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posted by martyb on Saturday September 03 2016, @09:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the good-samaritans-beware dept.

When customers want a longer-lasting high, heroin dealers respond by augmenting their products with drugs like carfentanil:

A powerful drug that's normally used to tranquilize elephants is being blamed for a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says communities everywhere should be on alert for carfentanil. The synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the prescription painkiller that led to the death earlier this year of the pop star Prince. Fentanyl itself can be up to 50 times more deadly than heroin.

In the past few years, traffickers in illegal drugs increasingly have substituted fentanyl for heroin and other opioids. Now carfentanil [alt link] is being sold on American streets, either mixed with heroin or pressed into pills that look like prescription drugs. Many users don't realize that they're buying carfentanil. And that has deadly consequences.

"Instead of having four or five overdoses in a day, you're having these 20, 30, 40, maybe even 50 overdoses in a day," says Tom Synan, who directs the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force in Southwest Ohio. He's also the police chief in Newtown, Ohio. Synan says carfentanil turned up in Cincinnati in July. At times, the number of overdoses has overwhelmed first responders. "Their efforts are truly heroic, to be going from call to call to call," he says. "One district alone had seen 14 in one shift, so they were nonstop."

First responders and emergency room workers are being told to wear protective gloves and masks. That's because carfentanil is so potent, it can be dangerous to someone who simply touches or inhales it. This was devastatingly clear back in 2002, after a hostage rescue operation in Moscow that went wrong. To overpower Chechen terrorists who'd seized control of a theater, Russian Special Forces sprayed a chemical aerosol into the building. More than 100 hostages were overcome and died. Laboratory tests by British investigators later revealed [open, DOI: 10.1093/jat/bks078] [DX] that the aerosol included carfentanil.

In the article about the DEA adding kratom to Schedule I, I mentioned an "unprecedented" amount of "heroin" overdoses in Cincinnati. The carfentanil-cut heroin boosted the overdose tally to 174 in 6 days (225 in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and New Jersey):

Deaths have not spiked along with the overdose reports because police officers or emergency medical technicians are immediately administering naloxone, sometimes in more than one dose, to bring heroin users back to consciousness and start them breathing.

Original Submission

Related Stories

DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30 32 comments

Kratom, an herbal drug made of ground-up tree leaves, is "temporarily" joining other natural substances such as cannabis, psilocybin, and peyote on the schedule I list of the Controlled Substances Act. The active ingredients in kratom, the indole alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are both being added to the list for up to three years, after which they can be added permanently.

Prior to this move, the U.S. has already been seizing shipments of kratom:

In 2014, the FDA issued an import alert that allowed US Customs agents to detain kratom without a physical examination. "We have identified kratom as a botanical substance that could pose a risk to public health and have the potential for abuse," said Melinda Plaisier, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. According to the DEA, between February 2014 and July 2016, nearly 247,000 pounds of kratom were seized.

Advocates say that kratom is a natural treatment for opioid addiction, an application that the Drug Enforcement Agency dismisses. Meanwhile, the heroin/opioid epidemic continues with "unprecedented" events like the recent 174 heroin overdoses in just six days in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Check out the implosion of this kratom subreddit, which is attempting to get 100,000 signatures on the White House petition site:

APATHY WILL GET US NOWHERE. IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME FOR US TO BAND TOGETHER, ITS NOW. stand with me brothers and sisters. hope is not lost.

Original Submission

The Calm Before the Kratom Ban 27 comments

The blowback against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's decision to ban kratom has caught the attention of a bipartisan group of legislators, but a DEA spokesman has said that "It's not a matter of if. It's simply a matter of when" the DEA bans kratom:

A bipartisan group of nine senators is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to delay its "unprecedented" decision to ban kratom, a plant that researchers say holds great potential for mitigating the effects of the opioid epidemic. [...] The Senate letter, spearheaded by Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) says: "Congress granted emergency scheduling authority to the DEA based on the need for law enforcement interdiction of new and previously unknown illegal synthetic street drugs that result in injuries and death. The use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented, so it is important to determine whether the circumstances here necessitate a jump to Schedule I.

