Blog | Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Drug news


And no, we're not talking about the FDA-approval sort of drug news.

A new study in PLoS seems to indicate that the war on recreational drugs is not going so well. Surveys of 17 different countries found that despite some of the tightest drug laws in the world, the U.S. has near the highest rates of cocaine, marijuana and alcohol use. Overall, "countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones." Specifically, a smaller percentage of people in the Netherlands are using marijuana than in the U.S.

Heck, they're even doing drugs at Johns Hopkins these days, the Denver Post reports. Researchers, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, gave magic mushrooms to 36 healthy volunteers and found that they reported having one of the most "personally meaningful and spiritually significant" experiences of their lives. The mushrooms may be useful in treating cancer-related anxiety, drug dependence or depression, the scientists said. The study was funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, but no word on whether the DEA is thinking about rolling back prohibitions on hallucinogens.

In other drug-related news, the White House announced today that ten states are now reimbursing under Medicaid for substance-abuse screenings and brief interventions. The states are: Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.