The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, constitutes more than 30 percent of the global demand for illegal drugs, according to my calculations.
Yes, there are addicts, but experts estimate that eight in 10 users — more than 20 million people in this country — take drugs recreationally. They come from all walks of life — artists, bankers, engineers, and high school, college and graduate students…That’s why Americans must recognize that every time they buy illegal drugs they reward the cartels. If you think one person’s consumption is too small to make a difference, consider that $100 — what a recreational cocaine user might spend on a single weekend — buys the cartels 500 rounds of ammunition; $500 buys a new AR-15 rifle; $700 covers the monthly salary of one of their gunmen.
Without the vast profits from the drug trade, cartels would be infinitely less powerful, and our governments could neutralize them.
If you use illegal drugs, even just occasionally, please reconsider. Lives are at stake. Go for legal vices if you must. Even if you never use illegal drugs, you probably know people who do. Tell them about the trail of blood that led to their night of partying. If they had seen it firsthand, as I have, they wouldn’t buy those drugs.
We can shatter the misconception that recreational drug use is a victimless crime. We must put an end to the hypocrisy that allows people to make purchases based on their concerns about the environment, workers’ rights or animals — but not about killing people in Mexico.
Heavy marijuana use over a long period of time may severely damage the brain, according to a new review of previous research.
"When we looked at the brain, it had horrible degenerative changes," said Dr. Suzanne M. de la Monte, a professor of neurosurgery at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who co-authored the review and examined the man's brain after his death.
Conclusions and Relevance Colorado RPC cases for pediatric marijuana increased significantly and at a higher rate than the rest of the United States. The number of children’s hospital visits and RPC case rates for marijuana exposures increased between the 2 years prior to and the 2 years after legalization. Almost half of the patients seen in the children’s hospital in the 2 years after legalization had exposures from recreational marijuana, suggesting that legalization did affect the incidence of exposures.
Researchers trying to understand what triggers psychotic episodes in some users say it’s a myth marijuana is risk-free.
Dr. Romina Mizrahi, a psychiatrist and director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention Clinic, says young people who use marijuana before the age of 16 have a higher risk of having a psychotic experience. (KEITH BEATY / TORONTO STAR)
By MARINA JIMENEZ Foreign Affairs Writer - Mon., June 6, 2016
At first, the voices he heard in his head were pleasant. But then, they turned malevolent. Jean Thibodeau, a 19-year-old University of Toronto student and avid pot smoker, became convinced he was possessed by the devil. He could see blood gushing down his chest and feel a deep gash in his neck. “I remember thinking, I’m going to die,” said Thibodeau in an interview.
His roommate became so concerned he took him to the emergency department of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
“They told me I was having a psychotic episode brought on by cannabis,” said Thibodeau, who requested that the Star use his grandmother’s surname as he is still recovering from the breakdown.
“I was shocked. We live in a society where there is such a culture around smoking dope that people think it is cool to be a stoner. Nobody ever talks about the pitfalls.”
Researchers have established a link between cannabis and psychosis among young people, although they cannot predict who will be triggered, or why.
Youths who are especially at risk are those with a family history of mental illness, or who have suffered sexual or physical abuse. Thibodeau, who went to private school and has a supportive, intact family, doesn’t fit any of these categories.
“When people start smoking before the age of 16, there is a higher risk of having a psychotic experience. We know that early use is dangerous,” said Dr. Romina Mizrahi, a psychiatrist and director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention Clinic at CAMH. “The brain continues to develop until the age of 25.”
Published: Thursday 23 June 2016
Almost 10 million U.S. adults report misusing prescription opioids in 2012-2013.
Nonmedical use of prescription opioids more than doubled among adults in the United States from 2001-2002 to 2012-2013, based on a study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Nearly 10 million Americans, or 4.1 percent of the adult population, used opioid medications in 2012-2013 a class of drugs that includes OxyContin and Vicodin, without a prescription or not as prescribed (in greater amounts, more often, or longer than prescribed) in the past year. This is up from 1.8 percent of the adult population in 2001-2002.
More than 11 percent of Americans report nonmedical use of prescription opioids at some point in their lives, a considerable increase from 4.7 percent ten years prior.
The number of people who meet the criteria for prescription opioid addiction has substantially increased during this timeframe as well, with 2.1 million adults (0.9 percent of the U.S. adult population) reporting symptoms of "nonmedical prescription opioid use disorder (NMPOUD)," according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
"The increasing misuse of prescription opioid pain relievers poses a myriad of serious public health consequences," said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which contributed funding for the study. "These include increases in opioid use disorders and related fatalities from overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of newborns who experience neonatal abstinence syndrome. In some instances, prescription opioid misuse can progress to intravenous heroin use with consequent increases in risk for HIV, hepatitis C and other infections among individuals sharing needles."