Showing posts sorted by relevance for query amphetamines. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query amphetamines. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Meth isn’t an argument for drug prohibition. It demonstrates prohibition’s failure.

WaPo |  The Economist highlights an interesting new study that claims a connection between meth labs and “dry counties.”
The authors argue that local prohibitions lower the price of drugs such as meth relative to alcohol. This is hard to prove, because dry counties share many traits with counties that have meth problems. The authors claim that after controlling for factors including income, poverty, population density and race, legalising the sale of alcohol would result in a 37% drop in meth production in dry counties in Kentucky, or by 25% in the state overall.
Since no one knows exactly how many meth labs there are in America, the paper uses those discovered by the police as a proxy for meth production (see map). They provide further evidence for their argument by noting that lifting the ban on selling alcohol would also reduce the number of emergency-room visits for burns from hot substances and chemicals (amateur meth-producers have a habit of setting themselves alight).
Of course, our maddeningly repetitive response to evidence that prohibition of an intoxicating substance is causing people to turn to more potent and dangerous intoxicating substances has always been to then crack down on those substances too. Imagine for a minute if instead of fighting meth addiction by punishing cold and allergy sufferers, these dry counties lifted their ban on alcohol sales. Better yet, imagine we made it easy to obtain legal amphetamines, which we did for a long time in this country. Now imagine that we spent, say, even a fourth of the money we spend on the drug war on facilitating treatment for addicts. The Portugal example suggests we’d have less addiction, less crime and fewer overdoses.

Meth is often the example prohibitionists pull out when someone points to an example like Portugal. “So you’d legalize meth, too?” But as the Economist piece suggests, meth is a product of prohibition (in this case alcohol, but also restrictions on amphetamines more generally), not an argument in favor it. We have a meth problem because we have drug prohibition. Without it, meth wouldn’t go away, but it almost certainly wouldn’t be as prevalent as it is today.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

dopamine: not about pleasure anymore...,

uconn | “Often, depressed people say they don’t want to go out with their friends,” says Salamone. But it’s not that they don’t experience pleasure, he says – if their friends were around, many depressed people could have fun.

“Low levels of dopamine make people and other animals less likely to work for things, so it has more to do with motivation and cost/benefit analyses than pleasure itself,” he explains.

In essence, says Salamone, this is how amphetamines work, which increase dopamine levels and help people motivate to focus on tasks at hand.

“When you give people amphetamines, you see them putting more effort into things,” he says.
The big implications of this change in understanding come at the level of overlapping motivational symptoms of depression with those seen in other disorders such as schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms of fatigue may be related to low levels of dopamine or changes in other parts of the same brain circuitry.

On the one hand, this lack of perceived energy is maladaptive, because it reduces the tendency to interact with the environment. But, Salamone says, it could also reflect the body’s attempt to save energy in a crisis.
He points out that new ideas in science are traditionally met with criticism. But after all the mounting evidence, he says he’s no longer regarded as “a crazy rebel,” but simply someone who thought differently.
“Science is not a collection of facts. It’s a process,” he says. “First we thought dopamine was involved only in movement. Then that faded and we thought it was pleasure. Now we’ve gone beyond that data on pleasure.”

Although he has thought about writing a popular-press book, he’s not sure he really wants to go to the public and “debunk” the dopamine hypothesis of pleasure and reward. But if he ever does, one thing is for sure.
“I can sum up all this work with one phrase, which would make a great book title,” he says. “Dopamine: it’s not about pleasure anymore.” Fist tap Arnach.


amphetamines | In a letter dated November 9, 1939, to his "dear parents and siblings" back home in Cologne, a young soldier stationed in occupied Poland wrote: "It's tough out here, and I hope you'll understand if I'm only able to write to you once every two to four days soon. Today I'm writing you mainly to ask for some Pervitin ...; Love, Hein."

Pervitin, a stimulant commonly known as speed today, was the German army's -- the Wehrmacht's -- wonder drug.

