Tag Archives | War On Drugs

‘Our purity is above 99%': the Chinese labs churning out legal highs for the west

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Raquel Baranow (CC BY 2.0)

As Western governments play a futile game of whack-a-mole with legal drugs, chemists in China are consistently synthesizing new, legal compounds to sell.

Nicola Davison via The Guardian:

The mass production of legal highs began only in 2008, when UN drugs officials destroyed 33 tonnes of safrole oil, a precursor of MDMA, in Cambodia.

As MDMA stocks in Europe dwindled, suppliers shopped around for an alternative – and found mephedrone, a substance that was chemically similar to MDMA but not controlled in the UK. For the two years before it was banned, users could not get enough of this cheap, cocaine-meets-ecstasy high.

Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer originally developed synthetic cannabinoids – drugs designed to mimic the effect of cannabis – as research tools to investigate the mechanisms of the brain’s endocannabinoid system for clinical therapy.

Vendors began trawling obscure scientific journals for compounds, consumers described their highs on online drug forums, and the nascent market took shape.

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The New U.S. Drug Czar Is In Recovery Himself

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Michael Boticelli

In a remarkably progressive move by the White House, Michael Botticelli, an alcoholic in recovery, has been appointed as the US Drug Czar, or more formally as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), per the New York Times:

BALTIMORE — Six recovering substance abusers sat in an inner-city treatment center, sharing their stories. When Michael’s turn came around, he spoke of his former drug of choice, alcohol, and mentioned the night years ago when he drove drunk on the Massachusetts Turnpike, caused an accident and was arrested before passing out.

Michael then pulled out a picture of a friend’s brother who recently died from mixing prescription painkillers with alcohol. He described his grief and visceral connection with the struggles of substance abusers in recovery.

“You are my people,” he said, wiping one eye.

Catharsis is common in treatment centers, but Michael is not the typical former substance abuser: He is Michael Botticelli, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, informally known as the drug czar.

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U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades

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Did you think it was just the NSA that was tracking your phone calls? Turns out that the US Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have been doing it for decades in furtherance of the so-called war on drugs, reports USA Today:

The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed.

For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included Canada, Mexico and most of Central and South America.

Federal investigators used the call records to track drug cartels’ distribution networks in the USA, allowing agents to detect previously unknown trafficking rings and money handlers.

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Hear Dr. Carl Hart Eviscerate Drug Propaganda

HartPhotoVia Midwest Real

Dr. Carl Hart is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and the author of High Price

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Before we were engulfed in a tsunami of boundless digital knowledge containing more truth (and garbage) than we could ever digest in thousands of lifetimes, we lived in an incredibly different world. If you were a child of the 90’s like myself, you were constantly inundated with overly-simplistic catchphrase propaganda– “This is your brain on drugs,” “just say no,” the list goes on. I specifically remember being taught in school that marijuana was supremely dangerous because it was a “gateway drug.” The connotation being that if you so much as tried it, you’d probably wind up a strung-out, do-nothing idiot with a Kentucky-fried brain who’d never amount to anything.

This tireless barrage of indoctrination has forged us into a population that looks to traditional sources of authority with an immense amount of skepticism.Read the rest

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Freeway Rick Ross: Crack In The System

Remember Freeway Rick Ross? Well just in case your memory of that sordid tale of the CIA, crack cocaine, allegedly murdered investigative reporter Gary Webb and legendary Los Angeles drug dealer "Freeway" Rick Ross is hazy, there's a tremendous new film on Al-Jazeera America called Freeway: Crack In The System. It's well worth checking out even if you think you know all about Freeway Rick. Here's the synopsis:
The true story behind the crack scourge, featuring exclusive interviews with characters who lived it. Their stories reveal a crack in the system that  implicates the centers of power in our government, their mass incarceration policies and  militarization of police, the spread of gangs and guns, and the loss of entire generations to the war on drugs...
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The Movement To Completely Change The Way You Get High

“Cannabis is joining the coca leaf in the ranks of drugs improved by technology,” claims Cece Lederer at Kernel:

“I’ve got something special for us,” A.J. said as I cued up my recording device. “Have you ever done dabs?”

A.J. is about as close to weed royalty as you can get. If you’ve heard of Sour Diesel, you’ve heard of him. He’s cultivated some of the most potent strains of marijuana and has large-scale grow facilities clamoring for his advice.

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Butane honey oil with cannabis sativa exterior trimmings, by Vjiced (CC)

Careful to keep it horizontal, he unzipped a rolling suitcase and took out a blowtorch. Then came the “rig.” At first it looked like a regular water pipe, but instead of a slide, there was a ceramic “nail” that resembled a bird bath for a dollhouse.

Then came the jars. “The flavor is in the liquid,” he said as he put a jar of brown oil on my coffee table.

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President Obama Just Renewed the Drug War

Cannabis Culture (CC BY 2.0)

Cannabis Culture (CC BY 2.0)

Via Mike Adams at High Times

The Obama Administration has officially renewed the War on Drugs. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget plan released earlier this week, shows, despite the illusion of the puppet show in the nation’s capital working to reform failed drug policies, the master is hell bent on spending more money than ever to protect America against the wrath of controlled substances.

Although the President, at times, displays a progressive attitude in regards to making changes to the drug laws in the United States, this sentiment was not represented on Monday when he requested $27.6 billion to combat the domestic drug war – nearly $2 billion more than was allotted in 2014.

The White House calls the strategy behind this madness a “21st century approach to drug policy that outlines innovative policies and programs and recognizes that substance use disorders are not just a criminal justice issue, but also a major public health concern,” and suggests it is “an evidence-based plan for real drug policy reform, spanning the spectrum of prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, effective law enforcement, and international cooperation.”

However, the scam is revealed in the numbers.

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Johann Hari: Everything We Know About the Drug War & Addiction is Wrong

via Democracy Now:

As President Obama seeks $27.6 billion for federal drug control programs in his new budget, we talk to British journalist Johann Hari about the century-old failed drug war and how much of what we know about addiction is wrong. Over the past four years Hari has traveled to the United States, Mexico, Canada, Uruguay and Portugal to research his new book, “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War of Drugs.” His findings may surprise you — from the U.S. government’s persecution of Billie Holiday, to Vancouver’s success in addressing its heroin epidemic, to Portugal’s experiment with full decriminalization of all drugs.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: One part of President Obama’s new budget that has received little attention is the war on drugs. The White House is seeking $27.6 billion for federal drug control programs, nearly $1 billion more than last year.

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Animals Just Want To Get High

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Yellow mongoose by Julielangford (CC)

In an excerpt from his new book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs at BoingBoing, Johan Hari explains why animals eat psychoactive plants (hint: to get high):

The United Nations says the drug war’s rationale is to build “a drug-free world — we can do it!” U.S. government officials agree, stressing that “there is no such thing as recreational drug use.” So this isn’t a war to stop addiction, like that in my family, or teenage drug use. It is a war to stop drug use among all humans, everywhere. All these prohibited chemicals need to be rounded up and removed from the earth. That is what we are fighting for.

I began to see this goal differently after I learned the story of the drunk elephants, the stoned water buffalo, and the grieving mongoose. They were all taught to me by a remarkable scientist in Los Angeles named Professor Ronald K.

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Dr. Ingrid Walker: Drugs & Desire

What do you think of when you think of the term, ‘drug user’? Do you think of crusty people on skid row, or perhaps wall street tycoons doing blow off of the butts of their secretaries? Whatever your vision is, it might be very different from the truth. Chances are, you are a drug user. Dr. Ingrid Walker explains further and offers some interesting insights into our biases and misconceptions on drugs.

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