Drug Testing

If we want to save more lives,
we need to stop drug-testing people
and start drug testing… drugs.

We’ve been doing it all wrong.

What got me thinking about drug testing this morning was this headline in a piece at Release: The case for drug testing and a push for drug policy reform, and at first my hackles went up at reading “the case for drug testing” because I’m so fed up with the push for drug testing people, until I realized that it was about drug testing drugs.

Of course, that’s a kind of drug testing that I fully support.

Pretty much all recreational drugs can be safe if used responsibly and appropriately. But a critical key to that is knowing what’s in them. And that’s a real problem when they’re controlled by the black market. Having a regulated system that controls the purity and contaminants in drugs would save so many. And until we can get there, harm reduction approaches like those promoted by Release are critical.

Strict law-enforcement, stemming from the UN convention treaties, of well-known established drugs such as MDMA has paved the way for a new market of unknown substances and an emerging culture of legal highs. This is no more clearly seen than through the banning of a number of precursor chemicals used to make MDMA – the most well-known being the 50 tonne seizure of safrole in Thailand back in 2010. This led to a significant dent in availability for MDMA production and so chemists looked for alternative ways and means of production.

Unfortunately, the use of anise oil as a replacement precursor resulted in the product PMA. Consequently, international governments have inadvertently allowed more dangerous chemicals to enter the drugs market by cutting the supply of MDMA.

It is therefore a sad reality that our drug laws have contributed to the deaths of those young men at Christmas and New Year. As, “by handing the control of the trade over to the black market, successive governments have abdicated all responsibility.” These deaths are an added example of a worrying upward trend in drug related deaths – which saw a 21% increase in 2013, a figure that jumped to 32% for heroin/morphine deaths alone. As such, this is an issue that the government should be primarily focused on tacking. […]

The Netherlands has adopted a very pragmatic approach when it comes to harm reduction for drug users. Here, residents have access to a free, government funded drug testing service, which is “born out of a culture that believes in accepting the reality of life and shaping policy in a way that recognises that human behaviour cannot be completely controlled.” It was this same drug testing centre, the Trimbos Institute, which issued its highest alert possible on the same pink Superman pills after testing them and finding that they contained PMA. The UK government failed to act on this vital information – with the only immediate alert in the UK made by Criminology Professor, Fiona Measham who received the alarm from a local drugs testing group and “considered the warning too important to ignore”.

If the UK had adopted harm reduction schemes such as those in The Netherlands, the likely-hood of those men dying would have been far lower. Initiatives need to be put in place. The first step should be for the Home Office to ensure there are accessible drug testing facilities, where the public can get illicit substances tested without fear of being criminalised. This is an initiative that has quietly got underway here in the UK, but not to the extent that is needed. Pioneered by Professor Fiona Meacham at Durham University who uses the latest technology to test confiscated substances at The Warehouse Project in Manchester, enabling her team to send out immediate and localised warnings about potentially dangerous drugs. This is a service that should be available to everyone to ensure that if people are going to take drugs, they know what they contain.

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43 Responses to Drug Testing

  1. Frank W. says:

    Drug testing for drugs instead of people? But who will profit? Who will be fired? Get out of here with your crazy ideas! We need to wreck lives or our sweet drug war will have been in vain!

  2. joe minella says:

    ‘Strict law-enforcement, stemming from the UN convention treaties” -Are we blaming the UN now? Because we know the UN didn’t come up with this drug war disaster by itself, or first, or without intimidation from our red, white, and blue anti-drug fools.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      A better question is have they ever read those treaties? The 1961 SCT sure doesn’t have language instituting an immutable prohibition of everything and anything cannabis in the way that the prohibitionists like to whine that it does.

    • claygooding says:

      If a person scanned the archived news articles from when the SCT was introduced they would find the US wrote and pushed the SCT down the UN’s throat,,using foreign aid,,trade sanctions and bullying by none other than Harry Anslinger to get it passed in the UN.

      The US government and it’s bureaucracies are responsible for the SCT even existing.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        The thing I can’t seem to get over is that they called it cannabis.

      • QuaxMercy says:

        To kick him out, Kennedy kicked him up. Anslinger did close to 2 years at the UN; is said to have gloated over passage of the SCT.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Harry J. hit mandatory retirement; age 70. Mr. Kennedy fixed it so he could stay several months extra into 1962 with the nomination process. The SCT was either ratified or ready for ratification in 1961.

