Archive for addiction

The Shocking Defeat of the United States

Posted in CRIME & CORRUPTION, Cultural Marxism, MEDICOPOLITICS, MIDDLE-EAST POLITICS, ONLINE DEBATE, POLITICAL ISLAM & JIHAD, U.S. POLITICS with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by drjgelb

https://youtu.be/XHbrOg092GA

Members of both the U.S. House of Representatives & the U.S. Senate have had to contend with the reality of their powerlessness for over a century, beginning as WWI ended in 1918. Woodrow Wilson warned the American people that as a result of the massive profits accruing to the military armaments industry & complicit military leaders, undue influence had reached such proportions as to dictate U.S. policy. President Wilson felt that he had failed the people by failing to stop these “men in suits” from obtaining so much power. President Roosevelt spoke several times of the gathering power & control of the military industrial complex and its ability to subvert elected government. He was careful with his words but those listening knew what he was warning the nation about. Harry Truman was shocked to discover that intelligence gathering was split between agencies & that he received information that could not be utilised because its meaning was so poorly communicated. He set up the CIA to co-ordinate the collation & presentation of all available intelligence into a comprehensible form and to ensure that the President was always fully informed. Little did he know that the CIA’s origin in the OSS made it a severely dysfunctional organisation from Day 1. Why? Because the OSS had placed the European Head of Intelligence for the Gestapo as the new CIA European boss and allowed him to hire & fire, leading to the placement of numerous former Nazis in the CIA as well as facilitating the escape of hundreds of war-criminal Nazis to Sth America. Truman stated in a public speech that he feared he had unleashed a “Gestapo-like” entity on Americans. Eisenhower became so alarmed at the actions of the CIA, the Deep State, that he referred to it as a malign “Shadow Government”. His warning, contained within his farewell speech, was chilling (watch it on You Tube) & so real were his fears that he changed the venue for the farewell speech at the last minute from the Capitol Building to the Oval Office, so he could complete his term & the speech without leaving the safety of the White House. JFK was a whole other story & it is now very clear that the CIA & its partners in crime, assassinated an elected President for daring to challenge their power.The 20 co-conspirators who met the night before the killing were the who’s who of the Bankers, Industrialists, Mafia & rogue politicians, FBI, CIA, the Generals etc of the U.S. and they employed a team of assassins the like of which had never before been gathered to murder JFK. Then, despite subsequent Presidents all being made aware of the facts, the Deep State doubled down and ensured that they remained the power behind the throne by intimidating, compromising and blackmailing every Federal politician elected as soon as they possibly could. This remains the case today. Massive colluders with the Deep State like the Clintons & Bushes are protected species & the Deep State will do all it can to see that no Justice ever comes for the Clinton Machine because both Bill & Hillary understood criminal hierarchies & understood the value of the Green Light they have been given. It is bullshit to think that the Intel Agencies are unaware of every last thing that HRC, Obama et al said & did and anyone observing the near perfect lockstep of CIA and the Clintons must realise the mortal danger one places oneself in if one objects too loudly! No wonder Jason Chaffetz had had enough! I wonder how harshly he was threatened and told to STFU. Under Obama, the Deep State was strengthened in every way, with virtually unfettered power to intimidate, lie to, monster, blackmail, defraud & sometimes even to kill those it designated enemies of the state for any or no reason. The American people MUST reject this creeping loss of the nation.

Advertisements

ADDICTION IS A CHRONIC DISEASE, NOT JUST BAD BEHAVIOURS OR BAD CHOICES

Posted in WAR ON DRUGS with tags , , , , , on April 14, 2015 by drjgelb

I came across a discussion via comments online today, in which the participants were becoming increasingly hostile and aggressive with each other, as some denigrated people suffering from drug addiction as “scumbags” who “deserve everything they get” and others tried in vain to explain that addiction is a chronic brain disease. The scientific evidence has progressively mounted in favour of the chronic disease explanation and studies using the latest brain imaging technology, together with an increasingly sophisticated  understanding of molecular biology, has meant that the disease model has prevailed and solidified.

