Since last month's release of revised regulations for adult
recreational marijuana use, municipalities are heading to town
meetings this spring to decide whether to ban or allow marijuana
establishments and ways to regulate them.
Shrewsbury, Sutton, Grafton, Northboro, Northbridge and Douglas are
among the Central Massachusetts communities that will deal with
marijuana issues at town meetings in April and May. Northboro may be
the only community that has an article that seeks to ban not only
recreational marijuana, but also medical marijuana
[continues 1017 words]
CINCINNATI -- Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner says he has had a
change of heart on marijuana and will promote its nationwide
Known as an avid cigarette smoker, the Ohio Republican has joined the
advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a multistate cannabis company. The
company also announced that former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has
joined its advisory board.
Boehner says in a statement his position "has evolved" from opposition
to legalizing marijuana. He says he believes legalizing marijuana can
be helpful to the nation's veterans and as a way to help fight the
U.S. opioid drug crisis. He wants to see federally funded research
done and to allow Veterans Affairs to offer marijuana as a treatment
Boehner also says the move would curtail federal-state conflict on
The state medical examiner's office, which has been stretched by the
opioid overdose epidemic, let some compliance issues slip in recent
years, potentially costing the state extra money, according to a
routine review by state auditors.
The audit, spanning three and a half years and ending in September,
found that the office didn't not follow required competitive bidding
processes in purchasing some medical supplies, wasn't properly
monitoring mileage charged by vendors to transport bodies and was not
properly restricting employee access to the office's payment system.
[continues 195 words]
"By the time I was 17, 18," Nelson Abbott said, "I graduated to
He tried to stop many times, both by going cold-turkey and tapering
off the drugs, but he hated the withdrawal pains and he wasn't really
ready to quit. Therapy didn't work out, either. But then his best
friend overdosed and died. When Abbott's parents checked him into the
Caron Treatment Center in Berks County, he didn't fight.
[continues 1883 words]
Books, CDs, tennis balls, and a box of candy are just some of the
places in which drugs, drug paraphernalia, and sexually-explicit
photographs are hidden in this scene.
A permanent marker, a hair brush, a tennis ball, a decorative wooden
plaque bearing the word "faith." All are seemingly innocuous items in
a teenage girl's bedroom.
But each was hiding a secret during the "Hidden in Plain Sight"
training offered by Lucas County Children Services and the Drug Abuse
Response Team of the Lucas County Sheriff's Office. Dozens of
attendees, most of them employees with children services, rifled
through the simulated bedroom Tuesday to search for more than 50
hidden items indicative of risky behavior like drug use and sexual
[continues 574 words]
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Anne Armstrong, 58, knows exactly how many joints
she has smoked at Providence's Roger Williams National Memorial --
153, all rolled with "kosher" marijuana harvested in the backyard of
her West Greenwich home.
As "deaconess" to The Healing Church, a cannabis-centered Catholic
sect that boasts about a dozen members, Armstrong believes smoking in
the park is a religious obligation, the equivalent to a sip of wine at
Anointing members with hashish-infused oil and blowing a shofar so it
billows marijuana smoke are, likewise, ceremonial duties. (It should
be noted that Armstrong refuses to use the word marijuana, which she
calls racist slang. She prefers to refer to the plant as cannabis,
spice, or hemp.)
[continues 1313 words]
On Monday, the finance, revenue and bonding committee became the
fourth panel to hold a public hearing on recreational marijuana this
legislative session. This time, on a bill that focuses on the taxation
of marijuana and marijuana products sold in the state should they be
The bill, H.B. 5582, would allow Connecticut to tax marijuana and
marijuana products on and after the date marijuana is legalized,
though this year legalization is unlikely as one key committee has
already rejected the measure and another will not be voting on the
[continues 574 words]
As one of the first lawyers in Pennsylvania to venture into the legal
world of medical marijuana and hemp, I have had the pleasure to work
and assist with the development of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana
program. I could not be happier to see these dispensaries opening and
helping the sick get relief.
