News for May 2010

Is This The Dawn Of A New Psychedelic Revolution?

Last week the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) held its 2010 Conference in San Jose, California – and the press stood up and took notice. It only took 40 years, but the government has finally given a few researchers permission to study the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs. Based on the preliminary results, it looks like mainstream science, and the media, are finally ready to move past the stigma of 1960s drug taking.

Cue CNN:

And that’s not all:

Not to mention MSNBC, BBC, NPR, Nature News, New York Times, USA Today and many other media outlets.

One of the more interesting articles is Can the Peace Drug Help Clean Up The War Mess? from Scientific American, reporting on the use of MDMA to treat war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder:

Brain-imaging studies in healthy volunteers show that MDMA quiets the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that some researchers call a “fear center” due to its central role in triggering strong negative emotions. MDMA also releases a flood of the brain messengers serotonin and dopamine while increasing blood levels of the hormones oxytocin and prolactin, which promote social bonding. This potent mix diminishes fear and defensiveness and boosts empathy and the desire to connect with others, says Holland, so “the therapy work goes faster and deeper.”

Also check out Are Medicinal ‘Magic Mushrooms’ the New Prozac? in The Week.

For anyone interested in the use of psychedelics pre-Timothy Leary, I highly recommend this National Film Board of Canada documentary:

This documentary offers a compassionate, open-minded look at LSD and how it fits into our world. Long before Timothy Leary urged ageneration to “tune in, turn on and drop out,” the drug was hailed as a way to treat forms of addiction and mental illness. At the same time, it was being touted as a powerful tool for mental exploration and self-understanding.

A long time coming, but I think we’re about to conquer the final frontier: the human mind.

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Take The Oxycontin Express to Florida…
But Bring Your Own Bong!

In the US, more people are now abusing prescription medication than heroin, cocaine and ecstasy combined. Pharmaceuticals like OxyContin, Xanex, Hydrocodone, Demerol, Adderall and Robitussin (Robo’s) are the new hipster drugs.

Those who have personal experience of oxycodone (branded OxyContin) know that it is an extremely euphoric and addictive opioid, hence its nickname as ‘hillbilly heroin’.

But doctors in Florida prescribe oxycodone at five times the national average. Florida has 50 of the top 50 oxycodone prescribers in the country, and 35 of them are in Broward county.

It’s effectively legalised drug dealing, motivated by greed. Doctors have an incentive to prescribe these addictive pain killers. People from all over the country flock to Florida’s countless walk-in ‘pain clinics’, ready to pay cash, often $300 or more, for their fix.

Florida has deregulated to the point that one can doctor shop and get mega prescriptions for conditions that don’t even meet the requirements for minor pain medications. When the state does intervene, it locks up addicts who are selling their prescriptions – not the doctors who are over-prescribing to begin with. The pharmaceutical industry happily supplies these drugs in excessive amounts without question.

Vanguard, Current TV’s original documentary series, exposes the pill pipeline that extends from Florida up the Eastern Seaboard: The OxyContin Express. The show won a Peabody award for shedding light on this unspoken but lethal national pandemic.

But don’t worry, there’s new anti-drug legislation sitting on the governors desk to be signed, passed unanimously in the Florida Senate this past week. HB 187 has been nicknamed the ‘Bong Bill’, and will effectively ban the sale of bongs and other drug paraphernalia in the Sunshine State. Glad that Florida legislators have their priorities straight – they’re tough on drugs!

The new law will be effective July 1st, and violators could face a year in jail. From StoptheDrugWar.org:

“Under the bill, only shops where the sale of tobacco products and accessories constitute 75% of income, or shops where the sale of pipes and bongs constitutes less than 25% of income will be allowed to sell a long list of smoking devices. These include pipes of any material, water pipes, carburetion tubes and devices, chamber pipes, carburetor pipes, electric pipes, air-driven pipes, chillums, bongs, and ice pipes or chillers.”

The bill is sponsored by Representative Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, Florida, who said earlier this month:

“I’ve been fighting the pipe industry for the longest, because it is all a part of the drug trade and the criminal enterprise that we know exists and destroys neighborhoods, families and order in our society.”

Damn those bong-buying hippies disturbing the neighborhoods of our good old American hillbilly heroin junkies!

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