On May 20, 1940, the 22-year-old soldier wrote to his family again: "Perhaps you could get me some more Pervitin so that I can have a backup supply?" And, in a letter sent from Bromberg on July 19, 1940, he wrote: "If at all possible, please send me some more Pervitin." The man who wrote these letters became a famous writer later in life. He was Heinrich Boell, and in 1972 he was the first German to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in the post-war period.

Many of the Wehrmacht's soldiers were high on Pervitin when they went into battle, especially against Poland and France -- in a Blitzkrieg fueled by speed. The German military was supplied with millions of methamphetamine tablets during the first half of 1940. The drugs were part of a plan to help pilots, sailors and infantry troops become capable of superhuman performance. The military leadership liberally dispensed such stimulants, but also alcohol and opiates, as long as it believed drugging and intoxicating troops could help it achieve victory over the Allies. But the Nazis were less than diligent in monitoring side-effects like drug addiction and a decline in moral standards.

After it was first introduced into the market in 1938, Pervitin, a methamphetamine drug newly developed by the Berlin-based Temmler pharmaceutical company, quickly became a top seller among the German civilian population. According to a report in the Klinische Wochenschrift ("Clinical Weekly"), the supposed wonder drug was brought to the attention of Otto Ranke, a military doctor and director of the Institute for General and Defense Physiology at Berlin's Academy of Military Medicine. The effects of amphetamines are similar to those of the adrenaline produced by the body, triggering a heightened state of alert. In most people, the substance increases self-confidence, concentration and the willingness to take risks, while at the same time reducing sensitivity to pain, hunger and thirst, as well as reducing the need for sleep. In September 1939, Ranke tested the drug on 90 university students, and concluded that Pervitin could help the Wehrmacht win the war. At first Pervitin was tested on military drivers who participated in the invasion of Poland. Then, according to criminologist Wolf Kemper, it was "unscrupulously distributed to troops fighting at the front."

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Real War on Drugs = War on the Deep State

The situation is this: PhDs in the Philippines flip hamburgers, and they are very lucky to get even that job.  Ten elite families basically control 90% of the country's wealth, and the entire economy is based on sending workers(probably 20% of the population), to foreign countries, to wire money back home. (like Mexico?)

How long before economic conditions in the U.S. mirror this state of affairs?

Instead of fueling our own street violence and funding the drug cartels in Mexico and the Opium farmers in Afghanistan and the Golden Triangle (Intelligence Community Drug Dealing). Executing high-level drug dealers, manufacturers and traffickers is the only way to wage a "war on drugs". No nation has ever successfully fought drug manufacturing and importation without a death sentence for the perpetrators. (This would literally entail specifically targeted extrajudicial war against the Intelligence and Banking Communities)

Drug pushing and manufacture, like any other business, is a network. A loosely hierarchical network. If you are going to carry out what essentially amount to extra-judicial killings, then there needs to be targeted executions.

This is the major problem in developing countries, and in a place like the Philippines.

The system is so utterly disorganized, that there is a large amount of [ultimately unacceptable] collateral damage.

The number of executions in this case is extremely high, and is focused primarily on the deterrent effect of slaughtering lowest level peasant drug-addicts and pushers. If such a policy is carried out over an extended period of time, and the underlying (Manufacture/Import/Money Laundering) supply chains remain intact, then public malaise can set in - without ever damaging the root cause network underlying the problem.

This is dangerous, as the policy can in the future be rolled back, with re-distribution beginning rather quickly [the growth in demand will more than pay back for any lost earnings for the real drug-supplier networks].

So the policy must be short, sharp, and to-the-point. Head shots, and head shots only - taking out the thought and profit leadership of the supply networks.

This requires a lot of research and planning.

This latter aspect is totally missing from the Philippines scenario.

Hence the exorbitant body count.

Better to cut off the specific, high-level nodes on the supply and profit-chains of the network, than to blindly shoot at anything in sight, totally missing the key networks and causing a LOT of collateral damage.