However, a problem has developed that will make it very difficult for
many of the patients who most need the medicine to receive it.
The problem stems from the law's requirement that a medical marijuana
dispensary cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school or day-care
[continues 622 words]
At the height of a heroin epidemic in Vancouver, British Columbia,
Inspector Bill Spearn -- then a rookie cop -- was assigned to a beat
in the heart of the crisis.
It was 1996, and though he had been responding to overdose after
overdose in Downtown Eastside, one of Canada's poorest postal codes,
Spearn wanted no part of the harm-reduction measures the city was
considering to save the lives of people in addiction.
A safe injection site, where drugs could be used under medical
supervision, was out of the question: "I thought it would be a big
magnet," he told a crowd at Temple University Medical School on Monday
night. "I thought it would empower people to use drugs." A few years
later, with the debate still raging, he left the neighborhood for
another position in the police department.
[continues 729 words]
SALEM -- Officials in an Oregon county who have tried to restrict
commercial marijuana growing are suing the state in federal court,
asserting that while pot is legal in Oregon it remains illegal under
federal law, which has supremacy.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Medford,
escalates a battle between the Josephine County Board of Commissioners
and the state over regulating marijuana grows in rural residential
The county had tried to ban commercial pot farming on parcels of 5
acres or less, but the state Land Use Board of Appeals ruled last
month on the side of the growers, and put the restrictions on hold.
Now, the county officials are saying the state can't do that because
marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
A Louisiana House committee voted Thursday (April 5) in favor of a
proposal to expand the use of medical marijuana to treat people with
chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and glaucoma. The bill
cleared committee with an 8-4 vote.
HB 579, sponsored by Rep. Edward James, D-Baton Rouge, met some debate
before the vote. Opponents questioned whether there was enough medical
research establishing medical marijuana as an effective treatment for
people with chronic medical conditions.
A 2016 law allowed the use of medical marijuana to treat certain
conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, muscular dystrophy
and epilepsy. James' bill would add glaucoma, severe muscle spasms,
intractable pain and PTSD to the list.
[continues 502 words]
Former U.S. attorney for South Carolina Bill Nettles is calling for a
public referendum on medical marijuana.
Nettles heads Palmetto Medical Cannabis LLC, a group advocating for
the legalization of medical cannabis in South Carolina.
"I think it is important that our state Democratic and Republican
parties allow primary voters to be heard on the important issue of
legalization of medical marijuana for seriously ill patients in our
state," he said.
Nettles cited polling data showing 78 percent of South Carolinians
support the legalized use of marijuana.
[continues 70 words]
A marijuana advocate who invited hundreds of people to his pot-smoking
party at a Philadelphia warehouse has been fined, ordered to perform
community service and sentenced to four years' probation.
Philly.com reports that Richard Tamaccio Jr. was sentenced Wednesday
after pleading guilty in January to felony drug charges. His lawyer
described him as a "true crusader" for marijuana legalization.
Prosecutors say Tamaccio was charged for facilitating the sale of
marijuana at the party last April and for possessing about nine pounds
of marijuana plants and products at his home.
The city in 2014 made possession of small amounts of the drug
punishable only by a citation and a fine, but marijuana sales weren't
Twenty-one other people were also arrested at the party.
In just the first day of accepting preliminary applications, the
Cannabis Control Commission said 23 companies and entrepreneurs had
submitted requests for expedited licensing, and another 167 were in
the process after the agency launched its online licensing system Monday.
"Yesterday was a seminal day in the thus-far-brief history of the
commission," said Steve Hoffman, the agency's chairman. "There were
probably a large number of people that didn't think we'd be ready on
April 2 to start accepting applications," but the agency's regulations
were in place on time last month and its system worked smoothly, he
[continues 500 words]
One of only three marijuana testing labs in Alaska has shut down,
leaving the state's cannabis growers with only two options for
Steep Hill Alaska, of Anchorage, declared in an Instagram post
Thursday that the lab is "suspending cannabis testing operations on
March 31," the Juneau Empire reported .
