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The Speakeasy Blog

If Only Afghanistan Were More Like Colombia…

Colombian narcs who haven't been killed yet are holding police training seminars in Afghanistan. From The International Herald Tribune:
It is a measure of Afghanistan's virulent opium trade, which has helped revive the Taliban while corroding the credibility of the government, that U.S. officials now hope that Afghanistan's drug problem will someday be only as bad as that of Colombia.

"I wanted the Colombians to come here to give the Afghans something to aspire to," [DEA Kabul Chief Vincent] Balbo said. "To instill the fact that they have been doing this for years, and it has worked."
They're unearthing mass graves in Colombia. Cocaine is cheaper than ever. The president is embroiled in a massive corruption scandal. You can’t even grow bananas there without becoming a pawn in a paramilitary extortion scandal. Yet American drug warriors talk about Colombia like it's a shining beacon of justice and democracy.

Afghan narcs-in-training will learn what a joke this is when their Colombian instructors request asylum.

United States

"Cannabis Cash 'Funds Islamist Terrorism'"--Here we go again.

The old "drug users fund terrorism" canard is getting new play in Europe this week, where French and Spanish intelligence agencies reported that, as the Guardian (UK) put it, "Cannabis cash 'funds Islamist terrorism'". The report was the result of an investigation launched after the 2004 Madrid train bombings that found the bomb plotters bought their explosives from former miners and paid them in hashish. The intelligence agencies also claimed that the Al Qaeda-linked Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat is using hash sales as part of "a complex network" of financing its terrorist operations. I don't doubt that. People who need money for nefarious schemes typically resort to the black market economy, whether it is drugs, diamonds, oil, or whatever commodity. It is so screamingly obvious that I hesitate to point it out, but pot smokers don't fund terrorism—prohibition does. You don't hear of barley or grapevines or tobacco leaves funding terrorism because they are used to make non-prohibited psychoactive drugs that are integrated into the legal, aboveground economy. If you want to stop Islamic terrorists from using the black market profits from the hash trade to buy bombs, the solution is clear: End the prohibition regime that creates the black market.

Maryland Drug Reform Bill and Veto Threat

Maryland's governor, Martin O'Malley, is set to make a decision regarding the drug sentencing reform bill passed by the state's General Assembly by Thursday -- he initially supported it but is now threatening a veto -- and press coverage has continued. Editorials criticizing his veto threat have run in the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. (I'm having trouble finding a link for the Post article -- please post one here if you have it.) Some quotes from the two pieces, first the Post:
"Its veto would raise the question of whether Mr. O'Malley is more interested in political posturing than in constructive reform of the state's criminal justice system."
and the Sun:
The Sun editorial read: "Mr. O'Malley shouldn't veto the bill... the solution is not to retreat from a modest sentencing change, it's to allocate more money for drug treatment."
United States

God Declares War On Drugs

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…Or so says the Pope.

Drug traffickers will face divine justice for the scourge of illegal narcotics across Latin America, Pope Benedict XVI warned Saturday, telling dealers that "human dignity cannot be trampled upon in this way." [CBSNews]

Ok. But now that you're finally getting involved, God, I hope you'll look at both sides of the issue. It's rather complicated, but if anyone can sort it out, it's You.

What we're finding is that mandatory minimums, divine justice, etc. don’t seem to have the intended deterrent effect. And these drug warrior types are having a hard time loving thy neighbor.

Oh, and could you talk to Mark Souder? He's a big fan of your work, but he seems to have trouble grasping some of the nuances.

United States

Marijuana Now Causes Homosexual Incest. That's What They're Saying.

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You've been warned that marijuana could turn you into a dickhead, but you didn’t listen. Now MTV Canada has raised the stakes with the frightening news that marijuana might cause brothers to make out with each other.

The video must be seen to be believed.

Now I know what you're thinking. This is just another outlandish scare tactic, so far removed from human experience that it will serve only to amuse its target audience. Well make jokes while you can, hippies, because it won't be funny anymore when there are pictures of you all over Myspace making out with your brother.

Besides, now that they're lacing the marijuana with even stronger marijuana, you could be hooking up with your mom right now and not even know it. So don't tell me these ads are unrealistic. You're being unrealistic if you think you can smoke pot recreationally without supporting terrorists, eating your own hand, losing your girlfriend to an alien, turning into a dickhead, and getting it on with your family.
United States

USA Today Takes Firm Stance on Student Drug Testing: Neutral

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The editors at USA Today attempt to tackle student drug testing on the Opinion page, only to become hopelessly confused and fail to form an opinion:
Advocates of testing say it gives students a powerful reason to say no to peer pressure…

Critics are just as passionate, arguing that the tests are invasive and expensive, and that studies show testing doesn't deter drug use. In truth, data conflict, and both sides can point to studies that back their position.