Anything else is merely window dressing for low information political followers.

The low-level drug-war in the U.S. is a perfect long-term example of the exact failure to wage real war against the top-level nodes on the drug supply and profit chain.

I used to say to our audiences: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (1935), ISBN 0-520-08198-6; repr. University of California Press, 1994, p. 109. 

Low-information "Just say no" Drug Warriors refuse to process these facts.

The American Drug War has been the most intractable, anti-science exercise in all-pervading State Oppression in American history. At best, an entirely inappropriate over-reaction targeting the low-hanging fruit users and dealers; at worst, a fear-driven witch-hunt driven by superstition, corruption, and cynically partisan fascist political advantage.

Fascism is capitalism plus murder.
Presidential Agent II (1944), ISBN 1-93131-318-0 

I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be more effective and responsive for the Philippine universal health care system (yes, they have one) to simply provide the methamphetamine users with prescriptions for Dexedrine or Desoxyn, to pull them out of the street life of chasing shabu on the black market and replace it with a stable daily regimen under medical supervision.

It's entirely possible that most of the shabu users have undiagnosed ADD; it's a rarely discussed fact that the vast majority of "normal people" don't like the effects of psychostimulants, particularly when taken over a protracted period of time (except for Nazis)

Although the way it plays out in the USA, once someone has a meth conviction or rehab on their record, their physicians are strongly discouraged from prescribing amphetamines to them- because that would mean they're "using" again. So while they might have been effectively self-medicating undiagnosed ADD with an illegal stimulant (albeit without medical supervision, in a criminal environment, and very often overusing the substance while concommitantly abusing alcohol)- once they get pulled into the criminal justice system or mandated rehab, thereafter, as a rule, they're practically forbidden from ever receiving a similar substance from a physician as an ADD treatment.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

ego-disruptive = non-toxic/ ego-reinforcing = toxic

realitysandwich | Since my normal presentation (which is mostly about my theory for a quantum nature for the transpersonal entheogenic experience that I outline in my book Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad) takes at least an hour, and since I was considering 'non-duality' to be another way of describing the 'classical' mystical experience of 'transpersonal Oneness' that occurs with the complete dissolution of Ego and Identity ('the loss of all opposites'), I decided to talk about a subject that I had been thinking about more recently, namely the correlation between the effect a 'drug' has on the Ego (one's personal sense of 'I') and its relative toxicity.

So for this conference, rather than discussing my usual subject (the endogenous entheogens, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT), I decided to consider the broad spectrum of different 'mood-enhancing' compounds available, and rather than considering how each particular 'drug' affects our bodies or our 'mental well-being' as most scientific studies would, I would instead rank each compound on how it affected our sense of Ego, our sense of "I". Since the total loss of Ego and the sense of "I" is the core of the transpersonal mystical experience (and I am an experiential-mystic at heart), I decided that I would assign each 'drug' its own 'Mystical Value', with the compounds that can induce the transpersonal state of total loss of Ego and Identity having the highest value (most value to an experiential mystic), while the compounds that reinforced or inflated the sense of the Ego would have the lowest. After ranking the various compounds (according to experiential reports in literature, EROWID, etc), it was obvious that the scale naturally descended by the chemical class of the compound -- tryptamine, phenethylamine, opiates, amphetamines, alcohol -- and that this corresponded to a noticeable increase in physical toxicity. My conclusion from ranking these various compounds by their unique 'Mystical Value' and then comparing their relative toxicity could then be expressed quite simply (as):

Oroc's First Law of Entheogens: The more a compound disrupts the Ego (the sense of 'I'), the physically safer (less toxic) that compound will be, while the more a 'drug' reinforces and inflates the sense of Ego, the more physically harmful (toxic) that compound will be.

For the purpose of elucidation, here is how I ranked the various compounds, along with my personal commentary on the effects of each compound, the relative toxicity, and a brief summary of its human history.

