Tag Archives: marijuana

Is ‘drug’ the past tense?

We seem to not be serious about – truly intent on solving – the growing drug threat in the United States.  “We” refers to our governing and policing institutions… and to all of us, one supposes.  While there are many subsets, and many individuals, of local, state and national agencies who are deeply committed to the fight, overall, our national policies have effectively allowed the trade to grow and corrupt many levels of law enforcement and justice.  While doing so, this “business” has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, destroyed families and spawned immeasurable volumes of criminal activity that has damaged many other thousands, if not millions of people.

Today our publicized problems center on “opioids” both “natural” and pharmaceutical.  A market developed by criminal drug-dealers has proven too attractive to ignore for multi-billion-dollar corporations, corrupting them and their medically licensed facilitators, daily prescribing their FDA-approved wonder drugs at clinics, hospitals and back rooms, nationwide.  Soft-headed federal welfare and subsidized medicine programs help irresponsible patients “pay” for their prescribed addictives.  One statistic tells us that it’s long past when our national battle tactics ought to have changed dramatically:  over 60,000 dead from opiate overdoses in one year.

Unfortunately, opioids represent simply and tragically just an aspect of the modern American drug culture.  It’s a culture that begins with candies, ice cream and juice-boxes rewarding good, or at least not too embarrassing, behavior, by 18- to 84-month-old infants, continuing unabated through aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, “arthritis formula,” Cold-Eze, Thera-Flu, Nyquil, Dayquil, 5-Hour energy, cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, nicotine “Vaping,” Claritin, dextromethorphan, Robitussin, Afrin, Aleve, Excedrin, Motrin, and hundreds of other variations of over-the-counter feel-better concoctions for aches and pains,  “colds” and headaches, plus the dozens of prescription pain alleviators, allergy relievers, cold-symptom removers, cough syrups, tablets and inhalers… and we didn’t even get to actual pain “killers,” a most suitable name.

Every TV program advises consumers to question their doctors as to which sort of blood-thinner is best, what kind of goop will kill fungus, how to resolve breathing problems and 44 ways to get better sleep through chemistry… or better sex.  Once all of these conditions have been restored to desirability, it is crucial to eat, swallow or drink something to improve regularity and then avoid and cure hemorrhoids.  It’s a never-ending battle to achieve perfect health – or a perfect simulation of it.

Eventually we pay attention to ads for diabetes medications… other than juice-boxes, of course.

Doctors, in 2013, wrote narcotic prescriptions at a rate 272% of the 1991 rate.  That is, 207 MILLION prescriptions!  For 300 Million people?!  Gross opiate production had increased from 3,520 kilograms (7700 pounds) in 1993 to an astronomical 70,000 kilograms (155,000 pounds!) in 2007, which MORE THAN DOUBLED just 6 years later, to 150,000 kilograms!  What the Hell has our government done to protect the nation in this period?  Why, they’ve forced a “cutback” to only 108,000 kilograms!  Whoop.

Where did all this pain come from?  How did humans ever evolve without Dr. Feelgood?

Today we give pills not only when we feel sick… because we ARE sick, we give them when we just feel, well, not right.  We give boys hormone treatments when they say they want to be girls; we give related treatments to girls who feel like boys and even perform bilateral mastectomies on teenagers who don’t want to admit to being girls.  Boys are mutilated by removal of genitals.  What has “medicine” become?  It seems similar to Nazi experimentation, except that people in favor of the mutilations – chemical and otherwise – are the ones accusing realists of being the Nazis.

Is it just profit?  Much like the alcohol business, fortunes are not made in painkillers and other stuff from people who nurse a bottle of Scotch for 3 months.  Big money comes from people who consume a couple of bottles/packages/ounces a week or more – Scotch or Advil, Oxycontin or Aleve, marijuana or Lunesta.  Amidst all this we try to draw lines that cannot be crossed – like Bingo at the Parish Hall but no permitting of casinos, no, no, no.

