Possbile Cancer Cure: With Links to Primary Literature on Dichloroacetate

Dichloroacetate

via Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice — Health & Wellness — Sott.net.

Full article at above link.

This was something that I did not want to blog about at face value.  I typed the drug name into Google Scholar to see what primary literature I could find on the subject.  Here is some real information I have found:

British Journal of Cancer

http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v99/n7/full/6604554a.html

Dichloroacetate (DCA) as a potential metabolic-targeting therapy for cancer

E D Michelakis1, L Webster1 and J R Mackey2

  1. 1Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  2. 2Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Correspondence: Dr ED Michelakis, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta Hospital, 8440-112 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2B7; E-mail: evangelos.michelakis@capitalhealth.ca

Received 18 December 2007; Revised 28 April 2008; Accepted 4 July 2008; Published online 2 September 2008.

————————————————————————————

“The unique metabolism of most solid tumours (aerobic glycolysis, i.e., Warburg effect) is not only the basis of diagnosing cancer with metabolic imaging but might also be associated with the resistance to apoptosis that characterises cancer. The glycolytic phenotype in cancer appears to be the common denominator of diverse molecular abnormalities in cancer and may be associated with a (potentially reversible) suppression of mitochondrial function.

The generic drug dichloroacetate is an orally available small molecule that… increases the flux of pyruvate into the mitochondria, promoting glucose oxidation over glycolysis.”

Free Patents Online

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2009/0118370.html

Method of Treating Cancer using Dichloroacetate

Kind Code: A1
Abstract: “The invention relates to the use of dichloroacetate and chemical equivalents thereof for the treatment of cancer by inducing apoptosis or reversing apoptosis-resistance in a cell Preferably, the dosage is 10-100 mg/kg Preferably, sodium dichloroacetate is used. The dichloroacetate may optionally be given in combination with a pro-apoptotic agent and/or a chemotherapeutic agent Preferably, the cancers treated are non-small cell lung cancer, glioblastoma and breast carcinoma.”
Inventors: Michelakis, Evangelos (Edmonton, CA)
Archer, Stephen (La Grange, IL, US)
Application Number: 11/911299
Publication Date: 05/07/2009
Filing Date: 04/11/2006
Primary Class: 514/557
Other Classes: 600/300
International Classes: A61K31/19; A61B5/00; A61P35/00; A61K31/185; A61B5/00; A61P35/00

Description:

This patent application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/669,884 filed Apr. 11, 2005, the content of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to the use of dichloroacetate and obvious chemical equivalents thereof in the treatment of cancer. Related uses and diagnostic and screening methods are also included in one aspect of the present invention.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Most cancers are characterized by a resistance to apoptosis that makes them prone to proliferation and resistant to most cancer therapies. Most of the available cancer treatments aim to induce apoptosis but are highly toxic. There are two main categories of apoptosis: the receptor-mediated and the mitochondria-dependent apoptosis. Mitochondria-dependent apoptosis is not very well studied and only recently have the mitochondria been viewed as anything more than an organelle that produces energy. As such there is a need for a cancer therapy that can overcome apoptosis resistance in cancer cells.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A cell can become resistant to apoptosis in a variety of ways one of which is altering its metabolism and having hyperpolarized mitochondria. Since apoptosis is initiated by depolarization of mitochondria, the more hyperpolarized a mitochondrion is, the further it is from the depolarization threshold and the more resistant it is to the initiation of apoptosis.

In one embodiment the present inventors have surprisingly found that one can modulate mitochondrial function to treat cancer. In one embodiment, the present invention provides a method for inducing apoptosis in cancer. In another embodiment, the inventors provide a method for inducting apoptosis in cancer but normal cells. In another embodiment, the invention provides a method of reversing apoptosis resistance in cancer cells, such as cancer cells with hyperpolarized mitochondria. In one embodiment, the method comprises administering to cancer cells, in one embodiment cells having or suspected of having hyperpolarized mitochondria, an effective amount of dichloroacetate or salts thereof or obvious chemical equivalents thereof.

In one embodiment, the dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof is administered in combination with another pro-apoptotic agent and/or chemotherapeutic agent, and/or other cancer therapy.

In one embodiment, the invention provides a method for inducing apoptosis and/or reversing apoptosis resistance in a cancer cell, comprising administering to the cell an effective amount of dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof. In another embodiment, the invention provides a method for inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells, comprising administering to the cells an effective amount of dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof. In another embodiment, the invention provides a method of decreasing survivin in a cancer cell, comprising administering to the cell an effective amount of dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof. In another embodiment, the invention provides a method of increasing Kv1.5 protein in a cancer cell comprising administering to the cell an effective amount of dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof. In another embodiment, the invention provides a method of increasing AIF in a cancer cell comprising administering to the cell an effective amount of dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof. In another embodiment, the invention provides a method of increasing H 2 O 2 in a cancer cell comprising administering to the cell an effective amount of dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof. In another embodiment, the methods of the invention cancer cells, but not normal or non-cancerous cells are affected by the treatment with dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides a method for treating a cancer. In another embodiment, the invention provides a method of treating a cancer associated with hyperpolarized mitochondria. In another embodiment the invention provides a method of treating cancer by restoring mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) (essentially depolarizing the hyperpolarized cancer cell mitochondria). This molecular metabolic therapy is accomplished by administering to a patient in need thereof a therapeutically effective amount of dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof. In another embodiment, the invention provides a use of dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof in the treatment of cancer.

