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How Heroin Addicts Helped Scientists Link Pesticides and Parkinson's

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the one-man's-rock-bottom-is-another-man's-eureka dept.

Science 109

carmendrahl writes "Exposure to certain pesticides, including rotenone and paraquat, has been associated with a higher incidence of Parkinson's disease in population studies. But how did scientists come to think of a link between Parkinson's disease and pesticides in the first place? The answer involves the 1980s drug underworld, where criminals were synthesizing modified versions of illegal drugs such as heroin to stay one step ahead of the law. One molecule in some designer heroin cocktails, 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), breaks down in the human body into 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), a nerve cell killer. Heroin addicts exposed to this molecule got Parkinson's-like symptoms. As for the connection to pesticides, MPP+ is a weed killer that was used in the 70s. It also closely resembles the structure of the pesticide paraquat. The saga, therefore, put scientists on high alert to the possibility that pesticides might play a role in developing Parkinson's."

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109 comments

Obama the corporatist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45531547)

I though all you douchenozzles were anti corporatist right? All hate and fury about corporations supporting the government and limiting your freedom and shit.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/11/president-obama-greeted-by-star-studded-crowd-during-fundraiser-at-magic-johnsons-house/

"The dinner was attended by about 120 people who paid ticket prices from $16,200 per person to $32,400 per couple, according to a DCCC official. Speakers included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet, and Cheryl and Haim Saban, according to a DCCC official. Notable attendees included Jacqueline & Clarence Avant, Amb. Nicole Avant & Ted Sarandos; Edythe & Eli Broad; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Berry Gordy; Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson; Jena & Michael King, Wendy & Barry Meyer; Paul Reiser. Additional Senators and Members of Congress expected to attend: Congressman Xavier Becerra, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congressman Adam Schiff, Congressman Brad Sherman and Senator Barbara Boxer."

So is that about it then? You assholes only hate on Republicans and corporations who love them right? Obama and the Democrats love fest with the Hollywood left is all cool and shit, right?

Just checking.

Re:Obama the corporatist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532853)

Stupid troll is STUPID!

Re:Obama the corporatist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45533677)

And yet you avoid the obvious. Pathetic.

Re:Obama the corporatist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45534815)

Or how about Michael J. Fox binging with Wm. S. Burroughs back in the 80s? Makes you think about Family Ties in a whole new light.
Now he's getting back in the swing with Rick Simpson oil. Crazy damn world , isn't it?

Thanks, Junkies! (5, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | about 8 months ago | (#45531625)

Usually, dumping random chemicals into people is considered unethical. We can't do proper science on pesticides due to strong chemical lobbies, but thanks to our punish-the-sick attitude towards drug addiction, we have a large body of "volunteers" for human trials of unknown chemicals. This is a strong argument for prohibition: "if the illegal drug market goes away, we can't test financially-protected drugs, and non-criminals might get sick!"

Re:Thanks, Junkies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45533271)

That may be *an* argument in favor of prohibition, but certainly not a strong one.

Re:Thanks, Junkies! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#45533621)

Remember Athletes!!!! In addition to disguisting junkies, who must be minimizied at every public opportunity; because they are gross pillheads, remember the athletes who used assorted untested drugs to stay one step ahead of drug testing!

That is all. Pillheads deserve public re-probation; but athletes are heroes of the common man!

Book (4, Informative)

steveb3210 (962811) | about 8 months ago | (#45531641)

The original researcher wrote a book on his discovery:

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Frozen-Addicts-William-Langston/dp/0679424652 [amazon.com]

Re:Book (4, Interesting)

diodeus (96408) | about 8 months ago | (#45531729)

I remember in the 70s hearing about the DEA spraying paraquat on fields of weed found in Hawaii as a "tainting" scare tactic. I wonder if there's a connection there too.

Re:Book (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 8 months ago | (#45531799)

The method of ingestion made that pointless.
Most people burn that drug to ingest it.

During Prohibition the government poisoned alcohol. Whoever these folks are who keep coming up with ideas to make something bad worse, they deserve to be in jail.

Re:Book (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#45532185)

You mean like how they currently add acetaminophen to most opiates (check out your next codeine prescription) so that if you take too much you'll suffer liver damage? If you can't lead a horse to water, just poison every other source of water in the area and that fucking horse better damn well drink the right water... if not it's the horses fault its pissing blood.

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532385)

Thankfully congress has somewhat backtracked on that and acknowledged the toxicity of APAP. Now the highest amount of APAP you're supposed to find combined with any single pill is 325mg. Though anybody with any sense and a few hours to wait still does a Cold Water Extraction to remove most of the APAP from those pills.

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45534051)

Schedule III formulations of Hydrocodone and Oxycodone with APAP still contain more than that in formulations of 325, 500, and 750 mg. I remember reading something about that but I don't think anything ever came of it.

Re:Book (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | about 8 months ago | (#45535319)

Or "anybody with any sense" could decide to not get addicted to opioids and just smoke some pot instead...

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45536077)

Nice high horse you got there. First, you assume opioid use means opioid addiction. Then you assume cannabinoids could substitute for opioids. Neither of these is true.

Codeine is especially effective following dental surgery. A cold water extraction on, say, 100mg worth of codeine + APAP pills can really help get the edge off the pain, without the need to ingest excessive amounts of APAP. Pot's analgesic effects are weak, which, combined with the fact that one should not smoke after dental surgery, make it worthless in this use case.

