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When starting school, younger children are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, study says – Harvard Gazette
"Could a child’s birthday put him or her at risk for an ADHD misdiagnosis? The answer appears to be yes, at least among children born in August who start school in states where enrollment is cut off at a Sept. 1 birth date, according to a new study led by Harvard Medical School researchers.

The findings, published Nov. 28 in The New England Journal of Medicine, show that children born in August in those states are 30 percent more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis, compared with their slightly older peers enrolled in the same grade.

The rate of ADHD diagnoses among children has risen dramatically over the past 20 years. In 2016 alone, more than 5 percent of U.S. children were being actively treated with medication for ADHD. Experts believe the rise is fueled by a combination of factors, including a greater recognition of the disorder, a true rise in the incidence of the condition and, in some cases, improper diagnosis.

The results of the new study underscore the notion that, at least in a subset of elementary school students, the diagnosis may be a factor of earlier school enrollment, the research team said.

“Our findings suggest the possibility that large numbers of kids are being overdiagnosed and overtreated for ADHD because they happen to be relatively immature compared to their older classmates in the early years of elementary school,” said study lead author Timothy Layton, assistant professor of health care policy in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School.

Most states have arbitrary birth date cutoffs that determine which grade a child will be placed in and when they can start school. In states with a Sept. 1 cutoff, a child born on Aug. 31 will be nearly a full year younger on the first day of school than a classmate born on Sept. 1. At this age, Layton noted, the younger child might have a harder time sitting still and concentrating for long periods of time in class. That extra fidgeting may lead to a medical referral, Layton said, followed by diagnosis and treatment for ADHD.

For example, the researchers said, what may be normal behavior in a boisterous 6-year-old could seem abnormal relative to the behavior of older peers in the same classroom.

This dynamic may be particularly true among younger children given that an 11- or 12-month difference in age could lead to significant differences in behavior, the researchers added.

“As children grow older, small differences in age equalize and dissipate over time, but behaviorally speaking, the difference between a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old could be quite pronounced,” said study senior author Anupam Jena, the Ruth L. Newhouse Associate Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and an internal medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. “A normal behavior may appear anomalous relative to the child’s peer group.”

Using the records of a large insurance database, the investigators compared the difference in ADHD diagnosis by birth month — August versus September — among more than 407,000 elementary school children born between 2007 and 2009, who were followed until the end of 2015.

In states that use Sept. 1 as a cutoff date for school enrollment, children born in August had a 30 percent greater chance of an ADHD diagnosis than children born in September, the analysis showed. No such differences were observed between children born in August and September in states with cutoff dates other than Sept. 1.

For example, 85 of 10,000 students born in August were either diagnosed with or treated for ADHD, compared with 64 students of 10,000 born in September. When investigators looked at ADHD treatment only, the difference was also large — 53 of 10,000 students born in August received ADHD medication, compared with 40 of 10,000 for those born in September.

Jena pointed to a similar phenomenon described in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers.” Canadian professional hockey players are much more likely to have been born early in the year, according to research cited in Gladwell’s book. Canadian youth hockey leagues use Jan. 1 as a cutoff date for age groups. In the formative early years of youth hockey, players born in the first few months of the year were older and more mature, and therefore likelier to be tracked into elite leagues, with better coaching, more time on the ice, and a more talented cohort of teammates. Over the years this cumulative advantage gave the relatively older players an edge over their younger competitors.

Similarly, Jena noted, a 2017 working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggested that children born just after the cutoff date for starting school tended to have better long-term educational performance than their relatively younger peers born later in the year.

“In all of those scenarios, timing and age appear to be potent influencers of outcome,” Jena said.

Research has shown wide variations in ADHD diagnosis and treatment across different regions in the U.S. ADHD diagnosis and treatment rates have also climbed dramatically over the last 20 years. In 2016 alone, more than 5 percent of all children in the U.S. were taking medication for ADHD, the authors noted. All of these factors have fueled concerns about ADHD overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

The reasons for the rise in ADHD incidence are complex and multifactorial, Jena said. Arbitrary cutoff dates are likely just one of many variables driving this phenomenon, he added. In recent years, many states have adopted measures that hold schools accountable for identifying ADHD and give educators incentives to refer any child with symptoms suggesting ADHD for medical evaluation.“The diagnosis of this condition is not just related to the symptoms, it’s related to the context,” Jena said. “The relative age of the kids in class, laws and regulations, and other circumstances all come together.”

It is important to look at all of these factors before making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment, Jena said.

“A child’s age relative to his or her peers in the same grade should be taken into consideration and the reasons for referral carefully examined.”

Additonal co-authors include researchers from the Department of Health Care Policy, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Department of Health Policy and Management, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health."
adhd  children  schools  schooling  schooliness  2018  psychology  health  drugs  diagnosis  behavior 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Opioids and Social Connection - Tristen K. Inagaki, 2018
"Social connection, the pleasurable, subjective experience of feeling close to and bonded with other people, is critical for well-being and continued social bonding. Despite the importance of social connection for many important outcomes, few researchers have experimentally examined how humans connect with those to whom they feel close. The strongest insights into the biological bases of social connection come from animal research, which shows that social bonds rely on the same neurochemicals that support general motivation. One class of neurochemicals, opioids, has received increased attention in recent years with the rise of pharmacological methods to manipulate opioids in humans. This article reviews emerging findings to show that opioids affect social feelings, behaviors, and perceptions in both positive and negative social experiences and concludes with the implications of such findings. Future work should consider the subjective feelings of social connection felt during interactions with close social contacts in order to further the understanding of social connection."
drugs  opiods  society  social  socialconnection  bonding  socialbonding  2018  behavior 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Drugs, Alcohol and Suicide Are Killing So Many Young Americans That the Country’s Average Lifespan Is Falling | Time
"Young Americans are dying in rising numbers because of drugs, alcohol and suicide, according to new federal data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) issued its annual comprehensive health and mortality report, which analyzes trends in death rates by cause and demographic. Drugs, alcohol and suicide, the report says, have contributed to the first drops in U.S. life expectancy since 1993. While U.S. life expectancy rose from 77.8 to 78.6 years between 2006 and 2016, the trend reversed during the end of the decade, leading to a 0.3-year decline between 2014 and 2016 — in large part because of rising rates of drug overdoses, suicide and liver disease, as well as Alzheimer’s.

Death rates for Americans ages 15 to 44 rose by around 5% each year between 2013 and 2016, and drugs, alcohol and suicide are chiefly to blame, the CDC report says.

Drug overdoses alone killed more than 63,600 people in 2016, the report says. Among men ages 24 to 35, overdose rates rose by more than 25% each year between 2014 and 2016; nearly 50 out of every 100,000 people in this population died of overdose-related causes by 2016. Women ages 45 to 54 had the most overdoses overall, but those ages 15 to 24 saw the highest rate of increase: about a 19% jump per year between 2014 and 2016.

Alcohol is also a major public health concern. Liver disease replaced HIV as the sixth-leading killer of adults ages 25 to 44 in 2016. Among men and women ages 25 to 34, deaths from liver disease and cirrhosis increased by about 11% and 8% per year, respectively, between 2006 and 2016. Older adults, however, still die of liver disease at much higher rates than young adults.

Suicide, meanwhile, is on the rise in nearly every demographic — but a few trends emerged. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24, increasing by 7% in this group each year between 2014 and 2016. It’s also the third-leading cause of death among people ages 25 to 44, killing almost 17 of every 100,000 people in this population in 2016. Suicide rates even rose among children ages 1 to 14, increasing around 9% each year during the study period — though fewer than one of every 100,000 people in this group died by suicide in 2016.

And while men still die by suicide much more frequently than women, increasing rates among young women are starting to narrow that gap. Suicide rates among young and teenage girls rose by 70% between 2010 and 2016, according to previous CDC data.

Nearly three-quarters of the Americans who died in 2016 were older than 65. Rates of many common killers decreased in this population during the preceding decade; deaths from heart disease and cancer, the top two killers of adults older than 65, both declined, as did those from strokes.The exception, however, was Alzheimers, the death rate of which rose by 21%. According to separate CDC data released Thursday, that trend is likely to continue. The number of people affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementias is projected to double by 2060, rising from 5 million people (1.6% of the U.S. population) in 2014 to an estimated 13.9 million people (3.3% of the population) in 2060, according to the CDC."
drugs  alcohol  lifeexpectancy  2018  us  disease  suicide  anxietydepression  mentalhealth  cdc  epidemics  youth  teens  gender  data  health  mortality  society 
september 2018 by robertogreco
The Equality Trust | Working to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality
[See also:
(book) "The Spirit Level"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Level_(book)
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better[1] is a book by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett,[2] published in 2009 by Allen Lane. The book is published in the US by Bloomsbury Press (December, 2009) with the new sub-title: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.[3] It was then published in a paperback second edition (United Kingdom) in November 2010 by Penguin Books with the subtitle, Why Equality is Better for Everyone.[4]

The book argues that there are "pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption".[5] It claims that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal countries, whether rich or poor.[1] The book contains graphs that are available online.[6]

In 2010, the authors published responses to questions about their analysis on the Equality Trust website.[7] As of September 2012, the book had sold more than 150,000 copies in English.[8] It is available in 23 foreign editions.

"The Spirit Level authors: why society is more unequal than ever"
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/09/society-unequal-the-spirit-level

[follow-up book] "The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Wellbeing"
https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/188607/the-inner-level/
Why is the incidence of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany? Why are Americans three times more likely than the Dutch to develop gambling problems? Why is child well-being so much worse in New Zealand than Japan? As this groundbreaking study demonstrates, the answer to all these hinges on inequality.

In The Spirit Level Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett put inequality at the centre of public debate by showing conclusively that less-equal societies fare worse than more equal ones across everything from education to life expectancy. The Inner Level now explains how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave. It sets out the overwhelming evidence that material inequalities have powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to define and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority. A deep well of data and analysis is drawn upon to empirically show, for example, that low social status is associated with elevated levels of stress, and how rates of anxiety and depression are intimately related to the inequality which makes that status paramount.

Wilkinson and Pickett describe how these responses to hierarchies evolved, and why the impacts of inequality on us are so severe. In doing so, they challenge the conception that humans are innately competitive and self-interested. They undermine, too, the idea that inequality is the product of 'natural' differences in individual ability. This book sheds new light on many of the most urgent problems facing societies today, but it is not just an index of our ills. It demonstrates that societies based on fundamental equalities, sharing and reciprocity generate much higher levels of well-being, and lays out the path towards them.

"Does inequality cause suicide, drug abuse and mental illness?"
https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2018/06/14/does-inequality-cause-suicide-drug-abuse-and-mental-illness

"“The Inner Level” seeks to push that debate forward, by linking inequality to a crisis of mental health. This time the authors’ argument focuses on status anxiety: stress related to fears about individuals’ places in social hierarchies. Anxiety declines as incomes rise, they show, but is higher at all levels in more unequal countries—to the extent that the richest 10% of people in high-inequality countries are more socially anxious than all but the bottom 10% in low-inequality countries. Anxiety contributes to a variety of mental-health problems, including depression, narcissism and schizophrenia—rates of which are alarming in the West, the authors say, and rise with inequality.

Manifestations of mental illness, such as self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse and problem gambling, all seem to get worse with income dispersion, too. Such relationships seem to apply within countries as well as between them. Damaging drug use is higher in more unequal neighbourhoods of New York City, in more unequal American states and in more unequal countries. The authors emphasise that it is a person’s relative position rather than absolute income that matters most. A study of 30,000 Britons found that an individual’s place in the income hierarchy predicted the incidence of mental stress more accurately than absolute income did. And in America, relative income is more closely linked to depression than absolute income. It is not enough to lift all boats, their work suggests, if the poshest vessels are always buoyed up more than the humblest.

The fact that relative status matters so much is a result of human beings’ intrinsically social nature, Ms Pickett and Mr Wilkinson argue. Group interaction and co-operation have been an essential component of humanity’s evolutionary success; indeed, the authors say, its social nature helped drive the growth of human brains. Across primates, they write, the size of the neocortex—a part of the brain responsible for higher-level cognitive functions—varies with the typical group size of a species. Living in complex social groups is hard cognitive work. Survival requires an understanding of roles within the social hierarchy, and intuition of what others are thinking. Thus people are necessarily sensitive to their status within groups, and to social developments that threaten it.

