Don’t believe newspaper numbers about drugs

Dawn raids smash £50bn gang hiding heroin in fruit and veg

Err, no.

A £50 billion drug trafficking network believed to be Britain’s largest has been “dismantled from top to bottom” after a international operation, the National Crime Agency said yesterday.

Really, no.

The NCA said the drugs had been hidden in lorries carrying vegetables and juices from the Netherlands. Jayne Lloyd, its head of investigations, said: “We suspect this was a sophisticated crime group and we think we have now dismantled them from the top to the bottom.”

The gang had mainly targeted the UK, she said, and were believed to have been “involved in an industrial-scale operation, the biggest ever uncovered in the UK, bringing in tonnes of deadly drugs that were distributed to crime groups throughout the country”.

OK, so this is a UK operation.

Inquiries led the NCA to believe that 50 tonnes of drugs worth billions of pounds had been imported between February 2017 and October 2018.

That lasted 18 months perhaps?

So, problem one. Whatever the value of what they were doing it was obviously the wholesale value, not the street. Dealing drugs is known to be profitable so therefore there’s a price difference between wholesale and street. And always, but always, our valuations given are of street value. Nonsense that is.

But there’s more here. The total – street – value of the drugs trade is some £5 billion a year for the UK. We even include this number in GDP these days.

So, the claim is that this one drugs gang was moving, into the UK, over a period of 18 months, an entire decade’s worth of the total UK market – at street prices. And people expect us to believe this number?

Or, actually, The Times expects us to believe this number? Because it’s not in the NCA press release.

Jeebus

What’s causing this?

Scotland’s drugs death rate is now higher than the USA and every other country in Europe, and three times the UK average, according to shocking new figures.

The statistics released on Tuesday revealed that 1,187 people died following drug use last year, an increase of 27 per cent on 2017.

Methadone, the heroin substitute prescribed by the NHS to help heroin users, caused more deaths than the drug it is meant to replace and contributed to nearly half the total mortality figure.

The National Records of Scotland said the country now had a higher mortality rate than the whole of Europe.

Fentanyl in the heroin supply? I’ve heard this isn’t really a UK thing, given the already high purity of street heroin. So, what’s the change?

The statistics show that 72 per cent of those who died were male, with more than 1,000 deaths involving methadone, heroin and morphine. However, a large percentage of those who died – 792 – had also taken pills such as diazepam and etizolam.

It was reported last month that these “street valiums” can be bought for less than the price of a chocolate bar, at just 30p a pill in central Glasgow, and are often taken in conjunction with opiates, with fatal consequences.

This change in fashion and recipes?

Anyone got any good ideas as to why this rate is soaring? And no, lack of treatment options doesn’t cut it. Those who actually want off can get off.

What’s the definition of a Bond actor?

Dealer who sold chemsex drugs to serial killer Stephen Port convicted of Bond actor’s murder

??

A man who sold chemsex drugs to serial killer Stephen Port has been found guilty of killing a former Bond actor with an overdose.

Gerald Matovu, 26, a drug dealer, met Eric Michels, 54, via Grindr in August last year.

He plied him with a fatal dose of GHB at Mr Michels’ home in Chessington, south-east London, then made off with his bank card details and other belongings.

Mr Michels, who had an uncredited role as a cocktail party guest in Skyfall,

That might be stretching it a bit, no?

This is a surprise to whom

Snack manufacturers are enjoying a boost in sales in American states that have decriminalised marijuana.

Possibly that minority who have never had the munchies but other than that?

The four-year compound annual growth rate of snack sales in these ten states is 7.2 per cent, compared with 6 per cent where cannabis remains illegal, a report by the market research company Nielsen found. The same rate of growth for confectionery is 2 per cent in decriminalised states and 1.3 per cent in illegal states.

Nielsen concluded that decriminalisation of the drug “presents big opportunities for the American food and beverage market, particularly for the snack and confectionery category”.

An academic study published this year appears to support the findings.

There is no other explanation for the McDonald’s cheeseburger after all…..

Thassa Lotta Coke

A Japanese man with 246 packets of cocaine in his stomach and intestines died mid-flight on his way from Bogota to Tokyo, authorities have said in northern Mexico where the plane made an emergency landing.

Hmm.

An autopsy found the man had swallowed 246 packets of cocaine, each measuring 1cm by 2.5cm. The cause of death was swelling of the brain caused by a drug overdose, prosecutors said.

We don’t get the third number to be able to calculate the volume. But I’ve got, if it’s 1 cm for that third, 600 cubic centimetres of cocaine. I’ll lost track of the zeros if I try to work through that but that is a lotta coke, isn’t it?

Seems a little odd

The genteel world of pétanque has been rocked by accusations that Belgian players use cocaine to give them a performance-enhancing edge in international matches.

