As kids' accidental ODs rise, FDA still won't mandate flow restrictors in medicine bottles


In America, more under-6 kids go to the emergency room from accidental overdose than from car-accidents -- they get hold of medicine and drink the whole bottle. Since 2007, epidemiologist Dr Daniel Budnitz has campaigned for the use of flow-restrictors in children's medicine bottles, which dramatically reduce the likelihood of an OD; manufacturers started adding restrictors to acetaminophen in 2011, but stopped there.

Flow restrictors have not been added to bottles of antihistamines, ibuprofen, and cough and cold preparations -- even where they contain the same concentration of acetaminophen as plain acetaminophen tinctures. These other medicines account for about half of all overdoses by small children.

In a long, investigative piece, Pro Publica and Consumer Reports exhaustively document the effectiveness of restrictors, the intransigence of bottom-line-focused pharmaceutical manufacturers, and the real risks of children's medicine overdoses.

An FDA mandate would solve the problem of liquid overdose at the stroke of a pen, but the FDA refuses, preferring a voluntary approach that is demonstrably not working -- and putting kids at risk. The incidence of overdose in small children is not only widespread -- it's rising. Flow-restrictors are cheap, effective low-hanging fruit. Restrictors were invented to improve dosing and reduce spills in adult medicine, and are thus of benefit to everyone, not just parents.

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The gruesome reality of the drug trade

My friend Erik Vance lives in Mexico City and writes about science. But, in the past year or so, his work covering ocean fisheries has brought him into contact with some of the fallout from the cocaine trade. That overlap lead to a recent piece for Slate, where he writes that "there's no such thing as cruelty-free cocaine". If you care about sustainability, fair trade, and the power of consumer choice to change industry practices in fishing, then you should care about those things when it comes to drugs, he writes. More provocatively, Vance likens buying coke today to donating to the Nazi party in the 1930s.

The day pot became legal in Colorado

Pot became legal in Colorado today and the AP is on it, with a slice of life piece showing different perspectives on the new marijuana industry's first day on the job. Particularly interesting was a short interview with the proprietor of a "marijuana concierge" service, which (for a hefty fee) will shelter older smokers uncomfortable with their own desire to try weed from both the younger, rowdy "stoner" crowd and public scrutiny. Around $300 buys you a three-hour tour in a tinted-window limousine, help choosing your buds, and breakfast at Whole Foods.

Image: CC licensed. Some rights reserved by cannabisdestiny

Dolphin teens get high by chewing pufferfish

A BBC nature documentary crew has captured footage of young dolphins passing around a pufferfish. They characterize the activity as "careful manipulation" and speculate that the dolphins are getting a small dose of the pufferfish's neurotoxin in order to enter a "trance-like state." The documentary was produced by John Downer, a highly nature documentarian, and a zoologist on the crew also confirms the "dolphins get high" hypothesis.

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Drug photos

Methhhhh

Ecs

Berlin-based artist Sarah Schoenfeld dropped tiny bits of various psychoactive drugs on exposed film where they reacted with the chemicals on the negatives and then made very large prints of the images. Above, Crystal Meth. At right, Ecstasy. "All of the substances behaved very differently: the shapes and colors that appeared showed unique characteristics and revealed unique internal universes," she writes. You can see the images in the series here: "All You Can Feel." And here's an interview with Schoenfeld in Kaltblut Magazine. (Thanks, Jason Tester!)

Uruguay legalizes marijuana

Lawmakers in the small South American nation voted Tuesday to legalize and regulate weed.

Rob Ford police document: allegations of heroin use and more


Another tranche of police documents on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been released [474 page (!) PDF]. Despite the mayor's insistence that all of his secrets were now out in the open and he had nothing more to hide, the new materials contain several bombshells, including allegations of heroin use, bribing crooks with marijuana, and lying about the infamous crack video.

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Leaked UN document: countries want to end War on Drugs and prohibition


A rare, leaked UN document reveals deep divisions among member-states about the war on drugs, with many nations demanding treatment and decriminalization instead of prohibition. The draft document, dating from September, is from the UN's attempt to set a global policy on drugs and drug trafficking. The document shows Ecuador demanding an official statement "that the world needs to look beyond prohibition" and Venezuela seeking recognition of "the economic implications of the current dominating health and law enforcement approach in tackling the world drug problem." Other dissenters include Norway, Switzerland and the EU.

