Colombia Breaks Coca Cultivation Record, UN Report Finds

Colombia broke a new record for cultivating the coca leaf, the plant used to make cocaine, according to a United Nations report. The process involves extracting alkaloids from the leaves using solvents like gasoline. This crude extract turns into a coca base by mixing it with alkaline solutions. Then, with a bit of further refinement, thanks to chemicals like hydrochloric acid, the result is crystalline cocaine hydrochloride. The final product is dried, diluted, packaged, and ready for distribution (and likely stepped on multiple times; one can only hope not with fentanyl) before hitting the illicit market. Colombia is the world’s top coca cultivator, producing 60% of the world’s cocaine, followed by Peru and Bolivia.

On Monday, The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that 230,000 hectares, or 568,340 acres, of land, were planted with coca last year, 2022, which marks an increase of 13% since 2021. 

According to Al Jazeera, Columbia’s potential cocaine output skyrocketed by 24% to about 1.73 million kilograms (1,738 tonnes), the highest number reported since the UN began monitoring the situation in 2001. Colombia has been the world’s biggest producer of cocaine for a long time and is under pressure from the U.S. and the world at large to implement changes to cut down on production. 

However, producing coca is such a valuable profession for so many farmers that it’s been challenging to implement changes. Distanced from the harmful effects of the drug made from the crops they grow, coca farming is a means of survival and a way of life for many Colombian citizens. The government has previously promised subsidies and other incentives to move growers away from the coca plant, but so far, officials have yet to follow through.

Colombian Justice Minister Néstor Osuna said that they’re “flattening the curve” and that the increase rate was much lower than in 2021, the BBC reports. However, the UNODC’s Leonardo Correa warned of a sharp rise in potential coca production in 2022.

“The crops that were young last year have now reached maturity and are now productive. In other words, the rate of growth in hectares is decreasing. But the rate of cocaine production is increasing,” he said.

Colombian leftist President Gustavo Petro has previously called the war on drugs “irrational.” He likes to call out poor politics on the topic, such as during his first speech at the General Assembly in 2022. In it, Petro said that the world’s addiction to money, oil, and carbon is destroying the Colombian rainforest through what he described as a “hypocritical” war against drugs, the UN reports.

“The forest that should be saved is at the same time being destroyed. To destroy the coca plant, they throw poisons such as glyphosate that drips into our waters, they arrest their cultivators and then imprison them,” he said. “The jungle is burning, gentlemen, while you wage war and play with it. The jungle, the climatic pillar of the world, disappears with all its life. The great sponge that absorbs the planetary CO2 evaporates. The jungle is our savior, but it is seen in my country as the enemy to defeat, as a weed to be extinguished,” Petro continued.

He has proposed his own ideas to fight the cocaine problem, such as directing enforcement on the drug gang leadership rather than the farmers, increasing social funding in production areas, and expanding voluntary crop substitution programs in high-production areas. 

On Saturday, Petro asked for an alliance among Latin American nations to secure a united front in the fight against cocaine trafficking. Rather than continue confronting the problem with what he describes as a “failed” approach, he also proposed recognizing drug consumption as a public health problem. 

“What I propose is to have a different and unified voice that defends our society, our future and our history and stops repeating a failed discourse,” Petro said in a speech that concluded the Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Drugs, held in the Colombian city of Cali.

“It is time to rebuild hope and not repeat the bloody and ferocious wars, the ill-named ‘war on drugs’, viewing drugs as a military problem and not as a health problem for society,” Petro added. 

The recent UN report shares that almost two-thirds of Colombia’s coca farms are in the southern regions of Narino and Putumayo, which border Ecuador. There has been a 77% rise in coca cultivation in Putumayo, alone, the BBC reports. This area is currently engulfed in gang-related violence. Additionally, roughly half of the coca comes from indigenous reserves, forest reserves, and natural parks controlled by drug cartels or other armed groups such as leftist fighters and right-wing paramilitaries.

The Colombian government promises to adopt new drug policies soon directed at shutting down such criminal groups while protecting the farmers who grow the crop. 

The post Colombia Breaks Coca Cultivation Record, UN Report Finds appeared first on High Times.

