‘The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is under fire after raiding the homes of two Victorians suffering from terminal illnesses.
Controversial euthanasia campaigner Doctor Philip Nitschke says AFP officers executed search warrants on 78-year-old Don Flounders of Warragul, and 54-year-old Angie Belecciu of Hastings on Wednesday after the pair announced on television they planned to end their own lives.
Mr Flounders suffers from the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma and Ms Belecciu is terminally ill with breast cancer.
Dr Nitschke says he received a panicked phone call from Mr Flounders this morning as the AFP raids were taking place.
“He called me saying ‘there are people in my house, what do I do’,” Dr Nitschke said.’
‘High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.
Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.
“As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,” Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.
Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the “burning bush,” suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.”
‘Who really know what I’m lookin’ at, you know what I’m sayin’?’
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see it here »
‘Prozac, the bestselling antidepressant taken by 40 million people worldwide, does not work and nor do similar drugs in the same class, according to a major review released today.
The study examined all available data on the drugs, including results from clinical trials that the manufacturers chose not to publish at the time. The trials compared the effect on patients taking the drugs with those given a placebo or sugar pill.
When all the data was pulled together, it appeared that patients had improved – but those on placebo improved just as much as those on the drugs.’
‘Employers can fire workers who use medical marijuana even if it was legally recommended by a doctor, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday, dealing the state another setback in its standoff with federal law enforcement.
The high court upheld a small Sacramento telecommunications company’s firing of a man who flunked a company-ordered drug test. Gary Ross held a medical marijuana card authorizing him to use the drug to treat a back injury sustained while serving in the Air Force.
The company, Ragingwire Inc., argued that it rightfully fired Ross because all marijuana use is illegal under federal law, which does not recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and 11 other states.
The justices upheld that argument in a 5-2 decision.’
‘Smokers could be forced to pay £10 for a permit to buy tobacco if a government health advisory body gets its way.
No one would be able to buy cigarettes without the permit, under the idea proposed by Health England.
Its chairman, Professor Julian Le Grand, told BBC Radio 5 Live the scheme would make a big difference to the number of people giving up smoking.
But smokers’ rights group Forest described the idea as “outrageous”, given how much tax smokers already pay. [..]
He said it was the inconvenience of getting a permit – as much as the cost – that would deter people from persisting with the smoking habit.
“You’ve got to get a form, a complex form – the government’s good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph.
“It’s a little bit of a problem to actually do it, so you have got to make a conscious decision every year to opt in to being a smoker.”‘
‘Softball, drunken orgies and a prison system run like the mafia. That’s what Florida’s former prison secretary says he inherited when he took over one of the nation’s largest prison systems two years ago.
In fact, on his first day on the job, James McDonough says he walked into his office — the same one his predecessor used — and there was crime scene tape preventing anyone from entering.
“That was an indication we had a problem in the department,” McDonough told CNN in an exclusive interview before he stepped down last Thursday. [..]
“Corruption had gone to an extreme,” McDonough said, saying it all began at the top. “They seemed to be drunk half the time and had orgies the other half, when they weren’t taking money and beating each other up.” [..]
McDonough described a bizarre prison culture among those that ran the system — one that he says seemed obsessed with inter-department softball games and the orgies after games.’
Doesn’t seem so tranquil.
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‘An improved smoking water pipe or bong comprising a chamber containing water in its lower portion, its upper portion serving as a smoke collection reservoir; a bowl for combusting tobacco or medicinal herbs, the smoke directed through a tube to the water chamber below the water [..]‘
‘Drugs and guns don’t mix as a 51-year-old Langley man found out the hard way.
The local man, who was known to police, is dead after accidentally shooting himself in the head while mishandling an Uzi-type gun at a well-known drug house on Thursday morning.
Around 2:10 a.m., Langley RCMP were called to 20217 82 Ave. in Willoughby.
The 51-year-old victim is a resident of the home along with a 33-year-old man and 56-year-old Langley woman. Police say the three had been using drugs and handling a pistol similar to an Uzi. The weapon is illegal in Canada.’