In one embodiment, the dichloroacetate is a salt of dichloroacetic acid. In another embodiment, the dichloroacetic acid is a sodium salt of dichloroacetic acid.

In one embodiment, the cancer to be treated using the DCA or obvious chemical equivalent thereof is selected from the group consisting of: non-small cell lung cancer, glioblastoma and breast carcinoma.

In another embodiment, the dichloroacetate, or obvious chemical equivalent thereof, is administered in the form of a pharmaceutical composition comprising dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. In yet another embodiment the invention provides a use of dichloroacetic acid or dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof in the preparation of a medicament or pharmaceutical composition for the treatment of cancer, such as a cancer associated with hyperpolarized mitochondria. In yet another embodiment, the dichloroacetate, or obvious chemical equivalent thereof, is administered orally.

In yet another embodiment, the dichloroacetate is administered in a water-based formulation. In one embodiment the water-based formulation of DCA comprises 0.0075 g of DCA/l to 7.5 g of DCA/l). In another embodiment the dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalent thereof is administered at a total daily dose of ˜25-50 mg/kg bid of dichloroacetate. In another embodiment the dose is 10-100 mg/kg given twice a day is administered to the patient. In one embodiment the dose is 25-50 mg bid.

In another embodiment, the invention constitutes a method for determining whether a cancer is associated with hyperpolarized mitochondria, which would predict its therapeutic response to dichloroacetate or obvious chemical equivalents thereof or similar compounds. In one embodiment such method comprises administering an effective amount of dichloroacetate, or chemical equivalent thereof to a cancer tissue sample from a patient and measuring its apoptosis sensitivity and mitochondrial membrane potential using confocal microscopy or flow cytometry. This diagnostic test would determine whether the individual patient could benefit from dichloroacetate or other therapies that cause apoptosis through similar mechanism.

Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description. It should be understood, however, that the detailed description and the specific examples while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.

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Get Control of your Private Information!

Hear Us Now : a project of Consumers Union:.

Send a message to your representative through the above link.

Bills have been introduced that will put you in control of your personal information while online or on your smartphone!

Now we need to get these online privacy bills passed, and we need consumers like you to weigh in. Opposition is expected to be strong, since online tracking of your private information is big business!

This latest bill would require companies to honor your decision if you do not want to be tracked online. And it would hold tracking companies accountable if they go against your wishes. The rules also would apply to smartphones, too.

No Species Is an Island – Coming Clean: Michael Brune’s Blog

No Species Is an Island – Coming Clean: Michael Brune’s Blog.

For several years now, the U.S. Senate has proclaimed the third Friday in May to be Endangered Species Day. This year, the day has extra significance. The Endangered Species Act (the only thing standing between countless species and extinction) has come under unprecedented attack.

To paraphrase John Donne, “No species is an island.” Humans, too, depend on biodiversity and the richness of the web of life. Aldo Leopold, compared the loss of species to “throwing away, one-by-one, the engine parts of an airplane while flying.”

What’s more, the airplane’s facing some serious turbulence. All living things — including humans — face new and daunting challenges in a world where the climate has been disrupted. Habitats are shifting and pressures on species are increasing. You can’t preserve that web of life without also protecting the places it lives. We might think we’re protecting habitat for this or that creature — but in truth we’re doing it for all living things, not least ourselves. That’s the basis for the Sierra Club’s Resilient Habitats campaign, which is working to protect places where plants, animals, and people can survive and thrive.

Full article at above link.

Facebook Security and Information

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

The idea for this blog entry started this morning after 3 or 4 cups of coffee and 5 episodes of Futurama on Netflix.

I began by creating an event to let all of my friends know about a recent change on Facebook.  I started searching for other things about facebook that I might be unaware of.  I was partly motivated also by the staggering amount of spam and malicious apps and links being posted to my page by friends who are sometimes completely unaware of the posts or unaware that the posts have malicious links.

Here are some things I found:

1.  I Can’t See All My Friends’ Posts

Have you noticed that you are only seeing certain people’s statuses over and over again? I looked this up myself guys so it is not a spam or malicious.

1. At the top of your Homepage (not your profile, your Home Page) it says “Top News” and “Most Recent”.

2. Click on the small arrow (triangle facing down) next to “Most Recent”.

3. Go down to “Edit Options” at the bottom and click on it.

4. A box will pop-up saying “Edit News Feed Settings”

5. The first thing says “Show Posts From:”

6. You can choose either “Friends and Pages You Interact With Most” (if you have commented on, left a message for, wrote on someone’s wall they will show up in your feed, but everyone else will be excluded) or you can choose “All of Your Friends and Pages”.

