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4/14/14 7:30pm

China To Drug Test 170 Million Children

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In the most extensive campaign of its kind in history, China is starting the incredible task of “blanket” drug testing of as many as 170 million children. No country has ever attempted such a massive campaign, particularly on its own children. The reasons for the campaign surprisingly are not motivated by student abuse of illegal drugs.

Much more sinister, it began with young victims being drugged by their kindergarten teachers. According to Chinese news reports, hundreds of kindergarten pupils in three different provinces were secretly given moroxydine hydrochloride, an anti-viral drug produced in the 1950s in the United States to combat the flu. The drug is no longer used in Western countries or considered medically viable. Even more frightening are the complete lack of published reports in English about the drug and zero records of clinical trials ever being done.

In the Chinese educational system, schools are only paid for days pupils attend. The kindergartens involved hoped to maximize attendance by secretly administering moroxydine hydrochloride to their students in hopes they would attend more classes. The heads of the kindergartens have been arrested and all the connected staff members replaced.

Parents discovered what was going on at the Feng Yun kindergarten when a child told his mother that he would “never get sick again” because he had been “taking medicine.” Once the news was picked up by local papers, parents across the country reacted furiously. Amid street protests, more than 500 parents in Xi’an reported that their children suffered headaches as a result of the medication.

In an article on Xinhuanet, state media called it a "crisis of confidence in kindergarten managers." China's preschools have been characterized by "a long history of avoidable problems," such as food safety and physical abuse. Countless parents had been previously upset with private kindergartens "which are poorly funded, poorly managed and frequently in a bad state of repair."

Since the spread of the scandal and the resulting outrage, according to the Global Times, China's education and health ministries are requiring local branches to check all kindergartens and primary schools for illegally administered drugs. Such a check means the decision to drug test every child in the country. The result literally will be the largest drug testing campaign in the history of the world.

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By John Lavitt

serial addiction

4/14/14 5:30pm

The Link Between Serial Killers and Addicts

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Is serial killing an addiction? That’s what psychologist and criminologist Craig Traube suggested at a talk he gave at the Akesco Crescent Clinic in Randburg, South Africa. In traditional psychology, serial killers are classified as having a personality disorder, usually narcissistic, antisocial, or paranoid. But Traube outlined several overlapping behaviors with addiction to support the idea that serial killing is similar to addiction.

Addiction is defined as the repetition of a behavior despite the harmful consequences. Traube used Ted Bundy as an example to highlight the similarities between serial killers and drug addicts. Bundy killed at least 30 women, following several women at a time, should he need an “emergency hit,” as Traube called it. He preferred killing brunettes between the age of 15 and 25, but “experimented” with women of different ages. Traube compared this to how addicts evolve. “They start out experimenting with different things and then they find the substance they like,” he said.

In prison, Bundy turned to alcohol, marijuana, and porn, clinging to psychoactive and other addictive vices when he could no longer kill. Traube also pointed out how Bundy, like most addicts, refused to take responsibility for his actions. “Bundy blamed people for looking vulnerable, saying that they were, in a way, begging to be murdered,” he said.

Though controversial, this is far from a novel concept. In 2012, Alaska man Israel Keyes was labeled a murder addict, killing at least eight people before he was caught. Alaska police detective Monique Doll said at a 2012 press conference that "Israel Keyes didn’t kidnap and kill people because he was crazy, he didn’t kidnap and kill people because his deity told him to or because he had a bad childhood. Israel Keyes did this because he got an immense amount of enjoyment out of it, much like an addict gets an immense amount of enjoyment out of drugs.”

According to James Fallon, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, who studies the brains of psychopaths, serial killers often behave similarly to drug addicts. Withdrawal from their addictions “builds and builds and then hits a threshold trigger point, after which they go on a spree to release that longing,” Fallon said. This happened with Bundy, Traube noted, two weeks after he escaped from prison for the second time. His sobriety and binge cycle ended with Bundy attacking five women in one night, raping one, bludgeoning them all, and murdering two.

Withdrawal from killing may cause a buildup of hormones in the brain’s amygdala, Fallon told LiveScience, at which point the only way to alleviate the very unpleasant feeling of withdrawal is to seek whatever the addicting stimulus might be.

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By Victoria Kim

ADHD drugs

4/14/14 3:30pm

Research Shows Ritalin Causes Long-Term Brain Injury

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According to a study reported by the American College Of Neuropsychopharmacology, long-term use of the popular ADHD drug Ritalin can potentially result in serious brain injury.

Chemically similar to cocaine, the short-term side effects of Ritalin include “nervousness, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headache, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and psychosis.” It was thought that Ritalin had limited long-term effects, but a past study recorded in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed this not to be the case.

Lead researcher, Prof. Joan Baizer of the University of Buffalo explained how "clinicians consider Ritalin to be short-acting. When the active dose has worked its way through the system, they consider it all gone." What proved problematic to Baizer was that the research conducted "suggests that [Ritalin] has the potential for causing long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and function."

Another study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed that Ritalin causes physical changes in neurons in reward regions of mouse brains and these effects were similar to the long-term side effects of cocaine. When placed together, the three studies implied that the long-term side effects of Ritalin include both the onset of clinical depression and potential brain injury to the frontal lobes.

As reported in The New York Times, three million children in this country take drugs for ADHD. In the past 30 years, there has been a 2,000 percent increase in the consumption of drugs for attention-deficit disorder. Among many children, the abuse of Ritalin has become commonplace. When their peers are prescribed these drugs, peer pressure leads to abuse.