"Given the long reported history of Kratom use," the letter continues, "coupled with the public's sentiment that it is a safe alternative to prescription opioids, we believe using the regular review process would provide for a much-needed discussion among all stakeholders." [...] The DEA cites 600-plus poison-control center calls involving kratom between 2010 and 2015 in its justification for banning the plant, and notes that 15 deaths were linked to the use of the plant between 2014 and 2016. In an interview with The Washington Post, a DEA spokesman later clarified that all but one of those fatalities involved the use of other substances. Earlier this week 51 U.S. representatives similarly called on the DEA and the White House to reconsider or at least delay the ban, which was slated to go into effect as early as Friday. In an interview, DEA spokesman Russell Baer confirmed that the ban was not yet in place. "We have not yet determined a date when we will publish that final order" putting the ban into effect, he said.

There may be a public comment period before the ban takes effect, and the White House is now obligated to respond to the petition about kratom, which has reached over 140,000 signatures.

Text of the Senators' letter. Also at Ars Technica, CBS, and US News & World Report.

Previously: DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Alcohol Industry Bankrolls Fight Against Legal Pot in Battle of the Buzz [Updated]

Original Submission

One Upside to Opioid Overdoses: More Organ Donors 21 comments

More organs have become available for transplant in British Columbia, Canada, due to a rise in drug overdoses:

After a brutal year where more than 900 people died of drug overdoses in British Columbia, doctors are pointing to one morbid upside. It might sound like something out of a dystopian horror comic, where drug users are wiped out and harvested for organs. New stats released by the health agency responsible for organ transplants show that's not exactly a far-off nightmare anymore. Health officials have noticed a significant uptick in organ donor deaths, and say that fentanyl is likely playing a role. According to BC Transplant, the number of organ donors in the first weeks of 2017 has doubled over this time last year, from 10 to 20. That's resulted in 59 transplants, up from 37 organs over the same period in 2016.

[...] "We started tracking the connection between fentanyl and organ donation more closely at the start of 2017, and fentanyl has been a contributing factor in about a quarter of our donors so far this year." BC Transplant's statement cautions against drawing conclusions based on a small amount of recent data. But long term trends show the proportion of organ donors dying from overdose has gone up steadily over many years. Back in 2013, 7.5 percent of organ donors tested positive for drugs. In 2016, that number rose to 22.7 percent.

Previously: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Obama Administration Expands Access to Suboxone Treatment
DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
The Calm Before the Kratom Ban

Original Submission

4/20: The Third Time's Not the Charm 55 comments

Past articles: 20152016

What's up, Soylenteers? I've got to write another one of these? #420TooMainstream.

Legalization Status

Timeline of cannabis laws in the United States
Timeline of cannabis law

Since this time last year, Ohio, Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas legalized medical cannabis, Illinois decriminalized it, and California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis. An attempt to legalize recreational cannabis in Arizona narrowly failed.

29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical use, although restrictions vary widely from state to state.

Germany's medical cannabis law was approved in January and came into effect in March. Poland has also legalized medical cannabis, and Georgia's Supreme Court has ruled that imprisonment for possession of small amounts of cannabis is unconstitutional.

Recently: West Virginia on Course for Medical Marijuana

🍁 Cannada: Not So Fast 🍁

Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled (archive) legislation (archive) that would make Canada the first major Western country to legalize recreational cannabis (the only country to legalize it to date is Uruguay, although implementation has taken years), dealing a serious blow to the crumbling United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. However, the Liberal Party of Canada intends to wait more than a year to act on its campaign promise, during which time Canadians can still face prosecution for possession of the drug:

True to form, this government has written down a series of talking points, in this case, trying to make it sound like it's cracking down on pot rather than legalizing it. And Justin Trudeau's ministers are sticking to the messaging from party central like a child reciting Dr. Seuss.

Not once in that As It Happens interview did [Justice Minister Jody] Wilson-Raybould explain why the government intends to keep on criminalizing Canadians so unfairly (see the Liberal party's website statement) for another year. Instead, literally every second time she opened her mouth, she re-spouted the line about "strictly regulating and restricting access." Off asked eight questions. Four times, Wilson-Raybould robotically reverted to the same phrase.

Meanwhile, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, a parliamentary lifer who mastered the art of repetitive dronetalk sometime back in the last millennium, was out peddling more or less the same line, but with an added warning: Not only will the government continue to criminalize Canadians for what it considers a trifling offence, enforcement will be vigorous. "Existing laws prohibiting possession and use of cannabis remain in place, and they need to be respected," Goodale declared. "This must be an orderly transition. It is not a free-for-all." Why the government cannot simply decide to invoke prosecutorial and police discretion, and cease enforcing the cannabis laws it considers unjust, was not explained. Why that would necessarily be a "free for all" also went unexplained.

