Updates to Drug Wars (2013) and related topics

The image is from a Mach 18, 2017 tweet from The New York Times @nytimes reading: Our top 10 comments of the week http://nyti.ms/2nD8BJX

The image – click on it to enlarge it – is from a March 18, 2017 tweet from The New York Times @nytimes reading: Our top 10 comments of the week http://nyti.ms/2nD8BJX

This post is dedicated to updates regarding previously discussed topics related to the so-called war on drugs.

Fake academic credentials

Among the items covered in the previous post were fake academic credentials.

That is, claims of factuality in any realm generally require verification – as in due diligence regarding claims of academic credentials – as a Sept. 18, 2013 CBC article entitled “Louis LaPierre resigns from federal board amid PhD turmoil” illustrates.

The latter story is highlighted in a Sept. 20, 2013 CBC episode on The Current. A CBC post notes:

  • For decades, a prominent New Brunswick academic, was the “go to” scientist hired by governments to review some of this country’s biggest and often controversial environmental issues:
  • Fracking in New Brunswick, low-level flying in Labrador, The Sydney Tar Ponds, The bridge to PEI and recently an open pit copper mine in Northern Ontario.
  • The problem is, the go-to scientist — is technically not a scientist. Louis LaPierre claimed to have a PHD in ecology. But a CBC New Brunswick investigation revealed his PHD is in education.

The fake scientist has maintained a decades-long fraudulent claim of scientific expertise. The above-noted CBC report – an in-depth exploration of the faking of academic credentials – was broadcast on Sept. 20, 2013.

A Sept. 16, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Scientists push campaign for evidence-based decision making from government.”

A Sept. 22, 2013 New York Times article is concerned with a crackdown on fake online reviews.

On a positive note the corollary to the discussion, as a Sept. 12, 2013 Globe and Mail article notes, is that “Enthusiasm is huge and it can take you far as long as it’s genuine.”

The article notes: “as long as it’s genuine.”

Drugs wars and neuroscience

What can neuroscience tell us about the mind?

In previous posts, I’ve discussed the fact that being able to describe what happens in the brain, as evidenced by neuroscience, does not inevitably lead to a valid statement about how the mind functions. Among other things, a neuroscientist may known much about the brain but less about the mind.

Below are links to recent online articles related to this topic.

A Sept. 18, 2013 CBC article is entitled: “Mental health care needed by 1 in 6 Canadians.”

A Sept. 17, 2013 New Yorker article is entitled: “A map for the the future of neuroscience.”

A Sept. 16, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Too much of a good thing: Study reveals 1 in 20 Canadians is a ‘food addict.'”

A Sept. 16, 2013 New Yorker article is entitled: “That mind-bending phone call on last night’s ‘Breaking Bad.'”

A Sept. 15, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Sports concussions linked to substance abuse, suicidal thoughts: research.”

A Sept. 15, 2013 CBC article is entitled: “Huronia Regional Centre lawsuit alleges abuse, seeks $2B.”

The town where the men are all marked (September 2013 Atlantic article)

A Sept. 19, 2013 Atlantic article is entitled: “The town where the men are all marked.”

An American Prospects article accessed on March 24, 2014 is entitled: “Is There Hope for the Survivors of the Drug Wars?”

I have addressed related topics in a March 26, 2014 post:

Documentary outlines tremendous benefits of early intervention programs addressing behaviour problems in young children

The updates continue:

A March 3, 2013 Toronto Star article is entitled: “The deadly mixture of guns and class in Toronto.”

A July 30, 2013 New Yorker article discusses addiction to cliffhangers.

A Sept. 6, 2013 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “The latest scientific breakthrough – wooing readers.” The article describes an attempt to change the way people think about science.

Injection drug use

Written by a scientist, the next Walrus article (see below) is among the best overviews of drug use that I’ve read in recent years. Among other topics, it discusses how a change in social milieu was associated with a dramatic change in attitudes and behaviour related to smoking.

