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by Pete Guither
Updated: 1 year 43 weeks ago

John Oliver, Fentanyl, Harm Reduction

Sun, 03/27/2022 - 20:37

If you have HBO, I highly recommend watching the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Season 9, Episode 5). It may be available on other platforms.

In this episode, Oliver takes on the misguided drug war approaches that have led to the massive number of overdoses due to fentanyl and advocates some serious harm reduction approaches.

Update: here is it on Youtube:

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Are drug wars protection rackets?

Fri, 03/11/2022 - 09:09

A protection racket is an organized crime in which racketeers threaten and scare people to force them to pay a monetary tribute to the racketeers to avoid future harm. A racketeer can be a criminal, politician, corrupt government, or any one of their organized accomplices.

Few differences exist between protection racketeers and prohibitionists. Prohibitionists promise American taxpayers reliable public safety from illegal drugs at a bargain-basement price. Then they direct massive and expensive drug arrests by law enforcement that ruin millions of lives with fines and other criminal sanctions. Protection rackets don’t always protect.

Part of a prohibitionist’s tribute is called forfeiture, otherwise known as confiscation of the type that emerged as one of the triggers of the American Revolution against the British. Forfeiture might involve the confiscation of a person’s automobile once drugs are found or planted in the vehicle. Exclusion from voting rights, public office, and employment by the FBIare part of a wide portfolio of authoritarian sanctions. No detail is left untouched. Harm prevention is scorned. Fines are still levied in some states for possessing marijuana while not purchasing a state marijuana tax stamp to accompany it. Homes can be raided with no-knock warrants using conventional law enforcement or SWAT teams armed with military hardware, all for some trivial amount of drug cash believed stored in someone’s hallway closet. Evidence tends to come from some informant under legal duress who says it’s there. A drug cash raid for a non-recovered $8000 resulted in the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor. Police officers have been injured or killed in similar military-style confrontations.

Funding for drug war racketeers will continue as long as prohibitionists can manufacture consent by making civilians believe that fire and brimstone await those who smoke marijuana or take forbidden drugs. Decades of relentless public training in the popular detestation of illegal drugs and their consumers has been a steady windfall for various bureaucrats, politicians, and the dominionist religious groups whose members dominate the ranks of drug enforcement. Giving up a drug war is like beating an addiction. Drug war addicts may well need interventional drug treatment to educate them about their destructive habit.

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Website glitches

Sat, 02/26/2022 - 19:01

Updates to WordPress weren’t working properly with the theme that I was using for DrugWarrant, and we were losing some functionality (along with images, etc.). So I have switched to another theme. It will take a bit of getting used to, and I’m sure there will be glitches that need to be addressed. Please let me know of any problems you see. Thanks for your patience.

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Confusion over CBD for Children

Sat, 02/26/2022 - 18:32

A poll conducted by C. S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan Health—”Parent perspectives on CBD use in children”, reveals that some parents hesitate giving CBD to their kids because they lack information about its effects. Some think it’s no different from psychoactives like THC or the full spectrum cannabis flower:

Most parents say they either don’t know much about CBD use in children (46%) or they never heard of it prior to this poll (34%); 17% report knowing some, and only 3% say they know a lot about CBD use in children. Most parents (71%) have never used a CBD product themselves, while 24% have tried CBD and 5% use a CBD product regularly.

Parents say the factors that would be very important in deciding whether to give their child a CBD product are side effects (83%), if it was tested for safety in children (78%), how well it works in children (72%), recommendation of their child’s doctor (63%), approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (58%), and product reviews (41%).

Three-quarters of parents (73%) think CBD may be a good option for children when other medications don’t work. Most parents (83%) think CBD products should be regulated by the FDA, and three-quarters (74%) say CBD for children should require a doctor’s prescription. One-third of parents (35%) think taking CBD is basically the same as using marijuana.

Over 90% of parents have never given or considered giving their child a CBD product. Only 2% have given their child a CBD product, while 4% have considered CBD for their child; 1% say their child has used CBD without their permission.