Fentanyl Vaccine Enters Human Trials: New Hope For Opioid Overdose?

Summary: Scientists have initiated human trials for a fentanyl vaccine designed to combat the effects of the deadly opioid. If successful, this vaccine could provide a new tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: Researchers Trial Fentanyl Vaccine

Researchers at Inimmune are embarking on human trials for a vaccine specifically designed to counteract the effects of fentanyl, a potent and often lethal opioid. Fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, has been a significant contributor to the opioid crisis, causing numerous overdose deaths.

The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that latch onto fentanyl molecules, preventing them from reaching the brain and inducing their typical effects. This mechanism could potentially save lives by preventing overdoses.

While the vaccine won’t be a cure-all solution for the opioid epidemic, the developers believe it could serve as a valuable tool, especially for those at high risk of fentanyl exposure. The trials will determine the vaccine’s safety and efficacy in humans, paving the way for broader use if successful.

Source: Futurism – Neoscope

And we would like to know, beyond using vaccines, what other innovative solutions could be explored to combat the rising issue of opioid overdoses? What about simple methods such as education, directed at both doctors and patients alike…

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

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Chinese Heroin vs. Canadian Cannabis

In Canada, especially in Vancouver, British Columbia, it’s a battle between Chinese heroin (fentanyl) and Canadian cannabis. Outside the allowable parameters of the debate is the solution: how cannabis is used for rehabilitation and how to safely self-rehab with cannabis usage. You can quit meth with cannabis rehab. Rehab for alcohol should include cannabis-based medicines. Or forget the rehab centre altogether. Safely self-rehab with cannabis usage from the comfort of your home. People are struggling with substance use. It’s not […]

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Half a Million Fentanyl Pills Disguised as Oxycodone Confiscated by San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office in One Week

Last week was busy for the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, who reported Monday that they confiscated over 500,000 fentanyl tablets that were disguised as ”M30” oxycodone pills. One of the primary reasons people overdose on fentanyl is because they think they are taking a less powerful opioid, typically disguised as an oxycodone or hydrocodone pill.

In one bust, a person at a clothing store was allegedly selling a lot more than just clothes: At 10:56 p.m. Friday, police in Hesperia, California served two search warrants at The House of Drip, a clothing store after officers caught wind of a drug operation taking place there. Officers from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department suspect that M30 fentanyl pills, as well as cannabis, were being sold at the business.

“Lenin Martinez Arevalo, 29, of Hesperia, was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of possessing or purchasing drugs for sale, transportation/sales of drugs, and possessing drugs for sale,” the Daily Press in Victorville reports.

Police said they found more than 4,000 fentanyl pills, cannabis, 227 boxes of THC resin, 35 boxes of psilocybin-infused chocolate, and $1,300 in cash while searching the House of Drip.

M30 fentanyl pills are particularly dangerous because they are designed to mimic the look of prescription oxycodone pills, or to a lesser extent—Adderall, Xanax, and other drugs.

A Bigger Problem in San Bernardino County

This was just a fraction of the total number of fentanyl pills the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Gangs/Narcotics Division scooped up last week. They confiscated over half a million fentanyl tablets.

“Last week, the San Bernardino CountySheriff’s Department Gangs/Narcotics Division seized over 115 pounds of fentanyl pills, equivalent to roughly 517,500 tablets. These pills are counterfeit pharmaceuticals containing fentanyl.

Last October, the San Bernardino County Health Department issued a health advisory to spread awareness to the dangers of fentanyl due to a huge uptick in overdose deaths in the county.

In 2021, there were 354 fentanyl overdose deaths in San Bernardino County.

Local health officials launched a campaign to raise awareness due to an unprecedented rise in fentanyl overdoses and poisonings in San Bernardino County. In June, San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health officials stated that the campaign will carry out through the year, with the slogan “Fentanyl Doesn’t Care. But We Do.”

“There is a misperception that fentanyl only affects drug addicts when in reality, it’s affecting a broad segment of our community,” Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe told the Daily Press last summer “This campaign will help shed light on the reality of the fentanyl crisis and help us save lives.”