‘Heavy cannabis users may be at greater risk of chronic lung disease – including cancer – compared to tobacco smokers, two studies suggest.
One study found a higher risk of lung cancer for those who smoked one joint a day compared with those who smoked 20 cigarettes a day over the same period.
Another found bullous disease – a form of emphysema – occurs 20 years earlier in cannabis smokers.
The studies appear in Respirology and the European Respiratory Journal.’
‘Like a man on a mission, perennial cannabis protester Peter Till arrived at court in Brisbane yesterday with a large, green, leafy plant sticking out of his backpack.
His mission, he told anyone who would listen, was to campaign for the decriminalisation of cannabis in Queensland and show authorities the plant should not be classed as a ‘dangerous drug’.
As he strode through the doors of the Brisbane Magistrates Court, security guards calmly passed his bag and the plant, complete with roots and long stalks of pointed leaves, through the X-ray machine.
Mr Till, barefooted and wearing another one of his many colourful sarongs, walked through the gate shortly afterwards as security guards were familiar with his game.
The plant was then taken into a secure room while Mr Till, who lives in his car at Nimbin, made his way to the courtroom where he was facing a breech of community service order charge.
It is not the first time the stunt has played out in court with Mr Till already convicted and sentenced to two months’ jail, wholly suspended, for bringing a 90cm cannabis plant into court last year.’
‘Too much caffeine during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage, a new study says, and it suggests that pregnant women may want to reduce their intake or cut it out entirely.
Many obstetricians already advise women to limit caffeine, although the subject has long been contentious, with conflicting studies, fuzzy data and various recommendations given over the years.
The new study, to be published Monday in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, finds that pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day — the amount in 10 ounces of coffee or 25 ounces of tea — may double their risk of miscarriage.’
‘The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment in Manhattan, according to the New York City police. Signs pointed to a suicide or an accidental overdose, police sources said. Mr. Ledger was 28.
At 3:31 p.m., according to the police, a masseuse arrived at the fourth-floor apartment of the building, at 421 Broome Street, between Crosby and Lafayette Streets in SoHo, for an appointment with Mr. Ledger. The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of the bedroom Mr. Ledger was in. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger naked and unconscious on a bed, with sleeping pills — both prescription medication and nonprescription — on a night table. They moved his body to the floor and attempted to revive him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities.’
‘A Canadian prostitute says she bared her cleavage and hiked up her skirt as she drove through the border at Blaine, where her “sure thing” always waved her through with a smile, even though her car was packed full of marijuana.
Minutes later, she’d fool around with the guard at a gas station down the road.
The border guard, Desmone Bastian, says it never happened.
“I’ve never failed to perform my duties,” Bastian told a federal jury Friday in Seattle. “I did my job with a lot of integrity, and a lot of pride.”
Bastian, 31, a U.S. citizen who lives in Surrey, B.C., worked as a U.S. immigration inspector for eight years before being charged in 2006 with taking a bribe — free sexual contact, and sometimes money — in exchange for turning a blind eye when the prostitute, Sandra Maas, would cross the border in his lane.’
‘John and Martha Hucko were found dead in their Colonial Park Drive home on Tuesday night. Police said the couple had intravenous lines with a barbiturate hooked to their ankles, and Demerol was found near the bodies.
Police said the couple’s daughter called them after receiving a suicide note from her father.
The case is being treated as murder-suicide or double-suicide, pending the results of autopsies and toxicology tests, police said.
John Hucko was a dentist and a former anesthesiologist. He had a dental office on Brownsville Road, and his wife worked there as an assistant.’
‘The Sixties were an era of extreme reality. I miss the smell of tear gas. I miss the fear of getting beaten.’
‘A number of organ donation groups said Monday that they are unaware of new Health Canada regulations that mean sexually active gay men, injection drug users and other groups considered high risk will no longer be accepted as organ donors.
The new rules, which came into effect in December, are similar to the regulations for determining who can donate blood. Those rules exclude groups that are at high risk of transmitting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C and B.
Officials at several transplant programs in the country said because they were unaware of the new regulations, they would continue to consider all potential donor organs.
