narcotics

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Global Commission on Drug Policy 'Profoundly Disappointed' With UN

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The Global Commission on Drug Policy on Thursday announced it is "profoundly disappointed" with the adopted outcome document agreed at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on "the world drug problem." According to Commissioners, the document does not acknowledge the comprehensive failure of the current drug control regime to reduce drug supply and demand.

"Nor does the outcome document account for the damaging effects of outdated policies on violence and corruption as well as on population health, human rights and wellbeing," the statement from the Commission reads. "By reaffirming that the three international conventions are the 'cornerstone of global drug policy,' the document sustains an unacceptable and outdated legal status quo."

"UNGASS has not seriously addressed the critical flaws of international drug policy," the statement reads. "It does not call for an end to the criminalization and incarceration of drug users. It does not urge states to abolish capital punishment for drug-related offences. It does not call on the World Health Organization (WHO) to revisit the scheduling system of drugs. It does not advocate for harm reduction and treatment strategies that have demonstrated effectiveness. Finally it does not offer proposals to regulate drugs and put governments – rather than criminals – in control.

Study: Medical Marijuana Compares Favorably To Conventional PTSD Treatments

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Medical marijuana compares favorably with conventional treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Care By Design, a California-based medical marijuana company which recently completed a survey of 300 patients with PTSD. The survey asked what medications (including cannabis) patients had used for PTSD-related symptoms, and then asked patients to assess each medication in terms of its impact on the hallmark symptoms of PTSD, including anger and irritability, anxiety, depression, pain, and sleep disorders.

Among the key findings of the study, according to Care By Design:

• Survey respondents reported taking numerous medications for PTSD. In order of prevalence: Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, cannabis, sleeping medication, mood stabilizers, narcotic pain medication, non-narcotic pain medication, anti-psychotics, beta-blockers, tranquilizers, and anti-convulsants.
• Half of respondents had taken at least 5 medications for PTSD, and 7.5 percent had taken as many as 11.
• Survey respondents reported that cannabis was the most likely to improve PTSD symptoms—albeit to an unknown degree—and the least likely to make symptoms worse.

Massachusetts: Doctors Use Marijuana As Opioid Substitute

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hundreds of opioid addicts in Massachusetts are being treated with medical marijuana, and advocates say the new therapy is a life-changing alternative to the deadly epidemic of painkiller addiction.

"We have a statewide epidemic of opioid deaths," said Dr. Gary Witman of Canna Care Docs, which issues medicinal cannabis authorizations in seven states, and has nine clinics in Massachusetts, reports Chris Villani at the Boston Herald. "As soon as we can get people off opioids to a nonaddicting substance -- and medicinal marijuana is nonaddicting -- I think it would dramatically improve the amount of opioid deaths."

Witman said he's treated about 80 patients who were addicted to opioid painkillers, muscle relaxers or anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals, using cannabis with a one-month tapering program. More than 75 percent of those patients stopped taking the harder drugs, according to Witman.

Cannabis can treat the symptoms patients had been using opioids and other drugs to manage, such as chronic pain or anxiety, and treat them far more safely, Witman said.

Dr. Harold Altvater of Delta 9 Medical Consulting in Malden, Mass., agreed that he's also seen success with medicinal cannabis as a substitution therapy. "You are basically taking something that can be very harmful for an individual, and substituting with another chemical, just like you would with any other drug, that has a wider safety margin," he said.

U.S.: Slammerbooks Creates Opportunity For Prisoners, Promotes Drug War Reform

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What do you get when you mix a medical marijuana activist, now a federal prisoner of the War On Marijuana, together with a federal white collar prisoner who was once a narcotics officer and a medical marijuana activist outside of prison together into a creative stew and simmer for 18 months? How about slammerbooks.com, an enterprise that creates genuine opportunity for thousands of current and former prisoners, and promotes justice, drug war and prison reform!

"Slammerbooks.com was created to show that prisoners can be a force for positive change in the law, justice and in the way offenders are rehabilitated," reads a Thursday press release. "Slammerbooks.com achieves this goal through showcasing the literary talent of prisoners."

Slammerbooks.com is the brainchild of Dustin Costa, a former Marine, union organizer and president, and medical marijuana/cannabis reform activist and Jack Straw, a white collar prisoner and former head of a major drug task force in the Midwest. They took their vision to Joe Grumbine, creator of the The Human Solution, a medical marijuana court support non-profit. Grumbine has now turned their vision into a reality with the creation of slammerbooks.com

Slammerbooks.com launched on April 18 with a half-dozen books by prisoners now being developed for publishing. Since launching, Slammerbooks.com has already received nearly a hundred inquiries from prisoners seeking to have their books published. "As more prisoners learn about us, that number will grow into the thousands," the company's press release predicts.

Mississippi: Former Pastor Says Marijuana Is God's Medicine

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A former pastor in Mississippi has something he wants you to know about marijuana.

"If you believe in God, you have to believe in cannabis," Al Pollard said in an interview with WDAM-TV. "It's a plant."

Pollard, a paraplegic who is on an exuberant mission to educate Mississippians about cannabis, wants it to be legalized, taxed, and regulated, reports The Clarion-Ledger.

"It's God's medicine," Pollard said.

He became paralyzed in a diving accident at age 18. Pollard said that during the first six months after his accident, he was prescribed to more than a dozen medicines a day, including prescription narcotics for pain.

After leaving physical therapy, he stopped taking those prescription drugs and starting using marijuana.

"I recently came clean with my doctor telling her I've never taken medicine since my release from rehab," Pollard said.

"She was shocked, but believed me. I told her marijuana is my medicine and that it helps me," he said. "Maintaining a moderate use has proven to be the cause of my healthy condition."

New Mexico: Medical Board Proposes Same Protocols For Narcotics, Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Mexico's Medical Board is proposing new rules for doctors who authorize patients for the state's medical marijuana program.

The board says the changes are to remind doctors and providers to use the same protocols when authorizing patients for medical marijuana, as are used to prescribe narcotic pain relievers, reports Jeffery Gordon at KOB.com.

The medical board said this is an effort to "clear the confusion" about the provider's role in the process. Critics argue it is not the same as prescribing narcotics, since medical marijuana isn't approved by the federal government and cannot be prescribed.

A public hearing on the new rules will be held at the medical board office at 2055 S. Pacheco St., Building 400, Santa Fe, N.M., on August 16 at 9 a.m.

New Mexico Medical Board

Malaysia: Notorious For Drug Death Penalties, Pacific Nation Moves Toward Decriminalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Malaysia -- long notorious for its barbaric practice of hanging "drug traffickers" -- is moving towards decriminalization for users, according to Nancy Shukri, a government minister from the prime minister's office. While the new decrim plan would force drug users into treatment, many will no doubt be happy to exchange jail cells (or even hangman's nooses) for rehabilitation treatment beds.

Shukri's remarks came at the end of a high level meeting on drug policy and public health sponsored by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, reports Phillip Smith at Weedist. The meeting was held in connection with the 2013 International AIDS Conference held over the weekend in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) goal of a "drug-free region" by 2015 is "not realistic," according to Shukri, but smarter approaches by government authorities can lead to less dependence on drugs.

"There is no such thing as drug-free but we can control it by changing or shifting our policy," Shukri said. "Instead of looking at drug dependents as criminals, we should actually look at them as patients.

"Instead of bringing them to jail, we bring them to the clinic," Shukri said at a press conference after the AIDS conference ended.

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