You can’t handle the truth
A respected scientist set out to determine which drugs are actually the most dangerous -- and discovered that the answers are, well, awkward(Mario Tama/Getty Images)By Mark Pothier December 13, 2009
In the long and tortured debate over drug policy, one of the strangest episodes has been playing out this fall in the United Kingdom, where the country’s top drug adviser was recently fired for publicly criticizing his own government’s drug laws.
The adviser, Dr. David Nutt, said in a lecture that alcohol is more hazardous than many outlawed substances, and that the United Kingdom might be making a mistake in throwing marijuana smokers in jail. His comments were published in a press release in October, and the next day he was dismissed. The buzz over his sacking has yet to subside: Nutt has become the talk of pubs and Parliament, as well as the subject of tabloid headlines like: “Drug advisor on wacky baccy?”
But behind Nutt’s words lay something perhaps more surprising, and harder to grapple with. His comments weren’t the idle musings of a reality-insulated professor in a policy job. They were based on a list - a scientifically compiled ranking of drugs, assembled by specialists in chemistry, health, and enforcement, published in a prestigious medical journal two years earlier.
The list, printed as a chart with the unassuming title “Mean Harm Scores for 20 Substances,” ranked a set of common drugs, both legal and illegal, in order of their harmfulness - how addictive they were, how physically damaging, and how much they threatened society. Many drug specialists now consider it one of the most objective sources available on the actual harmfulness of different substances.
That ranking showed, with numbers, what Nutt was fired for saying out loud: Overall, alcohol is far worse than many illegal drugs. So is tobacco. Smoking pot is less harmful than drinking, and LSD is less damaging yet.
Nutt says he didn’t see himself as promoting drug use or trying to subvert the government. He was pressing the point that a government policy, especially a health-related one like a drug law, should be grounded in factual information. In doing so, he found himself caught in a crossfire that cost him the advisory post he had held for a decade.
The same issue is becoming a hot one in America - this fall the Obama administration took a baby step toward easing federal scrutiny of medical marijuana use, and a policy report due early next year is expected to emphasize addiction prevention and treatment over criminal enforcement. Opponents are already attacking the administration for its laxity, but Thomas McLellan, a newly installed White House drug official, has begun loudly pushing for policy that incorporates more science.
“We must increase the use of evidence-based tools at our disposal,” McLellan said in an interview last week.
But as Nutt’s case illustrates, that is tough to do. The more data we accumulate about drug harmfulness, the more it seems like the classification systems used by the United States, the United Kingdom, and other governments need to be dismantled - and the more it becomes clear that societies can’t, or won’t, take that step. Drug laws are rooted in history and politics as much as science. Our own culture embraces one intoxicant - alcohol - that Nutt’s ranking deemed far more dangerous than 15 other harmful substances. And even if it were possible to divorce drug politics from drug-use facts, some policy specialists say, letting science call the shots would be a bad idea.
Intoxication has been part of human culture since before recorded history. So have its consequences. A drug can cause all sorts of harms, some devastating, some minor: It can ravage the body of an addict, or simply make a user late for a meeting with the boss. Drugs can impoverish families, trigger deadly violence, cause cancer. In modern society, drugs drive crime and increase health costs for everyone.
To Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at London’s Imperial College who chaired the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, it made sense that laws and policies should take into account the harmfulness of the drugs themselves. But when he considered ways to improve the system, he discovered a problem.
“It became clear that [the government] didn’t have any systematic, transparent way of assessing drugs at all,” he said. “If you say drug laws are based on reducing harm, you have to actually know what kind of harm they cause.”
So about a decade ago, he and some colleagues set about to gauge the dangers of 20 substances as objectively as possible. This would not be a measurement with calipers and a scale - drug risks are inevitably subjective, depending on factors like an individual user’s tolerance, the amount used, and the duration of use. But Nutt also knew he could create better data than anything the government was currently employing.
He and his colleagues assembled a range of independent experts and asked them to score each drug in three categories - its physical effects on the user, the likelihood of addiction, and its impact on society. The group included addiction specialists registered with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as well as people with expertise in chemistry, forensic science, and police work.
They gave the specialists a detailed list of parameters to consider. In assessing the addictiveness of, say, cocaine, they would separately rate its pleasure, psychological dependence, and physical dependence, and the ratings would be combined to create an overall risk factor. After a series of meetings and discussions, the rankings were determined by averaging scores across all the categories. The result was a paper published in the public-health journal The Lancet in March 2007.
Number one on the experts’ list was an easy call: heroin. It’s extremely addictive and, by any measure, destructive to the user and the society around him. Cocaine came in second, followed by barbiturates and street methadone.
Then the list got interesting. Alcohol, which has always been legal in England and was only briefly outlawed in the United States, took the fifth position, above tobacco (9), marijuana (11), LSD (14), and ecstasy (18). The least harmful drug in all respects was khat, a stimulant derived from the leaves of an African shrub.
Included in the Lancet paper was the authors’ recommendation that the government should reclassify drugs to reflect the harms they cause. “We saw no clear distinction between socially acceptable and illicit substances,” they wrote, suggesting “a more rational debate” on drug policy, based on “scientific evidence.”
