A woman in Austria was expecting a package of dresses she had ordered from a Dutch retailer. Two boxes from the Netherlands showed up at her door and while one of them contained her clothing, the other was packed with 25,000 tabs of MDMA worth a few hundred thousand dollars. From CNN:
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The unnamed Austrian woman, 58, mistook the purple pills for decorative stones, police said, but on closer inspection her husband, 59, realized they were probably stimulants and returned the package to their local post office in Linz, Upper Austria...
"The (post) office was equally astonished, which is why the police, and subsequently the narcotics department of the City Police Command Linz, was informed."
Following an investigation by Linz's drugs squad it transpired that the package was intended for Scotland. Police Scotland and the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) are jointly investigating the matter.
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Some of Gottlieb's experiments were covertly funded at universities and research centers, Kinzer says, while others were conducted in American prisons and in detention centers in Japan, Germany and the Philippines. Many of his unwitting subjects endured psychological torture ranging from electroshock to high doses of LSD, according to Kinzer's research.
"Gottlieb wanted to create a way to seize control of people's minds, and he realized it was a two-part process," Kinzer says. "First, you had to blast away the existing mind. Second, you had to find a way to insert a new mind into that resulting void. We didn't get too far on number two, but he did a lot of work on number one..."
Whitey Bulger was one of the prisoners who volunteered for what he was told was an experiment aimed at finding a cure for schizophrenia. As part of this experiment, he was given LSD every day for more than a year. He later realized that this had nothing to do with schizophrenia and he was a guinea pig in a government experiment aimed at seeing what people's long-term reactions to LSD was.
The esteemed research institute and medical school Johns Hopkins Medicine is starting the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research thanks to $17 million in private donations. The generous funders include Boing Boing pal and author Tim Ferriss, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, TOMS shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, and investor Craig Nerenberg. Psychedelics have tremendous unlocked therapeutic potential for the likes of severe depression, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and alcoholism, What a wonderful, important, and worthy cause these individuals chose to support. From Johns Hopkins Medical:
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In 2000, the psychedelic research group at Johns Hopkins was the first to achieve regulatory approval in the U.S. to reinitiate research with psychedelics in healthy volunteers who had never used a psychedelic. Their 2006 publication on the safety and enduring positive effects of a single dose of psilocybin sparked a renewal of psychedelic research worldwide.
Since then, the researchers have published studies in more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles. Their research has demonstrated therapeutic benefits for people who suffer from conditions including nicotine addiction and depression and anxiety caused by life-threatening diseases such as cancer. It has paved the way for current studies on treatment of major depressive disorder. These researchers have also expanded the field of psychedelic research by publishing safety guidelines that have helped gain approval for psychedelic studies at other universities around the world and by developing new ways of measuring mystical, emotional, and meditative experiences while under the influence of psychedelics.
The group's findings on both the promise and the risks of psilocybin in particular helped create a path forward for the chemical's potential medical approval and reclassification from a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive federal government category, to a more appropriate level.
Hassan Akhtar attempted to send a shipment from the UK to Pakistan of 5,000 tablets of MDMA hidden inside, ahem, Celebrations tubs of assorted chocolate. Now that's a party! From BBC News:
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Police said the drugs were discovered by the postal company in tubs of Celebrations chocolates and Akhtar was later identified by CCTV footage.
Det Sgt Rob Hood said the defendant was "clearly looking to profit" from selling drugs and "thought by concealing them in chocolate tubs that they would not be detected".
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From the far-out folks at Flavor Paper comes Cannabliss, a subtly psychedelic scratch-and-sniff wallpaper that smells like weed. They write:
We have nailed a very pleasant yet dank scent that is made from true flowering hemp terpenes to ensure we’re keeping it real. CBD for your eyes and ol factory. Dope.
Mexico City judge Víctor Octavio Luna Escobedo gave two people permission to use 500 milligrams of cocaine per day, saying the drug conveys benefits such as "tension relief, the intensification of perceptions and the desire [to have] new personal and spiritual experiences." According to Newsweek, the two happy cokeheads musn't sniff the drug while "working, driving or operating heavy machinery ... they are also not allowed to take the drug in public, in the presence of children, or encourage others to consume it."
In New Zealand, a dog walking with its human along the beach peed on $3 million worth of cocaine which washed up on the Auckland shores on Wednesday. Read the rest
At Barcelona's international airport, police arrested a Colombian gentleman who arrived from Bogota with half a kilogram of cocaine under his toupée. According to a Reuters report, "The man attracted police attention as he looked nervous and had a disproportionately large hairpiece under his hat. They found a package stuck to his head with about €30,000 (£27,000) of cocaine."
No word whether the unnamed man is a drug bigwig.
Joint pain. Poor digestion. Hair loss. Erectile dysfunction. No libido. These are just a few of the lasting symptoms experienced by Kim Dong-hyeon, a bodybuilder in South Korea, after using over $3,000 of black-market steroids per month for many years. In this video he tells an Asian Boss reporter that he injected himself with steroids 20 times a day and that 98% of bodybuilders in South Korea take steroids. Read the rest
More than 2,500 years ago in western China, people in mourning gathered at a cemetery for a ritual that involved getting high from cannabis plants burning in wooden pots. It's likely that they were trying to communicate with spirits. From Science News:
Evidence of this practice comes from Jirzankal Cemetery in Central Asia’s Pamir Mountains, says a team led by archaeologist Yimin Yang of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Chemical residues on wooden burners unearthed in tombs there provide some of the oldest evidence to date of smoking or inhaling cannabis fumes, the researchers report online June 12 in Science Advances....
East Asians grew cannabis starting at least 6,000 years ago, but only to consume the plants’ oily seeds and make clothing and rope out of cannabis fibers. Early cultivated cannabis varieties in East Asia and elsewhere, like most wild forms of the plant, contained low levels of THC and other mind-altering compounds.
Yang’s team identified a chemical signature of cannabis on charred plant material from 10 wooden burners, or braziers, found in eight Jirzankal tombs. Chemical signs of an unusually high level of THC were found inside nine braziers and on two stones that had been heated and used to burn plants in the braziers.
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Oakland, California is now the second city in the United States, following Denver last month, to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. Oakland City Council unanimously passed the resolution on Tuesday. From NPR:
Oakland's resolution is broader than Denver's. Denver's initiative decriminalized the use and possession of mushrooms containing the compound psilocybin, whereas Oakland's refers to "entheogenic plants" in general, which includes the mushrooms and other plants and fungi containing psychoactive substances.
The resolution says city money will not be used "to assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties for the use and possession of Entheogenic Plants by adults." It says that investigating people for growing, buying, distributing or possessing the substances "shall be amongst the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Oakland...."
(The substances') possible therapeutic effects were highlighted in an agenda report filed to City Council by the resolution's sponsor, Council member Noel Gallo.
"For millennia, cultures have respected entheogenic plants and fungi for providing healing, knowledge, creativity, and spiritual connection," the report states, saying that these plants may be beneficial for conditions such as substance abuse, anxiety and PTSD. "This initiative aims to empower the Oakland community by restoring their relationship to nature."
These substances are currently not legal under federal and state law.
Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis component that doesn't get you high but seems to have countless other benefits, has now been shown to reduce heroin cravings and the anxiety that's triggered when jonesing for the opioid. Researchers at the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai ran a randomized, controlled, double-blind study with several dozen addicts who have been abstaining from use. From their scientific paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry:
Acute CBD administration, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drug cues compared with neutral cues. CBD also showed significant protracted effects on these measures 7 days after the final short-term (3-day) CBD exposure. In addition, CBD reduced the drug cue–induced physiological measures of heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. There were no significant effects on cognition, and there were no serious adverse effects.
And from Scientific American:
The anxiety reduction isn’t specific to opioid-related cues and could generalize to other situations, says neuroscientist Yasmin Hurd, first author on the study and director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “It’s just that this particular anxiety leads someone to take a drug that can cause them death, and anything we can do to decrease that means increasing the precious chance of preventing relapse and saving their lives.”
After police have proven unable to dissuade drug dealers from congregating in Berlin's Görlitzer Park, the manager of the park spray painted pink lines around designated areas for them to hang out and hawk their wares. The hope is that the dealers will no longer intimidate visitors throughout the park. From The Guardian:
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“This method has purely practical reasoning behind it,” (park manager Cengiz) Demirci told local radio station RBB. “It’s not that we’re legalising the selling of drugs.”
Demirci said a much more effective solution would be if authorities gave the dealers work permits. The majority of them are asylum seekers who are not allowed to work while waiting for their claims to be processed. He added: “If they did that then 90% of them would stop what they’re doing immediately.”
Police chiefs criticised the move. “What is needed to ensure that the park is drug and crime free, is a constant police presence and judicial resolve,” Benjamin Jendro from the Berlin branch of the police trade union GdP told Bild...
The sharpest remarks came from Germany’s national anti-drugs tsar, Marlene Mortler, of the conservative Christian Social Union, who told the Funke Mediengruppe: “If this is true then it marks the capitulation of our constitutional state. We should not be issuing the dealers with a licence to deal.”