[ibogaine] Fw: [drugnews] !!! ADDICTION: Informing America's policy on illegal drugs

preston peet ptpeet at nyc.rr.com
Thu Jul 18 09:21:32 EDT 2002


Joshua,    
Where'd you get this please? I'd love a link.
For that matter,
    If at all possible, when people are posting stuff, could you all please supply a link to go with the articles, commentary, etc, if one (or more) exist? Thanks. I can always use more links to go up at drugwar.com and HighTimes.com, so please, again, if at all possible, please post links with articles etc.
Thank you.
Peace,
Preston
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Joshua Tinnin 
  To: Ibogaine 
  Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 1:42 AM
  Subject: [ibogaine] Fw: [drugnews] !!! ADDICTION: Informing America's policy on illegal drugs


  Not *totally* on-topic (no specific ibo content), but worthy of note.

  - jt

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: "Peter Webster" <vignes at monaco.mc>

  Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 09:50:20 +1000
  From: Andrew Byrne <ajbyrne at ozemail.com.au
  Subject: "Informing America's policy on illegal drugs: what we don't know 
  keeps
    hurting us". US wisdom then commentaries in British journal.

  For debate: Executive summary of the National Research Council's
  report "Informing America's policy on illegal drugs: what we don't
  know keeps hurting us".  Addiction (2002) 97: 647-652

  Dear Colleagues,

  Griffith Edwards, long-time editor-in-chief of the Addiction journal,
  has written a lead piece explaining why he published this executive
  report from the 'US National Research Council'.  'Addiction' and most
  of its seven commentators seem to have missed the point that this is
  an unscientific report of little relevance to the dependency field
  beyond the US.  It represents the illogical and ineffective approach
  taken by America for fifty years which is so clearly contrary to the
  interests of its own citizens, not to mention some of its close
  neighbours.

  In short, Addiction seems to have found one of many American
  reports saying that 'we need more research on drug use in young
  Americans before we dare make any changes to drugs policy".  As
  if to justify this, Edwards seeks comments from Reuter, Maynard,
  Kandel, Weatherburn, Bammer, Kleber and Klingemann, mostly
  prominent researchers!  It is hardly surprising that researchers
  approve of more research!  But where are the comments from coal-
  face clinicians, drug user representatives, administrators, police or
  advocates for drug law reform, many of whom come from
  impeccable conservative backgrounds.  Even a serious scientific
  journal might consider such important interest groups occasionally.

  Drug policy clearly should not remain frozen until more research is
  done.  Even in England things are happening steadily, with cannabis
  decriminalization, heroin prescription, improved methadone
  treatment and needle services.  But the medical and research
  experts seem to be the last to find out!  To Maynard's credit, he
  states in his commentary that research should be done AFTER
  certain policy changes are made, to see if they are beneficial.  This
  is 'harm reduction' by definition.  However, he seeks more 'placebo
  controlled studies', especially in prisoners denied treatment.  This
  curious view may be partly due to the poor standard of methadone
  treatment in the UK and doubts by some whether it actually
  'works'.  He says that "UK reform cannot proceed without logic
  and evidence . [changing the US] . current myopic and corrupting
  policy framework".  But US policy rarely follows 'logic', being
  largely based on punishment or a 'zero tolerance' approach.

  Reuter points out that measuring the true cost of drug use is more
  complex than just estimating gross quantities of drugs used, as
  seems to be the current US policy aim.  Indeed, he goes on, neither
  quantities nor prevalence of drug use can account for the 'violence,
  corruption and disorder' associated with drug use and drug control.

  Weatherburn intriguingly straddles the fence, saying 'it is
  fashionable to decry America's [punitive] drug policy' but not
  saying if he is part of the 'fashion'.  And this is a field which he
  knows much better than most, or than he chooses to reveal.  I
  cannot fathom why he calls inadvertent collateral damage from
  policing "iatrogenic" (doctor-induced).

  Bammer, Kleber and Kandel make various astute observations,
  comments and suggestions.  Kleber's 'kernel' message is contained
  in his final para, in a sentence with over eighty words and eight
  commas!  To paraphrase his 'de Quincey'-style: 'nothing happens at
  the top since so many still wrongly consider addiction self-inflicted'
  (14 words!).  Only Klingemann, published last, points to the
  profound myopia of the report and its lack of consideration of a
  broader perspective beyond America such as heroin trials, criminal
  nature of certain drugs and harm reduction as a policy.  These were
  specifically excluded from consideration in this report.  The web
  address is given as: www.nap.edu/catalog/10021.html  .

  The reports authors are not given, nor its date.  However, three of
  their number from the Department of Economics, Iowa University,
  have replied to Reuter and Kleber while ignoring Klingemann and
  Maynard.  Perhaps this is because the latter's arguments were
  cogent and 'unanswerable'.

  While the American government has resumed shooting down planes
  suspected of being involved in drug importation, their own doctors
  are prescribing amphetamine for children ... and Swiss, English and
  other doctors are using heroin successfully for addiction treatment.

  Edwards states: "Although American in origin, we believe that this
  thoughtful statement is likely to be of wide international interest".
  'Thoughtful'?  Can he be serious?  Coming from the country with
  such a poor record of drugs policy!  And a report which apparently
  does not espouse one single 'courageous' departure from the
  ubiquitous policy of 'zero tolerance' in that country!

  This whole exercise seems to ignore the major advances many
  countries have made in the area of drug related harm.  In some
  cases these problems have almost been wiped out at very little cost
  (eg. overdoses in Switzerland; HIV transmission in Australia;
  cannabis prosecutions in Holland).  And the report's' exclusions'
  remove any hope of useful ways to improve the current American
  approach.  Maynard eloquently calls it a "welfare system for
  present-day criminals" just as "alcohol prohibition in the 1920s was
  a social security system which supported Capone and the US
  Mafia".

  Editor Edwards asks readers to 'take the debate further ' by
  submitting letters.  But Addiction appears to publish very little
  correspondence arising from previously published articles - this
  June edition contains none.  But under heading of letters, there are
  3 apparently solicited but 'unannounced' commentaries (on cannabis
  withdrawal review of Smith) plus a letter "from" the editor!  This
  rambling apologia does everything but actually apologise, as it
  possibly should, for "un-publishing" (!) an item from a decade ago
  due to supposed undeclared tobacco sponsorship involving a
  conference air-fare for a respected (and now deceased) Danish
  researcher.

  Comments by Andrew Byrne ..

  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Dr Andrew Byrne,
      Medical Practitioner, Drug and Alcohol,
      75 Redfern Street, Redfern,
      New South Wales, 2016,
      Australia
      Tel (61 - 2) 9319 5524  Fax 9318 0631
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  "What was it that did in reality make me an opium-eater?
  .... Pain was it? No, but misery. Casual overcasting of sunshine
  was it? No, but blank desolation. Gloom was it that might have
  departed?  No, but settled and abiding darkness. Total eclipse,
  Without all hope of day!"

  Thomas De Quincey. Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
  The London Magazine, 1821.

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