        • QuaxMercy says:

          Check it out – one careless keystroke, & I’ve erased my first draft of this response to your “Harry J.” reply
          (Pete! For this, I entreat your forbearance!)
          But on first reading your note, Duncan, I felt red-faced & compromised & knew I had to go to my (unquoted) source, Martin Lee’s “Smoke Signals – A Social History…” (Scribner 2012) On p.76, at the bottom, “In a long-overdue move, JFK sacked Harry Anslinger in 1962….With Anslinger forcibly removed…” What I remembered, and conveyed in my comment, was Lee’s sense of Kennedy taking an active foot in Harry’s removal – Later, following page, “Drafting and lobbying for the Single Convention’s section on marijuana was Anslinger’s last hurrah as FBN chief… ‘We’ve got it locked up so tightly now, they’ll never change the law,’ Anslinger exulted.” I said he gloated. “Exulted” is better.
          I see how nobody could possibly care, but for me, this week, it was a relief that my memory hadn’t let me down, & I hadn’t, even inadvertently, misled the folks on this couch.

    • Not American says:

      There is no legalization movement outside the Americas. At least not on the scale of your NORMLS, MPPs etc.

      The ironic thing is that the USA initially forced the rest of the world into this prohibitionist nonsense, now the US states are legalising weed on a state-by-state basis while the rest of the world bleats “only in America”.

      Maybe one day if you finally legalise the drugs less harmful than alcohol and tobacco and remove them from Schedule 1 while the rest of the world is still stuck with prohibition, you can use your your World Policeman status for a good cause for a change. Real action, an apology is not enough.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        I wish I could explain our weird little system to you. We’re going State by State because the Federal Government stands intransigent against re-legalization. On the other hand I wouldn’t trade it for the system in any other Country in the world. What, should we be like the Netherlands, who refuses to tell the UN to stick the SCT treaty, instead they pretend that cannabis is still illegal? 4 Decades of pretending so that they can comply with a useless piece of crap like the “United” Nations?

        Should we be like Uruguay? Probably the most progressive Country in the world, but only because former President Mujica shoved it down the people’s throats. I doubt I’d have a kind word for him if I hadn’t liked the menu he was serving.

        Should we be like Bolivia, so far the only country with the huevos to tell the UN to stick it, but only so their aborigine population can chew coca leaf. Still, even though it was such a limited “stick it” at least they stood up for themselves.

        Should we be like France, where you have to allow your bodily fluids to be inspected to get a drivers license, regardless of the fact that inert metabolites are exactly that, inert?

        How about Australia where the cops can pull you over at random or on just plain whimsy and test you? At least their oral swabs are only going to catch “recent” use. If I decide to go down under for a vacation, would I maybe get a DUI while I’m driving my rental car to the hotel after a 12 hour flight? You better believe I’d have cookies in my belly when the plane hits the clouds. Having done the 6 hours back and forth to Oakland more than a few times I know I wouldn’t be high by the time I drove out of the airport. Do they drive on the wrong side of the road in Australia?

        Should we be like England, where I could have gotten sued for slander for calling the Washington Post the Washington ComPost today? Not just here, I said that on their site. Here I’m protected by the first Amendment when I ask the reporter if he’s a willing tool or if he’s just being played. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’d be shocked if either the Post or Time left my comments up. People who know me know I have no qualms posting my opinions. I’d be broke if I were living in England.

        How about China? Do you know that in China if someone calls the police and says you’re smoking pot they’ll take you into custody and examine your urine? If its the wrong color you get 3 years in a reeducation facility. Well at least they don’t pretend there’s a choice.

        Now if Canadians weren’t such pantywaists when it comes to International relations I might actually consider that Country. Being International pantywaists is a long held tradition too. Did you know that Benjamin Franklin had a hard on to include them in the Revolution? He was very insistent too, but they declined, preferring to just pay their taxes. But they’ve actually got a Judiciary that stands up to their so called “conservatives.” No urinary loyalty oaths (URO) allowed as a condition of employment, and the Judiciary is the only reason they’ve got medicinal cannabis, and now medibles.

        As much as I admire the Israelis, they’re still crazy as bat shit.

        Nah, for some reason which even I can’t explain, somehow I’ve turned into an American Patriot. An American Patriot in the manner of a fellow loudmouth named Thomas Jefferson, not what Ronald Reagan or Sgt Joe Friday paint as “patriotism.” Maybe it’s just because I’ve got a big mouth and love to talk. To the best of my knowledge the United States is the only Country where the government can’t shut me up, at least as long as the theater really is on fire if I yell “fire.”
        The guy I’ve been fascinated by lately is a Judge named Billings Learned Hand. He was “an American judge famous as an avid supporter of free speech and for applying economic reasoning to American tort law. He is noted as one of the most influential American judges to have never served on the Supreme Court of the United States.” at least so I’ve read.

