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One-Third of Americans Know Someone Who Died of an Overdose, LA Bans "Gas Station Heroin," More... (5/31/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1213)
Consequences of Prohibition

A new Tennessee poll has a strong majority for marijuana legalization, a Japanese three-year-old is honored for spotting an opium poppy, and more.

Rogue opium plants beware! Inspector Kawamura Yuki, 3, is on the job.
Marijuana Policy

Tennessee Poll Shows Strong Majority for Marijuana Legalization. Somebody should tell the state legislature. Although the Republican-dominated legislature can't bestir itself even to pass medical marijuana, Tennesseans are ready to move on to full-bore legalization, according to a new poll from Vanderbilt University. That poll has support for legalization at 60 percent statewide.

Poll co-director John Greer said there are "strong party differences," with Republicans much more likely to oppose legalization and Democrats to favor it.

The legislature has deigned to allow Tennesseans some limited access to CBD oil and hemp products, but such half-steps are as far as lawmakers have been willing to go.

Drug Policy

A Third of American Adults Know Someone Who Died of a Drug Overdose. More than a million Americans have died of drug overdoses so far this century, leaving behind friends and relatives. Now, a new survey from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that nearly one-third (32 percent) of American adults knew one of those overdose victims.

That is an estimated 82.7 million people. Nearly one-fifth of American adults (18.9 percent), or 49.8 million people reported having a close friend or immediate family member die of a drug overdose.

The survey found no difference around political party affiliation but did find that those who knew overdose victims were more likely to see addiction as a very or extremely important policy issue. Overdose losses were reported across all income groups. Forty percent of lower-income respondents (defined as annual household incomes less than $30,000) reported overdose loss. Over one-quarter -- 26 percent -- of respondents in the $100,000 and higher annual household income category reported an overdose loss.

The data suggested a high level of agreement across all groups -- greater than 60 percent, even among those reporting no overdose loss -- that addiction is an extremely or very important policy issue. Respondents who reported overdose loss had 37 percent greater odds of viewing addiction as a very or extremely important policy priority.

"The drug overdose crisis is a national tragedy," said Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, who led the analysis. "Although large numbers of UD adults are bereaved due to overdose, they may not be as visible as other groups who have lost loved ones to less stigmatized health issues. Movements to build support for policy change to overcome the devastating toll of the overdose crisis should consider the role of this community."

"This study contributes new evidence that the addiction crisis and the losses that come with it are common across Americans, but the burden is greater among those who are more economically precarious," said Catherine Ettman, PhD, an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management. "Addressing addiction can be a unifying theme in increasingly divided times."

Louisiana Bans "Gas Station Heroin." Gov. Jeff Landry (R) has signed into law Senate Bill 17, which criminalizes the sale and possession of tianeptine, a drug commonly known as "gas station heroin" for its opioid-like effects.

The bill makes the federally unregulated anti-depressant a Schedule I substance under the state's Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law.

The CDC reports that tianeptine overuse and withdrawal can mimic opioid toxicity effects seen in actual opioids. The FDA began warning consumers about tianeptine in November 2023, citing reports of users suffering seizures and loss of consciousness.

The bill passed both chambers unanimously and will go into effect August 1.


Japanese Three-Year-Old Commended for Finding Banned Opium Poppy. Police in Tokushima City in western Japan have honored a local boy for finding a banned opium poppy in his neighborhood. Kawamura Yuki, 3, found the plant with blooming purple flowers while walking with his mother last month.

When the boy spotted the plant, his mother looked it up on her phone and found it was "atsumigeshi," or the opium poppy. She also learned the plant is banned in Japan and then notified police.

Police then held a ceremony at the local police station, where the chief asked Yuki to keep his mind strong and moral and to help maintain peace in the community. They dressed the boy in a child's police uniform and gave him a ride on a motorcycle and a police car.

Yuki said people should not touch poppy plants if they find them.

Although the plant is banned, it is prolific. Police removed more than 10,450 poppy plants in Tokushima Prefecture last year.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Terry McKinney (not verified)

Every July,in Vancouver there are a large number of poppy patches in people's yards.There have even been cases where farmers have had acres of poppies seized and burned by the authorities.Local truckers are fond of a mixture of poppy tea made from boiling poppies and flavoring the mix with iced tea.Local addicts will strip a poppy patch of the heads if they spot them.The whole thing about illegal poppies is riduclous.I spent a whole summer one year gathering every poppy in a 30 mile radius and the resulting tea got me buzzed twice and kept Gail from being sick for a few days.Hardly a scourge.There is no valid reason for a ban on poppies They make a pretty flower for a few days and then they need to be collected and the seeds saved for next year.My mother had a whole side of our first house seeded with poppies.When I told her years later that they were opium poppies she didn't believe me.Then she was worried they made me an addict.HAHA.I was only 10 when we moved and knew nothing about poppies.She never took the seeds to the new house.I hope there will be poppies in Vancouver forever.They're very pretty and super easy to grow and require no care at all.Seeds can be purchased on line and come in a plain,sereptitious package that you'de never know was seeds.You can even get them from Jeff Bezos.

Sat, 06/15/2024 - 2:21am Permalink

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