The Liberal Party of Canada has taken pains to remind everyone that the Conservative Party will "do everything they can to stop real change and protect a failed status quo". Unfortunately, they did not get the memo that "marijuana" is a term with racist origins.

Make like a tree and legalize it, Cannadia... Cannibinoidia.

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Backtrack to April 20th, 2016. Bernie Sanders still seemingly had a shot at becoming the President of the United States. Sanders, as well as Hillary Clinton (though begrudgingly), supported decriminalization of cannabis, medical use, and the continuation of states making decisions about recreational use. The #2 Republican candidate Ted Cruz also had a "let the states sort it out" stance.

One contender stood out, and he went on to become the @POTUS to #MAGA. The widely predicted "third term" was prevented, and that outcome may greatly affect a burgeoning semi-legal cannabis industry. One recent casualty are Amsterdam-style "cannabis clubs" (think: brewpubs). Colorado's legislature has backed off on a bill that would have allowed on-site consumption of cannabis at dispensaries due to the uncertain future of federal enforcement of cannabis prohibition.

Trump's position on cannabis has been ill-defined, although he supports medical use and has indicated that states should handle the issue. But the same can't be said of his Attorney General, former Senator Jeff Sessions. Here are some quotes about the drug from Mr. Sessions:

I thought those guys were OK until I learned they smoked pot. [Source. Context: Sessions later testified that the comment was a joke.]

We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it's in fact a very real danger.

I think one of [President Obama's] great failures, it's obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana... It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started 'Just Say No.

You can't have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink... It is different... It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal.

Good people don't smoke marijuana.

Cannabis advocates are becoming increasingly paranoid about the federal government's stance towards the states (and a certain District) that have legalized cannabis. And this is following an Obama administration that was criticized for conducting raids in states with legalization. It is too early to tell how the Trump administration will choose to deal with cannabis, but there are signs that harsher policies and greater enforcement could be coming:

On Wednesday, [April 5th,] Jeff Sessions directed Justice Department lawyers to evaluate marijuana enforcement policy and send him recommendations. And some state officials are worried. This week the governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington wrote the attorney general. They asked Sessions and the new Treasury secretary to consult with them before making any changes to regulations or enforcement.

At the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer said recently that the president is sympathetic to people who use marijuana for medical reasons. He pointed out that Congress has acted to bar the Justice Department from using federal money to interfere in state medical cannabis programs. But Spicer took a harsh view of recreational marijuana. "When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we need to be doing is encouraging people. There is still a federal law we need to abide by," Spicer said.

Really, Spicer? Recreational cannabis use shouldn't be encouraged during an opioid addiction crisis? Read on.

Politics nexus unavailable for comment.

The Opioid Crisis Drags On (it's relevant)

Heroin use has become more dangerous as dealers have increasingly added other substances that massively increase potency without affecting the size of a dose significantly. Carfentanil, which is used as an elephant tranquilizer, has led to hundreds of deaths over very short timespans. It is impossible for the average user to predict the potency and potential danger of street heroin. While there have been international responses to these compounds, new chemical analogues are being created all the time:

Chinese labs producing the synthetic opiates play hide-and-seek with authorities. On their websites, they list fake addresses in derelict shopping centers or shuttered factories, and use third-party sales agents to conduct transactions that are hard to trace. The drugs themselves are easy to find with a Google search and to buy with a few mouse clicks. A recent check found more than a dozen Chinese sites advertising fentanyl, carfentanil, and other derivatives, often labeled as "research chemicals," for sale through direct mail shipments to the United States. On one website, carfentanil goes for $361 for 50 grams: tens of thousands of lethal doses.

The cat-and-mouse game extends to chemistry, as the makers tinker with fentanyl itself. Minor modifications like adding an oxygen atom or shifting a methyl group can be enough to create whole new entities that are no longer on the list of sanctioned compounds. Carfentanil itself was, until recently, unregulated in China.