The health department joined the “Stop the Void and the INTO LIGHT Project” to develop a media campaign targeting geographic areas in San Bernardino County that are prone to a high rate of fentanyl overdoses, with special consideration for young adults and “at-risk underserved communities.”

DEA’s Battle with Fake M30 Pills

San Bernardino County is just one region in California, but the problem stretches across all of the U.S. Data shows that in 2021, nearly 70,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses involving fentanyl and fake opioid prescriptions.

“​​Counterfeit pills are nearly identical to actual prescription medications,” the DEA says in a Drug Fact Sheet. “The majority of counterfeit pills resemble oxycodone 30mg pills (M30s), but can also mimic hydrocodone, alprazolam (Xanax), Adderall, and other medications. There are indications that drug trafficking organizations are specifically targeting kids and teens by creating counterfeit pills in a variety of shapes and bright colors to appeal to that age group. Counterfeit M30 pills can vary in color from white to blue. The best way to avoid counterfeit medication is to take only medications prescribed by a licensed medical professional and dispensed by a registered pharmacist.”

As little as 2 mg of fentanyl can be deadly enough to stop breathing, and death is swift. That means taking just one counterfeit pill can result in death, especially if the person does not have a tolerance. On the other hand, 30 mg of oxycodone is maximum strength, which is strong but less likely to cause death than a smaller amount of fentanyl.

“Distributors in the United States are selling counterfeit pills on social media, appealing to a younger audience that use these apps,” the DEA continues. “Minors and young adults experimenting, as well as regular substance users, believe they are buying authentic oxycodone, Adderall, Xanax, or other medicines, but are unwittingly purchasing counterfeit pills that contain lethal amounts of drugs, usually fentanyl and methamphetamine.”

Fentanyl is around 100 times stronger than morphine, and 50 times stronger than heroin. And how widespread is the problem? Twenty-six percent of tablets tested in a DEA laboratory contained a lethal dose of fentanyl, the agency says. 

The post Half a Million Fentanyl Pills Disguised as Oxycodone Confiscated by San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office in One Week appeared first on High Times.

Ron DeSantis Confirms He Would Not Legalize Adult Use if Elected President, Warns of Fentanyl-Laced Pot

On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would not legalize adult-use cannabis if elected president, confirming what he said in June, and warned about the danger of fentanyl-laced pot at the Never Back Down Super PAC in Iowa.

Florida Politics reports that the presidential hopeful is gearing up for the 2024 presidential election, and taking a harder stance against adult-use cannabis.

“Yeah, I would not legalize,” DeSantis said at Never Back Down. “I think what’s happened is this stuff is very potent now. I think it’s a real, real problem and I think it’s a lot different than stuff that people were using 30 or 40 years ago. And I think when kids get on that, I think it causes a lot of problems. And then, of course, you know, they can throw fentanyl in any of this stuff now.”

DeSantis launched a bus tour scheduled last month to hit Chariton, Osceola, and Oskaloosa in Iowa. The Des Moines Register reports that it’s part of his plan to “barnstorm” small towns in Iowa, an early voting state, as he ramps up his campaign to tackle GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. Polling averages by FiveThirtyEight show DeSantis with about 18% of Republican voter support while Trump carries over 50%.

“The drugs are killing this country,” DeSantis added, though cannabis itself cannot cause a fatal overdose. “While a fatal overdose caused solely by marijuana is unlikely, marijuana is not harmless,” the CDC says cautiously. Fentanyl, of course, is another story: drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids—primarily fentanyl—continued to rise with 70,601 overdose deaths reported in 2021.

“We have medical in our Constitution, we have medical marijuana, we enforce that, you know, we abide by it, but to take action now to make it even more available, I would not do that,” DeSantis said, adding that Colorado adult use just led to black market sales. DeSantis, however, supported smokable medical cannabis early in his first term, citing people with Lou Gehrig’s disease and other conditions, when it’s unknown which delivery method works best. 

But in 2022 he went hard against cannabis: “What I don’t like about it is if you go to some of these places that have done it, the stench when you’re out there, I mean, it smells so putrid,” he said. “I could not believe the pungent odor that you would see in some of these places. I don’t want to see that here. I want people to be able to breathe freely.”

