Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice
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Private Prison Profits Skyrocket, As Executives Assure Investors Of ‘Growing Offender Population’

Private Prison Profits Skyrocket, As Executives Assure Investors Of ‘Growing Offender Population’ | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A major U.S. private prison operator known for inmate abuse, violations, and disregard for the truth reported a 56-percent spike in profit in the first quarter of 2013, due in part to its new strategy for drastically reducing its taxes, the...
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Why some treatment and punishment services must never be privatised or driven by profit

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NZ Psychoactive Substances Bill (Regulating Legal Highs) submission to Select Committee

NZ Psychoactive Substances Bill (Regulating Legal Highs) submission to Select Committee | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Extracts from my submission:

 

Clause 62 states the supply of unapproved substance will be an offence subject to a max of 2 years prison. This seems unnecessarily punitive and risks increasing the expensive and failed prison system by introducing new offences. The committee should consider financial penalties alone as appropriate for these offences. The offence of supplying an ‘unapproved’ psychoactive substances should be viewed similar to supplying unregulated tobacco and alcohol.

 

Clause 63 states that personal possession of any ‘unapproved’ substance is an offence subject to a max penalty of $500. This is seriously retrogressive step that will do more harm than good.  Responsibility and punishment for risky unapproved psychoactive substances should lie not with the user but with the supplier. There should be no penalty for possession.[8]

Clause 69 empowers the police or appointed 'Enforcement Officers' to enter premises without a warrant on suspicion of unapproved substances. This is an unnecessary breach of human rights. Such powers should only be granted when the risk to the wider public was considerable and it was in the public interest. The threat posed by the production or possession of psychoactive substances does not justify this breach of human rights.

 

Conclusion

This Bill provides an exciting opportunity to deliver drug regulation for new psychoactive substances rather than extend prohibition. However, unless changes are made there is a risk this legislation will create a new ‘approved’ and ‘outlawed’ legal high market, replicating the present failed division between commercially supported legal drugs (alcohol, caffeine & tobacco) and tough law enforcement and punishment against illegal drugs (cannabis, ecstasy and methamphetamine).

Julian Buchanan's insight:

See also my other blog 'A critical look at New Zealand's much hailed drug policy reform'  http://sco.lt/8iv5AP

 

You can download the full submission to the Health Select Committee here: https://www.facebook.com/download/592708784080397/Psychoactive%20Substance%20submission%20to%20Health%20Select%20Committee.pdf

 

here is a link to the submission by JustSpeak http://justspeak.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/JustSpeak-Submission-on-Psychoactive-Substances-Bill.pdf

 

and the submission by NZ Drug Foundation http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/media/legal-high-law-almost-there

 

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If Drug Courts make sense what about Obesity Courts?

If Drug Courts make sense what about Obesity Courts? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
It’s your turn for your weekly Weight Watchers weigh in. You’re dreading it, remembering your kid’s birthday party and those other times when you busted your diet. You step on the sc
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Obese Courts would have the similar validity as Drug Courts - and I bet the recidivism and weight loss would stand up well to evaluation .... yes roll on Obesity Courts. And what about 'good living' bracelets - basically a tag that sets off an alarm (or maybe an electric shock?) when the person consumed high sugar or fat content food?

Is this the future?

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Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001; what can it teach Illinois?

Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001; what can it teach Illinois? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Liberalized drug laws are on the rise, with Chicago decriminalizing marijuana possession, the Illinois House approving pot for medical use and two states legalizing the substance altogether.

Via ReGenUC
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Beware of self-interest driving punishment & treatment: Judge gets 28 yrs prison for selling teens to private prisons

Beware of self-interest driving punishment & treatment: Judge gets 28 yrs prison for selling teens to private prisons | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Disgraced Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella Jr has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for conspiring with private prisons to sentence juvenile offenders to their prison in exchange for millions of dollars

 

More here - on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRJXsadRkKs

Julian Buchanan's insight:

We should be wary and question self interest that might drive some punishment and treatment (especially when it's at odd with evidence) ... drug testing?