Social and governmental forces continue to be directed at opposing the disease model of addiction, in order to justify the continued labelling of addicts as criminals who require punishment for their bad behaviour and rotten choices. This allows the government to incarcerate addicts, rather than treat them as medically unwell citizens, deserving of medical treatment.

Countries like Portugal and Uruguay have ceased criminally prosecuting users because of the overwhelming scientific evidence that drug addiction is a public health problem and NOT a criminal justice problem. Let me spell it out: Countries like Australia, where harshly punitive criminal sanctions are preferred to drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation, deliberately ignore the recommendations of their own expert advisors, insisting in terribly misguided fashion that any chage in approach to the War on Drugs, “sends the wrong message to youth”. This ignorant and irrational viewpoint continues to be trotted out by politicians unaware that they are seriously damaging our nation’s youth with their retrograde policies.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine, arguably the peak world body in the Addiction Medicine field, has released its updated definition of addiction:

http://www.asam.org/for-the-public/definition-of-addiction

“August 15, 2011 – The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released a new definition of addiction highlighting that addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioral problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex.” The headline in their report was: “Addiction Is a Chronic Brain Disease, Not Just Bad Behaviors or Bad Choices”

“The new definition resulted from an intensive, four‐year process with more than 80 experts actively working on it, including top addiction authorities, addiction medicine clinicians and leading neuroscience researchers from across the country. The full governing board of ASAM and chapter presidents from many states took part, and there was extensive dialogue with research and policy colleagues in both the private and public sectors.”

“The new definition also describes addiction as a primary disease, meaning that it’s not the result of other causes such as emotional or psychiatric problems. Addiction is also recognized as a chronic disease, like cardiovascular disease or diabetes, so it must be treated, managed and monitored over a life‐time.”

“Research shows that the disease of addiction affects neurotransmission and interactions within reward circuitry of the brain, leading to addictive behaviors that supplant healthy behaviors, while memories of previous experiences with food, sex, alcohol and other drugs trigger craving and renewal of addictive behaviors. Meanwhile, brain circuitry that governs impulse control and judgment is also altered in this disease, resulting in the dysfunctional pursuit of rewards such as alcohol and other drugs. This area of the brain is still developing during teen‐age years, which may be why early exposure to alcohol and drugs is related to greater likelihood of addiction later in life.”

“the disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable to others around them. Simply put, addiction is not a choice. Addictive behaviors are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause.”

Before the argument re how “bad” addicts are, please carefully read the science at the link above. Much better than all this hostility.

METHAMPHETAMINE OR "CRYSTAL METH"

METHAMPHETAMINE OR “CRYSTAL METH”

“DEFELONISATION” – NEW WORD, NEW WORLD?

Posted in WAR ON DRUGS with tags , , , on October 5, 2013 by drjgelb

Today, comes news from “stopthedrugwar.org” that adds a further increment of hope to the mounting pile slowly accumulating on politicians’ doorsteps.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2013/oct/02/defelonization_next_step

“Defelonization”–The Next Step in Winding Down the Drug War.

Defelonization (with an “s” in Australia!) of drug possession is starting to take hold across the country. California looks set to join the list of states easing up, and Washington state could be next. Thirteen states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government have already passed laws making simple drug possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony, and the momentum appears to be growing. A bill in California to do something similar has passed the legislature and is currently sitting on the governor’s desk, and efforts are afoot to push a defelonization measure through the Washington legislature next year.

An overcrowded California prison (supremecourtus.gov)

Such measures are designed to ease prison overcrowding, ease pressures on budgets, and help drug users by avoiding saddling them with felony convictions. They also reflect increasing frustration with decades of drug prohibition efforts that have failed to stop drug use, but have resulted in all sorts of collateral costs. In California alone, even after Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) prison realignment scheme, more than 4,000 people remain in state prisons on simple drug possession charges. At $47,000 per inmate per year [8], that comes out to more than a $200 million annual bill to state taxpayers. Under current California law, people convicted of a drug possession felony can be sentenced to up to three years in prison. More than 10,000 people are charged with drug possession felonies each year, although many of them receive probation if convicted.