What's missing is definitive research that would allow schools to make confident decisions balancing costs against benefits.
In truth, the debate over drug testing research is utterly fake and contrived. When the largest study ever on student drug testing -- funded by NIDA -- found that it didn’t work, drug testing proponents/profiteers (they're often the same) fired back, criticizing the methodology. Under attack from the very people who hired them, the authors responded with further research and achieved the same result.

USA Today's arbitrary dismissal of authoritative data is frustrating, but they're equally skeptical of smaller studies cited by drug testing proponents. One wonders, then, why they're calling for more research when they're already overwhelmed by the data.

Moreover, the practice of collecting urine from students on a massive scale is itself so objectionable that great weight should be given to any indication that the program's value is dubious. To place the burden of proof on those who oppose visually-monitored urination is absurd.

Update: After writing this but before posting it, I noticed this excellent piece by Marsha Rosenbaum, which ran in the same edition. If USA Today's editorial can be understood as an attempt to debate her, they've certainly done so without much conviction.
United States

"We made brownies and I think we're dead."

TalkLeft drew attention this evening to a report in the Dearborn, Michigan, Mail & Guardian of a now-former police officer who confiscated a suspect's marijuana and wound up calling 9-1-1 over it. He and his wife baked some of it into brownies, and then (apparently) freaked out. Officer Edward Sanchez resigned, and the department decided not to press charges, which irritated city councillor Doug Thomas. TalkLeft's Jeralyn Merritt is glad he wasn't charged:
Yes, it's bad to take a suspect's pot. But I don't think it warrants criminal charges. Disciplinary charges, to be sure, but the cop resigned first. And, in the grand scheme of things, it's better that someone who overdoses on drugs like heroin not to be afraid to seek medical attention. Some things are better confined to the realm of the doctor-patient privilege.
I agree with the overdose prevention angle. In fact, we have a whole category devoted to that idea on this web site. But I'm not sure how I feel about just having disciplinary action in most cases. It's one thing to slip up, especially when it comes to an activity like drug use that shouldn't be a crime at all. It's another thing to arrest a person, take his drugs (his property), send him to jail for the drugs and then commit the same crime that you took the first guy to jail for. That makes me wonder about the officer's moral fiber (even though I don't call for sanctions of officers for mere drug use -- because I don't call for such sanctions for anyone). The Mail & Guardian article did not discuss the fate of the original possessor of the marijuana. I would like to know whether Sanchez arrested him or her, and if so what the outcome was. That said, losing his job is probably enough (even if by resignation), and as I said I agree that 9-1-1 calls over drug overdose scares should not lead to criminal prosecution, for reasons of public health policy. Update: Mark Hemingway commented on this story guest blogging for The Agitator too. In descending order of harshness toward the officer: Hemingway, me, Merritt. Another update: Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy found audio of the 9-1-1- call.
Dearborn, MI
United States

Pain Update -- Dr. Maynard

The Pain Relief Network has posted updates on the case of Virgin Islands pain physician Dr. Paul Maynard, here, here and here. I don't think we have past coverage of Dr. Maynard's case on DRCNet, but our under-treatment of pain feed gets updated regularly (and is also available via RSS).
United States

Joe Califano -- He's Still Around, With a New Book...

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... and NPR's Diane Rehm thinks he's great. Julian Sanchez makes the case that Rehm's interview was "maddeningly uncritical, borderline fawning," and tears apart Califano too. Phil is going to review Califano's book for Drug War Chronicle soon, by the way.
United States

This is Not Your Parents' Cocaine

From The Baltimore Sun:
The United States and its Latin American allies are losing a major battle in the war on drugs, according to indicators showing that cocaine prices dipped for most of 2006 and American users were getting more bang for their buck.
We've already covered this story, but it's beginning to generate broader coverage. Of course, no amount of negative publicity will silence our brave drug warriors even momentarily. Here's Karen Tandy just yesterday:
"Plan Colombia is working. The amount of land used for the cultivation of coca is at an historic low in Colombia," the head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Karen Tandy, told a drug law enforcement conference in Madrid. [AFP]

So why does Washington cover up increased cocaine potency, while aggressively trumpeting increased marijuana potency? The answer is simple, although if you asked the drug czar, he'd turn purple and pretend not to understand what you mean.