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Prohibition has no impact on drug consumption: Clubbers mix former legal high mephedrone with ecstasy, despite ban

Prohibition has no impact on drug consumption: Clubbers mix former legal high mephedrone with ecstasy, despite ban | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Prohibition has little or no impact upon levels of drug usage - but it does make drug taking a lot more dangerous, drug markets more violent and it breeds criminal entrepreneurs.

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VIDEO 2mins: Is There a Drug Court in Your Town? Promotion & Propaganda?

Each year, National Drug Court Month (NDCM) shines a light on the collective impact of Drug Courts, DWI Courts and Veterans Treatment Courts. National Drug C...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

The video claims:

 

75% of people who complete Drug Courts don't get arrested

They cost only about US$ 7k per person - staggering less than prison

They turn offenders into tax paying citizens

 

... this is misleading at best!

 

Addicted to Courts: How a Growing Dependence on Drug Courts Impacts People and Communities —http://sco.lt/93VeaX

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Applying harm reduction principles to the policing of retail drug markets. Modernising drug law enforcement report 3

Applying harm reduction principles to the policing of retail drug markets. Modernising drug law enforcement report 3 | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The objective of this project, led by the International Drug Policy Consortium, with the participation of the International Security Research Department at Chatham House and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, is to collate and refine theoretical material and examples of new approaches to drug law enforcement, as well as to promote debate amongst law enforcement leaders on the implications for future strategies.

Key points:
• The level of harm is more important than the size of the market.
• Visible, open air drug markets tend to be more harmful per unit of use than hidden, closed drug markets
• Policing tactics that are not experienced by the community as being fair, lawful and effective will harm police legitimacy and community relations.
• Some enforcement-led approaches, including short-term crackdowns and large scale stop and search, are unlikely to produce sustainable reductions in drug sales. They may increase levels of violence and health harms and reduce police legitimacy.
• It is rarely possible to eliminate retail drug markets, but well designed and implemented policing tactics can force the drug market to take less harmful forms.
• Applying harm reduction principles to drug policing may boost police legitimacy as well as community safety.
• Focused deterrence and ‘pulling levers’ may reduce both harm and crime, but this depends on the context and on careful implementation and evaluation.
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US Drug Policy 2013: The pursuit of [drug free] happiness by legal and medical means

US Drug Policy 2013: The pursuit of [drug free] happiness by legal and medical means | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

To read the latest US Drug Policy click on the headline above. Here are some intial reflections:


For the past two decades this abstinence and zero tolerance approach to drugs has benefitted the prisons and other law enforcement agencies -but not the general population or drug users themselves.

The new policy for the 21st century offers little change, it continue to be against all (illicit) 'drug' use (not just problematic use) and continues to pursue a 'drug' free America. In its pursuit of a 'drug free' US the drug policy excludes big pharma drugs, alcohol, tobacco and caffeine - somehow despite the serious dangers they pose, they are not seen as drugs ...although alcohol is now on the radar as addictive [to those who have the gene?].

The US Drug policy is explicit - it will educate young people to say no to all illegal drugs, and those that are caught in possession will continue to be criminalised, but the new beneficiaries of catching these 'addicts' will be the legal professions, drug testing companies and drug rehab and treatment providers as people are placed on Abstinence Drug Court Orders. The business generated by the mass of drug users caught up in the criminal justice system will now have to be shared by Legal Agencies with drug treatment and drug detection agencies. These are the new beneficiaries not the general population or drug users themselves.

But the medicalisation of 'drug' use and addiction is pushed hard in the US policy - but to use drugs is neither a criminal matter nor a health issue. Whether you choose enjoy a coffee to start the day, have a few shots to have a good night out, enjoy a glass of wine with your meal, a spliff with a few friends or some viagra later on ... this use of drugs cannot be framed as essentially a criminal nor a medical matters - they are social choices and cultural patterns of behavior. Those that choose to use illicit drugs don't need treatment or drug testing and more than those who enjoy a Budweiser.

When the use of legal or illegal substances get out of control -which happens for a very small proportion of people (legal or illegal) - the matter can become a social, medical and possibly criminal concern. But it's not a disease, just like gambling, speeding, texting, over eating, violence and abuse are not diseases.

