So, they are doing the obvious thing then

A judge on Friday refused to block Nebraska from carrying out the state’s first-ever lethal injection despite a pharmaceutical company’s claims that the state illicitly obtained its drugs, clearing the way for the country’s first execution with fentanyl.

Not as if there’s a shortage of it about now, is it?

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.


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.

How absolutely fascinating

A common refrain of people emerging from hallucinatory highs, whether LSD, mescaline or peyote, is that consciousness-altering psychedelic drugs can make one more attuned to the natural world. But does that psychedelicized sense of the connectedness of all things persist once the high has faded?
A recent study from the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggests it does. In the study, psychologists from Yale University and the University of Innsbruck asked 1,487 about their psychedelic experiences and their self-reported environmentalist behaviors and affiliation for things “green.” The researchers also sought to identify common personality traits associated with drug use or relating to nature, such as openness to experience, conscientiousness and conservatism.
The researchers found that people who had used psychedelic drugs reported more environmentally friendly behaviors, such as recycling and reducing their carbon footprint. Many also reported a greater sense of oneness with nature. They also found that the more psychedelics used, the greater the sense of connectedness, and the greater the reported pro-environmental activities.

Frying your mind makes you recycle more. Hmm…..

This isn’t an error in the law, rather in the CPS

But there have been calls for a review of the law after the first prosecutions involving laughing gas were dismissed by the trial judge, following successful legal challenges.

The wide-ranging law banning so-called legal highs came into force in May 2017 to stamp out the distribution, sale and supply of substances capable of producing a psychoactive effect.

A number of substances, including alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and medical products were excluded from the legislation.

Last month two men accused of trying to sell nitrous oxide at the Glastonbury music festival walked free from court after their lawyer argued the gas was exempt from the new psychoactive substance legislation, because it was also used for medical purposes.

Earlier this week a second case, involving an alleged supplier in London, also collapsed after the prosecution’s own expert witness admitted nitrous oxide was exempt under the current legislation.

Maybe MPs did mean to ban nitrous oxide. But the entire point of the CPS is to have someone deciding what should be prosecuted. And they should, above all, know what the actual law is.

This was obviously going to happen, wasn’t it?

A man has been charged with using a drone to smuggle more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine into the US from Mexico.

Jorge Edwin Rivera, 25, told the US authorities that he was paid to deliver the drugs to an accomplice at a filling station in San Diego.

Rivera, who is a US citizen, admitted smuggling the drugs five or six times since March.

Border agents spotted the flying drone on August 8 and tracked it back to Rivera who was about 2,000 yards from the border.

He was found with the methamphetamine in a lunchbox and a drone was hidden in a nearby bush.

Drones have not normally been the mode of choice for smuggling narcotics into the America, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

This is because they are only capable of carrying small amounts and are regarded as less cost-effective than using boats or hidden vehicle compartments.

As carrying weight and range increase, they’ll ever more become the method of choice.

Sure, this guy got caught, but they do solve the basic smuggling problem, which is that no one has to put themselves at direct risk by being with the contraband while in that customs station.

Personal responsibility, nope, never heard of it

Don’t blame addicts for America’s opioid crisis. Here are the real culprits
Chris McGreal

America’s opioid crisis was caused by rapacious pharma companies, politicians who colluded with them and regulators who approved one opioid pill after another

This is to believe that opiod addiction is some incredible physical addiction. It ain’t.

Sure, cold turkey ain’t pleasant, akin to a proper dose of the ‘flu. But in physical terms that’s pretty much what it is. It’s nowhere near as bad, for example, as a proper full blown alcoholic trying to go cold turkey. That can and sometimes does kill.

The mental addiction is something different of course. Opiods feel wonderful, it’s the desire to feel that wonderful which is the rather more difficult part of the addiction. We rather learnt all this, or at least should have done, in the aftermath of Vietnam. Usage, or addiction if you prefer, rates in theatre was massive, 15 and 25%, some estimates higher. Get home and they drop by 95% or more. MD Stanton has had a lot to say about this.

The rest of the complaint is somehow that government caused this therefore it’s the drug companies to blame.


Most street opiates (including heroin) are now laced or replaced with fentanyl – the drug that killed the singer Prince – and its analogues, far more powerful than heroin and so cheap that drug-dealing profits are skyrocketing at about the same rate as overdose deaths. The UK’s National Crime Agency said that traces of fentanyl have been found in 46 people who died this year. Users don’t know what they’re getting and they take too much. Fentanyl is recognised as a primary driver of the overdose epidemic.

Yep, fentanyl has a very much smaller “dose gap” (used because I don’t know the real phrase), that space between getting high and being dead. Variable amounts in illegal supplies therefore often kill.

Entirely true, quite right, fentanyl is killing people.

But the peculiar appeal of opioids tells us more about ourselves as a society, as a culture, than the tumultuous ups and downs of addiction statistics. Today’s young people come of age and carve out their adult lives in an environment of astronomical uncertainty. Corporations that used to pride themselves on fairness to their employees now strive only for profit. The upper echelons of management are as risk-infected as the lowest clerks. Massive layoffs rationalised by the eddies of globalisation make long-term contracts prehistoric relics. I ask the guys who come to the house to deliver packages how they like their jobs. They can’t say. They get up to three six-month contracts in a row and then get laid off so the company won’t have to pay them benefits.

People pour out of universities with all manner of degrees, yet with skills that are rapidly becoming irrelevant. But people without degrees are even worse off. They find themselves virtually unemployable, because there are so many others in the same pool, and employers will hire whoever comes cheapest. The absurdly low minimum wage figures in the US clearly exacerbate the situation. As hope for steady employment fizzles, so does the opportunity to connect with family, friends and society more broadly, and there is way too much time to kill. Opioids can help reduce the despair.

But you’ve just told us it’s the dosage problem with fentanyl which is causing it all!

I wonder

Nine people died from fentanyl opioid overdoses in the Canadian city of Vancouver in just the past 24 hours, Mayor Gregor Robertson said Friday.

Perhaps this will play out like the crack cocaine epidemic did.

PJ O’Rourke has a doctor in one of his essays saying it will burn out naturally. Because the people who take it will be dead.

The problem with fentanyl being twofold. It’s very, very powerful. And the gap between a decent high and dead is not large. The two combine to make measurement of doses – and obviously it’s worse for an illegal product – difficult and thus lots of people die.

Don’t know much about chemistry

But this would seem to be a problem that cannot be solved:

The network often avoids efforts to stop it by trading not only in finished fentanyl but related products subject to little or no regulation in China or internationally. These include some copies of fentanyl known as analogs, as well as the chemical ingredients and pill presses used to produce the drug, according to the documents and interviews.

The China Food and Drug Administration declined to comment on the sale and production of fentanyl and referred questions to the Ministry of Public Security, which didn’t respond.

The problem that cannot be solved being that fentanyl is an entirely synthetic opioid.

Costing perhaps $800 for the chemicals to make a batch and fetching, as pills, some $800,000. A gross mark up of 1000 x (no, not 1,000%, sales are 1,000 x cost of raw materials).

Can’t see that trying to prevent this will work. And OK, so they’re calling for the precursors to be controlled. But it’s all entirely synthetic. So producers can just keep going on down the line if they feel so inclined. In theory at least you could start with a bunch of black pepper and some water and get there. Yes, OK, slightly hyperbolic but still.

Banning this shit just isn’t going to work.