The ranking - nicknamed the “drug league table,” after the British term for sports standings - lay quietly, more or less ignored by the public and politicians, until King’s College issued a press release in October based on a lecture Nutt had given in July. Nutt thought he was making much the same point he made in the medical journal two years earlier: If we looked at harm objectively, we would engineer a drastically different set of drug policies than the ones we now use.
He was swiftly booted from his government position. Home Secretary Alan Johnson said Nutt had crossed a line. He “cannot be both a government adviser and a campaigner against government policy,” Johnson told The Guardian newspaper.
“It was a funny, kind of petulant reaction,” Nutt told the Globe, “all about machismo and politics. We’re harder on drugs than you, we’re tougher.”
Suddenly, Nutt was everywhere - the papers, the BBC, YouTube, a Facebook page started by his backers. Critics accused him of sending England’s youth a mixed message about drug use. Supporters charged the government with stripping the professor of his right to speak freely.
Amid the charges and countercharges, others wondered whether, beneath all the controversy, the government shouldn’t just start paying more attention to that list.
If Nutt’s list is accurate - if we really do know which drugs are really bad and which are relatively benign - the next step is figuring out how to make use of that information.
It might seem obvious that the most harmful drugs should receive the most attention from the government, with beefed-up prevention and treatment programs, and tougher punishments for producers and distributors. And to conserve their limited resources, it might make sense for drug officials to stop worrying about the least harmful substances, even decriminalizing or legalizing them.
But real-world drug policy is not like that. To a certain extent, say analysts, legal drugs are acceptable and illegal ones are dangerous because, well, because they’re already illegal.
“There’s a crazy kind of logic that argues, about some currently illegal drug, ‘Look how dangerous it is! You couldn’t possibly legalize a drug as dangerous as that!’ ” said Mark A.R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA. The fact that a drug is against the law makes people overestimate its risks, he said, while legal status causes them to underestimate dangers.
Politicians tend to follow that same line of thinking, leaving socially acceptable legal drugs alone, while making easy prey of would-be liberalizers. In the United States, for instance, it would be politically insane to call for the legalization of the least harmful drugs on Nutt’s list - khat, GHB, and steroids - while campaigning to outlaw tobacco.
One indisputable fact that emerged from Nutt’s study is this: We have assigned a high social value to booze. Alcohol causes many of the harms associated with “harder” drugs - lots of people die or become deeply dysfunctional because of drinking - yet it has been entrenched in society for so long that scientific evidence of its hazards relative to other intoxicants doesn’t get much of a public hearing.
Kleiman and other experts - including Nutt - are not suggesting that either Britain or the United States should ban alcohol. America tried that once, and even during Prohibition, people didn’t stop drinking - they simply built a system of illegal manufacturing and distribution big enough to satisfy their thirst. Instead, Kleiman believes a good strategy on alcohol should include increased taxes to discourage drinking - young people and heavy drinkers are price-sensitive - and an outright ban on sales to people who have been convicted of drunken driving or other alcohol-fueled crimes.
Of course, that would require new laws, and more political wrangling. How many convictions? How long of a ban? If the science is complicated, the politics would be more so. The fight would last more than a few rounds.
Nutt, for one, seems ready to go the distance. “The majority of people in [Britain] are more damaged by alcohol than any other drug,” he said. “Let’s get the scaling of harm right.”
For drugs that are currently illegal, he said, that means having prevention efforts and laws that are proportionate to their dangers. For instance, British law allows up to five years imprisonment for marijuana possession, a penalty Nutt called “infantile and embarrassing.” McLellan, the White House drug adviser, echoed him, saying jailing pot smokers “is idiocy, a really bad use of resources.”
But drug law will never be as simple as making a list, and even experts say it shouldn’t be. At a certain point, scientists should excuse themselves from the discourse, Kleiman said. Intoxicants are part of our culture in ways that a list can’t sort out for us.
“Science gives you facts about the world,” he said, “and you have to assign values to those facts. It doesn’t tell you what’s worth having and what’s not worth having.”
Mark Pothier is the Globe’s senior assistant business editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Does the ancient symbolism employed by the institutions that control modern medicine reflect the influence of secret societies such as the Freemasons? In order to fully understand the esoteric significance of modern medical symbolism, such as the cross, or Ankh, or the serpents and staff of Moses, or the winged staff of Hermes, it is helpful to begin by understanding that all doctors swear to pagan gods.
The Hippocratic Oath, which is sworn by all doctors, begins with the invocation: "I swear by Apollo the Physician. By Aesculapius, Hygela and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods and goddesses..." Dr Robert Orr showed in 1993 that 100% of American medical schools administer some form of the Hippocratic Oath to graduates.
Dr James Appleyard, Chairman of the World Medical Association's medical ethics committee, supports the modern use of the ancient Hippocratic oath as "the continuation of a statement of fundamental ethical principles that could be affirmed at graduation by doctors worldwide".
