Seattle’s Budding Economy: Pot Tourism

Via: CNN

By Bryn Nelson, Special to CNN
April 8, 2013 

Is pot tourism the next big thing?

 Seattle, Washington (CNN) — If you think 2013 will be a half-baked year for tourism in Seattle, you haven’t been paying attention to the curiously pungent smoke signals emanating from this city.

On a recent chilly evening, an unmistakable smell has drifted across the street from an industrial space in the SODO neighborhood. Inside, a DJ spins an eclectic mix of rock while a man in a tie-dyed hoodie distributes cannabis-infused buttered rum and root beer-flavored hard candy to a diverse crowd of revelers. Another volunteer passes around a 12-foot-long “vape bag” filled with marijuana vapor — one way to get around the city’s indoor smoking ban.

Four glassblowers demonstrate the art of making bongs while attendees sip beer, munch on Greek meatballs, and dip an assortment of fruit, marshmallows and gummy worms in chocolate fountains.

If only the party wasn’t running low on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Read more: here

I should move there!
-Moose

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Antibiotic Resistance Is a ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

Via: RSC

13 March 2013Ned Stafford

Global research efforts to develop new antibiotics need to be accelerated urgently, the UK government’s chief medical officer has warned. She adds that that new drugs are desperately needed to fight the ‘catastrophic threat’ of growing antimicrobial resistance.

In the second part of her annual report Dame Sally Davies focuses on antimicrobial resistance and infectious diseases. She says that the development of new antibiotics has stalled since the late 1980s because ‘there are fewer economic incentives’ to produce new antimicrobial agents than for other classes of drugs.

In the meantime, new infectious diseases are emerging every year and diseases thought to be under control are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Describing antimicrobial resistance as an international problem, she says global action and a partnership between the private sector, public institutions and academia is required to mount an effective response.
Time bomb

‘Antimicrobial resistance is a ticking time bomb not only for the UK but also for the world,’ she says. ‘We need to work with everyone to ensure the apocalyptic scenario of widespread antimicrobial resistance does not become a reality. This is a threat arguably as important as climate change.’
‘The low-hanging fruit in antibiotic drug discovery has almost certainly been harvested’Davies’ call for action comes just a month after the EU’s €2 billion (£1.73 billion) Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) announced the first two antimicrobial resistance projects in its ‘new drugs for bad bugs’ programme. Michael Goldman, executive director of IMI, tells Chemistry World that he was pleased that Davies is raising awareness among policymakers and the public of the threat posed by antibiotic resistance.

‘Chief medical officers are well placed to do this,’ he says, adding: ‘In the EU alone, antimicrobial resistance is responsible for some 25,000 deaths every year, and the annual treatment and social costs have been estimated at some €1.5 billion. If no steps are taken to address these issues, we risk leaving society in a situation where doctors will have few, if any, options to treat bacterial infections.’

Read more: here 

Stop putting them in the food! Duh!
-Moose

Wary of Attack With Smallpox, U.S. Buys Up a Costly Drug

Via: The New York Times

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: March 12, 20

The United States government is buying enough of a new smallpox medicine to treat two million people in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and took delivery of the first shipment of it last week. But the purchase has set off a debate about the lucrative contract, with some experts saying the government is buying too much of the drug at too high a price.

A small company, Siga Technologies, developed the drug in recent years. Whether the $463 million order is a boondoggle or a bargain depends on which expert is talking. The deal will transform the finances of Siga, which is controlled by Ronald O. Perelman, a billionaire financier, philanthropist and takeover specialist.

Smallpox was eradicated by 1980, and the only known remaining virus is in government laboratories in the United States and Russia. But there have long been rumors of renegade stocks that could be sprayed in airports or sports stadiums. Experts say the virus could also be re-engineered into existence in a sophisticated genetics lab.

As part of its efforts to prepare for a possible bioterrorism attack, the government is paying more than $200 for each course of treatment.

Read more: here

Nothing to see here…move along…
-Moose

Psychiatrists to Brand Grief Lasting Longer Than Two Weeks a Mental Illness

Via: news.com.au

THE grieving process is in danger of being branded a medical condition if a mourner feels sad for more than two weeks and consults a GP, according to an international authority on death and dying.

At present, mourners can feel sad for two months before being told they have a mental disorder, says Professor Dale Larson. Decades ago, a diagnosis could be made after a year.

In a keynote address at an Australian Psychological Society conference in Melbourne on Saturday, Prof Larson will express his anger about the American Psychiatric Association’s new diagnostic manual, DSM 5, which is used in many countries including Australia and New Zealand.

The manual, to be published in May, allows a diagnosis of depression after two weeks of grieving.

According to Prof Larson, the manual undermines the legitimate feelings of the mourner and the help available from family, support groups, clerics and professional counsellors.

