Will Colorado some day end up like Northern California? Could the Centennial State’s economy come to be dominated by the cultivation and sale of cannabis? By some reports, the entire economy of Humboldt County on the coast of rural Northern California revolves around marijuana. Property owners planting cannabis on their land. People being employed on the grow operations, including seasonal laborers who stand by the roadside advertising their services as cannabis trimmers for the harvest. And then there are the activities that support the marijuana trade, from the businesses that sell equipment and good necessary to the operations to everything from grocery stores and landlords whose livelihood depends in large measure on the fact that so many people in that area are working in the illegal drug trade. On paper, Humboldt County’s economy is heavily dependent on other sectors of industry — for example, the county is the source of a major portion of all the timber exports from California — but this of course does not include the impact that growing and selling cannabis has on the local economy. Simply put, many of the jobs in Humboldt County are entirely dependent on the fact that the area is the source of a large amount of all the domestically grown marijuana in the United States. In fact, Humboldt County is part of a larger region known as the Emerald Triangle (similar to the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia which is a region famous for opium production), which also features major marijuana growing regions including Mendocino and Trinity Counties. Continue reading
America woke up on Super Bowl Sunday this year to the news that Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had been found dead of drug overdose in his apartment. Hoffman was discovered with a needle in his arm, in fact, removing any initial doubts that the death might have been caused by anything but drug use. Investigators at the scene also found heroin in Hoffman’s apartment. This fit in with the fact that the actor had spent 10 days in rehab last year for problems with heroin and prescription painkillers.
In December 2012, a group of experts in pharmaceutical drugs was called together by the Food and Drug Administration to provide an opinion on whether or not it was a good idea to permit the manufacture of a new painkiller formulation. The manufacturer was Zogenix. They wanted to sell a new pain pill that contained only hydrocodone, a synthetic opiate.
This panel recommended not approving this new drug. Why? Because formulations containing hydrocodone are among the most popular drugs abused by the addicted. Continue reading
Narconon was recently the focus of a story in CityWatch, a Los Angeles area news publication which reports on local stories that are of interest to people in the City of Angels. “The Narconon Lesson: It’s Never too Late,” tells the story of Narconon’s development and its history over the more than 40 years since the organization was founded. It also discusses modern views on the Narconon program and the work that it is doing in the world, as well as addressing some of the most common misconceptions about Narconon. The author of the piece is Rosemary Jenkins, who is described by CityWatch as being a Democratic activist who serves as the chair of the Northeast Valley Green Coalition. In addition to her work as a reporter for CityWatch, she is also a published author with books ranging from poetry to composition and grammar. In the recent article, she does a good job of providing readers with an introduction to Narconon and a basic understanding of the program and what type of impact it is having on the world. Continue reading
If you type the phrase, “digital detox” into Google Trends, a service of Google which tracks the volume of Internet searches for any given term you want to know about, you won’t see any activity on the graph prior to March of 2010. Over the course of the next 21 months, the phrase continues to be one of relatively little interest. In January 2013, however, “digital detox” burst into the public consciousness, becoming a topic of great interest to people throughout the nation. It has continued on an upward trend since then. If you haven’t heard of it, digital detox is the action of unplugging oneself from the Internet, taking an exit off the information superhighway and stepping back from the constant inundation of digital information on computers, smart phones, smart TVs and other types of electronic communications devices. Less than a decade ago, smart phones were unheard of, and it has been only a generation since the Internet took root in the average person’s home in a personal computer. Life has changed immeasurably, and many people are choosing to step back, at least for a little while, to reevaluate how much time they really want to spend “plugged into the matrix.” Continue reading
With all the changes in our country in the last few years, it can be hard to know what people really think about marijuana. After all, the voters in twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of this drug for medical purposes. I would imagine that parents are having a difficult time knowing what to say to their children. Preventing their children from abusing this drug must go far beyond a simple threat of “If I find you with marijuana, you’ll be grounded for months.”
Surely, if a drug is approved for medical use in such a widespread fashion, it would be remarkably benign in use. But a report from the British Journal of Psychiatry notes that the undesirable mental effects of cannabis include: Continue reading
What is drug withdrawal? It is the experience that a person who is addicted to drugs goes through at the outset when quitting. A drug addict may also face withdrawal symptoms when he or she can’t get another fix and has gone longer than normal without using the drug. If you have ever been a regular coffee drinker, you can get some idea of what drug withdrawals are like when you think of how you feel when you skip your morning cup. You might feel a headache, or perhaps you get irritable and snappy with your family or co-workers. This example, however, does not fully measure up to the actual experience of withdrawals. Continue reading
In many ways, 2014 is shaping up to be a year that will to a large degree be shaped by drugs. The past many decades have seen major societal changes which had their source in drug use trends or which were largely influenced by drugs. The explosion of the youth culture and rock in the 1960s quickly fell under the sway of drugs including marijuana and psychedelics. Crack cocaine ravaged the inner cities in the 1980s and destroyed families and communities with results still being felt today. The enactment of harsh minimum mandatory sentencing laws for federal drug crimes in the 1980s led to an exponential increase in the incarceration rate, to the point where the United States now has the world’s largest prison population both in terms of percentage of the population and in absolute numbers. Like it or not, we live in a society which is greatly influenced by drugs, and the coming year looks to be a watershed in the history of America’s relationship with drugs. Continue reading
In the early days of November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. It was the deadliest typhoon on record, claiming the lives of more than 6,150 people, injuring more than 28,600 and leaving countless more homeless and exposed to the elements. The storm is estimated to have racked up nearly $830 million in property damage. The storm attracted some media attention in the days immediately following the event, but it was shortly eclipsed by another news story that came to dominate the headlines: the death of actor Paul Walker. What a great many of the people who mourned the actor’s death did not know was that at the time of his tragic car accident, he was working to raise money to support the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. He was killed in a traffic collision while out on a car ride as part of a fundraising event for his charity, Reach Out WorldWide. Walker was known by most as one of the stars of the Fast and the Furious film series, but he filled much of his off-screen time running the charity, which provided help to people in locations throughout the world. Among those who benefitted from the generosity of Paul Walker and his colleagues at Reach Out WorldWide were 9 mothers and their 21 children who spent this last Christmas at the Pajara Valley Women’s Shelter in Watsonville, CA. Continue reading
Every year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health, publishes its Monitoring the Future survey. The survey presents a valuable insight into the current trends and rates of drug abuse in the United States. It serves as a representative cross-section of the American youth, allowing us to see what is happening in terms of things such as: Continue reading