Category : Drugs/Drug Addiction

Drug firms shipped 20.8M pain pills to West Virginia town with 2,900 people

Over the past decade, out-of-state drug companies shipped 20.8 million prescription painkillers to two pharmacies four blocks apart in a Southern West Virginia town with 2,900 people, according to a congressional committee investigating the opioid crisis.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee cited the massive shipments of hydrocodone and oxycodone — two powerful painkillers — to the town of Williamson, in Mingo County, amid the panel’s inquiry into the role of drug distributors in the opioid epidemic.

“These numbers are outrageous, and we will get to the bottom of how this destruction was able to be unleashed across West Virginia,” said committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., in a joint statement.

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

A NYT profile of Prescott, Arizona, a City of Addict Entrepreneurs

It first dawned on Erin Burk that her town had become a haven for drug treatment soon after she noticed the fleet of white vans zooming through her neighborhood. The vans, she learned after tailing one, were ferrying addicts all over town to what amounted to halfway houses for those in recovery: sober living homes.

Nobody she asked seemed to know how many sober living homes were located in Prescott, so she decided to conduct an improvised census.

“I followed those vans around for three months,” said Ms. Burk, a young mother of five whose sleuthing identified dozens of sober living homes in her city — including 15 within a block of her house. “Then I cried for a long time.”

That was in 2010, the beginning of a boom here in the addiction treatment business that turned this city of just 42,500 people into one of the rehab capitals of the country. Today there are some 33 sober living homes in operation, down from a peak last year of 170. At the time, by some estimates, one in 30 people living in Prescott was in recovery.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

(NPR) The Foster Care System Is Flooded With Children Of The Opioid Epidemic

The U.S. foster care system is overwhelmed in part because America’s opioid crisis is overwhelming. Thousands of children have had to be taken out of the care of parents or a parent who is an addict. One of the states with the biggest one-year increase in the number of children who need foster care is Indiana. Judge Marilyn Moores heads up the Indianapolis juvenile court and joins us now from member station WFYI. Your Honor, thanks very much for being with us.

MARILYN MOORES: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: You’ve called this a tsunami. What’s happening, from where you see it?

MOORES: Well, we’ve gone from having 2,500 children in care three years ago having 5,500 kids in care. It has just exploded our systems.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction

(WSJ) Chasing a new type of Buzz–Big Brewer Makes a Play for Marijuana Beverages

The U.S. distributor of Corona beer is chasing a new type of buzz.

Constellation Brands Inc. has agreed to take a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth Corp. , a Canadian marijuana company, and plans to work with the grower to develop and market cannabis-infused beverages.

Canopy Growth is the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis company, with a market valuation of 2.2 billion Canadian dollars on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The C$245 million (US$191 million) deal gives Constellation a toehold in an industry that the brewer expects to be legalized nationwide in the U.S. in the coming years.

Read it all.

Posted in Alcohol/Drinking, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Canada, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Theology

(NYT) As Overdose Deaths Pile Up, a New Hampshire Medical Examiner Quits the Morgue

In the state morgue here, in the industrial maze of a hospital basement, Dr. Thomas A. Andrew was slicing through the lung of a 36-year-old woman when white foam seeped out onto the autopsy table.

Foam in the lungs is a sign of acute intoxication caused by an opioid. So is a swollen brain, which she also had. But Dr. Andrew, the chief medical examiner of New Hampshire, would not be certain of the cause of death until he could rule out other causes, like a brain aneurysm or foul play, and until after the woman’s blood tests had come back.

With the nation snared in what the government says is the worst drug epidemic in its history, routine autopsies like this one, which take more than two hours, are overtaxing medical examiners everywhere.