Such hierarchies are found in all human societies. But as inequality rises, differences in status become harder to ignore. There is more to be gained or lost by moving from one rung on the ladder to another. And however much some maintain that disparities in pay-cheques do not correspond to differences in human worth, such well-meaning pieties feel hollow when high-rollers earn hundreds or thousands of times what ordinary folk take home. Money cannot buy everything, but it can buy most things. The steeper the income gradient, the less secure everyone becomes, in both their self-respect and their sense of the community’s esteem.

And so people compensate. They take pills, to steel their nerves or dull the pain. Some cut themselves. Some adopt a more submissive posture, avoiding contact with others. Yet such withdrawal can feed on itself, depriving recluses of the social interaction that is important to mental health, undermining relationships and careers and contributing to economic hardship.

Others respond in the opposite way, by behaving more aggressively and egotistically. Studies of narcissistic tendencies showed a steep increase between 1982 and 2006, the authors report; 30% more Americans displayed narcissistic characteristics at the end of the period than at the beginning. Scrutiny of successive American cohorts found a progressive rise in those listing wealth and fame as important goals (above fulfilment and community). Over time, more people cited money as the main motivation for attending college (rather than intellectual enrichment).

Domineering responses to anxiety are associated with loss of empathy and delusions of grandeur. Thus highly successful people often display narcissistic or even psychopathic behaviour. In surveys, the rich are generally less empathetic and more likely to think they deserve special treatment than others. Modern capitalism, the authors suggest, selects for assertiveness, for a lack of sentimentality in business and comfort in sacking underlings, and for showy displays of economic strength. From the top to the bottom of the income spectrum, people use conspicuous consumption and other means of enhancing their image to project status.

The least secure are often the most likely to exaggerate their qualities. For example, countries with lower average life-expectancy tend to do better on measures of self-reported health; 54% of Japanese say they are in good health compared with 80% of Americans, though the Japanese live five years longer on average. Whereas 70% of Swedes consider themselves to be above-average drivers, 90% of Americans do. Such figures cast declamations of America’s greatness, and the politicians who make them, in a new light."

"The Inner Level review – how more equal societies reduce stress and improve wellbeing"
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/20/the-inner-level-review ]

[via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmquJ7Ngvme/ ]
equality  inequality  society  trust  anxiety  well-being  stress  mentalhealth  uk  economics  community  socialmobility  class  education  drugs  drugabuse  health  violence  illness  consumption  hierarchy  horizontality  mentalillness  status  self-harm  gambling  depression  narcissism  schizophrenia  relativity  excess  cooperation  egotism  selfishness  empathy  dunning–krugereffect  greatness  politics  lifeexpectancy  japan  sweden  us  driving  capitalism  latecapitalism  fame  fulfillment  money  motivation  colleges  universities  exceptionalism  assertiveness  aggressiveness  richardwilkinson  katepickett  growth  erichfromm 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Survival of the Kindest: Dacher Keltner Reveals the New Rules of Power
"When Pixar was dreaming up the idea for Inside Out, a film that would explore the roiling emotions inside the head of a young girl, they needed guidance from an expert. So they called Dacher Keltner.

Dacher is a psychologist at UC Berkeley who has dedicated his career to understanding how human emotion shapes the way we interact with the world, how we properly manage difficult or stressful situations, and ultimately, how we treat one another.

In fact, he refers to emotions as the “language of social living.” The more fluent we are in this language, the happier and more meaningful our lives can be.

We tackle a wide variety of topics in this conversation that I think you’ll really enjoy.

You’ll learn:

• The three main drivers that determine your personal happiness and life satisfaction
• Simple things you can do everyday to jumpstart the “feel good” reward center of your brain
• The principle of “jen” and how we can use “high-jen behaviors” to bootstrap our own happiness
• How to have more positive influence in our homes, at work and in our communities.
• How to teach your kids to be more kind and empathetic in an increasingly self-centered world
• What you can do to stay grounded and humble if you are in a position of power or authority
• How to catch our own biases when we’re overly critical of another’s ideas (or overconfident in our own)

And much more. We could have spent an hour discussing any one of these points alone, but there was so much I wanted to cover. I’m certain you’ll find this episode well worth your time."
compassion  kindness  happiness  dacherkeltner  power  charlesdarwin  evolution  psychology  culture  society  history  race  racism  behavior  satisfaction  individualism  humility  authority  humans  humanism  morality  morals  multispecies  morethanhuman  objects  wisdom  knowledge  heidegger  ideas  science  socialdarwinism  class  naturalselection  egalitarianism  abolitionism  care  caring  art  vulnerability  artists  scientists  context  replicability  research  socialsciences  2018  statistics  replication  metaanalysis  socialcontext  social  borntobegood  change  human  emotions  violence  evolutionarypsychology  slvery  rape  stevenpinker  torture  christopherboehm  hunter-gatherers  gender  weapons  democracy  machiavelli  feminism  prisons  mentalillness  drugs  prisonindustrialcomplex  progress  politics  1990s  collaboration  canon  horizontality  hierarchy  small  civilization  cities  urban  urbanism  tribes  religion  dogma  polygamy  slavery  pigeons  archaeology  inequality  nomads  nomadism  anarchism  anarchy  agriculture  literacy  ruleoflaw  humanrights  governance  government  hannah 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Reasons To Be Cheerful
"I’m starting an online project here that is an continuation and extension of some writing and talks I’ve done recently.

The project will be cross-platform—some elements may appear on social media, some on a website and some might manifest as a recording or performance… much of the published material will be collected here.

What is Reasons To Be Cheerful?

I imagine, like a lot of you who look back over the past year, it seems like the world is going to Hell. I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, "Oh no!" Often I’m depressed for half the day. It doesn’t matter how you voted on Brexit, the French elections or the U.S. election—many of us of all persuasions and party affiliations feel remarkably similar.

As a kind of remedy and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news that reminded me, "Hey, there's actually some positive stuff going on!" Almost all of these initiatives are local, they come from cities or small regions who have taken it upon themselves to try something that might offer a better alternative than what exits. Hope is often local. Change begins in communities.

I will post thoughts, images and audio relating to this initiative on whichever platform seems suitable and I’ll welcome contributions from others, if they follow the guidelines I’ve set for myself.

These bits of good news tend to fall into a few categories:

Education
Health
Civic Engagement
Science/Tech
Urban/Transportation
Energy
Culture

Culture, music and the arts might include, optimistically, some of my own work and projects, but just as much I hope to promote the work of others that has a proven track record.

Why do I do this? Why take the time? Therapy, I guess, though once in awhile I meet someone who has the connections and skills but might not be aware of some of these initiatives and innovations, so I can pass the information on. I sense that not all of this is widely known.

Emulation of successful models- 4 guidelines

I laid out 4 guidelines as I collected these examples:

1. Most of the good stuff is local. It’s more bottom up, community and individually driven. There are exceptions.

2. Many examples come from all over the world, but despite the geographical and cultural distances in many cases others can adopt these ideas—these initiatives can be utilized by cultures other than where they originated.

3. Very important. All of these examples have been tried and proven to be successful. These are not merely good IDEAS; they’ve been put into practice and have produced results.

4. The examples are not one-off, isolated or human interest, feel-good stories. They’re not stories of one amazing teacher, doctor, musician or activist- they’re about initiatives that can be copied and scaled up.

If it works, copy it

For example, in an area I know something about, there was an innovative bike program in Bogota, and years later, I saw that program become a model for New York and for other places.

The Ciclovia program in Bogota"
davidbyrne  politics  urban  urbanism  bogotá  curitiba  addiction  portugal  colombia  brazil  brasil  jaimelerner  cities  society  policy  qualityoflife  economics  drugs  health  healthcare  crime  ciclovia  bikes  biking  bikesharing  activism  civics  citybike  nyc  medellín  afroreggae  vigariogeral  favelas  obesity  childabuse  education  casamantequilla  harlem  civicengagment  engagement  women'smarch  northcarolina  ingridlafleur  afrotopia  detroit  seattle  citizenuniversity  tishuanajones  sunra  afrofuturism  stlouis  vancouver  britishcolumbia  transportation  publictransit  transit  velib  paris  climatechange  bipartisanship  energy  science  technology  culture  music  art  arts  behavior  medellin 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Michelle Alexander's Keynote Speech from the 2017 International Drug Policy Reform Conference - YouTube
[20:15] "We're all primed to value and prefer those ho seem like us though the preferences hues have themselves re remarkably greater. No doubt due to centuries of brainwashing that have led them to actually believe often unconsciously, that they are in fact superior. Marc Mauer in his book "Race to Incarcerate" cites data that the most punitive nations in the world are the most diverse. The nations with the most compassionate or most lenient criminal justice policies are the most homogeneous. We like to say that diversity is our strength, but it may actually be our Achilles heel. Researchers have reached similar conclusions in the public welfare context. The democarcies that have the most generous social welfare programs, universal health care, cheap or free college, generous maternity leave, are generally homogeneous. Socialist countries like Sweden and Norway are overwhelmingly white. But when those nations feel threatened by immigration, by so-called foreigners, public support for social welfare beings to erode, often quite sharply. It seems that it's an aspect of human nature to be tempted to be more punitive and less generous to those we view as others. And so in a nation like the United States, where we're just a fe generations away from slavery and Jim Crow. Where inequality is skyrocketing due to global capitalism, and where demographic changes due to immigration are creating a nation where no racial group is the majority, the central question we must face is whether We, the People, are capable of overcoming our basic instinct to respond more harshly more punitively with less care and concern with people we view as different. Can we evolve? Can we evolve morally and spiritually? Can we learn to care for each other across lines of race, class, gender, and sexuality? Clearly these questions are pressing in the age of Trump.

[via: "Michelle Alexander asks the most fundamental question: Can we learn to care for each other across lines of difference?"
https://twitter.com/justicedems/status/934478995038572544 ]

[See also: "Michelle Alexander: I Am 'Endorsing The Political Revolution' (Extended Interview) | All In | MSNBC"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFHNzlx24QM ]
michellealexander  2017  drugs  waroondrugs  race  racism  bias  diversity  homogeneity  heterogeneity  policy  welfare  socialsafetnet  healthcare  education  maternityleave  socialism  sweden  norway  humans  criminaljustice  socialelfare  compassion  incarceration  donaldtrump  immigration  xenophobia  othering  democracy  jimcrow  thenewjimcrow  us  politics  humannature  demographics  inequality  class  classism  sexuality  gender  sexism  marcmauer  berniesanders  hillaryclinton  revolution  change  billclinton 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Res Obscura: Why Are There So Many 17th Century Paintings of Monkeys Getting Drunk?
"The concept of addiction had not yet taken on anything like its modern form in this period. The word existed, but it simply meant an inclination or tendency: one could be "addicted to horses" or "addicted to song," etc. But the 17th century was a world in which distilled alcoholic spirits were still a relatively new invention, and one in which such addictive substances as tobacco, coffee and opium had become available to most global consumers within living memory of the people creating and buying these paintings.

In other words, these paintings are working through the idea that newly-available psychoactive substances -- and, perhaps, material objects as well -- could dehumanize those who consumed them, reducing them to an animalistic level. Such consumers, it is implied, had moved down a step on the chain of being, having lost their powers of reason and been reduced to creatures that were "sentient" in the original sense of the word: unable to think, and content simply to feel. They had moved from the human realm to that of the "brute beasts" in the schema for hierarchically ordering nature that medieval and early modern thinkers had inherited from Aristotle."
monkeys  history  multispecies  art  drugs  alcohol  addiction  benjaminbreen 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Devil Is Loose. — The California Sunday Magazine
"Drownings, shootings, high-speed accidents, immigrants in labor — the life of a border paramedic"
border  borders  us  mexico  photography  abestreep  michellundgren  susanmeiselas  texas  laredo  riogrande  riobravo  immigration  migration  drugs 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The Addicted Generation — Pacific Standard
"Did we fail our kids by relying on prescription medication to treat ADHD?"



"Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine are all classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule II drugs, given their high potential for misuse, abuse, and psychological or physical dependency. Other Schedule II drugs include Vicodin, cocaine, OxyContin, and opium. Diller believes there is reason to be cautious about long-term use of ADHD drugs. “In my experience, the kids who have been on it for years improve behaviorally, but many of them wind up still feeling psychologically dependent when, in my opinion, they no longer need it,” he says. He mentions the risks of dependence to families, but also recognizes that there’s a tradeoff. “We have to weigh the short-term benefits of getting them through the next five years of school.”

