Drugs

Drugs In The Post; Dark Web

Is your postman unknowingly delivering drugs ordered online? Pirate Party Member Chris Monteiro explains how the dark web is making drug purchasing safe.

Friday, 6 January, 2017 - 14:15

Drugs

Morgan Hill's picture

Since the dawn of human existence we have been putting things into our bodies to see what they do, then repeating be cause we either liked, got addicted, or simply wanted a bigger sample size (yay science). Drugs aren’t even a human phenomenon, cats like catnip, and other animals have been chewing mildly hallucinogenic leaves for millennia. Somewhere in the trail of human history we developed the artificial idea of an acceptable drug, as science developed we were able to categorise them, and more recently the state has taken an interest in substance consumption.

I’m not by any means arguing that many drugs, used in many ways, aren’t harmful to health and society. My core position in that there will never be zero harm as a result of drugs, instead of targeting impractical zero drug futures, it would be more pragmatic, compassionate and successful to think about ways in which we can reduce the harm of drugs. We must recognise the complexity of a human diaspora. No single factor solely relates to the harm caused by drugs. There are no magic theories, that cover the individual and a massive population with equal accuracy, only suggestions that something might help.

Perfume and Paints to be banned across Lambeth!

Tuesday, 28 July, 2015 - 15:45

Under draconian new powers intended to be implemented by Lambeth Council on 17th August, you could be fined up to £1000 for buying or using perfume, paint, incense sticks, or any other 'intoxicating' substance in any public space within Lambeth.

Lambeth Council are seeking to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in order to crack down on the growing use of nitrous oxide (a legal high) in the borough and the associated litter and anti-social behaviour.

George Walkden : Clinical trials and tribulations: a role for Europe

It’s hard to imagine a better fairy-tale villain than a big pharma company. There’s something undeniably sinister about these vast, faceless titans with their unfathomable methods and international reach; so much so that it’s sometimes an effort to remember that, actually, they’re the ones who develop and mass-produce the drugs we use to stay alive. For that we owe them thanks – but let’s not get sentimental about it. These companies are still companies, and they have their own agendas and priorities, which often end up in conflict with those of the average mortal.

One instance of this conflict is the pharma companies’ vice-like grip, via patents, on the production of newly-developed drugs. This can put heavy financial pressure on health services, particularly in developing countries. Another conflict, which is the focus of this article, involves the publication of clinical trial data. Clinical trials are carried out on a massive scale as part of the process of bringing a new drug onto the market: the trials are meant to determine whether the drug is effective and safe, and whether patients would benefit from being prescribed it.

The problem, as Ben Goldacre clearly demonstrates in his excellent book Bad Pharma, is that the decision whether or not to publish the results of a given trial is determined by factors that are anything but scientific. Most worryingly, there is a strong bias towards publishing only positive results: if a trial’s results are negative, or inconclusive, there is a much higher likelihood that they will be stuffed into someone’s desk drawer and never see the light of day. This isn’t a problem that’s unique to industry-sponsored studies, but it certainly seems to be much worse there: a 2006 review found that 78% of industry-sponsored studies showed positive results for the drug in question, while only 48% of independently-funded studies came up with a favourable outcome. Hardly surprising given that pharma companies stand to gain from presenting their drug in the best possible light, but deeply worrying.

Abolishing drug patents

We aim to abolish drug patents, which will reduce drug costs drastically, since all drugs would become generic. This innovation would save the NHS vast sums of money; part of that saving will then be used to subsidise drug research.

The pharmaceutical industry currently spends around 15% of its patent drug income on research; we would support that expenditure with subsidies made possible in savings from the NHS. This will increase research budgets, while still saving the NHS money.