.The World Medical Association's logo features a serpent wrapped around a staff, the symbol of the ancient Greek god Asklepios. Aesculapius, worshipped by the Greeks as the god of healing, who originated in ancient Egypt as Imhotep, high-priest, sage and minister to the pharaoh, Zoser. It is significant that this symbol is reminiscent of the Staff of Moses. The World Health Organisation's logo also contains the ancient religious symbol of the serpent and staff, which is superimposed over the United Nations emblem.In fact, the medical establishment is steeped in ancient religious symbolism. The British Columbia Medical Association coat of arms includes the Rod of Aesculapius, a golden griffin where the substance represents alchemy, a medieval knight's helmet, and an ancient Egyptian Ankh (Crux Ansata or Handled Cross). The Insider approves of their official motto: "Always seek the truth." Paramedics also use the symbol of staff and serpent in the internationally recognised paramedic symbol, also called The Star of Life. The resemblence between this sign and the early Christian symbol of the Pax Christi (Chi-Rho), a cross-like monogram for Christ in ancient Greek, may be significant.
The Wellcome Trust, a major medical charity, employs the winged staff and snakes of Hermes as their official logo, and for no apparent reason there is a huge image of the ancient Egyptian religious symbols of the Udjat eye of Horus and the Winged Disc of Ra, etched into the glass above their entrance opposite Euston train station in the West End of London. The winged sun disc is an ancient symbol for the sun god, Ra. Well known examples of the winged solar disc symbol can be found in ancient Egyptian temples, for instance over the entrance to the Solar Temple of Amen-Ra at Karnak, or or over the Temple doorway in Medinet Habu on the West bank of Luxor.The Royal Society of Medicine coat of arms features the serpent of Moses on a Tau cross, and flowers which resemble the stylised Lotus frequently depicted in ancient Egyptian art. In this discussion about secret societies and the modern of ancient symbols it is pertinent that The Royal Society - the foremost scientific institution in the U.K., was founded by a prominent Freemason, Sir Robert Moray.
John Robinson explains in his popular book on Freemasonry: "When Freemasonry came public in 1717 ... it appeared that the Royal Society was virtually a Masonic subsidiary, with almost every member and every founding member of the Royal Society a Freemason." An article in the leading Masonic magazine, Freemasonry Today, echoes this and mentions that "many masons were also members of the Royal Society". The Royal Society remains associated with British Freemasonry today.
The Red Cross was first associated with human welfare and medical help during the medieval crusades, when European Knights travelled overseas to help pilgrims and foreigners alike, such as the Knights of St John, the Knights Hospitaller, and the Knights Templar which was the first organisation to officially adopt the red cross symbol.
The Knights Templar has been operating in secret for centuries, and traditions and inner mysteries are connected with those of the secret society of Freemasonry.
1. The Hippocratic Oath, from the Junior Doctors Association website.
2. Orr RD, Pang N, Pellegrino, EJ, Siegler M., 1997. Use of the Hippocratic Oath: A review of 20th century practice and a content analysis of oaths administered in medical schools in the U.S. and Canada in 1993. Journal of Clinical Ethics, 8(4):377-388.
3. World Medical Association website, press center, statement of support for the Hippocratic Oath.
4. World Medical Association's official logo.
5. Exodus (2 Moses) 4:2-3, & Numbers (4 Moses) 21:8-9, Christian Bible or Jewish Torah.
6. World Health Organisation, official website.
7. British Columbia Medical Association's coat of arms on their official website.
8. Paramedic symbol from a major paramedics website.
9. History of The Star of Light, North Virginia Emergency Medical Services Council website.
10. Examples of Christian religious symbolism, Gospel Facts website.
11. Irish Emergency Ambulance Service website, see Ambulance History page for information about ancient religious symbols used in modern medicine, such as the Rod of Asclepius and the Caduceus.
12. Royal Society of Medicine coat of arms, featured and explained on their official website.
13. Lecture on The Royal Society, by the author and Freemason Robert Lomas, on his official website.
14. J. J. Robinson, 1990. Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry. New York, USA: M Evans & Co.
15. An article from the official Masonic magazine, Freemasonry today, posted on their website.
16. The History of First Aid, on an official St. John's Ambulance website.
17. Knights Templar History website.
18. An official Knights Templar website.
19.Knights Templar page on the official Indiana Masons website.
..NOTES & FURTHER READING
1. J.S.M. Ward , 1940. Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods. Montana, USA: R A Kessinger Publishing Co.
*** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED *** One of the most revealing publicly available sources about the Craft, since the 1940s this has been the benchmark reference textbook for research into the relationship between Freemasonry and religion.....
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The Drug Policy Foundation's 1st and only Coca specific panel appearing in their printed schedules of their conferences,held October 1995 at their 9th International Conference "Harm Reduction- Bringing the International Community Together", in Santa Monica, California
Sunday, November 8, 2009
What do we do?
Send him to rehab. It's methadone now or it's heroin later.
There is one other option: Ibogaine Hydrochlorite.
Within 24 hours he would loose his craving for heroin.
Clinics around the world use it to treat heroin addiction.
Let's do it.
I can't. The drug is illegal here. Because the patent expired and no drug company can make a profit of it.
What you are doing is illegal.
One dose of Ibogaine and he is clean- we are leaving.
I am a doctor; I have a moral obligation to treat him.
Even it means loss of your license?
http://www.entheogen.com/forum/showthread.php?p=274970This mention of big pharm is but the tip of the iceberg, as provided by the following helpful comment:
Law and Order SVU -Ibogaine - 7th November 2009, 12:42 AM
Did anyone see the Wed nite episode of L&O SVU? Finally a somewhat good message. Wong, the psychiatrist put his job on the line by healing a heroin addict with ibogaine. He knew it was illegal. He and Elliot were talking how dumb it was to be illegal but that the pharm companies don't want people to have access except for the inferior big pharma drugs. I'd imagine they were talking about suboxen. So Wong took the kid to an ibogaine clinic and administered 800 mgs of ibogaine hydrochloride.
Now the silly part was they were saying it "cures" addiction in 48 hours. They also made it sound like the "trip" part was a side effect of the ibogaine instead of one of the main reasons. Also once the kid was healed they needed him to testify against a cult/minister drug dealer. Wong reported himself and had a 30 day suspension of his license for using ibogaine. He was adamant about the positive properties.
I just thought the mention of greedy big pharma on primetime due to an illegal helpful psychedelic was interesting. The message was put forth even with all the silliness surrounding the episode.
Comment posted by maxwood on Fri, 10/02/2009 - 3:33pm
1. To paraphrase the previous comment, many defendants plead guilty in order to pass for "easy" and avoid the hard time that "hard cases" get. ("Admission" to the drug court program is a better deal than prison-- you are better protected against gang-rape, persecution etc.) That in turn enables prohibitionists to "prove" marijuana is a problem-causing "drug" by pointing to the large statistical number of marijuana "offenders" admitted to the drug court program.
2. Both in prison and in "drug programs" are to be found well-paid bureaucrat "therapists" punitively pretending to "treat" the marijuana "drug offenders" on the premise that cannabis must be classified as a "drug" rather than as an "herb" or "nutritional supplement" which would place it in a non-punitive category.
3. Police, prosecutors, judges, bailiffs, guards are all benefiting from their share of over $30-bil./yr/US nicotine $igarette tax money, and for that they reward the big tobackgo corporations by suppressing cannabis as an illegal "drug" and thereby suppressing the anti-overdose smoking and vaporizing equipment (which, if cannabis were legal, could become readily available to tobacco users and replace the now entrenched profitable hot burning overdose $igarette marketing format), on the premise that such equipment is related to illegal cannabis and thus also illegal or "evidence". (How would you like your $600 Volcano vaporizer to be confiscated, or used as evidence to convict you of a crime?)
4. Big pHARMa doesn't want unprofitable homegrown cannabis to get a chance to (a) outclass their currently profitable proprietary Stop Smoking remedies at $20, $40, $60 a box and a 10% success rate, and (b) cause an abrupt decline in cigarette smoking, leading to a consequent decline in sales of profitable Statins and other drugs now used to manage chronic tobacco-related degenerative diseases.
This influence plausibly extend to the drug policy reform movement in the form of legal advice via an important and well-connected food, drug, pharmaceutical and cigarette industry law firm:
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue: Covington & Burling building
How about better employing such legal resources for Ibogaine -- note that the legal adviser herself is a food, drug and insurance attorney: should not the insurance industry be interested in ways of reducing health care costs? -- as suggested for Coca and alternatively with Marijuana more generally as a public health measure, at the following links, as part of a general drive to reduce health care costs?http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2009/02/coca-come-back.html
Saturday, October 10, 2009
PUBLIC HEALTH MARIJUANA:The New Direction in Harm Reductionby Dana Beal | Cannabis Health Journal | Issue 11
When the National Institute on Drug Abuse turned its sights on the mechanism of cannabinols and their endogenous analogues such as anandamide in the brain, they were disappointed to find that the dopamine model they relied on to explain drug abuse and addiction seemed to let cannabis off the hook. The modest uptick in dopamine levels produced by pot confirmed what the old hippies saw, marijuana is pleasurable, but not particularly addictive.
More recent work tracing the pathways of another neuro-transmitter, glutamate, has further explicated the question of marijuana’s addictiveness. Familiar to aficionados of cheap Chinese food as mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), it performs multiple functions throughout the brain and the body involved in long-term learning and memory and as a kind of natural stimulant that takes the brakes off” metabolic processes, causing everything to burn hotter.
In 2001 a Swiss researcher, Francois Conquet , made an interesting discovery with “knock-out” mice who had been bio-engineered not to have a particular glutamate pathway called m (for messenger) GluR5. Mice with no mGluR5 could not be trained to self- inject cocaine. This is highly significant because elimination of dopamine transporters and receptors in other knock-outs still left them able to be addicted through cocaine’s rewarding effects on serotonin. Microdialysis recorded the same dopamine spikes in both wild mice and the mGluR5-deficient ones, but soon after the researchers substituted intravenous cocaine for food, the mGluR5 knock-outs stopped pressing the lever. Their affinities for food, water, mating were unaffected; but cocaine could no longer “fool” the knock-outs into accepting it as a replacement for food, water and mating .