 

With law enforcement agencies tasked to arrest those that possess drugs and then through the criminal courts subject these 'sick' offenders are coerced towards compulsory treatment overseen by the judiciary with the threat of punishment and incarceration for failure to comply, this behaviour modification approach at the heart of US Drug Policy 2013 can hardly be described as offering and drug policy reform.

 

Those of us who have long to see an end to the war on drugs, who are aghast at the damage of criminalisation and prohibition, might be tempted to embrace the apparent enlightenment that 'drugs are a health problem' - but it'd be a serious mistake. Drug taking is not a health issues, addiction is not a disease, and the medicalisation of drug use will like prohibition and criminalisation prove a dangerous path to travel down.

 

Julian Buchanan

26th April 2013

 

see

Understanding Problematic Drug Use: A Medical Matter or a Social Issue?

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'Paranoid' man addicted to khat is jailed 26yrs for murdering former friend trying 'partially decapitate' him

'Paranoid' man addicted to khat is jailed 26yrs for murdering former friend trying 'partially decapitate' him | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
A man addicted to the herbal stimulant khat has been jailed for 26 years for murdering his former friend by ‘partially decapitating’ him.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

When an unapproved or illegal drug is mentioned it quickly assumes a causal relationship with the crime committed - even more so if the crime is shocking.

 

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Positive impact from Methadone prescribing in prison

Positive impact from Methadone prescribing in prison | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Apart from licence conditions, methadone-maintained offenders leaving prison have no automatic and immediate access to similar treatment in the community. Those who leave prison with no methadone - without a treatment slot waiting for them - few offenders started treatment, more used illegal opiates and cocaine, and more committed crimes.

The extra benefits of also starting methadone in prison were increased treatment uptake and a more than halved risk of re-imprisonment.

Julian Buchanan's insight:

If people in prison have major needs  - it makes sense to address them!

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New Zealand Psychoactive Substances Bill Published: Widening the net of prohibition & law enforcement

Julian Buchanan's insight:

Matters of Concern in the NZ Pschoactive Substances Bill:

ALL 'legal high' substances will be banned under the new legislation until they have been proven safe enough to be regulated.

The criteria for regulation will be lengthy, costly and strict.

Clause 62 Supply of unapproved substance is an offence subject to a max of 2 years prison

Clause 63 Personal possession of any unapproved substance is an offence subject to a max. penalty of $500

Clause 69 Empowers the police or appointed 'Enforcement Officers' to enter premises without a warrant on suspicion of unapproved substances

 

Clause 11 The Advisory Committee to oversee new approved and unapproved 'legalhighs' specifies only medical personnel 'pharmacology, toxicology, neuroscience & medicine' not mention of drug workers, drug user, sociologist, criminologist etc.

 

This is hardly progress. It'd be foolish to swallow this hook with the bait of regulation. What this Bill effectively does is give police and appointed 'Enforcement' officers new powers by making anyone who has an unapproved substance or who supplies at risk of fine/prison - this is extending prohibition. Rather than learning to live with drugs this Bill will widen the net of the failed war on drugs - with approved and unapproved mirroring the division between commercially supported legal drugs and tough law enforcement and punishment against illegal drugs.

 

Have a listen to what the government minister Peter Dunne hope's it will achieve:

A critical look at New Zealand's much hailed drug policy reform http://sco.lt/8iv5AP

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>> Emerging Drug Trends UK's curator insight, April 28, 2013 4:35 AM

 

>> read Julian Buchanan's excellent critique of the Bill 

Julian Buchanan's comment, August 23, 2013 7:39 AM
thanks :)
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Women Are Being Prosecuted for Losing Their Babies -The New Law Enforcement State?

Women Are Being Prosecuted for Losing Their Babies -The New Law Enforcement State? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

In 2006, 15-year-old Rennie Gibbs's unborn child died after 36 weeks.

An autopsy of the fetus showed traces of a metabolite of cocaine. Her doctors informed the authorities that she had tested positive for drugs while pregnant, and she was arrested on a charge of “depraved heart murder”

Julian Buchanan's insight:

It is too easy to demonise drugs, demonise drug users, then create a causal relationship to drugs whenever anything bad happens. More evidence needed before jumping to easy conclusions.

 

Women who lose their baby need health and social care not law enforcement.