“It’s almost as if the Visigoths are at the gates, and the gates are starting to crumble,” Dr. Andrew said. “I’m not an alarmist by nature, but this is not overhyped. It has completely overwhelmed us.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Methodist

([London] Times) Melanie Phillips–Our Thinking is warped on Cannabis Legalisation

At the Labour Party conference yesterday the comedian Russell Brand called for drugs to be decriminalised. At next week’s Conservative conference, the free-market Adam Smith Institute will be pushing for the legalisation of cannabis. Legalisation means more users. That means more harm, not just to individuals but to society. The institute, however, describes cannabis as “a low-harm consumer product that most users enjoy without major problems”. What? A huge amount of evidence shows that far from cannabis being less harmful than other illicit drugs, as befits its Class B classification, its effects are far more devastating. Long-term potheads display on average an eight-point decline in IQ over time, an elevated risk of psychosis and permanent brain damage.

Cannabis is associated with a host of biological ill-effects including cirrhosis of the liver, strokes and heart attacks. People who use it are more likely than non-users to access other illegal drugs. And so on.

Ah, say the autonomy-loving free-marketeers, but it doesn’t harm anyone other than the user. Well, that’s not true either. It can destroy relationships with family, friends and employers. Users often display more antisocial behaviour, such as stealing money or lying to get a job, as well as a greater association with aggression, paranoia and violent death. According to Stuart Reece, an Australian professor of medicine, cannabis use in pregnancy has also been linked to an epidemic of gastroschisis, in which babies are born with intestines outside their abdomen, in at least 15 nations including the UK.

The legalisers’ argument is that keeping cannabis illegal does not control the harm it does. Yet wherever its supply has been liberalised, its use and therefore the harm it does have both gone up.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(Time) The Affordable Care Act is being exploited to allow people to prey on Opiod addicts

As so often happens, a frantic mother called us about her 19-year-old daughter, who I’ll call Jen. A heroin addict, Jen had been shuttled between multiple treatment centers and sober homes by greedy marketers looking to cash in on the teenager’s insurance benefits by keeping her perpetually in recovery, but never sober. As our investigator searched Palm Beach County for Jen, her mother finally reached her by phone. She pleaded with her daughter to leave Florida, to which Jen replied, “Why would I come home? I have all I need here.” In the ensuing months, Jen has become a victim of a vicious cycle known as “the Florida shuffle.” She has continued in and out of treatment, repeatedly relapsed and overdosed, been on the brink of death, was revived and all the while trafficked by marketers offering free rent and other gifts — as she ignores her mother’s desperate pleas to come home.

Americans know of the carnage wrought by the opioid epidemic. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, opioids caused 91 deaths every day in 2015. Expect a significant increase when the 2016 medical examiner and coroner reports are released nationwide. In my jurisdiction alone, 596 people died from opioid-related deaths in 2016, an increase of 286% since 2012.

Less known, however, is that this growing epidemic has been fueled in part by the manipulation of well-intended federal laws — such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Mental Health Parity Act — by unscrupulous individuals looking to profit on the misery and vulnerability of others. Fueled by new financial benefits in federal law, private drug treatment providers have flourished, as marketers often push individuals with substance use disorder to the warm weather states of Florida, Arizona and California as recovery destinations. The unethical players within the recovery industry see the addict as a valuable commodity and have exploited federal law to foster a cycle of relapse, rather than recovery.

Today, big money in the drug treatment industry comes through failure. …

Read it all.

Posted in --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine

60 Minutes latest story on the opiod crisis–Heroin in the Heartland

Federal and local authorities nationwide now consider heroin to be the biggest drug epidemic in the country. Not methamphetamines or cocaine, heroin.

Dealers, connected to Mexican drug cartels, are making huge profits pushing their poison into suburbs and small towns across the country. It’s basic economics: the dealers are going where the money is. And they’re cultivating a broad set of consumers: high school students, college athletes, teachers and professionals.

Heroin is showing up everywhere — in places like Columbus Ohio. The area has long been viewed as so typically Middle American that, for years, many companies have gone there to test their new products. A few years ago when we started reporting this story we went to the Columbus suburbs to see how heroin is taking hold in the heartland….