Cannabis and Glutamate
In Colorado Springs, the Chairman of the University of Colorado Biology Department is Bob Melamede . Dr. Melamede teaches a whole course on medical marijuana. Central to his thesis is the finding that cannabinols and the endogenous neuro -transmitters they mimic are glutamate antagonists; but not the kind of noncompetitive antagonists , like ibogaine , that come along to “plug the hole” after inonotropic glutamate receptors have opened up to let minerals through the cell membrane. Instead, cannabinols and anandamide act to “ backsignal ” along the metabotropic glutamate pathways that work (like mGluR5) through the second messenger systems and modulate signals of other neurotransmitters.
What cannabinols do is to tell glutamate-firing cells to chill out, to stop firing so much glutamate, an effect that is necessary whenever too much glutamate causes cell processes to burn too hot. Melamede believes the original evolutionary function of anandamide was to control inflammation, and that its role in the body and nervous system grew as glutamate came to be used to do more and more things.
[Suetaznote: This is why marijuana is beneficial to those that suffer from glaucoma, asthma and many other physical problems that result from inflammation.]
Marijuana, Tobacco, Cancer
So beyond the question of cannabis addictiveness, an understanding of glutamate mechanism has important public policy implications regarding marijuana, tobacco, and carcinogenesis. The oftrepeated myth that “one joint is 3 (or 10) times more carcinogenic than a cigarette”—based on the resin content—collapses upon consideration of the role of chronic glutamate inflammation of the linings of the lungs in generating the free radicals that attack the DNA of immune cells in these linings. Like white blood cells, these immune cells are there to attack pathogens (the lungs are a big vector for infection) that come their way.
The truism that cigarettes are more addictive than heroin becomes a lot easier to understand when we remember that the mediating neurotransmitter of the nicotine high is glutamate. Once you acclimate to the nicotine, so that it no longer makes you sick, its primary “cascade” effect is a quick fix of glutamate, lasting no more than 5 or 10 minutes, which has the effect of calming the addict down while giving them a lift. Typically, because it potentiates long term memory, writers use it to finish articles.
In the lining of the lung, however, nicotine has the perverse effect of putting the damaged immune cell into kind of suspended animation, blocking apoptosis, or cell death. What happens if you keep a damaged cell alive while filling it with free radicals produced by chronic glutamate inflammation ?
Eventually you get bad genetic code, the cell goes cancerous and starts migrating all over the body spreading that bad code. Which is why smokers end up with cancer in some of the strangest places.
It has been estimated that the average New Yorker breathes in pollutants equivalent to a pack and a half of cigarettes every day. But without the key co-factor of the nicotine, they do not get lung cancer at anything like the rate of packand -a-half-a-day smokers. We all have multiple redundant natural immunities that block the sea of crap we breathe from giving us cancer. Indeed, the crowning blow to the prohibitionist argument that burn products, not nicotine, cause the cancer is the widespread incidence of cancer of the lip and gum among people who chew tobacco. There are no published reports of stomach cancer from marijuana brownies.
Beyond the reports of direct cannabis efficacy against certain kinds of tumors, the mechanism of action of cannabinols is 180 degrees opposite of nicotine: anti- glutaminergic , anti-inflammatory. That is why cannabis is prescribed for all kinds of inflammation and auto-immune disease. So regardless of the amount of tar or burn products—and meaning no disrespect to the vaporizer advocates—with cannabinols instead of nicotine in the mix there’s nothing to “turn on” the carcinogens therein.
[Suetaznote: This debunks what people have been told by the government about smoking. That because smoking causes cancer, it must be bad to smoke marijuana. Not true, according to Dana Beal. Nicotine causes cancer, marijuana does not, in any way shape or form, nor does it cause any lung damage.]
Marijuana, Alcohol, Accidents
The final bit of confusion that can be cleared up here is the widespread fallacy, based on the outdated notion marijuana works like alcohol, that pot is a major cause of accidents. Once again, mechanism of action confirms the epidemiological studies that already show people drive, if anything, more safely on cannabis.
Where cannabis has its very own receptors, alcohol works by unleashing a flood of endorphins in response to major trauma caused by ethanol stripping the myelin sheaths of the nerve cells. From there the addictive process is straightforward, with the endorphins engendering a dopamine spike, which eventually locks in the mGluR5 pathway and so on. But while the trauma is occurring, and you’re drunk, you ability to function is severely damaged in a way that just doesn’t happen with a mild glutamate antagonist working through its own specific set of receptors.
Considered from the public health standpoint, cannabis is more often than not a replacement for alcohol and other drugs. When cannabis use goes up, alcohol use goes down. And because the cannabis effect is NOT incapacitating like alcohol intoxication (every single study to date shows no significant impairment of driving, for instance) the effect of the substitution of cannabis is the saving of lives. Economists Frank Chaloupka and Adit Laixuthai , at the University of Illinois at Chicago , estimate that cannabis decriminalization would reduce youth traffic fatalities by 5.5 per cent, youth drinking rates by eight per cent and binge-drinking rates by five per cent. Other evidence suggests we would see similar declines in emergency-room drug and alcohol cases.
Tobacco, Marijuana, Harm Reduction
Harm reduction approaches to cannabis have focused heretofore on the market separation of cannabis and other illegal drugs. According to Dutch government facts-sheets, out of the total population of 727,000, Amsterdam has around 5,100 hard-drug users. The primary thrust of policy is to discourage the use of drugs, and to combat the trade in drugs. The authorities also seek to minimize the risks incurred by drug users and to reduce as far as possible the nuisance factor for the general public . In the context of use, Amsterdam ’s drug policy differentiates between hard and soft drugs, i.e.: cannabis is available, but at locations where no other illicit substances may be sold, and this “market separation” is strictly enforced.