The lab said it has to relocate after "Wells Fargo called in the loan
on our building." The bank will foreclose on the space if the lab does
not move out, according to the post.
[continues 318 words]
On Monday at noon, decades of debate all come down to this: a click of
a computer mouse by a state technology contractor.
With that, the Massachusetts state government's system for legal pot
use will blink to life, and businesses can begin applying for licenses
to grow, process, and sell cannabis to adults 21 and older.
The behind-the-scenes milestone will not have an immediate impact on
consumers. But it does mark the beginning of a process that regulators
expect will lead to the debut of recreational pot sales in July.
[continues 658 words]
After battling Lyme disease and other ailments for nearly 20 years,
Bridgitte Pascale tried "almost everything" to alleviate her pain
without relying on opioids.
Though doctors prescribed Percocet and muscle relaxers, she turned to
acupuncture and later medical marijuana, which she says are the "only
things that help" with the chronic aches and pains she manages daily.
Such alternative treatments are emerging as safe havens for some
patients concerned about the dangers of painkillers. But while many
swear by the benefit, health insurance generally doesn't cover them.
[continues 1026 words]
Three months after recreational marijuana went on sale in California,
San Diego retailers say business has been brisk and the customer base
diverse, including older people who use a private shuttle bus to reach
"There's been a change in the culture," said Will Senn, who operates
two Urbn Leaf marijuana stores in San Diego and is about to open a
"Cannabis is becoming more accepted. Now that adult-use marijuana is
legal, people are giving it a try. The average age of our customers
has gone from about 40 to about 50."
[continues 687 words]
In a lowlit room at Joy's Spa in Washington, Dawn Franklin is
smoothing a creamy white mask onto Jessica Osorio's face. The mask,
she says, is infused with chamomile and sage and aloe vera, plus one
ingredient that she still has to explain to her clients: CBD.
An aesthetician, Franklin started working with an Oregon chemist last
year to make CBD products for the skin, believing that a little of it
swiped onto the face could help repair the ravages of age.
[continues 1142 words]
Two people have died and 56 sickened in the Chicago area and central
Illinois after using synthetic pot, popularly known as K2 and Spice,
state officials said on Monday.
Over the weekend, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced
that one person had died after using synthetic cannabinoid products,
but on Monday the state agency announced that a second person had also
perished. Generally, those sickened by the drug have been hospitalized
for internal bleeding as well as blood coming from the ears, eyes and
[continues 590 words]
Can legalizing marijuana fight the problem of opioid addiction and
fatal overdoses? Two new studies in the debate suggest it may.
Pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, so advocates for liberalizing
marijuana laws have proposed it as a lower-risk alternative to
opioids. But some research suggests marijuana may encourage opioid
use, and so might make the epidemic worse.
The new studies don't directly assess the effect of legalizing
marijuana on opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Instead, they find
evidence that legalization may reduce the prescribing of opioids.
Over-prescribing is considered a key factor in the opioid epidemic.
[continues 474 words]
What makes a 40-year-old marijuana movie relevant? Cheech and Chong
have an answer.
When Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong made their groundbreaking movie "Up
in Smoke" 40 years ago, marijuana and the culture surrounding it were
much different. People smoked "Mexican brick weed," and often had to
search high and low to "score a lid" because it was illegal.
Nowadays, consumers vape, eat and smoke cannabis, which is much
stronger and comes in so many strains that someone mimicked the
periodic table to keep track of them all. And, of course, cannabis is
legal in some form in much of the country.
[continues 641 words]
Medical marijuana cleared a key committee on Thursday and headed to
the floor of the S.C. Senate.