Read or watch it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

(Sunday [London] Times) ‘They’re here, then they just die’: opioid addiction kills 175 Americans a day

At first glance, Manchester, New Hampshire, seems a typical New England town. A pleasant, low-key sort of place, free of extreme poverty or urban decay.

You do not have to look far, however, to see something is amiss: this is a town firmly in the grip of the opioid crisis that is devastating America.

Dotted around the central squares and parks are small groups of people visibly suffering from addiction. Yesterday, hundreds of residents took part in a “rally for recovery” in the town centre, gathering to highlight the plight of their friends and neighbours.

On the walls of the Hope addiction recovery clinic, a few hundred yards away, are pictures from a kayaking expedition. Karla Gallagher, who works at the clinic, cannot look at it without becoming close to tears.

“We lose these people all the time,” she said, pointing to a picture of a smiling young girl on a canoe. “We lost her. One day they’re here and then they just die.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

(Washington Post Wonkblog) Christopher Ingraham–Here’s one marijuana trend you should actually be worried about

The latest federal survey data shows that while teen marijuana use continues to decline in the era of legal pot, adult use is rising. The percent of people over the age of 18 who smoke it in a given year has risen from 10.4 percent in 2002 to 14.1 percent in 2016. In other words, 46 million people got high last year.

In and of itself, the increase in adult marijuana use isn’t particularly alarming. Public-health researchers are typically more worried about adolescent drug use, which can derail a young person’s life. If more adults are smoking marijuana once or twice a year — even once or twice a month — it’s not really a huge concern.

More concerning, though, is the number of people who are getting high all the time — heavy users who smoke on a daily or near-daily basis. The federal data shows that those numbers are increasingly precipitously.

In 2016,  nearly 19 percent of people who used marijuana that year used it at least 300 days out of the year. That figure’s up by roughly 50 percent from 2002, when 12 percent of marijuana users consumed the drug daily or near-daily.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine

(WSJ) Opioid Epidemic May Be Keeping Prime-Age Americans Out of the Workforce

New research suggests a significant portion of the post-1990s decline in labor-force participation among Americans in their prime working years could be linked to the opioid epidemic.

Conducted by Princeton University economist Alan Kruegerthe study found that a national increase in opioid painkiller prescriptions between 1999 and 2015 may have accounted for about 20% of the decline in workforce participation among men ages 25 to 54, and roughly 25% of the drop in prime-age female workforce participation.

“The opioid epidemic and labor-force participation are now intertwined,” Mr. Krueger said. “If we are to bring a large number of people back into the labor force who have left the labor force, I think it’s important that we take serious steps to address the opioid crisis.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Young Adults

(ABC Nightline) One Nation, Overdosed: Snapshots of Americans struggling under the opioid crisis

In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses, according to the CDC, which says preliminary data from 2016 suggests the total number of overdose deaths will increase.

Daniel Ciccarone, an associate editor for the International Journal of Drug Policy and professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, said the lag time of a year is an improvement from how data was collected a few years ago, but it’s still a problem for understanding the scope of the current epidemic.

“The numbers are extraordinary and it’s easy to get kind of numbed when you’re in that kind of event when you say, ‘well, this has had more deaths than the Vietnam War, this has had more deaths in a given year than HIV-AIDS,'” Ciccarone said. “We’re reached epidemic levels because this is of crisis proportions. It’s going to require a crisis response: resources, time, effort, humanity, compassion of a historic proportion.”

Read it all or you can watch the full video report here (just under 11 minutes).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(Telegraph) Marijuana company buys entire California town for ‘hospitality destination’

One of the largest marijuana companies in the US has bought a California desert town, promising to turn it into a “cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.”

American Green Inc. said it is buying all 80 acres of Nipton, which includes its Old West-style hotel, a handful of houses, an RV park and a coffee shop.

The town’s current owner, Roxanne Lang, said the sale is still in escrow, but confirmed American Green is the buyer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Rural/Town Life

(CT) Linda Stokes–Hope for America’s Opioid Epidemic Is Grace in a Syringe

But as the controversy has increased, so has the response of the church. As we face yet another year of skyrocketing opioid deaths and ask ourselves why we are losing an entire generation when we have the antidote, many Christian organizations—desperate to heal the wounds of their communities—have begun to augment their recovery outreach and relational ministries with Narcan distribution and training. Narcan has become the new compassion ministry.

David Stoecker knows why. After 24 years of opioid abuse, countless stints in rehab, repeated efforts at 12-step programs and trying “just about everything else” to get clean, Stoecker found Jesus. “I had some people who loved on me,” he says. “I was a troubled kid, I had a lot of abuse when I was younger. My dad passed away from suicide, and with opioids I finally found something that I could use to escape. I was a really annoying atheist. I liked to belittle Christians. But after a couple times of them inviting me to church, I finally gave in because they offered me live music and BBQ after church. And I like to eat.” Stoecker says that he attended Sunday church services and Celebrate Recovery meetings for six months because of the relationships he was forming. “Then one night, I offered up a foxhole prayer and made a bunch of deals with God. That was eight and a half years ago, and I haven’t used since.”

Stoecker raised his education level from a GED he completed in prison to a master’s degree in social work. He has since started two nonprofit recovery organizations and become the state advocacy and education coordinator for the Missouri Recovery Network. He distributes Narcan to community organizations throughout the state and trains everyone from pastors and outreach workers to the family members of substance abusers how to recognize an overdose and save a life. “When a pastor or a Christian asks me, you know, ‘Why do I need this?’ I tell them, ‘Because dead people don’t get saved.’”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology

(Guardian) Holy smoke! The church of cannabis in Denver, Colorado

t started, naturally, with a group of friends smoking a joint. Steve Berke, a graduate of Yale University, was temporarily living in an old church in Denver, Colorado. His estate agent parents had bought the 113-year-old building with the plan to turn it into flats. He and Lee Molloy, as well as a few friends, had just moved from Miami to capitalise on Colorado’s lucrative marijuana market. But then, in the words of Lee: “We started having these stupid, fantastical conversations. What if we kept it as a church?” So Steve convinced his parents to give him the building and, nine months later, on 20 April 2016 – 4/20, as it’s known in the United States, the unofficial pothead’s holiday (because it’s 4.20pm somewhere, right?) – the International Church of Cannabis opened its doors with its own chapel, theology and video game arcade.

From the outside all appears normal: red-brick towers, blocky turrets, a classic city church in an otherwise leafy suburb of Denver. But there are giveaways. The three front doors and arched window facade have been spray-painted with silver galaxies and bright, happy-face planets. The work of legendary painter and graphic artist Kenny Scharf, who has exhibited in the Whitney and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, it looks more like the backdrop for an illegal 90s rave than your typical parish church. But it’s indicative of the coup that Elevation Ministries, the non-profit company that Steve and Lee co-founded to set up the Church of Cannabis, has managed to pull off.

“That mural would probably buy you next door’s house,” Lee says, letting me in. But they got it for the price of an air ticket for Scharf, a few days’ skiing and the loan of a jacket. People love fantastical ideas.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Religion & Culture

(NYT) On the Front Lines of Ohio’s Heroin Crisis: Playwrights

“In the Rust Belt, it’s a situation where everybody’s heard about it and everybody knows it’s a crisis,” said Nathan Motta, the artistic director of the Dobama Theater in Cleveland Heights. “Everybody is one or two people from somebody who is suffering.”

At least five plays about heroin abuse have been produced in northeast Ohio alone in the last year as the state’s residents grapple with the surging epidemic. The Columbus Dispatch reported in May that at least 4,149 Ohioans died from unintentional overdoses of heroin, fentanyl and other drugs in 2016, a 36 percent jump from the prior year. This year’s overdose fatalities are set to outpace last year’s, according to the report.

Heroin-themed plays have surfaced elsewhere recently, too: at a high school in New Market, Md.; a community theater in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; and a children’s theater in Roanoke, Va. And on Broadway this spring, the new play “Sweat” — which won the Pulitzer Prize in drama in April — featured two characters who abuse heroin in working-class Reading, Pa.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Theology

White House opioid commission to Trump: “Declare a national emergency” on drug overdoses

The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a preliminary report on Monday stating that its “first and most urgent recommendation” is for the president to “declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.”

“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day,” the report notes, “America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”

The commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, states that the goals of such a declaration would be to “force Congress to focus on funding” and to “awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.”

Read it all and see also this report which says nearly 40% of Americans use opioids to manage pain, according to a federal government study, with deaths more than quadrupling between 1999 and 2015.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, President Donald Trump

Irwin Stelzer–The Opioid Crisis Is Creating a Labor Crisis

If you wonder what is supposed to happen when the demand for labor outruns the available supply, take a look at the picture below. It’s a Starbucks plea for baristas-the usually young people who make your latte, americano, or coconut milk mocha macchiato every morning. True, this particular branch is located in small-town Colorado, a state in which the unemployment rate is around 2 percent, far below the approximately 6 percent considered “full employment” when I was teaching this stuff. Still, even after recent increases in hourly wage rates, and introduction of an attractive benefits package that includes free college tuition and health care, and free access to Spotify, which I am told is some sort of music app, Starbucks is having trouble filling its ranks.

The Seattle-based chain is not the only employer struggling to find staff. The problem is widespread. One construction executive told me he cannot find roofers, those who left the trade during the Great Recession having found easier and steadier work driving UPS and FedEx vans. A property developer with a $1 billion annual budget has the land on which to build to houses, but can’t find workers, skilled and unskilled, to build them. Amazon, which needs 50,000 workers to fill new positions, 40,000 of them full-time, many with starting salaries of about $13 an hour, will be holding a job fair next week and expects to face difficulties finding suitable candidates. Employers uniformly tell me that higher wages would not attract the workers they need. Before responding, “They would say that, wouldn’t they?” consider opioids.

As Fed chair Janet Yellen told a Senate committee recently, the opioid epidemic is contributing to the labor shortage. Opioids are just the thing to kill the pain of a tooth extraction. For two or three days. And a blessing for the terminally ill. But they are a bane for those who abuse them, and a factor to be considered when analyzing the labor market. Yellen testified, “We’ve had many decades of declining labor force participation by prime-age men. … We’ve seen now unfortunately that it is likely tied to the opioid crisis. … I don’t know if it’s causal, or it’s a symptom of long-running economic maladies that have affected these communities.” One iteration of the now-failed Senate health care bill included $45 billion to combat opioid abuse.

Read it all.

Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Wash Post) Keith Humphreys–These college students lost access to legal pot — and started getting better grades

The most rigorous study yet of the effects of marijuana legalization has identified a disturbing result: College students with access to recreational cannabis on average earn worse grades and fail classes at a higher rate.

Economists Olivier Marie and Ulf Zölitz took advantage of a decision by Maastricht, a city in the Netherlands, to change the rules for “cannabis cafes,” which legally sell recreational marijuana. Because Maastricht is very close to the border of multiple European countries (Belgium, France and Germany), drug tourism was posing difficulties for the city. Hoping to address this, the city barred noncitizens of the Netherlands from buying from the cafes.

This policy change created an intriguing natural experiment at Maastricht University, because students there from neighboring countries suddenly were unable to access legal pot, while students from the Netherlands continued….

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Education, Young Adults

(NBC) Buffalo’s Opioid Court Hopes to Show New Path in Addiction Fight

Watch the whole encouraging piece.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues

(NBC) Akron, Ohio, Schools to Get Anti-OD Med Narcan, but Not Everybody Agrees

There was one dissenter when the school board in Akron, Ohio, voted this week to start stocking medicine cabinets with what all members agree is a sad sign of the times — the anti-overdose drug Narcan.

And that school board member, Debbie Walsh, said she was bracing for blowback for casting that no vote

“But blowback is not what I’ve received,” Walsh told NBC News on Wednesday. “The people who talked to me said they agreed with me. They, too, are worried that having it on hand might be creating an even bigger problem by sending the message to kids: ‘Don’t worry, take drugs. We’ve got Narcan to save you.'”

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Education

BBC- America’s opioid crisis: The grandparents’ burden

Jean and Terry Childs had exciting plans for their retirement. Then their daughter died of an overdose and they found themselves caring for two of their grandchildren.

Read and watch it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Marriage & Family

A Powerful and Heartbreaking Article from the New Yorker–The Addicts Next Door, what life is like on the ground in the midst of the Opiod crisis in West Virginia

In his seminars, [Dr. John] Aldis addresses why addicts’ lives are worth saving. That might seem self-evident, but at this point in the opioid epidemic many West Virginians feel too exhausted and resentful to help. People like Lori Swadley and the Hope Dealer women and John Aldis must combat a widespread attitude of “Leave ’em lie, let ’em die.” A community sucked dry by addiction becomes understandably wary of coddling users, and some locals worry that making Narcan easily available could foster complacency about overdoses.

William Poe, a paramedic, told me, “The thing about Narcan is that it kind of makes it O.K. to overdose, because then you can keep it in your house and keep it private. And a lot of times we’re the wake-up call. I remember one time, we had a kid who had O.D.’d, and we had him in the ambulance. A call came over the radio—someone about his age had just died from an overdose. And the kid was, like, ‘I’m so glad you guys brought me back.’ ” It was humiliating when an ambulance showed up at your house and carted you out, pale and retching, but it also might push you to change. Then again, Poe mused, when most of your neighbors—not to mention your mom and your grandma—already knew that you used heroin, shaming might have little effect.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction

(NYT) Prozac Nation Is Now the United States of Xanax

This past winter, Sarah Fader, a 37-year-old social media consultant in Brooklyn who has generalized anxiety disorder, texted a friend in Oregon about an impending visit, and when a quick response failed to materialize, she posted on Twitter to her 16,000-plus followers. “I don’t hear from my friend for a day — my thought, they don’t want to be my friend anymore,” she wrote, appending the hashtag #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike.

Thousands of people were soon offering up their own examples under the hashtag; some were retweeted more than 1,000 times. You might say Ms. Fader struck a nerve. “If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious,” she said on the telephone, “there’s something wrong with you.”

It was 70 years ago that the poet W.H. Auden published “The Age of Anxiety,” a six-part verse framing modern humankind’s condition over the course of more than 100 pages, and now it seems we are too rattled to even sit down and read something that long (or as the internet would say, tl;dr).

Anxiety has become our everyday argot, our thrumming lifeblood: not just on Twitter (the ur-anxious medium, with its constant updates), but also in blogger diaries, celebrity confessionals (Et tu, Beyoncé?), a hit Broadway show (“Dear Evan Hansen”), a magazine start-up (Anxy, a mental-health publication based in Berkeley, Calif.), buzzed-about television series (like “Maniac,” a coming Netflix series by Cary Fukunaga, the lauded “True Detective” director) and, defying our abbreviated attention spans, on bookshelves.

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Psychology, Stress

(NYT) Opioid Dealers Embrace the Dark Web to Send Deadly Drugs by Mail

As the nation’s opioid crisis worsens, the authorities are confronting a resurgent, unruly player in the illicit trade of the deadly drugs, one that threatens to be even more formidable than the cartels.

The internet.

In a growing number of arrests and overdoses, law enforcement officials say, the drugs are being bought online. Internet sales have allowed powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl — the fastest-growing cause of overdoses nationwide — to reach living rooms in nearly every region of the country, as they arrive in small packages in the mail.

The authorities have been frustrated in their efforts to crack down on the trade because these sites generally exist on the so-called dark web, where buyers can visit anonymously using special browsers and make purchases with virtual currencies like Bitcoin.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Drugs/Drug Addiction

(Wa Po) Companies need workers — but people keep getting high

Workers at McLane drive forklifts and load hefty boxes into trucks. The grocery supplier, which runs a warehouse in Colorado, needs people who will stay alert — but prospective hires keep failing drug screens.