In the case of cocaine, the federal government has long identified reducing purity and increasing price as the primary goals of our ridiculously expensive and ongoing South American drug war investments. Increased cocaine potency in 2007 raises serious doubts about the efficacy of the brutal jungle wars we've been bankrolling for 10 years.

In the case of marijuana, however, the government's primary interest is in convincing an experienced public that this isn’t the same drug that has so consistently failed to hurt anyone. Jacob Sullum puts it best:

These warnings have to be understood mainly as a rationalization for the hypocrisy of parents (and politicians) who smoked pot in their youth and thought it was no big deal then but feel a need to explain why it is a big deal now.
Of course, while drug war demagogues are fond of comparing today's more potent marijuana to cocaine, there's really nothing to which they can compare today's stronger cocaine. I dunno, anthrax maybe? When I start hearing reports about weaponized nose-candy, I'm totally moving to Jupiter.

United States

What the heck is going on in Licking County, Ohio?

There's something funny going on in Licking County, Ohio. According to the local newspaper's courthouse roundup, a bunch of people were charged with drug trafficking, but the charges don't seem to match the facts. Let me show you what I mean:
• Ti C. Warner, 27, last known address 381 N. Executive Drive, Newark, was charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, a second-degree felony. The charge also carries a specification of selling drugs near a school. Between March 29 and 30, Warner allegedly was observed by Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force buying a total of about seven grams of methamphetamine on two occasions, according to court reports. Both purchases were allegedly made in the vicinity of a Newark City school, according to court reports. Branstool set Warner’s bond at $40,000. • Sherry L. Runyon, 46, last known address 16328 Pleasant Hills, Newark, was charged with trafficking in crack cocaine, a fifth degree felony. On April 11, she allegedly was observed by Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force buying less than one gram of crack cocaine, according to court reports. Branstool set Runyon’s bond at $10,000. • Kevin L. Barker, 29, last known address 9215 Lancaster Road, Hebron, was charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony. On March 26, he allegedly was observed by Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force buying 1.64 grams of methamphetamine, according to court reports. Branstool set Barker’s bond at $10,000.
Do you see what I mean? These are people who were apparently caught buying drugs. And they are charged with drug trafficking? I don't know who is responsible for these charging decisions—either the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force or local prosecutors—but they don't seem to be supported by the facts. And here's one more bizarre charging example from Licking County:
• Kelly L. Mihelarakis, 32, last known address 633 Mount Vernon Road, Newark, was charged with permitting drug abuse, a fifth-degree felony. Between March 29 and 30, Mihelarakis allegedly allowed an associate to buy about seven grams of methamphetamine on two occasions. Both alleged purchases were made in the vicinity of a Newark City school, according to court reports. Branstool set Mihelarakis’ bond at $5,000.
Excuse me!? "Permitting drug abuse"? This person is charging with not stopping someone else from buying speed? This is a crime? You have got to be kidding. Well, my hat is off to the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Licking County criminal justice system. With their apparently unjustified charging decisions, they are certainly doing their part to ensure that Ohio's chronic prison overcrowding crisis continues.
United States

California Overdose Prevention Bill is Moving Forward

A harm reduction bill in the California legislature would deal with some liability issues and other obstacles that currently make it difficult to get the opiate overdose antidote Naloxone out to the communities where overdoses are taking place.
Sacramento, CA
United States

Prescription Monitoring Programs

Dr. Alexander DeLuca comments on Florida's proposed database in the War on Doctors / Pain Crisis blog.
United States

Is It Bad Cop vs. Bad Cop, or Bad Cop vs. Good Cop?

