User: flenvcenter Topic: Environmental Health-Independent
Category: Drugs
Last updated: Jul 30 2014 08:04 IST RSS 2.0
 
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Obama Won't Legalize Pot Just Because The New York Times Told Him 30.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
The White House has responded to New York Times editorials this week supporting marijuana legalization, saying ending U.S. pot prohibition isn't the "silver bullet solution." The Office of National Drug Control Policy staff, while acknowledging the criminal justice system needs reform, argues in a blog post published Monday night that a series of Times editorials that began Sunday "ignores the science" and "fails to address public health problems" associated with a possible increase in marijuana use. "The New York Times editorial team failed to mention a cascade of public health problems associated with the increased availability of marijuana," the blog post reads. "While law enforcement will always play an important role in combating violent crime associated with the drug trade, the Obama Administration approaches substance use as a public health issue, not merely a criminal justice problem. "Any discussion on the issue should be guided by science and evidence, not ideology and wishful thinking," the ...
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Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley Calls Prison Reform Advocates 'Crazy' To Sue State 30.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) knows his state has a serious prison problem, but he had some harsh words for reform groups suing the state over alleged shortcomings in providing inmates health care, Alabama Media Group reported. “You all are crazy to sue us,” he told an audience Monday at the state’s annual Alabama Sheriffs Association convention. “What good does it do to sue us?” Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) filed a lawsuit against the state for discriminatory and dangerous inmate health care policies, including failure to treat hepatitis C cases and serious wounds, placing inmates under “do not resuscitate” or “allow natural death” orders without their knowledge and keeping disabled inmates segregated and deprived of accommodations, the lawsuit alleges. Bentley, Alabama Media Group reported, said he wants to solve these problems and address the overarching issue of prison overcrowding but believes such lawsuits command time ...
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The Silent Anguish of Pregnant Women Who Struggle With Addiction 28.7.2014 Truthout.com

In early July, Mallory Loyola, 26, was charged with assault after her newborn girl tested positive for meth. Loyola is the first woman in the state to be arrested under a new Tennessee law that allows the state to criminally charge mothers for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if their children are harmed or addicted to the drug. Many medical experts and reproductive rights advocates warn that this kind of legislation is detrimental to women and worry that similar legislation will be passed in other states.

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World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalizing Personal Drug Use 24.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
The World Health Organization came out publicly, if quietly, in support of the decriminalization of personal drug use in a report released last week. The 159-page report , which focused primarily on HIV prevention and care worldwide, included a brief section discussing "good practice recommendations concerning decriminalization." In it, WHO offered the following recommendations: Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration. Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize the use of clean needles and syringes (and that permit NSPs [needle and syringe programs]) and that legalize OST [opioid substitution therapy] for people who are opioid-dependent. Countries should ban compulsory treatment for people who use and/or inject drugs. The recommendations refer specifically to the decriminalization of personal drug use, not the decriminalization of drug cultivation, production and ...
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HUFFPOST HILL - Big Day For On-Ramps 16.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Senate Republicans introduced an insurance bill that literally changes nothing… though it might still defund ACORN. The administration says marijuana legalization is a state matter, though the exact phrasing had something to do with Colorado stuffing a towel under its door. And a group of enthusiastic Elizabeth Warren supporters launched Ready for Warren, but our competing 2016 organization, "Tom Vilsack...Ehhh???" isn't gaining as much traction. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, July 15th, 2014: @JimAvilaABC: Sources tell @ABC Jose Antonio vargas about to be released from border patrol custody in McAllen tx GOP REMEMBERS THE LADIES... BUT NOT REALLY - [HuffPost HIll leans back in chair, buys three rubber bands off Amazon with extra 23 cents earned in last hour, pops insurance-subsidized Viagra, breaths in the patriarchy]. Laura Bassett: "In response to a proposal by Senate Democrats to require for-profit employers to cover birth control in their health plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ...