Dependency is determined by the presence of physical or mental symptoms during withdrawal from repeated substance use, like night sweats or irritability. It is possible to become dependent on a substance even when used as directed. Addiction is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as compulsive drug use, despite harmful consequences to one’s life. There is a fine line between dependency and addiction, and the two are often conflated, with addiction being the more commonly used term in everyday conversation.

“I felt like I was addicted to it,” says Amy, 31, a graduate student who started taking Adderall in high school. She abused her medication in college, mostly as an appetite suppressant. She also sold extra pills during finals, and to friends in search of a poor man’s substitute for cocaine.

Cocaine and amphetamine work somewhat similarly. Both flood the brain with dopamine, a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger. Depending on its location in the brain, dopamine can influence pleasure, motivation, attention, psychosis, or desire.

“In my practice, if I use the word ‘amphetamine,’ parents immediately are in shock,” says William Graf, a professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “If you say ‘stimulant medication’ or ‘Adderall,’ people don’t blink.”"



"One risk concerns appetite suppression, a common side effect of stimulant medication, which can cause nutritional deficits in young children. Melissa, a 28-year-old assistant to a financial advisor who took Ritalin in grade school, recalls coming home with her lunchbox full, day after day. “There were a few months when I actually stopped growing,” she says. Sleep problems, not surprisingly, are also associated with stimulant use. “I had horrible insomnia,” Brittany says. “When I was about 10 years old, they put me on Ambien to counteract the Adderall. I would take a little quarter of one to go to bed a couple times a week.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t even address children under the age of four in its practice guidelines to treat ADHD. And while the package insert for methylphenidate explicitly cautions against its use by those under the age of six, prescriptions for the drug tripled among preschoolers nationwide between 1991 and 1995 alone. Two other popular stimulants, dextroamphetamine and Adderall, are being administered at even younger ages. According to a paper from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, these drugs have been approved by the FDA for use in children as young as three, “even though there are no published controlled data showing safety and efficacy.”

This trend is “totally mind-blowing,” Graf says. “You’re giving amphetamines to little children. It should be evident why one would be concerned. I was taught as an intern that we never give Ritalin below the age of six, ever,” he adds. “There is a place, rarely, for medication for out-of-control behavior in a four-year-old, but not with any of the stimulants.”

Has ADHD become so deeply ingrained within our society that widespread stimulant use is simply accepted? Has it become so normalized that anyone who occasionally gets distracted can go running to the doctor’s office for a prescription? Have we become, as Diller predicted, a culture running on Ritalin?

Graf recalls an afternoon driving in the car with his daughter, as she flipped the radio from song to song. “I think I have a little bit of ADHD,” she said. “She was joking, of course,” Graf says, “but the fact is that it trickles down to kids’ day-to-day vocabulary. I think there are a lot of people out there who are convinced they have a little ADHD and now they’re being medicalized. I think this is epidemic. The locomotive has left the station and it’s moving forward. This is the way we’re raising kids these days.”"
madeleinethomas  adhd  drugs  medicine  eduction  medication  ritalin  cdc  2016  dsm  hyperactivity  schools  education  psychology  carlythompson  pediatrics  williamgraf  adderall  neurology  amphetamines  dexedrine  behavior  focalin  concerta  psychostimulants 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Two sentences that perfectly capture what it means to be privileged in America today - Vox
"Giridharadas's point is particularly salient now, as Robert Putnam's book about the growing fissure between upper- and lower-class America is a hot topic in political circles. Toward the end of his talk (around the 16-minute mark), he hammers home the point that there are two Americas, and that many people who reside firmly in the more privileged version don't even realize it.

"Don't console yourself that you are the 99 percent," he says. "If you live near a Whole Foods; if no one in your family serves in the military; if you are paid by the year, not the hour; if most people you know finished college; if no one you know uses meth; if you married once and remain married; if you're not one of 65 million Americans with a criminal record — if any or all of these things describe you, then accept the possibility that actually, you may not know what's going on, and you may be part of the problem."

Harsh as that sounds, Giridharadas gets at an important point that Putnam also echoed in a recent interview with Vox: as the highest and lowest incomes in the US move further apart, well-off and low-income Americans also know less and less about each other and what it truly means to be from another social class. Indeed, only 1 percent of Americans consider themselves upper-class. As economic segregation grows, it plays a part in keeping people from climbing up the social ladder."

[YouTube link for Anand Giridharadas's talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i-pNVj5KMw ]

[Response from Connor Kilpatrick:
“Let Them Eat Privilege: Focusing on privilege diverts attention away from the real villains.”
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/04/1-99-percent-class-inequality/

"By forcing the middle class to divert their attention downward (and within) instead of at the real power players above, Vox and Giridharadas are playing into the Right’s hands. It’s an attempt to shame the middle class — those with some wealth but, relative to the top one or one-tenth of one percent, mere crumbs — to make them shut up about the rich and super rich and, instead, look at those below as a reminder that it could all be much worse.

[…]

Even when the income of the one percent (mostly the bottom half of that select group) is derived primarily from high salaries (as opposed to returns on investment) it’s far more likely to be reinvested in shares, bonds, and real estate — and of course elite educations and other opportunities for their children — than the income of the middle 40 percent, who have hardly anything left once the bills are paid.

That means that even with nothing more than a killer W-2, the salaried lower half of the one percent still have the means to consolidate themselves as an elite class while the rest of us are immiserated.

When a cut in capital gains taxes is paid for by hiking state tuition and slashing social services, the one percent benefits while the vast majority of the 99 percent loses. When a new law is passed making it harder to organize a union or wages are squeezed to ring out higher and higher corporate profits, it’s the one percent — and their investment portfolios — that benefits and the majority of the 99 percent who loses.

It’s real winners and losers — not a state of mind and not a “culture.” And it works like this:

[chart]

What’s bad for you economically is probably good for them. That’s why the rest of us will have to come in conflict with this tiny elite and its institutions if we’re going win a more just and egalitarian future for ourselves.

By substituting class relations for an arbitrary list of “privileges,” Vox is attempting to paint a picture of an immiserated America with no villain. It’s an America without a ruling class that directly and materially benefits from everyone else’s hard times. And this omission isn’t just incorrect — it robs us of any meaningful oppositional politics that could change it all.

It’s a conclusion that, despite Vox’s endorsement, plays into conservatives’ hands. Like the journalist Robert Fitch once wrote, it is the aim of the Right “to restrict the scope of class conflict — to bring it down to as low a level as possible. The smaller and more local the political unit, the easier it is to run it oligarchically.”

So why turn inward? Why argue over who’s got the sweeter deal and how we’re all responsible for the gross inequity of society when it’s not that much more than a tiny sliver of millionaires and billionaires at Davos sipping wine and rubbing shoulders with politicians?

Let’s try worrying more about knowing thy enemy — and building solidarity from that recognition. “Check your privilege?” Sure. But for once, let’s try checking it against the average hedge fund manager instead of a random Whole Foods shopper."]
anandgiridharadas  inequality  privilege  2015  race  military  employment  work  labor  drugs  addiction  poverty  education  marriage  class  robertputnam  politics  secondchances  religion  islam  mercy  forgiveness  grace  us  humanism  segregation  lifeexpectancy  healthcare  faith  civics  law  legal  capitalpunishment  deathpenalty  raisuddinbhuiyan  markstroman  connorkilpatrick 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Johann Hari & Naomi Klein: Does Capitalism Drive Drug Addiction? | Democracy Now!
[See also: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:97d99d633169 ]

"And the first kind of chink in my doubt about that was explained to me by another great Canadian, Gabor Maté in Vancouver, who some of you will know the work of, amazing man. And he pointed out to me, if any of us step out of here today and we’re hit by a bus, right, God forbid, and we break our hip, we’ll be taken to hospital. It’s very likely we’ll be given a lot of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It’s much better heroin than you’ll score on the streets, because it’s medically pure, right? It’s really potent heroin. You’ll be given it for quite a long period of time. Every hospital in the developed world, that’s happening, right? If what we think about addiction is right, what should—I mean, those people should leave as addicts. That never happens, virtually never happens. You will have noticed your grandmother was not turned into a junkie by her hip replacement operation, right?

I didn’t really know what to do with it. When Gabor first explained that to me, I didn’t really know how to process that, until I met Bruce Alexander. Bruce is a professor in Vancouver, and Bruce explained something to me. The idea of addiction we have, the one that we all implicitly believe—I certainly did—comes from a series of experiments that were done earlier in the 20th century. They’re really simple experiments. You can do them yourself at home if you’re feeling a little bit sadistic. Get a rat and put it in a cage and give it two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drugged water and almost always kill itself very quickly, right, within a couple of weeks. So there you go. It’s our theory of addiction.

Bruce comes along in the '70s and said, "Well, hang on a minute. We're putting the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do. Let’s try this a little bit differently." So Bruce built Rat Park, and Rat Park is like heaven for rats. Everything your rat about town could want, it’s got in Rat Park. It’s got lovely food. It’s got sex. It’s got loads of other rats to be friends with. It’s got loads of colored balls. Everything your rat could want. And they’ve got both the water bottles. They’ve got the drugged water and the normal water. But here’s the fascinating thing. In Rat Park, they don’t like the drugged water. They hardly use any of it. None of them ever overdose. None of them ever use in a way that looks like compulsion or addiction. There’s a really interesting human example I’ll tell you about in a minute, but what Bruce says is that shows that both the right-wing and left-wing theories of addiction are wrong. So the right-wing theory is it’s a moral failing, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard. The left-wing theory is it takes you over, your brain is hijacked. Bruce says it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain; it’s your cage. Addiction is largely an adaptation to your environment.

There was a really interesting human experiment going on at the same time as Rat Park, which kind of demonstrates this really interestingly. It was called the Vietnam War, right? Twenty percent of American troops in Vietnam were using heroin a lot, right? And if you look at the reports from the time, they were really worried. They thought—because they believed the old theory of addiction. They were like, "My god, these guys are all going to come home, and we’re going to have loads of heroin addicts on the streets of the United States." What happened? They came home, and virtually all of them just stopped, because if you’re taken out of a hellish, pestilential jungle, where you don’t want to be, you can die at any moment, and you go back to a nice life in Wichita, Kansas, you can bear to be present in your life. We could all be drunk now. Forget the drug laws. We could all be drunk now, right? None of you look very drunk. I’m guessing you’re not, right? That’s because we’ve got something we want to do. We’ve got things we want to be present for in our lives.

So, I think this has—Bruce taught us about how this has huge implications, obviously, for the drug war. The drug war is based on the idea that the chemicals cause the addiction, and we need to physically eradicate these chemicals from the face of the Earth. If in fact it’s not the chemicals, if in fact it’s isolation and pain that cause the addiction, then it suddenly throws into sharp contrast the idea that we need to impose more isolation and pain on addicts in order to make them stop, which is what we currently do.

But it actually has much deeper implications that I think really relate to what Naomi writes about in This Changes Everything, and indeed before. We’ve created a society where significant numbers of our fellow citizens cannot bear to be present in their lives without being drugged, right? We’ve created a hyperconsumerist, hyperindividualist, isolated world that is, for a lot of people, much more like that first cage than it is like the bonded, connected cages that we need. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. And our whole society, the engine of our society, is geared towards making us connect with things. If you are not a good consumer capitalist citizen, if you’re spending your time bonding with the people around you and not buying stuff—in fact, we are trained from a very young age to focus our hopes and our dreams and our ambitions on things we can buy and consume. And drug addiction is really a subset of that."



"JOHANN HARI: I think Gabor—yeah, I mean, I think we’re all on a continuum, and we all have some behaviors where the rational part of us doesn’t want to do it, but the irrational part of us does it anyway. I mean, yeah. I mean, cake. You only need to say the word "cake," and everyone knows exactly what I mean. But so, yeah—and, of course, it’s a continuum where you’ve got cake at one end and, you know, extreme—and it doesn’t have to be—obviously, you’d think of crack or meth, but actually gambling addiction, or you can have all of the catastrophic addiction and no chemicals. No one thinks you snort a roulette wheel, you know.

