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Archive for the ‘Drugs’ Category

National Guard drill at high school to prepare for possible H1N1 riot

Posted by kelliasworld on August 14, 2009

From the Lewiston, ME Sun Journal
By Leslie H. Dixon, Staff Writer
Published: Aug 13, 2009 1:46 am
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PARIS — Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School will be the site of a National Guard riot control drill Thursday morning to prepare in the event of a panic over distribution of serum to treat the swine flu.

The school on Route 26 at the Paris-Norway town line has been designated by state officials as a distribution site for the H1N1 flu vaccine. The drill is to prepare for a worst-case scenario should the serum have to be transported from Augusta and people rush to get it.

On Thursday morning, four or five National Guard Humvees will travel from Augusta to Paris with vials of fake serum. The National Guardsmen will take on the roles of panicked citizens and military police and practice what they would do, such as using tear gas, in the case of a riot.

“This is just a component of moving the stuff from point A to B,” said Oxford County Emergency Management Agency Director Scott Parker. The plan will be put into place only if needed, he said.

Plans were developed in April to have vials of serum sent from the federal government to Augusta, Parker said. From Augusta, the supplies will be transported to designated distribution centers.

During the April conference, concerns were raised about a possible out-of-control rush on the serum, Parker said. Because of that concern, Gov. John Baldacci and Gen. John Libby, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, agreed that a plan should be devised to quell such a disturbance.

Local police chiefs have also been involved in the planning, Parker said. In a real event, local police would be in charge of security once the serum arrives in Paris. “We own it. We’re in charge of providing security,” he said.

As of Aug. 5, the Maine Center for Disease Control said there had been 323 confirmed cases of H1N1 in Maine, of which 176 are Maine residents and the rest out-of-staters diagnosed in Maine. A total of 19 people required hospitalization. Sixty percent of the victims were under the age of 25.

On Tuesday, health authorities reported Maine’s first death from the H1N1 virus. Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, said a York County man in his 50s was hospitalized for three weeks and died last week of underlying conditions complicated by H1N1.

The drill will take place behind the school and will not affect the day-to-day activities within the school. Access to the school building will be available through the main entrance, Parker said.


Note that serum to treat the flu is different from a vaccine to prevent the flu. Note also that Maine’s first death related to H1N1 was a York County man in his 50s was hospitalized for three weeks and died last week of underlying conditions complicated by H1N1. This has been typical of deaths related to swine flu and flu in general. So why is the government (and its stenographers in the media) getting all hot under the collar about swine flu? Why is the National Guard getting ready for a riot? Could it be the billions of dollars Big Pharma stand to make worldwide from mandatory vaccination programs?

Could it be, as one commenter to this article said:
ritamd says

We’re all going to be stampeding for WHAT?
The title should read’



Posted in Drugs, Military, Pandemic, Panic | 3 Comments »

Let Me Chew My Coca Leaves

Posted by kelliasworld on April 13, 2009

March 14, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor
New York Times Original Content


La Paz, Bolivia

THIS week in Vienna, a meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs took place that will help shape international antidrug efforts for the next 10 years. I attended the meeting to reaffirm Bolivia’s commitment to this struggle but also to call for the reversal of a mistake made 48 years ago.

In 1961, the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs placed the coca leaf in the same category with cocaine — thus promoting the false notion that the coca leaf is a narcotic — and ordered that “coca leaf chewing must be abolished within 25 years from the coming into force of this convention.” Bolivia signed the convention in 1976, during the brutal dictatorship of Col. Hugo Banzer, and the 25-year deadline expired in 2001.

So for the past eight years, the millions of us who maintain the traditional practice of chewing coca have been, according to the convention, criminals who violate international law. This is an unacceptable and absurd state of affairs for Bolivians and other Andean peoples.

Many plants have small quantities of various chemical compounds called alkaloids. One common alkaloid is caffeine, which is found in more than 50 varieties of plants, from coffee to cacao, and even in the flowers of orange and lemon trees. Excessive use of caffeine can cause nervousness, elevated pulse, insomnia and other unwanted effects.

Another common alkaloid is nicotine, found in the tobacco plant. Its consumption can lead to addiction, high blood pressure and cancer; smoking causes one in five deaths in the United States. Some alkaloids have important medicinal qualities. Quinine, for example, the first known treatment for malaria, was discovered by the Quechua Indians of Peru in the bark of the cinchona tree.

The coca leaf also has alkaloids; the one that concerns antidrug officials is the cocaine alkaloid, which amounts to less than one-tenth of a percent of the leaf. But as the above examples show, that a plant, leaf or flower contains a minimal amount of alkaloids does not make it a narcotic. To be made into a narcotic, alkaloids must typically be extracted, concentrated and in many cases processed chemically. What is absurd about the 1961 convention is that it considers the coca leaf in its natural, unaltered state to be a narcotic. The paste or the concentrate that is extracted from the coca leaf, commonly known as cocaine, is indeed a narcotic, but the plant itself is not.

Why is Bolivia so concerned with the coca leaf? Because it is an important symbol of the history and identity of the indigenous cultures of the Andes.

The custom of chewing coca leaves has existed in the Andean region of South America since at least 3000 B.C. It helps mitigate the sensation of hunger, offers energy during long days of labor and helps counter altitude sickness. Unlike nicotine or caffeine, it causes no harm to human health nor addiction or altered state, and it is effective in the struggle against obesity, a major problem in many modern societies.

Today, millions of people chew coca in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and northern Argentina and Chile. The coca leaf continues to have ritual, religious and cultural significance that transcends indigenous cultures and encompasses the mestizo population.

Mistakes are an unavoidable part of human history, but sometimes we have the opportunity to correct them. It is time for the international community to reverse its misguided policy toward the coca leaf.

Evo Morales Ayma is the president of Bolivia.
I would trust indigenous peoples who have been using a plant for thousands of years, and the way they use it, over bureaucratic and often racist institutions that don’t want to understand the difference between a natural plant (the coca leaf) and a manufactured chemical (cocaine).

The coca leaf is not alone in being unfairly demonized. Peyote, as used in Native American rituals, and marijuana — I know several people who use it medicinally here in California — are two other plants the use of which has been deemed “abuse” per se by the mainstream.

It is well past the time we stopped tarring everything with the same brush and started looking at the differences between natural and manufactured substances, between “use” and “abuse” –just about everything on earth can be both used and abused in our dualistic world–and between medicinal, cultural or religious uses of substances and casual, even careless recreational uses. Scientific investigation of these substances should be welcomed, IF the inquiries are scientifically rigorous and the experiments, and the reports of their results, are devoid of politics.

Of course, that would require a few things our society is short of right now: Politicians who are not looking for votes by promoting a “war” on drugs; parents, teachers, clergy and others who are willing and able to communicate to the young the differences between use and abuse of substances, (even the currently legal ones), legitimate scientific inquiry into biological reasons why people seek intoxication, legitimate social science inquiry into why people seek intoxication, government dedicated to eradicating the social conditions which induce people to abuse substances, and a healthcare system that welcomes medicinal herbs into its pharmacopeia, rather than “Big Pharma’s” fear of competition for its highly processed and expensive chemicals from more cheaply available natural substances.–K.R.

Posted in Drugs | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »