heroin

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Tom Petty performs on stage during a 1981 Irvine, California concert. George Rose/Getty Images

Tom Petty

?Free Fallin?

From his stage presence to his fashion, Tom Petty electrified audiences for decades. Celebrated rocker Tom Petty died at age 66 after suffering cardiac arrest at his California home on Monday. Although the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is now gone, his music, his charisma, and his one-of-a-kind presence will live on.

After 40 years in the music industry, Tom Petty consistently stayed at the top of the charts.

But while his success never faltered, the ?Free Fallin’? singer?s personal life wasn?t quite as smooth sailing. From suffering abuse as a child to going through a difficult divorce and subsequent addiction to heroin, Petty, fought through intense personal troubles to find ultimate happiness with his second wife Dana York.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recently completed a summer tour with three nights at the Hollywood Bowl. The trek marked the band’s 40th anniversary and found him playing rarely played deep cuts like their first album’s opener, “Rockin’ Around (With You),” and a selection of Wildflowers cuts. It was intended to be his “last trip around the country.” He said though, that it wasn’t his intention to quit playing. “I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the house.”

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25% reduction in painkiller death with medical cannabis

Uruguay-Becomes-Worlds-First-Country-to-Legalize-Production-and-Sale-of-Cannabis

There is a?fascinating study that looked at painkiller death rates in US states when medical cannabis legalised.

It found a massive 25% drop in painkiller overdoses. That works out to be about 1 per 100000 people who don’t die every year.

The abstract states:

Three states (California, Oregon, and Washington) had medical cannabis laws effective prior to 1999. Ten states (Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont) enacted medical cannabis laws between 1999 and 2010. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate (95% CI, ?37.5% to ?9.5%; P?=?.003) compared with states without medical cannabis laws. Examination of the association between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in each year after implementation of the law showed that such laws were associated with a lower rate of overdose mortality that generally strengthened over time: year 1 (?19.9%; 95% CI, ?30.6% to ?7.7%; P?=?.002), year 2 (?25.2%; 95% CI, ?40.6% to ?5.9%; P?=?.01), year 3 (?23.6%; 95% CI, ?41.1% to ?1.0%; P?=?.04), year 4 (?20.2%; 95% CI, ?33.6% to ?4.0%; P?=?.02), year 5 (?33.7%; 95% CI, ?50.9% to ?10.4%; P?=?.008), and year 6 (?33.3%; 95% CI, ?44.7% to ?19.6%; P?<?.001). In secondary analyses, the findings remained similar.

Conclusions and Relevance? Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates. Further investigation is required to determine how medical cannabis laws may interact with policies aimed at preventing opioid analgesic overdose.

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Photo Of The Day

Xray of a heavy drug user with at least 17 broken needles stuck in his neck.

X-ray of a heavy drug user with at least 17 broken needles stuck in his neck.

Broken Needles in the Neck of a Heroin Addict

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Darien Fenton talks about her addictions

Good on Darien Fenton talking about her drug addicted past.

She has written an opinion piece in the?Herald on Sunday about it.

Many politicians are afraid to talk about their failings or their past, so good on Darien for discussing her addiction to opiates.

My addiction was a long time ago-more years than I care to remember – in the 1970s. It’s a time I’ve put behind me but it’s still not easy to talk about. I was very young and susceptible to the influences of the day, where taking drugs seemed cool. No doubt it’s the same for many young people today.

I dropped out of uni and followed the travel trail of my times: Penang, India and Kathmandu, countries where life was on the margins, facing perils that no parent would tolerate these days. I can’t believe I put my parents through such agony and my sorrow at that endures. It’s my abiding regret.

In many ways it’s a miracle I survived, given the risks I took with both drug-taking and travel to unsafe countries.

But at the same time, I saw unbelievable poverty and struggle that had a lasting impact on me. There’s nothing like death and disease close up to focus the mind. ? Read more »

Ratbag mayor appears to have used more than just crack

Rob Ford appears to have used more than just crack cocaine with gang members boasting of pictures of him using heroin and other drugs and considering ways to use them to blackmail him.

