A case against the drug war

first_imgWhy would medical research on a relatively new psychoactive substance cease? Why would experimentation with a drug that had promising results be stopped?Speaking at Harvard Law School about her new memoir, “A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference In My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life,” Ayelet Waldman, J.D. ’91, focused on the social aspects of such decisions. Although “Day” chronicles her own experiences microdosing with one such substance — LSD — the author focused her hour-long talk at Wasserstein Hall on Friday on the social and racial dimensions of the war on drugs, rather than on the more personal side of the book.“I’d been thinking about the war on drugs from a criminal justice perspective,” said the Berkeley, Calif.-based author. “I certainly never imagined I’d be taking psychedelic drugs.”Waldman began with a history of psychoactive drugs, discussing ergot and other naturally occurring hallucinogens. In the 1930s, the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Sandos began researching both the psychoactive elements of ergot and its potential therapeutic uses. What we now know as lysergic acid diethylamide was synthesized in the Sandos labs in 1938 by chemist Albert Hofmann, who tested the substance on himself. For the next 30 years, before LSD was criminalized, thousands of tests were done and many possible medical uses explored.In the 1960s, that experimentation was expanded on by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert at Harvard. And that is when the trouble started, Waldman says. Citing the confluence of the Leary’s proselytizing for LSD and the rise of a counterculture critical of the Vietnam War, Waldman noted how the drug came to be seen as part of a movement to turn middle-class college students against the government. Catchphrases like “Tune in, turn on, drop out” and “Question authority,” both popularized by Leary, were threatening to the powers that be.“Fight the war. Fight the man. Leave your parents,” she said, recalling the mottos of the time to an audience mostly way too young to remember the ’60s. “The government and lots of middle-class parents start to freak out.”The anti-establishment rhetoric was seen by many as particularly threatening because of the era’s Civil Rights activism and the rise of radical groups such as the Black Panthers. Suddenly, Waldman said, these white college students were “aligning themselves with black people.”In 1968, possession of LSD was made illegal in the United States.Waldman, who has served as a federal public defender, made the case that U.S. drug policy is responsible for mass incarceration, and that the country’s first-in-the-world prison population is the direct result of a desire to control certain communities, notably people of color.Shifting to the personal, Waldman recounted how her own mood disorder — a previously misdiagnosed premenstrual dysphoric disorder — became unmanageable as she entered perimenopause in her 40s. She cast about for relief and found, in a book, a reference to LSD as a treatment. The idea was that a very small dose — 10 micrograms — would not produce the kind of hallucinations or the euphoria of a more typical 100-microgram “trip.”Her research led her to a YouTube lecture by psychologist and former psychedelic researcher James Fadiman, who described the microdose’s “sub-perceptual effect.”Waldman recalled Fadiman saying that subjects on microdoses, “Don’t hallucinate. They don’t have trips, but they look back and say, ‘Huh, that was a really good day.’“A good day is all I wanted,” said the author. “I wanted, at the end of the day, not to feel like killing myself.”As a lawyer and a parent of four, Waldman was careful. She described the precautions she took with the illegal substance once it arrived in the mail. And she briefly discussed her experience with the drug, which she says alleviated the symptoms of her disorder. But in light of the setting, she brought her talk to a close with discussion of the legal ramifications of current drug policy.Before the November election, Waldman said, the country was “beginning to have an understanding that the war on drugs was causing more problems than it was alleviating.” Now, she said, the national focus has changed. The new administration may not be as concerned with rethinking drug laws — or incarceration. But citizens also have a voice, as Waldman made clear.“We have a purpose,” she said, calling on her audience to get involved. “It is the lawyers who will save us.”last_img read more

IUEM Picks iXblue Subsea Solution for Geodetic Project Off Sicily

first_imgiXblue has been selected by the European Institute for Marine Studies (IUEM) to provide 8 Canopus LBL transponders for a major geodetic mission off the coast of Sicily. Deployed on the seabed, 2,500 meters below the surface, the Canopus transponders will measure the crustal deformation along the North-South Alfeo faults with a millimeter-scale resolution over the course of 4 years.Hubert Pelletier, Head of iXblue Acoustic division, said: “The fact that the IUEM, a long-standing partner of iXblue, trusts our new Canopus transponders for this challenging project is a big vote of confidence. Because the Canopus transponders precisely meet the exacting requirements of such a long-term subsea project, iXblue was chosen to provide autonomous and continuous monitoring of the movements of the tectonic plates along a 2 kilometers segment of the North-South Alfeo faults. “Installed on the seafloor along the faults, the transponders will measure, over the course of 4 years, the acoustic distance travel-time from one transponder to another to precisely determine their accurate distance. Thanks to those measurements, the IUEM will then be able to better characterize the way the fault behaves and will gain valuable insight into seismic risks,” explained Pelletier.“We needed a highly accurate and reliable system able to provide precise measurements over many years,” stated Jean-Yves Royer, in charge of the project at the IUEM. “The autonomy provided by the Canopus transponder, along with its ease-of-use and the availability of the iXblue teams during the tests phase were decisive factors in our choice of transponders for this major project.”last_img read more