British holidaymakers have long been charmed by the sight of aging players idly tossing their boules on the sun-kissed courts and squares of France.

But two leading Dutch pétanque internationals have sparked outrage in the sport by claiming that Belgian players dope in the hard-fought matches.

“I know enough Belgian players who use coke,” Edward Vinke, 46, told the the Vice sports website. “They go to the toilet and do not throw a wrong ball when they come back. They really feel like the king.”

“I experienced it once,” Kees Koogje, 27, told the website,“We were far ahead and had played flawlessly. Then they went to the bathroom for ten minutes and came back with huge eyes. Everything went well for them.”

Why would cocaine aid? Is it a confidence thing? Going for throws that more normally wouldn’t be tried but should be?

Chaaaaaarge!

This is supposed to deter and warn is it, not encourage?

Foragers have been warned of an abundance of magic mushrooms after the mild winter caused the psychedelic fungi to thrive.

Specialists say the warmer weather means the psychedelic, naturally-occurring class-A drug has been found growing in large numbers across Staffordshire and Shropshire.

John Hughes, a fungi expert at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, warned: “The longer the season, the greater the risk foragers could accidentally pick something hallucinogenic, so with the warmer winter this is definitely more of a risk this year than in previous years.

So what?

Doctors have been accused of denying medicinal cannabis to patients on the NHS despite its legalisation by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary.

Patients are being forced to pay for the treatment privately or travel abroad after being told by doctors they are not entitled to the drug because there is no clinical evidence that it is beneficial.

They’ll not give you antibiotics for a cold either, on the grounds that there’s no clinical evidence that’s beneficial.

So, who knows people in Malawi then?

I seem to recall that a reader here knows the country. Something about Blantyre wanders around the back of memory.

What is needed is someone who knows the ruling apparatus. Who grants licences and how.

for an adventure of very great profit but none to know what it is.

Ah, so that’s it

Two British amateur rugby players died after taking lethal doses of heroin while on a post-match night out in Sri Lanka, a judge has ruled.

Thomas Howard, 25, and Thomas Baty, 26, were on tour in the country when they died in May after suffering breathing difficulties.

We mentioned this when it happened. Heroin being an odd drug to take while nightclubbing.

But, you know, different places, different drugs. And snorting heroin like it’s cocaine is an excellent manner of going into respirtatory failure…..

Interesting mixture

Tom Petty, the much-loved American rock star who passed away in October, died from an accidental drug overdose, it was revealed on Friday.

The music legend, best known for hits such as “Free Fallin'” and “American Girl”, died at the age of 66 after a “mixed toxicity” of a variety of medications, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office said.

Dana and Adria Petty, his wife and daughter, shared the results of the autopsy, which revealed the presence in his body of fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetyl fentanyl, and despropionyl fentanyl.

“Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip,” they said in a statement.

“Despite this painful injury he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury.

Sounds a bit Michael Jackson to have been getting all those from the doctors, doesn’t it?

Beats rat poison I guess

The drug that caused a mass overdose among nine backpackers who were taken to hospital in Perth has been identified as a common prescription drug called hyoscine, which is used to treat travel sickness.

The group of backpackers, aged 21 to 25, thought they were snorting cocaine on Tuesday night but suffered violent reactions, with three put in intensive care in induced comas.

The group reportedly included young people from France, Germany, Italy and Morocco.

Just another example of why legalisation is such a good idea. Tooting will happen – why not make sure it doesn’t kill people?

Time to legalise

‘It’s all fentanyl’: opioid crisis takes shape in Philadelphia as overdoses surge
Nationally, over the past three years, fentanyl-related deaths have increased by 540%, and the epidemic is felt acutely in Philadelphia’s Kensington area

It’s the variability of the dose that kills:

Heroin itself rarely kills. Pharmaceutically pure that is, in measured doses. The two most common, by far, causes of overdoses are those coming back to it after a layoff, dosing as before and having lost much of their tolerance, and variable doses in the material itself.

Modern chemistry has made this very much worse with synthetics like fentanyl. It’s hugely cheaper and also very much stronger. More, the gap between a dose that produces a high and one that kills is very much smaller. Some to much “heroin” is now cut with such synthetics, making a dose even more of a lottery than it has traditionally been.

As we say, this is now enough of a problem that something really must be done. We’ve tried half a century of prosecuting, persecuting, those who simply wish to get high and as we can see that doesn’t work. Legalisation – no, not decriminalisation, full legalisation – is the only viable answer.

For it is the variability of the dose that is killing people. Only when brands appear with controlled and known dosages will the deaths stop. Thus we want to have such legal brands.

Sigh

When the drugs came, they hit all at once. It was the 80s, and by the time one in 10 people had slipped into the depths of heroin use – bankers, university students, carpenters, socialites, miners – Portugal was in a state of panic.

The government’s estimate of the peak is 1 in 100.