Gang members were heard on wiretaps discussing drug use by Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto and suggesting that he could be blackmailed, according to a police document that was released by a court on Wednesday.

Those allegations and others were contained in previously redacted portions of the 474-page police document, an affidavit that was used to obtain search warrants. Interviews and wiretaps, the Toronto police wrote, suggested that Mr. Ford regularly used drugs, possibly including heroin, and that dealers discussed blackmailing him. Last month, Mr. Ford characterized his use of crack cocaine in a now-infamous video as an aberration brought on by ?one of my drunken stupors.?? Read more »

Russell Brand: “Drugs and alcohol are not my problem ? reality is my problem”

Russell Brand explains his love affair with drugs at The Spectator:

The last time I thought about taking heroin was yesterday. I had received ?an inconvenient truth? from a beautiful woman. It wasn?t about climate change (I?m not that ecologically switched on). She told me she was pregnant and it wasn?t mine.
I had to take immediate action. I put Morrissey on in my car and as I wound my way through the neurotic Hollywood hills my misery burgeoned. Soon I could no longer see where I ended and the pain began. So now I had a choice.

I cannot accurately convey to you the efficiency of heroin in neutralising pain. It transforms a tight white fist into a gentle brown wave, and from my first inhalation 15 years ago it fumigated my private hell. A bathroom floor in Hackney embraced me like a womb, and now whenever I am dislodged from comfort my focus falls there.

It is ten years since I used drugs or drank alcohol and my life has immeasurably improved. I have a job, a house, a cat, good friendships and generally a bright outlook.? Read more »

Decriminalisation has worked…in Portugal

The Beckley Foundation

A while ago I posted a video about drug decriminalisation in Portugal and the success that it was meeting with. Here it is again:

Now research has confirmed the dramatic results in Portugal:

On July 1st, 2001,?Portugal decriminalized every imaginable drug, from marijuana, to cocaine, to heroin. Some thought Lisbon would become a drug tourist haven, others predicted usage rates among youths to surge. Eleven years later, it turns out they were both wrong.

Over a decade has passed since Portugal changed its philosophy from labeling drug users as criminals to labeling them as people affected by a disease. This time lapse has allowed statistics to develop and in time, has made Portugal an example to follow.

First, some clarification.

Portugal?s move to decriminalize does not mean people can carry around, use, and sell drugs free from police interference. That would be legalization. Rather, all drugs are ?decriminalized,? meaning drug possession, distribution, and use is still illegal. While distribution and trafficking is still a criminal offense, possession and use is moved out of criminal courts and into a special court where each offender?s unique ?situation is judged by legal experts, psychologists, and social workers. Treatment and further action is decided in these courts, where addicts and drug use is treated as a public health service rather than referring it to the justice system (like the U.S.),reports Fox News.

The resulting effect:?a drastic reduction in addicts, with Portuguese officials and reports?highlighting that this number, at 100,000 before the new policy was enacted, has been halved in the following ten years.?Portugal?s drug usage rates are now among the lowest of EU member states,?according to the same report.

One more outcome: a lot less sick people. Drug related diseases including STDs and overdoses have been reduced even more than usage rates, which experts believe is the result of the government offering treatment with no threat of legal ramifications to addicts.

Addiction is not Illness

? Mail Online

The excellent Theodore Dalrymple has a comprehensive answer to this Herald nonsense that addicts are victims of illness who should not be “stigmatised” as the nutty editorial puts it.?? Flat-out compulsion is the way to stop them & the government plan is a good first step.

This from an earlier 2007 Dalrymple demolition of the wet liberal detox myths:

Drug-addiction services have also grown massively. In our society, every problem calls forth its equal and supposedly opposite bureaucracy, the ostensible purpose of which is to solve the problem.