        Here, put this one in your pipe and smoke it:

        Political agitation, by the passions it arouses or the convictions it engenders, may in fact stimulate men to the violation of the law. Detestation of existing policies is easily transformed into forcible resistance of the authority which puts them in execution, and it would be folly to disregard the causal relation between the two. Yet to assimilate agitation, legitimate as such, with direct incitement to violent resistance, is to disregard the tolerance of all methods of political agitation which in normal times is a safeguard of free government.

  3. Servetus says:

    New technology may rescue drug consumers from the evil sanctions of prohibition resulting in impure drug products.

    A handheld chemical scanner is due to be marketed and may eliminate any need for Big Brother to provide accessible testing facilities for drug consumers. The government is unlikely to follow up with social services that favor drug consumers, anyway, given the government’s previous obstinacy involving clean needles and buprenorphine maintenance. If it proves successful, the device can employ rapid online analyses to keep one’s local drug dealers honest.

    I’ve pre-ordered a scanner, a device inspired by Star Trek’s tricorder, that’s supposed to ship in October, 2015. I’ll be able to report on its capabilities at that time.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Something I’ve never mentioned because I thought people would think it sounded silly is that it really won’t be that long before the prohibitionists have the technology to win. Think urine testing can be inconvenient? What happens when you drive by a cop and his handheld sensor gizmo beeps positive for THC-cooh? Well, ride by, by that time we probably won’t be driving our vehicles, so at least there won’t be a DUI.

      Are you sure that this is good news?

      Mr. Data: “Captain, I’ve detected cannabinoid metabolites in Mr. Crusher.”

      Picard: “Beam him into the brig Mr. Data. I’ll notify Dr. Crusher to start the rehabilitation protocols myself. Oh, poor Beverly!”

      There wasn’t even a speck of cannabis on the Enterprise if it wasn’t authorized you know.

      Sheesh, it still sounds just plain silly. Oh well, to quote Mr. Worf, “Less talk! More synthahol!”

      • Frank W. says:

        My paranoia was starting to fall asleep, thanks for waking it up!
        Worf was an assahol.

      • Chris says:

        Expect some interesting programs on the holodeck.

      • Servetus says:

        Possible solution: sneak on board with black market software and hack the Food Replicator program to secretly produce cannabinoids. Wesley can wear the latest full-body aluminum clothing and head gear to reflect scanner rays. Schizophrenics will have had the last word on tinfoil hats. They’ll make a fortune selling metalized privacy protection suits.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Nah, they were pretty civilized. On second thought it’s been some time since I watched that show. They’d probably give us an M-class planet, a sizable fusion generator, enough full service replicators, a salute, and a “good luck, your on your own.” After all, that was how they resolved the episode that they made for the ONDCP’s program where they twisted the arm of the TV shows of that day to do an anti-drugs show or two “for the children.”

          Just recently I happened to watch an episode of “The Equalizer” that was obviously done for the government. A couple of college age guys took a hearse for a joy ride, I guess the Dead must have been in town. But to their misfortune the hearse was being used by crack dealers to transport a coffin full of crack cocaine. Such creative imagery. Of course McCall had to straighten out the mess and teach the dealers a lesson. Well, at least I presume that he did because I didn’t make it to the 2nd commercial pause before retching.

  4. Duncan20903 says:

    The Obama administration just made medical marijuana research easier

    In recent years, advocates of overhauling marijuana laws, researchers, members of Congress, and even marijuana legalization opponents have called for the PHS review to be eliminated in the name of streamlining research. This week, the Department of Health and Human Services agreed, determining that the PHS review process is redundant with the FDA review, and that it is “no longer necessary to support the conduct of scientifically-sound studies into the potential therapeutic uses of marijuana.”

    • Servetus says:


      Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet finally admit the obvious. The Boys from SAM are calling for full US government cooperation in researching the medical benefits of marijuana. They’re trying to lead a medical marijuana parade that left them in the dust when Kevin was still in diapers. This is Kevin’s new(?) argument:

      May 28, 2015 — While calling full legalization of marijuana “dangerous,” Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of SAM, also said that “there are so many things the government could do to offer the seriously ill experimental medications” and help to further marijuana research to potentially unlock its medical potential, without legalizing the plant.