2016 saw the addition of kratom to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in the U.S. Advocates for the tree leaf drug, which was formerly classified as a supplement, believe that its painkiller effects and low risk factors make it a useful replacement for the oft-deadly opioids that millions of Americans are addicted to. Kratom users have treated their pain and opioid withdrawal symptoms using the formerly "legal high". The DEA has refused to acknowledge this application and points out the "skyrocketing" number of calls to the Poison Control Center regarding kratom in recent years. One skeptic of kratom, Dr. Josh Bloom of the American Council on Science and Health, has looked at the same evidence and concluded that the trail of bodies left by substances like fentanyl and the scarce number of deaths (perhaps wrongly) attributed to kratom make it clear that the substance is the better "poison". He also notes that:

The number of calls to poison control centers is not reliable for determining how many poisonings actually occurred. It is a crude approximation at best.

Much like kratom, medical cannabis has been touted as a solution to the opioid crisis. States with legalized medical cannabis have seen a reduction in reported instances of opioid dependence [DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.01.006] [DX] So it is puzzling that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer would use opioids as a bludgeon against cannabis legalization while AG Sessions expresses astonishment over the suggestion of using cannabis as a "cure" for the opioid crisis.

Bonus: Here's a video (2m14s) of a woman getting administered Narcan/naloxone. Here's an alternate video (2m39s) in which a man who overdosed on heroin is able to sit up in about a minute after being administered naloxone.

⚚ The Slow March for Science ⚕

While the Drug Enforcement Agency has refused to reclassify cannabis from its current Schedule I status, citing the supposedly rigorous conclusions reached by the Food and Drug Administration, it will allow more than one institution to grow cannabis for research purposes, ending the monopoly held by the University of Mississippi. However, the Schedule I status of cannabis remains an impediment to further research:

[...] DEA's decision not to reschedule marijuana presents a Catch-22. By ruling that there is not enough evidence of "currently accepted medical use"—a key distinction between the highly restrictive Schedule I classification and the less restrictive Schedule II—the administration essentially makes it harder to gather such evidence.

"They're setting a standard that can't be met," says David Bradford, a health economist at the University of Georgia, Athens. "That level of proof is never going to be forthcoming in the current environment because it requires doing a really extensive clinical trial series, and given that a pharmaceutical company can't patent whole plant marijuana, it's in no company's interest to do that."

Schedule I status presents obstacles for clinical researchers because of restrictions on how the drugs must be stored and handled, Bradford says. Perhaps more significant, that listing may evoke skittishness at funding agencies and on the institutional review boards that must sign off on research involving human subjects.

Researchers have disparaged the quality and potency as well as the appearance and odor of the University of Mississippi's cannabis products:

"It doesn't resemble cannabis. It doesn't smell like cannabis," Sisley told PBS NewsHour last week.

Jake Browne, a cannabis critic for the Denver Post's Cannabist marijuana news site, agrees. "That is, flat out, not a usable form of cannabis," he said. Browne should know: He's reviewed dozens of strains professionally and is running a sophisticated marijuana growing competition called the Grow-Off.

"In two decades of smoking weed, I've never seen anything that looks like that," Browne said. "People typically smoke the flower of the plant, but here you can clearly see stems and leaves in there as well, parts that should be discarded. Inhaling that would be like eating an apple, including the seeds inside it and the branch it grew on."

Research on cannabinoids and psychedelics is proceeding, slowly. One study published yesterday (74 years after the first LSD trip) came to an astounding conclusion: Psychedelics can induce a "heightened state of consciousness":

Healthy volunteers who received LSD, ketamine or psilocybin, a compound found in magic mushrooms, were found to have more random brain activity than normal while under the influence, according to a study into the effects of the drugs. The shift in brain activity accompanied a host of peculiar sensations that the participants said ranged from floating and finding inner peace, to distortions in time and a conviction that the self was disintegrating.

[...] What we find is that under each of these psychedelic compounds, this specific measure of global conscious level goes up, so it moves in the other direction. The neural activity becomes more unpredictable," said Anil Seth, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex. "Until now, we've only ever seen decreases compared to the baseline of the normal waking state."


Increased spontaneous MEG signal diversity for psychoactive doses of ketamine, LSD and psilocybin (open, DOI: 10.1038/srep46421) (DX)

♯ Ending on High Notes ♯

Vape Naysh, y'all!

Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl 66 comments

With Google, Bitcoins, and USPS, Feds realize it's stupid easy to buy fentanyl

A congressional report released Wednesday lays out just how easy it is for Americans to buy the deadly opioid fentanyl from Chinese suppliers online and have it shipped to them via the government's own postal service. The report also lays out just how difficult the practice will be to stop.