The result of the damage done by Ritalin in the brain is similar to frontal lobe syndrome. Over time, frontal lobe syndrome can render a person increasingly incapable of inhibiting impulsive behaviors. In addition, such damage contributes to the onset of clinical depression.

Young people are more vulnerable than adults to the negative side effects of Ritalin because their brains are still actively forming and are becoming delineated. It would seem that any battle against drugs needs to begin by eliminating the all-too-common thread of prescribing ADHD drugs like Ritalin to children in the United States.

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By John Lavitt

hope and change?

4/14/14 1:00pm

Attorney General “Willing” to Discuss Rescheduling Weed

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Maybe so, maybe not. Photo via

The Obama Administration appears to be open to discussing the removal of marijuana from the top of the federal government’s dangerous drug list, though Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that any actions will be in collaboration with Congress.

During a House Appropriations Committee on April 4, Holder stated that the administration is “more than glad to work with Congress if there is a desire to look at and reexamine how the drug is scheduled.” His comments came on the heels of a sternly worded letter from 18 members of Congress urging the president to reconsider the way marijuana is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Currently, cannabis is listed as a Schedule I drug with a “high potential for abuse,” putting it on the same level as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. In the letter, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) cited President Obama’s interview with the New Yorker, in which he considered pot less dangerous than alcohol. “Marijuana… remains listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act at Schedule I… a higher listing than cocaine and methamphetamine, Schedule II substances that you gave as example of harder drugs," Obama said. "This makes no sense.”

Any discussion of rescheduling marijuana has incurred a fight from both House Republicans and the DEA itself. The GOP has challenged Holder’s decision to place a lower emphasis on federal marijuana prosecutions while also granting Colorado and Washington the right to legalize pot. They are eying a new bill that aims to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug in Washington, D.C.

In March, the House GOP flexed their collective muscle by amending a bill that required President Obama to enforce federal laws as they are written, including those related to marijuana, or face a civil lawsuit by the House of Senate. The DEA – which Holder oversees as head of the Justice Department – has also voiced their opposition to reclassification, with agency chief Michele Leonhart stating that marijuana legalization would only make her agents “fight harder.”

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By Paul Gaita

policy change needed

4/14/14 10:30am

New Report Shows 250,000 Deported For Drugs Since 2008

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A newly released report highlights shocking statistics that 250,000 people have been deported from the U.S. over the last six years for drug offenses.

Research from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University showed that nonviolent drug offenses were responsible for 11 percent of all deportations last year, while tens of thousands of people were deported simply for possessing small quantities of drugs including marijuana.

Roughly 6,600 people were deported in each of the last two years for personal marijuana possession, while over 20,000 people were deported last year for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Many of these individuals were incarcerated in the U.S. prison system before being sent back to their countries of origin. Only one percent of those removed from the U.S. were drug traffickers, with even less than that amount falling under the category of a violent drug trafficker.

In response, the Drug Policy Alliance is advocating for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, while also banning the arrest, incarceration, and deportation of those who are simply using or possessing drugs. A recent Pew poll also indicates that a majority of Americans are in favor of these policies. Sixty-three percent of those polled said that states should not have mandatory prison terms for drug law violations, while 67 percent advocate a treatment-based approach for nonviolent drug offenders. Fifty-four percent were also in favor of marijuana legalization.

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said that “given that the vast majority of Americans don’t think people should be prosecuted for drug possession, it’s time to ask the question: Why are we still arresting people for nothing more than drug possession?”

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By McCarton Ackerman

afghanistan

4/14/14 8:30am

Afghan Woman Maimed By Husband For Not Scoring Heroin

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A young wife from Afghanistan is desperate for reconstructive facial surgery after being maimed by her drug-addicted husband.

Sitara, 23, was sold off as a child bride at the age of seven. Her husband, 20 years older than her, was a hashish addict at the beginning of their marriage and eventually progressed into a crippling heroin and crystal meth addiction. She had already refused his demands for a divorce so that she could protect their daughters from being married off for a few thousand dollars each in order to facilitate his drug use. But he mercilessly beat Sitara when she refused to give him money and a ring to sell.

After bashing Sitara’s head in so severely that part of her brain was protruding from her skull, her husband cut off her nose and upper lip with a knife. One of their four children, 10-year-old Somia, witnessed the incident, but he threatened to kill the girl if she screamed for help. Sitara’s husband eventually fled the scene and neighbors who heard the screaming called police. “I struggled but then blacked out,” recalled Sitara. “When I woke up, I tried to touch my nose and lips but I felt nothing."

Doctors in Afghanistan stabilized Sitara, but the damage to her face was so severe that she was flown to Turkey for reconstructive surgery. Surgeons used part of Sitara's forehead to construct a new nose, while taking tissue from her thigh to rebuild her upper lip. However, she’s unhappy with the results and hoping to find a surgeon in the U.S. for additional surgery.“I hate [my face] every day. It would be better to be injected with poison and die. That’s how I feel,” she said. “When my children saw me after my face changed, they didn’t believe I was their mother.”

Sitara’s husband has still evaded police, leading authorities to believe he fled into the mountains or crossed to Iran. But the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan still stepped in to relocate her and the children into a new home. Somia said witnessing the attack has inspired her to become a doctor so she can help others like her mother.

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By McCarton Ackerman

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