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The Drug Czar Talks About Public Health, But Still Wants to Arrest People for Drugs 10.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released its 2014 National Drug Control Strategy Wednesday. The strategy has shifted some from previous years in that it more clearly focuses on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse, such as overdose and the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases, while also reducing the harms associated with punitive drug policies, such as reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentencing. The administration's rhetoric has evolved over the last couple of years -- reflecting the fact that three-quarters of Americans consider the drug war a failure -- emphasizing the need to treat drug misuse as a health issue and stop relying on the criminal justice system to deal with the problem. The strategy, however, calls for the expansion of drug courts, which continue to treat drug users in the criminal justice system, where punishment is often the response to addiction-related behaviors such as positive urine screens or ...
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Terminal Cancer Patient Guilty In Marijuana Trial 10.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
A terminal cancer patient who says he grew marijuana to treat his tumors was found guilty of drug charges Wednesday by an Iowa jury that wasn't allowed to hear his defense. Benton Mackenzie, 48, was convicted in Iowa district court jury of marijuana manufacturing and conspiracy, along with his wife, Loretta, 43, the Quad-City Times' Brian Wellner first reported . Their son Cody, 22, was found guilty of misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. Benton Mackenzie, who had been barred by Judge Henry Latham from a defense that explains he grew cannabis to relieve his aggressive and rare cancer of the blood vessels, faces a minimum of three years in prison when he is sentenced later. His family said they intend to appeal the verdicts . Mackenzie said prison may kill him as his health worsens. On Monday, Mackenzie was rushed out of Scott County District Court to a hospital after complaining of extreme pain and hallucinations. He suffers from severe angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer ...
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White House Admits Prison Won't Solve The Drug Problem, But Drug War Grinds On 10.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
The Obama administration's drug czar admitted Wednesday that locking people up won't keep them from using drugs, but he stopped short of renouncing punitive policies that have made America's long war on drugs widely unpopular. Michael Botticelli, head of the Obama administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a post on the White House website that the government's new drug control strategy “rejects the notion that we can arrest and incarcerate our way out of the nation’s drug problem. Instead, it builds on decades of research demonstrating that while law enforcement should always remain a vital piece to protecting public safety, addiction is a brain disorder -- one that can be prevented and treated, and from which people recover.” It’s a striking piece of rhetoric for someone in Botticelli’s position, though not a risky one, given that about three-fourths of Americans say the war on drugs has been a failure . The strategy, released Wednesday, calls for reforms that would move the ...
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Terminal Cancer Patient Can't Use Illness As A Defense In Iowa Marijuana Trial 9.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
An Iowa terminal cancer patient showed up to court Tuesday wrapped in a blanket, still wearing hospital identification wristbands, to testify at his trial on felony marijuana charges. He's been barred from a defense that explains the marijuana was to relieve his aggressive and rare cancer of the blood vessels. Benton Mackenzie, 48, faces up to five years in prison if he's convicted of marijuana manufacturing and conspiracy for growing plants he says he used to make canabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, to treat his tumors. Quad City Times reporter Brian Wellner first reported on Mackenzie's return to court Tuesday and tweeted courtroom photos of Mackenzie wrapped in a blanket : BREAKING: Benton Mackenzie testifying at his #marijuana trial. pic.twitter.com/xCARNakYSE — Brian Wellner (@brianwellner) July 8, 2014 Mackenzie sat in a wheelchair, during some court proceedings: "I'm not getting a fair trial," Benton Mackenzie says during break at his #marijuana trial. ...
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Terminal Cancer Patient Rushed To Hospital During Felony Trial For Medical Pot (GRAPHIC PHOTO) 8.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
A 48-year-old terminal cancer patient was rushed to the hospital from an Iowa courthouse Monday during his trial over felony charges for growing marijuana he uses as a treatment for his rare condition. Brian Wellner of Iowa's Quad-City Times' first reported that paramedics took Benton Mackenzie, who was expected to take the stand in his trial in Scott County District Court on Monday, from the courtroom to a local hospital after he complained of extreme pain and hallucinations related to his angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer of the blood vessels which has produced large lesions on Mackenzie's skin. Despite Mackenzie's deteriorating condition, his trial is expected to be completed Friday, Linda Bowman, the judicial trial court supervisor at the Scott County Clerk's Office, told The Huffington Post. If Mackenzie is found guilty, he faces at least three years in prison -- a punishment that he's said equates to a death sentence. "If I'm found guilty at all, I'm a dead man," Mackenzie told ...