After Googling phrases such as "fentanyl for sale," Senate investigators followed up with just six of the online sellers they found. This eventually led them to 500 financial transaction records, accounting for about $766 million worth of fentanyl entering the country and at least seven traceable overdose deaths.

[...] "Thanks to our bipartisan investigation, we now know the depth to which drug traffickers exploit our mail system to ship fentanyl and other synthetic drugs into the United States," Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said in a statement. "The federal government can, and must, act to shore up our defenses against this deadly drug and help save lives."

Related: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Tip for Darknet Drug Lords: Don't Wear Latex Gloves to the Post Office
Cop Brushes Fentanyl Off Uniform, Overdoses
Congress Reacts to Reports that a 2016 Law Hindered DEA's Ability to go after Opioid Distributors
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan

Original Submission

"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S. 51 comments

Synthetics now killing more people than prescription opioids, report says

Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have overtaken prescription opioids as the No. 1 killer in the opioid epidemic, according to a new report.

The report, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA [DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.2844] [DX], calculated the number and percentage of synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States between 2010 and 2016 using death certificates from the National Vital Statistics System. The researchers found that about 46% of the 42,249 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, while 40% involved prescription drugs.

That's more than a three-fold increase in the presence of synthetic opioids from 2010, when synthetic drugs were involved in approximately 14% of opioid-overdose deaths.

Related: Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Study Finds Stark Increase in Opioid-Related Admissions, Deaths in Nation's ICUs
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
Purdue Pharma to Cut Sales Force, Stop Marketing Opioids to Doctors
The More Opioids Doctors Prescribe, the More Money They Make
Two More Studies Link Access to Cannabis to Lower Use of Opioids

Original Submission

120 Pounds (54 kg) of Fentanyl Seized in Nebraska 35 comments

Record US fentanyl bust 'enough to kill 26 million people'

Nearly 120lbs (54kg) of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller, has been seized by police in Nebraska - one of the largest busts in US history.

The drugs, seized last month, could kill over 26 million people, according to estimates by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Police found the fentanyl in a fake compartment of a lorry. The driver and a passenger were arrested.

[...] It was the largest seizure of fentanyl in state history, Nebraska State Patrol said in a Twitter post on Thursday.

[...] Just 2mg of fentanyl - or a few grains of table salt - is a lethal dosage for most people, and even exposure can cause a fatal reaction, according to the DEA.

Another estimate: they could make 260 million people pain-free for a day.

Bonus story:

Mussels test positive for opioids in Seattle's Puget Sound

Scientists at the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife have found that mussels in Seattle's waters are testing positive for opioids. The finding suggests "a lot of people" are taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound, researchers say.

Also at the Puget Sound Institute.

Related: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Cop Brushes Fentanyl Off Uniform, Overdoses
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl
"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S.
British Medical Journal Calls for Legalizing All Drugs

Original Submission

FDA Approves Powerful Opioid in Tablet Form: Sufentanil (Dsuvia) 31 comments

FDA approves powerful new opioid in 'terrible' decision

The Food and Drug Administration approved a powerful new opioid Friday, despite strong criticism and accusations that it bypassed its own advisory process to do it.

The new drug, Dsuvia, is a tablet that goes under the tongue. It is designed for use in the battlefield and in other emergency situations to treat intense, acute pain.

Known generically as sufentanil, it's a new formulation of a drug currently given intravenously. Critics say it will be incredibly easy for health workers to pocket and divert the drug to the illicit drug market and because it is so small and concentrated, it will likely kill people who overdose on it.

"This is a dangerous, reckless move," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe senior adviser of Public Citizen's Health Research Group. He questions whether there's need for yet another synthetic opioid when the U.S. is in the throes of an opioid overdose crisis.

Sufentanil is described as 5 to 10 times more potent than fentanyl and 500 times as potent as morphine. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, but is only approved for the veterinary use of tranquilizing large animals. Sufentanil is the strongest opioid painkiller available for use in humans.

Cannabis and kratom? Exercise caution!

Also at STAT News, NPR, and The Hill.

See also: People on front lines of epidemic fear powerful new drug Dsuvia


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03 2016, @09:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03 2016, @09:42PM (#397147)

    You people know what the solution to this madness. You have the black and white evidence right in front of your fucking faces of what works and what doesn't.

    Please, keeping dying from increasingly dangerous drugs. Please, keep the addicts finding riskier and riskier ways to shoot up. And lock up anybody caught with anything green and throw away the key.