California state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) moved to redress that situation with Senate Bill 649 [9], which passed the legislature on the final day of the session. The bill is not a defelonization bill per se; instead, it makes drug possession a “wobbler,” meaning it provides prosecutors with the flexibility to charge drug possession as either a felony or a misdemeanor. “Our system is broken,” said Lynne Lyman, California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance [10], which supported the bill. “Felony sentences don’t reduce drug use and don’t persuade users to seek treatment, but instead, impose tremendous barriers to housing, education and employment after release — three things we know help keep people out of our criminal justice system and successfully reintegrating into their families and communities.”

Even Republicans got on board with the bill, helping to get it through the Assembly earlier this year.

California state Sen. Mark Leno (wikipedia.org); “I am proud that we got bipartisan support in the Assembly,” Leno told the Chronicle. The bill currently awaits Gov. Brown’s signature, and although his signature is not required for it to become law, Leno said he believed the governor would act on it, and he urged supporters to let the governor know now that they want him to sign it. “Anyone can go to the governor’s web site [11] and offer support through an email communication,” Leno said. “I am always hopeful he will sign it.”

While Californians wait for the governor to act (or not), activists and legislators in Washington are gearing up to place a defelonization bill before the legislature there next year. Sensible Washington [12], the activist group behind the effort, says it has lined up legislative sponsors for the bill and will pre-file in December for next year’s legislative session. State Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) will be the primary sponsor of this proposal in the House. Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien), Jim Moeller (D-Vancouver), Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle), and Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) have all signed on as official cosponsors, with more to be announced soon. Sensible Washington hopes to have a companion bill filed simultaneously in the Senate.

Under current Washington law, the possession of any controlled substance (or over 40 grams of cannabis) is an automatic felony. Under this new proposal, the possession of a controlled substance — when not intended for distribution — would be reduced from a felony charge, to a misdemeanor (carrying a maximum sentence of 90 days, rather than five years). Laws regarding minors would not be affected. “Removing felony charges for simple drug possession is a smart, pragmatic approach to reducing some of the harms associated with the war on drugs,” said Anthony Martinelli, Sensible Washington’s communications director. “The goal is to stop labeling people as felons, filling up our prisons and ruining their lives in the process, for possessing a small amount of an illegal substance.”

He elaborated in a Tuesday interview with the Chronicle.

“We support full decriminalization, like the Portuguese model, but defelonization is a big step forward, and we feel that the public and lawmakers are ready for it,” he said. “We have to find a way to deal with the dangers of the war on drugs. Another reason is the massive disparity in our cannabis law — an ounce is legal, but an ounce and a half is a felony. This would remove felonies for cannabis possession, but we don’t think anyone should be hit over the head with a felony for personal drug possession.”Martinelli said Sensible Washington and its allies would be spending the next few months preparing to push the bill through the legislature. “We will be building public and legislative support, continuing to work on garnering media attention, activating our base, and getting more lawmakers on board,” he said. “We’re really trying to form a bipartisan coalition and get other organizations involved as well.”

One of those groups is the ACLU of Washington [13]. Sensible Washington and the ACLU of Washington were bitter foes in the fight over the state’s successful I-502 marijuana legalization initiative — Sensible Washington opposed it as a half-measure that endangered medical marijuana, a claim that ACLU and other advocates contested — but appear to be on the same page when it comes to this sentencing reform. “We support the decriminalization of drug use”, said Alison Holcomb, criminal justice project director for the ACLU of Washington. “We’re looking forward to working in collaboration with Sensible and its allies to achieve that goal.” Martinelli said he could now announce that the proposed bill has picked up its first Senate sponsor, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D), to add to its growing list of House sponsors.