      Without legalizing the plant? Is this some fourth way? I had no idea Kevin didn’t hate drugs—he hates plants!

      • DdC says:

        Religions have always feared sacred or entheogenic plants, Job security. Same reason Sabet fears them. They threaten his cash cow, as they do the church and multinational corporations. Profit prisons and x-drug czar endorsed rehabilitation asylums. With the profits of the paraphernalia and good police benefit packages with confiscations and forfeitures running amuck.

        QUESTION: In Mexico, there are those who propose not keeping going with this battle and legalize drug trafficking and consumption. What is your opinion?

        SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate. I hear it in my country. It is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it,

        Once the religious, the hunted and weary
        Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
        Came to this country to build a new vision
        Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope
        Like good Christians, some would burn witches
        Later some got slaves to gather riches. ~ Kay

        Witch hunts and the war on weed
        The persecution of “witches” was really a war on sacred plants that continues today.

        “A crude plant is definitely not a medicine. A surgeon doesn’t come to a patient recovering from surgery and give them a pipe of opium – you give them a derivative.”
        Andrea Barthwell – Former Deputy Drug Czar (Bush II)
        Last known employment- GW Pharmaceuticals, Sativex division
        Sativex – A crude plant in spray form…

      • jean valjean says:

        Kevin is clearly a bought and paid for rep for GW Pharmaceuticals and their “experimental medications.”

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Sure, that’s why they got approval for Sativex back in 2010, when waht’s that woman’s name….the one who couldn’t beat Alan Keyes in the Republican primary for US Senator from Illinois in 2004 that got Barack Obama elected by a landslide. Damn, can’t recall her name. Yeah, they paid her a couple of hundred thousand bucks to get that approval greased through. Sure, just go back to 2010 in this forum, and you can read all about how they paid to get Sativex approved, just to discredit medical merrywanna.

          Funny ain’t it, that GW hasn’t gotten a single penny in sales in the US in 17 years of trying, despite all of these dirty political tricks. Oh, while how many States have told the FDA they’re irrelevant? Is that 37, or 38? Don’t forget the District and the 2 Territories.

          You know, when you try to sell a conspiracy theory, you shouldn’t pick the company that’ been beating it’s head against the brick wall of the FDA for 17 friggin’ years. Oh well. I’m rich, and you’re not. But that’s just because I know how to play both ends against the middle while you and your whacko pal are busy making up fantasies.


          PS, it’s really not hard to find that Dr. Barthwell is busy running her own little rehab dog and pony show in Chicago nowadays. At least if you’re not stuck in 2011 playing that guilt by association game like silly little children.

  5. Guess Which Plant Drug Cartels are Growing Instead of Cannabis?

    “America’s cannabis is of such high-quality that drug cartels not only prefer American-grown crops, they’ve also turned to subsidizing tomatoes to make ends meet.”

  6. Chris says:

    Strange that I know more about my cannabis than I do any alcohol I’ve bought. When have you ever seen an ingredients list on anything alcoholic?

  7. Mr_Alex says:

    Thought I should mention that the Prohibitionists in New Zealand have scored a own goal. There was a boy in Wellington Hospital who has since started to recover from his coma and seizures by use of Hemp/Cannabis Oil and the media has reported that he is recovering but now there is a cover up done by the Government regarding the treatment and product used, the Prohibitionists and the New Zealand Government do not want the public to find out that Cannabis works against seizures and coma:


    • Duncan20903 says:


      Judging by the link they need to take lessons in how to do a cover up. Sparking a national debate…no no no! Pictures of the product on the Internet, not a good move. I think that they need professional help. I know! Let’s send Kev-Kev to give them lessons! It won’t help them any but it’ll give us a break from his incessant yap, yap, yapping.

    • Mr_Alex says:

      What about putting Kevin Sabet in a Australian desert?

  8. jean valjean says:

    Daily Mail at it again. Front page splash headline about “drug driver” who killed girl. After reading through many paragraphs it emerges that the “drugged driver” was texting and speeding at the time of the accident, but as he had used cannabis the night before it was of course the drugs that caused the accident.
    Juxtaposed in the same paper on an inside page was an incredulous report that the Liberal-Democrat party are proposing legalizing possession for all drugs as an alternative to dangerous “legal highs.” No coincidence I’m sure on the part of the Mail editors.


