Gone are the days of furtively Googling “how long does MDMA take to wear off” in the university library whist angling your computer so that no one else can see the screen. And the familiar, daunting sensation of scrolling through a forum discussion where everyone seems to know far more about drugs than you do, and is sharing stories about the highs and comedowns of a mystery character called “SWIM” (a popular acronym, commonly used with a wink in online forums to chronicle the wide-ranging drug-related experiences of “Someone Who Isn’t Me”).
Peru’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK), has proposed a new alternative development plan for the country’s main coca-growing region in the hope of reducing cultivation of the illicit crop. Is success possible in this historically impoverished area?
Just four years ago, Peru had the ignominy of being the world’s largest cultivator of coca, the raw ingredient used in the production of cocaine. However, cultivation levels have dropped sharply from a recent peak of 62,500 hectares in 2011 to 40,300 hectares in 2015, the lowest in 15 years, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM) region – one of Peru’s most isolated and impoverished – has consistently been the highest coca-producing region since 2011 and is the only area where the Shining Path guerrilla group remain active. The region currently accounts for about 45 per cent of all coca cultivated in Peru.
Scientists designed injectable nanobots and are testing them on cockroaches. The technology controls the release of drugs needed for the brain using EEG controlled electromagnets. The technique could help fight a host of brain disorder.
ARE ROACHES ALL THAT BAD?
Who would have thought that roaches, that’s right, C-O-C-K-R-O-A-C-H-E-S, could actually do something good for humanity? Well, it seems that they are helping out quite a lot.
Justice Secretary Defends Killing Suspected Drug Dealers, Users
Five-year-old Danica May became the youngest reported victim of the Philippine government’s abusive “war on drugs” on Tuesday.
The kindergarten student died from a gunshot wound to the head after an unidentified gunman opened fire on her grandfather, Maximo Garcia, as the family sat down to lunch. The attack came just three days after Garcia had registered with local police, who suspected his involvement in the drug trade. Garcia had said he wasn’t. He survived being shot in the abdomen in the attack, which police have attributed to unnamed “drug dealers.”
The world’s largest drug consumption room (DCR) has opened in Copenhagen, offering a safe and supervised environment for people to use illicit drugs.
The 1000 square-metre drug consumption room, named H17, officially opened in the Vesterbro district of the Danish capital on August 15. Staff say that the facility is providing a space for people who use “hard drugs” – most illicit substances apart from cannabis – safely, and without the risk of legal consequences.
Last month, I was lucky enough to take part in the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa. Though harm reduction, and the rights of people who use drugs were almost non-existent on the conference agenda, I managed to visit a harm reduction project working in Cape Town, South Africa and see what services are available in the country.
The Step Up project in Cape Town is run by the TB\HIV Care Association, an NGO with almost 1000 staff operating in 16 geographical areas in South Africa. The organisation focuses on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and adherence support for people infected with, and affected by TB and HIV.
Recent medical research into MDMA, psilocybin, and LSD has improved understanding of their effects, and may aid progress towards policy reform.
There has been a wave of recent attempts by scientists to fill the gap in knowledge of how certain illicit substances affect the human brain. These trials, of well known and currently illegal drugs, sought to discover any medicinal benefits they may offer for psychiatric conditions. These experiments could serve as the starting point for the medicalisation of these drugs.
Clinical trials into MDMA, commonly referred to as “ecstasy”, have demonstrated significant therapeutic potential. A 2015 US study of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found that, following MDMA-based psychotherapy, 83 per cent of participants no longer met the criteria of having the mental illness.
The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) regime is suspected of having produced and trafficked vast amounts of illicit drugs for decades, to the detriment of its population.
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea claims that the DPRK regime has been ordering the production of illicit drugs since the 1970s. Although initial quantities were estimated to be relatively low, the country’s former supreme leader, Kim Jong-Il, is alleged to have initiated the country’s illicit drug-producing boom in 1998.
According to a defected government official, Kim ordered all collective farms to allocate space for the cultivation of opium poppies. Opium produced was then “sent to the pharmaceutical plants” where it was “processed and refined into heroin […] under the direct control and strict supervision of the Central Government”.
The use of dark web drug markets is growing exponentially. While law enforcement has consistently failed to reduce online sales, non-profit initiatives are working to reduce the potential harms of drugs purchased through the dark web.
Recent data indicates that online drug markets are swiftly gaining international popularity. This is particularly evident in the results of the Global Drug Survey 2016 (GDS), which surveyed over 100,000 respondents – primarily those who use illegal drugs – from over 50 countries around the world. Around one in 10 participants reported having purchased drugs through the dark web at least once, while five per cent of respondents claimed they “did not consume drugs prior to accessing them through” the dark web.
Data from the Economist indicates that the turnover of international drug sales through the dark web has increased by over 800 per cent in the past four years; from around $16million in 2012 to between $150m and $180m in 2015.
Five months ago, 21 year old Christopher Davis was shot dead by police in Muskego, Wisconsin. Today, his family wrestles with the frustrating reality that Chris’s killer won’t be charged with a crime. Key details gleaned during federal investigations, however, bring that decision into sharp questioning.
During February of 2016, Christopher Davis accompanied friends driving from Milwaukee Wisconsin to Muskego. Driver Jose Lara told investigators they’d gone to inspect a car for purchase. At the time of the shooting Davis’ cousin, a US Army private, stated this as well. Being uncomfortable with freeway driving, Davis allowed Lara to drive his car. Davis and Lara were accompanied by a third individual, Roberto Juarez Nieves, MJS reports. Nieves’ name, however, was redacted in the investigative report.
What happened to New Zealand’s regulation of legal highs?
New Zealand’s much heralded regulation of new psychoactive substances (NPS) appears be at a complete standstill after its introduction three years ago, raising the question: what went wrong?
The 2013 Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) sought to introduce a full regulatory system for NPS and take control of what was a burgeoning market in these drugs.
The international community has lambasted Isis for its distinctive form of brutality, yet remained curiously silent on Isis atrocities commited in the name of drug control, perhaps because they mirror so well repressive drug laws elsewhere around the world.
Isis, the militant group which has seized control of swathes of Iraq and Syria since 2013, implements authoritarian rule over all who reside in its claimed territory. In accordance with their strict interpretation of sharia law, Isis leaders consider all intoxicating substances to be haram, meaning they are prohibited by Islam.
Rodrigo Duterte, the new president-elect of the Philippines, is making headlines with calls for the vigilante killing of drug-offenders, as well as the reintroduction of the death penalty.
Earlier this month, Duterte – known as “The Punisher” – told the public how to respond if they encounter a drug offender, saying: “please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun – you have my support”.
His proposed repressive practices and harsh strongman rhetoric are bound to have serious consequences once he takes office on June 30, particularly if he is successful in reinstating capital punishment. However, in the global landscape of drug policy, Duterte is not alone with his approach to drugs.
Data from the 2016 Global Drug Survey (GDS) shows that more people than ever before are using MDMA. As the purity and availability of the drug increases, it is essential that people know how to use it safely.
Last year, almost 1 per cent of people worldwide who used MDMA sought emergency medical treatment. You cannot eliminate the risk of harm, except by not using drugs – but you can reduce the risk by being aware of what you use and how you should use it. To begin with, remember these two major misconceptions around drug use: that better quality drugs are safer to use, and that taking more of a drug makes the experience more fun.
In 1999, an ecstasy pill bought in the UK would contain around 70-100mg of MDMA. For most people who used MDMA, a dose of 80mg provided the pleasurable and sought-after effects – energy, euphoria, and empathy. This was sufficient for many, though some more experienced MDMA users would take another dose or two as their session continued.
For some time I have believed that we, citizens of Western societies, are going through an existential crisis, caused by a growing gap between our material and spiritual existence. Capitalism has primarily fed the former, encouraging competition amongst ourselves for resources and nurturing feelings of inadequacy and insecurity to promote constant consumption and high productivity. Our society has endorsed the pursuit of material happiness and in the process emaciated our spiritual existence, either attempting to drown it in more superficial satisfactions or repressing it through a pharmacologically induced stupor.