On the campaign trail in North Augusta, South Carolina in June, DeSantis was asked by a man claiming to be speaking on behalf of military veterans living with sickness and injury after serving their country, whether he would decriminalize cannabis if elected president.

DeSantis said he would not, saying that it would impact employee performance. “I think that we have too many people using drugs in this country right now,” the Florida governor said. “I think it hurts our workforce readiness. I think it hurts people’s ability to prosper and, just in my experience in growing up in the Tampa Bay area in Florida, the kids in high school who got involved in that that I went with, you know, all suffered. All their activities, all their grades, and everything like that.”

By Sunday, DeSantis was back in Tallahassee.

Fentanyl and Cannabis Are Very Different

Headlines about fentanyl-laced pot cause alarm, yet frequently fall apart: The Brattleboro Police Department (BPD) in Vermont told the media they revived a patient using CPR and several doses of Narcan after cannabis the person smoked reportedly tested positive for fentanyl, and found more in a second incident. Then they had to retract their statement:

“The seized marijuana in both incidents was submitted to a forensic laboratory where testing was conducted,” the Brattleboro Police Department said in a statement. “BPD was notified no fentanyl was found in the marijuana in either case.”

The same thing happened in 2020 in New York when officials said they found the drug in cannabis, and then a week or so later determined it wasn’t. “Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl has not been found mixed into cannabis in New York City,” the city health department clarified. The New York State Department of Health also clarified “it is unlikely to be in weed.” 

But is smoking fentanyl-laced pot even feasible considering how it burns? It’s a topic High Times has explored many times. “It’s unclear if you can consume fentanyl in that way—by smoking,” Peter Grinspoon, M.D., an Internist and medical cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School told High Times in 2021. “Some drugs you can smoke, like cocaine, freebased as crack. But fentanyl tends to disintegrate starting at about 500 degrees [F], and it fully disintegrates at about 1000 degrees. When you smoke—you’re talking about 2,000 degrees.” 

While it could have happened some place, it would make little sense for drug dealers to lace pot with fentanyl if it’s smoked considering how much could be wasted.

The post Ron DeSantis Confirms He Would Not Legalize Adult Use if Elected President, Warns of Fentanyl-Laced Pot appeared first on High Times.

Son of Infamous Jimmy Chagra Arrested in Texas on Drug Charges

Infamous (and now deceased) El Paso drug trafficker Jimmy Chagra’s son, 44-year-old Jamiel Alexander Chagra Nichols, was arrested for allegedly selling cocaine, fentanyl, and LSD. Some of his clients included Fort Bliss soldiers, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials said. 

The El Paso Times reports that the special agents arrested Nichols on Friday, August 18. It’s currently estimated that five Texans die every day, on average, from a fentanyl overdose. In April of this year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched a $10 million effort, the “One Pill Kills” campaign, to combat the fentanyl crisis, including sending overdose-reversing meds (Narcan) to all 254 counties. 

The news of Nichols’ arrest comes after authorities allegedly found over 21,900 dosages of LSD at his El Paso home during a multi-agency drug investigation, DPS officials said. The search warrant that led to the drug seizure and Nichols’s arrest was carried out by the Fentanyl Overdose Response Team of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in El Paso, who paired up with Texas DPS special agents. His arrest was a long time in the making, resulting from a six-month-long investigation, although due to his ancestry, it’s safe to assume that Nichols has been on the government’s list for some time. 

Jamiel Alexander Chagra Nichols, courtesy El Paso County Sheriff’s Office

According to El Paso County Jail records, Nichols now faces four state counts of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance. Nichols was released from jail Monday on a total surety bond of $28,000.  

Nichols’s notorious father is Jamiel Alexander “Jimmy” Chagra, who made a name for himself as El Paso’s most wanted drug trafficker of the 1970s. Las Vegas City Life once described him as “the undisputed marijuana kingpin of the Western world” (he also dealt heavily in cocaine). 

The son of a rug merchant family, Chagra originally worked as a carpet salesman before breaking into the drug smuggling trade in 1969. He trafficked drugs from both Mexico and Columbia using planes and boats (which still happens; recently, the feds seized 223 pounds of cocaine and arrested two people headed toward Long Beach from Columbia). 

Chagra was also known for his epic, high-stakes gambling, which, by all accounts, he not only loved but used to launder money earned through drug trafficking. Before his arrest, he was estimated to be worth approximately $100 million ($500 million today). Charga’s downfall can be marked to November 21, 1978, when Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kerr was shot near his home by two men who fired 19 bullets at his car. Kerr lived; his only injuries sustained were some minor glass cuts, but law enforcement was officially ready to get Chagra senior. 

In February 1979, the OG Chagra was arrested on trafficking charges. He’d appear before Judge John Wood, nicknamed “Maximum John” due to his reputation for giving out the maximum sentence on drug crimes. Chagra faced a possible life sentence. He attempted to bribe Maximum John. It didn’t work. So, he arranged to have him assassinated, eventually admitting to hiring, of all people, hitman Charles Harrelson, who, in this ongoing father-son story, is dad to actor and cannabis lover Woody Harrelson (whose new cannabis lounge, The Woods, located in West Hollywood, California, is now open for business).

LSD found during a search of Nichols’ home in El Paso, courtesy Texas Department of Public Safety

On May 29, 1979, Wood was murdered. He was shot in the back outside his home and died as a result, making him the first federal judge to die from an assassination in more than a century. Chagra went to court on his drug charges and was found guilty in August 1979 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Harrelson (senior) was also eventually caught and convicted of being the gunman, thanks to Chagra talking about the assassination when his brother, Joe Chagra, visited him in prison after the feds bugged the rooms of the Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, where Chagra resided. 

Joe Chagra allegedly tried for a plea deal for his involvement and served six and a half years in prison of his ten-year sentence. He was released but died from injuries sustained in a car accident in 1996. 

Jimmy Chagra’s wife, Elizabeth, also went to prison for 30 years for delivering the payout money. Charles Harrelson was slapped with two consecutive life terms plus five more years. And Chagra was acquitted of Wood’s murder but found guilty of obstructing justice and conspiring to smuggle drugs. Due to health reasons, he was released on December 9, 2003, with rumors circulating that he was placed in the Witness Protection Program. He died from cancer on July 25, 2008, in a trailer camp in Mesa, Arizona.

While the family’s story is already juicy enough for a major studio to turn it into a mini-series, as for how the current generation’s stories end, we’ll have to continue covering the Nichols case for the latest in the Chagra epic drama. 

The post Son of Infamous Jimmy Chagra Arrested in Texas on Drug Charges appeared first on High Times.

“I’d be dead”: Jamie Lee Curtis on the Perils of Fentanyl and Addiction

Summary: Jamie Lee Curtis, the renowned actress, has candidly spoken about her past struggles with opioid addiction. In a recent interview, she expressed her concerns about the current opioid crisis, emphasizing that if fentanyl had been as accessible during her addiction years as it is now, she might not have survived.

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Fentanyl’s Dangers Highlighted by Jamie Lee Curtis’s Addiction Story

“If fentanyl was as easily available as it is today, I’d be dead”

Jamie Lee Curtis, the iconic actress known for her roles in films like “Halloween” and “True Lies,” has opened up about her past battles with addiction. In a recent interview, Curtis discussed her personal struggles with opioids and the broader implications of the current opioid crisis. She highlighted the dangers of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, and expressed her belief that if this drug had been as easily available during her years of addiction as it is today, she might not be alive.

More people are duying now because of Fentanyl

Curtis’s addiction began after she was prescribed painkillers for a minor surgical procedure in the late 1980s. Over time, her dependency on the drugs grew, leading to a decade-long battle with addiction. The actress has been sober for over 20 years now, but she remains vocal about the challenges of addiction and the importance of seeking help.

The opioid crisis has been a significant concern in recent years, with fentanyl-related deaths on the rise. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and has been linked to a surge in overdose deaths. Curtis’s comments on the drug underscore the dangers it poses, especially to those struggling with addiction.