A Sept. 2013 Walrus article is entitled: “The fix: A new way of thinking about the intractable problem of injection drug use.”

A Sept. 2, 2013 CBC article is entitled: “Pharmacies, doctors fail to stop narcotic shopping spree.”

A Sept. 11, 2013 CBC article is entitled: “Brain’s opiate addiction ‘switch’ discovered.”

A May 17, 2014 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Project Traveller and the Dixon City Bloods.”

Additional updates

A Feb. 4, 2015 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Researchers link common over-the-counter drugs to dementia.”

A Jan. 15, 2016 New York Times article is entitled: “Why Cartels Are Killing Mexico’s Mayors.”

A May 13, 2017 article is entitled: “Why the Trump administration’s War on Drugs time warp could cause ‘gratuitous suffering'”.

A May 19, 2017 Guardian article is entitled: “Prison’s revolving door of despair: Former inmate Rod Read on the disturbed lives of many prisoners.”

A May 30, 2017 Brookings article is entitled: “Hooked: Mexico’s violence and U.S. demand for drugs.”

A June 12, 2017 ProPublica article is entitled: “How the U.S. triggered a massacre in Mexico.”

A July 26, 2017 Columbia Review of Journalism article is entitled: “Photos reveal media’s softer tone on opioid crisis.”

A Nov. 17, 2020 Stat News article is entitled: “Decriminalization could help ease the nation’s drug epidemic, but the devil is in the details.”

An excerpt reads:

The passage of these ballot measures seems to reflect the idea that voters are beginning to reject the so-called war on drugs and its emphasis on addressing the nation’s drug epidemic through a criminal justice approach and move toward the public health approach that is so clearly needed.

A Nov. 17, 2020 WBUR article is entitled: “Why Voters Are Rejecting The War On Drugs.”

An excerpt reads:

Wherever the war on drugs was on the ballot this year, the war on drugs lost. In Oregon, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota and Mississippi, too, voters approved measures to legalize recreational or medical marijuana. We discuss the drug-related ballot measures that passed on Election Day and the shift in American drug policy.

A Nov. 19, 2020 Reuters article is entitled: “Vote in Mexico brings world’s largest legal weed market one step closer.”

An excerpt reads:

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Senate approved a landmark cannabis legalization bill in a landslide vote on Thursday, paving the way for the creation of the world’s largest legal marijuana market if the initiative passes the next hurdle in the lower house of Congress.

Senators voted 82 to 18 to approve the measure, with seven abstentions.

Lawmakers are rushing to secure final approval before the end of the current congressional session in December. If enacted, the reform would mark a major shift in a country where drug cartel violence in recent years has claimed over 100,000 lives.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that recreational marijuana should be permitted, just one year after lawmakers legalized it for medicinal use.

When Good Drugs Go Bad (2015)

Also of interest: When Good Drugs Go Bad : Opium, Medicine, and the Origins of Canada’s Drug Laws (2015).

A blurb reads:

Throughout the 1800s, opium and cocaine could be easily obtained to treat a range of ailments in Canada. Dependency, when it occurred, was considered a matter of personal vice. Near the end of the century, attitudes shifted and access to drugs became more restricted. How did this happen? In this intoxicating history, Dan Malleck examines the conditions that lead to Canada’s current drug laws. Drawing on newspaper accounts, medical and pharmacy journals, professional association records, asylum records, physician case books, and pharmacy records, Malleck demonstrates how a number of social, economic, and cultural forces converged in the early 1900s to influence lawmakers and criminalize addiction. His research exposes how social concerns about drug addiction had less to do with the long pipe and shadowy den than with lobbying by medical professionals, concern about the morality and future of the nation, and a growing pharmaceutical industry.


A Feb. 22, 2016 New York Times article is entitled: “For Mark Willenbring, Substance Abuse Treatment Begins With Research.”

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