But I’d be interested, actually, if you think, though—do you think economic—partly—so you’ve got this kind of atomized society, and I wonder if there’s a relationship between this atomized, more addiction-prone society and the panic at the idea of economic growth not happening. I agree with you about fossil fuels, but do you think the part of the kind of—because one of the most controversial parts of Naomi’s book is—I’m baffled by why anyone finds this controversial, but Naomi says at one point we may have to return to the living standards of the 1970s, which Elizabeth Kolbert thought was like saying we have to go live in caves. And there were bad things about the 1970s—don’t get me wrong—but they weren’t living in caves. And I’m [inaudible] about—there’s something about the idea of like having less stuff that just panics people. Do you think it’s related to this atomization?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, it’s interesting. I mean, I think we are—I think it’s this self-reinforcing cycle, right? Where we’re getting from—we’re projecting onto our consumer products our identity, our community, and we are constructing ourselves through consumption, and so that if you tell people they have to consume less, it’s not seen as you want to take away my stuff, it’s you want to take away myself. Like it is a very profound—

JOHANN HARI: Oh, that’s fascinating.

NAOMI KLEIN: —panic that it induces, that has to do with this surrogate role that like we’re shopping for so much more than stuff in our culture, right? So, but yeah, I mean, what’s interesting, too, I mean, all the debates about economic growth. Like if we let go of growth as our primary measure of success, then we would have to talk about what we actually value, like what is it that we want. And that’s what we can’t really do, because then we have to—you know, then we’re having a conversation about values and well-being and defining that. And so, growth allows us to avoid that conversation that we are not able to have, for a whole bunch of reasons. Now, I—"
johannhari  naomiklein  addiction  drugs  2015  capitalism  environment  brucealexander  warondrugs  pain  gabormaté  medicine  psychology  policy  consumerism  consumption  materialism  individualism  economics  growth  values  identity  society  elizabethkolbert  joãogoulão  decriminalization  joãofigueira  inequality  prostitution  switzerland  britishcolumbia  arizona  racism  judygarland  donnaleonehamm  marciapowell  vancouver  addicts  billieholiday  harryanslinger  davidcameron  josephmccarthy  legalization  dehumanization  harmreduction  prisons 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The oddly beautiful and sometimes disturbing artistic talent of the nation’s drug cops - The Washington Post
"The other important point to consider is that many patches are essentially private documents, made by law enforcement officers for law enforcement officers. "They're made as collectibles," Sherrard says. They're for internal morale-boosting and team-building. Officers from different agencies trade them with one another, "like a business card in some ways," Sherrard says.

When we talk about large federal agencies like the DEA, it's easy to forget that every monolithic bureaucracy is composed, essentially, of individuals.

It's one thing to dismiss the asset forfeiture program as terrible policy, for instance. But it's another to remember that the individual agents who carry out that policy are, in many ways, just regular people doing a job they've been assigned. Field agents don't write policy -- Congress does. Why wouldn't we expect the people who carry out that policy to take pride in their work, and to wear that pride on their sleeve?"
badges  dea  lawenforcement  warondrugs  art  graphics  government  drugs  patches  embroidery  glvo  christopheringraham  police 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Johann Hari: Everything We Know About the Drug War & Addiction is Wrong | Democracy Now!
"If you had said to me four years ago, when I started on the really long journey through nine countries to write this book, "What causes, say, heroin addiction?" I would have looked at you like you were a little bit simple-minded, and I would have said, "Well, heroin causes heroin addiction." We’ve been told a story for a hundred years that is so deep in our culture that we just take it for granted. We basically think if you, me and—I guess there’s about 20 people in this office—if we all took heroin for 20 days, by day 21, because there are chemical hooks in heroin, our bodies would physically need the heroin, and we would be heroin addicts. That’s what we think heroin addiction is.

The first thing that—I had a really personal reason to want to look into this: We had a lot of addiction in my family. One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of my relatives and not being able to. And one of the first things, when I was looking at what really causes addiction, that alerted me that that story may—there’s something wrong with that story, someone just explained to me, if one of us steps out here today and we get hit by a car, right, God forbid, and we break our hip, we’ll be taken to hospital. There’s a very good chance we’ll be given a lot of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It’s much better heroin than you’ll score on the streets, because it’s 100 percent pure as opposed to, you know, massively contaminated. You’ll be given it for quite a long period of time. That is happening in every hospital in the United States. All over the developed world, people are being given lots of heroin for long periods of time. You will have noticed something odd about that: Your grandmother was not turned into a junkie by her hip operation. If what we thought about addiction was right, those people should be leaving hospital as addicts. In fact, they’re not.

When I learned that, I didn’t really know what to do with it, until I went and met an incredible man called Bruce Alexander, who’s a professor in Vancouver. He explained to me the old theory of addiction comes from a series of experiments that were done earlier in the 20th century. They were actually featured in a famous anti-drugs ad from the '80s in America. Very simple experiment your viewers can do at home if they're feeling a little bit sadistic: You get a rat, and you put it in a cage, and it’s got two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drugged water and almost always kill itself. And so, it was concluded, there you go: That’s addiction.

But in the '70s, Bruce comes along and says, "Well, hang on a minute. We're putting the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do except drink the drugged water. Let’s do this differently." So Bruce built Rat Park. Rat Park is like heaven for rats. They’ve got loads of cheese—actually, I don’t think it’s cheese; it’s some very nice food that rats like—loads of colored balls, loads of friends. They can have loads of sex. Anything a rat can want, it’s got in Rat Park. And they’ve got both the water bottles: They’ve got the normal water and the drugged water. But here’s the fascinating thing. They obviously try both the water bottles; they don’t know what’s in them. They don’t like the drugged water. The rats in Rat Park use very little of it. They never overdose. And they never use in a way that looks like addiction or compulsion, which is fascinating. There’s a really interesting human example—there’s loads of human examples, but I can give you a specific one in a minute.

But what Bruce says is this shows that both the right-wing theory of addiction and the left-wing theories are wrong. The right-wing theory is, you know, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard, you know, that you indulge yourself—it’s a moral flaw. The left-wing theory is your brain gets hijacked, you get taken over. What Bruce says is it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain, it’s your cage. Addiction is an adaptation to your environment.

Really—and there’s massive implications of that, but there’s a really interesting human example that was actually going on at the same time as the Rat Park experiment. It’s called the Vietnam War. Twenty percent of American troops in Vietnam were using heroin a lot. And if you look at the news reports from the time, there’s a real panic, because they believed the old theory of addiction. They believed that if you—these troops were going to come home, and you were going to suddenly have enormous numbers of addicts on the streets of the United States. What happened? All the evidence is the vast majority come home and just stop, because if you’re taken out of a hellish, pestilential jungle, where you don’t want to be and you could be killed at any moment, and you go back to your nice life in Wichita, Kansas, with your friends and your family and a purpose in life, it’s the equivalent of being taken from the first cage to the second cage. You go back to your connections.

What this show us is, I think there’s huge implications for the war on drugs. And obviously, the war on drugs is built on the idea that chemicals cause addiction, and we need to physically eradicate the chemicals from the United States. Now, I don’t think that’s physically possible. We can’t even keep them out of prisons, and we’ve got a walled perimeter. But let’s grant the philosophical premise behind that, right? If in fact the chemicals are not the primary driver of the addiction, if in fact huge numbers, in fact the vast majority, of people who use those chemicals don’t become addicted, if in fact the driver is isolation, pain and distress, then a policy that’s based on inflicting more isolation, pain and distress on addicts is obviously a bad idea. That’s what I saw in Arizona. I went out with a female chain gang that are forced to wear T-shirts saying, "I was a drug addict," and, you know, made to dig graves and collect trash. And, you know, the idea that imposing more suffering on addicts will make them better, if suffering is the cause, is crazy.

I actually think there’s real implications for the politics that Democracy Now! covers so well and that we believe in so much. We have created a society where huge numbers of our fellow citizens can’t bear to be present in their lives and have to medicate themselves to get through the day with these drugs. You know, there’s nothing—a hypercapitalist, hyperindividualist society makes people feel like the rats in that first cage, that they’re cut off, they’re cut off from the source. I mean, there’s nothing—as Bruce explains, there’s nothing in human evolution that prepares us for being as isolated as the—you know, as the ideal citizen of a hypercapitalist, hyperconsumerist country like yours and mine."
addiction  johannhari  warondrugs  crime  lawenforcement  economics  capitalism  politics  democracy  drugs  vancouver  britishcolumbia  portugal  uruguay  josémujica  harryanslinger  prohibition  law  budosborn  philipowen  joãogoulão  policy 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Smugglers Use SENTRI Drivers To Move Drugs Across San Diego Border | KPBS
"Authorities have learned of at least three similar incidents in San Diego since then, all involving drivers enrolled in the popular SENTRI program, which stands for Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection.

There were 12.6 million SENTRI vehicle crossings in 2013, more than double the 5.9 million four years earlier.

The program enables hundreds of thousands of people who pass extensive background checks to whiz past inspectors with less scrutiny. Signing up can reduce rush-hour wait times from more than two hours to less than 15 minutes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the nation's busiest land border crossing.

But like other pre-screening programs, there's a potential downside: The traveler can become a target, and such cases can be tricky for investigators when people caught with drugs claim they were planted.

Using magnets under cars isn't new, but this string of cases is unusual, said Pete Flores, field office director for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"It's a cat-and-mouse game," Flores said. "Each change they make prompts a change from law enforcement, which in turn prompts them to again change their tactics."

The main targets are people who park for hours in Mexico and keep regular patterns, said Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Smugglers track their movements on both sides of the border, figuring out their travel habits. It takes only seconds to attach and remove the magnetized containers."
sandiego  sentri  border  borders  drugs  2015  mexico  us  smuggling  tijuana  sanysidro 
january 2015 by robertogreco
10 Reasons to Love Uruguay’s President José Mujica | Alternet
"1. He lives simply and rejects the perks of the presidency. Mujica has refused to live at the Presidential Palace or use a motorcade. He lives in a one-bedroom house on his wife’s farm and drives a 1987 Volkswagen. “There have been years when I would have been happy just to have a mattress,” said Mujica, referring to his time in prison. He donates over 90% of his $12,000/month salary to charity so he makes the same as the average citizen in Uruguay. When called “the poorest president in the world,” Mujica says he is not poor. “A poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more. I don’t live in poverty, I live in simplicity. There’s very little that I need to live.”

2. He supported the nation’s groundbreaking legalization of marijuana. “In no part of the world has repression of drug consumption brought results. It’s time to try something different,” Mujica said. So this year, Uruguay became the first country in the world to regulate the legal production, sale and consumption of marijuana. The law allows individuals to grow a certain amount each year and the government controls the price of marijuana sold at pharmacies. The law requires consumers, sellers, and distributors to be licensed by the government. Uruguay’s experience aims to take the market away from the ruthless drug traffickers and treat drug addiction as a public health issue and will have reverberations worldwide.

3. In August 2013, Mujica signed the bill making Uruguay the second nation in Latin America (after Argentina) to legalize gay marriage. He said legalizing gay marriage is simply recognizing reality. “Not to legalize it would be unnecessary torture for some people,” he said. In recent years, Uruguay has also moved to allow adoption by gay couples and openly gay people to serve in the armed forces.

4. He’s not afraid to confront corporate abuses, as evidenced by the epic struggle his government is waging against the American tobacco giant Philip Morris. A former smoker, Mujica says tobacco is a killer that needs to be brought under control. But Philip Morris is suing Uruguay for $25 million at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes because of the country’s tough smoking laws that prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces and require warning labels, including graphic images of the health effects. Uruguay is the first Latin American country and the fifth nation worldwide to implement a ban on smoking in enclosed public places. Philip Morris has huge global business interests (and a well-paid army of lawyers). Uruguay’s battle against the tobacco Goliath will also have global repercussions.

5. He supported the legalization of abortion in Uruguay (his predecessor had vetoed the bill). The law is very limited, compared to laws in the US and Europe. It allows abortions within the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy and requires women to meet with a panel of doctors and social workers on the risks and possible effects of an abortion. But this law is the most liberal abortion law in socially conservative, Catholic Latin America and is a step in the right direction for women’s reproductive rights.

6. He’s an environmentalist trying to limit needless consumption. At the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, he criticized the model of development pushed by affluent societies. “We can almost recycle everything now. If we lived within our means – by being prudent – the 7 billion people in the world could have everything they needed. Global politics should be moving in that direction," he said. He also recently rejected a joint energy project with Brazil that would have provided his country with cheap coal energy because of his concern for the environment.

7. He has focusing on redistributing his nation’s wealth, claiming his administration has reduced poverty from 37% to 11%. “Businesses just want to increase their profits; it’s up to the government to make sure they distribute enough of those profits so workers have the money to buy the goods they produce,” he told businessmen at the US Chamber of Commerce. “It’s no mystery--the less poverty, the more commerce. The most important investment we can make is in human resources.” His government’s redistributive policies include setting prices for essential commodities such as milk and providing free computers and education for every child.

