigators matched 826 people with cancer to 1,652 controls without cancer. Among survey respondents who had cancer, 40.3 percent used marijuana within the past year, compared with 38.0 percent of respondents without cancer. Also, people with cancer were more likely to use prescription opioids than their demographically equivalent counterparts without cancer (13.9 percent versus 6.4 percent).

    “Prospective clinical trials are needed to quantify the efficacy of marijuana in cancer-specific pain as well as the risk of opioid misuse in this patient population,” said Dr. Tringale. […]

    When looking at rates of marijuana and opioid use in more than 19,000 survey respondents with and without cancer over 10 years, the researchers found significantly increased use of marijuana over time–likely reflecting increased availability due to legislative changes–but they found stable rates of opioid use. A diagnosis of cancer did not significantly affect the odds of substance use over time from 2005 to 2014.

    “Medical marijuana legalization has previously been associated with a reduction in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence or abuse, suggesting that if patients are in fact substituting marijuana for opioids, this may introduce an opportunity for reducing opioid-related morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Hattangadi-Gluth. […]

    Published in the journal Cancer : The role of cancer in marijuana and prescription opioid use in the United States: A population‐based analysis from 2005 to 2014

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