Of some 5,100 hard-drug users, around 2000 are of Dutch origin, with some 1,350 having roots in former colony of Surinam , the Netherlands Antilles and Morocco . Around 1,750 users come from other European countries, mainly Germany and Italy . The total number of hard-drug users is steadily decreasing, while their average age is rising, from 26.8 years in 1981 to 39 years in 1999. In the same period the total number of drug users under 22 years of age dropped from 14.4 percent to 1.6%.
The singular flaw of the Dutch system from the standpoint of nicotine carcinogenesis is the almost universal practice of smoking cannabis mixed with tobacco a habit that totally undermines the health benefits of smoking pure cannabis. It will be a hard habit to break, considering the basic chemistry involved.
Combining nicotine’s glutamate agonist effect with pot’s glutamate antagonism offers the benefits of a kind of “speedball”: cutting back on the “stoned” effect of the cannabidiol without interfering with the initial THC-induced melatonin rush—the high.** But the seeds of change are contained within the almost 90% switch from hashish to hydro by Dutch consumers during the last decade. Without the need for tobacco to make a hash joint, better tasting bud—plus the ever-growing popular consciousness of tobacco’s dangers— may in the end be enough to change European tastes. This changeover can and should be augmented by all the publicity tools of a full-fledged public health campaign, with slogans like “Pure Pot Tastes Even Better!”
A better understanding of the mechanism of marijuana as a glutamate antagonist versus the licit glutamate agonists, alcohol and nicotine, raises the interesting prospect of the next logical step for our worldwide movement being not strictly medical, but public heath marijuana. In a generation or less, all carrots and sticks of public health policy may be enlisted in a conscious effort to REPLACE alcohol and cigarettes with a marijuana monoculture, and to REMOVE all cannabis opponents from any role in setting that policy. The benefits of saving up to 600,000 lives a year from cancer and auto accidents in the U.S. alone will make the switchover well worth it!
[Suetaznote: This is the best news I've read yet! This whole article proves what some of us have known all along. The truth is, no one has yet come up with any viable proof that marijuana is bad for one's health. Everything that people like John Walters and Andrea Barthwell, the ex-deputy director of the ONDCP, have said about marijuana has been thoroughly debunked.]
** I will explain the health benefits of melatonin supplements for regular cannabis users in my next article.
Dana Beal, organized the first marijuana protests during the summer of love, 1967. He was a founding member and chief theoretician of the Youth International Party, started the YIPster Times after the Miami Convention protests in 1972 and crusaded for marijuana legalization in the 70’s. He collaborated with Tom Forcade , founder of High Times, changed the name of the paper to Overthrow in 1979, started Rock Against Racism in December 1980, he initiated an Ibogaine project with Howard Lots in an effort to make this addiction interrupter available to addicts everywhere. He published the Yippie anthology, Blacklisted News in 1983, advocated medical marijuana for AIDS patients in 1986, joined ACT UP in 1988, pushed Ibogaine through ACT UP and NIDA until he was unmasked as a medical marijuana activist after a short prison stint in ‘93, co-founded Cures not Wars, started NYC Medical Marijuana Buyers’ Club with Johann Moore in 1995. Beal published the Ibogaine Story with Paul DeRienzo in January, 1997. Dana was part of the Wheelchair Walk for Medical Marijuana from Boston to D.C. in fall 1997, brought Ibogaine to U.K. in 1998, initiated the Million Marijuana March in 1999 and co-sponsored First International Ibogaine Conference at NYU in November, 99.
DTN-Marijuana and the Free Radicals
Dr. Robert Melamede, noted scientist describes the true effect of marijuana on the human body. Produced by the Drug Truth Network
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Was Dana Beal targeted by the Feds?
the growing threat of subverting the 1st Amendment via subverting the 4th Amendment
'Fraternal Order of Police'
"I can say here tonight that we did not find one scintilla of evidence that there was any medical benefit by consuming marijuana, whether an individual was healthy or whether they were ill, or terminally ill. There was no evidence to that effect... ...Marijuana is a gateway drug, and so we end up with a death toll that we have seen so painfully across this Nation...Federal enforcement of marijuana helps deter use and trafficking in harder drugs and also in related crimes against property and some of our most violent crime. " - FOP July 22, 2003
The State of Nebraska
left: Officer Chris Engel,
who conducted the September 30, 2009, 10:35 PM
Ashland Nebraska Route 6 stop of the vehicle
said to contain this 150 lbs of MJ with the activist Dana Beal
theft, kidnapping, extortion-
for restraint of trade criminal mercantilism scheme
From Aron Kay:
From local MSM sources:Dana Beal, FOCALIZER FOR THE MILLION POT MARCH and 2 other organizers were busted early in a van in wahoo,nebraska ...they are bring charged with among other things allegedly having 150 pounds of pot..see this link that came from a nebraska tv station (http://www.ketv.com/news/21173912/detail.html ) with the pigs version...