But the 8-6 vote by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee came as
enforcement leaders are hardening their opposition, saying it is
another step toward legalized recreational marijuana in the Palmetto
"That's what we've seen in every state," State Law Enforcement
Division Chief Mark Keel told The State after the committee vote.
"There's not a state that hasn't (gone) in steps. And we've seen our
state go through the same steps. From CDB oil to hemp to medical
marijuana to recreational marijuana. And that's what we've seen in
every state . So I have no reason to think its going to be any
different in ours."
[continues 699 words]
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The owner of a Chicago convenience store and two
employees have been charged with selling synthetic marijuana that has
been linked to two deaths.
Federal prosecutors have charged 48-year-old Fouad Masoud and
44-year-old Jad Allah, both of suburban Justice, and 44-year-old Adil
Khan Mohammed of Chicago with conspiring to distribute and sell a
controlled substance. Federal prosecutors say U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration agents made undercover buys of the synthetic
cannabinoids at Masoud's West Side Chicago store.
[continues 74 words]
A company that planned to open a medical marijuana dispensary south of
downtown Orlando is challenging the city's ordinance regulating such
businesses, alleging it violates state law.
Surterra Florida, which operates five dispensaries statewide, filed
the suit in Orange County Circuit Court last week and is asking a
judge to rule Orlando's law is "invalid and unenforceable."
Tallahassee Attorney William Hall, who filed the suit, is also seeking
a temporary injunction to keep the city from enforcing the law while
the court rules.
[continues 409 words]
The inspiration arrived in a haze at a Paul McCartney concert a few
years ago in San Francisco.
"People in front of me started lighting up and then other people
started lighting up," said Matthew Springer, a biologist and professor
in the division of cardiology at the University of California-San
Francisco. "And for a few naive split seconds I was thinking to
myself, 'Hey, they can't smoke in AT&T Park! I'm sure that's not
allowed.' And then I realized that it was all marijuana."
[continues 1149 words]
The Kansas House of Representatives rejected medical marijuana
But the closeness of the 54-69 vote and the hour of emotional
testimony that preceded it made advocates more confident that Kansas
is now closer to joining the 30 states that allow marijuana by
"Today was the most legislative discussion we have ever had in three
years of the Kansas Safe Access Act," said Lisa Sublett, the founder
and president of Bleeding Kansas Advocates.
Sublett noted the bipartisan nature of the vote on the medical
marijuana amendment, which came up during debate on a bill to update
the state's controlled substances listings.
[continues 572 words]
Gov. Murphy greatly expanded New Jersey's medical marijuana program
Tuesday, opening the door to tens of thousands of new patients and
allowing the five dispensaries spread across the state to add
satellite retail centers and cultivation facilities.
The governor added to the list of ailments that qualify for a cannabis
prescription. He also cleared the way for any doctor in the state to
prescribe cannabis, ending a system in which only those physicians who
registered -- and thus, joined a publicly available list of providers
- -- could do so. He said some doctors had been reluctant to participate
in the program because they viewed joining the list as a stigma.
[continues 670 words]
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The U.S. Senate's top leader said Monday he wants to
bring hemp production back into the mainstream by removing it from the
controlled substances list that now associates it with its cousin
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told hemp advocates in his home
state of Kentucky that he will introduce legislation to legalize the
crop as an agricultural commodity. The versatile crop has been grown
on an experimental basis in a number of states in recent years.
[continues 877 words]
GAINESVILLE -- The University of Florida could start growing
industrial hemp as soon as the fall.
But the project still has to pass some hurdles before planting begins,
said Rob Gilbert, chairman of the UF/IFAS agronomy department.
The university's board of trustees approved the project Friday, and
now the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration must approve importing
industrial hemp seeds. Then the project needs to secure the $1.3
million it needs and the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services must approve a planting permit.
[continues 458 words]
Cure Oahu, backed by a local private investment group, opened with 10
strains, including top sellers Master Kush, Da Glue, Sour Chem and
Sunset Mango. The dispensary in the former Bank of Hawaii branch
building at 727 Kapahulu Ave. said there was heavy demand for indica,
sativa and hybrid flower strains as well as tinctures and lozenges,
which sold out shortly after opening.
The 5,434-square-foot building has had a major makeover with a
high-tech, 2,400-square-foot open lobby and dispensing area with two
private consultation booths and large electronic tablet stations where
customers can browse through information and choose from a variety of
strains. Patients are also able to register and order products online
before coming into the dispensary.
[continues 136 words]
A Metairie business could obtain permission Tuesday to operate one of
the state's first medical marijuana pharmacies. The Louisiana Pharmacy
Board is meeting in Baton Rouge for two days to discuss, and possibly
give final approval, to companies seeking to obtain one of the state's
According to the board's agenda, 44 applicants have applied for
permits, although some of those companies have withdrawn from
The Rx Greenhouse announced in February its plans to open an office
building at 3131 North Causeway Boulevard in Metairie after gaining
preliminary approval from a state subcommittee. If approved it would
open by September, the pharmacy owners have said.
[continues 268 words]
In Kensington, this much is clear: No other neighborhood in
Philadelphia has seen more overdose deaths, or more visible suffering
amid a city opioid epidemic that claimed an estimated 1,200 lives in
2017. Along with neighboring Fairhill, it occupies less than 2 percent
of Philadelphia's land area, but 18 percent of all city overdoses
occurred in that small space, according to an Inquirer analysis of
On Tuesday night, when city health officials arrive in the neighborhood
for a community meeting on the epidemic, they'll come armed with dire
statistics and information on the city's 18-point plan to fight the
crisis. But they won't have an answer to the question that's roiled the
neighborhood since the plan was announced in January: Will Kensington
host the first safe-injection site in the city, and possibly the
[continues 677 words]
The Riverside City Council voted Tuesday, March 27, to have staff
members prepare an expansive ban on marijuana-related activities.
The ban, which must be approved as a city ordinance before it takes
effect, would replace Riverside's current moratorium that temporarily
bans most marijuana business.
Councilman Chuck Conder proposed the ban, which would prohibit the
retail and commercial sale, commercial cultivation, distribution, and
outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana plants. He did so after a
delegation of city officials who traveled to Denver, including Conder
himself, gave a three-hour presentation on the effects of marijuana
[continues 469 words]
The number of Pennsylvanian babies born with drug withdrawal symptoms
increased 10-fold in the past decade and a half, a symptom of an
increasingly deadly opioid epidemic plaguing the country, according to
a new state report.
In fiscal year 2017,15 in 1,000 Pennsylvanian newborns were diagnosed
with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a dramatic increase from fiscal
2001 when only 1.2 in 1,000 newborns had the diagnosis, the
Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council said in the report,
which was released Wednesday.
[continues 225 words]
Following President Trump's rollout of his administration's policy
response to the opioid crisis, it has become clear that the president
would rather waste federal resources trying to execute drug dealers
than allow Americans the option to use medical cannabis.
In his speech in New Hampshire, the president mentioned a terminally
ill patient's "right to try" experimental medications that can enhance
quality of life, but ignored the National Institute of Drug Abuse's
own grudging admission that cannabis use is linked to health
improvements in people suffering a range of diseases, from cancer to
[continues 838 words]
People arrested and held on simple marijuana possession became nearly
non-existent in New Orleans in the year since the City Council passed
an ordinance that allowed police to issue summons instead of using a
City Councilwoman Susan Guidry shared data on Tuesday (March 27)
showing that just 1 percent of encounters between police and someone
accused of possessing marijuana resulted in an arrest between June
2016 and May 2017. A year before, 15 percent of people were arrested
for simple possession.
[continues 317 words]
A third committee held a public hearing on a third recreational
marijuana bill Wednesday, despite a separate bill on the controversial
issue facing bipartisan opposition last week.
