• Rollin’ With the Dragon: Opioids Are Gaining Popularity in the Club Scene | Alternet

    The EDM scene has long been known for drug use, but the researchers warn that the turn to opioids is a dangerous trend that should not be ignored.

    “We’ve always known that electronic dance music party attendees are at high risk for use of club drugs such as ecstasy or Molly, but we wanted to know the extent of opioid use in this population,” said Palamar, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of population health at NYU School of Medicine.

    The most popular prescription opioid reported in this scene was Oxycontin, which, like many prescription opioids, is used to relieve pain, but also produces euphoric effects, inducing relaxation and happiness. Following close behind were Vicodin, Percocet, codeine, and Purple Drank. About 15 percent of opioid users reported snorting them, while 11 percent reported injecting them, both forms of ingestion more likely to result in dependence.

    People who had already used opioids reported a much higher propensity for using them again than did people who had never used them. Among previous users, nearly three-quarters (73.4 percent) said they would do them again, while only about 6 percent of non-users said they would try them if offered.

    #Opioides #Dance_music

  • How Big Pharma Is Corrupting the Truth About the Drugs It Sells Us | Alternet

    Remember how appalled we felt as a society when we discovered that, for so long, we had been mistakenly taking Big Tobacco’s word that cigarettes are harmless? Rinse and repeat with lobbyists for Big Alcohol fear-mongering about legal weed. And again and again with a panoply of consumer-level commodities and goods.

    Nowadays we have all these familiar worries, but about our drugs and medications instead. It’s become so bad that there’s now reason to believe Big Pharma is also colluding to poison the well of scientific inquiry.

    The truth is, there are many examples of private industry paying for positive press from the scientific community. When you look closer at our spending priorities as a nation, it’s not entirely difficult to see why. As public funding for the sciences has fallen away, many scientists have had to pivot toward more consistent—and ethically fraught—sources of funding and stability as surely as politicians who, for want of public election funding, get buoyed by billionaires at $100,000-per-plate fundraising dinners.

    The Fall of Accountable Science

    Between 2011 and 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine published more than 70 “original studies” of newly FDA-approved and experimental drugs. Of these 70-plus reports:

    Sixty received direct pharmaceutical company funding.
    Fifty were written or co-written by a current employee of a pharmaceutical company.
    Thirty-seven had lead writers who had, at some point, received speaking fees or other compensation from the subject of the study.

    Up until about the 1980s, the federal government was the primary financier of scientific research in the world of medicine. In the ’60s and ’70s, the federal government had a 70 percent share of scientific research. In 2013, that number finally dropped below the 50 percent mark.

    #Conflit_intérêt #Big_Pharma #Pubications

  • Black Tar, Black Markets : Denver’s Opioid Crisis and the Search for a Progressive Fix | Alternet


    Un passage sur les bibliothèques dans un article sur les « salles de shoot ». Paniquant, isn’t it ?

    The Denver Public Library, searching for a humane solution, took action. To prevent any additional tragedies, the library trained many of its staff to use naloxone (brand name Narcan), the antidote to an opioid overdose. Over 300 staff now carry naloxone across the library’s different branches.

    “Let me be clear,” Rachel Fewell, the Central Library Administrator of the Denver Public Library, told me. “Drug use of any kind in our library is illegal and a violation of our policies. But when we see it, we try to treat the people using our library as individuals and with respect. We try to connect them with the resources and services they need.”

    Fewell explained that the library has social workers and peer navigators on its staff who try to help guests deal with problems such as addiction or homelessness. Guests can access these services for free during daily drop-in hours. She told me that the library has successfully reversed 15 overdoses since they equipped staff with naloxone last year, and there have been no more deaths.

    #Opioides #Bibliothèques #Société_du_soin #Care

  • How Your Brain Is Wired to Just Say ’Yes’ to Opioids | Alternet

    Brain scientists have known for decades that opioids are complex and difficult substances to manage when it comes to addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 20 percent of the patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them, and between 8 and 12 percent of those who use prescription opioids develop a use disorder.

    Given how addictive these drugs are, doctors should have foreseen the looming danger of prescription opioids long before their use was liberalized for non-cancer related pain in the 1990s. Opioid abuse has instead ballooned over the last decade. In 2014, federal officials estimated nearly 2 million people in the United States suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain medicines. Each day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for misusing prescription opioids, the CDC reports.