however dana needs help with bail and legal defense...please email me via
PAYPAL DONATIONS FOR BAIL AND LEGAL DEFENSE CAN BE SENT VIA
aron pieman kay
SAUNDERS COUNTY, Neb. -- Police officers in Ashland, Neb., seized 150 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Wednesday night on Highway 6.The seizure was the largest in Saunders County history, said Ashland police. Investigators say the record discovery was made late Wednesday, several miles away from Interstate 80..I-80 has long been known to authorities as a drug pipeline, but as state and local law enforcement agencies step up enforcement efforts along the interstate, smugglers appear to be turning to back roads."They also come down the rural highways trying to avoid the interstate," Ashland Police Chief Mark Powell said. That, he said, is exactly what one of his officers encountered near the city limits, miles away from the interstate.He said the incident started when police stopped conversion van driving erratically. When the officer approached the van and saw several bags of marijuana in plain view, he called for assistance, police said.Powell said multiple agencies responded to that call. The drugs were in duffel bags found throughout the vehicle, police said."Further investigation revealed 150 pounds of marijuana that was loaded inside the van," Powell said.Ashland police said Saunders and Cass county sheriffs' deputies helped in the seizure. Three men in the van were Christopher Ryan, Irvin Dana Beal and James Statzer.All three are being held in Saunders County Jail and are suspected of drug possession with intent to deliver, officers said. They all face charges of possession with intent to deliver. Beal is a political activist who has advocated for marijuana legalization in the U.S. Powell said the bust is a reminder that I-80 isn't the only route on which authorities need to be alert for drug traffickers." Luckily, we have people around who are watching there, as well," Powell said. Authorities said Ryan and Statzer are being held on $100,000 bond each. Beal is being held on $500,000 bond.
No elaboration (nor police video of the incident) is given about the pretext for the initial stop, within reports brandishing the police characterization of roads as "drug pipelines" - suggestive of police not looking out for traffic violations but rather the seizure of contraband 'drugs'.
Nor is it disclosed if the incident involved newer technologies increasingly used since 911, such as license plate and facial recognition cameras, various RFID chips (readable by all of those recently reconstructed truck weigh stations), and cell phone GPS tracking), under the guise of fighting terrorism via the PATRIOT Act (drafted at the Jesuit Order Georgetown University).
Such advances in data gathering, collection and analysis are potentially useful tools for those within a government to abuse in subversion of the U.S. Constitution's 1st Amendment guarantee of free speech, via subverting its 4th Amendment prohibition against warrantless searches, and are likelier to occur in an environment lacking sufficient checks and balances., as that engendered by courts that betray their mandate by placing the Constitution beneath statutes, such as by routinely accepting boilerplate police testilying -- including that the police video of the incident was "just grey static" -- to perpetuate illegal seizures.
U.S. Information Awareness Office
U.S. Information Awareness Office Projects
Facilitating the national government's use of IAO collected data to ensnare local police coordination are the recently established FUSION centers. These have the serious potential for abuse by providing a routine chain of command for a centralized entity to employ local police as tools to punish political dissidents- of which Irvin Dana Beal certainly is, and of which whereabouts just 3-5 days earlier was apparently no great secret being publicly visible at the previous weekends's NORML conference in San Francisco, CA
http://edrosenthal.blogspot.com/2009/10/please-help-free-dana-beal.htmlMore on Dana Beal; from Free Dana Beal:
Who Is Dana Beal?
from Celeb Stoner
New York marijuana activist Dana Beal has been arrested again in the Midwest, this time. Nebraska police apprehended Beal and two others in a van on Wednesday in Ashland near Interstate 80 (just West of Omaha) after the vehicle was stopped for driving erratically. Bail was set at $500,000.
Beal was last seen in San Francisco at the NORML Conference. Presumably, he was driving back from California when the bust took place.
The Cures Not Wars founder has had numerous run-ins with the law, the most recent of which came last June when Illinois authorities confiscated a small amount of marijuana and $150,000 from him. This past May, Beal pled guilty to the pot charge and paid a fine, but the cash was not returned.
Beal organizes the annual Global Marijuana March each May.
WHO IS IRVIN DANA BEAL?
According to his brother Charlie Beal, Beals roots trace back to the Charlmagne and the Hessians. One of his ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence so it is no surprise Beal has been a fighter for the Bill Rights and was able to prevent encroachment on it by the evil Mayor Giuliani. This case set an important precedent regarding the right of peaceful assembly. Beal's father was the archivist for the State of Michigan. Dana has traveled internationally promoting Ibogaine, which many former junkies say helped them kick dope and which clinical tests have shown to effective in resetting heroin receptors. His last trip was to New Zealand.
