Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice
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Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice
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A Day at the Drug Court ... hmmm

A Day at the Drug Court ... hmmm | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Daily website for alcohol and drug addiction recovery news and information. Your source for addiction recovery news, rehab reviews and sober living tips.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

here are some issues with drug courts:

- up tariffs offenders closer to prison
- net widen and draws in more offenders into court system
- abstinence only, intolerant of harm reduction
- very costly, almost as much as prison
- assumes drug - crime causal relationship
- human rights issues of compulsory treatment
- high breach rate
- consumes vast resources that could be spend on treatment
- no full range of treatment options
- non-problematic drug users get sucked into drug courts
- success claims overlook all those who commence drug court and end up breached and in prison
- alternatives to prison, are more often punitive alternatives to other community sentences already available
- so demanding that many offenders are set up to fail

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Former DEA Chiefs Pressure Obama to Override Legalization of Marijuana in Washington State own Drug Testing Company!

 

The former DEA chiefs Peter Bensinger, John Bartels, Robert Bonner, Thomas Constantine, Asa Hutchinson, John Lawn, Donnie Marshall and Francis Mullen wrote a letter to Eric Holder to be released some time this week, but they gave an advanced copy to the Associated Press.


Peter B. Bensinger, the apparent spokesman for the group, told the AP, "the supremacy of federal law over state law when it comes to drug laws isn't in doubt." He added,  "It is outrageous that a lawsuit hasn't been filed in federal court yet."


It turns out Peter B. Bensinger, who in the letter is representing the lobbying organization Save Our Society from Drugs, has a huge financial stake in preventing the legalization of cannabis. He is the founder and CEO of a drug testing company.

After Bensinger left the DEA he founded Bensinger Dupont Associates which according to their website handles large scale drug testing for corporations:

Bensinger, DuPont & Associates’ (BDA) provides a full-service solution to drug testing management. Our services are designed to help employers establish and manage workplace drug and alcohol testing programs that are technically and forensically sound, protecting the rights of applicants, employees and employers.
BDA’s years of experience can help your organization to implement and maintain a viable drug testing program. The company’s principals are Peter Bensinger, who served as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Dr. Robert DuPont, the founding Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

 

Full-Service Solution for Drug Testing Management 
BDA’s drug testing management provides high quality, convenient drug testing. Our full service third party administration and specific drug testing management allows you to focus on your organization’s core operations. Services include:
Policy Development and ReviewMedical Review Officer (MRO) ServicesRandom Testing ManagementCollection Site and Laboratory SelectionWeb Site Reporting of ResultsSupervisor Training and Employee Education Programs Online and In-Person

It should be noted that Bensinger's partner Dr. Robert DuPont is a former White House drug czar. Both have been involved with lobbying groups like the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association who were behind the Drug Testing Integrity Act of 2008 which made products that help people "defraud a drug test" illegal. They are also behind many of the state bills for drug testing welfare recipients.

These drug war profiteers told the public they would save tax dollars by getting junkies kicked off the welfare rolls, yet in the just the first few months of the law passing in Florida last year, the drug testing firms made $118,140 testing welfare applicants which was significantly more than giving welfare to the few who tested positive for drugs.

Also curiously timed, this new lobbying push comes only a day after a bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress to drug test all welfare recipients nation wide. The bill has obvious Constitutional ramifications to the privacy of recipients which the bill addresses by forcing people seeking aid to sign "a waiver of constitutional rights with respect to testing,"

Bensinger and his cohorts in the drug testing industry represent just one of the many industries that are lobbying to keep the failed war on drugs alive, and they're willing to subvert democracy and the Constitution to do it.

 

extracted from:

 

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/03/ex-dea-chief-lobbying-holder-to-nullify-marijuana-legalization-owns-drug-testing-company-2584798.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=http%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FhNxQsxHvpM&utm_campaign=&utm_term=http%3A%2F%2Fawe.sm%2Fq09zX&utm_content=beforeit39snews-buttonsunderheadline

 

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Julian Buchanan's comment, March 7, 2013 12:23 AM
No surprise here. The only surprise is that it has taken so long for people to realise drug testing has no evidence base but is driven by self interested business opportunity.
Drug testing offers little to drug policy - but offers much to those seeking to profit in new expanding business ventures.
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Marijuana-friendly Colorado has a sensible debate about the problem of establishing THC blood-level limits.