Skrtel’s timely double

first_img Press Association After just 11 goals in 230 previous appearances the 28-year-old scored the fourth-placed Reds’ opening two in the 5-1 demolition of Arsenal which not only dented the Gunners’ title credentials but boosted their own. Helping knock the Gunners off the top of the table was the perfect confidence booster, following the disappointing draw at struggling West Brom the previous weekend. In truth the home side could have been even further ahead as Luis Suarez smashed a sumptuous volley against the post and Sturridge cheekily chipped goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny – but the ball dropped wide of the post. Sterling’s second just after the break ensured there would be no dramatic comeback and Mikel Arteta’s penalty, after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been needlessly felled by Gerrard, was not much of a consolation for the fans’ long journey back to London. Sterling stood out for the second time in as many weeks but manager Brendan Rodgers maintains it will be the team that gets them across the top-four finishing line, so reluctant is he to contemplate a title charge. “Raheem was incredible. He has just turned 19 years of age and I don’t think there is a better winger in England at this moment in time,” said the manager. “Oxlade-Chamberlain is a brilliant player but you look at Raheem and he was absolutely phenomenal. “But across the board Aly Cissokho defended well at left-back, Martin Skrtel was exceptional and Jon Flanagan was brilliantly aggressive on the front foot. “Sturridge played in that penetration role (up front) while Suarez was selfless after we switched the front three around. “Luis had to do that selfless job on the right so you could see we are a team – and a team who are getting better. “Overall the players were tactically brilliant and you also saw the appetite and hunger for the game, which was important.” Midfield was a key battleground and it was comfortably won by Liverpool with Gerrard providing the leadership and Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho, who now offers much more physically, providing the legs. “We do a lot of work on our pressing and I feel if we press well we pass well,” added Rodgers. “Philippe was one of those players when he came in who always had that appetite for the ball but he has added the ability to press the ball, intercept and block. “His hunger for that side of the game is key and Jordan Henderson is a player who is improving all the time, so with Steven controlling from behind and feeding the balls through, playmaking from that role, it sets things up perfectly.” The last time Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel scored twice in a game he was playing junior football in Slovakia – but he could not have produced better timing to repeat the feat as a professional. Skrtel is known more for his aerial ability in his own penalty area but he gave his side a dream start after just 52 seconds and then headed home 10 minutes later, both from Steven Gerrard set-pieces. It speaks volumes that Skrtel double-goal celebrations come along more regularly than Liverpool’s championship triumphs – but in this sort of form all that could change. The last time Liverpool put five past Arsenal, in April 1964, they won the league to give Bill Shankly his first title. Plenty of work still has to be done but they are only six points behind new leaders Chelsea, who still have to come to Anfield along with second-placed Manchester City. “It (scoring) doesn’t happen very often but I got two and I am very happy for that and I’m happy I helped the team win the match,” said Skrtel. “The last time I scored two was when I was very young but never in senior football. I couldn’t believe it. “I’ve scored 13 goals for Liverpool and 90% have been from a cross from Stevie.” Skrtel’s goals gave Liverpool the platform and they seized on that with further additions from the excellent Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge as Arsenal were left reeling after just 20 minutes. last_img read more

John Wall injury update: Wizards guard ruptures Achilles tendon in fall at home

first_imgTurns out John Wall is going to be out longer than he thought.The five-time All-Star will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon, the Wizards announced Tuesday. Wall was recovering from the heel surgery he underwent in December and the initial incision become infected and required debridement.The new injury was discovered when Wizards director of medical services and orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih went in to do a routine procedure to clean out the infection. Related News NBA trade rumors: Pelicans want to be ‘overcompensated’ by Lakers to deal Anthony Davis by deadline Wall will be out for 12 months following the second surgery.Wizards director of medical services & orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih on John Wall* Not completely ruptured* Fall happened Jan. 29* Had slight increase in discomfort after fall. Seemed like tendon was OK at the time.* Timeline is center of range: 11-15 months is normal range— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) February 5, 2019 Pelicans confirm Anthony Davis won’t play before trade deadlinelast_img read more