    Brain science is only one part of an addiction problem, but, I believe an important one deserving of more consideration than we’ve shown in past drug abuse crises. NIH Director Francis S. Collins has recognized this in his leadership of the medical and scientific response to the opioid use epidemic.

    The NIH is taking important steps in building a public-private partnership that will seek scientific solutions to the opioid crisis, including the development of non-opioid painkillers. Collins has committed his agency’s resources in this quest, including implementing the Fast Track and Breakthrough Therapy designations that exist to facilitate development and expedite review of products that address an unmet medical need. The agency is calling for more emphasis on non-drug alternatives for pain, such as medical devices that can deliver more localized analgesia.

    #Opioides #Neurosciences

  • Magic Mushrooms Fight Authoritarianism | Alternet

    Psychedelic drugs have been associated with anti-authoritarian counter-cultures since the 1960s, but a new study suggests using psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, actually makes people less likely to embrace authoritarian views, PsyPost reports. The study conducted by the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

    While other studies have linked the use of psychedelics to a greater sense of oneness with nature, openness to new experiences and political and social liberalism, this is the first to provide experimental evidence their use can leading to lasting changes in these attitudes.

    In the study, researchers gave two oral doses of psilocybin to seven participants suffering from treatment-resistant major depression while a control group of seven healthy subjects did not receive psilocybin. Researchers surveyed participants about their political views and relationship to nature before the sessions, one week after the sessions, and 7-12 months later.

    Subjects who received the psilocybin treatment showed a significant decrease in authoritarian attitudes after treatment, and that reduction was sustained over time. They also reported a significant increase in a sense of relatedness to nature.

    "Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it. Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… But now I see there’s no separation or distinction—you are it,” one participant told researchers.

    Subjects who had not received psilocybin did not exhibit significant changes in attitudes.

    #Psychédéliques #Psylocybine #Pharmacologie

  • You Won’t Believe Which Middle East Theocracy Takes an Enlightened Line on Entheogens and Psychedelics! | Alternet

    In a move barely noticed in the West, more than three years ago, Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Rohani issued a formal legal ruling—a fatwa—declaring that the use of entheogens and psychedelics was permissible (ḥalāl) for Shi’i Muslims for purposes of treatment and spiritual growth.

    Grand Ayatollah Rohani’s fatwa specified that such use should be undertaken under the direction and supervision of qualified experts, but it did not specify which psychoactive substances were meant to be included. The fatwa, however, was delivered after long discussions with petitioners about the effects of DMT, ayahuasca, haoma (or soma), LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, ibogaine, and marijuana.

    Whatever the precise theological reasoning behind the Rohani’s fatwa, with it, Iran could leapfrog Western nations when it comes to psychedelic research. Although psychedelics are seeing a research renaissance in the West, research here is limited by their criminalized legal status, as well as lack of funding. But the Islamic Republic has cleared the way.

    #Psychédéliques #Iran

  • The Corporate Roots of the Opioid Crisis | Alternet

    The Corporate Roots of the Opioid Crisis
    Opioid overdose claims 175 Americans each day, but powerful pharmaceutical companies continue to promote their sales.

    These are some of the two million Americans who suffer from substance abuse disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers. The numbers are staggering. In 2016, as many as 64,000 people died in the U.S. as a result of drug overdose. In 2015, the number was 52,404 dead, which means that the number increased by 22 percent over the year. But more staggering is that over the past three years, deaths by synthetic opioids (fentanyls) increased by 540 percent from 3,000 to 20,000. Illegal drugs—such as cocaine and heroin—continue to pose a challenge, but the real threat is from prescription opioids such as fentanyls of one kind or another. Each day, 175 Americans die from opioid overdose.

    Princeton University economists Anne Case and Sir Angus Deaton looked carefully at the mortality rates for the U.S. working class and found them prone to “diseases of despair”—including drug overdose. In 2015, the Case-Deaton study found that there was a “sea of despair” that was drowning a generation of working-class Americans, with diseases such as drug addiction and alcoholism as evidence for the despair. In an updated version of the study that came out this year, Case and Deaton find that the collapse of the job market and the lack of hope amongst the working class have turned the poor towards various forms of addiction, including that of prescription drugs. Half the men who are out of the labor force, they suggest, are taking a prescription painkiller (such as an opioid).

    “Although we do not see the supply of opioids as the fundamental factor,” Case and Deaton argue, “the prescription of opioids for chronic pain added fuel to the flames, making the epidemic much worse than it otherwise would have been.” Importantly, Case and Deaton point at the money. “We should note,” they suggest, “that a central beneficiary of opioids are the pharmaceutical companies that have promoted their sales.”

    Purdue Pharma, which makes the popular drug OxyContin, made $35 billion on this drug. The family that owns Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers, has made upwards of $13 billion. They donate vast amounts of money to charity, particularly in the arts. But they have also lobbied Congress with laser-sharp intensity. Between 2006 and 2015, Purdue Pharma and others who produce opioids spent $900 million on their lobbying efforts. That is eight times the amount spent by the gun lobby.

    Le coup double de l’industrie pharmaceutique : gagner de l’argent sur le médicament contre les overdoses.

    It is true that the drug industry has made a fortune selling painkillers—especially opioids—to the general public. But they also make a killing from selling the antidotes for an overdose. And they have shown their colors by raising prices as the epidemic spirals out of control. The drug that Picard wanted to deny the overdose victim on their third call to the hospital is Narcan. One version of Narcan is called Evzio and is made by the pharmaceutical company Kaleo. In 2014, Kaleo sold two Evzio doses for $690, but increased the price earlier this year to $4,500. Kaleo controls about 20 percent of the antidote market. This means that it has been able to set the price for this drug across the market, including for generic naloxone, which doubled over the past year.

    #Big_pharma #Opioides #Scandale

  • TV News Has an Ugly Role in the Pharma Epidemic That Has Killed 200,000 Americans | Alternet

    When they do report on drugs, TV news media spend more time on Prince and celebrity deaths than on drug policy that affects millions. More time on state marijuana laws than far more deadly federal opioid-prescription legislation. More time discussing how El Chapo escaped from prison than how to put devious prescription distributors and pharmaceutical drug-dealers behind bars. More time on how to clean up the mess than on how to stop the flow. And with drug commercials a mainstay of TV broadcast and cable news programming, it is easy to understand why the topic rarely surfaces.

    Andrew Tyndall, who tracks ABC, NBC and CBS Evening News programs on Tyndall Reports.com, kindly provided search results for his narcotics category and returned 149 stories on the three networks from Feb. 1, 2014, to May 1, 2016.

    Many stories each on Bill Cosby, El Chapo, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Prince; many gut-wrenching tales of addicts, families, first responders, communities, courts and police battling the epidemic. And a whole bunch of stories on medical marijuana and pot legalization. But not one story on pharmaceutical drug policies or laws enacted at the root of the opioid crisis.

    Except one—ironically, a Feb. 27, 2014, NBC News story on FDA approval of a new painkiller, Zohydro ER, which is five to 10 times more powerful than hydrocodone. Senior-level FDA officials during the Obama administration approved the painkiller over the FDA’s Advisory Board recommendations, which are normally followed.

    TV news continues to focus on the heartbreaking individual stories of addiction, the damage opioids have wreaked on our communities, and how doctors, clinics, courts, police and first responders are dealing with the crisis. While well-intentioned, their failure to confront the root causes—Big Pharma, its lobbyists and the laws that enable them—will doom us to a continuing cycle of misery. We need Big News to step up and do more. It’s the crisis in our backyards. There will be no solution until we curtail and rethink the pharmaceutical pipeline.

    #Opioids #Médias #Big_Pharma

  • Want to Cut Crime? Hand Out Psychedelics | Alternet

    New research suggests that psychedelic use is associated with a lesser likelihood of criminal behavior. The finding opens the door to further research on the use of classical psychedelics such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (peyote), in treatments aimed at reducing such behavior.

    Researchers found that having ever used a psychedelic was associated with a 22% decrease in the odds of being arrested for a property crime and an 18% decrease for violent crime within the past year. Use of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) in particular was linked to a decreased likelihood of either property or violent crimes.

    “These findings are consistent with a growing body of research suggesting classic psychedelics confer enduring psychological and prosocial benefits,” Hendricks said. “Classic psychedelics can produce primary mystical experiences — also known as primary religious experiences or peak experiences — and have been used for millennia across cultures with therapeutic intention.”

    #Psychédéliques #Traitements_médicaux #Violence #Santé_publique