Warning! This table ranks PHYSICAL TOXICITY, and DOES NOT consider the well-documented potential PSYCHOLOGICAL SIDE-EFFECTS of psychedelic compounds that can occur for psychologically fragile people, from being unprepared for the psychedelic experience, or from taking too-high dosages of psychedelic compounds. All compounds in this table (other than alcohol) are currently illegal in the USA and most other countries.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

why aren't you humans smarter already? evolutionary limits on cognition

Medicalxpress | We put a lot of energy into improving our memory, intelligence, and attention. There are even drugs that make us sharper, such as Ritalin and caffeine. But maybe smarter isn’t really all that better. A new paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, warns that there are limits on how smart humans can get, and any increases in thinking ability are likely to come with problems.

The authors looked to evolution to understand about why humans are only as smart as we are and not any smarter. “A lot of people are interested in drugs that can enhance cognition in various ways,” says Thomas Hills of the University of Warwick, who cowrote the article with Ralph Hertwig of the University of Basel. “But it seems natural to ask, why aren’t we smarter already?”

Tradeoffs are common in evolution. It might be nice to be eight feet tall, but most hearts couldn’t handle getting blood up that high. So most humans top out under six feet. Just as there are evolutionary tradeoffs for physical traits, Hills says, there are tradeoffs for intelligence. A baby’s brain size is thought to be limited by, among other things, the size of the mother’s pelvis; bigger brains could mean more deaths in childbirth, and the pelvis can’t change substantially without changing the way we stand and walk.

Drugs like Ritalin and amphetamines help people pay better attention. But they often only help people with lower baseline abilities; people who don’t have trouble paying attention in the first place can actually perform worse when they take attention-enhancing drugs. That suggests there is some kind of upper limit to how much people can or should pay attention. “This makes sense if you think about a focused task like driving,” Hills says, “where you have to pay attention, but to the right things—which may be changing all the time. If your attention is focused on a shiny billboard or changing the channel on the radio, you’re going to have problems.”

It may seem like a good thing to have a better memory, but people with excessively vivid memories have a difficult life. “Memory is a double-edged sword,” Hills says. In post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, a person can’t stop remembering some awful episode. “If something bad happens, you want to be able to forget it, to move on.”

Even increasing general intelligence can cause problems. Hills and Hertwig cite a study of Ashkenazi Jews, who have an average IQ much higher than the general European population. This is apparently because of evolutionary selection for intelligence in the last 2,000 years. But, at the same time, Ashkenazi Jews have been plagued by inherited diseases like Tay-Sachs disease that affect the nervous system. It may be that the increase in brain power has caused an increase in disease.

Given all of these tradeoffs that emerge when you make people better at thinking, Hills says, it’s unlikely that there will ever be a supermind. “If you have a specific task that requires more memory or more speed or more accuracy or whatever, then you could potentially take an enhancer that increases your capacity for that task,” he says. “But it would be wrong to think that this is going to improve your abilities all across the board.”

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's the Dopamine

Time | Dopamine is responsible for making us feel satisfied after a filling meal, happy when our favorite football team wins, or really happy when we use stimulating drugs like amphetamines or cocaine, which can artificially squeeze more dopamine out of the nerve cells in our brain. It's also responsible for the high we feel when we do something daring, like skiing down a double black diamond slope or skydiving out of a plane. In the risk taker's brain, researchers report in the Journal of Neuroscience, there appear to be fewer dopamine-inhibiting receptors — meaning that daredevils' brains are more saturated with the chemical, predisposing them to keep taking risks and chasing the next high: driving too fast, drinking too much, overspending or even taking drugs.

"This is one of those situations where the data came out essentially perfectly," he says. "The results were exactly as we predicted they would be, based on the animal data." That is, like the rats, humans who were more spontaneous and eager to take risks had fewer dopamine-regulating receptors than those who were more cautious.

