I argue that the social context is much overlooked in drug dependence, and in this paper I illustrates how problem drug use is to a large extent a social problem, exacerbated by criminalisation, exclusion, stigma and discrimination.
Causal inferences from case–control studies are always hazardous, particularly with poor matching and incomplete specification and imprecise measurement of possible confounds. The unwanted influence of relevant group differences, whether measured or left unmeasured, might only be compounded by brute application of statistical controls. Awareness of the obvious political and policy implications of results, and the likely misuse to which they could be put, apparently failed to discourage the authors from inappropriate causal inferences and ignoring of obvious limitations of their study. This failure can only serve to distract readers from the important message concerning the need for a distinction between higher and lower potency forms of cannabis, even if it should be made with greater precision and in the context of a prospective study.
Freddie Gray, the drug war, and the decline of “real policing. David Simon is Baltimore’s best-known chronicler of life on the hard streets. He worked for The Baltimore Sun city desk for a dozen years, wrote “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets” (1991) and with former homicide detective Ed Burns co-wrote “THE CORNER: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF AN INNER-CITY NEIGHBORHOOD”1 (1997), which Simon adapted into an HBO miniseries. He is the creator, executive producer and head writer of the HBO television series “The Wire” (2002–2008). Simon is a member of The Marshall Project’s advisory board. He spoke with Bill Keller on Tuesday.”
Ironically, the legalisation of cannabis might actually bolster prohibition. The global and united drug reform movement could be undermined by an unintended consequence of privileging cannabis to join the elite drugs and subsequently ‘divide and rule’ to maintain the bifurcation process. No doubt, and understandably, after the decades of oppression suffered by cannabis users, legalisation of their drug of choice will be met with a celebration of the new found freedoms and privileges, but possibly also by a lack of interest to fight to end the prohibition of all drugs. Indeed, further, it could give rise to a new momentum against ‘drugs’ or ‘hard drugs’ – as recently liberated cannabis users redefining themselves as herbalists or sensible recreational users of ‘soft’ drugs.
Julian Buchanan's insight:
It's worth keeping an eye on where we want to be...
Caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world. Although consumption of low to moderate doses of caffeine is generally safe, an increasing number of clinical studies are showing that some caffeine users become dependent on the drug and are unable to reduce consumption despite knowledge of recurrent health problems associated with continued use. Thus, the World Health Organization and some health care professionals recognize caffeine dependence as a clinical disorder. In this comprehensive literature review, we summarize published research on the biological evidence for caffeine dependence; we provide a systematic review of the prevalence of caffeine dependence and rates of endorsement of clinically meaningful indicators of distress and functional impairment among habitual caffeine users; we discuss the diagnostic criteria for Caffeine Use Disorder-a condition for further study included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.); and we outline a research agenda to help guide future clinical, epidemiological, and genetic investigations of caffeine dependence. Numerous controlled laboratory investigations reviewed in this article show that caffeine produces behavioral and physiological effects similar to other drugs of dependence. Moreover, several recent clinical studies indicate that caffeine dependence is a clinically meaningful disorder that affects a nontrivial proportion of caffeine users. Nevertheless, more research is needed to determine the reliability, validity, and prevalence of this clinically important health problem.
This paper explores the interplay between the human rights and drug control frameworks and critiques case law on medicinal cannabis use to demonstrate that a bona fide human rights perspective allows for a broader conception of ‘health’. This broad conception, encompassing both medicalised and social constructionist definitions, can inform public health policies relating to medicinal cannabis use. The paper also demonstrates how a human rights lens can alleviate a core tension between the State and the individual within the drug policy field. The leading medicinal cannabis case in the UK highlights the judiciary’s failure to engage with an individual’s human right to health as they adopt an arbitrary, externalist view, focussing on the legality of cannabis to the exclusion of other concerns. Drawing on some international comparisons, the paper considers how a human rights perspective can lead to an approach to medicinal cannabis use which facilitates a holistic understanding of public health.
Some patients were so agitated they had to be put in restraints and given sedatives. "There was a period of time when we used all the large ventilators," a doctor says. "The ICU was running out of staff."
Jamaica just legalized marijuana for medicinal, scientific and religious purposes. Personal use and cultivation of up to five plants is allowed and the way is paved for cannabis tourism.Cue the Reggae.
While most of those receiving treatment for cannabis-related problems are treated in outpatient settings, treatment in inpatient settings is also reported by the majority of countries. Given the young age and often limited level of problems experienced by many cannabis users, Internet-based interventions are a promising approach which is already supported by some evidence. Addressing shortcomings and limitations will help to increase the overall availability and quality of treatment for cannabis use disorders in Europe, which may reduce the potential long-term negative effects in this relatively young group of drug users. The high levels of cannabis use in some parts of Europe, coupled with growing challenges to the drug’s status as a controlled substance and possible shifts in the social acceptability of the drug, underline the importance of meeting current treatment needs and remaining vigilant for future changes.
Yesterday Shona Banda, the Kansas medical marijuana activist whose home was searched after her 11-year-old son challenged anti-pot propaganda at school, failed to regain custody of the boy, who is now under the control of Child Protective Services (CPS). "I am not giving up," Banda said after yesterday's family court hearing. "I will get him, and I am not going to stop until I do."
If there was ever any doubt in your mind about the shared DNA between the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, consider the chart above. It shows the number of wiretaps granted by state and federal courts in 2013. You'll see that nearly 90 percent of the wiretaps were issued for drug offenses.
For over 50 years, many medical drugs have been effectively banned from research and clinical treatment in the vain hope that this will stop recreational use. The scientific community should now challenge this pointless ban and get governments to improve their regulations so science can flourish.
A new bill in Ecuador seeks to change the national paradigm regarding drugs, decriminalizing the sale and use of a broad range of illicit substances. The bill aims for “comprehensive drug prevention, by establishing a legal and institutional framework to address drug use, and the regulation of the substances that are subject to control
Julian Buchanan's insight:
It is interesting to see and note, it is generally the smaller countries, (not the major players in Anglophile led global western capitalism), who have been/are leading the way to alternative drug policies: Uruguay, Ecuador, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.
I suspect one of the many reasons is the vested interest of the the pharmaceutical industry and the power and influence of the legal drug industry (alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine) in Anglophile capitalist countries,
NB The US move to legalize cannabis has not been led by the US government but forced through the ballot box by the US people
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