“Some weeks this year, 90 percent of applicants would test positive for something,” ruling them out for the job, said Laura Stephens, a human resources manager for the company in Denver.

The state’s unemployment rate is already low — 3 percent, compared to 4.7 percent for the entire nation. Failed drug tests, which are rising locally and nationally, further drain the pool of eligible job candidates.

“Finding people to fill jobs,” Stephens said, “is really challenging.”

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(NYT) Cambridge, Mass might place lockboxes on street corners 2 give the public easy access to Narcan

Across the country, someone dies of an opioid overdose every 24 minutes. In Massachusetts, the death toll is five people a day.

In the face of this epidemic, Cambridge could become the first city to take a step that until recently might have seemed unthinkable: It might place lockboxes on street corners to give the public easy access to Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, a medication that can rapidly revive people who have overdosed.

The idea is in its earliest stages, and any concrete plan for the city, and residents, to consider seems at least a year away. But several days ago, the city police and area doctors who support the boxes conducted an experiment here, asking people who walked by if they would help a stranger who had overdosed.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., City Government, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

Heroin, gang activity topics of police concern at community meeting in the town where we live in South Carolina

It came as a shock to some community members when Summerville [South Carolina] police officials revealed this month during a town hall meeting, meant to address racial profiling statistics, that gang and drug activity are instead the town’s top two problems, infiltrating the area like never before.

“(The) heroin epidemic (we’re) experiencing (is the) biggest we’ve seen since I’ve worked here,” said Capt. Doug Wright. “It’s creeping into families and destroying families.”

The meeting, which took place April 18, was the third of its kind since 2015 and one Louis Smith, founder of the Community Resource Center, helped police put together after reviewing all the department’s 2016 traffic stop reports.

Smith said he found no wrongdoing on officers’ part and praised them for staying honest, cooperating with his request and remaining transparent with the community.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Rural/Town Life

Restaurant workers in Denver are asking: Why work in a stressful kitchen when you can make $22 an hour in a Pot greenhouse?

It’s hard to think of an American city that isn’t experiencing a restaurant boom these days. Put Denver at the top of that list: By some accounts, 30 spots will have opened this spring, including the new Departure Denver, a popular Asian small-plates spot recently transplanted from Portland, Ore., and an outpost of the beloved New York bar, Death & Company on the way.

However, the city is facing a major problem as a result of one of its biggest recent tourism drivers. The pot industry is taking a toll on local restaurant work forces and in some cases, liquor sales. “No one is talking about it,” said Bobby Stuckey, the James Beard award winning co-owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder and the soon-to-open Tavernetta in Denver. “But Colorado’s restaurant labor market is in Defcon 5 right now, because of weed facilities.”

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Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Globe+Mail) Michael Devillaer: Pot legalization: Canada doesn’t need another profit-seeking drug industry

First, the research is clear that the great majority of current drug-related harm and economic costs arise not from the misuse of illegal drugs but from legal, regulated drugs: tobacco and alcohol. The extent of harm and costs is enormous, and continues year after year.

The epidemic of opioid deaths that has been sweeping across North America had its genesis in the conduct of the legal pharmaceutical drug industry.

Second, we have a history of pan-industry failure to balance revenue interests with the protection of public health. Industries protect their revenue by disregarding existing regulations and opposing the introduction of new evidence-based reforms. They also have a history of breaking the law to maximize revenues.

Third, government has been reluctant to adopt evidence-based regulatory reforms, and the effectiveness of existing regulations is often compromised by permissive enforcement. Rarely-assessed penalties are typically insufficient to discourage recidivism. In sum, drug industry regulation is not simply less than perfect, it is seriously less than adequate, and contributes to the perennial high levels of harm from drug products.

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Posted in Canada, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General