The findings support Zald's theory that people who take risks get an unusually big hit of dopamine each time they have a novel experience, because their brains are not able to inhibit the neurotransmitter adequately. That blast makes them feel good, so they keep returning for the rush from similarly risky or new behaviors, just like the addict seeking the next high.

"This finding is really interesting," says Dr. Bruce Cohen, director of the Frazier Research Institute at McLean Hospital in Boston and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "It's a piece of the puzzle to understanding why we like novelty, and why we get addicted to substances ... Dopamine is an important piece of reward."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

III - Why No War on Methamphetamine?

So, Prof. Lester Spence stopped in and made a couple quick surgical cuts helping to solve a part of the "why no war on meth" equation. In a nutshell, rural and suburban crime and criminality are not part of the narrative used to sustain support within the American consensus reality for law enforcement and the prison industrial complex.

In 2005 it was reported that 58 percent of law enforcement officials in 500 counties surveyed by the National Association of Counties cite methamphetamine as their biggest drug problem. Half in the sample said that up to 20 percent of their inmates were incarcerated because of meth-related crimes, and some segments representing small counties and areas in the upper Midwest reported as many as 75 to 100 percent of their incarcerations as meth-related.

While that survey drew on a disproportionate number of counties in the West where meth is most widely available, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) in February 2005, published results from a larger, random sample of 3,400 drug enforcement agencies nationwide. In the NDIC survey, for the first time since they have been taking such surveys, a plurality (40 percent) considered meth their leading drug threat. Cocaine came in second at 36 percent, and marijuana at 12 percent.

No systemic incentives are proffered to the county sheriffs responsible for enforcing laws in the rural precincts of America. Though the meth epidemic has taken a horrific toll on both rural and suburban denizens, and caused an epidemic spike in crime and criminality, it just doesn't matter as much to TPTB as open-air, urban crack dealers. It's not part of the dominant narrative depended upon to manage and sustain public support for the contemporary version of the thin blue line. (which quite obviously has a mission somewhat different from traditional "protect and serve" crime prevention, detection, deterrence and maintenance of law and order for the welfare of the general citizenry);
A NEW report on drug abuse has turned an old stereotype on its head: young teenagers in rural parts of the United States are more likely to use illegal drugs than those in big cities. Data gathered by the National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) say that eighth-graders (mainly 12-to-14-year-olds) living in the country are twice as likely as their urban counterparts to have used amphetamines, including methamphetamine, in the past month.

The same bucolic adolescents are also 34% more likely to have smoked marijuana in the past month, 50% likelier to have snorted cocaine and 83% more likely to have abused crack cocaine. “It’s time for all Americans to recognise that drugs are not only an urban problem,” says Joseph Califano, CASA’s president. …
Hat tip to Submariner

Freeing America from its addiction to methamphetamine is clearly not an elite management priority. Building and maintaining an increasingly militarized urban police capability along with the most massive detention and incarceration infrastructure in the world IS an elite management priority.
Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and methamphetamine are close molecular cousins; meth, in fact, is ephedrine minus a single oxygen atom. As a result, their effects on the body are similar. All three shrink blood vessels in the nose and dilate airways in lungs, while unleashing adrenaline that stimulates the heart. With meth, the latter effect is most pronounced. Removing the oxygen atom, it turns out, makes the molecule fit receptor cells in the human brain "like a key in the lock," said Paul Doering, a professor of pharmacy at the University of Florida.
The Oregonian published an article three years ago called Shelved Solutions giving the pharmaceutical industry angle on the story - and while it's a certainly a necessary part of the puzzle as it relates to home cooking methamphetamine, it sheds almost no light on the domestic meta-economic traffic and the vast toll which increasing demand, crime, and criminality is taking on rural and suburban population groupings. Thinking and dot-connecting sufficient to encompass all of what is transpiring in the U.S. on this front would fall much more along these lines. I just raise the questions evident out the corner of your eye. I leave it to you to connect the liminal dots and bring the fuzzy picture more clearly into focus.