Jeralyn Merritt linked in TalkLeft today to a Chicago Tribune article covering what sounds like a fairly spectacular police corruption trial. A police ring allegedly engaged in armed robbery of drug dealers, and as part of that engaging in home invasions, falsifying police reports and lying to judges and juries. The prosecutors, not surprisingly, have gotten one cop -- Corey Flagg, who has pleaded guilty -- to testify against another -- Eural Black, who took it to trial -- in order to get a "deal," e.g., a lighter sentence. And Merritt aptly points out that in such a circumstance -- a known criminal providing testimony, in exchange for the compensation of spending less time in prison -- it's really hard to know whom to believe. There is incredibly strong incentive for the guy making the deal to say anything that will get him off more easily, and by definition the guy making the deal is someone we believe to be a criminal in the true sense of the word. Should such a person's testimony really be the basis for handing out hard-time in prison? Defense are pointing this out, and Merritt asks what the jury is likely to make of it:
What does a jury glean from all this? That all the cops were dirty, or that one cop who got caught is trying to save himself by selling out a clean cop who worked with him?... Does a dirty cop really sell out a clean cop? Or does he, caught in the headlights, just spread the blame to others as dirty as him, in hopes of a shorter sentence?
This sort of deal is made all the time, of course, on countless routine cases. I consider it to be a fundamental corruption of the administration of justice -- it is just too obviously true that one cannot trust testimony given under such a circumstance. The older type of practice is that deals would be offered to informants who provide useful information that investigators can use to then find actual evidence. Instead, drug war prosecutors, with the complicity of judges, have shed their morality and instead use the informants' mere testimony. Hmm, maybe that's one of the reasons some people don't like snitching.
Chicago, IL
United States

Maryland Action Alert -- Drug Sentencing Reform Bill Unexpectedly in Danger of Veto

(This action alert is going out to our Maryland subscribers in the AM. As a Marylander -- I live in Takoma Park now -- I'm officially upset at the governor. I knew he'd show himself to be a "fake" liberal when push came to shove on this issue. - Dave)

Last month a modest but important sentencing reform bill -- HB 992, which restores parole eligibility for second-time drug offenders -- was passed by the Maryland General Assembly. At the time Gov. O'Malley had indicated that he supported the bill. But now he has flip-flopped and is saying he may veto it.

Please call O'Malley's office and demand he stop playing politics with people's lives and sign HB 992. Mandatory minimums are a terrible injustice and are costly and ineffective public policy -- HB 922 is simply a no-brainer. CALL (800) 811-8336, OR FAX O'MALLEY A LETTER AT (410) 974-3275. (The address to use on your letter if writing is: The Honorable Martin O'Malley, State House, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925 -- be sure to use fax, though, there isn't enough time to rely on the US mail.) PLEASE FORWARD THIS ALERT TO YOUR FRIENDS IN MARYLAND TOO!!!

The organization Stop the Drug War (DRCNet) has a form set up online to make it easy to e-mail the governor -- I hope you will use this method too. Phone calls and individual faxed letters are the best, though, so if you can do one of those I hope you will. Please send me an e-mail, and send one to [email protected] to let me and DRCNet know you've taken action. Following is some background on HB 992, from the Justice Policy Institute:

When enacted, HB 992 would operate as follows:

  • HB 992 does not apply to violent offenders. HB 992 does not apply to third or fourth time offenders. HB 992 does not apply to volume dealers or drug kingpins.
  • A defendant is convicted of possession of intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. The defendant is a second-time offender and is subject to a 10-year mandatory sentence.
  • At sentencing, the judge will have available a presentence investigation report (PSI), prepared by Parole and Probation, that details the defendant's complete criminal history (arrests, convictions, warrants, etc.), family history, drug addiction and treatment (or lack thereof) history, and a recommended sentence range based on the defendant's offender score and offense. The judge will hear from defense counsel and the state's attorney concerning a sentence.
  • The defendant will be sentenced to 10 years of incarceration. If the defendant is not also guilty of a violent offense, the judge, after a full appraisal of the defendant and listening to argument and recommendations of the state's attorney and defense counsel, MAY sentence to 10 years with the POSSIBILITY of parole.
  • The defendant is confined within the Department of Corrections and waits a minimum of two and a half years for a parole hearing.
  • The parole commission then determines, based on the defendant's updated presentence investigation report (PSI), offense, offender score, impact statements, a letter from the state's attorney that originally prosecuted the case, and the defendant's "base file" -- i.e., complete institutional record prepared by a case manager detailing tickets, classes, work history, etc., and whether the inmate has an exit plan -- i.e. a job and place to live -- whether to parole the inmate.
  • If the inmate is paroled (which is unlikely on the first attempt) and complies with the conditions of his or her parole, the state saves approximately $100,000 and public safety is not impacted.
  • If the inmate is paroled (again, unlikely on the first attempt), the inmate is subject to supervised probation and, if the inmate fails to comply with his or her parole conditions, faces serving the entire balance of the 10-year sentence.

