Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dr. Stephen Frye: The War on Drugs is Racist


  1. I's been obvious for many years what needs to be done. The bought off whores in DC will not even allow a conversation of Industrial Hemp let alone anything else. Nothing can change in this atmosphere.

    1. Excellent point One Fly - we used to have a very good industrial hemp ag business in this country. The criminalization of weed dates back to the 1937 marihuana act, which was pushed by the yellow journalist Willam Randoph Hearst. He did so not because of any desire to reduce drug addiction; he did it because that hemp industry was in competition with his ownership of vast amounts of woodlands, used to make wood pulp for paper. It was a business decision, one that relied on popular ethnic prejudices, and one which incidentally was strongly opposed by the medical establishment of the time.

      When WW II broke out, because we no longer grew hemp in this country, we had a terrible time providing enough of the desireable industrial hemp for rope, for example for marine use.

      Industrial hemp has an enormous amount of uses, and we should be growing it again -- good point One fly!

  2. He's right; I'm no fan of altering your state of consciousness for recreational purposes, through using alcohol, or marijuana, much less harder drugs.

    I will admit to an enjoyment of the extremly mild euphoric properties of a good dark chocolate on occasion.

    I'm even becoming more aware and informed about the dangers of sugar addiction. (yes, sugar addiction! -- read the wikipedia entry:
    http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/11/12167990-hitchhiker-writing-the-kindness-of-america-memoir-shot-by-motorist-in-montana?lite) and I try to limit my intake of caffeine to a very amall amount. Caffeine is another addictive substance, which has the potential for beneficial or for adverse use: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine_addiction

    Our scientfic understanding of how addictive substances operate is getting better and better.

    We need a better understanding and appreciation for how our brain operates in response to these substances, and to educate people so they use them accordingly - and responsibly - to avoid abuse.

    Before you skeptics blow this off entirely, read the following two excerpts from the wikipedia entries, and then think about how we need a better way of regulating chemicals that affect our brain, particularly our ability to make good decisions about them when a substance has addictive properties which compromise that decision making.

    A 1987 study showed sugar acted as an analgesic drug whose effects could be blocked by a morphine blocker.[2] In her 1998 book, author Kathleen DesMaisons outlined the concept of sugar addiction as a measurable physiological state caused by activation of opioid receptors in the brain and hypothesized that dependence on sugar followed the same track outlined in the DSM IV for other drugs of abuse.[3][page needed]

    2002 research at Princeton began showing the neurochemical effects of sugar, noting that sugar might serve as a gateway drug for other drugs.[4]

    Although its mechanism of action is somewhat different to that of cocaine or the amphetamines, for example, it nonetheless creates a similar pattern of dependence. It is believed that this is due to the (albeit indirect) manipulation of dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain and body, which in turn are caused by antagonism of adenosine receptors. Whilst the drug is active, antagonism of adenosine sites increases - as do levels of neurotransmitters.

    This raises the question of what is addiction:

    The definition most commonly accepted by addiction experts is a boiled-down version of the one laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR), psychiatry’s handbook of all mental conditions. By the book, addiction is the compulsive use of a substance despite ongoing negative consequences, which may lead to tolerance or withdrawal symptoms when the substance is stopped. By this definition, about 10% of people who smoke marijuana become addicted to it.However, nonspecialists (including many doctors) still tend to use an older perspective, now seen as outdated by experts. From their point of view, some drugs may be considered physically addictive — producing severe withdrawal — while others are psychologically addictive and only cause craving; those that are both are the hardest to quit.

    Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/19/is-marijuana-addictive-it-depends-how-you-define-addiction/#ixzz1xaIfGsKJ

  3. Don't look for a marijuana addiction section in wikipedia - it's under cannabis dependence.

    Cannabis dependence is a condition defined in DSM-IV applying the general concept of substance dependence to cannabis.[1][2]

    Despite cannabis being one of the most widely used illicit drugs in the world,[3] controlled trials for cannabis use disorder have only been reported in literature in the last 15 years.

    Only a minority of cannabis users seek medical help with addiction, but demand for treatment for cannabis use disorder is increasing internationally.[4]

    Evidence for cannabis dependence comes from a number of sources including epidemiological surveys,[5][6][7][8] studies of long-term users,[9][10] clinical trials of people seeking treatment,[11][12][13] controlled experiments on withdrawal and tolerance [14][15][16] and laboratory studies on cannabis brain mechanisms.[17] Budney et al. state that "clinical and epidemiological studies indicate that cannabis dependence is a relatively common phenomenon associated with significant psychosocial abnormality. Basic research has identified a neurobiological system specific to the actions of cannabinoids. Human and non-human studies have demonstrated a valid withdrawal syndrome that is relatively common among heavy marijuana users".[18] In addition, clinical trials evaluating treatments for cannabis dependence indicate that, among other substance dependencies, cannabis dependency is responsive to intervention.[18]

    I would argue that we need a consistent approach to substances which cause dependency, withdrawal, and which alter judgment and decision making in a bad or destructive way. We should regulate not on what is common habit, but on how substances work, and what the consequences of those substances are on human bodies and human behavior.

    In that context, the MD above is right that we should not be imprisoning the number of people we do, particularly when such a disproportionate number clearly are treated differently along racial lines.

  4. The best way to regulate substances is to inform people of their effects and then to hold people responsible for their actions. As with guns, so with drugs.

    1. Randolphus MaximusJune 12, 2012 at 5:29 PM


    2. Talk about you apples and oranges comparison. A gun is a tool made to kill humans. Drugs are used to alter consciousness, like alcohol.

      Apples and oranges.

    3. That doesn't hold true with addictive substances, and it doesn't hold true with certain kinds of marketing either.

      You as usual posit a simplistic and superficial assessment of the role of free will that doesn't track well with objectie reality. It's a great theory - it just has no correlation to reality.

      If what you said were correct, that informing people was the solution, no one would ever be addicted, they wouldn't smoke, drink to excess, drive unsafely, or ever become addicted --- or be obese from sugary drinks which have a disproportionate role in people being overweight.

      When you look at the development and function of the human brain at different stages of development, particularly at the function of impulse control, it becomes obvious that certain things - like sugar - are going to addict people long before the free will you espouse can reasonably kick in.

      Get real Greg - your position appeals to people who like emotional appeals, but it crashes and burns when it hits reality. In a word, your view is crap, high sounding crap with lots of flourishes, but still crap.

      That is why we had to do things like mandate safety equipment in vehicles like seatbelts - people didn't have them installed or use them voluntarily, despite all the evidence about how many lives they saved and the extraordinary reduction in injuries.

      People do NOT do things simply because they are told.

      What an ignorant point of view about what makes people tick.

      I strongly suggest you read the best seller Freakenomics. It addresses brilliantly the differences between what people think is effective in behavior, versus what really works.

      The two chapters you might find most useful for the purposes of this discussion are the ones on how a hospital dramatically reduced their infection rates by finding out what worked to get people to wash their hands more often, and the chapter that covers how day care centers incentivized parents to pick up their children on time.

      If Greg's view was correct, simply informing people would be sufficient, and then letting them make their own decisions - and THAT wasn't even remotely successful in achieving the desired outcome.

      In fact that was the single MOST disastrous method tried.

      Part of what is so frustrating in dealing with gun nuts is their utterly simplistic and unrealistic, not factually objective view of people and the world.
      And it is a huge part of why we distrust your judgment so completely - you have a failed premise of how you view the world.

      Frankly I would think it was too shallow to allow for a good interpretation of literature either.