Tag Archives | Addiction

Why Booze Is Barely Taxed

Photo: Clock (CC)

Photo: Clock (CC)

Now you might think that’s a crazy headline, but as Frank Bruni points out in the New York Times, “Congress last revised excise taxes on distilled spirits in 1991, [and] the real value of those taxes has declined more than 35 percent”! (Disinfonauts outside the US, let us know how alcohol is taxed in your country)

… excise taxes on alcohol have gone down over the last few decades, when adjusted for inflation and measured in terms of the percentage they represent of the wholesale and retail price of a bottle or a can. The federal government and many states long ago set those levies in terms of a certain dollar amount per gallon — and then didn’t tweak them much as the cost of living went up.

Because Congress last revised excise taxes on distilled spirits in 1991, the real value of those taxes has declined more than 35 percent, said Alexander Wagenaar, a professor at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine who specializes in alcohol research.

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America’s Concentration Threatened By Adderall Shortage

2310749647_339fa45387Is Adderall the crystal meth of the middle and upper classes? Well, both drugs became huge at around the same time. The Fix writes that prices are skyrocketing and panic and withdrawal are setting in across the nation as pharmacies’ shelves run short:

When Jay V.’s pharmacist told him about the nationwide Adderall shortages last weekend, he reacted as any economically rational finance professional would, and attempted to bribe her. Whatever the cost, “it’s cheaper than cocaine,” his reasoning went. And even if it isn’t, you can’t put a price on never having to go back to doing bumps in the work bathroom to get through late night deal committee meetings, can you?

Jay’s pharmacist said she was reserving her supply for regular customers, but that the price had doubled and the clock was ticking.

If addiction is the kind of thing you think about a lot, it’s easy to overlook its significance in the cold, objective Realpolitik scheme of things, which is this: it’s a great fucking business model.

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Scientist Working On Cocaine, Nicotine Vaccines

cocaineWhatever next – McDonald’s vaccine? Douglas Quenqua reports for the New York Times:

Imagine a vaccine against smoking: People trying to quit would light up a cigarette and feel nothing. Or a vaccine against cocaine, one that would prevent addicts from enjoying the drug’s high.

Though neither is imminent, both are on the drawing board, as are vaccines to combat other addictions. While scientists have historically focused their vaccination efforts on diseases like polio, smallpox and diphtheria — with great success — they are now at work on shots that could one day release people from the grip of substance abuse.

“We view this as an alternative or better way for some people,” said Dr. Kim D. Janda, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute who has made this his life’s work. “Just like with nicotine patches and the gum, all those things are just systems to get people off the drugs.”

Dr.

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Addiction Is Not A Disease Of The Brain

OCDAlva Noe explains at NPR:

Addiction has been moralized, medicalized, politicized, and criminalized. And, of course, many of us are addicts, have been addicts or have been close to addicts. Addiction runs very hot as a theme.

Part of what makes addiction so compelling is that it forms a kind of conceptual/political crossroads for thinking about human nature. After all, to make sense of addiction we need to make sense of what it is to be an agent who acts, with values, in the face of consequences, under pressure, with compulsion, out of need and desire. One needs a whole philosophy to understand addiction.

Today I want to respond to readers who were outraged by my willingness even to question whether addiction is a disease of the brain.

Let us first ask: what makes something — a substance or an activity — addictive? Is there a property shared by all the things to which we can get addicted?

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Suboxone: The Hottest Drug In American Prisons

I have a feeling that very few people outside drug addiction recovery programs and prisons have ever heard of Suboxone, let alone the fact that it is sweeping through the U.S. prison system at epidemic rates. Abby Goodnough and Katie Zezima report for the New York Times:

WINDHAM, Me. — Mike Barrett, a corrections officer, ripped open an envelope in the mail room at the Maine Correctional Center here and eyed something suspicious: a Father’s Day card, sent a month early. He carefully felt the card and slit it open, looking for a substance that has made mail call here a different experience of late.