Marijuana-friendly Colorado has a sensible debate about the problem of establishing THC blood-level limits. | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Since it legalized pot, the state has been wrestling with how to regulate the drug — and drugged driving.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Driving intoxicated and impaired is wrong and irresponsibile, but there has been too much over simplistic thinking and scare tactics that make important debate in this area difficult. For example, having a substance in your system doesn't necessarily provide evidence of intoxication or impairement. Another example of the complexity is how can the police (in some areas) recommend Red Bull for tired drivers then stop and arrest drivers for traces of 'other' stimulant drugs? Some drugs like cannabis can be detected over a month later. A calm, carefully considered and non-emotive debate based upon science and evidence is needed - instead of moral panic and punitive populism.

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MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, March 4, 2013 7:04 PM

Unintended consequence, displaced alcohol harm?

 

Are we measuring "what happens" before we make a law that, by all accounts provides a net benefit for cheaper than all the  coercive, enforced and health, law and other biopsychosocial deficits required for 'alcohol prevention'.

 

Do the Policy Impact Statement and measure from there.policy 'adjustments'  where evidence informs debate.'

 

 / Blair

 

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REPORT: Injecting Drug Use, Stigma & Discrimination

Julian Buchanan's insight:

The biggest issue a drug user faces!

May also want to check out a 30min lecture (on video) examining Stigma & Discrimination as Barrier to Recovery:  http://vimeo.com/37296871

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VIDEO 11min: The Drug War Undermines Security & Development

Those countries where there is little economic infrastructure and the political system is instable are becoming haven for drug traffickers. For many decades ...
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Julian Buchanan's comment, February 27, 2013 2:55 PM
The drugs war has destabilized countries, provided gangsters and cartels with incredibly lucrative illegal business opportunities managed by threat and violence, diverted and wasted public money that could be spend on health and education, and drawn in the poor and disenfranchised into dangerous and brutalizing criminal networks.
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ARTICLE: Slow-release morphine – might offer effective treatment for people who cannot settle on methadone. Drug & Alcohol Review

Julian Buchanan's insight:

It's worth exploring the full range of opiod options as well as exploring oral, capsule or injectable ampoules -all options open!

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Legalising drugs would be the perfect Tory policy

Legalising drugs would be the perfect Tory policy | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Ian Birrell: It would save money, aid global security and be tough on crime. What could appeal to Conservatives more?
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Great - but we don't need more reviews, research or Royal Commissions - the situation is so dire (and so damaging) - we need immediate action to drag drug policy into the 21st century based upon the evidence we already have - and then to build in action research to assess the impact of new drug policy and tweak and adjust as needed.

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Talking to Frank

Talking to Frank | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Talk to Frank is the UK's longest-running anti-drugs campaign, but does it work?
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Much noise, hype and expectation and offer a feel good factor of doing something - but these expensive anti-drugs campaigns like http://www.methproject.org/ads/tv/ are expensive, often misleading, have little or no effect on detering drug use.

Some suggest they might have the opposite effect:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2636541/

 

You may be interested in The 'truth' about drugs -creating a 'drug' free world http://www.drugfreeworld.org/freeinfo.html

 

 

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NZ's Draconian US styled drug policy to drug testing beneficiaries may be illegal

NZ's Draconian US styled drug policy to drug testing beneficiaries may be illegal | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

A draconian drug policy that enforces a prejudicial drugs apartheid and captures and punishes people who use illegal drugs. Illegal drug use is not a issue - it's problematic drug use that we should be concerned about.

 

Here is a summary of my views on drug testing: http://www.thinglink.com/scene/330279864135319552#tlsite

 

 

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MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, January 24, 2013 2:39 PM

Pure arrogance...... entrenching failure. Stupid stupid National Party dog whistle politics.

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Guide for countries to set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care for injecting drug users

Guide for countries to set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care for injecting drug users | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
This revised version provides technical guidance to countries on monitoring efforts to prevent and treat HIV infection among people who inject drugs.
Julian Buchanan's insight:
WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS Technical Guide adds clout for harm reduction policy to reduce HIV risk
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BATH SALTS: It's not a fad...It's a NIGHTMARE.

Bath salts are a non-regulated designer drug comprised of a synthetic cathinone, or amphetamine, that can have dangerous and debilitating effects on those wh...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Since the 1930s Reefer Madness Shock horror distortion about drugs hasn't changed -it's just the drugs that change - the message stays much the same!

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Pot smokers might not turn into dopes after all

Pot smokers might not turn into dopes after all | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Revisiting data casts doubts on link between heavy cannabis use and declining IQ.
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POSTER: Understanding an abstinence only approach

POSTER: Understanding an abstinence only approach | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Harm reduction includes abstinence - but an abstinence-only approach would suit only a tiny minority of people, and it is possible for those who want to, to use drugs (even dangerous drugs like alcohol) safely and sensibly.