“We have not been informed, first of all, that Health Canada is considering this,” said Dr. Gary Levy, who heads Canada’s largest organ transplant program at Toronto’s University Health Network. “Obviously if Health Canada wishes to discuss that, we would hope they would engage all stakeholders.”‘
‘An extraordinary new scientific study, which for the first time documents marked improvement in Alzheimer’s disease within minutes of administration of a therapeutic molecule, has just been published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
This new study highlights the importance of certain soluble proteins, called cytokines, in Alzheimer’s disease. The study focuses on one of these cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha(TNF), a critical component of the brain’s immune system. Normally, TNF finely regulates the transmission of neural impulses in the brain. The authors hypothesized that elevated levels of TNF in Alzheimer’s disease interfere with this regulation. To reduce elevated TNF, the authors gave patients an injection of an anti-TNF therapeutic called etanercept. Excess TNF-alpha has been documented in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer’s.’
‘OK, I am not going to lecture you about the dangers of narcotic pain medicines. We both know how addictive they are: you because you know how it feels when you don’t have your vicodin, me because I’ve seen many many many people just like you. However, there are a few things I can tell you that would make us both much happier. By following a few simple rules our little clinical transaction can go more smoothly and we’ll both be happier because you get out of the ER quicker.
The first rule is be nice to the nurses. They are underpaid, overworked, and have a lot more influence over your stay in the ER than you think. When you are tempted to treat them like shit because they are not the ones who write the rx, remember: I might write for you to get a shot of 2mg of dilaudid, but your behavior toward the nurses determines what percent of that dilaudid is squirted onto the floor before you get your shot. [..]‘
‘Two Baylor College of Medicine researchers in Houston are working on a cocaine vaccine they hope will become the first-ever medication to treat people hooked on the drug. “For people who have a desire to stop using, the vaccine should be very useful,” said Dr. Tom Kosten, a psychiatry professor who is being assisted in the research by his wife, Therese, a psychologist and neuroscientist. “At some point, most users will give in to temptation and relapse, but those for whom the vaccine is effective won’t get high and will lose interest.” [..]
The immune system — unable to recognize cocaine and other drug molecules because they are so small — can’t make antibodies to attack them.
To help the immune system distinguish the drug, Kosten attached inactivated cocaine to the outside of inactivated cholera proteins.
In response, the immune system not only makes antibodies to the combination, which is harmless, but also recognizes the potent naked drug when it’s ingested. The antibodies bind to the cocaine and prevent it from reaching the brain, where it normally would generate the highs that are so addictive.’
‘Scientists have discovered that taking a sugar pill is more effective than routine medications in treating aggression in people with intellectual disabilities.
Until now, patients with intellectual disabilities have been prescribed antipsychotic drugs — normally given to people with a psychiatric disease like schizophrenia — to treat aggressive behaviour such as head banging. But evidence for the drugs’ effectiveness has been thin. [..]
A careworker who did not know which medication the patients had taken assessed their behaviour against a standard measure of aggression at 4 weeks, 12 weeks, and 26 weeks. Aggression decreased substantially at 4 weeks with all three treatments, with the placebo actually coming out top with a 79% success rate, compared to 58% for respiridone and 65% for haloperidol. At later stages all three treatments had similar effects, they report in the Lancet.’
‘Pop star Britney Spears was taken to hospital for tests to see if she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and for a psychological evaluation after police were called to her home Thursday night to mediate a custody dispute, a police spokesman said.
Spears appeared to be conscious as she was rolled out of her Studio City home on a gurney about three hours after police and ambulances arrived there. [..]
Doctors at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles will decide whether to invoke a California law that allows a patient to be held for psychological evaluation for 72 hours, the police spokesman said.
Aerial video provided by local television station helicopters showed Spears on a stretcher and surrounded by police and paramedics as it was rolled to an ambulance near her home.’
‘Luther Ricks and his wife worked most of their lives at a steel foundry in Ohio. Not trusting of banks, they say they’ve lived frugally, and managed to save more than $400,000 over the years, which they kept in a safe in their home.