Among parents who have given or considered giving CBD for their child, only 29% say they talked with their child’s healthcare provider about CBD use. Parents’ most common reasons for giving or considering CBD for their child include anxiety (51%), sleep problems (40%), ADHD (33%), muscle pain (20%), autism (19%), and to make their child feel better in general (13%). […]

Parents also demonstrated some inconsistencies in their attitudes about CBD products for children, including the regulation of these products. For example, 83% indicated CBD products should be regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), yet only 58% rated FDA approval as very important to their decision about using CBD for their child. Currently, only one CBD product has received FDA approval for use in children, as a treatment for a rare form of epilepsy. It’s unclear if parents recognize that none of the CBD products they see in stores are regulated by the FDA. […]

One-third of parents in this Mott Poll believe that taking CBD is basically the same as using marijuana, which is consistent with parents’ overall limited knowledge about CBD products. […]

Ignorance about medicines can affect a child’s health. CBD continues to prove itself a side-effect-free treatment for a wide variety of unusually different health problems. Given Congress’s traditional rejection of science that doesn’t suit its own political or moralizing intent, federally funded research establishing the benefits of cannabinoids will continue to receive little or no initiative or enthusiasm.

A decades long government quest to prove that mental, physical, or social harm emerges directly from cannabis consumption has consistently failed. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result provides governments with a convenient excuse for perpetual war of the sort described by George Orwell in his book 1984, in which he illustrates how socially devastating wars get equated with peace.

Federally funded research proposals still trend toward proving something or anything wrong with cannabinoids. Providing the NIDA with a useful Congressional directive to fund scientific research to expose the benefits of CBD and marijuana’s other amazing constituents is necessary to make it happen at the federal level. The move would represent a gigantic step toward eliminating a dimwitted Middle Ages mindset that promotes ignorance and hysteria over the medicinal effects of simple herbs. Medical necessity could emerge and create a critical historical benchmark. Children might finally have the complete right of access to all available medicines and medical interventions they need and deserve.

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Parents and Drug Wars

Wed, 02/09/2022 - 07:25

Two emergency public health programs, one in New York, the other in San Francisco, highlight problems certain nations, governments and communities face in overcoming their drug war problem.

San Francisco’s latest answer to drug wars is called a linkage center. It allows for onsite opioid injections in sterile conditions overseen by medical assistants who monitor users for overdose. The linkage center also informs its clients on options for readily available medical treatments for addictions. To date, the center is credited with saving the lives of five people from opioid ODs. Yet, a limited number of reactionaries speaking as concerned parents still push an inflexible and absolutist prohibition policy, even though their emotional dismissals of harm reduction or prevention might someday put a tragic end to their own children’s lives. Their kids (in actuality adults) have an opioid use disorder. In San Francisco, the group is protesting the sale and use of opioids within a securely fenced and visually blocked area.

Anyone searching for reasons that entice troubled people to seek out and consume alternative medications that lead to addiction need look no further than helicopter parents flaunting their ignorance about drugs and harm prevention:

Demonstrators in SF accuse city’s linkage center of allowing open drug use

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Supreme Court Frontrunner

Wed, 01/26/2022 - 16:41

According to several articles, the current frontrunner for President Biden to nominate to the Supreme Court to replace Breyer is Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former federal public defender.

Biden’s Likeliest Supreme Court Pick

Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive group advocating for court reform, told me. “It would signal a new era and a shift away from the decades-long default to former prosecutors and corporate lawyers.”

It’s not going to change the overall makeup of the court, but having the voice of someone who has been a defender would be refreshing.

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Campaign Ad

Tue, 01/18/2022 - 22:41


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Corporate choices

Thu, 01/13/2022 - 16:08

I’m fascinated by all the concerned “freedom-fighters” who are opposed to companies mandating vaccination, negative COVID tests, and/or masks.

Where have they been when it came to decades of drug testing?

It seems odd to me that many of those who were fine with drug testing (which was never about on-the-job impairment and so didn’t affect other employees) are upset with corporations taking steps to ensure that they have a safer working environment where a lethal contagious disease is less likely to be spread.

I had the privilege of working my entire life without ever having to take a job that required drug testing (I had decided I would never do so). I realize that not everyone had could do that.

I’m retired now, so I don’t need to accept any work, but I would add to it that I wouldn’t accept a job with a company that didn’t take proactive steps to reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19.