8. He has offered to take detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo. Mujica has called the detention center at Guantanamo Bay a “disgrace” and insisted that Uruguay take responsibility to help close the facility. The proposal is unpopular in Uruguay, but Mujica, who was a political prisoner for 14 years, said he is “doing this for humanity.”

9. He is opposed to war and militarism. “The world spends $2 million a minute on military spending,” he exclaimed to the students at American University. “I used to think there were just, noble wars, but I don’t think that anymore,” said the former armed guerrilla. “Now I think the only solution is negotiations. The worst negotiation is better than the best war, and the only way to ensure peace is to cultivate tolerance.”

10. He has an adorable three-legged dog, Manuela! Manuela lost a foot when Mujica accidentally ran over her with a tractor. Since then, Mujica and Manuela have been almost inseparable."
josémujica  uruguay  leadership  pacifism  militarism  guantanamo  simplicy  drugs  marijuana  gaymarriage  marriageequality  abortion  environment  climatechange  inequality  wealthredistribution  economics  war  humanism  consumption  poverty  capitalism  2014  via:jenlowe 
december 2014 by robertogreco
10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline | The Marshall Project
"Over the course of the 1990s, crime rates dropped, on average, by more than one-third. It was a historic anomaly; one that scholar Frank Zimring dubbed “the great American crime decline.” No one was sure how long the trend would last. Then, in 2010, the Bureau of Justice Statistics announced that the homicide rate had reached a four-decade low. (Since then, overall crime rates have remained relatively flat.)While everyone agrees this is fantastic news, no one, least of all researchers and experts, can agree on exactly why it happened. Below are 10 popular theories for the decline, from abortion to lead to technology to the broken windows theory, with unvarnished views from three leading researchers—Zimring; Richard Rosenfeld, chairman of a National Academy of Sciences roundtable on crime trends; and John Roman of The Urban Institute—on which are the most plausible.

The “abortion filter” […]

The happy pill thesis […]

The lead hypothesis […]

Aging boomers […]

The tech thesis […]

Crack is whack […]

The roaring ’90s (and Obama-mania) […]

The prison boom […]

Police on the beat […]

Immigration and Gentrification […]"
crime  theories  theory  marshallproject  abortion  lead  prozac  ritalin  behavior  moods  babyboomers  population  demographics  technology  airconditioning  television  tv  cars  debitcards  currency  transactions  crack  drugs  economics  unemployment  greatrecession  recession  prison  incarceration  police  lawenforcement  gentrification  immigration  boomers 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today - The Washington Post
"A perfect stranger pours her heart out to me over the phone. She complains that her 6-year-old son is unable to sit still in the classroom. The school wants to test him for ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder). This sounds familiar, I think to myself. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I’ve noticed that this is a fairly common problem today.

The mother goes on to explain how her son comes home every day with a yellow smiley face. The rest of his class goes home with green smiley faces for good behavior. Every day this child is reminded that his behavior is unacceptable, simply because he can’t sit still for long periods of time.

The mother starts crying. “He is starting to say things like, ‘I hate myself’ and ‘I’m no good at anything.’” This young boy’s self-esteem is plummeting all because he needs to move more often.

Over the past decade, more and more children are being coded as having attention issues and possibly ADHD. A local elementary teacher tells me that at least eight of her twenty-two students have trouble paying attention on a good day. At the same time, children are expected to sit for longer periods of time. In fact, even kindergarteners are being asked to sit for thirty minutes during circle time at some schools.

The problem: children are constantly in an upright position these days. It is rare to find children rolling down hills, climbing trees, and spinning in circles just for fun. Merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters are a thing of the past. Recess times have shortened due to increasing educational demands, and children rarely play outdoors due to parental fears, liability issues, and the hectic schedules of modern-day society. Lets face it: Children are not nearly moving enough, and it is really starting to become a problem.

I recently observed a fifth grade classroom as a favor to a teacher. I quietly went in and took a seat towards the back of the classroom. The teacher was reading a book to the children and it was towards the end of the day. I’ve never seen anything like it. Kids were tilting back their chairs back at extreme angles, others were rocking their bodies back and forth, a few were chewing on the ends of their pencils, and one child was hitting a water bottle against her forehead in a rhythmic pattern.

This was not a special-needs classroom, but a typical classroom at a popular art-integrated charter school. My first thought was that the children might have been fidgeting because it was the end of the day and they were simply tired. Even though this may have been part of the problem, there was certainly another underlying reason.

We quickly learned after further testing, that most of the children in the classroom had poor core strength and balance. In fact, we tested a few other classrooms and found that when compared to children from the early 1980s, only one out of twelve children had normal strength and balance. Only one! Oh my goodness, I thought to myself. These children need to move!"

Ironically, many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today–due to restricted movement. In order to develop a strong balance system, children need to move their body in all directions, for hours at a time. Just like with exercising, they need to do this more than just once-a-week in order to reap the benefits. Therefore, having soccer practice once or twice a week is likely not enough movement for the child to develop a strong sensory system.

Children are going to class with bodies that are less prepared to learn than ever before. With sensory systems not quite working right, they are asked to sit and pay attention. Children naturally start fidgeting in order to get the movement their body so desperately needs and is not getting enough of to “turn their brain on.” What happens when the children start fidgeting? We ask them to sit still and pay attention; therefore, their brain goes back to “sleep.”

Fidgeting is a real problem. It is a strong indicator that children are not getting enough movement throughout the day. We need to fix the underlying issue. Recess times need to be extended and kids should be playing outside as soon as they get home from school. Twenty minutes of movement a day is not enough! They need hours of play outdoors in order to establish a healthy sensory system and to support higher-level attention and learning in the classroom.

In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move."
adhd  education  health  2014  children  schools  schooling  schooliness  angelahanscom  drugs  attention  movement  fidgeting  strength  balance 
september 2014 by robertogreco
PLOS Medicine: Medicine Goes to School: Teachers as Sickness Brokers for ADHD
"Over the last twenty years, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has emerged as a disorder of importance in childhood. Prescription of psychostimulants for ADHD escalated in many countries through the 1990s. Between 1990 and 1995, prescriptions of methylphenidate for young people increased 2.5-fold in the US [1], and 5-fold in Canada [2]. In New South Wales, Australia, rates of treatment for children in 2000 were nine times those in 1990 [3].

ADHD joins dyslexia and glue ear as disorders that are considered significant primarily because of their effects on educational performance. Medicalising educational performance can help children receive specialised medical and educational services; at the same time it can lead to them receiving medications or surgical therapies which may have short-term and long-term ill effects.

In the case of ADHD, there has been a complex, often heated debate in the public domain about the verity of the illness and the personal cost-benefit ratio of treatment with psychostimulant medication [4–6]. Much of the polemic for and against psychostimulants is concerned with the part played by doctors, the prescribers of medication, in diagnosing or discounting ADHD. ADHD is, however, a disorder of educational performance, and so teachers have a critical role in advocating for the illness, and its medical treatment. This essay explores the roles of teachers as brokers for ADHD and its treatment, and the strategies used by the pharmaceutical industry to frame educators' responses to ADHD."
education  schools  teaching  teachers  2006  adhd  medication  diagnosis  drugs  christinephillips  pharmaceuticals  business  performance 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Drug seizures along the U.S.-Mexico border | The Center for Investigative Reporting
"The U.S. Border Patrol seized 13.2 million pounds of marijuana from 2005 to 2011 at checkpoints and stations near the U.S.-Mexico border. (Much less was seized at ports of entry.) Arizona and Texas are increasingly the epicenters of marijuana seizure activity."
maps  mapping  border  borders  us  mexico  drugs  marijuana  2014 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Nightmare in the Sky: Drugs via Drones - Robotics Business Review
"Anyone who can build a hobby aircraft successfully has all of the tools to ramp up the dimensions and integrate control technology to build a workable drone.

In the case of drug drones, the wings need to fold up so that it will fit in a semi-truck both before and after flight so that it can be serviced, reloaded and flown from another site.

It’s a lot easier and less expensive than running a drug submarine. You can build and operate two dozen drone aircraft for the price of one submarine. The swarm effect also makes it unlikely that more than one at most will be apprehended by American law enforcement at any one time.

The assembly line for narcotics drones is located in the Santa Fe District of Mexico City and near the Bombardier factory at Queretaro where aircraft factory workers can moonlight and double their money."
drones  droneproject  drugs  drugtrafficking  border  borders  querétaro  mexico  mexicodf  aircraft  airplanes  df  mexicocity 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke | | Rolling Stone
"The institutional bias in the crack sentencing guidelines was a racist outrage, but this HSBC settlement blows even that away. By eschewing criminal prosecutions of major drug launderers on the grounds (the patently absurd grounds, incidentally) that their prosecution might imperil the world financial system, the government has now formalized the double standard.

They're now saying that if you're not an important cog in the global financial system, you can't get away with anything, not even simple possession. You will be jailed and whatever cash they find on you they'll seize on the spot, and convert into new cruisers or toys for your local SWAT team, which will be deployed to kick in the doors of houses where more such inessential economic cogs as you live. If you don't have a systemically important job, in other words, the government's position is that your assets may be used to finance your own political disenfranchisement.

On the other hand, if you are an important person, and you work for a big international bank, you won't be prosecuted even if you launder nine billion dollars. Even if you actively collude with the people at the very top of the international narcotics trade, your punishment will be far smaller than that of the person at the very bottom of the world drug pyramid. You will be treated with more deference and sympathy than a junkie passing out on a subway car in Manhattan (using two seats of a subway car is a common prosecutable offense in this city). An international drug trafficker is a criminal and usually a murderer; the drug addict walking the street is one of his victims. But thanks to Breuer, we're now in the business, officially, of jailing the victims and enabling the criminals.

This is the disgrace to end all disgraces. It doesn't even make any sense. There is no reason why the Justice Department couldn't have snatched up everybody at HSBC involved with the trafficking, prosecuted them criminally, and worked with banking regulators to make sure that the bank survived the transition to new management. As it is, HSBC has had to replace virtually all of its senior management. The guilty parties were apparently not so important to the stability of the world economy that they all had to be left at their desks.

So there is absolutely no reason they couldn't all face criminal penalties. That they are not being prosecuted is cowardice and pure corruption, nothing else. And by approving this settlement, Breuer removed the government's moral authority to prosecute anyone for any other drug offense. Not that most people didn't already know that the drug war is a joke, but this makes it official."
matttaibbi  drugs  economics  law  politics  policy  drugwar  warondrugs  2013  banking  hsbc  moneylaundering 
december 2013 by robertogreco
The Killing Point
[As Tim put it: "Performance enhancing drugs as overclocking rather than improving human performance." https://twitter.com/doingitwrong/status/403658728819281920 ]

"What Gladwell fails to mention - at all - are the risks involved in using performance-enhancing drugs. There is nothing about the risks of blood doping or of pharmaceutical enhancement. He even skips the risks inherent in the very genetic condition he holds up as “lucky.” There is no mention of contact sports, where the decision to illegally enhance could be the difference between life and death for your competitor. There is no recognition that healthcare access for athletes is a continuum with the Lance Armstrongs at the upper end, with their elite teams of morally questionable medical practitioners,and with some kid at the bottom end, desperate for a place on the team, taking injectables that he gets from a friend of a friend."
overclocking  sports  performance  malcolmgladwell  2013  leighcowart  humans  performance-enhancingdrugs  drugs  lancearmstrong 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Junior Seau: Song of sorrow | UTSanDiego.com
"Within two years of retiring, three out of four NFL players will be one or more of the following: alcohol or drug addicted; divorced; or financially distressed/bankrupt. Junior Seau was all three."
bankruptcy  drugs  alcohol  depression  suicide  2012  nfl  juniorseau  football  sports 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Futurist Stewart Brand Wants to Revive Extinct Species | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
"Most of the stuff that my fellow hippies tried turned out not to have legs. Communes didn’t. Dope didn’t!"

"Brand: I take my cue from technology historian George Dyson, who argues that, from the perspective of the real world, the digital universe is accelerating rapidly but, from the view of the digital universe, the biological world is slllllooooowwwwwiiing doooowwwwn. Since we humans are amphibians and live in both universes, we are being torn by acceleration on one side and deceleration on the other. That sounds rough, but it’s actually pretty exciting."