DRUG CAMPAIGNER PUSHES TRANCE CURE
A pro-cannabis group is pushing for the introduction of a hallucinogenic-type drug as a treatment for P addiction. American drug law reform campaigner Dana Beal will today address a public forum at the University of Otago on the use of ibogaine, a drug which sends people into a dream-like trance for several hours. Supporters say it reduces craving and leads drug users to confront their drug-taking behaviour after one or two doses, with the help of psychotherapy. Ibogaine has previously been used with heroin addicts and is now being promoted as a weapon against pure methamphetamine. However the drug is banned in some countries, including the United States and Europe, because of its hallucinogenic properties. Dr Fraser Todd, a senior lecturer at the National Addiction Centre at Christchurch Medical School, said the main problem with ibogaine was a lack of clinical trials to prove its safety and effectiveness. It worked in a similar way to ketamine, a drug which had been tested overseas and could be trialled soon in New Zealand. "If that drug [ibogaine] doesn't have long-lasting side effects from a one-off use and does fix addiction, that's potentially a major addition to our armoury." But drug education campaigner Mike Sabin said the drug could be especially dangerous for the many methamphetamine users who took other medication for mental illnesses. "There's a lot of things to be ticked off before you could say this could be safely administered."
Mr Beal, 62, a longtime marijuana legalisation supporter, has been brought to New Zealand by the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws New Zealand. President Phil Saxby said ibogaine had some side effects on users but so did medicinal marijuana and aspirin. "If you banned everything because it had side effects you'd never do anything." Auckland psychotherapist Dr Tony Coates, who would like to use the drug as an addiction treatment, said he had tried it himself and found it was "everything it was cracked up to be" in personal accounts on the internet. He said most ibogaine users remained fully awake but went into a dreamlike trance for five or six hours. Addicts confronted vivid memories of the experiences which led to their drug taking and could discuss these afterwards with a counsellor. Ibogaine also removed craving for other drugs. Dr Coates said ibogaine appeared to have no legal status in New Zealand but Medsafe had told him it would have to be registered as a medicine before he could give it to patients. There had been no large-scale clinical trials of the drug and he had found it difficult to interest anyone in starting one.
The rarity of a seizure of such size on a road so close to the parallel I-80 (see the "6" shield just east of Lincoln and nearer to Ashland in the above Nebraska road map CLICK TO ENLARGE), with Beal's notoriety with the criminal mercantilist ruling class, his previous MJ 'law' convictions, the new tracking technologies developed by DARPA, the vindictiveness of authorities within the U.S. prosecuting pro MJ activist Marc Emery, and the timing after Beal was publicly seen a few days earlier at the NORML conference in San Francisco, can make one quite reasonably ask did this unfortunate incident resulted from criminal federal officials relying, via their FUSION centers, a "tip" to local police?
terrapinzflyer is Home again, home again, jiggity jigTitanium MemberDonating Join Date: 10-05-2009Location: california- a world of its ownAge: 39Posts: 1,015
Re: Activist Dana Beal Busted in Nebraska
Arrest Along Drug Pipeline’s Frontage Road
Interstate 80 through Nebraska has become infamous as a drug pipeline. However, a highway which runs parallel with I-80 proved to be a pretty good catch for law enforcement Thursday night.
An Ashland police officer pulled over a vehicle on Highway 6. Three suspects were arrested after 150 pounds of marijuana was found hidden in duffle bags throughout the vehicle. The Saunders & Cass County Sheriffs departments assisted in confiscating the drugs.
The suspects say they are from New York, Ohio, and Michigan. They will be charged with possession with intent to deliver and failing to obtain drug tax stamps.
The Ashland police department says this was the largest marijuana seizure in the history of Saunders County.
while they don't mention Dana in this story I think this is the bust. Notice the additional charges for not having a "tax stamp" - a tactic originating in the late 80's if memory serves to pile on additional charges. A true Catch-22 - busted if you try and buy the tax stamp. extra charges if you get busted w/o one. Blows me away this hasn't been ruled unconstitutional.
Indeed as a denial of equal protection via a RICO scheme to deny civil rights in pursuance of market protection for politically favored commodities based upon junk science that would place MJ together with injected heroin and/or cocaine HCI. (Meanwhile, Nebraska's cigarette tax is 64 cents per pack of 20) - a relative set of policies that owing to the substances' relative effects, subvert public health.
NEBRASKASee the official form PDF
State Code §77-4301 Tax Rate $100/ounce if owner possesses 6 ounces or more Penalty for Nonpayment (Civil and Criminal ) 200% of tax and Class IV felony Additional Information
Withstood constitutional attack on the grounds of self-incrimination in State v. Garza, 242 Neb. 573.
Withstood constitutional attack on the grounds of double jeopardy in State v. Detweiler, 249 Neb. 485.
And what about the U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment prohibition against excessive fines and bails? At $100 per ounce, $1,600 per pound at 150 pounds = $240,000 x 200% = $480,000 penalty fine for this incident, in addition to the state sanctioned theft of the MJ, attorney and bail fees ($50,000 for Beal and $10,000 for Ryan and $10,000 for Statzer representing 10% of $500,000 and $100,000).
Under sentencing guidelines, Dana Beal may be facing 10 years to life in prison.
This video features the intrepid duo, Dana Beal (recently busted with 150lbs of medical marijuana) and arch 'Pieman' Aron Kay, up against the forces of evil. Music by Benedict Arnold & The Traitors.
• Dana Beal's address is currently Irvin Beal #6669, Saunders County Jail, 387 North Chestnut Wahoo, Nebraska 68066, USA. A court hearing will be held on 12 November.
Would the jury so find him guilty if they knew what it was all about?