Now that the Supreme Court has nixed the government mandate for employee vaccinations, it’ll be interesting to see what individual companies decide. Just like some of the more enlightened companies realized that drug testing requirements were driving away talented folks who liked to smoke pot, companies will now have to decide whether to attract those workers who care about their health or anti-vaxxers.

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Still Happening

Sat, 12/18/2021 - 10:23

Two Moms Reported to Child Services for False Positive Drug Tests from Poppy Seeds

Today, two women filed lawsuits against Garnet Health Medical Center alleging that the Middletown, New York, hospital drug tested them without their consent when they were giving birth. They both tested “presumptive positive” initially, but later tested negative — as did their newborns — and the false positives were the result of eating poppy seeds.

The women allege that hospital staff interfered with their ability to breastfeed, despite their newborns testing negative. The hospital also reported their unconfirmed, false positive results to the state, and child welfare authorities conducted unnecessary and invasive home visits. The suits allege that not only does Garnet Health conduct drug testing without informed consent, but it uses opiate testing thresholds far lower than the levels the federal government uses for workplace testing — 300 ng/mL versus 2,000 ng/ml — levels the government raised more than 20 years ago, specifically because of false positives.

This is truly unconscionable.

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Hemp Sourced Lignin for Grid Backup Batteries

Thu, 12/09/2021 - 17:04

Despite the US federal government’s traditional disdain for certain cannabis ingredients and byproducts, recent research and development indicates that large storage batteries made from a water-based electrolyte and lignin polymers — the substances gluing fibers together in hemp and in wood that give it stiffness can be substituted in many cases for lithium, lead or vanadium in batteries.

Lignin shows promise for large, low-cost electrical grid storage facilities designed to discharge during peak cold weather conditions or in emergencies. With low leakage batteries in place, a natural gas shutdown in Texas in February 2021 would have left fewer Texans in shock and awe of the chaos of climate change. Many Lone Star Staters were completely left out in the cold.

Trees are a huge carbon sink and require preservation, while hemp lignin is a fast growing material that favors peace on earth and good will toward humanity. Hemp can reduce the harvesting of trees while simultaneously cleaning contaminated soil. It’s cheap and easily produced. Used in place of lithium it discourages the British interests and the US Congress’s temptation to knock off democratically elected governments to gain exclusive access to South American lithium deposits.

Lignin from hemp provides the starting material for a circular economy that can make war on petroleum while transforming the polymer industry by phasing out fossil fuel formulated plastics and adhesives in favor of biologically-based recyclables.

Hemp lignin applications are infrastructure boosters and lifesavers. Sizeable charged battery modules can transport stored electrical power to disaster areas. They can provide backup power for entire homes or businesses. Although not as superior in overall performance as lithium, more and better options exist for lignin batteries than supercapacitors which discharge their energy in a much shorter period. Leakage rates are low. Performance capabilities comparable to lead-acid batteries allow lighter weight lignin tech to be retrofitted to diesel-electric freight trains to run without diesel fuel. Retrofits are made simpler because locomotives already run on electric motors with diesel generators producing electricity. Freight trains currently emit 35 million metric tons of carbon dioxide plus other gases and soot from diesel fumes, leading to illnesses each year that cost $6.5 billion to treat and up to 1,000 premature deaths annually. Hemp byproducts are cost-competitive with diesel and current battery technologies and can save the rail industry $94 billion over 20 years.

If the intent is to move quickly to the greenest technologies, then state and federal legislation that favors or stipulates sourcing lignin from hemp rather than timber is a better solution for the ecosystem and farming industries, especially in aiding and transforming the economically challenged coal belts of West Virginia and Wyoming. Switching to hemp, American farmers still tied to the marginal profits of their current produce could finally catch a break. Hemp processors might want to consider the possibility that the lignin they dispose of or burn in the making of fibers and fabrics has a potential value.

A robust hemp and solar industry in rural areas could also help counter the DEA’s and FDA’s mishandling of the regional opioid crisis. Fewer lives of despair due to less poverty and more certainty about a better future can lead to fewer rural suicides and drug ODs. Political support for a hemp economy from the record number of 49% of adults in the US who have smoked weed is virtually guaranteed.

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