Friday, November 8, 2019

A Top Medical Journal Is Coming Out Hard Against Criminalizing Drug Users

A special drugs issue of The Lancet says doctors need to protect drug users from politicians who take a punitive approach.


The medical community must fight for the rights of people with drug-use problems and offer them “solidarity and protection from the worst excesses of populist politics,” according to an editorial published today in the medical journal The Lancet.

The editorial, which appears in a special drugs issue that contains four new papers detailing the latest developments on cannabis, opioids, stimulants, and new psychoactive substances, points out that “policies that might improve the lives of people with health problems relating to drug use are not seen as substantial vote winners.”


“Indeed, punitive approaches to drug use are seen by some as a way to project the image of firm moral leadership, however inhumane or ineffective they might be. It is time to recognise the humanity of drug users...the medical community must stand up for the rights of people with drug use disorders to receive evidence-based care.”

The Lancet’s move to publish a drugs issue exemplifies its history of taking a strong stance on public health and harm reduction, said Pamela Das, co-editor of the series. "Many of the recommendations in the series are not new, but they continue to be dismissed despite the huge amount of scientific evidence of what works."

The authors of the paper on opioids said that although opioid dependence is the third-most damaging substance-use disorder after tobacco and alcohol, “coverage of interventions to prevention of opioid­ related harms to health is woefully inadequate in most countries.” It said the best way to combat this was by moving away from criminalization and expanding treatment using methadone and buprenorphine.

An analysis of legalized cannabis in the U.S. found that while it had reduced the illicit market and allowed governments to regulate and tax cannabis, potency had increased, adult use had risen and prices had fallen. It said claims that medical use of cannabis for pain relief has reduced deaths from opioid overdose is based on weak evidence.

It warned that by the time the true costs and benefits of legalization become available, “legalisation might be difficult to reverse because a profitable commercial cannabis industry will have been created that contributes substantial revenue to governments.”

On stimulants, the paper in The Lancet said that little had been done to tackle the rising problems around cocaine and amphetamines such as meth. “No effective pharmacotherapies are available that reduce stimulant use. The absence of an effective policy response to the scale and severity of harms related to stimulant use, combined with the fear and stigmatisation of so-­called problem users, has restricted the allocation of resources to reduce stimulant ­related harms.”

It said the world had instead relied on law enforcement to deal with the stimulant problem, most notably in Asia. “Globally, and particularly in the Asia­Pacific region, policy has been dominated by incarceration, with an estimated 235000 people detained in compulsory drug detention centres in which major infringements of human rights occur.”

Finally, in an impressive moment of prophecy, a paper looking at the expansion of new psychoactive substances quoted from a previous study, way back in 1988, which predicted with chilling accuracy our current state of affairs concerning fentanyl: “The future drugs of abuse will be synthetics rather than plant products. They will be synthesized from readily available chemicals. A single gram of any very potent drug...could be synthesized in one location, transported to distribution sites worldwide, and then formulated into many thousand, perhaps a million, doses.”

“This editorial demonstrates frustration with the international policy paralysis that continues to cause harm to people when there is sufficient evidence to support the need for policy that sees these problems for what they are: human suffering borne out of social inequality,” said Ian Hamilton, senior lecturer in addiction and health at the University of York in the U.K. “The Lancet’s audience—doctors, researchers, and policy makers—will pay attention to this editorial position and the accompanying report. That matters, as these groups shape the health experience that people who have problems with drugs encounter.”

Sol Prendido Borderland Beat    Source

33 comments:

  1. I use to be a person who didn't think that legalizing drugs was the way to go. I thought it would create more problems than it solved. Then I listened to a guy named Johann Hari on the Joe Rogan podcast, and he made so much sense, and backed his positions up with logical positions, and well thought out points of view. The bottom line is Nicotine and Alcohol are the two most addictive drugs and they are legal, so making other drugs legal will not cause the terrible things people fear it will. Look at the example of Rat Park.

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    1. Me also.
      I have said this before but I began asking doctors of their position. In my totally unscientific poll of 5 physicians, they all were in agreement with legalization

      Delete
    2. Legalization is not good for business (state) and we all know how that plays out...i was just reading an article on how private penitentiary institutions were taking legal action against the state for not keeping their prisons filled...goes to show how its all connected and how the war on drugs is not only A joke but somebodies master plan to cash out

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    3. @7:37 it should be a disgusting article, but it’s really a disgusting reality. I hope to find the article. Thank you

      @7:24 thank you for that. I am listening to it right now. Joe Rogan is such a great podcast and informative. I truly hope those ignorant commentators that don’t read to educate themselves will at least listen.

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    4. @7:24 just finished the podcast. If any is interested in some deep insight YouTube Joe Rogan 1250. 1253 looks promising as well.

      Chivis you nailed this article. It’s sad it’s so few commented. Excellent work nonetheless

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    5. 7:24 excessive pot smoker who believes he's woke from watching podcast spotted.

      Delete
    6. @8:48 try ideas and debate instead of perceived insults in an attempt to undermine someone’s reflection on their own journey to change

      Delete
  2. Legalization is the solution. As a physician of 40 years, I have found people to be smart. People have health and mental health problems and they end up taking medicine for, sometimes habit forming meds. People do not want to take medicines as a general rule. The problem is the black market not sick people. The black marketers are making around 1 million a week, and there are around 1500 of them in the US. They hire out low lifes for $200 thousand a week, and pocket the rest. And their job is to make sure these drugs stay illegal. So they can keep making more money.
    If it all become legal, the problem would go away in a few years.

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    1. Could you please elaborate? You say there are "1500 of them", who is "them"? Corrupt doctors? You have an interesting point of view.

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  3. Will hurt balance of trade with Mexico

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  4. I am 100 percent for guns. But firmly against legalizing. When it comes to weed yes legalize it. Legalize it soon. And that's my take on weed. But when it comes to cocaine. And when it comes to heroin. When it comes to methamphetamine. Legalizing those is retarded. You obviously make crack from cocaine. And have you ever met an ice head? They are not the most pleasant to the eyes. Crack seriously ruins your brain. Heroin is just terrible too. Weed on the other hand is perfect. Alcohol is worse than weed for sure. With alcohol comes diabetes. Pancreatic problems and illness. Lost alot of people to alcohol. Who literally drank themselves to death. You can't stop the violence in Mexico. By legalizing crack and or meth. That's just crazy. You can give Mexicans right to bear arms. Seems your cartels are the ones who have them. But you Mexican citizens cannot. You want to talk about something like drug reform. Talk about reforming your Constitution.
    El Smarto

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    Replies
    1. Smarto name lol, call me magoo

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    2. Check out Sweden and how they legalized and regulated. It was an overwhelming success.

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    3. I agree but decriminalization for sure. There are many of responsible people who do cocaine, being caught with a gram and making you a felon for life is ridiculous. If you get caught doing another crime because of the drug, then that should be more punishment.

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    4. Thanks for the replies guys. But to each his own. I have seen crack's detrimental effects. May as well just give him an inhalant. Or give him a can of spray paint to sniff. And let them just take the fastest route there. With heroin you got krokodill. An example of it's stranglehold. And ice is just all around evil. Can't see what allowing folks those would fix. Have you guys ever seen an ice head? You want an increase of those psychos? I'm trying to see outside the box. But I guess me mind is just made up. Legalize marijuana for sure. It helped me overcome alcohol.
      El Smarto

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    5. El smarto lol, you can come up with a better name lol.

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    6. " weed is perfect" lol
      "You cant stop the violence in Mexico" Name a country that is violence free?
      Maybe you should change your name

      Delete
  5. We can expect legal challenges from all sides to the drug epidemic problem. Most due moral issues and others for profitable gains regardless of morality.
    Tobacco and alcohol are the #1 killers for substance abuse. All legal with the help of lobbying groups.
    Legalization of drugs will only further increase behavioral health issues along with black market criminal organizations. Never changing anything other than ones landscape.

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  6. My sons facing jail time for possession of cannabis. He uses it to help with his anxiety as he’s autistic and has arthritis and psororsis. I’m terrified as I know if he’s locked up he will end up using spice as our jails are full of it. Yet if he had of taken the opioids and antidepressants the docs prescribed he would have been ok? We’re decades off legalisation here and it will be too late for him, it’s going to ruin his chances of ever getting a job if he gets through the jail time as well. He’s addicted to it though and I don’t know how to help him. There’s very little help out there for people like him, finally got him drug counselling and they didn’t even show up, had no contact with them since even to explain why they didn’t come and now he’s refusing to talk with anyone. Hope this report helps the govt to rethink their strategy.

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    1. This is heartbreaking! What state do you live in? are you in the U.S. or U.K.?

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    2. Uk, that’s how I found this blog originally. I was desperate to learn how to avoid what we’re facing now.

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    3. The clue you were in UK is your spelling of "legalisation"
      If you are able email me, I can share some info with you.
      Ever hear of Epidiolex? It is from the UK and the FDA has approved three cannabinoids the first and only ever approved federally. This was in 2018. My little grandson has a very rare seizure disorder which is one of the disorders approved by the gov to take this med. He hasn't as of yet. But it is expected to be available off label in a couple of years. He also is autistic.

      my email address is chivis.martinez@hushmail.com
      type cannabis in the subject line.

      Saludos

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    4. I’ve emailed you thank you

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    5. I will look for it....Paz, Chivis

      Delete
  7. I believe that we should legalize all drugs, they where once legal many years ago in the for of coke a cola, heroin, opium, laudinum a type of heroin. people will use drugs, and we could save a lot of state money by making it legal,you would be able to produce a product of high quality and safe to use, as there would be a quality control in place. this would solve the problems of the cartels in that field, but they will then have to find other avenues for illegal revenue

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  8. Some doctors here in the US, think China is intentionally trying to subvert the nation, due to their lack of enforcement for Fentanyl and precursors. Mexico crime families are glad to oblige. Legalization, would cause an epidemic like we've never seen, so oppose legalization of opioids.

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  9. Essentially drugs are legal in California, especially at the street level. Los Angeles, SanFrancisco, Seattle, Washington, Portland Oregon. In California, theft of less than $950 gives the addict an excellent, consequence-free method of supporting his or her drug habit. So, you folks that have it all figured out neat and tidy. Why do the residents of California have to live with and pay taxes for the behavior of all the drug addicts living on the sidewalk in front of our homes and businesses? Why have these drug addicts flocked to California?

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  10. Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. Drugs aren't legal, but drug users do not get arrested, and do not get criminal records that screw their lives up. As a result, within a short period of time, they mitigated many significant social problems, unlike Florida, for example.

    Drug-related HIV infections have plummeted by over 90% since 2001, according to the drug-policy think tank Transform.

    Drug-related deaths in Portugal are the second-lowest in the European Union. Just three in a million people die of overdoses there, compared with the EU average of 17.3 per million.

    The number of adults who have done drugs in the past year has decreased steadily since 2001.

    Compared to rest of the EU, young people in Portugal now use the least amount of "legal high" drugs like synthetic marijuana, which are especially dangerous.

    The percentage of drug-related offenders in Portuguese prisons fell from 44% in 1999 to 21% in 2012.

    The number of people in drug-treatment increased 60% from 1998 to 2011 from 23,600 to 38,000.

    It's time to leave the current policies in the 20th century, where they belong. We are coming up on the hundred year anniversary of lifting Prohibition. Yes, alcohol is still a problem for many people. It was a problem for many people 200, 500 years ago, one thousand years ago. Making human behaviour illegal amplifies the problem exponentially. It takes one problem and creates a hundred more. This is also unsustainable. We already imprison more people than any country on earth, except China and they have concentration camps. Hardly something to be proud of. And that prophetic quote from a man who made LSD with the Brotherhood of Eternal Love drug ring while consulting for academia, we better take heed of his words. By this century's end people will be plugging their brains into matrix technology to get high. Our problems with substances will seem quaint when that day comes.

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  11. Legalisation is not the way to go. We cant stop people from killing each other after hundreds of years of catching killers they still come out of the wood work. Should we just legalize murders now?

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    Replies
    1. Using drugs doesn't hurt anyone else

      Murder does hurt someone else

      That is a false equivalency

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    2. A moral responsibility for many people who support legalization. Just like those abortion rights where religious beliefs are an issue.

      Delete
  12. I've lived down here for 15 years now. I'm happier with the cartels spending all their time and effort on drugs, than kidnapping and extorion. Which is where they will go if they can't manke money from drugs anymore.

    ReplyDelete

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