The legislation up for hearing in the appropriations committee
Wednesday, H.B. 5394, calls for developing a plan for the legalization
and regulation of cannabis. Unlike the two prior bills, the third
seeks to provide substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and
The bill would require the secretary of the Office of Policy and
Management to work with the chief state's attorney and the
commissioners of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Consumer
Protection and Revenue Services to develop the legalization and
regulation plan in "the most cost effective means."
[continues 592 words]
Three months into the start of California's recreational marijuana
market, industry leaders are voicing concerns that sales are not
meeting projections, and that high taxes, complicated regulations and
a thriving black market are having deleterious effects.
The leaders pressed government officials to make changes during
Tuesday's gathering of an estimated 600 people at the California
Cannabis Industry Association conference at the Sheraton Grand in
"This is an industry in crisis," said Kristi Knoblich, president of
the association's board and co-founder of Kiva Confections, a
manufacturer of edible cannabis products. "This is me sounding the
[continues 599 words]
Moreno Valley officials have set the stage for a range of legal
marijuana businesses to open in Riverside County's second-largest city
while limiting the number of commercial pot enterprises to 27 -- eight
of them dispensaries.
The widely anticipated move, approved Tuesday, March 20, comes as the
city is working to shut down illegal pot stores.
City Attorney Martin Koczanowicz said that since last summer the city
has discovered 20 dispensaries operating illegally in Moreno Valley
and closed 15. It's now working to eliminate the other five.
[continues 607 words]
"My uncle is prescribed marijuana."
"My parents use it, and they're doing fine."
As a drug prevention specialist who does in-school presentations in
the U.S., as well as internationally, Zach Levin has seen the problem
firsthand: Teens know that recreational use is legal in states such as
Colorado and that medical use is on the rise, and they're using that
information to support the old argument that a little weed never hurt
And starting today, Illinois teens have one more argument: In a
symbolic win for legalization forces that did not change local laws,
Cook County residents voted in favor of legalizing recreational
marijuana use by a wide margin Tuesday, with 68 percent in favor and
32 percent against.
[continues 790 words]
When President Trump took the stage in New Hampshire on Monday and
delivered a fiery speech about how the White House plans to tackle the
nationwide opioid problem, he leaned heavily on the idea that the
Massachusetts city of Lawrence was largely to blame for the scourge of
addiction in the Granite State.
Citing a 2017 study by researchers at Dartmouth College's Geisel
School of Medicine, the president said the "sanctuary city" of
Lawrence, a community that restricts its cooperation with federal
immigration officials, is one of "the primary sources of fentanyl in
six New Hampshire counties."
[continues 502 words]
When Mack Hudson of Lexington was 16 years old, he was paralyzed when
he fractured his skull, broke his neck and shattered a key vertebrae
in a car wreck.
Over the past 10 years, he's been prescribed increasing doses of
opioids -- Percocet and Roxycodone to alleviate the pain.
"It messes with my head," he said. "I can't think straight. I can't
function straight. I'm just not myself."
So Hudson traveled to California and Colorado to experiment with
[continues 905 words]
President Trump's proposal to invoke the death penalty for drug
traffickers is an idea that is, in the practical scheme of things,
unworkable. It is also probably unconstitutional and obviously
simplistic. It is a gimmick, not a policy.
We need a policy.
The president likes dramatic gestures for difficult problems - a ban
on all potential terrorists, a big wall next to Mexico, a 25-percent
tariff on steel. This is not an altogether bad instinct. We need
strong, decisive leaders and criminals need to fear punishment.
[continues 438 words]
Pennsylvania's commercial medical marijuana program is set to more
than double in size.
State officials Thursday announced the program was entering its second
phase, expanding from 12 to 25 cannabis producers and adding 23 more
The state also is launching a unique research effort that will run in
parallel to the established commercial program, conducting clinical
investigations into marijuana and selling to the public.
