Tarboro NC – Breaking News: News conference on Edgecombe slayings planned

Authorities investigating the unsolved slayings of at least five Rocky Mount women and the disappearances of three others have planned a news conference for Tuesday. (WRAL)

See related:

Murdered/Missing Women in Rocky Mount NC

 

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Tarboro NC – Edgecombe to commemorate progress since Floyd

For many Edgecombe County residents, September 1999 is full of painful reminders of Hurricane Floyd’s fury and lingering presence.

Fast forward 10 years later, and Edgecombe County officials are giving residents a reason to reflect on the life-changing event with a commemoration, which also will denote the county’s rebuilding and advancement efforts. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Drug War – It’s Time to Legalize Drugs

Undercover Baltimore police officer Dante Arthur was doing what he does well, arresting drug dealers, when he approached a group in January. What he didn’t know was that one of suspects knew from a previous arrest that Arthur was police. Arthur was shot twice in the face. In the gunfight that ensued, Arthur’s partner returned fire and shot one of the suspects, three of whom were later arrested. (Washington Post)

Drug War – Study Backs Heroin to Treat Addiction

New York Times

August 20, 2009

Study Backs Heroin to Treat Addiction

By BENEDICT CAREY

The safest and most effective treatment for hard-core heroin addicts who fail to control their habit using methadone or other treatments may be their drug of choice, in prescription form, researchers are reporting after the first rigorous test of the approach performed in North America.

For years, European countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands have allowed doctors to provide some addicts with prescription heroin as an alternative to buying drugs on the street. The treatment is safe and keeps addicts out of trouble, studies have found, but it is controversial not only because the drug is illegal but also because policy makers worry that treating with heroin may exacerbate the habit.

The study, appearing in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, may put some of those concerns to rest.

It showed that heroin works better than methadone in this population of users, and patients will be more willing to take it, said Dr. Joshua Boverman, a psychiatrist at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

Perhaps the biggest weakness of methadone treatment, Dr. Boverman said, is that many patients dont want to take it; they just dont like it.

In the study, researchers in Canada enrolled 226 addicts with longstanding habits who had failed to improve using other methods, including methadone maintenance therapy. Doctors consider methadone, a chemical cousin to heroin that prevents withdrawal but does not induce the same high, to be the best treatment for narcotic addiction. A newer drug, buprenorphine, is also effective.

The Canadian researchers randomly assigned about half of the addicts to receive methadone and the other half to receive daily injections of diacetylmorphine, the active ingredient in heroin. After a year, 88 percent of those receiving the heroin compound were still in the study, and two-thirds of them had significantly curtailed their illicit activities, including the use of street drugs. In the methadone group, 54 percent were still in the study and 48 percent had curbed illicit activities.

The main finding is that, for this group that is generally written off, both methadone and prescription heroin can provide real benefits, said the senior author, Martin T. Schechter, a professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.

Those taking the heroin injections did suffer more side effects; there were 10 overdoses and six seizures. But Dr. Schechter said there was no evidence of abuse. The average dosage the subjects took was 450 milligrams, well below the 1,000-milligram maximum level.

About 663,000 Americans are regular users of heroin, according to government estimates. The researchers said 15 percent to 25 percent of them were heavy users and could benefit from prescription heroin. That is, if they ever were to get the chance. Heroin is an illegal, Schedule 1 substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and serves no legitimate medical purpose. That designation is unlikely to change soon, researchers suspect.

In an editorial with the article, Virginia Berridge of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded, The rise and fall of methods of treatment in this controversial area owe their rationale to evidence, but they also often owe more to the politics of the situation.

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Better Life Society – A New View of the War on Drugs!

R. James Taylor has sent you a message on Better Life Society

` Just in case you missed it, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of America’s modern “war on drugs.” In the prosecution of this so-called war, we, as a nation, have spent well over a trillion dollars, imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people and wrecked millions of lives. Yet, to paraphrase a recent Nicholas Kristof column in the New York Times, America fought a war against drugs and drugs won.

It is time to declare defeat; legalize most currently illegal drugs; and begin to treat drug addiction primarily as a medical problem and not as a crime.

First, the war on drugs was launched and is perpetuated primarily for racist reasons. Then President Richard Nixon began the war in 1969. That year is significant because it marks the end of the turbulent decade of the 1960s when Blacks were doing everything from marching and protesting to rioting for justice.

Instead of acknowledging and addressing the racial inequalities and injustices which lay at the root of African American unrest, conservative thinkers like Nixon blamed communism and drugs. Thus, the drug war was launched primarily (though not exclusively) to curb urban unrest by putting as many Blacks in jail as possible.

Second, the war has been an abysmal failure. Drugs are just as plentiful as they always have been; prices remain low making them accessible to anyone with a few dollars; and the quality is more pure making them more dangerous to the body.

As recently as 1980, there were just 41,000 Americans in prison on drug charges. Today that number stands at over 500,000.

blogtalkradio – Schools are Prisons and other hopeful glimmerings from John Taylor Gatto.

AUGUST 30, 2009 THIS SUNDAY 9:00 PM ET 2 hrs

this week we have John Taylor Gatto, the multiple winner of Teacher of the Year accolades and author of such books as "Dumbing Us Down" and "Weapons of Mass Instruction" whose intent is to showcase how schools are used by the state as a breeding ground for stupid, dependent consumers. This is a great show and not to be missed. (blogtalkradio)

From the White House – REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT EULOGY FOR SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY

THE PRESIDENT:  Your Eminence, Vicki, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

     Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy.  The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the United States Senate — a man who graces nearly 1,000 laws, and who penned more than 300 laws himself. (The White House)