But the bureaucracy quickly develops a survival instinct, and so no more wishes the problem to disappear altogether than the lion wishes to kill all the gazelle in the bush and leave itself without food.

In short, the bureaucracy of drug addiction needs drug addicts far more than drug addicts need the bureaucracy of drug addiction.

The propaganda, assiduously spread for many years now, is that heroin addiction is an “illness”. This view serves the interests both of the addicts who wish to continue their habit while placing the blame for their behaviour elsewhere, and the bureaucracy that wishes to continue in employment, preferably for ever and at higher rates of pay.

Viewing addiction as an illness automatically implies there is a medical solution to it. So, when all the proposed “cures” fail to work, addicts blame not themselves but those who have offered them ineffectual solutions.

And for bureaucracies, nothing succeeds like failure. The Government spends more than a quarter of a billion pounds a year on drug treatment in the UK, despite there being little evidence of any reduction in the number of addicts.

Since the bureaucratic solution to waste is to waste even more, you don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict that funding in Britain will continue to rise.

Now people might say, “What the fuck would he know?”…well this is how:

I see up to 20 new cases a day in prison ? I began to think about it more. The medical perspective, that these people were ill and in need of treatment, seemed less and less convincing.

I discovered that most addicted prisoners stopped taking heroin in jail, even when it was available. They came into the prison starving and miserable, and went out relatively healthy.

But within a few months, many were back in their former condition, and when brought once more before the courts, some would beg to be imprisoned.

When, soon after their return, I asked them whether they intended to give up taking heroin, some would reply: “I’ll have to, I’ve got no choice.”

Asked why, they would offer replies such as: “Because my girlfriend’s just had a baby and she won’t let me see it unless I do.”

This answer was a strange one if these addicts truly thought of themselves as ill and in need of treatment. #

Instead, they clearly believed a purpose in life was enough to enable them to abstain. This is not how pneumonia, for instance, is cured.

No one would say: “I must stop having pleuritic pain each time I breathe deeply because I have just had a baby.” Yet the medical services allow addicts to focus exclusively on the physiological aspects of addiction, which in practice means the prescription of a drug such as methadone.

There is a strenuous, almost outraged, rejection of the idea that addiction is, at bottom, a moral problem, or even that it raises any moral questions at all.

That is a very good point.

Of course, addiction to heroin and other opiates has serious medical consequences. I often saw addicts with deep vein thromboses or multiple abscesses; they would have TB; they would be malnourished and infected with Hepatitis B or C, or both, and HIV.

It would be difficult to obtain blood from the veins in their arms or legs because they had injected so often.

But medical consequences do not make a disease. Many mountaineers get frostbite, but mountaineering is not a disease.

To conceive of heroin addiction as such seems to me to miss the fundamental point: it is a moral or spiritual condition that will never yield to medical treatment.

Hugs and cuddle probably won’t work either.

All powers of self-control are destroyed by heroin, and unless they take a substitute drug, such as methadone, or enter a lengthy rehabilitation programme, addicts cannot give up.

They are hooked for life and need help ? from the drug-addiction bureaucracy.

There is only a tiny grain of truth in all this. That physiological addiction exists is indisputable. But in practically all other respects the standard view is wrong, a masterpiece of rhetorical tricks.

It is to heroin addicts what Marxism was to the Politburo of the former Soviet Union: a systematic pseudo-scientific justification for everything they do.

The orthodox view is self-serving for addicts because it implies no possibility of self-control and so no blame.

What, perhaps, is more surprising is that many doctors, therapists and social workers swallow such nonsense. The truth is people who are genuinely exposed to strong opiates by chance, such as after an operation, rarely become addicted to them.

We saw that sentiment in the Herald editorial. “But, but, but”, the crim hugger will say, “what about withdrawal?”

Nor are the withdrawal symptoms from heroin anywhere as terrible as normally painted. In the popular conception, going “cold turkey” is dreadful beyond all description, involving cramps, insomnia, vomiting, shaking and sweating.