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Florida sheriff arrests mayor on drug charges: "This isn't Toronto"

Barry Layne Moore, erstwhile mayor of Hampton, Florida, has been arrested for possessing and selling Oxycodone. Upon arresting him, Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith quipped:

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Five charged in US with smuggling 'more than 99% pure' meth from North Korea. Heisenberg weeps.


"Five defendants are depicted in this courtroom sketch of a U.S. district court in Manhattan on Nov. 20, 2013. The men allegedly conspired to smuggle North Korean meth into the U.S." Jane Rosenburg, for Reuters

Five men have been extradited to the US from Thailand to face charges of trafficking crystal methamphetamine cooked in North Korea. The highly militarized nation is hard for humans to get out of, but court documents indicate that meth seems to escape more easily. In September, the men were arrested by US federal agents after promising North Korean meth to undercover DEA agents. From Al Jazeera:

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Health Canada outs 40,000 medical marijuana users


Due to an "administrative error," Health Canada sent letters to 40,000 medical marijuana users whose return address was "Medical Marijuana Access Program." In so doing, they outed tens of thousands of Canadians as medical marijuana users to their postal delivery people, people with whom they share their mailboxes, and others.

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Nasal Ranger Field Olfactometer


The Nasal Ranger Field Olfactometer is a gadget for empirically measuring the presence of stink-particles in a given environment. It is being deployed in Denver to measure compliance with a by-law prompted by Colorado's rules for legal marijuana: you're allowed to smoke weed, but you are not permitted to spread the smell of marijuana into your neighbors' spaces.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's less-censored police file: criminality, abuse, and intoxication


Photo: Reuters

Toronto police have released a "less censored" version of their report on Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford, and Toronto Star reporter (@jpags) has been tweeting the highlights of the (unproven) police allegations as she goes. I've embedded some of the most significant ones below. A lot of material deals with the mayor's public intoxication and his appearances at work-related events (and at City Hall) where he was too intoxicated to function. On one occasion, he is accused of bringing two prostitutes to city hall. He is said to have been high on oxycontin on another occasion.

Another major theme is the mayor's abuse of his employees: getting them to buy booze for him, driving them at high speeds while intoxicated (one staffer saw him drink an entire pint of vodka before getting behind the wheel), verbally abusing them, getting them to run personal errands for him, calling them in tears, drunk and distraught. He made one staffer write a letter of support for bagman Andrew Lisi, charged with uttering death threats, which the mayor submitted.

Then there's the shadowy, underworldy-type things. His bagman, Sandro Lisi (charged with uttering death threats, selling drugs, and extortion) is said to have offered drugs to unknown persons for the return of the mayor's stolen phone. And when the mayor allegedly snorted cocaine with an unknown woman at the Biermarkt restaurant, a staffer demanded that the waitress give her name and told her "Don't tell anyone about what you saw here tonight."

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Rob Ford: master of the comedic pause

Toronto mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford is back in council for the first time he admitted that he smoked crack (though he insists he's not a "crack smoker"). He's refused to step aside and repudiated his lawyer's suggestion that he was going into rehab. Meanwhile, the trial of Sandro Lisi proceeds apace -- the mayor's friend/fixer/driver/muscle, up on drug dealing and extortion charges -- and the video evidence that the mayor arranged wordless package handovers with Lisi in parking lots and parks and public toilets is on everyone's mind. Rob Ford has always made a big deal about saving the taxpayer money by refusing a driver (it was his excuse when he was caught reading while driving on the highway), but he clearly also didn't have a driver because it would have interfered with crack smoking, drunken stupors, and covert meetings with drug dealers.

But say what you will about the mayor -- and there's a lot to say, for example, his claims of saving money are BS -- he certainly has comedic timing. Check out the pregnant pause in council after he's asked whether he's bought illegal drugs. Comedy genius!

Rob Ford admits to City Council that he purchased drugs

Taiwanese crazy-news animation on Rob Ford's post-crack poll-bounce

Next Media Animation -- the crazy Taiwanese news video people -- have revisited the Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford crack-smoking scandal (here's the previous one). This time, it's the news that Ford's polls are up on his admission that he smoked crack.

Rob Ford crack admission raises popularity! Toronto is crazy