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HUFFPOST HILL - Is Bush's Iraq Obama's Katrina? #Benghazi 8.7.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
The Obama administration will deport thousands of kids -- Let's Move! Charles Krauthammer says conservatives have won the debate over long-term unemployment insurance, probably because more and more people are living invisible hand to mouth. And Taylor Swift has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. If you haven't already read it, "QE2 and BRIC: The Coming Storm" will positively knock your socks off. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 7th, 2014: DEMOCRATS PLANNING MESSAGING PUSH FOR INSURANCE RATE INCREASE - "Think of it like the Recovery Summer... but for your body." Politico: "Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms. The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. And they know the results this November could hinge in large part on whether that happens ...
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From the Front Line Against HIV: Time to End the Federal Syringe Ban 28.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
"Take the Test, Take Control." So says the mandate of National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). And indeed, who better to control my health than me? But not everyone has that privilege. The ban on federal funds for syringe services programs (SSPs) wrests control from injection drug users -- an abject failure of government to support evidence-based public health, and a rejection of the domestic and global goal of an AIDS-free generation. Eliminating "risky behavior" is impossible. Risk will always exist -- by choice, circumstance, or more complicated trajectories -- so we create interventions and services that mitigate negative consequences for our health. We all deserve those services, even if -- in fact, especially when -- we are unable to live perfectly healthy lives. We must finally allow science to guide policy, treat injection drug use as the health issue it is, and lift the ban on syringe exchange funding. Aside from a brief window from 2009-2011, Congress has maintained a blanket ban on states using ...
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FDA To Evaluate Marijuana For Potential Reclassification As Less Dangerous Drug 25.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
The feds could actually soften their stance a little when it comes to weed. The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the medical evidence surrounding the safety and effectiveness of marijuana, a process that could lead to the agency downgrading the drug's current status as a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous classification. FDA Press Officer Jeff Ventura described the review process, which is being completed at the request of the Drug Enforcement Agency, to The Huffington Post. "FDA conducts for Health and Human Services a scientific and medical analysis of the drug under consideration, which is currently ongoing," Ventura said. "HHS then recommends to DEA that the drug be placed in a given schedule. DEA considers HHS’ analysis, conducts its own assessment, and makes a final scheduling proposal in the form of a proposed rule." The FDA could not confirm how long the review process would take. The U.S. has five "schedules" for illegal drugs. Schedule I is reserved for drugs that the DEA considers to ...
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Police In D.C. Embrace A Progressive Approach To Drug Overdoses 20.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
For years, police departments around the country have treated drug use as a crime, not as a public health problem. But on Thursday, drug reform activists and community organizers in Washington, D.C., made it clear that the Metropolitan Police Department is supporting a new law that calls for a different approach. In March 2013, the city council enacted a law meant to encourage people to call the police if they witness someone overdosing. According to public health workers, people who use illegal drugs often report feeling reluctant to call 911 when a friend is dying for fear the police might respond and then lead the caller away in handcuffs. The new law prevents police from arresting these 911 callers on drug charges, and also offers limited protections to people calling in regard to underage drinkers overdosing on alcohol. But residents of the capital had no way of knowing whether the police were taking the measure seriously, or even complying with it. On Thursday, several groups that advocate for ...
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New York State Reaches Deal On Medical Marijuana, But There's A Huge Catch 20.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
New York is set to become the 23rd state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday. But there's a catch. At a press conference in Albany, Cuomo said he and legislative leaders had reached a deal to legalize the use of the drug for medical purposes. The Compassionate Care Act, the governor said, will make medical marijuana accessible to patients suffering from certain diseases, including AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and cancer. The bill, however, prohibits patients from smoking the drug. Instead, doctors can only prescribe edibles, tinctures or vaporizers. Of the 22 other states that have legalized medical marijuana, only Minnesota also bans smoking of the drug, which some experts say is the most effective method of delivery for many patients. The news comes after days of tense, last-minute negotiations between the governor and the bill's sponsors, state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D) and state Sen. Diane Savino (D). Gottfried and Savino for ...
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Senate Leaders, Let Us Live and Die With Dignity 18.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
If New York State Senate leaders get their way, I may not live to see the Compassionate Care Act -- a bill to create a well regulated medical marijuana program for seriously ill or debilitated New Yorkers -- become law. But I want to spend, what may be some of my last weeks, fighting for the right of others suffering with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and other serious conditions. Why? Because my own journey with cancer has taught me a lot about human suffering and human dignity, and I want to take a stand for the right of all seriously ill patients to live and end their lives with dignity and compassion. In 1992, I was diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer. I had two years of internalradiation, two years of chemotherapy and had 42 lymph nodes removed. I suffered terrible pain, andI wish I had been able to try medical marijuana because the pain medicationsI was prescribed did not help. I have talked to people living with cancer who are clear that, without medical marijuana, they ...
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30 Members Of Congress Demand Increased Access To Marijuana For Research Purposes 17.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Thirty members of Congress, led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell on Tuesday demanding an end to the federal monopoly on marijuana research so that more studies can be done by scientists around the nation. "We write to express our support for increasing scientific research on the therapeutic risks and benefits of marijuana," the letter reads. "We ask that you take measures to ensure that any non-National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded researcher who has acquired necessary Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Institutional Review Board (IRB), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and appropriate state and local authority approval be able to access marijuana for research at-cost without further review." (Read the full text of the letter below.) The letter comes about two weeks after the House voted to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from ...
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Rick Scott Signs Law Allowing Limited Medical Marijuana Use In Florida 17.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
By Letitia Stein TAMPA, Fla., June 16 (Reuters) - Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law on Monday allowing for the limited use of a special strain of marijuana to treat epileptic seizures and other diseases. State lawmakers passed the measure this spring with bipartisan support after impassioned appeals from parents seeking access to the form of marijuana known as "Charlotte's Web," named for a Colorado girl whose epileptic seizures have shown some response to the drug. "As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer," Scott, a Republican, said in a statement. "I am proud to stand today with families who deserve the ability to provide their children with the best treatment available." The new law will severely limit marijuana sales, keeping them well below those in Colorado and California where recreational marijuana has been legalized. The Florida law allows use of the drug for people suffering from epilepsy, cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou ...
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Teen Marijuana Use Remains Flat Nationwide As More States Legalize 14.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
As marijuana's national popularity continues to grow and more states have legalized either medical or recreational use of it, a new federal survey shows that those shifting attitudes have not produced a surge in teen use. The biennial High School Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the rate of marijuana use among U.S. high school students remained virtually unchanged from 2011 to 2013. It's also about 3 percent less than the peak of teen marijuana use in 1999, when nearly 27 percent of teens said they had recently used marijuana, according to the CDC data. In 2013, 23.4 percent of American high-school-aged teens used marijuana one or more times in the 30 days before the survey, the data show. That's nearly even with 23.1 percent in 2011. From 2011 to 2013, five more states -- Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois and New Hampshire -- legalized marijuana for medical use. Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia ...
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Here's Why New York Needs To Legalize Medical Marijuana Now 7.6.2014 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
New York is poised to become the 23rd state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The Compassionate Care Act , sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D) and state Sen. Diane Savino (D), was passed in the state Senate Health Committee last month, but it still needs to get out of the finance committee before being brought to the floor for a full vote. It would then move to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk to be signed into law. Cuomo, however, has sent mixed messages over the bill. Although a vocal opponent of any form of marijuana legalization, the New York Democrat has indicated in the past that he'd consider the Compassionate Care Act, and he recently stated that he supports medical marijuana for the seriously ill . On Wednesday, Cuomo announced that New York will be the second state to launch medical marijuana trials for children suffering from epilepsy. Those trials, however, are limited to Epidiolex, a drug developed by GW Pharmaceuticals that contains a plant-derived, highly purified ...
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