But not a single addict has ever caused me as a doctor to feel anxiety for his safety on account of his withdrawal.

And all the genuine symptoms, which are never severe, such as muscular aching, diarrhoea, crying, sneezing and insomnia, have been relieved by simple, non-opiate medication.

Certainly, most withdrawing addicts have portrayed themselves to me as being in the grip of dreadful suffering.

They writhe in agony, claiming they have experienced nothing as bad in their lives, and they make all kinds of threats if I do not prescribe “something” ? they mean an opiate ? to alleviate their suffering.

The threats range from damaging their cells to killing themselves, others or even me. (Withdrawing alcoholics never make such threats.)

In fact, heroin addicts rarely carry out their threats. Those who say they are suicidal quickly admit they were merely trying to get methadone when I suggest they be put in a cell so bare that there is nowhere from which to suspend a noose.

My counter-threat produces in most cases the most miraculous improvement in their mood.

Not all the addicts I see exaggerate in this fashion. Some admit with a laugh that anyone who says cold turkey is terrible is lying and more than likely trying to bluff his way to getting methadone.

It is?refreshing?to see such honesty from someone in the medical profession.

Who would have thought that Mao Zedong would have cured more heorin addicts than all the doctors of the world combined:

The great glory of withdrawal agony, from a career point of view, is that where suffering exists, it is necessary to employ more and more doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and counsellors to relieve it.

Yet consider what happened in China after Mao took power in 1949. At the time, China had more opiate addicts than the rest of the world put together ? about 20million.

But Mao gave them a strong motive to give up: he shot the dealers and any addicts who did not give up their habit.

Within three years, Mao produced more cures than all the drug clinics in the world before or since, or indeed to come. He was, indeed, the greatest drug worker in history.

The point of this story is not to advocate a repetition of Mao’s methods. It is to demonstrate that, when a motive is sufficiently strong, many millions of addicted people can abandon their addiction without the paraphernalia of help considered necessary today.

Right, I think we can safely ignore the carping of the liberal panty-waists now.

Sanity on Drugs

? Sydney Morning Herald

A former top Australian cop talks sense. The war on drugs has failed. We should stop criminals having a monopoly on drugs by regulating and taxing drugs and putting those who break tax laws in jail for a very long time.

The reality is that, contrary to frequent assertions, drug law enforcement has had little impact on the Australian drug market. This is true in most countries in the world.

In Australia the police are better resourced than ever, better trained than ever, more effective than ever and yet their impact on the drug trade, on any objective assessment, has been minimal.

In the?Herald?last week, the opposition health spokesman, Peter Dutton, asserted that ”law enforcement does achieve significant results and is not yet at its peak of effectiveness”. I feel compelled to respond, because frankly the evidence does not stack up. In Australia last year, 86 per cent of drug users said that obtaining heroin was ”easy” or ”very easy”, while 93 per cent reported that obtaining hydroponic cannabis was ”easy” or ”very easy”.

The price of street heroin and cocaine decreased by more than 80 per cent in the US and Europe in the past 20 years. Despite a huge investment by the US in drug law enforcement, northern Mexico has descended into a drug cartel battlefield, driven by the demand for illicit drugs within the US. At the local level, our young people can and do purchase illicit drugs with ease and generally with impunity. If this is an effective policy at work, I am not sure what failure would look like.

Portugal’s Fix

Here is a short doco from SBS about?Portugal decriminalising the use of all drugs, from marijuana to heroin, but has it worked in tackling the country’s drug problem?

A decade ago, Portugal took the bold step of completely decriminalising the use of all drugs. At the time, the country was suffering the highest instance of drug-related AIDS deaths in all of Europe. Drastic action needed to be taken to reach out to the addicts. But opponents warned the course that Portugal took would turn the country into a drug abuser’s paradise and that usage would soar. 10 years on, how well has the policy worked?

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