Archive for August, 2010

Rx opiates tied to more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Overdose deaths in the United StatesAccording to the National Vital Statistics System, prescription narcotics such as OxyContin and morphine cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.  In at least 15 states, prescription drug deaths occur more frequently than auto accident deaths.  This represents new evidence that could help shift the dialog on the failed War on Drugs.

The term War on Drugs is attributed to President Nixon, and was first used on June 17, 1971.  The current Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, does not use this terminology; however, he has essentially kept the same philosophy we’ve used for the last 40 years, which we can confidently say has failed miserably.

In the 80s and 90s, the slogan of the failed War on Drugs was “just say no,” which was pushed by Fmr. First Lady Nancy Reagan.  This slogan only makes matters worse, as it implies a sort of moral deficiency.  Drug addiction is a proven medical problem, an illness.   Treating addiction as a moral deficiency or personality defect not only contributes to stigma, but also serves as negative reinforcement which ultimately ends up pushing addicts away from treatment centers, and into the darkest corners of the globe.

The incorrect accusation that addicts are “morally deficient” encourages an atmosphere where people expect rehabilitation to occur when addicts are sent to prison.  Such an atmosphere is not conducive to a stable recovery.  We attempt to resolve a social and individual problem by criminalizing the possession of drugs, but once they get to court, they are given sentences to be carried out in prison instead of rehabilitation centers.  Just as bad are judges who give split sentences, where part of the sentence is carried out in jail and part in rehab.  Although studies reveal that marijuana is much safer than alcohol, our system often punishes casual marijuana users, who are otherwise law-abiding.

American and world citizens need an honest education when it comes to drug addiction and dependency.  The D.A.R.E. program, another product of the failed War on Drugs, employs scare tactics and partial education.  D.A.R.E. needs to be abolished and replaced with a learning system that not only promotes abstinence, but educates individuals and families about the biology and psychology of addiction, and includes a harm reduction approach in addition to abstinence.

Scare tactics and imprisonment do not resolve the many issues associated with drug addiction, especially when drugs are often a symptom of an underlying problem.  Understanding that addicts cannot be forced to stop is another important step in this process.  Until we undergo a massive reconstruction of our drug policies, including adopting a new strategy for casual users of marijuana, we will continue to make the same mistakes that created this problem, while deepening the nation’s dependency on illicit and licit substances.

Sources:

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Video: The Flower

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

“The Flower contrasts a utopian society that freely farms and consumes a pleasure giving flower with a society where the same flower is illegal and its consumption is prohibited. The animation is a meditation on the social and economic costs of marijuana prohibition.”

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International Overdose Awareness Day

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Purple Ribbon for International Overdose Awareness DayOn August 31st, individuals and organizations all over the world will recognize International Overdose Awareness Day, meant to help promote knowledge of counterproductive drug laws and overdose solutions, and remember those who have been affected by a drug overdose.

Drug overdose is currently second only to motor vehicle crashes as a leading cause of death.  The number of deaths as a result of drug overdose have steadily increased over the last few decades, further evidence of a failed war on drugs.  Deaths from opioid overdose are among those which occur most frequently.

One piece of legislation meant to help address the drug overdose crisis in our country is the Drug Overdose Reduction Act (H.R. 2855).  H.R. 2855 would help provide training in overdose treatment to law enforcement officers and others, as well as grant resources towards overdose prevention research and methods (How is an overdose treated?).  In addition to these measures, we also need “Good Samaritan” laws which grants immunity to individuals witnessing an overdose so that they may report it without fear of arrest.

Please join us:

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TPC! hits one million visits

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

We are pleased to announce that as of today we have had roughly 1.1 million visitors since opening the site in late 2006.  We will continue to provide That’s Poppycock free of charge for all of our loyal and new visitors, as well as those who have not heard of us yet.  It has truly been an honor to serve the community, and provide unbiased information on opiates and opioid addiction.  To another million visitors!  Thank you everyone.

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