Friday, June 22, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Friday, June 22, 2007

  • Good TECHNOCORRECTIONS news. “A pair of new vaccines designed to combat cocaine and methamphetamine dependencies not only relieve addiction but also minimize withdrawal symptoms, according to study results presented today by Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) researchers at the Annual Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence in Quebec City, Canada. The vaccines stimulate the body to produce antibodies which then attack the drug while it is in the blood stream. This prevents the drug from reaching the brain and creating the reactions that contribute to dependency. ‘These are therapeutic, not preventative, vaccines,’ said lead investigator Dr. Thomas Kosten, Jay H. Waggoner Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry at BCM and research director of the Veteran Affairs national Substance Use Disorders Quality Enhancement Research Initiative. ‘They are meant for those who are already suffering from drug addiction.’” Before we get too excited, though: “Kosten stresses that while the vaccines have been shown to help overcome drug addictions, they do not necessarily curb relapse. ‘This is not a stand-alone treatment,’ Kosten said. ‘There is a reason drugs were used in the first place, and that needs to be dealt with either through counseling or behavioral therapies.’”
  • Speaking of TECHNO, looks like we may need to learn this word, too: pharmacogenomics. Deals with tailoring pharmaceutical interventions specifically for individual genetic types (does not sound like a good deal for the pharma companies that mass market pills based on “one size fits all”). Clearly this will advance the science necessary to tailor pharmaceutical interventions for substance abuse offenders as well. More good work from the folks at Neuroethics & Law.
  • You might think it only an interesting hobby that researchers are figuring out where marijuana was grown geographically and may be able soon to catch whether it was grown inside or out. But, with the emphasis on medical marijuana users being able to grow their own or get it locally, being able to pinpoint, why, no, that weed actually came from Dallas, might be of interest to law enforcement types and both sides in the debates over further legalization for medical purposes. (Like in RI, for example.)
  • Sad story on both human and institutional failure out of GA where cost-saving cuts in a state substance abuse treatment program left a strung-out young woman on her own. Fatally.
  • Laura Appleman at Prawfsblawg alerts us to a very interesting argument on the redevelopment of “private justice” in the US. I have problems with much of it, particularly its assertion that privatization has only affected law enforcement in the process end of things. This is news to those of us in states with 25% of our inmates in private beds. And the idea that private justice is prevailing because public institutions are failing to rehab offenders when there is, if anything, better evidence that private institutions have the incentive to do even less along that line is, let’s say, thought-provoking. Still, it’s a nice piece to launch more discussion around (95 pages, though, so be warned). I think it well describes much of what we talk about here, how the continual “gotcha” and “ends justify means” mentalities that we see among sentencing participants, the lack of true concern about justice, innocence, and the importance of public perceptions of those things for the legitimacy and operation of what we do. I think the author is right in sounding the warning bell to those who insist that we don’t need to rethink the whole adversarial system and all the perversities it’s engendered. People do have alternatives, they’re growing, and those proclaiming their virtue the loudest will be the first ones targeted by any changes. Good article.
  • Corey Rayburn Yung has a nice catch of a Times of London piece on how the British deal with sex offenders differently from our “Megan’s Law” approaches here. Crazy Brits are applying evidence of effectiveness to their policy actions, which we resolutely refuse to do in the US, as Corey also notes here.
  • Oops. Talk about cognitive dissonance. “A Fort Worth-area physician twice recognized by the Texas House of Representatives as its "Doctor of the Day" is a registered sex offender, according to a broadcast report.” Just seems just somehow, doesn't it?

1 comment:

ricky said...

Some of you who are into Southern Sudan - where it is all happening at the moment - might follow regular news up-dates like i.e. the Irin News, Sudan Watch or the Sudan Tribune.I like the alternative versions of the news and development in Sudan and some interesting stuff is going on in the Sudanese blogsphere, which is surely not just limited to Sudan - it is global:There is Amanda, who writes from Rumbek in South Sudan on amongst others about being black in a white aid-world: Unfortuantely because of world wide stereoptypes about Black people, I find that people doubt that I can do this work. Simply put they think that I am not qualified. I have noticed this especially when I meet white American women (who are a majority in the international aid/development field).
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