Missing from that list of House sponsors is one of the most prominent drug reformers in the House, Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), the chairman of the House Public Safety Committee, but that’s not because he opposes the idea, Goodman told the Chronicle Tuesday. “As chair of the committee, it’s important for me to be an honest broker to get legislation through,” Goodman explained. “My position as chair is weakened if there is a potentially controversial issue and I’m seen as being on one side of it. It’s not that I oppose it, and I certainly will hold a hearing on it and move it, but my role is more to facilitate negotiations on provisions of the bill without being an interested party,” he said. “It is an idea that is certainly worth pursuing”, he said. “We need to reprioritize. The tough penalties we impose on people for merely possessing drugs is so arbitrary compared to the penalties for other offenses where there is direct physical harm perpetrated against others,” Goodman said. “And by now, we all acknowledge that drug possession is not merely an indiscretion, but might be linked to behavioral health issues. Our approach should be to facilitate therapeutic interventions. We have deferred prosecution programs already, but only for alcohol. Those arrested for drug possession are not eligible because it’s a felony. If we could make deferred prosecution available for drug cases, we could make much more headway on the problem,” he said. “And doing so would only codify what is already often existing practices”,he said. “Many or most courts and prosecutors are already pleading down felony drug cases to misdemeanors because of budget constraints and space limitations in the jails,” Goodman noted. “We can change the law to conform with that practice without an additional threat to public safety. Beyond that, we could remove the prejudicial effect of a felony conviction when it is so evident they hinder people from reintegrating into the community.”

While Sensible Washington and its allies are moving full steam ahead, passing the bill could be a multi-year effort, Goodman warned. “I anticipate prosecutors saying that if we set a certain possession threshold, drug dealers will make sure they possess no more than that amount and will play the system,” he said. “We have to figure out a way to find a threshold or divide possession cases into degrees. I hear the concern, but I’m not sure what the solution is. But this is a next important phase of drug policy reform: cranking down the drug war yet one more notch and doing what’s rational and fiscally responsible.” “There is lots of work to be done. We’ll see how this plays out in the legislature. It’s probably going to need more lobbying and more background discussion among more legislators,” he predicted. “So far, it’s not a real prominent topic, so it might end up being a work in progress. But who knows? It might catch on fire, and we’ll get a quick consensus.”

Defelonization News Feature State & Local Executive Branches State & Local Legislatures Washington Initiative 502
StoptheDrugWar.org • P.O. Box 18402 • Washington DC 20036
Phone (202) 293-8340 • Fax (202) 293-8344 • Email • Privacy Policy
Source URL: http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2013/oct/02/defelonization_next_step
Links:
[1] http://stopthedrugwar.org/user/psmith
[2] http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/803
[3] http://stopthedrugwar.org/taxonomy/term/255
[4] http://stopthedrugwar.org/taxonomy/term/92
[5] http://stopthedrugwar.org/taxonomy/term/156
[6] http://stopthedrugwar.org/taxonomy/term/45
[7] http://stopthedrugwar.org/taxonomy/term/246
[8] http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/laomenus/sections/crim_justice/6_cj_inmatecost.aspx
[9] http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/sen/sb_0601-0650/sb_649_bill_20130912_enrolled.pdf

WELFARE REFORM INSANITY!

Posted in WAR ON DRUGS with tags , , , , on September 2, 2013 by drjgelb

Victoria Sutherland is a 34-year-old mother of one and a former manager of a McDonalds in Sacramento. She has a drug conviction on her record from an incident in Portland, Oregon 13 years ago, when she lied to police and said her friend’s drugs actually belonged to her. Though she has served her sentence, because of her drug conviction, Sutherland is now banned from accessing food stamps for the rest of her life.

“I’m now living with my five-month-old son in a homeless shelter,” Sutherland told AlterNet.

As a result of welfare reform, enacted 17 years ago this month, Sutherland and other poor Americans in 12 states are banned from accessing food stamps because they have made mistakes with drugs at some point in their past. While Sutherland’s son does qualify for food stamps and welfare, the total comes to $500 per month in assistance, which barely pays for his food and diapers.

The ban on Sutherland’s food stamps as well as her welfare benefits impacts her much more deeply than just accessing food on a daily basis. “Since I don’t qualify for benefits, I do not qualify for welfare to work, which would offer childcare services,” Sutherland said. “So I’m also not able to work at all right now because I have nobody to care for my kid.”