“We are essentially labeling grief a disorder. Now it becomes a target for drug development.”

Read more: here

Another honorable profession….
-Moose

SCOTUS Approves Search Warrants Issued by Dogs

Via: Reason.com

Jacob Sullum
Feb. 19, 2013 12:38 pm

Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “a court can presume” an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search “if a bona fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability in a controlled setting” or “if the dog has recently and successfully completed a training program that evaluated his proficiency in locating drugs.”

 The justices overturned a 2011 decision in which the Florida Supreme Court said police must do more than assert that a dog has been properly trained. They deemed that court’s evidentiary requirements too “rigid” for the “totality of the circumstances” test used to determine when a search is constitutional. In particular, the Court said it was not appropriate to demand evidence of a dog’s performance in the field, as opposed to its performance on tests by police.

While the Court’s decision in Florida v. Harris leaves open the possibility that defense attorneys can contest the adequacy of a dog’s training or testing and present evidence that the animal is prone to false alerts, this ruling will encourage judges to accept self-interested proclamations about a canine’s capabilities, reinforcing the use of dogs to transform hunches into probable cause.

Writing for the Court, Justice Elena Kagan accepts several myths that allow drug dogs to function as “search warrants on leashes” even though their error rates are far higher than commonly believed:

Read more: here

Woof!
-Moose

SCOTUS Approves Search Warrants Issued by Dogs

Via: Reason.com

Jacob Sullum
Feb. 19, 2013 12:38 pm

Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “a court can presume” an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search “if a bona fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability in a controlled setting” or “if the dog has recently and successfully completed a training program that evaluated his proficiency in locating drugs.”

 The justices overturned a 2011 decision in which the Florida Supreme Court said police must do more than assert that a dog has been properly trained. They deemed that court’s evidentiary requirements too “rigid” for the “totality of the circumstances” test used to determine when a search is constitutional. In particular, the Court said it was not appropriate to demand evidence of a dog’s performance in the field, as opposed to its performance on tests by police.

While the Court’s decision in Florida v. Harris leaves open the possibility that defense attorneys can contest the adequacy of a dog’s training or testing and present evidence that the animal is prone to false alerts, this ruling will encourage judges to accept self-interested proclamations about a canine’s capabilities, reinforcing the use of dogs to transform hunches into probable cause.

Writing for the Court, Justice Elena Kagan accepts several myths that allow drug dogs to function as “search warrants on leashes” even though their error rates are far higher than commonly believed:

Read more: here

Woof!
-Moose

Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail

Via: Rolling Stone

How HSBC hooked up with drug traffickers and terrorists. And got away with it

February 14, 2013 8:00 AM ET
By Matt Taibbi

The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays, almost like the government was hoping people were too busy hanging stockings by the fireplace to notice. Flooring politicians, lawyers and investigators all over the world, the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks’ profit – but they didn’t extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses.

People may have outrage fatigue about Wall Street, and more stories about billionaire greedheads getting away with more stealing often cease to amaze. But the HSBC case went miles beyond the usual paper-pushing, keypad-punching­ sort-of crime, committed by geeks in ties, normally associated­ with Wall Street. In this case, the bank literally got away with murder – well, aiding and abetting it, anyway.

Read more: here

Again, Rolling Stone has real investigative reporting…Rock and Roll, Baby!
-Moose

Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail

Via: Rolling Stone

How HSBC hooked up with drug traffickers and terrorists. And got away with it

February 14, 2013 8:00 AM ET
By Matt Taibbi

The deal was announced quietly, just before the holidays, almost like the government was hoping people were too busy hanging stockings by the fireplace to notice. Flooring politicians, lawyers and investigators all over the world, the U.S. Justice Department granted a total walk to executives of the British-based bank HSBC for the largest drug-and-terrorism money-laundering case ever. Yes, they issued a fine – $1.9 billion, or about five weeks’ profit – but they didn’t extract so much as one dollar or one day in jail from any individual, despite a decade of stupefying abuses.

People may have outrage fatigue about Wall Street, and more stories about billionaire greedheads getting away with more stealing often cease to amaze. But the HSBC case went miles beyond the usual paper-pushing, keypad-punching­ sort-of crime, committed by geeks in ties, normally associated­ with Wall Street. In this case, the bank literally got away with murder – well, aiding and abetting it, anyway.

Read more: here

Again, Rolling Stone has real investigative reporting…Rock and Roll, Baby!
-Moose

Suicides and Homicides in Patients Taking Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft: Why They Keep Happening — And Why They Will Continue

Via: Medication Sense
 

 
 Underlying Causes That Continue to Be Ignored by Mainstream Medicine and the Media

From almost the day that they were introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, sudden, unexpected suicides and homicides have been reported in patients taking serotonin-enhancing antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. I’m not surprised this problem hasn’t disappeared, nor will it unless we look deeper.

I never hesitate to say that these drugs — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — help millions of people. But any drug that can cause positive changes in people’s brains can also cause negative ones unless care is taken to avoid it. We do not take such care. So it was no surprise to me when, in August 2003, more headlines appeared. These were based on reports by British authorities and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about unpublished studies showing an increased risk of suicide in children and teenagers taking Paxil (1-3).

Prior reports of suicidal and homicidal acts in adults taking SSRIs have been explained away by drug industry defenders and mainstream doctors, who claim that suicide is common in depression anyway. And that no type of antidepressant helps everyone. Some depressed patients don’t get better and choose suicide. That’s true sometimes, unfortunately. But these reports describe more impulsive, violent acts than expected. As I said fifteen years ago at the time of the first reports and again in Over Dose in 2001 (4), SSRIs could create a unique combination of side effects that might severely impair judgment and impulse control. This has been described by others as well (5-16).

Psychosis After Three Days of Treatment

One of my first cases with Prozac involved a 35 year-old woman with a job and family, who had a mild depression with no suicidal tendencies. This changed after just three days on Prozac, when she became acutely psychotic. Any psychiatrist will tell you that excessive doses of antidepressants can cause brain dysfunctions including disorientation, confusion, and cognitive disturbances. This was commonly seen with old-time antidepressants like Elavil and Tofranil (17). But more than the older drugs, SSRIs can also cause a severe degree of agitation or restlessness that may become intolerable and reduce impulse control (5-6A). Impulsive behavior, especially if coupled with impaired cognitive functioning, can be dangerous.

Read more: here

Just Say No to Drugs!
-Moose

Suicides and Homicides in Patients Taking Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft: Why They Keep Happening — And Why They Will Continue

Via: Medication Sense
 

 
 Underlying Causes That Continue to Be Ignored by Mainstream Medicine and the Media

From almost the day that they were introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, sudden, unexpected suicides and homicides have been reported in patients taking serotonin-enhancing antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. I’m not surprised this problem hasn’t disappeared, nor will it unless we look deeper.

I never hesitate to say that these drugs — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — help millions of people. But any drug that can cause positive changes in people’s brains can also cause negative ones unless care is taken to avoid it. We do not take such care. So it was no surprise to me when, in August 2003, more headlines appeared. These were based on reports by British authorities and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about unpublished studies showing an increased risk of suicide in children and teenagers taking Paxil (1-3).

Prior reports of suicidal and homicidal acts in adults taking SSRIs have been explained away by drug industry defenders and mainstream doctors, who claim that suicide is common in depression anyway. And that no type of antidepressant helps everyone. Some depressed patients don’t get better and choose suicide. That’s true sometimes, unfortunately. But these reports describe more impulsive, violent acts than expected. As I said fifteen years ago at the time of the first reports and again in Over Dose in 2001 (4), SSRIs could create a unique combination of side effects that might severely impair judgment and impulse control. This has been described by others as well (5-16).

Psychosis After Three Days of Treatment

One of my first cases with Prozac involved a 35 year-old woman with a job and family, who had a mild depression with no suicidal tendencies. This changed after just three days on Prozac, when she became acutely psychotic. Any psychiatrist will tell you that excessive doses of antidepressants can cause brain dysfunctions including disorientation, confusion, and cognitive disturbances. This was commonly seen with old-time antidepressants like Elavil and Tofranil (17). But more than the older drugs, SSRIs can also cause a severe degree of agitation or restlessness that may become intolerable and reduce impulse control (5-6A). Impulsive behavior, especially if coupled with impaired cognitive functioning, can be dangerous.

Read more: here

Just Say No to Drugs!
-Moose

Pfizer Disputes Suit Claiming Zoloft Doesn’t Work

Via: The Miami Herald

AP Business Writer

The maker of Zoloft is being sued in an unusual case alleging the popular antidepressant has no more benefit than a dummy pill and that patients who took it should be reimbursed for their costs.

Zoloft’s maker, Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker by revenue, disputes the claim, telling The Associated Press Thursday that clinical studies and the experience of millions of patients and their doctors over two decades prove Zoloft is effective.

The lawsuit was described as frivolous by Pfizer and four psychiatry experts interviewed by The AP.
Not so, according to plaintiff Laura A. Plumlee, who says Zoloft didn’t help her during three years of treatment. Her attorney, R. Brent Wisner of the Los Angeles firm Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman, argues the Food and Drug Administration shouldn’t have approved Zoloft because Pfizer didn’t publish some clinical studies that found the drug about as effective as a placebo.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/31/v-fullstory/3210743/pfizer-disputes-suit-claiming.html