    We can't have nice things, so I want there to be more and more suffering and death as right-wingers double down on doubling down on doubling down on stupid.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday September 04 2016, @06:10AM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Sunday September 04 2016, @06:10AM (#397298) Journal

      If it was not illegal, I'd have much less of a problem with the epidemic.

      Legalize it, provide some services, arm first responders with naloxone, and let them die otherwise.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday September 04 2016, @04:09PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday September 04 2016, @04:09PM (#397419) Homepage

      Good people can, unfortunately, become addicted to opioids. Somebody recovering from a back surgery, hell, a twisted ankle.

      And opioid addiction turns them into the worst kind of junkie - a legitimate state-sanctioned junkie. And junkies are almost the worst kind of addict second only to tweekers. A true story from L.A.:

      * knock on the door at 4 a.m.* " Hey man, call this guy and buy some heroin from him, I'll give you the money. Meet him on the bench at the bus stop."

      " What? No way dude! "

      " He won't sell to me anymore, come on, please, I need this! "

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @11:56PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @11:56PM (#397570)

      black and white evidence

      Namely, Prince and Michael Jackson.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by quintessence on Saturday September 03 2016, @09:49PM

    by quintessence (6227) on Saturday September 03 2016, @09:49PM (#397149)

    So the response from the user's perspective is-

    1. Supply a purer source. Nice if you can get it, but then they wouldn't be going through this if it were available.
    2. Just say no. Didn't work the first time, but with a chance of imminent death, maybe you'll have added incentive to seek treatment. Betcha' Cincinnati doesn't have 174 open beds at treatment centers.
    3. YOLO! I mean if it quacks like a duck...

    While it's nice that there is a concerted effort to save some lives, I would hope someone in a position of authority might take a step back and ask how it got to this point in the first place.

    A few years back heroin was making a showing as a cheaper alternative to hillbilly heroin after the crackdowns. That no one saw something like this on the horizon is just laughably stupid.

  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Saturday September 03 2016, @10:10PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Saturday September 03 2016, @10:10PM (#397153)

    frankly, i'm having a difficult time understanding why we are not putting big pharma execs behind bars for all the people that have died as a result of their lies. what's even more baffling is why opioids are still being prescribed. society deserves better than this.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:42AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:42AM (#397203)

      > what's even more baffling is why opioids are still being prescribed.

      Because in many cases of agonizing pain (for example, my 80 year old mother recovering from holes cut between her ribs for "robotic" heart surgery) morphine or other opioid is the pain killer that actually works. Morphine let her sleep for the first day or two of her recovery. Used in a controlled setting, people do not become addicted, she recovered and is OK.

      Don't over-react and legislate recreational/street drug use to the extent that it hinders useful medical uses.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03 2016, @11:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03 2016, @11:23PM (#397171)

    "Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to move out in front of a moving car." — Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly

  • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Saturday September 03 2016, @11:42PM

    by Whoever (4524) on Saturday September 03 2016, @11:42PM (#397179) Journal

    Maybe if the DEA brought some rational thought to the discussion, they would know the way to reduce overdoses []. Unfortunately, legalized marijuana doesn't benefit the prison-industrial complex.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Dunbal on Saturday September 03 2016, @11:42PM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Saturday September 03 2016, @11:42PM (#397180)

    A few hundred years ago you could buy laudanum and opium in any apothecary and strangely enough not everyone was a junkie and society was quite productive. What was the argument in favor of prohibition again? There will always be addicts. They existed then, and they exist today. I'm not sure how stigmatizing someone is supposed to make me feel better about myself.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by jelizondo on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:21AM

      by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:21AM (#397198) Journal

      I’m not a psychologist or anything like that, but I think a good part of the cause for the recent explosion both of drug addiction and suicide [], is lack of hope.

      A hundred years ago, at least in the US, if things weren’t looking good where you were, you could always move west and get a fighting chance to lead a good life. Today, kids and young people are hopelessly stuck; it is the same shit no matter where you go.

      I was born before man walked on the moon and even thought we had the hippies and other movements advocating the use of drugs, their use was not as common as today. The times were exciting and full of hope: we could get to the moon, the advances in science, technology and medicine were great and announced practically daily, even societal advances such as desegregation and voting rights gave people hope for a better life.

      Nowadays, gee, you get to choose between crooked Hillary and LoserDonald; it is enough to drive one to hard drugs and hope to die!

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:27AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:27AM (#397200)

        A hundred years ago, men could marry female children.

        Now the only places one can follow God's plan are being bombed by the west.

      • (Score: 2) by quintessence on Sunday September 04 2016, @02:10AM

        by quintessence (6227) on Sunday September 04 2016, @02:10AM (#397211)

        Could it possibly be that drug use feels good, and some people with prolonged use end up addicted?

        It is rather irritating that society fails to address this central point- a good portion of the population finds various forms of intoxication enjoyable, and in lieu of safer alternatives will look towards increasingly dangerous avenues.

        As pointed out above the problem with this isn't the use of drugs per se, but the inability to accurately gauge the drug and dose due to operating in a black market.

        The other part of the equation is all the heroin users who don't, overdose, and even a goodish percentage maintain reasonably productive lives as long as the keep out of the clutches of Johnny Law.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by jelizondo on Sunday September 04 2016, @04:44AM

          by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 04 2016, @04:44AM (#397273) Journal

          You’re right in saying that drug use makes people feel good, whether it is good old caffeine, tobacco or marihuana. In a sense, it helps people deal with anxiety, insecurity and other negative emotional states.

          Back when I was a kid, I could point out to you the one guy smoking pot in the school (because he was my buddy) but I observe nowadays that pot use is very common, followed by cocaine and then on to other, harder drugs. Why?

          Back then, drug abuse was a minority problem; without being racist, drug abuse was mostly a black problem while alcohol abuse was a latino problem. Now, heroin (and other hard opiates) is a white problem.

          And then, you get the rising trend on suicide among white males (linked in my previous comment), which leads me to believe that substance abuse is a response to a feeling of helplessness, a lack of hope for the future and is no longer a problem of minorities, which could be said to have a less rosy future that a white boy back then. Now the future is bleak, regardless of your skin color and white people are less prepared for this dreary future than minorities, because for them it has been the way life is.

          I’m on my way out, so I don’t really give a shit personally about people abusing drugs or outing themselves but I fear for my children and any day now, my grandchildren, that the world is a lot less pleasant that the one I had the fortune to enjoy.

          I believe that as a society, globally, we have failed miserably to deliver a better world to our children.

          I don’t know where we went wrong, but I suspect that we started with Reagan and the “trickle-down economics” which made us all believe that as long as the rich guys got a break, we all would get a break. It was a lie and even today, few people realize that.

          We made society all about money and possessions, not about helping each other and building a community, so now my children and grandchildren will pay the price of our colossal mistakes.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bitter old man. I still work and do very well, thank you. But my children are doing far less well than I was doing when I was their age and with more credentials than I had back then. And it’s not just about my children; I see young people with degrees doing jobs that were reserved for those without proper academic credentials and making far less than we, the older generation, were making back when we were young.

          Sorry for the tirade, I wish I could offer some solution instead of anecdotal evidence, but somewhere, we went horribly wrong and now it’s up to you, the younger generation, to correct our mistakes and make the world better for all of us.

          • (Score: 2) by quintessence on Sunday September 04 2016, @08:03PM

            by quintessence (6227) on Sunday September 04 2016, @08:03PM (#397483)

            Back in the day of Prohibition, unscrupulous bootleggers (and even the federal government) sold methanol to the unsuspecting.

            I see the current deaths from carfentanil following in the same line. If you want to argue that societal malaise has been with us that long, okay, but I see more direct implications that follow from drug policy.

            Addiction rates generally remain static, even among primates and birds. It's been commented that prior to Prohibition, we were a nation of beer and wine drinkers. During and after, tastes moved towards distilled spirits as it is easier to smuggle. Again, it is easy to make a direct connection from use of harder drugs from drug policy.

            • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Sunday September 04 2016, @10:49PM

              by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 04 2016, @10:49PM (#397554) Journal

              Thank you for your comment, which led me to read about addiction rates and the surprise that, according to the National Institutes of Health [], is rising among people in their fifties or early sixties. I never expected older people to start on drugs, but what the hell, whatever gets you thru the night, as Lennon put it.

              And you are right, drug use has stabilized or decreased nationwide, except for marihuana.

              Hmm. Food for thought. Where is this epidemic of drug use we read about?