Well before the current, direct attack on federal funding of food stamps—also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—there have been systemic, state-imposed barriers to accessing food stamps that have been in place for nearly two decades. Several states require fingerprinting of recipients and reams of paperwork, or are stalled by outdated technology. The Los Angeles Times recently reported on the onerous barriers food stamp recipients face in California.

But the ban barring drug convicts from accessing food stamps is one of the most problematic state-imposed barriers faced by poor people like Sutherland. Twelve states still ban convicted drug offenders from accessing SNAP benefits. A relic of welfare reform, the food stamp ban is an example of the political interplay between the drug war and the movement to reform welfare which in reality became a double indictment of the poor: People of financial means who made mistakes with drugs would not be rendered vulnerable to hunger for the rest of their lives.

“This penalty on food stamps stretches beyond period of your criminal sentence, beyond probation or parole,” said Jessica Bartholow, Legislative Advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Sacramento. “It applies even when a person has turned his life around and is now just trying to prevent his family from going hungry.”

California now has a bill under consideration, SB 283, that would repeal the food stamp ban for any convicted drug offender who is now complying with the conditions of his or her parole.

“This bill is different than what has gone before any governor in the states,” Bartholow said. “In years past, we tried to just repeal the ban completely but past governors have opposed this idea. So we worked hard to identify a compromise that would work for everyone.”

During debates over welfare reform in 1996, former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-FL) introduced legislation banning convicted drug felons from accessing food stamps. Sen. Gramm argued “if we are serious about our drug laws, we ought not give people welfare benefits who are violating the nation’s drug laws.”

Gramm’s policy required that any person who is convicted of drug use, possession or sales be banned from accessing food stamps for life; the ban was then added during Senate floor consideration of the bill and was the subject of only limited debate.

Though the food stamp ban is written into federal law, states may opt to waive or modify the requirement. As a Congressional Research Service report published in July explained, “Both TANF and SNAP are subject to the statutory ‘drug felon ban,’ which bars states from providing assistance to persons convicted of a drug-related felony, but also gives states the ability to opt-out of or modify the ban, which most states have done.”

Twenty one states have completely done away with the lifetime ban and an additional 30 have modified it. In California for example, the food stamp ban has been modified only to include people convicted of selling drugs, not those convicted of use or possession.

But the original food stamp ban is still in effect in 12 states, making life that much harder for poor people well after they’ve completed drug-related sentencing. According to the ACLU there are an estimated 575,000 people behind bars in the United States for drug-related offenses. The food stamp ban is even more problematic given how tough drug sentences tend to be. The socioeconomic and racial disparities of drug sentencing are clear as well: the ACLU also tells us that African Americans are incarcerated on drug charges at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites.

The lifetime ban on food stamps affects many other people besides the felon, particularly children, like Victoria Sutherland’s son. As the Western Center on Law and Poverty has pointed out in its advocacy for SB 283, “Many households impacted by the ban have other household members who are eligible for benefits but will receive a lower-total household benefit as a result of the lifetime ban on benefits for one of the household members. As a result, the ban results in higher rates of hunger and food insecurity for the entire family, not just those who have been convicted of a crime.”

The ban also makes food access harder for elders and those with health problems. Vaughn Cotton, age 51, began using cocaine in the early 1980s. He started selling cocaine to pay for his addiction. Now out of jail, he has completed programs with the Salvation Army and has been off drugs for two years. Cotton also struggles with diabetes and high blood pressure.

“I’ve been in and out of jail, but I’ve cleaned up my act,” Cotton told AlterNet. “I’ve been clean for two years now, but the food stamp office said I couldn’t have benefits—and they wanted me to pay back the little bit of money they did give me in the past.”

Aside from its impact on the poor, the food stamp ban does not make economic sense. Every dollar spent on SNAP benefits generates $1.72 in the economy. And a study released in June shows that SNAP recipients helped keep grocery stores afloat during the economic crisis. Thus cutting the spending ability of thousands of drug offenders has implications for the economy as well. (Former Sen. Phil Gramm, the architect of the food stamp ban, has been named by CNN as number seven in its list of the 10 individuals most responsible for the 2008 economic crisis.)

