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February 2021
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Billie Holliday and Harry Anslinger

Watching The United States vs. Billie Holliday on Hulu. Many people are unaware of how much Billie Holliday (and her dangerously true song “Strange Fruit“) drew the ire of the government and racist drug warrior Harry Anslinger in particular during his ramping up for the war on drugs.

This true story is taken in part from the research in Johann Hari’s amazing book “Chasing the Scream: The Opposite of Addiction is Connection,” which I talked about at length here on DrugWarRant, and the script for the film is by Suzan-Lori Parks. Andra Day, in a very powerful performance, plays Billie.

I thought the direction by Lee Daniels was a little uneven, but it was still an amazing (and disturbing) story to watch, and always wonderful to hear Billie’s songs.

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3 comments to Billie Holliday and Harry Anslinger

  • Servetus

    “I am waiting for the war to be fought which will make the world safe for anarchy.” — Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021). RIP.

  • Son of Sam Walton

    And to think she also lived in a whore house as a child, according to wiki. Forced to do things children should never be forced to do. Kind of like the dope war in Mexico forcing countless refugees to flee to safer havens outside drug money’s violent and corruptible control. And Regan’s Central America has vomited out countless refugees with how that admin helped set up the Isthmus with smuggling routes and weapons.

    If the War on Drugs isn’t about race, then why did the U.K.’s heroin use jump leaps and bounds when they outlawed prescription heroin in 1964 to comply with the 1961 U.N. Single Laws? From way less than 1000 users to a maniac’s closet of junkies remaking the counterculture.

    Race and money . . . prohibition just makes dope way more popular and easier to get.

    If Iran were to legalize heroin, meth, and cannabis, then our nation would have to alter our security contracts with Iraq, thus affecting how Western and Chinese hands hold her 2007 denationalize oil. Stability would reduce ‘ghost employees’ getting untold millions of dollars for simply being on the payroll. And attacks there and around the area would fall off like the melting snows in May.

  • Servetus

    CRISPR-based gene therapy offers a potential alternative to opioids for chronic pain:

    10-MAR-2021 — A gene therapy for chronic pain could offer a safer, non-addictive alternative to opioids. Researchers at the University of California San Diego developed the new therapy, which works by temporarily repressing a gene involved in sensing pain. It increased pain tolerance in mice, lowered their sensitivity to pain and provided months of pain relief without causing numbness. […]

    The gene therapy could be used to treat a broad range of chronic pain conditions, from lower back pain to rare neuropathic pain disorders–conditions for which opioid painkillers are the current standard of care.

    “What we have right now does not work,” said first author Ana Moreno, a bioengineering alumna from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Opioids can make people more sensitive to pain over time, leading them to rely on increasingly higher doses. “There’s a desperate need for a treatment that’s effective, long-lasting and non-addictive.”

    The idea for such a treatment emerged when Moreno was a Ph.D. student in UC San Diego bioengineering professor Prashant Mali’s lab. Mali had been investigating the possibility of applying CRISPR-based gene therapy approaches to rare as well as common human diseases. Moreno’s project focused on exploring potential therapeutic avenues. One day, she came across a paper about a genetic mutation that causes humans to feel no pain. This mutation inactivates a protein in pain-transmitting neurons in the spinal cord, called NaV1.7. In individuals lacking functional NaV1.7, sensations like touching something hot or sharp do not register as pain. On the other hand, a gene mutation that leads to overexpression of NaV1.7 causes individuals to feel more pain.

    When Moreno read this, it clicked. “By targeting this gene, we could alter the pain phenotype,” she said. “What’s also cool is that this gene is only involved in pain. There aren’t any severe side effects observed with this mutation.” […]

    AAAS Public Research News Release: With gene therapy, scientists develop opioid-free solution for chronic pain