What was once the caring welfare state is being replaced by an intolerant controlling law enforcement state. 

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EMCDDA: Leading experts meet to discuss global developments to detect illicit drugs in wastewater!

EMCDDA: Leading experts meet to discuss global developments to detect illicit drugs in wastewater! | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Leading European and international experts will meet in Lisbon from 6–8 May to review the state of the art of a rapidly-developing scientific discipline known as ‘drug wastewater analysis’. The event, ‘Testing the waters: the first international multidisciplinary conference on illicit drugs and wastewater’, is being organised by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA), in collaboration with: the EU-funded SEWPROF project; the Italian Mario Negri Institute; and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research

Julian Buchanan's insight:

Literally and metaphorically taking the piss!

 

The ridiculous and expensive efforts in the war on drugs ... a preoccupation with illicit use - we should concern ourselves with misuse.

All this drug testing expansion is a business venture - and distracts and diverts money from important and much needed drug policy research around regulation, decriminalisation, prevention and treatment.

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Website with info on Prenoxad Injection (Naloxone) for home and non medical settings

Website with info on Prenoxad Injection (Naloxone) for home and non medical settings | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Prenoxad Injection, the world's first licensed emergency treatment for acute opioid related overdose for use at home or other non-medical settings. Prenoxad Injection is a Prescription Only Medicine (POM) containing a solution of naloxone hydrochloride. It is intended for emergency use for the complete or partial reversal of life-threatening respiratory depression following the administration of natural or synthetic opioids. Naloxone is an 'opioid antagonist' medicine with an excellent safety and efficacy profile following use over more than four decades

Julian Buchanan's insight:

No excuse - every health authority can now save lives by distributing Prenoxad widely amongst the injecting drug using population

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EM Latty's curator insight, May 4, 2013 3:45 PM

It's about time we started saving the lives of sick people, rather then always penalizing them. Addiction is an illness first, crime may come after that. But that's a sympton, lets address the illness.

Julian Buchanan's comment, May 5, 2013 7:45 PM
agreed - although I think problem drug use is as least as much a social problem as a health issue -and like you say crime is a by product
Susan Copeland's comment, May 5, 2013 8:32 PM
I so agree. So how do the powers that be get to understanding this? Most test for ADHD or ADD result in this behavior when the person becomes an adult. We need to get more people to understand this instead of putting people in Criminal Universities instead of helping them. We now have gotten to understand the affects of alcohol, we need to get to the same place with other problems. We do need the medical field to stand up and help these people instead of sending them to learn how to become a super criminal.
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BBC - Newsbeat visits a Drug Consumption Room

BBC - Newsbeat visits a Drug Consumption Room | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Newsbeat has been given access to a drug consumption room in Frankfurt as Brighton & Hove Council consider opening a similar one.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

DCR's are a proven success in terms of reducing overdose deaths and the spread of disease (and much more) , they need to be in every major city otherwise drug users who can't access decent services may gravitate towards the cities with DCRs

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VIDEO 9mins: UN 10 year goal for 'A Drug-Free World' Revisited

Help us caption and translate this video on Amara.org: http://www.amara.org/en/v/B50u/ FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/drugreporter WEB: http://www.drugrep...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

The ambition for 'drug free world' is like aiming for world peace by 2023, or a crime free world. Although a drug free world is not desirable, achievable or definable. It's utter nonsense!


 

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mikhail's curator insight, May 6, 2013 2:57 AM

this is a very ambitious attempt to have a drug free world

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Drug testing welfare recipients - but what does the evidence say?

Drug testing welfare recipients - but what does the evidence say? | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Before jumping to conclusions and mandating drug tests for anyone receiving welfare, we should consider some of the financial repercussions.

Via ReGenUC
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Drug testing is being driven by moral entrepreneurs and people with business interest in drug testing companies - it is unacceptable from so many perspective: human rights, civil liberties, inaccuracies, cost, errors, driving people towards legal highs, shifting people from cannabis to shorter detection drugs, law suits, stigma and discrimination.

 

It appeals to a punitive populist culture that seeks to create an over simplified bimary world. 