If California’s SB 283 passes this year, it will be an important step in alleviating the poverty-prison trap for drug offenders which the Obama administration has also begun slowly to address, at least from the bully pulpit. Bartholow feels confident Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) will sign SB 283 into law.

“The governor is a good man, he understands fairness,” she said. “Because of this lifetime ban, people are being denied crucial support to meet their basic needs.”

Sheila Bapat is an attorney and writer covering economic and gender justice. Her work has appeared in Salon, Reuters, Slate, AlterNet, Truthout, and many other publications.

LIKE MINDEDNESS FROM VILNIUS, LITHUANIA AND UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS.

Posted in WAR ON DRUGS with tags , , , , on June 14, 2013 by drjgelb

I was excited to receive a response to my letter re Krokodil and the failed policies of Prohibition from Jean-Paul Grund, Senior Research Associate @ CVO—Addiction Research Center, Utrecht. I was even more pleased to read that Prohibition appears to be slowlyy crumpling!

Dear Dr. Gelb,

Cannot agree with you more!

Is lack of compassion not a sign of another mental/brain desease – Anti social personality?

I just returned from the International Harm Reduction Conference in Vilnius. You sound like someone who would fit well in this mixture of esteemed researchers, activists, providers and policy makers.

Best regards,

Jean-Paul Grund

I responded as follows:

On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 2:19 AM, JEROME GELB wrote:

Dear Jean-Paul,

Thank you for responding. We have had in Australia, what I suspect is commonplace elsewhere, namely a progressive takeover of government by lawyers………now 85% of Parliamentarians!!

This ensures the breakdown by stealth of the separation of powers so essential for a healthy democracy & entrenches conservative, punitive Prohibitionist policies on a range of matters once considered “personal ” or “private” choices”.

It appears to be exactly as you suggest, the psychopaths have taken control!! The primary features all fit: disregard for the needs or rights of others & the inability for empathy!! Add shallow, fatuous, cold & the ability to mimic emotion for personal gain and Voila! Perfect lawyer/politician. All the lawyers I went to school with or knew at university used recreational drugs and/or alcohol & plenty still do. Who knows what goes on in politicians’ private lives??? Hypocrisy of breathtaking dimensions has been revealed by people like Julian Assange but casting an eye over the history of alcohol prohibition in the U.S. 1919-1932, shows that the Mafia made a profit of US$2 Billion (the dollar then was backed by gold and paper money could be converted to bullion. If you had done so, that 2 Billion would be worth $70million for each million $ at today’s gold price!!)
That money found its way to the pockets of politicians from Presidents to local councillors and to the Judiciary, Cops & Juries and it flowed for nearly 75yrs, buying favours, freedom & protection for vicious killers & thugs who preyed on the public & introduced all the illicits using the identical business model.

Will we ever learn from history? Einstein doubted we ever would!

And who am I to argue with Einstein!

Kind Regards,

Jerry Gelb

Finally I received this!

Dear Jerry,

Its a sad world we are living in. But, we are fighting back and the gathering in Vilnius that I just came from is a good crowd and an example that we can make a difference. Although the pendulum seems to be swinging in different directions at once (QM? ;), overall the system of prohibition is slowly crumbling. Check out some of the presentations on international drug policy that will be uploaded to the website of the conference/HRI (http://www.ihra.net/conference).

Are you on Facebook?

Have a nice day,

Jean-Paul

Jean-Paul Grund, PhD
CVO – Addiction Research Center, Utrecht
Department of Addictology, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Prague

THEY’RE SHEDDING “KROKODIL” TEARS!

Posted in WAR ON DRUGS with tags , , , on June 9, 2013 by drjgelb

Overseas, the synthetic opioid “Krokodil” has been banned……in which country, I can’t recall but there are so many new compounds being rushed onto the street that a new one is out in the time it takes to spell “prohibition”!! Our legislators and policymakers will one day hang their heads in shame for shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic, instead of leading the charge to drug policy reform! The article quoted another out of touch, cold-hearted clone, towing the company (government) line. They stick to it until addiction knocks on their door or the doors of their kids…….Then they suddenly see the light as they pull all possible strings to keep their family members out of jail……..pathetic really!!