  9. jean valjean says:

    Why Bill Clinton was one of the worst presidents of all for drug reform:
    “[He] Expanded the war on drugs. Although Clinton called for treatment instead of prison for drug offenders during his 1992 campaign, once in office he reverted to the same drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors. He rejected the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. He rejected lifting the federal ban on funding for needle exchange programs. He placed a permanent eligibility ban on food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense, even marijuana possession. And he prohibited felons from living in public housing.”
    And much much more from the hypocrite in chief:


    • kaptinemo says:

      And they say cannabists have short memories: Bill Clinton jokes about pot

      He jokes about the system that benefited his masters so well courtesy of the destruction he and his so-called Justice Department visited upon me and so many like me.

      His trespasses against decency are myriad, too many to catalog here. Deity knows how many legit patients suffered thanks to his attack dog Reno mauling the dispensaries.

      The so-called Big Dog peed on his most progressive supporters every chance he could lift his leg. And this frakker wants to make as if 8 years of Hell never happened and we should invite him to speak to us?

      Dementia or hypocrisy? Or both? You decide.

  10. Servetus says:

    New research focuses on the brain receptors that appear to control cravings associated with cocaine addictions:

    18-JUN-2015 — The study found that by manipulating the activity of Activin receptors — receptors found in the brain — the researchers were able to increase or decrease cocaine-taking and relapse behavior in animal models. The study focused, specifically, on Activin receptors in regions of the brain that are involved in pleasure and reward.

    “There are changes in the brain caused by drug use that occur and persist, but are only unmasked after withdrawal from a drug — in this case, cocaine,” Dietz says. “Cocaine use alters the connections between certain neurons through changes in the shape of the cells.”

    The researchers discovered that the Activin pathway controls the ability of cocaine to induce this change in the neurons and determined that the Activin receptor may control this response to cocaine by regulating the expression of a number of genes.

    “Understanding this critical pathway will help us pursue new directions in potential pharmacological and gene therapies to prevent drug relapses,” Dietz says. “If we can control this pathway, we may be able to help prevent relapses in people who have been abstinent from cocaine.”

    No such biomarkers have been found for alleged marijuana addictions. Nevertheless, as new compounds are developed that deal specifically with the addiction cravings of certain drugs, the need for conventional drug rehab facilities will decrease or disappear. Drug treatment mongers such as Kevin Sabet and Nora Volkow will instead be forced to settle for ‘the pill’ as an addiction preventative, probably an undesirable solution for them as it renders prohibitionists powerless over the lives of people they detest and wish to eliminate. Pope Francis ran a rehab in South America before being made pope, so we can probably expect the Vatican to ban the addiction pill as well, as it would interfere with its many rehab/evangelical programs that are designed to arrest, oppress, and persecute heretics.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Geezus Servetus, I think you may be the only person in the world that hates the catholic church more than I do. But I’ll try to do better and catch up.

      • Servetus says:

        Here, I’ll help you. How’s this? Who do you think taught little Adolf Hitler to hate Jews so much? That’s correct. The Catholic Church. It distributed anti-Semitic propaganda right up to the end of WWII.

        I’m reading Daniel Goldhagen’s book, “A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair”. It’s casting a grimmer shadow on my view of humanity at the moment. It’s not the Catholic Church I hate, but rather its corrosive power and influence. Minus its reach, the Vatican is simply a big, drafty archive and art museum.

  11. Duncan20903 says:


    Pushback — We’re being played.

    How Much Does Marijuana Impact Your Driving?”>[ — According to NIDA]

    According to the most recent national roadside survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of weekend nighttime drivers, 8.3 percent had some alcohol in their system and 12.6 percent tested positive for THC—up from 8.6 percent in 2007.

    [But don’t let me put words in their mouth….oh fukkthesesteenkingassholes…I actually thought that Time had decided to join the good guys, so I’m going to do it anyway]
    blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Honest engine!”

  12. Duncan20903 says:


    Pushback — We’re being played, Part II

    The trouble with media as the tool of the Government: Many fail to deliver the promised dosage of the truth

    That’s because the potency of marijuana edibles can be highly variable and have little relation to what is promised on the label, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    The results can’t be generalized due to a small sample size, but a review of dozens of products from marijuana dispensaries in California and Washington — two of the nation’s largest medical marijuana markets — found that 23 percent contained more active chemicals than their labels suggested, while 60 percent fell short on what was promised.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Oops. I accidentally put my comment as the headline. Honest I did. The headline in the Washington Compost read: “The trouble with edibles: Many fail to deliver the promised dosage of marijuana”

      Hey DC, that doesn’t qualify for organic, does it? Nevermind, I wouldn’t even put that crap in my compost pile.

      Goddammit I’m so pissed I going to have to go do something mindless.

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