 

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Why Addiction is NOT a Brain Disease

Why Addiction is NOT a Brain Disease | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it

Addiction (whether to drugs, food, gambling, or whatever) doesn’t fit a specific physiological category. Rather, I see addiction as an extreme form of normality, if one can say such a thing. Perhaps more precisely: an extreme form of learning. No doubt addiction is a frightening, often horrible, state to endure, whether in oneself or in one’s loved ones. But that doesn’t make it a disease.

Julian Buchanan's insight:

"The dominant party line in the U.S. and Canada is that addiction is a brain disease... the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) define it as a chronic, relapsing brain disease"

This is a misguided and dangerous path to go down - one that is being pushed by the US. The risk is that we'll lurch from a law enforcement approach and end up with a medical enforcement approach.

Addiction or problematic drug use as I prefer to call it, has much more to do with social disadvantage, psychological damage, inequality, abuse and sub culture, it's not a brain disease.



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MildGreen Initiative's comment, March 9, 2013 5:54 PM
If it is a disease, exactly how to I catch it? nd how is it that the cure is to remove my self will so that relapse is, well, inevitable. By what definition is that a therapeutic solution?
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The cost of NZ's tough approach to drug possession

The cost of NZ's tough approach to drug possession | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Every year there are two and a half thousand convictions of people aged 25 and under for possession and/or use of an illicit drug or drug utensil in New Zealand. Between 2007 and 2011, there were 12,895 convictions in this age range.
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Evidence suggests tough or soft approaches to drug law are not particularly influential upon levels of drug use. So we need to be more tolerant about drug use keep the issue out of the criminal justice arena and focus resources and attention upon problematic use. Current moves in NZ towards drug testing employees, beneficiaries, drug court offenders, and rejecting the Bill to decriminalise self medication with cannabis, suggest here in NZ we are still trying to eradicate drugs rather than live with them and manage them – tougher enforcement linked to the criminal justice system will only result in more criminals and more incarceration!

For more than a decade in Portugal possession of any drugs has been decriminalised – and it has not resulted in mass drug use or addiction. In fact rates of use/abuse compare well with other European countries nearby.

But it has resulted in massive savings to the criminal justice system, better progress in tackling drug related diseases like HIV and Hep ABC, and easier access for people getting the help they need.

See http://www.ihra.net/files/2012/09/04/Chapter_3.4_drug-decriminalisation_.pdf

If we are not yet ready for decriminalisation we should at least take the advice of the NZ Law Commission which states:

'We have concluded that a mandatory cautioning scheme is the most appropriate response to personal possession and use offences that come to the attention of the police' (2011 para 60 p.14) see: http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-misuse-drugs-act-1975

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ARTICLE: Tackling the Stigma and Discrimination

ARTICLE: Tackling the Stigma and Discrimination | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Great to raise these issues, but sadly until we tackle the war on drugs which is a war on drugs users (free download of article here http://epubs.glyndwr.ac.uk/siru/23/) - we are not likely to have much success tackling discrimination and stigma which are embedded within the war on drug users.

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VIDEO 7mins: Chemical & germ warfare to destroy the coca plant routinely destroys all food crops

This has been going on for a dozen years in this region under the failed drug war program commonly known in the US as Plan Colombia. Thousands of peasant far...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

The use of chemical and germ warfare upon crops in South America by the US in the 'war on drugs' is dangerous strategy, a breach of human rights, and a threat to us all.

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2011 World Prison Pop: Most countries have rates less than 150 people per 100k pop. USA is highest with 743

Julian Buchanan's insight:

The proportion of people incarcerated in any country tells us a lot about that countries commitment to democracy, fairness, freedom and respect for human rights.