“Dear Sir,

Another synthetic compound, made in filthy conditions where each batch contains anyone’s guess of combinations of toxic chemicals and social & medical harms rapidly appear & ravage the lives of young users.

And the typical response of governments, law enforcement & so-called drug policy experts?
More useless, dangerous, criminalising and irrational prohibition!! Why can’t the truth be told? That prohibition has a long historical record of failure, as predicted by all we know of human psychology. What I find remarkable is that prohibition proponents are able to continue to dismiss experts with a wave of the hand or as the Premier of our State wrote to me in response to my call for a supervised injecting facility similar to the over 650 existing world facilities, that whilst he is in power, we “will never, ever” have such a facility and that the death of heroin addicts is not as serious as “sending the wrong message to our youth”.

With ethics like that & lacking compassion commensurate with our current understanding of addiction as a disease of brain dopaminergic reward systems, it’s no wonder progress has been at a snail’s pace. Scientists, medicos, psychologists and all professionals educated about the drug problem at the coalface, must unite and demand an end to the war on drugs and begin the determined introduction of decriminalisation, rehabilitation, education & regulation as the four pillars of future drug policy in as many countries with the courage to bite the bullet and dismantle the status quo.

If this overview is rejected, it can be guaranteed that all other drug-control strategies will fail as prohibition continues to funnel huge profits to the variety of criminals involved – traditional, corporate and governmental.”

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Jerome Gelb
Psychiatrist

ANOTHER ACADEMIC SWIPE AT PSYCHIATRY

Posted in WAR ON DRUGS with tags , , , , on May 23, 2013 by drjgelb

An article in The Conversation today raised my ire & had me tapping at my iPad’s virtual keyboard with furrowed brow!

The article, titled “Deep Brain Stimulation: The hidden challenges of a technological fix”, can be found here:

https://theconversation.com/deep-brain-stimulation-the-hidden-challenges-of-a-technological-fix-14395?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+22+May+2013&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+22+May+2013+CID_0f96affba7b7f3594f1668f7a5d0f0a3&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Deep%20brain%20stimulation%20the%20hidden%20challenges%20of%20a%20technological%20fix#comments

Below is my comment, obviously tinged with annoyance and frustration.

“This article draws invidious comparison between psychiatric illness and disorders of movement like Parkinson’s disease, perpetuating the artificial Cartesian division that has proven so detrimental to sufferers of mental disorders for centuries. DBS is not proposed to be trialled on those suffering addiction responsive to less invasive treatment approaches but to those with intractable addiction who have failed conventional treatment. The ethical & other considerations highlighted are universally applicable to proposed use of novel treatment strategies in humans, as every ethics committee would be very aware of and the author’s discussion of cost effectiveness is shallow & meaningless. Health economists have proven long ago, that psychiatric conditions predominate in tables of disease cost burden, drug addiction certainly being a massive financial burden to the community. The cost of criminal activity undertaken to support an addiction is an health cost, because criminality is a side-effect of addiction only in the presence of Prohibitionist drug policies and is rapidly eliminated in nations where decriminalisation has occurred or where addicts unresponsive to alternative approaches, are prescribed their drug of choice, supervised in administering it safely & encouraged into more intense rehabilitation via increased engagement with health providers. Switzerland’s highly successful heroin prescription program caters to 1500 intractable addicts and has been enormously cost-effective. Addiction specialists are as aware of and as cautious of new treatment technologies as any other medical researchers and operate within the same funding, ethical, oversight and governance systems as the rest of medicine & there is no evidence whatsoever of higher rates of research misconduct in this specialty as any other. DBS may or may not hold promise in addiction. That remains to be discovered by ethical & meticulous research, publication, peer review, debate, the necessity for replication & extension of studies by others & the author’s premature foray into comparisons with psychiatry’s well-known historical scandals is really neither relevant or helpful in 2013.”

%d bloggers like this: