Tag Archives | Cocaine

New Senate Bill Reduces Penalties For Crack Cocaine

Photo: Oaktown Crack Comics (GNU)

Photo: Oaktown Crack Comics (GNU)

With all the fuss over health care dominating media coverage of what’s going down in the United States Congress, I missed this story about a Senate bill that would reduce criminal penalties for crack possession. Curious timing actually – the endless recession is causing an upswing in hard drug use where I live and I assume elsewhere, but it’s a step in the right direction I think (you? let us know in the comments section). From Big Think::

The Senate just passed a bill drastically reducing the penalty for possessing crack cocaine. The bill would increase the amount of crack requiring a five-year mandatory minimum sentence from 5 grams to 28 grams. The bill was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee and finally passed this week with a voice vote. According to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) it is the first time since 1970 that Congress has repealed a mandatory minimum sentence.

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Elton John: Jesus Was Gay

Elton on Parade

Flamboyant British pop icon Elton John is making headlines for a controversial interview in, of all places, Parade, the (usually) boring Sunday newspaper magazine. Some choice samples:

“I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you’re as good as dead.”

“Just about every relationship I ever had was involved with drugs. It never works. But I always had to be with someone, good or bad, otherwise I didn’t feel fulfilled. I’d lost the plot.”

“For some people a gram of cocaine can last a month. Not me. I have to do the lot, and then I want more. At the end of the day, all it led to was heartache.”

“Princess Diana, Gianni Versace, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, all dead.

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Does Cocaine Make You Smarter?

BushCokeHAMILTON MORRIS writes on VICE:

Hey. Did any of you read this paper on the role of G9a in cocaine-induced dendritic spine plasticity? No? OK, well did you at least read this summary of the findings in Time? Still no? Fine. The gist is that repeated coke use suppresses a protein called G9a, which slows the growth of dendritic spines in your neurons, which, as Time puts it, “can reflect learning, but in the case of addiction may involve learning to connect a place or person with the desire for more drugs.”

If you read that and thought, “Wait a second, is this a potentially beneficial effect of cocaine on your brain that they’re trying to spin as a danger?” then yes you are right. Potentially. There is a well established connection between number of dendritic spines and intelligence as measured by IQ (retarded children have long misshapen dendrites which are unevenly dispersed), but it really has to do with what pathways that extra dendritic power is being used to reinforce.

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Unwanted Side Effect: Cocaine Vaccine Leads Addicts to Take 10 Times More Cocaine

From PopSci:

Over the last decade, the advances in neuroscience that led doctors to view addiction as a disease, rather than a desire or personal failing, raised the natural question of whether or not addicts could be vaccinated against drug use as if it were a virus. While the theory remains valid, the recent clinical trial of one of those vaccines, called TA-CD, highlights the complexity of the issue.

TA-CD works by preventing cocaine from entering the brain, thus stopping the user from getting high. It does not, however, stop cravings, leading some test participants who received the vaccine to take 10 times as much cocaine in the hopes of overriding the vaccine and getting high, or to bankrupt themselves while trying to do so.

According to the study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, some participants in the study bumped more yeyo than the researchers conducting the study had every seen before.

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Smuggling Cocaine for the CIA – Out There Radio: Episode 26

Out There Radio – Episode 26: Smuggling Cocaine for the C.I.A.

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In this episode, we look at the alleged CIA drug smuggling ring operating out of Mena, Arkansas in the 1980s and 90s. Barry Seal, Oliver North and three of the most recent U.S. presidents all show up in connection to this sleepy little town and the shameful crimes surrounding it.  The episode is a great follow up to our previous offering on Gary Webb and the origins of the crack epidemic of the early 1980′s.

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