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45539539)

Nice high horse you got there. I'm an utter piece of shit. First, you assume opioid use means opioid addiction. Then you assume cannabinoids could substitute for opioids. Neither of these is true. I like to pretend I am smart, so I try to read into your shit and talk down to you.

Codeine is especially effective following dental surgery. A cold water extraction on, say, 100mg worth of codeine + APAP pills can really help get the edge off the pain, without the need to ingest excessive amounts of APAP. I keep posting about cold water extraction like I invented it, even though I'm a dipshit. You know what? I don't even DO drugs, but I'll act like I know all about them in order to try to gain your admiration and respect here on this fine message board! Pot's analgesic effects are weak, which, combined with the fact that one should not smoke after dental surgery, make it worthless in this use case. Just like you. Except you're worthless all the time.

One "should not" do drugs, either. You think a habitual drug user is going to be all like, "oh shits, I can't smoke after dental surgery because it might be bad, I better save my illegal habit for another day!"

Re:Book (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | about 8 months ago | (#45532425)

That's co-codamol, the combination apparently works better as a painkiller than codeine on its own.

I don't think it's just them cutting the codeine.

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532445)

That's co-codamol, the combination apparently works better as a painkiller than codeine on its own.

I don't think it's just them cutting the codeine.

Don't confuse my truth with your facts.

Re:Book (1)

ewieling (90662) | about 8 months ago | (#45533407)

Why isn't acetaminophen also used in combination with asprin, naproxin, or ibuprofen in a single pill? Does it do no good with used with those non-opiate pain medications?

See: http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/informationbydrugclass/ucm239874.htm

Re:Book (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 8 months ago | (#45533657)

Why isn't acetaminophen also used in combination with asprin, naproxin, or ibuprofen in a single pill? Does it do no good with used with those non-opiate pain medications?

In the case of Ibuprofen, probably because Ibuprofen usually paired with Vicodin.

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45539567)

Vicodin is typically an opiate / acetaminophen combination anyways, why would you pile even more analgesics into the mix?

Re:Book (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 8 months ago | (#45534945)

Why isn't acetaminophen also used in combination with asprin, naproxin, or ibuprofen in a single pill? Does it do no good with used with those non-opiate pain medications? See: http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/informationbydrugclass/ucm239874.htm [fda.gov]

When acetaminophen is combined with aspirin and caffeine, it's called "Excedrin," and is sold over-the-counter in the US. I have no idea if acetaminophen has synergistic effects with other pain relievers. Try google, maybe.

Re:Book (1)

Iskender (1040286) | about 8 months ago | (#45532545)

You mean like how they currently add acetaminophen to most opiates (check out your next codeine prescription) so that if you take too much you'll suffer liver damage? If you can't lead a horse to water, just poison every other source of water in the area and that fucking horse better damn well drink the right water... if not it's the horses fault its pissing blood.

Can you provide a source which shows acetaminophen has no medical purpose in those drugs? Those drugs are used in combination in most places I've heard of, so there would have to be a worldwide conspiracy for it to be just a poison.

A quick search found this: http://www.bmj.com/content/313/7053/321 [bmj.com] . That says that if you want to remove one drug from the combination, it's codeine. Also, up to 10% of white people apparently "immune" to codeine (side note: I do not know the academic field of medicine, and do not know if that paper is connected to anyone/thing reputable).

So basically, acetaminophen is an analgesic. You can get it by itself, or in combination with another analgesic. I think it's somewhat less far-fetched to believe that a painkiller is there for pain relief, than that it's there because of a worldwide conspiracy...

Re:Book (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | about 8 months ago | (#45535367)

Yes, about 10% of Caucasians have 2D6 deficiency and don't convert codeine to it's active form - morphine. In most people, roughly 10% of the codeine is converted to morphine, though a sizable percentage of Ethiopians are ultrarapid metabolizers, and codeine can be dangerous for them - or their children. For example, a lactating woman with normal 2D6 can take codeine and only a small percentage will get into the breast milk, but there was a case where the child was an ultrarapid metabolizer and died of overdose. Codeine is a shitty drug.

Re:Book (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 8 months ago | (#45533325)

You mean like how they currently add acetaminophen to most opiates (check out your next codeine prescription) so that if you take too much you'll suffer liver damage? If you can't lead a horse to water, just poison every other source of water in the area and that fucking horse better damn well drink the right water... if not it's the horses fault its pissing blood.

You do know that they have opioid-based medications with decreased dosage of acetaminophen right? Like 325mg doses, and some medications are sold without any at all? People who are prescribed opioids for long term pain management are usually given lower doses of acetaminophen. It's not in the medication to prevent abuse. It is there to provide pain relief. They specially formulate things like Oxycontin in order to reduce its abuse through chewing, and other such methods that addicts use to get high.

Re:Book (4, Informative)

rwyoder (759998) | about 8 months ago | (#45534059)

You mean like how they currently add acetaminophen to most opiates (check out your next codeine prescription) so that if you take too much you'll suffer liver damage?

Indeed.