But Medical Cannabis might not be the answer afterall

In the interview, Curtis also emphasized the importance of compassion and understanding when dealing with addiction. She believes that society needs to approach the issue with empathy and provide the necessary support to those in need. By sharing her personal journey, Curtis hopes to shed light on the challenges of addiction and inspire others to seek help.

[Source: NME]

And a new mushroom might help…

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

While Psilocybin offers hope for Anorexia treatment

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San Francisco Cops Have Already Seized More Narcotics Than All of 2022

Police in San Francisco said last week that they have already seized more narcotics this year than in all of 2022, representing what they described as an “unprecedented amount.”

The city’s police department announced in a news release on Friday that its officers have seized more than 123 kilograms of narcotics so far in 2023, saying that the drug seizures “come amid an ongoing focus by SFPD and partner agencies to dismantle the open-air drug markets in the [Tenderloin District],” one of the city’s art and music enclaves that has been plagued by crime, and other adjacent neighborhoods. 

The department said that 80 kilograms of the seized narcotics were fentanyl. 

Officers at Tenderloin Station “have arrested 533 people for selling narcotics so far in 2023, nearly surpassing the 566 total arrests for narcotics sales in all of 2022,” the San Francisco PD said in the release.

“I want to thank our officers for their incredible work,” San Francisco police chief Bill Scott said in a statement. “We are committed to getting these drugs off our streets, and we are holding these dealers accountable. San Francisco should be a safe place for residents, businesses, and visitors to enjoy. Together with our partner agencies, we are making a difference in our downtown corridor.”   

In a statement, San Francisco Mayor London Breed noted that drug enforcement in the Tenderloin District remains a high priority for the city.

“I applaud the San Francisco Police Department and all of our public safety partners for their focused work to get fentanyl and other drugs plaguing our communities off the streets,” said Breed. “Their collaborative efforts demonstrate the City’s commitment to making the neighborhood safer for residents, families, and children who call the Tenderloin home. We will continue to build on this momentum to disrupt open-air drug markets and the sale of illegal goods to make San Francisco safe for everyone.”  

Friday’s news release noted that, since late May, the San Francisco Police Department “has worked collaboratively with other city, state, and federal partners to increase enforcement efforts in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.”

“SFPD officers have been increasing patrols, buy-busts, warrant operations, and larger narcotics investigations, leading to more deadly drugs being taken off the streets amid an ongoing overdose crisis in San Francisco,” the release said. “The introduction of fentanyl into the city’s drug supply has caused fatal overdoses to dramatically increase in San Francisco in recent years. The SFPD recognizes that we must take a more aggressive approach to combat the crisis and improve street conditions and public safety.”

Fentanyl-related overdoses have risen significantly in the United States in recent years. A report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May showed that 69,943 died of a fentanyl-induced overdose in 2021, representing a rate of 21.6; in 2016, 18,499 died of an overdose from fentanyl at a rate of 5.7.

“The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl more than tripled over the study period, from 5.7 per 100,000 standard population in 2016 to 21.6 in 2021, with a 55.0% increase from 2019 (11.2) to 2020 (17.4), and a 24.1% increase from 2020 to 2021 (21.6). The rate of drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine more than quadrupled, from 2.1 in 2016 to 9.6 in 2021,” the report said. The rate of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine more than doubled, from 3.5 in 2016 to 7.9 per 100,000 in 2021. The rate of drug overdose deaths involving heroin decreased by 40.8%, from 4.9 in 2016 to 2.9 in 2021, although this decrease was not statistically significant. The rate of drug overdose deaths involving oxycodone decreased 21.0%, from 1.9 in 2016 to 1.5 in 2021.”

The post San Francisco Cops Have Already Seized More Narcotics Than All of 2022 appeared first on High Times.

US Fentanyl Crisis: Record High Drug Overdose Deaths in 2022, Washington Leading

Summary: Drug overdose deaths in the United States reached a new record in 2022, with 109,680 people dying as the fentanyl crisis deepened. Eight states, including Washington and Wyoming, saw drug deaths surge by 9% or more. However, some states hard hit by the opioid-fentanyl epidemic saw significant declines in drug deaths.