              • (Score: 2) by quintessence on Monday September 05 2016, @02:01AM

                by quintessence (6227) on Monday September 05 2016, @02:01AM (#397620)

                That I've read, the increase in addiction rates for the older people is related to lackluster pain management (the whole oxycodone fiasco is a consequence of this. The rational then was that management through a healthcare provider was so much safer. Little did they know they were creating addicts), which is, you guessed it, a consequence of drug policy (they all but mandated that oxycodone was the drug of choice for pain).

                If you are interested, you can read this


                which is one of the best resources I've come across detailing the problems with drug policy and how we got here.

                Don't get me wrong, for whatever reasons addiction is going to be an ongoing problem, but policy in nearly every instance has compounded the problems across the board.

                • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Tuesday September 06 2016, @05:26PM

                  by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 06 2016, @05:26PM (#398204) Journal

                  Thank you for the link, I'll be sure to peruse it as its quite long.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:33PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:33PM (#397381)
          Nah. Those who use drugs merely to feel good aren't usually the ones who are the problem addicts.

          It's those who use drugs to feel less bad or even less suicidal. They are the ones who become the addicts that people talk about.

          It's the difference between the people drinking alcohol and having a great time and the people who drink themselves to stupor to forget how bad their life is.

          Yeah both groups can still OD but that ain't an addiction prob.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @06:14AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @06:14AM (#397300)

        We still have sci/tech advances announced everyday. The only problem is that you'll see no difference in your life and have no job to boot.

      • (Score: 2) by turgid on Sunday September 04 2016, @09:09PM

        by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 04 2016, @09:09PM (#397508) Journal

        Correct answer. And it's not just the use of illegal drugs.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Snotnose on Sunday September 04 2016, @12:50AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Sunday September 04 2016, @12:50AM (#397191)

    Take the profit motive away from the drug lords, let the addicts quit committing crimes to support their over-priced habits, let the addicts know what they're taking and calibrate themselves accordingly.

    Oh wait. That means the DEA takes a huge money and power hit. Never mind, never happen.

    In this month in 1958 Project Snot was started. This has upset many people and is widely considered a bad idea.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:50AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:50AM (#397205)

      Alternatively, how about some education for the drug dealers?

      It's a really bad idea to kill your customers (accidentally, or on purpose). Particularly bad for repeat business...and every savvy business-person knows that your current customers are usually your best customers. Also, repeat customers require the minimum of advertizing/marketing effort.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @09:15AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @09:15AM (#397328)

        Dealers don't care because there are always more customers. Dealers aren't business savvy, those are the wholesales.

        Dead or dying "customers" won't hurt a dealer's business or reputation because if the possibility of dying was a deterrent to using drugs like heroin ...

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday September 04 2016, @06:20AM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Sunday September 04 2016, @06:20AM (#397304) Journal []

      53,950 / 100,000

      Good for a laugh (they have to submit a written answer to successful petitions) even if nothing changes.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @05:06PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @05:06PM (#397439)

        Those are 53,950 people that can expect a friendly knock on the door^W^W^W^W^W SWAT Team storming into their house in a couple of days...

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:39AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @01:39AM (#397201)

    Darwin must rule. The gene pool is far overdue for a major cleansing. Let them OD.

  • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Sunday September 04 2016, @08:26AM

    by Aiwendil (531) on Sunday September 04 2016, @08:26AM (#397322) Journal

    From TFS:

    Now carfentanil [alt link] is being sold on American streets, either mixed with heroin or pressed into pills that look like prescription drugs

    I can interpret that in one of two ways, and either would fit the subject line.
    1) are they using heroin to cut it?
    2) are they cutting the heroin with something more potent?

    Either way I'm torn between a "wait, what?" and "we've come a long way"

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @09:27AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04 2016, @09:27AM (#397331)

      Carfentanil is used to tranquilize elephants so it isn't in a pill form. It is being pressed into pills (to fool humans) as well as being used to cut heroin (once again, to fool humans).

  • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Friday September 09 2016, @10:43AM

    by cafebabe (894) on Friday September 09 2016, @10:43AM (#399563) Journal

    Through selective breeding and/or gene editing, work is advancing to make yeast which makes opioids and/or opioid precursors. I understand that progress is about two or three steps short of dihydrocodeine and something psychoactive may be achieved within five years. When (or before) that occurs, opiates will only require one or two steps beyond brewing beer or wine. What happens from there?

    Well, the yeast will get widely propagated throughout the world and the cost of a hit of heroin (or equivalent) becomes about twice as expensive as beer. Opiate addiction and overdose will then reach record levels.