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McSpocky's comment, May 2, 2013 10:11 PM
You have that right, if passed it would be more insane profits for the pharmaceutical industry.
Chad Smith's curator insight, May 7, 2013 2:21 PM

On April 29, 2013 Texas has passed a law that has now mandated drug tests for welfare recepients. No tax payer wants to have their hard working money spent on cocaine or any type of drug usage. An estimated $6 million of welfare benefits is spent supporting drug users. According to a report during 2007, 20 percent of TANF recipients admitted to using drugs sometime within the last year. Many of the current drug testing laws are more cost efficient than expected, but they are hoping to find a more efficient way in the near future.

 

I feel that states should spend as much money as they are able to stop welfare recepients from spending the governments money on drug usage. Once welfare recepients realize that the money they receive from the government is only for themselves and their family, tax payers will feel like their money is being spent on something useful.

 
Julian Buchanan's comment, May 9, 2013 5:00 AM
Chad if its expenditure you are concerned about how would you react if they got cannabis free from a friend?
Or if they spent money on chocolate crisps and fizzy drinks?
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VIDEO 8mins Insite: Vancouver's supervised injection facility - A fascinating insight into how it began

If you're only going to ever watch one of my videos, please watch this one. more info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQpRMJacTiQ I got to talk with Dan for ...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

I am always greatly encouraged and moved by what has been achieved by Insite & phs in Vancouver, Canada

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VIDEO 10mins: After the War on Drugs -what would it look like

Help us caption and translate this video on Amara.org: http://www.amara.org/en/v/B50U/ FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/drugreporter WEB: http://www.drugrep...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

When we end prohibition the consensus on 'what next' will become a lot more fragmented and difficult to manage and coordinate. I think we have two major pitfalls to avoid: the medicalisation of drug use and addiction; and the ramphant capitalist selling of drugs and drug use

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NYAM Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy

NYAM Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Believing that good public policies should be developed in collaboration with those directly affected by them, we spent over a year holding community consultations across the state asking New York residents how drug use and drug policies affected them and their neighborhoods and what should be done to move the state forward. We also met with experts, policymakers, and service providers and conducted an extensive review of the literature. This Blueprint is the result of these research activities.

Julian Buchanan's insight:

This is a thoughtful, rational and well considered approach to improve existing drug policy

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Infographic: USA Overdose Deaths -big pharma top of the league -cannabis nil

Infographic: USA Overdose Deaths -big pharma top of the league -cannabis nil | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
In 2010, there were 80,000 drug and alcohol overdose deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for
Julian Buchanan's insight:

No matter how hard you look you wont see cannabis listed as an overdose death

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RCT of methadone prescribing in prison prior to release

The result was reduced heroin and cocaine use, but over the first six months no documented impact on crime. There is also a strong indication that ensuring seamless transfer to methadone saved lives, one of its primary justifications in the UK. Besides post-release benefits, within prison itself methadone programmes improve the climate and reduce drug use, injecting and infection risk behaviour.

Julian Buchanan's insight:

Methadone and heroin prescribing can have considerable benefit in prison and in the community but ideally prescribing needs to be supplement with other 'treatments' such as befriending, counselling, education, employment, reintegration, confidence building, social skills, developing new habits and routines etc

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Drug Consumption Rooms - Everything Andrew Lansley MP said about drugs is inaccurate

Drug Consumption Rooms  - Everything Andrew Lansley MP said about drugs is inaccurate | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Irrational, reactionary and factually wrong: Andrew Lansley really ticked all the boxes with his response to drugs policy.

Niamh Eastwood: 'The debate on drug policy and drug treatment is difficult enough in the UK without politicians espousing information that is incorrect.'

Julian Buchanan's insight:

... not the first time misinformation has been spread about illicit drugs (sadly a common theme)
Niamh from the charity RELEASE does an excellent job of stating the accurate facts and evidence

 

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Video 4mins: Ethnic Profiling, Stop & Search

Video 4mins: Ethnic Profiling, Stop & Search | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
How many times have you been stopped and searched by the police? In Europe, the answer to that question is too often determined by the color of your skin. And how does that feel? We all need to know.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Well worth watching!

 

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Mary Elliot's curator insight, April 25, 2013 3:35 PM

'The War on Drugs'...