We hate cocaine, for example, and we really hate crack cocaine, so no legalization for that stuff, no, no, no.  And heroin!  Oh… my… God, heroin?  No, no, no – a thousand times NO!  BUT(!)… if some powerful pharmaceutical manufacturer – powerful because of political contributions and constant lobbying – wants to distribute a few hundred Million capsules of SYNTHETIC heroin, then the mind/nerve altering effects can be described in wonderfully pharmaceutical terms and the distribution system liberally supplied – FDA approved, Medicaid-financed.

In an earlier career I worked with a Vietnam vet, a Marine, who had received shrapnel in one arm.  It was badly scarred and made possible the receipt of a check every month for his “disability.”  Every 3 months or so he had to go to Boston, to the V.A. hospital, and get tested for the level of feeling that was returning to his arm… or not.  Meanwhile he practiced not reacting to pins in the flesh of that arm.  Then, when he’d get tested, he could look stone-faced and continue his claim that he had no feeling in the arm, and the checks would continue.

Humans are very capable of lying to the point of severe discomfort, to get what they want.  Do we think proto-addicts wouldn’t lie to keep receiving pain-killers?  Even if all they were doing was selling each month’s supply?  Is the medical establishment that performs hundreds of thousands of abortions each year, unable to withhold excessive quantities of opioids?

They certainly can’t refrain from prescribing.  Two-thirds of patient visits result in a prescription… meaning upwards of THREE BILLION prescriptions for 300 Million people!  That’s 10 each.  We’ve all experienced the kindly scrip-recommendation from even the most caring physician (or nurse-practitioner).  It’s no surprise; most medico’s receive constant “education” from the pharmaceutical complex and there exists an inherent desire by them to provide advice that patients will experience benefits from, and that often means a drug of some sort.

Unfortunately, there are about ONE MILLION adverse drug reactions every year, yielding some 100,000 DEATHS – the fourth largest cause of death in the U. S.  We might consider that fentanyl-laced heroin or synthetic opiods also produce “adverse drug reactions.”  The differences can be distilled to two: the INTENT of the seller/provider, and the legal status of all concerned.  Both are interested in two things: making the customer feel better… and repeat business.

It’s all part of a national, societal culture of control of biology for human comfort.  Whatever we don’t like about nature… there is a drug – a chemical – to “fix” it.  “Addiction” is pejorative only because of the lesser qualities of the illegal providers.

Today states are racing to legalize marijuana, all 122 current strains of it because it will provide (choose a favorite): tax revenue for underfunded state budgets; ability to control quality and safety; stiff competition to illegal drug dealers, hopefully to stop illegal drug trade; funding for drug-treatment programs; reduced dependency on “bad” drugs; votes for those most supportive of legalization.  Another, really important provision is eliminating Timmy’s criminal record for possession and, one other: freeing up the justice system to concentrate on serious crimes.  After all, if “they” are going to get the stuff anyway, we might as well go along with it and raise some revenue to boot.  Who are we to interfere?

There are no adults… we’re a nation of juveniles.  And the drug “culture” is us, this most pampered generation.  If you weren’t sure of where you stood on socialized medicine, be mindful that such a system will cement the drug culture even more firmly in place.  Whoop.

The New Tyranny

Everyone decided to chide President Trump for privately describing New Hampshire as a “drug-infested den.” Oh, the horror! Why, there are genuinely nice people living in New Hampshire; how could he say such a derogatory thing about them?

Well, he didn’t, of course, and the release of the content of that conversation was a crime, but who cares if discomfiting Trump is the possible result. Let’s use our brains, now, and realize that the point Trump made was that even in New Hampshire, for more than 200 years the veritable definition of good, clean living, based on religious morals and flinty work ethic, the corruption of drugs had penetrated every town and city, and was destroying the heritage of “New-Hampshire-ness” with little to stop it.

It is no wonder that closing the southern border is taken so seriously by Trump and many others. The worst flow of drugs into our nation – and into New Hampshire – begins in Mexico and points further south. Making it harder to get drugs into the country is a good thing. I’m pretty sure of that, but why?

First, let’s stipulate that human beings are remarkable products of evolution and more. The “more” is best described as a foundation of religiously sourced and codified morals. Whether you choose to accept any religious “truths” or are an affirmed atheist, it is clear that the hundreds of religious histories and traditions on Earth have brought us to a fairly honest and moral civilization, capable of correcting and perfecting itself. One of our greatest mores is that we call “freedom.”

We may think freedom is inherent, but it really is intensely fragile, is it not? Historically, since the organization of city-states, freedom has been merely forms of servitude, some quite oppressive. In fact, the age of kingdoms, kings and subjects, or warlords and serf-protectees, was marked by various forms of tyranny. Granted, some was less benign than others, and the basis of great folk-tales. Robin of Locksley and his Merry Men describes the battle for freedom from oppressive taxation and government incompetence – I didn’t invent that irony.

Anyway, back to drugs. None of our heroes in the perpetual fight for freedom, is also described as drug-addled. Indeed, much effort today is described as helping addicts to achieve freedom FROM drugs. So, it seems logical, a free people, ever jealous of their freedom from tyranny, must, by definition, be drug-free as well. Keeping drugs out of America is the logical path to follow IF, and only IF, a leader of Americans is attempting to keep them free. Now we need to look at the headlong rush by various governments within America to actually PROFIT from the cultivation and sale of drugs to their free citizens.

A large element of states’ argument FOR drug legalization, is that it costs too much to enforce laws against marijuana and, besides, isn’t the use of drugs an exercise of the very freedoms governments are supposed to protect? Well, no, not at all, but we seem to have talked ourselves into this twist of “freedom.”

Free people are also responsible for the defense of freedom. This is called citizenship. That is, as we grant powers to an organizing and defensive government, limited by a Constitution that we the people approved of, we also assume an obligation to ourselves, our children and all of future history, to defend those freedoms that government was constituted to PROTECT. That is, by all logic, we are FREE to be FREE, but not free to enslave ourselves, as we do in the grip of drugs.

Oh, come on, you say, pot is no worse than alcohol! Well, perhaps not, that’s arguable, what with alcohol being metabolize-able and being only ingestible and not smoke-able. Too-heavy ingestion of alcohol will kill liver and other cells and disrupt neural communications for some time, until naturally removed from the body. The same could be said about marijuana, except that the danger is directly to the lungs, about 20 times that of tobacco cigarettes. The body does expel a lot of the elements of marijuana smoke, but does a poor job of removing THC, tetra-hydra-cannabinol. THC has the friendly quality of being easily absorbed into fat cells.

Fat cells are found all over the body but one of the greatest concentrations is the brain. This is good because fat cells are hardy and relatively long-lived, but it’s also a liability when exposed to certain toxins like… well, THC. THC tends to store in fat cells – not only brain cells – which is why it’s a risk for lactating mothers to smoke pot, but it is a “freedom,” right? Back to brain cells.

THC stores in brain cells and surreptitiously clogs up the intricate, microscopically tiny connections that enable complex thoughts and memory. “Maybe for real pot-heads, but not me,” you say, “I hold down a job and have no problems smoking pot for relaxation on weekends and once in a while other times. No problem at all… did I say that already?”

From the standpoint of defending freedom, however, the softening and dulling of voters’ intellects is perfect ground for planting illogical political distinctions, thereby guiding voting patterns in the direction most beneficial for those in power. Faced with a population clamoring for “freedom” from pot-related criminal records, all the Sheriff of Nottingham had to do was come out in favor of legalizing pot and his hold on POWER would have been unshakable. Populist “Robin Hoods” could dash themselves against that rock to no avail. Look around us – it’s what we have, now.

Even better than political strength, our state budgets are overspent and there are “revenue short-falls.” Actually, there are “spending long-rises,” but the important thing is that potheads will buy the stuff and pay the taxes so that we, your most-benevolent governors can take care of the children. You wouldn’t deny us that heartfelt mission, would you? You right-wing fascist bastard? After all, taxes on tobacco have declined dangerously and we have so many vital needs that only government can take care of – you see that don’t you?

And we bought into this. We accepted, first, that medical marijuana was medical. That’s a good one. You could get it at CVS if that were true, but, if they’ll buy that they’ll buy anything. They’ll even accept that the pay of legislators is somehow related to the incomes of corporate giants. Let’s test that by voting ourselves 60% raises and see what happens…

This in no way belies the fact that there are medical values to some marijuana components. There are medical values to lots of plants and thank God we have discovered those we have. It doesn’t mean that addling our intellects is a goal of a free people, does it? And so we argue about how high the taxes should be now that legalization has been voted-for, with the murder by a pot-stupefied driver with a medical marijuana prescription, of a State Trooper, a mere hiccup in the process. Pot is so benign, in fact, we should recommend it to heroin addicts to help them get off of the “real” drugs.

It has been a big, long-term sale, and we bought it.

Maybe if Trump simply tried a few tokes he could stop hassling druggies, damned right-wing fascist bastard.

Voting for pot legalization is a lot like voting for socialism, the other lie of non-responsibility. “Hey, man, it’s like, a free country, man, and health care is a right, not a privilege, man.” And not a responsibility? Next you’ll be telling us that you’re entitled to your freedoms and the government better make sure you keep ‘em, man. If it doesn’t then you’re voting for whoever is in favor of legalizing pot everywhere. Did you know that George Washington made rope out of hemp?

Drugs and Governance

teen-drug-abuse-s2-statisticsWe are not serious about ridding ourselves of drugs. We’ve been touting a “war on drugs” since 1971. Nixon’s concept was dead-on. Yes, it was a reaction to the wantonness of the ‘60’s, and an unpleasant adult’s attempt to restore adult control over the dangerously immature. But it is impossible to measure the destruction of lives that could have been avoided over the fifty-plus years since: the loss of fertile minds, the waste of generations of inner-city youth, the corruption of law enforcement and even the judiciary, and, now, the virtual abandonment of moral authority by governments at all levels.

The instinct to protect ourselves and others from mind-corroding drugs is now conflicting with a new, unprecedented concept of “rights.” America was founded in a time of moral adjustment and intellectualization of models of governance. Smart people, sensitive to history and the writings of philosophers both current and precedent, and fresh from the struggle of revolution, conceived of a constitutional republic where qualified citizens would vote for three levels of government: local, which elections already existed, state, which had existed for domestic issues despite top-down controls from England, and the new, federal, yet divided, central government. Overarching was the logical fear of creating a new tyranny to replace the old one: government could not be trusted to govern itself.

None of it worked without a shared morality among the citizenry and, most basically, moral self-governance. The Founders expected, and observed, a general ability to govern oneself, and the social agreement of when self-governance had failed. How distant those concepts are.

The Constitution, revered in theory and acknowledged in breach, has become the means to separate individuals from all external moral forces, starting with one’s parents. Not the original intent, but enough lawyers and psychologists, teamed with power-hungry political weasels, have managed to literally talk us out of our heritage. Shame on us.

We are now at the critical knife-edge of history where a civilization finds the courage to defend and restore itself, or passes from history to join the other failed attempts to organize societies with a measure of individual freedom. For the new power-meisters, morality and moral stricture are the obvious enemies of the individual’s enjoyment of life, and they are happy to take the votes of the threatened and pass laws that prevent morality from interfering very much. So long as “things” hold together – things like infrastructure, utilities, law-enforcement and food and energy supplies – individuals’ new friends in government will continue to find ways for their voters to avoid responsibility, taxes and work. Maybe. It’s all crap.

Meanwhile, human potential is dissolving in mixtures of chemicals, both legal and, nominatively, “controlled.” Parents are crying over suburban kids dying from heroin, boys and girls, while legislatures rush to legalize marijuana. The edge of logic has become fuzzy. Lives of otherwise responsible people are being distorted, ultimately twisted, by cocaine. Oh, but not “crack” cocaine! No, no, no; that’s for stupid people.

And the ‘War on Drugs’ goes on, accumulating statistics. What is missing is the will to actually stop the drug business. Succeeding will ruffle a lot of feathers.

Suppose a tough governor and a tough U. S. Attorney, working for an adult, a-political Attorney General, agree to designate a venue like a group of urban counties, and said governor agrees to take the heat for allowing a federal “state of emergency” in those counties. Under that declaration a special form of “martial law” would establish a camp, or camps, where National Guard troops will hold everyone arrested for even minor drug infractions. There they may be held indefinitely until the source of their drugs is identified and proven, on the presumption that ALL drugs have crossed state or international borders and are subject to federal penalties.

Detention camps will have ‘detox’ facilities. Addicts obviously are in possession of drugs on, or in their persons. They will be detained until their sources are identified. Then their sources will be arrested and detained until their sources are identified. And on, and on, until serious distributors are detained. As each level of source has been identified, the corresponding identifiers will be released to normal legal processes with all evidence gained under martial law admissible. We are either going to save our children – and society – or we are not.

Is it inevitable that individual freedom shall destroy our families, communities, schools, police and judiciaries? Because of our cleverness with words? Or do we have the right to cleanse society of corruption and disease, and to raise succeeding generations in clean, nurturing environments? Let’s choose rightly.

All we need is Pot

Brain Food
Brain Food
One of the least productive efforts a thinking society could engender is the legalization of marijuana. Now that we have failed, miserably, to control the entry of drugs into the United States – not because we can’t control them, but because we have not the collective will to do so – pot-heads are using that failure as a reason to legalize.
Then there is the old saw, “Alcohol is even worse, so give us our dope.”
Liberals and other statists can’t wait to, quote, “regulate it,” unquote, and tax it… ohhh, my gawwd… tax revenue. Ohhhh. Wow.
Dopers and those who will profit from their pot habits, point to traffic accidents tied to booze and say that those statistics “prove” that pot is less harmful, so let’s party, man. To them it’s also proof that we long-ago relinquished our societal right to limit anything people want to do for pleasure. Besides, since those who most want to restrict pot don’t use it themselves they have no right to limit those who do.
Clearly if your skin is not brown you have no right to pass judgment on a brown-skinned law-breaker; if you’ve never raped a girl you can’t understand or condemn a rapist; if you didn’t grow up poor you can’t criticize rioters.
So I can’t criticize pot users, but a few facts are still pertinent. I was going to say timely, but the irony would be lost… eventually.
Like any psychoactive substance, marijuana messes up mental function. It has its own set of effects, but its common effects are well-known and the subject of much humor. Today it’s politically incorrect to joke about alcohol problems and drunkenness. Marijuana’s effects, on the other hand, are still funny, still mocked, still mimicked… and we laugh.
As marijuana gains popular legitimacy through various forms of disingenuous ballot initiatives (you know “medical marijuana” is a giant lie; if it were “medical” it’d be sold at CVS) prompted by looming profits and the intense desire of pot-heads to gain permission as it were to do something “wrong” and slightly stupid, politicians – social leaders, they – are finding ways to gain votes by helping to destroy the social fabric. The fact that we appear to have “lost” the war on drugs is proof only that we have never truly fought it, not that widespread drug use is “inevitable.”
Despite what you may have heard, pot use does often lead to use of stronger drugs. Pot that will soon be “recreational,” or, better, “de-creational” is 10 times stronger than what the great leaders of the ‘60’s messed around with. And the euphoria of toking comes from interaction with the same pleasure receptors as do cocaine and opioids, which we still, sort-of, think are bad.
That child development is severely messed up by pot use – as is their future success and mental balance – should lead us to make it harder to get the stuff. Not so according to great pot-conflicted, or pot-afflicted, political “leaders.”
Pot, I believe, has a lot to do, pre-natally, with the rapid increase in ADHD and autism-spectrum disorders. Not to worry, we have renamed amphetamines to help some of those, and other drugs may come along to counteract other drug downsides – like Narcan.
It’s all depravity but repackaged to be rational because alcohol is bad for some people. To the degree that some drinkers become alcoholics, so do pot smokers become addicted and / or strongly habituated, suffering withdrawal reactions when cut off from it. What a victory for society. You think the Constitution protects license as much as liberty? Is there a line you won’t cross in that descent? Why not this one?

Prudence Leadbetter