“Ten Ways Addiction Is Different in America”: The Invaluable Maia Szalavitz

at Substance: We Americans like to think of ourselves as exceptional, the land of the free and the home of the brave, the City on the Hill and all that. When it comes to the politics and culture of drugs, we are indeed special—or at least dramatically different from the rest of the Western world. Too often, however, we are special for the wrong reasons. more … [Read more...]

Today, Global Protests Call for Support, Not Punishment, For Drug Users

from Substance.com:In an unprecedented display of people power against the war on drugs, thousands of activists in 100 cities across the world will rally on Thursday, June 26, to push one message: “Support. Don’t punish.” The concerted campaign will remind national governments and the UN of the growing size and clout of people who use drugs and their supporters as a political constituency—and the futility of pouring billions of dollars into efforts to enforce prohibition. At least 150 NGOs … [Read more...]

Increasing Empathy Is a Really Weird Reason for Public Humiliation

But drugs have a funny effect on the brain, I guess: ...It was the second such heroin sweep where authorities sought to publicize the names, hometowns, ages and photos of alleged buyers and distributors. Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said that tactic would help further educate the public.“We are working toward eliminating the notion that a heroin addict is a person that is in an alley with a needle sticking in their arm,” Valdes said. “We are so removed from that.” more (and a … [Read more...]

Our Initial Goal Is Voluntary Compliance

Middle school edition! After Michael and Melinda May's daughter was drug-tested five times in three years at Susquenita Middle School, they refused to sign a permission slip allowing it to happen again.Leila May was drug-tested once during her fifth grade year, once in sixth grade and three times as a seventh grader because Susquenita School District randomly tests students in grades five through 12 who participate in extracurricular activities and apply for parking permits.Without the … [Read more...]

Today’s Themes: Gallows Humor and Vodka

A round-up of what I've been reading."Missouri Considers Lifting Lifetime Food Stamp Ban for Former Drug Felons." Missouri is one of 10 states that currently has a lifetime ban on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for anyone convicted of a drug-related felony, but they could soon be amending their policy.The harsh ban was part of the welfare reform effort of 1996, but most states have since modified or completely removed the lifetime ban. However, the Missouri Senate … [Read more...]

“A Stillborn Child Leads to a Murder Charge”: Me at AmCon

on an awful, years-long case: In 2006, 15-year-old Rennie Gibbs became pregnant. She tested positive for marijuana and cocaine during her pregnancy. Her daughter Samiya was born a month premature, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. An autopsy on the child found traces of a cocaine byproduct, and Rennie was charged with murder—or rather, with what Mississippi calls “depraved heart murder,” signifying an especially callous crime. Gibbs’s case has wound its way through the legal syste … [Read more...]

“Parenting from Prison: The Collateral Damage of Harsh Mandatory Sentences”

from the Deseret News: ...Stephanie and her kids were on the edge of an incarceration wave that pulled in thousands of parents and hundreds of thousands of children at the end of the last century. In 1991 there were 936,500 minor children with a parent in state or federal prison. By the end of 1999, there were 1,498,800, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics — more than a 50 percent leap in less than a decade. ...But even if Stephanie was guilty as charged, her sentence would by a … [Read more...]


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