"Brand: I want them to know that de-extinction is coming. And I also want the eventual semi-amateur de-extinctors, as they start doing this out in the barn, to understand that there’s a framework of norms about ethics and transparency.

Kelly: What we all need is a manual on how to worry intelligently."
amateurresearch  acceleratingchange  psychadelics  drugs  communes  communitymanagement  trolls  netiquette  identity  pseudonyms  anonymity  stupidityofmobs  wisdomofcrowds  mooreslaw  well  digitalera  usergenerated  user-generated  biohacking  counterculture  geneticengineering  biotechnology  biotech  evolution  change  technology  transparency  ethics  science  georgedyson  2012  interviews  de-extinction  extinction  kevinkelly  stewartbrand 
october 2012 by robertogreco
I Am Fishead - Documentary Film (2011) - YouTube
"…It is not too far fetched to say that for the first time in history we not only praise psychopaths in the highest positions of power, but in many cases, they became our role models. On top of that, we don't seem to think it's a problem. In the third part, we come back to the idea of us, the normal people in our day-to-day life. How much different are we from the average psychopath? By embracing a superficial culture, each of us maybe unwillingly supports the fishead. Albert Einstein said, "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

Through interviews with… Philip Zimbardo… Robert Hare… Vaclav Havel… Gary Greenberg and Christopher Lane… Nicholas Christakis, among numerous other thinkers, we have delved into the world of psychopaths and heroes and revealed shocking implications for us and our society."
prozac  medicine  pharmaceuticals  iamfishead  drugs  kindness  care  emotions  antidepressants  society  resistance  control  power  influence  socialnetworks  empathy  morality  responsibility  via:kazys  corporatepsychopaths  finance  hierarchy  vaclavdejcmar  mishavotruba  johnperrybarlow  garygreenberg  christopherlane  psychology  behavior  jamesfowler  nicholaschristakis  vaclavhavel  roberthare  philipzimbardo  sociopathy  sociopaths  psychopathology  psychopathicpersonalitydisorder  psychopathy  psychopaths  happiness  love  altruism  documentaries  documentary  film  2011 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The Sociological Eye: DRUG BUSINESS IS NOT THE KEY TO GANGS AND ORGANIZED CRIME: WITH A PROGNOSIS FOR THE MEXICAN CARTEL WARS
"Mafia organization dates from 1931 when Lucky Luciano set up the Commission, and its period of greatest dominance was in the 40 years after the end of Prohibition.

The Mafia families in Sicily, from their reestablishment after the fall of the Fascist regime in World War II through their demise in the 1990s, were involved in what Diego Gambetta [1993] calls the business of protection. In the absence of government regulation and in at atmosphere of pervasive distrust, all economic transactions needed a protector or guarantor, and this was provided by traditional secret societies of "men of honor" who received payoffs in return. The scope of businesses under Mafia protection was even wider than in the U.S., and consisted more of legal activities than illegal ones-- gambling was not prominent in Sicily, though an illegal source of income was smuggling cigarettes to avoid taxation, and turfs for pickpocket gangs were enforced in Palermo. Sicilian Mafia families did become important pipelines for heroin processing and smuggling from the Middle-East across the Atlantic. But this was not the key to the Sicilian Mafias; they existed long before the heroin trade, and their protection business remained centered on the local economy.



Symbol-based Alliances and Multi-gang Alliances: Diplomatic Peace Treaties

These are loose, horizontal alliances between gangs who adopt the same symbols. Symbol-based gangs, with their distinctive gang colors and signs (hand gestures, ways of strutting, etc.) are diplomatic peace treaties among those who belong. Instead of every local gang being the enemy of every other, half the gangs they encounter may be their allies. It is suggestive that the cities with the highest homicide rates--- Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia-- have no little structure beyond small gangs fighting each other every few blocks.



In Mexico, when increased border surveillance cut into drug deliveries to the US, crime-orgs expanded into extortion and kidnapping for ransom. The Zetas, because of their organization as Special Forces, were less directly connected with the drug business itself; when they became independent of the declining Gulf cartel, they have moved aggressively into more purely predatory use of violence against other cartels' territories. This is not so much an effort to monopolize the drug trafficking business, as a different political strategy, leveraging their special skill, highly trained military violence.

It follows that ending the illegal drug business-- whether by eradication or by legalization-- would not automatically end violence. Mexican crime-orgs could intensify other types of violent extortion (and so they have, with increased pressure on the US border), as along as they still held territories out of government control; and wars between the cartels would not cease. It is a non sequitur to argue that if the US would stop drug consumption, Mexican cartels and their violence would disappear."
drugs  gangs  violence  sociology  anthropology  history  mexico  via:migurski  mafia  policy  foreignpolicy 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The labels change, the game remains the same « Mind Hacks
"Today’s New York Times has a huge feature on the illicit use of stimulant drugs like Ritalin and pharmaceutical amphetamines in colleges and schools by kids ‘seeking an academic edge’.

The piece is written like an exposé but if you know a little about the history of amphetamines, it is also incredibly ironic.

The ‘illicit stimulants for study’ situation is a complete replay of what happened with the branded amphetamine benzedrine in the 1930s, as recounted in Nicolas Rasmussen’s brilliant book On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine…

…In 1937, none other than the The New York Times ran a story about benzedrine calling it a ‘high octane brain fuel’ and noting that without it the brain ‘does not run on all cylinders’. It was clearly pitched as a cognitive enhancer…

So the story isn’t really new but it’s ironic that the New York Times has inadvertently promoted the activity. Again."
speed  brainenhancingdrugs  focus  learning  schools  academics  ritalin  2012  mindhacks  attention  drugs  benzedrine  amphetamines 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill | Mad In America
"Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.



Americans have been increasingly socialized to equate inattention, anger, anxiety, and immobilizing despair with a medical condition, and to seek medical treatment rather than political remedies. What better way to maintain the status quo than to view inattention, anger, anxiety, and depression as biochemical problems of those who are mentally ill rather than normal reactions to an increasingly authoritarian society."

…authoritarians financially marginalize those who buck the system, they criminalize anti-authoritarianism, they psychopathologize anti-authoritarians, and they market drugs for their “cure.”"
despair  inattention  xanax  drugs  adderall  overdiagnosis  diagnosis  policy  illegitimacy  saulalinsky  defiance  hyperactivity  children  youth  teens  russellbarkley  impulse-control  impulsivity  disruption  behavior  oppositiondefiantdisorder  odd  trust  skepticism  opression  marginalization  deschooling  unschooling  education  schooliness  schools  cv  brucelevine  medication  depression  add  adhd  criticalthinking  society  control  anxiety  anger  compliance  attention  pathology  2012  anti-authoritarians  authoritarianism  authority  psychiatry  politics  health  psychology  anti-authoritarian  problemswithauthority  issueswithauthority 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Taming the Wandering Mind | The Moral Sciences Club | Big Think
"Reconciling oneself to the fact that projects "take the time they take" can be a necessary step in finishing projects at all. My mind is not simply prone to distraction, it is prone to rebellion. The wrong kind of pressure makes it resist its own commands, sends it spinning out of its own control. Bearing down, reining in, whipping harder doesn't get "me" back on track so much as set me against myself in a showdown I always lose winning. Better to just glide on the thermal of whim until the destination once again comes into sight and a smooth approach becomes finally possible.

Not to say that one can drift one's way to success. Aims must be fixed and kept in mind, even if one knows it's worse than useless to charge right at them. One must develop a sense of one's attention as one develops a sense of a powerful but skittish horse, calmly riding wide of known dangers…

We need to reconcile ourselves to our own temperaments, stop trying to fight or drug ourselves into submission…"
medicine  drugs  howwework  howwewrite  allsorts  productivity  focus  willpower  self-mastery  self-improvement  self-accommodation  gtd  effort  adhd  2012  hanifkureishi  attention  distraction  willwilkinson 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Children’s A.D.D. Drugs Don’t Work Long-Term - NYTimes.com
"Attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short term, which is why they work so well for college students cramming for exams. But when given to children over long periods of time, they neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems. The drugs can also have serious side effects, including stunting growth.

Sadly, few physicians and parents seem to be aware of what we have been learning about the lack of effectiveness of these drugs."
biochemistry  health  medicine  children  science  psychology  drugs  ritalin  adhd  add  2012 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Could A Club Drug Offer 'Almost Immediate' Relief From Depression? : Shots - Health Blog : NPR
"Ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic. It also has become a wildly popular but illegal club drug known as "Special K."

Mental health researchers got interested in ketamine because of reports that it could make depression vanish almost instantly.

In contrast, drugs like Prozac take weeks or even months…

I talk to Carlos Zarate, who does ketamine research at the NIH and has never met Merrill. Zarate says patients typically say, " 'I feel that something's lifted or feel that I've never been depressed in my life. I feel I can work. I feel I can contribute to society.' And it was a different experience from feeling high. This was feeling that something has been removed."

I compare this to what Merrill said about her experience: "No more fogginess. No more heaviness. I feel like I'm a clean slate right now. I want to go home and see friends or, you know, go to the grocery store and cook the family dinner.""
health  medicine  research  mentalhealth  drugs  carloszarate  2012  katamine  depression  psychology 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Nancy Rommelmann: The Queens of Montague Street
"Then I left my parents a note on the kitchen table, explaining that I didn’t know why I couldn’t be in school but I couldn’t; that it wasn’t their fault, and that they should just leave me alone. I think they knew this was the loudest plea they were going to get, and they let me be…

Had I known about punk rock, I might have joined with a group of kids kicking the stuffing out of the moldy old elite, but I didn’t know about it, and in any case, I wasn’t looking for a movement. I just wanted out…

While it was true all the kids broke off into sets, each set was really tiny, maybe three or four kids per, ergo there was no hierarchy; the stoners had no more or less power than the lesbians, or the eggheads, or the transvestites. This is not to say everyone liked each other or got along, there were no posters encouraging brotherhood, it was simply that, with one hundred students launched from one hundred set of circumstances, there was no system for us to break down one another…"
hierarchy  parenting  alternativeeducation  life  drugs  adolescence  learning  dropouts  deschooling  unschooling  nyc  1970s  nancyrommelmann 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Why More Americans Suffer From Mental Disorders Than Anyone Else - Alice G. Walton - Life - The Atlantic
"That mental health disorders are pervasive in the United States is no secret. Americans suffer from all sorts of psychological issues, and the evidence indicates that they're not going anywhere despite (or because of?) an increasing number of treatment options…

The WHO has come up with vast catalogues of mental health data, which they are constantly updating. See how the U.S. compares to other countries:"
mentaldisorders  mentalhealth  psychology  us  comparison  2011  trends  international  depression  eatingdisorders  substanceabuse  drugs  pharmaceuticals  society  wealth  inequality  disparity 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Watch The Program | PBS - Medicating Kids | FRONTLINE | PBS
"In "Medicating Kids," FRONTLINE examines the dramatic increase in the prescription of behavior-modifying drugs for children. Are these medications really necessary--and safe--for young children, or merely a harried nation's quick fix for annoying, yet age-appropriate, behavior?"
adhd  psychology  frontline  pbs  education  learning  behavior  drugs  2011 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Journey to the transnational narcopolitical city - Op-Ed - Domus
"Model of "Texanomic" success or a shadowy narcotics-fueled node? Either way El Paso is the model of the 21st-century transnational pivot point"

"I can just see myself peering at the big empty skies, probably finding nothing, wondering: Does Joel Kotkin, or anyone, for that matter, understand this city better than the drone does? As a spectre of a violent and militaristic narcourbanism, this desert apparition can be endlessly admired, traversed, measured, and quantified. One gets more and more absorbed by its ever-multiplying abstractions, while whatever it is that the cartel bosses and the politicians do simply continues, unabated."
elpaso  texas  ciudadjuarez  javierarbona  2011  cities  economics  drugs  narcotraficantes  narco  borders  mexico  us  neoliberalism  fraud  crime  moneylaundering 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Portugal's War On Addiction - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast
"They're winning:

"Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal's decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked. "There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal," said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law. The number of addicts considered "problematic" -- those who repeatedly use "hard" drugs and intravenous users -- had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.""
drugs  warondrugs  via:lukeneff  portugal  addiction  2011  policy  decriminalization 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Portugal's War On Addiction - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast
"They're winning:

"Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal's decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked. "There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal," said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law. The number of addicts considered "problematic" -- those who repeatedly use "hard" drugs and intravenous users -- had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.""
drugs  warondrugs  via:lukeneff  portugal  addiction  2011  policy  decriminalization 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Jury nullification: Just say no | The Economist
[Don't miss: http://www.rmcortes.com/books/jury/Jury-Illustrated.pdf ]

