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Friday 30, Dec 2011

  Legalization-Controversial Weapon in Mexico drug war

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Legalization-Controversial Weapon in Mexico drug war

mexican-drug-cartel-territories-and-routes-mapA growing chorus of leaders is calling to legalize the drug markets as the drug cartels of Mexico are waging a bloody war on the multi-billion dollar narcotics business.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy, a high-powered conference, called in June for governments to get into ‘legal regulation’ of illicit drugs, a move they said could weaken cartels. To undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and safety of citizens, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and former presidents of Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil were among those who called for legal, government-regulated drugs sales.

According to the libertarian Cato Institution think tank, it is argued by advocates that drug cartels would be destroyed by a legal market of drugs and this would eliminate ‘black market premium’ – the price hike on illegal goods – which accounts for up to 90 percent of profits made by the cartels. Although legalization is supported by two former Mexican presidents, Vicente Fox and Ernesto Zedillo, the present leader of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, has rejected calls for reforms in the past. He may, however, change his tune as Mexico reels from more than 45,000 deaths in five years, in a war driven by US drug use.

In September, Calderon surprised Mexicans by indicating that they are ‘morally obliged’ to look at ‘all possible options’ if drug-consuming nations won’t reduce demand – in this case, the US. US president Barack Obama has made his position clear: ‘I am not in favour of legalization.’

According to the Center for Disease Control, the United States has the highest rate of illicit drug use in the world, 8.7 per cent of the population in 2009 and a Gallup poll published in October showed half of Americans in favor of marijuana legalization.

‘Most politicians think that it’s terribly unpopular and you get into all sorts of trouble with very conservative and very strident groups that don’t like this,’ former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda, a proponent of legalization, told DPA.

Nevertheless, decriminalization of drug use is gaining momentum and a slew of countries have enacted new rules designed to relieve law enforcement from the burden of arresting small offenders, and to remove the fear of prosecution that may keep drug users from seeking help.

Monday 24, May 2010

  Under-appreciated water pollution sources from medications

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Under-appreciated water pollution sources from medicationsMorning and bedtime showers have been considered to be potentially important but they can be unrecognized sources of the hormones, antibiotics, and other pharmaceuticals polluting the environment.

This finding was reported by scientists at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco on March 24, 2010.

It was remarked by the scientists that this first-ever evaluation can lead to new ways for controlling environmental pollution from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that have been sources of growing concern.

Thursday 25, Sep 2008

  Abuse of prescription drugs, including anabolic steroids, on the rise

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A report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveals both positive and negative development. The report shows that abuse of narcotics, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, is on the decline. The bad news is abuse of prescription drugs, including anabolic-androgenic steroids, is on the rise.

According to the report, the most commonly abused prescription drugs include anti-depressants like Valium, narcotics like OxyContin, and anabolic-androgenic steroids like Anadrol.

What is more troubling about this trend, experts say, is that non-medical users of these drugs know little, if at all, about these compounds. Some people would practice taking random handful or medication (sometimes referred to as pharming) unaware or unmindful of the health risks, i.e. possible allergic reactions to these drugs or deleterious effects if these drugs are ingested with other substances such as alcohol.

It is also revealed that many of these users, both adolescents and adults, could become hooked to prescription drugs by accident. At the start, a person is prescribed medication for legitimate reasons; however, as the patient continues to take the medication, his/her body may become tolerant. As such, the dosage progressively increases for the medication to exert its therapeutic effect eventually leading to addiction.

Tuesday 23, Sep 2008

  Steroids, other drugs found in drinking water

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The investigative report conducted by the Associated Press in March has revealed that 41 million Americans may be taking drugs 24/7 without knowing it. That number has jumped over 10% in the six-month period after that report was published, with an estimated of 46 people being affected now by pharmaceutical residues.

According to the evidence gathered by the news agency during its five-month investigation, traces of different pharmaceutical drugs – including antibiotics, anti-depressants, and anabolic steroids – were found in drinking water across the United States.

AP’s investigative team researched on 62 metropolitan water systems and found that 24 of them have water supply contaminated with drug metabolites. One Philadelphia system, for example, reportedly contained at least 56 pharmaceuticals or their byproducts. Read the following excerpts from the AP’s investigative report for more shocking findings.

A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville

Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:

• Officials in Philadelphia said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city’s watersheds.

• Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.

• Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water  drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in Northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.
• A sex hormone was detected in San Francisco’s drinking water.

• The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.

• Three medications, including an antibiotic, were found in drinking water supplied to Tucson.

But how did this happen? How do all those compounds end in your drinking water?

This will gross you out, but you need to know the facts to be safe. Many people take medications, including you. Your body does not absorb all the medication. In fact, 90% of the oral drugs pass through your body unchanged and that amount of metabolites are excreted into sewers, and then to sewage plants. The problem arises because these plants treat the water for all other contaminants but not for drugs. So, the treated water (or shall we say half-treated water) returns to the rivers and lakes and reservoirs. The water is re-used by drinking water plants, which generally do not screen for pharmaceutical compounds, and the water eventually flows into your water tap and to that glass of water you’re holding in your hand.

It goes without saying that this is a dire situation, which needs immediate resolution from the government. One piece of advice to the federal authorities: Forget about going after steroid users who consciously take the compounds. Look after those who inadvertently ingest steroids and other drugs because of deficient public safety policy.

Saturday 12, Jul 2008

  Corrections officer nabbed for selling steroids, narcotics

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Corrections officer Robert Sweeney of Dracut, Massachusetts probably wish he could say “I stand corrected” and avoid jail time.
Sweeney was arrested when he sold eight pounds of marijuana to an undercover state trooper. Said drug volume has an estimated value of $10,000.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone on Sunday said Robert Sweeney of Dracut was detained in Lowell on charges of possession and distribution of marijuana, ecstasy and steroids. He is also accused of conspiracy to violate the narcotics law.

The 48-year-old Sweeney worked at the medium security Concord prison. The facility offers medical treatment to prisoners, including substance abuse.

A subsequent search of Sweeney’s home yielded two pounds of marijuana, six tablets of ecstasy, and 100 bottles of steroids.
He is currently being held on a $20,000 cash bail and will be arraigned in Lowell District Court on Monday.

Steroids, or anabolic-androgenic steroids, are controlled substances under the federal law of the United States. Different states have different set of laws regarding steroids, differing in the length or extent of punishment to offenders, i.e. jail time, probation terms, and pecuniary fine.

According to Rick Collins’ Legal Muscle, steroid distribution is investigated in variety of ways.

Federal agents nowadays surf the net to do some sleuthing. They monitor chat rooms or news groups to look for seller or buyer of steroids. Says Collins: It is always best to assume that anyone looking for steroids on the Internet is an undercover police agent.

Federal postal inspectors are also always on the look out for suspicious parcels. Packages from overseas or Mexico are of special interest. Also, domestic parcels from California and the Southwest bound to East Coast attract attention from inspectors. Says Collins: Obviously, sending or receiving anabolics through the mail is risky business.

And obviously, cases like that of Sweeney does not only happen in the movies – an undercover cop can blow your cover anytime, anywhere. Says Collins: You’ll be arrested on the spot or after a few further deals.