"From what I've seen and heard, there seems to be a high interest in
doing research around pain management and as a replacement for
opioids," John Collins, director of the state marijuana program, said
in a phone conference with reporters.
[continues 411 words]
While opioids hold center stage in the nation's drug war,
methamphetamine is making a destructive comeback. Though meth has
largely fallen off the public's radar, seizures and arrests are up,
and more people are dying from the drug. Its evolution is a reminder
of the durability of the illegal drug supply, the impermanence of any
single enforcement tactic and the need for a comprehensive approach to
fighting and treating addiction.
Potent, addictive and deadly, meth bears many of the pernicious traits
of opioids. It became popular in the early 2000s, easily produced in
small batches using the decongestant in over-the-counter cold
medicine. In rural parts of Tampa Bay, especially eastern Hillsborough
and Pasco counties and throughout Polk County, exploding "meth labs"
routinely drew law enforcement's attention. Congress responded in 2005
with a law putting pseudoephedrine behind the counter, limiting the
amount individuals could purchase and creating a tracking system
pharmacies were required to use. Meth became much harder to make and
faded from notice, overtaken by a new drug of choice: opioids.
[continues 417 words]
Midway through a community meeting in Northeast Philadelphia on the
opioid crisis Monday, a man stood up at the back of the room and yelled
out a question to city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley: "Doctor, where
do you live? Can we put a safe injection site next door to you?"
The crowd of 150 in the Fox Chase community center applauded and burst
into shouts in a display that vividly showed the tough sales job the
city is facing as it tries to fulfill a promise to allow a place where
people in addiction can use drugs under medical supervision. As heroin
has been adulterated with the deadlier opioid fentanyl, often without
the user's knowledge, the overdose death rate has soared. Quick
administration of a reversal medicine can save lives.
[continues 678 words]
WASHINGTON - President Trump's plan to use the death penalty on drug
dealers has all the hallmarks of his favorite policies: It could fit
on the front of a baseball cap. It is a proven applause line. It
appeals to a conservative base.
But, like so many of Trump's slogans-turned-policy, it's dredged from
a bygone era and lacks clear evidence showing it would be effective.
Using an obscure federal provision to bring capital cases against
dealers, the concept that Trump enthusiastically backed during a visit
to New Hampshire this week, fits within the framework of some of his
other cornerstone ideas: Build the wall, Launch trade wars, Arm
teachers. To some critics in the mainstream, though, the ideas are
impractical, imprecise, or just dangerous.
[continues 1074 words]
Historically opioid medications were used cautiously by physicians for
selected patients to reduce pain associated with acute injury or
illness, and for those suffering from life-threatening diseases such
This caution was based upon recognition that improper use of opioids
could result in patient harm. However, in 1996, the American Pain
Society, supported by opioid pharmaceutical manufacturers, promoted
acknowledgment and expanded treatment of pain as the 'fifth vital
sign" by physicians in hospitals. In 2001, the Joint Commission on
Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations introduced new pain
standards recognizing the under-assessment and treatment of pain,
which then expanded the use of opioids. In the two decades that
followed opioid use and abuse has exploded, with nearly 80 percent of
the world's opioid medications now being consumed in the U.S.
[continues 426 words]
Unveiling a long-awaited plan to combat the national scourge of opioid
drug addiction, President Donald Trump called Monday for stiffer
penalties for drug traffickers, including embracing a tactic employed
by some of the global strongmen he admires: the death penalty.
"Toughness is the thing that they most fear," Trump said.
The president traveled to New Hampshire, a state ravaged by opioids
and which is also an early marker for the re-election campaign he has
already announced. The president called for broadening awareness about
drug addiction while expanding access to proven treatment and recovery
efforts, but the backbone of his plan is to toughen the punishment for
those caught trafficking highly addictive drugs.
[continues 838 words]