"Juries do not only decide guilt or innocence; they can also serve as checks on unjust laws. Judges will not tell you about your right to nullify—to vote not guilty regardless of whether the prosecution has proven its case if you believe the law at issue is unjust. They may tell you that you may only judge the facts of the case put to you & not the law. They may strike you from a jury if do not agree under oath to do so, but the right to nullify exists. There is reason to be concerned about this power: nobody wants courtroom anarchy. But there is also reason to wield it, especially today: if you believe that nonviolent drug offenders should not go to prison, vote not guilty. The creators of…"The Wire" vowed to do that a few years back ("we will...no longer tinker w/ machinery of the drug war," [they] wrote)…"

[See also: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1719872,00.html AND http://fija.org/ ]

[via: http://twitter.com/charlesdavis84/status/85402352378589184 ]
thewire  juryduty  citizenship  us  courts  law  legal  nullification  rights  2011  warondrugs  davidsimon  edburns  dennislehane  georgepelecanos  richardprice  drugs  drugoffenses  civics  classideas  patriotism  ethics  howto  juries  unjustlaws  checksandbalances  judges  injustice  activism  power  politics 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Gamification: Ditching reality for a game isn't as fun as it sounds. - By Heather Chaplin - Slate Magazine
"McGonigal…not advocating any kind of real change, as she purports, but rather change in perception…wants to add gamelike layer to world to simulate these feelings of satisfaction, which indeed people want. What she misses is that there are legitimate reasons why people feel they’re achieving less. These include the boring literal truths of jobs shipped overseas, stagnant wages, & a taxation system that benefits the rich & hurts middle class & poor. You want to transform peoples’ lives into games so they feel as if they’re doing something worthwhile? Why not just shoot them up w/ drugs so they don’t notice how miserable they are? You could argue that peasants in Middle Ages were happy imagining that the more their lives sucked here on earth the faster they’d make it into heaven. I think they’d have been better off w/ enough to eat & some health care. Indeed, gamification is an allegedly populist idea that actually benefits corporate interests over those of ordinary people."
society  games  psychology  gamification  gaming  janemcgonigal  social  socialism  capitalism  populism  motivation  drugs  middleages  reality  play 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Why the Creator of 'The Wire' Turned the Camera to New Orleans | | AlterNet
"Simon: I'm a socialist. I'm not a Marxist, but I am a socialist. You hear these sons of bitches invoke socialism to suggest that we shouldn't have an actuarial group of 300 million people and keep all of us a little more healthy by sharing. It's a thoughtless triumph of ignorance.

Both parties fear telling the truth. The collapse of all democratic integrity over taxes is near complete. I'm making a lot of money. I should be paying a lot more taxes. I'm not paying taxes at a rate that is even close to what people were paying under Eisenhower. Do people think America wasn't ascendant and wasn't an upwardly mobile society under Eisenhower in the '50s? Nobody was looking at the country then and thinking to themselves, "We're taxing ourselves into oblivion." Yet there isn't a politician with balls enough to tell that truth because the whole system has been muddied by the rich. It's been purchased."
davidsimon  taxes  politics  us  treme  thewire  police  crime  lawenforcement  drugs  prisons  neworleans  nola  baltimore  2011  interviews  socialism  marxism  sharing  taxation  disparity  healthcare  health  policy  corruption  democracy  democrats  money  prosperity  income  incomegap  society  dwightdeisenhower 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Why the Creator of 'The Wire' Turned the Camera to New Orleans | | AlterNet
"Simon: I'm a socialist. I'm not a Marxist, but I am a socialist. You hear these sons of bitches invoke socialism to suggest that we shouldn't have an actuarial group of 300 million people and keep all of us a little more healthy by sharing. It's a thoughtless triumph of ignorance.

Both parties fear telling the truth. The collapse of all democratic integrity over taxes is near complete. I'm making a lot of money. I should be paying a lot more taxes. I'm not paying taxes at a rate that is even close to what people were paying under Eisenhower. Do people think America wasn't ascendant and wasn't an upwardly mobile society under Eisenhower in the '50s? Nobody was looking at the country then and thinking to themselves, "We're taxing ourselves into oblivion." Yet there isn't a politician with balls enough to tell that truth because the whole system has been muddied by the rich. It's been purchased."
davidsimon  taxes  politics  us  treme  thewire  police  crime  lawenforcement  drugs  prisons  neworleans  nola  baltimore  2011  interviews  socialism  marxism  sharing  taxation  disparity  healthcare  health  policy  corruption  democracy  democrats  money  prosperity  income  incomegap  society  dwightdeisenhower 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Guernica / The Straight Dope — Bill Moyers interviews David Simon, April 2011
"David Simon would be happy to find out that The Wire was hyperbolic and ridiculous, and that the “American Century” is still to come. But he's not betting on it. An excerpt from Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues, forthcoming from The New Press."

"I am very cynical about institutions and their willingness to address themselves to reform. I am not cynical when it comes to individuals and people. And I think the reason The Wire is watchable, even tolerable, to viewers is that it has great affection for individuals. It’s not misanthropic in any way. It has great affection for those people, particularly when they stand up on their hind legs and say, “I will not lie anymore. I am actually going to fight for what I perceive to be some shard of truth.”"
davidsimon  billmoyers  toread  interviews  thewire  tv  television  politics  drugs  cities  baltimore  2011  government  policy  society  economics  journalism  statistics  progress  crime  lawenforcement  criminology  urban  urbanism  laissezfaire  markets  marketfundamentalism  decriminalization  underclass  class  race  incarceration  institutions  cynicism  reform  change  individualism  people  human  humancondition  humans  democracy  control  corruption  mexico  us  ideology 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Drugs and the Border — The Story from APM
"Bryan Gonzalez is a former New Mexico border patrol agent. He often spoke with the migrants he caught trying to cross the border, and often heard stories of people trying to escape the violence surrounding the drug trade. He began to learn more about the issues of drugs, and when he began to voice his thoughts on the subject, he was fired. Bryan joins Dick Gordon to talk about his experiences on the border. He's still not sure why he lost his job."
borders  drugs  us  mexico  migration  2011 
april 2011 by robertogreco
How a big US bank [Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo] laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs | World news | The Observer
"As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored"
mexico  finance  banking  wellsfargo  wachovia  corruption  drugs  crime  2011  us 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Prescribed pain by corporate America - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
"This industry is one of the most profitable in the country making about 18 cents profit on every dollar of sales; it is aided by government using our tax dollars to fund about one third of all research on new drugs the industry gets at no charge; the industry spends about twice as much on advertising, promotion and administrative costs as they do on R & D to develop new drugs; the prices charged for prescription drugs in the US are inordinately high compared to the rest of the world and are rising at about four times the rate of inflation; these rising costs plus those for most all health services are rising so fast, companies are forcing their employees to pay a greater share of them or are reducing overall health care benefits.<br />
<br />
Ever feel like you are the bank and they are Dillinger? If not, you probably should."
government  copyright  regulation  pharmaceuticals  bigpharma  markets  health  us  policy  politics  influence  drugs  2011  corporations  corporatism 
march 2011 by robertogreco
My romance with ADHD meds. - By Joshua Foer - Slate Magazine
"I felt less like myself. Though I could put more words to the page per hour on Adderall, I had a nagging suspicion that I was thinking w/ blinders on…"

"There's also the risk that Adderall can work too well…Paul Erdös, who famously opined that "a mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems," began taking Benzedrine in his late 50s & credited drug w/ extending his productivity long past expiration date of colleagues. But he eventually became psychologically dependent. In 1979, a friend offered Erdös $500 to kick his Benzedrine habit for a month. Erdös met the challenge, but his productivity plummeted so drastically that he decided to go back…After a 1987 Atlantic profile discussed his love affair w/ psychostimulants, [he] wrote the author a rueful note. "You shouldn't have mentioned the stuff about Benzedrine. It's not that you got it wrong. It's just that I don't want kids who are thinking about going into math to think that they have to take drugs to succeed.""
paulerdos  drugs  adhd  productivity  psychology  writing  adderall  add  benzedrine  psychostimulants  concentration  philipkdick  grahamgreene  jackkerouac 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on TED.com
"Brene Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share."
psychology  ted  vulnerability  purpose  meaning  behavior  human  measurement  connectedness  shame  connection  empathy  humanity  brenebrown  insecurity  love  research  belonging  worthiness  imperfection  courage  wabi-sabi  authenticity  identity  self  compassion  certainty  uncertainty  joy  perfectionism  obesity  depression  emotions  drugs  alcohol  children  struggle  numbness  apologies  transparency  living  wisdom  gratitude  listening  kindness  gentleness  parenting 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Glasgow Ice Cream Wars - Wikipedia
"The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars were conflicts in the East End of Glasgow in Scotland in the 1980s between rival ice cream van operators, over lucrative territory and suggested use of ice cream vans as a cover for selling drugs. The conflicts involved daily violence and intimidation, and led to the deaths by arson of several members of the family of one ice cream van driver and a consequent court case that lasted for 20 years. The conflicts generated widespread public outrage, and earned the Strathclyde Police the nickname the "serious chimes squad" (a pun on Serious Crime Squad) for its perceived failure to address them."
glascow  icecream  history  random  via:caterina  violence  drugs  wikipedia 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Drug experiment - The Boston Globe
"But nearly a decade later, there's evidence that Portugal's great drug experiment not only didn't blow up in its face; it may have actually worked. More addicts are in treatment. Drug use among youths has declined in recent years. Life in Casal Ventoso, Lisbon's troubled neighborhood, has improved. And new research, published in the British Journal of Criminology, documents just how much things have changed in Portugal. Coauthors Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes and Alex Stevens report a 63 percent increase in the number of Portuguese drug users in treatment and, shortly after the reforms took hold, a 499 percent increase in the amount of drugs seized -- indications, the authors argue, that police officers, freed up from focusing on small-time possession, have been able to target big-time traffickers while drug addicts, no longer in danger of going to prison, have been able to get the help they need."
drugs  portugal  politics  crime  society  policy  legalization  via:kottke 
january 2011 by robertogreco
The animal world has its junkies too | PJ Online
"Research scientists have used many animal species in investigating mind-altering drugs, but it may come as a surprise to learn that animals in the wild — from starlings to reindeer — also make use of psychoactive substances of their own accord.<br />
<br />
It seems that many of these species have a natural desire to experience altered states of consciousness, and man may well have found his way to some of his favourite recreational drugs by observing the behaviour of animals."
drugs  animals  nature 
december 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms
"This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award."
education  kenrobinson  learning  videos  rsaanimate  rsa  unschooling  deschooling  reform  schools  schooling  schooliness  standardizedtesting  standards  standardization  divergentthinking  creativity  arts  gamechanging  innovation  economics  drugs  add  adhd  ritalin  children  parenting 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Amexica: on the frontline of the Mexican drugs trade | book extract | World news | The Observer
"Nuevo Laredo: the border town on the frontline of the drugs trade

The US-Mexico border runs for nearly 2,000 miles. Last year Observer writer Ed Vulliamy travelled its entire length. In this extract from his new book, Amexica, he tells the incredible story of the town that doubles as the world's largest transport hub for narcotics"
us  mexico  borders  drugs  narcotraficantes  edvulliamy  laredo  nuevolaredo  texas  amexica  via:regine 
september 2010 by robertogreco
The Fence - The Film
"In October 2006, the United States government decided to build a fence along its troubled border with Mexico. 3 years, 19 construction companies, 350 engineers, thousands of construction workers, tens of thousands of tons of metal and more than $3 billion later – was it all worth it? That's the question posed in Rory Kennedy's latest HBO Documentary THE FENCE (LA BARDA) as it investigates the impact of the project, revealing how the fence's stated goals – containing illegal immigration, cracking down on drug trafficking and protecting America from terrorists – have given way to unforeseen consequences."
via:regine  sandiego  borders  mexico  us  minutemen  documentary  labarda  drugs  immigration  terrorism  narcotraficantes  2006  georgewbush  fences  rorykennedy  classideas  politics  policy 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Does Coffee Work? § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
"More than any other drug, caffeine makes the modern world go ’round. But how good is it for you, how well does it work, and how much do most users consume? the answers may surprise you.…

Consuming as little as a cup a day of coffee can make you dependent on coffee, which means when you stop drinking it, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches, irritability, and drowsiness. In other words, you’ll be just like me, before my first cup of coffee in the morning.…

So if coffee works at all to improve alertness, the 2004 study mentioned by Chatham offers the best advice: If you’re trying to stay alert on a long road trip, regardless of whether you’ve got a styrofoam cup of watered-down joe from a gas station or a double-walled thermos filled with Starbucks rocket fuel, you should sip slowly rather than chug the whole thing!"
addiction  coffee  caffeine  medicine  nutrition  food  health  drugs 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Mexico and drugs: Thinking the unthinkable | The Economist
"In all, since Felipe Calderón sent the army against the drug gangs when he took office as president almost four years ago, some 28,000 people have been killed, the government says. There is no sign of a let-up, on either side.