"The drug acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in the popular Tylenol, among others, is widely considered safe when taken correctly. Yet, the pain reliever can lead to liver damage that is often severe or even fatal when taken in doses greater than recommended. The problem is, however, that the margin between a safe dose and a potentially harmful dose is slim. Taken over several days, as little as 25 percent above the maximum daily dose - or just two additional extra strength pills a day - has been reported to cause liver damage, according to the [Food and Drug Administration]. "

Article: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/09/acetaminophen-deaths-cast-shadow-on-popular-pain-reliever.html [pbs.org]

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45534961)

You mean like how they currently add acetaminophen to most opiates (check out your next codeine prescription) so that if you take too much you'll suffer liver damage? If you can't lead a horse to water, just poison every other source of water in the area and that fucking horse better damn well drink the right water... if not it's the horses fault its pissing blood.

If you just want the narcotic, tell your doctor you're allergic to acetaminophen. If they won't give you your fix, go to another until one will. Some junkies are just so lazy these days . . .

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45535075)

Yup it's bad, I had a movie star habit on my Hydrocodone usage "Vicodin" around 100 a day and luckily my body did not take it as bad as many do. I know a few people at the Methadone clinic that did even less will die in the coming years for it. It took 206 prescription forgeries, jail, and the Methadone clinic to stop my uncontrollable lust for pain killers.

It's a fucked up cycle, but there actually is a reason for adding acetaminophen to them, it greatly enhances the effect. My first dose was 10/650 Lorcet every 4 hours, eventually they switched me to Norco 10/325s and it felt like they were not working nearly as good, I felt sick until I started mixing acetaminophen with them which meant my 10/325s were actually 10/825s.

Re:Book (2)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45532813)

And behind the actually burning part, warm smoke volatilizes the paraquat and carries it into the smoker's lungs unchanged.

And yes, the people who poison the drugs do deserve to do prison time. That includes the stupid tax and licensing laws that make denatured alcohol necessary.

Re:Book (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 8 months ago | (#45531941)

I heard that there is a small chance that smoking that weed may turn one into a human paraquat.
There was one rather famous case of that happening back in the nineties.

Re:Book (1)

Shimbo (100005) | about 8 months ago | (#45536053)

Interesting that this book was published about 10 years after 'Neuromancer' covered the same ground. Gibson must have done his homework well.

Re:Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45536121)

And BBC Horizon did an episode on this in 90s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJIMC9d9l2o1
The paper is from early 80s. There's a Wikipedia page on the substance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPTP

Which begs the question, which part of this is news?

Demerol, not heroin. (5, Informative)

DeathGrippe (2906227) | about 8 months ago | (#45531683)

MPP is a byproduct of sloppy meperidine synthesis, NOT heroin. Meperidine is "Demerol."

Re:Demerol, not heroin. (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45531971)

MPP is a byproduct of sloppy meperidine synthesis, NOT heroin. Meperidine is "Demerol."

To be fair, A lot of Demerol addicts turned to heroin since it's cheaper and easier to get. Then if someone produces a "cheaper" Demerol type drug, they would be all over it.

Re:Demerol, not heroin. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#45533741)

Aside from any other effects, prohibition isn't likely to produce either more discriminating or smarter addicts. I'm not in favor of being an opiate junkie but it does make me wonder: what if we said "Fuck it." and replaced all source-local heroin interdiction efforts with cheap synthetics. More junkies? Probably. Total collapse of the syndicates attempting to sell illegal, dubiously pure, product vs. licit, accurately labelled licit opiates? Game over man, game over. I realize that opiate junkies are disgusting creatures, and any money spent hurting them is a wise investment; but how long can we afford to play that game? Prohibition has not broken the backs of cartels. Licit, high quality, goods, (ideally usable, by prescription, by people who are also functional members of society, since they just need to got to CVS, rather than hustle, for drugs), just might be. These aren't fundamentally scarce goods, so the licit stuff, with quality control, sanitation, accurate labelling, and availability through the health system, should crush the illicit variants, which have none of that.

Re:Demerol, not heroin. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#45532213)

Don't let the facts get in the way of a sensationalist scare mongering news story. We've got Heroin, pesticides and brain damage, it's a trifecta!

Re:Demerol, not heroin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532311)

when it comes to the media, EVERYTHING is "synthetic heroin" (which is really ignorant, because heroin itself is synthetic). its mostly due to the fact that the masses are even more ignorant, and only understand that "heroin = bad" (even though it really isnt)

just try explaining to somebody that "white china" heroin is actually fentanyl or alpha-methyl-fentanyl, and thus incredibly easy to accidentally overdose on - all you'll get is dumb looks. :\ thank you drug war for also making people even more ignorant than they would be otherwise.

Obamacare (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45531731)

The media cannot hide the effects of Obamacare any longer. They canstill spin and go into CYA mode, but make no mistake about it, the truth is out in the open now. Their spin will have little real effect as the disaster continues to grow because their audience consists of 3 groups. Partisan liberals, partisan conservatives, and the bulk of the population that is non-ideological. The partisans on both sides of the aisle have opinions set in stone so the spin will have zero effect either way. As for the majority of people whom are basically non-ideological? They will know (assuming that they still have an existing plan )that their premiums are higher, their deductibles are higher, and that they no longer can choose their caregiver. They will also know that one party, and one party only, is responsible for their plight. No amount of propaganda will be able to convince them that the effects on their wallets and freedom aren't real.