While HB 992 by no means does all we would want, it is a beginning. I hope you will take action -- thanks for helping us help Maryland's nonviolent drug offenders this year.

Annapolis, MD
United States

The Boy Who Cried Meth

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No community is safe from the scourge of idiot reporters who can't help but write meth stories no matter how hard they try not to. Even when there's no meth around, they write about how exciting and horrible it would be if there were.

Here's one from the Register-Citizen in Torrington, CT:
"There is a fear that the use of methamphetamine is making its way to this area," Torrington Police Chief Robert Milano said. "It causes quite a bit of concern."

There have been no methamphetamine-related arrests in the city as of yet, but still rumors persist, said Torrington Police Sgt. Rousseau, of the Torrington Narcotics Division.
So there's really just no sign of any meth activity at all in Torrington. Which is perhaps the best evidence that meth is planning a major assault.
"I can see the wave," Torrington Police Lt. Mike Emanuel said. "It wouldn't be out of the question for Torrington."
Plug your nostrils, children of Torrington! Officer Emanuel can see The Wave.
Rousseau said he could not offer more specific information because he did not want to reveal law enforcement prevention or termination plans that possible users or dealers would benefit from.
They'll try to arrest you. It really isn’t any more sophisticated than that. But maybe it's a good thing if hatching secret plans for a nonexistent meth epidemic replaces wiretapping potheads as the favorite pastime for bored New England cops.

United States

One of the Worst Drug Warriors Makes It Back, Under Mysterious Circumstances

Jeralyn Merritt pointed out on TalkLeft tonight that Jay Apperson -- an infamous drug warrior who was fired from his job working for now-former hard-line Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for an inappropriate intervention attempt in a federal drug case -- is back and that his name has come up in a Washington Post article as a hiree for whom DOJ officials bypassed the usual process. It's not clear whether the irregular hiring is part of the larger US Attorneys affair. Read more about this heartless, awful man and his dark works in our 2005 Chronicle report on the aforementioned Sensenbrenner incident.
Washington, DC
United States

Minorities Must be Criminals, Otherwise There Wouldn't Be So Many of 'Em in Prison

New DOJ data confirming that minorities receive harsher treatment than whites during traffic stops came as no surprise to us. Last week I discussed the study, warning that DOJ's poor reporting could embolden racial profiling apologists, despite the obvious disparities revealed in the data. Unfortunately, I was right.

Profiling skeptic Steve Chapman now exploits DOJ's report in a widely published editorial that's as sloppy as it is wrong:
Why would black drivers be arrested more often? Maybe because African-Americans commit crimes at a far higher rate and are convicted of felonies at a far higher rate. In 2005, for instance, blacks were nearly seven times more likely to be in prison than whites.
This is textbook circular reasoning of the sort that will earn you an F in Philosophy 101. By Chapman's logic, police could stop investigating white people entirely and we'd soon see that minorities commit 100% of all crimes.

By relying on the argument that increased searches of minorities are justified by their criminality, Chapman exposes his own unfamiliarity with the data he's discussing. The previous DOJ report, released in 2005, addresses this issue directly:
Likelihood of search finding criminal evidence

Searches of black drivers or their vehicles were less likely to find criminal evidence (3.3%) than searches of white drivers (14.5%), and somewhat less likely than searches of Hispanic drivers (13%).
This data comes straight from a report referenced by Chapman, yet he insists that "a motorist of felonious habits is also more likely to have illegal guns or drugs on board," and "the average black driver is statistically more likely to be a criminal than the average white driver."

The great irony here is that Chapman offers his made up statements about the heightened criminality of minorities while arguing that racial profiling doesn’t exist. His premise fundamentally endorses profiling and any officer who agrees with him is highly vulnerable to the exact behavior Chapman denies. It is really just priceless to find gratuitous racial stereotypes in an article about how the days of gratuitous racial stereotyping are behind us.
United States