Mr. Barrett and other prison officials nationwide are searching their facilities, mail and visitors for Suboxone, a drug used as a treatment for opiate addiction that has become coveted as contraband.

Suboxone pills. Photo: Supertheman (CC)

Suboxone pills. Photo: Supertheman (CC)

Innovative smugglers have turned crushed Suboxone pills into a paste and spread it under stamps or over children’s artwork, including pages from a princess coloring book found in a New Jersey jail.

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Dogs Playing Poker: Leave The Gamblers Alone!

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, 1903.

John Stossel writes on Fox Business:

Yesterday ESPN announced they will remove all poker-related programming and advertising (except for this year’s World Series of Poker).

Wimps. And the gambling industry is no better. Industry lobbyist, former senator Al D’Amato, claims “[poker] is a game of skill” and therefore should not be subjected to federal anti-gambling laws. “Regulate it, but don’t ban it,” he says.

Give me a break. The cowardice of business in standing up for free markets never ceases to amaze me.

What wimps! Why don’t they have the courage to say the government has NO business intervening in an activity between consenting adults? I’d hope the poker lobby and the leading sports network would defend the game and its players. Instead they push legal tricks or distance themselves from poker.

The feds accuse the companies of bank fraud and money laundering…

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Technology Addiction Taking Its Toll

Windows Phone 7 mockupAfter getting a smart phone last year, I too feel the effects of technology addiction. It snuck up on me. I now feel like I spend a large portion of my day moving from one of three screens: my television, laptop, and cellphone. I find myself checking my collection of news sites and blogs, as well as my social networks quite often throughout the day. I’d say at least once an hour, if not more. While it has opened up many doors to knowledge and communication it also makes me wonder what exactly the implications of such a lifestyle change will have on my generation’s future mentality and health. Keeping a phone in my pocket right next to my…sensitive areas? We’re the guinea pigs to the virtual future.

Anybody else a little cautious about the 21st Century level of connectedness? Share your views down in the comments. Discovery News reports:

Many young Asians are finding it tough to cope without a gadget in hand.

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4-Year-Olds On Opium

In America we complain that parents keep their kids quiet (and obese) with TV and junk food. That strategy looks remarkably good compared to Afghanistan where overtaxed parents keep their kids quiet (and skinny) with opium. For real — Arwa Damon reports for CNN:

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan — In a far flung corner of northern Afghanistan, Aziza reaches into the dark wooden cupboard, rummages around, and pulls out a small lump of something wrapped in plastic.

She unwraps it, breaking off a small chunk as if it were chocolate, and feeds it to four-year-old son, Omaidullah. It’s his breakfast — a lump of pure opium.

“If I don’t give him opium he doesn’t sleep,” she says. “And he doesn’t let me work.”…

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The 5 Most Profitable Drugs Do Not Cure You

Ibogaine CoverThe Village Voice has an interesting cover story about ibogaine which prompted Jason Parham to observe on the Village Voice blog site:

“Pharmaceutical companies don’t like cures. Really, they don’t — that’s the sad thing. They like treatment. Something for cholesterol or high blood pressure that you take for years and years, every day. That’s where the profit is.”

When we read that, a light went on. The worst thing for a drug company is a pill you take that completely cures you of your ailment with one dose, right? Where’s the money in that?

So, with that in mind, we thought we’d test Kuehne’s theory, and look at the five most profitable drugs in the United States.

Guess what they all have one in common? They never cure you…

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Staying Online During Sex

And that’s just one of the Internet addictions revealed in a new study, via AFP:

Computer security firm PC Tools late Wednesday released a study showing that nearly a quarter of US residents think it is fine to be “plugged in” to the Internet during sex.

The survey conducted by Harris Interactive also showed that 29 percent of people in the country believe it is not a problem to be connected online during a wedding and the percentage climbed to 41 percent for family dinners.

When it came to protection from computer viruses or other Internet-transmitted woes, people said they would rather change a diaper, be stuck in traffic, visit a dentist or get a colonoscopy than clean machines…

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