Casualties of the War on Freedom (3, Insightful)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 8 months ago | (#45531749)

Once again the War on Freedom (drugs, terror, etc) spreads its casualties in the strangest ways. The largest danger a heroin addict poses is to himself.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45531947)

Until he stabs someone in a mugging. I'm not for the war on drugs, but you can't gloss over the harm that drug addictions leads to for others.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (4, Insightful)

DMJC (682799) | about 8 months ago | (#45532025)

But would he have had to mug anyone, if his hit didn't cost him $100/go? if you legalise, the cost drops, the quality increases, and the risk of OD drops dramatically. You also see massive drops in murders, rapes, and theft. Policy should always be evidence, based not based on people's gut-feelings about drug users.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 8 months ago | (#45533695)

You also see massive drops in murders, rapes, and theft.

So all those gang members, dealers, pushers, and manufacturers, who can currently make thousands of tax free dollars a week will suddenly stop what they are doing and get legitimate jobs, or continue to make drugs that now sell for 1/10 the price? It is more likely that things would get more violent, as these people get into the few remaining highly lucrative illicit business such as human trafficking and prostitution. Murders, thefts, and the like will become more common as the people who used to be involved in the drug trade compete for what little bit is left.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (3, Informative)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#45534751)

Criminal occupations, according to all actual economic studies, are generally not high paying. Sure, there are a few rich guys on top (like every industry); though, even they are hardly rich compared to the "legit" oligarchy. Despite Hollywood portrayals that every criminal swaggers about in a life of luxury and fast cars and diamond-studded-gold-bling-everything, crime actually pays a lot less than minimum wage for the overwhelming majority of participants.

Providing jobs stops crime. High crime levels pop up in areas with extreme unemployment, and is a symptom of the rot of America's Capitalist system. If the money spent on prisons and police for hunting down druggies were put into hiring people to patch potholes and clean up parks and re-paint schools, there'd be pretty much no one heading into criminal trades. But, paying money to poor people to work isn't nearly as profitable to the rich as getting paid to lock them up (while benefitting from propaganda against the "naturally criminal" poor to slash other social welfare programs).

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45535277)

Policy should always be evidence, based not based on people's gut-feelings about drug users.

So what evidence is your hypothesis based upon?

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532045)

The potential harm to others comes from the fact that the addictive drugs are illegal
That makes the drugs more valuable and exposes everybody along the supply chain to criminal prosecution, which also increases the price and makes it more likely to see violence in the supply chain

The addict also faces pressures like not being able to gain employment, either due to past criminal history or pre-employment drug screening

So, in a world of prohibitionists, the drug addict is turned into a criminal, is subject to incarceration and is paying a lot of money for the drugs that they are addicted to. That is why the drug addict would be mugging you, not because they are a drug user

Drug addicts in countries like Portugal are not turned into criminals, are not forced to pay high prices for their addiction AND they are much more likely to receive treatment and get off of the drugs they are addicted to

Prohibition creates a society that is the exact opposite of its goals

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (3, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#45532065)

Comparing my statistical chances of being injured or killed by a stabby druggy, to being injured or killed by a car driver under the influence of alcohol or cellphones, I'd say the intensive focus on drug prohibition is highly misplaced. Also, when people have safe and legal access to treatment options (including maintenance drug supply levels for the most unbreakable addictions), they don't need to stab anyone.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#45533785)

Also (in the specific case of opiates) anti-overdose medication is available. It isn't fun (it more or less kicks you from 'high' to 'withdrawal' within a couple of minutes; but it's relatively cheap, easy to administer, and effective. It's also blatantly unrecreational(since its only purpose is to absolutely crater a heroin high) and thus not subject to any sensible abuse. Anyone who is against that is more or less motivated by distaste for druggies, rather than any sort of harm-minimization policy.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Zaelath (2588189) | about 8 months ago | (#45532069)

The mugging that he needs to do because prices are artificially high and punishment is more emphasized than treatment?

I never hear this ridiculous straw man brought up in discussions on alcohol.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#45532237)

That is because alcohol isn't a drug. Its a foreign substance that you take into your body primarily for the feeling produced by its interactions with your body chemistry. See? Totally different from a drug which is a foreign substance that other people take into their body primarily because they are evil nasty druggies who want to get high and mug you.

Incidentally, I can't stop laughing about the fact that Walgreens became a houshold name...from the money they made prescribing medical alcohol back when these arguments were the same ones used against it.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

rex.clts (2791393) | about 8 months ago | (#45533041)

THIS. The logic that some people fail to hav

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 8 months ago | (#45533385)

> That is because alcohol isn't a drug.

LOL. Wut??
http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Addictive_Properties [drugwarfacts.org]

I concur with your point that the majority of people against drugs are hypocrites. 'Sure, Caffeine, Nicotine, and Alcoho are all "fine" but those OTHER drugs are "bad".'

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (3, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#45533951)

Actually i think the majority of people against drugs are not hypocrites. See , to me, being a hypocrite would imply that you actually spent any time whatsoever to consider and evaluate the position and made some conscious decision.

It is really only hypocrisy when you factor in that everything they know is wrong. Most people have every reason to believe that prohibition lowers addiction rates, for example. Its not true, but if it were, few people could really argue that isn't a good thing, in and of itself. Of course it is; barring any unintended effect right?

but still... even if it doesn't do that, it helps keep addicts away from normal people, and since addicts are dangerous and unscrupulous, thats good right? It is flawed and untrue on several levels. However, I understand why people who haven't spent much time on the subject believe that its true.

A lot of people just have never considered these things, have never seen the clear parallels between Prohibition and the drug war. Not so many know about medical alcohol, the horrors of poisoned hooch, or the trouble with drunk kids.

They don't see what the addicts see. The whole subculture is hidden from them. Not all of it is bad, but it has some terrible elements. It provides a fertile ground for some of the worst psychopaths. Every small time addict slinging product is like fresh carrion for these maggots. I am just a pot head, been smoking for almost 20 years now. In that time, I have seen some choice things. (less now of course its practically legal here, been a civil fine for possession for a bit now...and I am getting older, less social flux, better judge of character)

- I met a loudmouth prick junkie who liked to play tough guy, who later mugged a friend of mine for his pot at knife point.... on two separate occasions.
- Several dealers (at least 4) of mine have been robbed, a couple at gun point
- One was setup to be robbed; smashed his car window and grabbed his bag while he was talking to "new customer"
- There was the brutal murder of a dealer only 2 hops removed from my circle of friends.

Its not just a matter of high drug prices pushing desperate people to crime, that is definitely a real problem shown in several places, but.... it also provides a fertile ground for psychopaths who thrive on having a population that can't call the police for protection. Just look at the numbers for drug users and dealers...millions of people. A highly fertile ground for a psychopath to extort and steal with impunity.

Hell if he is real scum, he can become a CI and get paid to find new targets. Another friend of mine had a CI in his apartment, pretending to be his friend, got raided later. The warrant claimed he had large amounts of coke and weapons. The guy could have gotten killed in the raid by jumpy cops with claims like that.... he was lucky they caught him on his way home. All that was in the house was pot and money.

I don't know about some other people, but, I think a world where psychopaths who want to rob people have to worry about their victims calling the police, and where high value targets are not afraid to use video cameras to protect themselves is a far preferable world to one where they are allowed to operate with impunity on a population of people with, what could rightly be called in many extreme cases, a medical issue.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45535911)

it also provides a fertile ground for psychopaths who thrive on having a population that can't call the police for protection.

Same with the police department. Who are you going to call when a cop harasses you?

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45532865)

The war on drugs is what leaves the junkie with no other way to get his fix. Otherwise, it would be cheap and he might even be employable. You can't gloss over the harmful effects of the war on drugs either.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45535143)

Wrong drug, dude.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45532023)

Once again the War on Freedom (drugs, terror, etc) spreads its casualties in the strangest ways. The largest danger a heroin addict poses is to himself.

No, the largest danger a heroin addict posses is to his community. Because the heroin addict is going to be stealing and do whatever to keep it's habit going.

The best thing a heroin addict could do is OD and die.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 8 months ago | (#45532129)

The only reason a heroin addict might steal and do whatever is because he can't get his fix legally. Opiates can be produced for pennies a dose. It's a lot cheaper for society to maintain addicts on opiates than it is to imprison them, or to deal with the costs incurred by addicts getting an illegal fix. As a bonus, when they don't have to spend all their effort in getting drugs, they can actually take advantage of their tolerance and become productive members of society, holding down a job, going to school, and paying taxes just like everyone else. Heroin and morphine maintenance programs have proven this, but have been shut down for political reasons.

What's the best thing an opiate addict could do? Found Johns Hopkins Hospital [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45532161)

The only reason a heroin addict might steal and do whatever is because he can't get his fix legally. Opiates can be produced for pennies a dose. It's a lot cheaper for society to maintain addicts on opiates than it is to imprison them, or to deal with the costs incurred by addicts getting an illegal fix. As a bonus, when they don't have to spend all their effort in getting drugs, they can actually take advantage of their tolerance and become productive members of society, holding down a job, going to school, and paying taxes just like everyone else. Heroin and morphine maintenance programs have proven this, but have been shut down for political reasons.

What's the best thing an opiate addict could do? Found Johns Hopkins Hospital [wikipedia.org] .

Going to point out that heroin isn't that cheap and what you are talking about is currently a pipe dream in America, no where near reality.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45532925)

It certainly WOULD be that cheap without all the smuggling and associated risks driving the price up.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532955)

You missed his point. Heroin right now isn't cheap because it is illegal. The pharmaceutical industry that makes legal heroin and similar derived opiates though seem to be able to make it cheap as hell...and then artifiicially inflate the prices because they can. Citation? Generic hydrocodone sells for $5 a precscription at Walmart yet goes for $6-10 a pill on the street.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about 8 months ago | (#45533371)

What's the best thing an opiate addict could do? Found Johns Hopkins Hospital [wikipedia.org]
There's Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow, Austrian physiologist and physician who was an important early investigator of the electrical activity of the brain, and the inventor of several widely adopted medical devices, some still used today, but I think your citation beats mine.

(I was going to say, with tongue firmly in cheek, "Stopped Professor Moriarty" until I remembered that Holmes' vice was Cocaine not Heroin, but I think you would still have me beat - congratulations) (Or was Holmes' chief vice the violin?).

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1, Informative)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45532287)

The only reason a heroin addict might steal and do whatever is because he can't get his fix legally. Opiates can be produced for pennies a dose. It's a lot cheaper for society to maintain addicts on opiates than it is to imprison them, or to deal with the costs incurred by addicts getting an illegal fix. As a bonus, when they don't have to spend all their effort in getting drugs, they can actually take advantage of their tolerance and become productive members of society, holding down a job, going to school, and paying taxes just like everyone else. Heroin and morphine maintenance programs have proven this, but have been shut down for political reasons.

What's the best thing an opiate addict could do? Found Johns Hopkins Hospital [wikipedia.org] .

here's quote from the wiki page you linked:

William Stewart Halsted (September 23, 1852 – September 7, 1922) was an American surgeon who emphasized strict aseptic technique during surgical procedures, was an early champion of newly discovered anesthetics, and introduced several new operations, including the radical mastectomy for breast cancer. Along with William Osler (Professor of Medicine), Howard Atwood Kelly (Professor of Gynecology) and William H. Welch (Professor of Pathology), Halsted was one of the "Big Four" founding professors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.[1] Throughout his professional life, he was addicted to cocaine and later also to morphine,[2] which were not illegal during his time.

Notice that the drugs he was addicted to wasn't illegal at the time? So he could get it from a pharmacy or mail order no problem. He didn't have to deal with the stigmas of being a drug addict in this modern world.

So no offense, but a crappy argument on your part. Jump to the 2000's with us and try for a better example.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (2)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 8 months ago | (#45532605)

How is it a crappy argument? The point is that if they weren't illegal people could take drugs and still do great things: like Dr. Halsted did. If you want an example of someone who's taken drugs in the 2000s and done something good with their lives, I could point you to one of many musicians, or come back to the argument that making their addiction illegal is holding them down.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45532665)

How is it a crappy argument? The point is that if they weren't illegal people could take drugs and still do great things: like Dr. Halsted did. If you want an example of someone who's taken drugs in the 2000s and done something good with their lives, I could point you to one of many musicians, or come back to the argument that making their addiction illegal is holding them down.

You can point to a small hand full of people, while I can point to hundreds of thousands of junkies who aren't functional, and are scum of the earth, doing what they can to get their drugs.

I'm all for legalizing all drugs, but the reality of the USA in 2013 is that they do NOT care about our rights, and the police and other law agencies make too much money off the "war on drugs" to allow it to stop. So keep thinking pipe dreams and don't go crying when some junkies break into your house to steal stuff to sell.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45532971)

How is it a crappy argument? The point is that if they weren't illegal people could take drugs and still do great things: like Dr. Halsted did. If you want an example of someone who's taken drugs in the 2000s and done something good with their lives, I could point you to one of many musicians, or come back to the argument that making their addiction illegal is holding them down.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rock_musicians_who_died_of_drug_overdose [wikipedia.org]

Start point out the "many musicians" you claim are functional heroin addicts. Can you back up your claim?

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45532953)

Exactly, so make it not illegal again and the heroine addicts might again be able to be productive members of society. It's the laws, not the drugs that make a heroine addict into a junkie.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 8 months ago | (#45538935)

Notice that the drugs he was addicted to wasn't illegal at the time? So he could get it from a pharmacy or mail order no problem.

And that's exactly what I'm advocating should be the case today.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#45532133)

Except that there is no evidence that junkies do this when their drugs are available at reasonable prices. In fact, there is ample evidence (thousands upon thousands of prescription "junkies", the swiss heroin study, portugal) to the opposite.

So the reality is....the best thing a prohibitionist can do, is die.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45532183)

Except that there is no evidence that junkies do this when their drugs are available at reasonable prices. In fact, there is ample evidence (thousands upon thousands of prescription "junkies", the swiss heroin study, portugal) to the opposite.

So the reality is....the best thing a prohibitionist can do, is die.

Going to point out again that heroin isn't that cheap and America's stance on making money because of the war on drugs will never allow it to be legal.

So while you wish that the world was that way, the rest of us are living in the real world.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#45532319)

> Going to point out again that heroin isn't that cheap cheap and
> America's stance on making money because of the war on drugs will never allow it to be legal.

Its not that cheap BECAUSE of our drug policy. It would be that cheap if not for it.

Call it the real world if you like.... I call it the cause of the problem. Seriously, the best thing a prohibitionist can do is die... because if enough of them did, we could change that policy and fix the actual problem.

Blaming the victims and saying they should die....is every bit as unrealistic of a solution, and possibly more so. Addicts have existed longer than drug laws. A LOT longer. They will continue to exist longer than drug laws, a LOT longer.

Let me put it this way.... I can forsee a future day when there are still humans but not drug laws. I can't reverse those and still think I am considering a possible future.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45532591)

> Going to point out again that heroin isn't that cheap cheap and
> America's stance on making money because of the war on drugs will never allow it to be legal.

Its not that cheap BECAUSE of our drug policy. It would be that cheap if not for it.

Call it the real world if you like.... I call it the cause of the problem. Seriously, the best thing a prohibitionist can do is die... because if enough of them did, we could change that policy and fix the actual problem.

Blaming the victims and saying they should die....is every bit as unrealistic of a solution, and possibly more so. Addicts have existed longer than drug laws. A LOT longer. They will continue to exist longer than drug laws, a LOT longer.

Let me put it this way.... I can forsee a future day when there are still humans but not drug laws. I can't reverse those and still think I am considering a possible future.

making drugs legal would solve a lot of problems, except the reason why people are using drugs. I'm completely for them legalizing drugs. But I live in the USA, where the war on drugs is a big fucking money maker for the police. We also have a government that is walking over peoples rights, so what's the point of talking about how it would be if drugs are legal when there is little chance in hell of that happening any time soon?

Just so you know, i was a heroin addict for 15 or so years, and my insight is gained from being a junkie and hanging around junkies and the culture that places like methadone clinics produce. Heroin junkies choose to be junkies, they choose to live like they do, and they do NOT care about anything but getting high and stay well. You can feel sorry for them, but they'd rip you off the second you turn your back.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45533129)

odd, you seem to lack any empathy for people who, supposedly, suffer from the same problem that you did

Can you help me to understand how you wish death on people who are in a situation that you found yourself in? Is it because you managed to get out of it and have no sympathy for those who do not?

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#45533467)

> so what's the point of talking about how it would be if drugs are legal when there is little chance in hell of that
> happening any time soon?

Well couple of reasons.

1. If we don't talk about it, then the only people talking about it are the prohibitionists; and its NEVER going to happen.
2. I don't actually think its possible to say how long a change could take. I firmly believe that just weeks or months before something like this happens, the general perception could still be that it will never happen.
3. Pot will likely be legal in a few years. This is huge for all drugs.

Now I want to elaborate on point 3.

There are more pot users than the next 3 major street drugs COMBINED. There just are not that many junkies and coke heads, and tweekers and the police need pot busts in between the other ones to justify their programs and keep the money flowing. The majority of drug enforcement has been pot, is pot, and will continue to be pot until its legalized. Once that happens, its going to be a rough couple of years for dealers of anything else but, they are going to have trouble justifying it.

Only by talking about it, and what a failure the drug war is across the board can we get support for changing it. I have hope that marijuana will be a gateway drug.... the gateway out of the drug war.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45534737)

making drugs legal would solve a lot of problems, except the reason why people are using drugs. I'm completely for them legalizing drugs. But I live in the USA, where the war on drugs is a big fucking money maker for the police. We also have a government that is walking over peoples rights, so what's the point of talking about how it would be if drugs are legal when there is little chance in hell of that happening any time soon?

Just so you know, i was a heroin addict for 15 or so years, and my insight is gained from being a junkie and hanging around junkies and the culture that places like methadone clinics produce. Heroin junkies choose to be junkies, they choose to live like they do, and they do NOT care about anything but getting high and stay well. You can feel sorry for them, but they'd rip you off the second you turn your back.

Well, yes and no. There are indeed heroin addicted people who act as you say, caring about absolutely nothing but how to get their next fix. I've met some of them, and know how they think, and you're right, anything and everything that happens to them is dealt with by asking the simple question, "how can I use this situation to get more dope?" Sadly, it makes life very simple when every choice is mediated solely by that one criteria, and I believe many are drawn to that lifestyle precisely because it is so simple. Morality becomes a simple equation: how much heroin will a course of action net me? For a certain kind of person, that simplicity is as seductive as the drug itself.

But not all heroin addicts are like that, and it disingenuous to suggest they are. You can be addicted to heroin and still lead a perfectly normal life, to a ripe old age. I was an addict for far longer than you, so if that 15 years on heroin statistic gets you any real credibility, then surely my 30+ years gets me more, right? And I would argue that much of the degeneracy typically associated with heroin addicts is actually driven either directly or indirectly by prohibition itself. You make a group of people with a medical condition into criminals with a wave of a legislative pen, it shouldn't be any surprise that those affected eventually start behaving like, well, criminals.

Prohibition is always a losing game, causing far more problems than it solves.

Note: Apologies for posting as AC, but certain realities dictate that I must. Maybe I'm just not as brave as you. If the moderation system works the way I think it does, I'm throwing away moderation to post this, even as an AC. So be it. In a better world I wouldn't have to, but there it is.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532343)

If your 'real world' solution is to allow people with problems to 'just die' then you are welcome to your fantasy dick world, where next post happens to you

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45532979)

Translation: Things are bad because we make them bad,. And I want them to be even worse because it rox when things sux.

It seems the real problem is people addicted to prohibition. We should have a war on prohibition.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#45532143)

The largest danger a heroin addict poses is to himself.

To be fair, I don't think the DEA et al are even bothering to argue that point anymore. It's illegal cause it's illegal now.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 8 months ago | (#45532149)

Agreed. Prohibitionists pose a greater danger to society than any drugs or addicts.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 8 months ago | (#45532277)

Said the Drug Lord Alice to the Chinese

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#45532455)

All right, large-scale for-profit drug pushing corporations capable of controlling national policy and propaganda regarding their wares can also be highly dangerous. A great more modern example of this is the US Big Tobacco industry, and their decades of suppressing scientific research that would allow the public to make more informed decisions about the health impacts of smoking. Prohibitionists are bad; megacorporations pushing highly addictive substances are bad. A balanced solution is to allow drug production and distribution, but only on a decentralized small scale --- to make sure that no big commercial interests (with conflicts of interest regarding the distribution of accurate health information about their products) are able to dominate the system.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45533033)

Are you kidding? The drug lords are among the most fanatic advocates of the war on drugs. How are they going to make the serious money if any addict can go to Walgreens and get their fix for pocket change?

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#45533629)

By making up for boutique price in volume, the same way Walgreens and every other big corporation selling loads of cheap stuff makes money. It's a different business model, but one that works fine --- big alcohol and tobacco megacorporations aren't having trouble keeping the profits rolling in. Now, perhaps the current generation of illegal criminal druglords won't be the ones to profit off a change --- probably the much larger and more vicious cartels of Big Pharma and Big Tobacco legal criminals would find a way to cut in on most of the new business, if they can't prevent it with anti-drug efforts.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45535597)

In other words, the current drug lords would get cut out. That's what I said.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 8 months ago | (#45534239)

Someone failed to get the Alice-In-Wonderland-Opium-Wars-World-History reference. As much as you may want to believe that you can just do away with prohibition on "taboo" things and we'll all go to a Winter Cokefilled Land the truth is far worse. Some drugs have been literally been used to destroy countries, and before we just say open the gates of ecstasy lets think about the consequences of the past.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45535635)

Actually, the opium wars were sparked by prohibition and colonialism. Absent either of those, no war.

Quite a different situation in a different time.

It may well be that some restrictions are necessary, but absolute prohibition and the war on drugs is a proven failure that has done a great deal of damage to society.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 8 months ago | (#45538911)

Prohibition was caused because China was imploding in on itself in a drug frenzy. Over 10% of the population was addicted to opioids, and the country was falling into ruin.

Re:Casualties of the War on Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45534703)

And drug advocates like yourself would like nothing more to enable the addiction and continued abuse of of people at their own hands, in the name of "freedom".

Wait for it... (1)

ApplePy (2703131) | about 8 months ago | (#45532211)

The saga, therefore, put scientists on high alert to the possibility that pesticides might play a role in developing Parkinson's.

I'm sure we'll see, as usual, comments from the Big Ag shills telling us there's nothing wrong with pesticides, and that organic is a waste of money, etc etc etc.

The thing to remember is that all of these studies only study the effect of one or two pesticides at a time. What about cumulative effects of many dozens of different chemicals? The government can say something like "20 ppm of this chemical is safe" and "3ppb of that chemical is safe" but it is rather doubtful that exposure to "safe" levels of 20 different pesticides, cumulatively, is safe.

70 years into the so-called "Green Revolution" and it's still fraught with safety problems. All we've really managed to do is poison the environment, and cause a population explosion that is going to take some serious dealing with.

You don't say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532403)

pesticides might play a role in developing Parkinson's

You mean toxic chemicals might be poisonous? I for one never saw that one coming.

Scientists are dumb (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 8 months ago | (#45532573)

Hey let's kill these pests by targetting their nervous systems. We could deploy the chemical by spraying it all over the fields.

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Scientists are dumb (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#45532679)

Scientists? I think you mean Big Ag executives, who are far from the science lab. The scientists are not dumb; just a bit intentionally ignorant to keep their jobs and support their families --- "just following orders" without freedom to question the broader societal impacts of their work. The executives at the top coordinate their regiments of scientists with the marketing/PR/lobbying departments (often a much larger effort in cost and manpower than the science part) to spread the toxin of the day over every square inch of crops. Follow the money --- it's never the scientists who become billionaires off this shit.

Re:Scientists are dumb (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 8 months ago | (#45533257)

Of course the scientists don't get rich.

They are dumb. If they do it knowingly to feed their families then they're not only dumb as shit but fucking coward pussys as well.

Re:Scientists are dumb (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 8 months ago | (#45533439)

Again: dumb, no. Irresponsibly participating in a sick system without questioning the structure of authority? Yes. Fucking coward pussies? Perhaps --- but no more so than every other upper-middle-class participant in the Capitalist system, turning a blind eye to the perpetuation of large-scale injustice in order to provide a comfortable life for themselves. They are certainly not brave as those who challenge and oppose the system are --- especially those standing up against oppression from positions of weakness and poverty. But, they are not dumb; that is an incorrect criticism of the system, leading to useless solutions. That is, we don't need "smarter" scientists to make the world a better place; we need radicalized critics of the existing structures of oppression to stand up throughout the system, and tear it down to make room for better alternatives to grow.

Michael J Fox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45532831)

Not that it really matters, there is a topic of interest that you may want to look over.
http://www.shadownews.org/michael-j-fox-crew-come-down-with-parkinsons-disease/
Of course, as you can imagine, shadow news is a completely irrelevant newsgroup. Worth a read-over at least. But heroin abuse has been long linked to Parkinsons. People have been known to have family histories of it, and for those people, you have my sympathies.

Yo0 FAIL 1t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45533383)

One example (1)

able1234au (995975) | about 8 months ago | (#45534849)

My stepfather was a banana farmer and exposed to some nasty chemicals. He has parkinsons and blames the pesticides. So reading this seems to support his belief. Just one data point and proves nothing, but personally interesting.

parkinsons and pesticides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45536333)

Although mptp causes symptoms similar to parkinson's, it does it in a completely different way. mptp is instantaneous and total. Parkinsons is gradual and involves the mis-folding of alpha-synuclein proteins which mptp does not. If anything, mptp has been a disastrous wrong turning that has put parkinsons research back years.

Re:parkinsons and pesticides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45536345)

anonymous coward! just cause i hate facebook!!! i am paul wright, email dumyatnz@yahoo.co.uk. so there.

Who knew that nerve gas would damage nerves? (1)

Control-Z (321144) | about 8 months ago | (#45540415)

Aren't many pesticides designed to disrupt the nervous systems of insects? We are all animals, it stands to reason that it would harm humans too.

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