Initial Reports on the Global Marijuana Marches

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DRCNet bumper sticker on a car at the SF marijuana march I'll be writing this week about the Global Marijuana Marches that were set to take place in 232 cities Saturday. I drove into San Francisco for the event there, and I've gathered some initial reports from around the globe. Look for a full run-down in the Chronicle on Friday. Saturday was glorious in San Francisco, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. San Francisco's version of the global marijuana march, Cannabis Awareness Day, was at City Hall plaza, where rows of vendors and exhibitors bracketed the crowd and local bands blasted rock, surf, pop, and rhythm & blues at the crowd. The San Francisco event was long on music, short on rhetoric—"We've heard all that pot talk before," said one organizer from the stage—and extremely mellow. What pot politics there was came around making too much money off the dispensaries, with some speakers warning that the greedy would be weeded out. Jack Herer held court in one tent as star-struck fans sought autographs and pictures. There was lots of open pot-smoking, and not a policeman in sight all afternoon. It was like a lovely afternoon in the community park. Things weren't so mellow in Eastern Europe. In Sofia, Bulgaria, police dispersed a crowd of about 400 demonstrators, blocking the event from taking place. It was worse in Moscow, Russian police attacked ralliers, arrested 30 and beating others. Some have already been sentenced to jail time. In Prague, by contrast, authorities stood aside as about 1500 held a pot party at Letna Plain. The largest rally reported so far was in Toronto, where "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery led a crowd of about 20,000 in calling for freeing the weed. I haven't heard anything from other European capitals or the big cities of Latin America yet. Meanwhile, down under at the Nimbin Mardi Grass festival in Austalia, police reported more than 100 arrests, 60 of them for marijuana, among the more than 7,000 festival-goers. What does all this mean? What does it accomplish? Look for some rumination on these questions as well as more scene reports on Friday. (Click the "read full post" link or here for more pictures.) Oaksterdam and Measure Z booths booth representing a medical marijuana coop Jack Herer, the "Emperor of Hemp"
United States

Video Showing Field Drug Test False Positives for Many Different Soaps

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In the aftermath of the infamous "soap bust" of drummer Don Bolles of "The Germs" fame, Dr. Bronner's has released a video showing the NarcoPouch field drug test coming up with false positives for a range of natural soap products. Curiously "fake" soaps that are actually detergent-based are coming up negative. Read the full press release here. Watch the video (which also includes TV news footage about the incident) via YouTube below:
United States

Hurwitz Family: The Jury Verdict on Dr. Hurwitz

I did not notice this open letter from Dr. Hurwitz's brother when it came out late last month, but I think it is worth a read.
United States

Drugs to Vaccinate You... Against Drugs!

My friend Grant Smith over at Drug Policy Alliance has commented on NIDA research to develop vaccinations and the philosophical implications of "robbing entire future generations of the basic human right to have freedom of choice and sovereignty over their bodies and minds." As a follow-up, I'd like to point out here the danger from a straight medical perspective. The questions of whether a vaccine will work, what its side effects may be, and what the likelihood is of experiencing such side effects are questions that go along with the development of any new medication. But there is something fundamentally different -- medically and scientifically -- about the concept of a vaccine to permanently disable a person from experiencing the effects of ingesting a drug. First, the neurological system that goes to work when one tries to "get high" is intimately tied to the rest of our neurology -- getting a thrill from chocolate or a rush from exercise, for example, involves some of the same chemical interactions in the brain that are involved in smoking a cigarette or snorting cocaine. I'm not saying that the acts are the same, but they are biochemically similar and related. They have to be -- each of us only has one brain, after all. Second, most drugs, both legal and illegal, either are used medically now or are highly similar to drugs that are used medically now. Cocaine and methamphetamine are both schedule II substances -- highly regulated, but used in medicine. Meth is from the same family as the widely used Ritalin. Heroin is a close variant of morphine. I don't know of current medical uses for nicotine, but I don't think it can be categorically ruled out for all time. Could a vaccination to block the euphoric effects of these drugs interfere with the ability of the same or similar drugs to produce the medical benefits for which they are also used? The only way to really know for sure is to do test people for it. But because only a fraction of all children go on to experience the medical problems that would be treated by the drugs, to do such a test and have sufficient data for it to be meaningful would require vastly expanding the number of kids who have to be given the vaccination initially as part of the research. And possibly excepting Ritalin use, the data would not come in for several decades, because most people acquire the afflictions for which the medications are used late in life. So in addition to the disturbing philosophical implications that Grant has explored, I really see this direction as inherently reckless from a straight medical perspective -- there is just no truly reliable way to know whether the treatment administered to toddlers or grade-schoolers now could put them in a box with respect to medical treatment down the road -- there's just no feasible way to gather enough data in advance, and if we did we might still not find out for 70 years. Rank this one right up there with the drug-fighting franken-fungus -- don't go there!
United States

Moscow Update

There's an update and action alert from Moscow on the brutalization/free speech violation committed against marijuana march participants. Click here for more...

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