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'We've tried drugs... but we're more boozy people': Ant and Dec shed their squeaky clean image as they open up on their vices

'We've tried drugs... but we're more boozy people': Ant and Dec shed their squeaky clean image as they open up on their vices | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The clean-cut television duo admitted they tried substances 'years ago', but have found their 'love of alcohol' outweighs any desire to do drugs.
Julian Buchanan's insight:
Ant & Dec's much publicised public declaration illustrates well the staggering power, ignorance and hypocrisy embedded within the global drugs apartheid
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FILM: The House I Live In (well worth watching)

Watch 'The House I Live In'

Julian Buchanan's insight:

"In decades to come future generations will look back to this period in history with incredulity and disbelief at the: inconsistencies and stark contrast in approach towards legal and illegal recreational drug use; at the individual, local, national and global damage caused by prohibition of specific recreational drugs; at the way the war on drugs has become a civil war fuelling stigma, prejudice and discrimination upon particular drug users; and at the hypocrisy as we can sit back and read this article while enjoying a glass of red wine, while at a nearby neighbourhood someone might be facing a prison sentence having been caught smoking their home-grown cannabis" (p.259)

 

Buchanan, J. (2010) Drug policy under New Labour: Prolonging the war on drugs, Probation Journal: The Journal of Community and Criminal Justice, Special Edition: Criminal Justice under New Labour, Vol. 57,  No.3,

 

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REPORT: Towards a Safer UK Drug Policy 57pp

REPORT: Towards a Safer UK Drug Policy 57pp | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
Julian Buchanan's insight:

The All-Party Parliamentary Group sensibly conclude:

 

"banning drug use does not materially affect the overall level of demand for drugs" and policies that "criminalise young people generate higher levels of unemployment, homelessness and relationship problems, and cost the taxpayer considerable sums."

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MildGreen Initiative's comment, February 3, 2013 3:56 PM
The Dilema of Drugs.... brought into sharp focus. Whereas New Zealand Minister responsible for Drug Policy (Hon Peter Dunne) doesnt yet understand that NZ has the worlds best laws already in place. (Prof David Nutt "I wished I had thought of them myself".). When the question was first asked of Dunne (Te Papa 2009) it took the threat of the full force of the law ("I'll get the boys down to deal with you" - Stuart Mills, NHQ Drug Intell) when this public advocate asked of Dunne "are you here to talk about Class D Peter? the laws you inherited from Helen Clark? How do you intend to reconcile your personal views on cannabis with the Ministry of Health Harm Reduction strategy for synthetic cannabis?" For thesse questions I was banned from the public space and deprived the freedom of association with my peers attending the Ministry symposium on drug policy. And we wonder why so littel progress has been made. Mr Mills is an enemy of the nation, of science and of reason. His title may as well read "glove puppet". Now that Class D has recieved standing amonst UK policy stakeholders - Mr Mills and his 'treatment industry' string pullers can be seen to be bang out of order. Redemption requires saying sorry! But we cannot expect anyone to do so when there security, status and salaries depend on never accounting the harms they render - policies that "criminalise young people generate higher levels of unemployment, homelessness and relationship problems, and cost the taxpayer considerable sums."
MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, February 3, 2013 4:02 PM

The Dilema  of Drugs.... brought into sharp focus. Whereas New Zealand Minister responsible for Drug Policy (Hon Peter Dunne) doesnt yet understand that NZ has the worlds best laws already in place. (Prof David Nutt "I wished I had thought of them myself".). When the question was first asked of Dunne (Te Papa 2009)  it took the threat of the full force of the law ("I'll get the boys down to deal with you" - Stuart Mills, NHQ Drug Intell) when this public advocate asked of Dunne "are you here to talk about Class D Peter? the  laws you inherited from Helen Clark? How do you intend to reconcile your personal views on cannabis with the Ministry of Health Harm Reduction strategy for synthetic cannabis?" For these questions I was banned from the public space and deprived the freedom of association with my peers attending the Ministry symposium  on drug policy. And we wonder why so littel progress has been made.  Mr Mills is an enemy of the nation, of science and of reason. His title may as well read "glove puppet".

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The Violence of Mexican Drug Cartels

http://visual.ly/violence-mexican-drug-cartels A bitterly violent war against Mexican Drug Cartels wages on across the U.S. border. Tens of thousands are bei...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Disturbing stuff!

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US Appeals Court Rules in Favor of DEA that marijuana is [apparently] a highly addictive drug

US Appeals Court Rules in Favor of DEA that marijuana is [apparently] a highly addictive drug | Drugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice | Scoop.it
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. ruled today in favor of the DEA's decision to keep marijuana a Schedule I drug--a classification
Julian Buchanan's insight:

When it comes to regulating drugs - like we have done here in New Zealand with new legal highs - we see that the threshold for approval as a 'safe' is set so high that it's hard to imagine any drug will be approved.

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Insite - Not Just Injecting, But Connecting

Last year the HCLU's video advocacy group traveled to Vancouver to film about Insite, the only legally operating injecting facility in North-America. When we...
Julian Buchanan's insight:

Insite doesn't patronise 'addicts' but provides a service for people with dignity -and makes a huge difference.

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