So it came as a surprise when on August 3rd Mr Calderón called for a debate on whether to legalise drugs. Though several former Latin American leaders have spoken out in favour of legalisation, and many politicians privately support it, Mr Calderón became the first incumbent president to call for open discussion of the merits of legalising a trade he has opposed with such determination. At a round-table on security, he said this was “a fundamental debate in which I think, first of all, you must allow a democratic plurality [of opinions]…You have to analyse carefully the pros and cons and the key arguments on both sides.”"
drugs  mexico  policy  legalization  classideas  warondrugs  drugwar 
august 2010 by robertogreco
El Blog del Narco ["Nos puedes encontrar en las Redes Sociales como Twitter, Facebook, Youtube."]
"El Blog del Narco esta funcionando desde el 2 de Marzo del 2010 bajo la administración de un solo escritor al cual le llama la atención como los narcotraficantes astutamente se ganan la vida (Matando, Secuestrando, Mutilando, vendiendo estupefacientes y demás), y se la quitan a otras. Su fuente de información mas importante son las personas.

La idea de crear Blog del Narco surge cuando los medios de comunicación y el gobierno intentan aparentar que en México NO PASA NADA, debido a que los medios están amenazados y el Gobierno aparentemente comprado, fue que decidimos crear un medio de comunicación con el cual podamos dar a conocer a la gente que es lo que pasa, redactar los acontecimientos exactamente tal cual fueron, sin alteraciones o modificaciones a nuestra conveniencia.

Blog del Narco no esta en contra o a favor de ningún grupo delictivo, tampoco tiene la intención de ofender o incomodar a la sociedad solo se publican notas de manera periodística."
blogs  drugs  capitalism  mexico  politics  narco  borders  trafficking  news  via:javierarbona 
august 2010 by robertogreco
BigThink videos: Penn Jillette and Dan Ariely - Boing Boing
"A couple of great videos from BigThink. First, Penn Jillette on how reading the great religious texts will make you into an atheist, the future of magic, and how he and Teller work together."

[Videos are at: http://bigthink.com/pennjillette AND http://bigthink.com/danariely ]
behavior  rationality  religion  pennjillette  skepticism  atheism  irrationality  primarysources  criticalthinking  magic  pennandteller  performance  business  partnerships  ikeaeffecy  ikea  onlinedating  math  politics  tolerance  respect  morality  right  wrong  glenbeck  abbiehoffman  libertarianism  honesty  humility  tcsnmy  classideas  civics  policy  humanity  context  media  perspective  evil  good  wisdom  disagreement  debate  philosophy  drugs  alcohol  modeling 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Se halló ‘submarino narco’ en zona fronteriza con Colombia - JUL. 04, 2010 - Seguridad - Guayaquil - EL UNIVERSO
"En una zona selvática de la frontera con Colombia, la Armada Nacional localizó en la noche del viernes último un submarino utilizado presuntamente por narcotraficantes.
via:javierarbona  colombia  submarines  narcotraficantes  jungle  drugs 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Borderland on Vimeo
"Dick is right. "Every American should see this." It is real and it is striking. In some places it stands 18 feet tall and looks like the gates of Mordor. In other places, it is barely 10 feet tall and looks like it was put together with a stapler. It runs from the Colorado River directly into the Pacific. It is big, intense and intimidating. And it is unfinished. Gaping holes are everywhere. Physically it’s confusing. Politically it’s puzzling. Ideologically it’s complicated. But for Dick and Ron, who both live within a few miles of the border, defending it is simply a matter of protecting themselves and preserving their own beliefs. Drug smugglers don't come to the United States to make an honest living. As the recent killing of Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas shows, the border is more than a moral line in the sand. The fence is real. We recommend a visit."
borders  documentary  california  drugs  mexico  sandiego  us 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Is Dobson Right About Our Moral Decline? « The Enterprise Blog
"In fact, a great deal of empirical evidence argues that, if anything, we are in the midst of a social and cultural re-norming of some significance."
statistics  crime  divorce  teens  alcohol  drugs  us 
january 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - No Mas Presents: Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No by James Blagden
"In celebration of the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey, No Mas and artist James Blagden proudly present the animated tale of Dock Ellis' legendary LSD no-hitter. In the past few years weve heard all too much about performance enhancing drugs from greenies to tetrahydrogestrinone, and not enough about performance inhibiting drugs. If our evaluation of the records of athletes like Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Marion Jones, and Barry Bonds needs to be revised downwards with an asterisk, we submit that that Dock Ellis record deserves a giant exclamation point. Of the 263 no-hitters ever thrown in the Big Leagues, we can only guess how many were aided by steroids, but we can say without question that only one was ever thrown on acid."
lsd  dockellis  drugs  sports  animation  humor  baseball  history 
november 2009 by robertogreco
An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All | Magazine
"Ah, risk. It is the idea that fuels the anti-vaccine movement — that parents should be allowed to opt out, because it is their right to evaluate risk for their own children. It is also the idea that underlies the CDC’s vaccination schedule — that the risk to public health is too great to allow individuals, one by one, to make decisions that will impact their communities. (The concept of herd immunity is key here: It holds that, in diseases passed from person to person, it is more difficult to maintain a chain of infection when large numbers of a population are immune.)"

[more at: http://kottke.org/09/10/killer-vaccines-and-the-killers-who-kill-with-them ]
culture  children  healthcare  publichealth  pandemic  drugs  politics  autism  conspiracy  safety  medicine  fear  reading  health  parenting  science  vaccinations  vaccines  antivax  epidemics 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Once-Feared Medellin A Lesson To Drug-Hit Juarez : NPR
"Medellin, Colombia, was once a drug battleground; today, it is a colonial jewel with sidewalk cafes and open-air bars. Mexico's border city of Juarez has taken Medellin's place as the ground zero in the war against drug cartels. The former mayor of Medellin will be in Juarez to talk of his city's transformation. Juarez residents, traumatized by the highest homicide rate of any major city in the hemisphere, are desperate for answers."
medellin  colombia  mexico  borders  drugs  cities  juarez  ciudadjuarez  medellín  juárez  ciudadjuárez 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why.
"It's not only trials of new drugs that are crossing the futility boundary. Some products that have been on the market for decades, like Prozac, are faltering in more recent follow-up tests. In many cases, these are the compounds that, in late '90s, made Big Pharma more profitable than Big Oil. But if these same drugs were vetted now, FDA might not approve some of them. Two comprehensive analyses of antidepressant trials have uncovered a dramatic increase in placebo response since the 1980s. One estimated that the so-called effect size (a measure of statistical significance) in placebo groups had nearly doubled over that time...Ironically, Big Pharma's attempt to dominate the central nervous system has ended up revealing how powerful the brain really is. The placebo response doesn't care if the catalyst for healing is a triumph of pharmacology, a compassionate therapist, or a syringe of salt water. All it requires is a reasonable expectation of getting better. That's potent medicine."
science  neuroscience  placebos  psychology  healthcare  pharmaceuticals  drugs  brain  antidepressants  pharmacology  health  statistics  medicine  research  chemistry 
september 2009 by robertogreco
California sprouts marijuana 'green rush'
"More and more, having premium pot delivered to your door in California is not a crime. It is a legitimate business.
california  marijuana  drugs  economics  money  agriculture  law  medicine 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Review: Doctoring the Mind by Richard Bentall | Books | The Observer
"Bentall's thesis is that, for all the apparent advances in understanding psychiatric disorders, psychiatric treatment has done little to improve human welfare, because the scientific research which has led to the favouring of mind-altering drugs is..."fatally flawed"...cites some startling evidence from the WHO that suggests patients suffering psychotic episodes in developing countries recover "better" than those from the industrialised world...are distressing mental states the result of impaired brain chemistry or is it the other way round?...Psychoanalysis was popularly called the talking cure, but a better name is the listening one, because to be listened to properly inspires, or can inspire, hope. As Bentall starkly says: "Without hope, the struggle for survival seems pointless." At a time when dialogue in the presence of other human beings is becoming less and less available, this brave book gives a sense of why this could be disastrous."
drugs  depression  medicine  psychology  psychiatry  capitalism  mentalhealth  mentalillness 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Our soon-to-be outdated beliefs
"From Reddit, a question that yielded a number of thought provoking answers:
kottke  food  change  prejudice  drugs  belief  future  history  society 
may 2009 by robertogreco
ADHD drug debate at Joanne Jacobs
"In the short run, children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder benefit from drug therapy, researchers say. They do much better than kids treated with talk therapy alone or routine medical care. In the long run — more than two years – ADHD drugs lose effectiveness. And kids who take the drugs for three years or more end up shorter than those who quit earlier. Some scientists accuse others of downplaying the long-term trend, reports the Washington Post:"
adhd  drugs  pharmaceuticals  learning  education  parenting  longterm  research 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The success of drug decriminalization in Portugal - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
"In 2001, Portugal became the only EU-member state to decriminalize drugs, a distinction which continues through to the present. Last year, working with the Cato Institute, I went to that country in order to research the effects of the decriminalization law (which applies to all substances, including cocaine and heroin) and to interview both Portuguese and EU drug policy officials and analysts (the central EU drug policy monitoring agency is, by coincidence, based in Lisbon). Evaluating the policy strictly from an empirical perspective, decriminalization has been an unquestionable success, leading to improvements in virtually every relevant category and enabling Portugal to manage drug-related problems (and drug usage rates) far better than most Western nations that continue to treat adult drug consumption as a criminal offense."
drugs  portugal  glenngreenwald  politics  policy  government  law  health  europe  legalization  decriminalization  addiction  culture  crime  society  via:cburell 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The war we gave Mexico - Los Angeles Times
"Thus, America's political decisions to treat drug addiction as a crime rather than a public health problem, and to legalize AK-47s but not pot, fuel an incipient civil war in Mexico." ... "If Americans really are concerned about the horrific toll inflicted by Mexico's narco-gangsters, we need to ask some tough questions about our own cultural and political delusions."
us  mexico  policy  drugs  guns  weapons  war  politics  law  failure  future  2009  via:regine 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Christopher D. Sessums :: Blog :: Rethinking Deschooling
Nice collection of quotes from Deschooling Society followed by some good questions like: "Do we expect medical doctors to see 20 patients at one time and to diagnose and treat everyone equally? Is this what's happening in our schools? I know this argument has been made before, but it still feels relevant here. Why aren't teachers' colleges educating teachers to work with students as individuals as opposed to students as classes? Is efficiency still the most important factor a teacher should know?" ... Illich was spot on with: "Pedagogical therapists will drug their pupils more in order to teach them better, and students will drug themselves more to gain relief from the pressures of teachers and the race for certificates."
christophersessums  ivanillich  deschooling  philosophy  education  society  unschooling  teaching  schools  schooling  pedagogy  drugs  attention  add 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Ry Cooder’s American West - NYTimes.com
"El Mirage Dry Lake sounds like a place one step away from nonexistence, but it’s about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, out among the Joshua trees. It’s not far from Edwards Air Force Base, in the Mojave’s military-paranormal sector, where secretive government installations lie low among the jackrabbits — a land of spy planes, space aliens, off-road vehicles, sturdy reptiles and people with freaky desert habits, like racing vintage hot rods on dry lakebeds.

It is, in other words, a critical stop on Ry’s California trail.

Ry Cooder — the rock and blues guitarist, roots musician, record producer, songwriter and composer — is a son of Santa Monica who has spent nearly 40 years exploring all corners of the musical planet, like a sharp-eared extraterrestrial on a lifelong voyage of discovery."
via:javierarbona  west  us  music  culture  space  travel  tourism  military  landscape  extopia  utopia  utopian  nytimes  races  california  drugs  economics  elmiragedrylake  mojave  desert  rycooder 
november 2008 by robertogreco
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