Last summer, two burglars broke into Ricks’ home. He shot and killed one of them. Police determined he acted in self-defense, and cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing. But local police did find a small amount of marijuana in Ricks’ home, which Ricks says he uses to manage the pain of his arthritis and a hip replacement surgery. Ricks was never charged for the marijuana. But finding it in his home was enough for city police to confiscate Ricks and his wife’s life savings under drug war asset forfeiture laws. Oddly enough, the FBI then stepped in, and claimed the money for itself.’
‘A man being held in a Dutch police cell on suspicion of growing cannabis got an unintended treat in his lunch — a piece of hashish-laced cake, a spokesman said Thursday.
“It was an accident,” said Alwin Don, police spokesman in the southern province of Zeeland.
The hash cake had earlier been seized by police in an unrelated investigation and stored in a refrigerator — close to lunch packets served to suspects being held in cells at the police station in Goes, 110 miles south of Amsterdam.
“Clearly it looked a lot like the other lunch packets,” Don said of the hash cake, which was served with a cup of coffee on Sunday.
“Officers returned to the cell a half hour later and the suspect told them: ‘I think you’ve given me something you weren’t supposed to,’” Don said.’
‘A recent study has found that an older, commonly prescribed bipolar drug — lithium — can significant increase the lifespan of a certain type of worm. Researchers at the Buck Institute said nematode worms treated with lithium showed a 46 percent increase in lifespan.
It is not yet known whether people taking lithium might also benefit in a similar manner with an increased lifespan.
In the study, scientists discovered the worms’ longevity increased when the lithium reduced the activity of a gene that modulates the basic structure of chromosomes.
“Understanding the genetic impact of lithium may allow us to engineer a therapy that has the same lifespan extending benefits,” said Gordon Lithgow, the lead researcher in the study. “One of the larger questions is whether the lifespan extending benefits of the drug are directly related to the fact that lithium protects neurons.”‘
‘Smoking during a brain scan is not easy. Why would you want to? Because functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows researchers to observe activity in the brain, and doing so while smoking tobacco or pot could enhance our understanding of addiction and how to treat it.
But during an MRI, the head must remain completely still. In the narrow bore of a superconducting magnet, there isn’t much room to maneuver a cigarette or eat a pot brownie either. Smoke raises a second set of concerns. At the very least, it will stink up the lab. Perhaps, it could even damage the expensive machine.
So Blaise Frederick at Harvard Medical School built a device that delivers smoke into the narrow confines of a scanner. His colleagues, Kim Lindsey and Liz Ryan, tested it out on nine volunteers at McLean Hospital. They described their work in the May issue of Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior.’
‘Cashier: How are you?
Customer: Do you want the honest answer?
Customer: I feel like the business end of a donkey. I am extremely hungover and did a mountain of cocaine last night. Now I have to make dinner for a 68-year-old gay artist who is trying to fuck me.
Cashier: I’m… sorry.
Customer: And the woman I love is in another state pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s baby, and I wish the baby was mine. And I’m sleeping with a dominatrix. And it’s all true.’
‘Got some leftover drugs — the kind that someone else might want to use, such as painkillers or stimulants? Wrap them up in used kitty litter or other pet droppings, the government advises.
A pilot program at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is looking at ways people can safely dispose of unused prescription drugs that are liable to be abused. [..]
Of course some people do not drink coffee. But maybe they have a pet ferret.
“Ferret waste, like nearly any other form of pet waste, can be effectively used to help prevent the abuse of unused prescription drugs,” SAMHSA spokesman Mark Weber said.
This news delighted the American Ferret Association.’
‘A man is facing drug charges after he allegedly walked into the Danbury police station puffing on a marijuana-filled cigar.
Capt. Robert Myles says Scott Snow walked into the station early Saturday and blew smoke from his cigar into a small opening in the bullet-resistant glass separating desk officers from the public.
Myles says the 24-year-old man was told there’s no smoking inside the building and he allegedly stubbed out the cigar on the counter.
Officers came out and smelled the distinctive odor of marijuana and arrested Snow.’