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Record Drug Overdose Deaths in US Amid Deepening Fentanyl Crisis

Drug deaths across the United States hit a new record in 2022, with 109,680 people dying as the fentanyl crisis continued to deepen, according to preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eight states, including Washington and Wyoming, saw drug deaths surge by 9% or more, with the greatest increases of 21% coming in these two states. Oregon also saw a 6.8% increase in drug deaths.

[Image credit: CDC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, expressed concern that deaths continue to rise despite the end of disruptions linked to the COVID pandemic. However, some states hard hit by the opioid-fentanyl epidemic saw significant declines in drug deaths. Maryland and West Virginia, two states severely affected by the crisis, each reduced fatalities by roughly 7% from 2021 to 2022.

The White House described these latest numbers as progress, arguing that by slowing the increase in drug deaths, thousands of lives have been saved nationwide. However, only 1 in 10 Americans experiencing addiction currently receive medical treatment.

[Source: OPB]

While Kratom seems to offer an alternative to opiates, there might be risks involved…

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

And medical cannabis isn’t the solution…

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FDA Approves Nasal Spray To Reverse Fentanyl Overdoses

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday said that it had given regulatory approval to a nasal spray that has proven effective in reversing overdoses caused by fentanyl and other opioids.

The spray, known as Opvee, is the “the first nalmefene hydrochloride nasal spray for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older,” the FDA said in the announcement, adding that it is also the “first FDA approval of nalmefene hydrochloride nasal spray for health care and community use.”

The approval is yet another step by policymakers in the United States to stem the tide of a nationwide drug crisis. Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that overdoses from fentanyl have spiked dramatically in recent years.

In Monday’s announcement, the FDA said that drug overdose “persists as a major public health issue in the United States, with more than 103,000 reported fatal overdoses occurring in the 12-month period ending in November 2022, primarily driven by synthetic opioids like illicit fentanyl.” 

It is also part of the FDA’s “Overdose Prevention Framework,” a program launched last year “to undertake impactful, creative actions to prevent drug overdoses and reduce deaths.” Earlier this year, the FDA approved the first overdose-reversal product that can be obtained without a prescription.

“The agency continues to advance the FDA Overdose Prevention Framework and take actionable steps that encourage harm reduction by supporting the development of novel overdose reversal products,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said in Monday’s announcement. 

“On the heels of the FDA’s recent approval of the first over-the-counter opioid reversal agent, the availability of nalmefene nasal spray places a new prescription opioid reversal option in the hands of communities, harm reduction groups and emergency responders.”

The opioid crisis in the United States has prompted lawmakers throughout the country to improve access to potentially life-saving drugs that can be used in the event of an overdose. The best-known is naloxone, which “has been used for decades to quickly counter overdoses of heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers,” according to the Associated Press.

Opvee works similarly to naloxone, the AP said, and it has “achieved similar recovery results to Narcan, the leading brand of naloxone nasal spray.”

More from the FDA:

“The approval of Opvee was supported by safety and pharmacokinetic studies, as well as a study in people who use opioids recreationally to assess how quickly the drug works. The most common adverse reactions include nasal discomfort, headache, nausea, dizziness, hot flush, vomiting, anxiety, fatigue, nasal congestion and throat irritation, pain in the nose (rhinalgia), decreased appetite, skin redness (erythema) and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). The use of nalmefene hydrochloride in patients who are opioid-dependent may result in opioid withdrawal characterized by the following signs and symptoms: body aches, diarrhea, fast heart rate (tachycardia), fever, runny nose, sneezing, goosebumps (piloerection), sweating, yawning, nausea or vomiting, nervousness, restlessness or irritability, shivering or trembling, abdominal cramps, weakness and increased blood pressure.”

In Minnesota, lawmakers are pushing to make Narcan available in schools.

“We simply cannot tolerate more needless loss of life. We have to act with urgency and we have to act now,” said Minnesota state Sen. Kelly Morrison, a Democrat, who is sponsoring the bill.

In its report released earlier this month, the CDC found that 69,943 people died of a fentanyl-induced overdose in 2021, which equals to a rate of 21.6 and is up considerably from 2016, when 18,499 died of an overdose from fentanyl at a rate of 5.7.

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