7. You can also view and change whose (People and Pages and Apps) posts you have previously chose to ignore.

8. By clicking on the arrow you can also choose to only see Game posts, Photos, Statuses, etc.

2.  Check Facebook Privacy with Online Tools

This information comes from: Melvins Inquisitive Mind

Privacy Check – http://www.rabidgremlin.com/fbprivacy/ 

Privacy Check is a nifty app that evaluates your privacy settings and gives you a score out of 21. The details of the score reveal which objects of your Facebook account are publicly accessible.

Privacy Defender – http://apps.facebook.com/privacydefender/

PrivacyDefender is a Facebook application that evaluates your Facebook privacy settings. You need to drag its bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar. When you access your Facebook account, click this bookmarklet to evaluate your settings and view which information is viewable by whom.

ReclaimPrivacy – http://www.reclaimprivacy.org/

ReclaimPrivacy is another tool that works similar to PrivacyDefender. You get a bookmarklet which you need to click once you are on your Facebook’s privacy settings page. You privacy settings are evaluated and shown to you.

Zesty Facebook Privacy Checker – http://zesty.ca/facebook/

Zesty Facebook Privacy Checker is a useful tool which takes in your Facebook username. It then displays a comprehensive list of all your Facebook content that is set to public.

Save Face – http://www3.untangle.com/saveface

SaveFace is a simple bookmarklet that evaluates your privacy settings. Unlike the tools mentioned above, it can even restore your settings to friends only. Here is how you use SaveFace:

  1. Drag the SaveFace bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar.
  2. You need to enter your privacy settings, and click on the SaveFace bookmarklet. Your settings will then be reset to “friends only.” This means that only your Facebook friends will be able to view your Facebook contact information, search settings, friends, tags and connections, personal information and posts. SaveFace’s script will take a little time to run, so you will have to be patient.
  3. Once the process is through, you can use anyone of the above mentioned tools to verify that your data is set to “friends only.”

3.  One Time Passwords

Facebook is launching one-time passwords to make it safer to use public computers in places like hotels, cafes or airports. If you have any concerns about security of the computer you’re using while accessing Facebook, Facebook can text you a one-time password to use instead of your regular password.

Simply text “otp” to 32665 on your mobile phone, and you’ll immediately receive a password that can be used only once and expires in 20 minutes. In order to access this feature, you’ll need a mobile phone number in your account. We’re rolling this out gradually, and it should be available to everyone in the coming weeks.

4.  Remote Sign Out and Account Settings

The ability to sign out of Facebook remotely is now available to everyone just like what GMail had introduced a while ago. These session controls can be useful if you log into Facebook from a friend’s phone or computer and then forget to sign out. From your Account Settings, you can check if you’re still logged in on other devices and remotely log out.

Under the Account Security section of your Account Settings page you’ll see all of your active sessions, along with information about each session. In the unlikely event that someone accesses your account without your permission, you can also shut down the unauthorized login before resetting your password and taking other steps to secure your account and computer.

When people log in to Facebook, the system will regularly prompt them to keep their security information updated. If you ever lose access to your account, having this information helps Facebook verify who you are and get you back into your account quickly.

I highly recommend the last two steps to be able to keep your account safe at all times.

Looks like Facebook is reacting that we want more control over what we share on Facebook—to manage exactly who sees it and to understand exactly where it goes. But is it going to be enough, all over the internet people are talking about the demise of Facebook but Facebook seems to be appearing in more websites, blogs and journals as the login method or the like button. We need to see how things are going to work out in the next year for Facebook.

We Do Recover: Part 2

Part 1

Part 2:

Hope On the Horizon

Alcoholics Anonymous history is relevant to the history of Narcotics Anonymous but we will not re-hash it at length here.  Without AA, there would be no NA.

The Grapevine

The Big Book

In 1939 AA published its Big Book and years later Bill W. (co-founder Bill Wilson) published a series of articles in a periodical called The Grapevine (which still exists today).  These writings brought about the Twelve Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

The formation of AA and the development of the steps and traditions were necessary for the miracle of the formation of NA.

“In a 1954 article in The Saturday Evening Post there is mention of a recovering alcoholic named Houston S who received a job transfer to Kentucky in 1947.  Houston had sobered up in Montgomery, Alabama, AA in 1944.  One of the drunks he tried to help, a man called Harry,was using morphine as well as alcohol.  Although Harry had stopped drinking, he was unable to stop using morphine.  He was eventually arrested and committed to Lexington for mandatory treatment.

When Houston was transferred to a town near Lexington, he was reminded of his friend Harry and his drug problem, and felt that the principles which worked so well for alcoholics in AA could help the addicts.  Houston met with the medical director, Dr. Victor Vogel, and suggested that the AA model may work for addicts as well, offering to help start a group.  On February 16, 1947, the Narco Group, a group of inmates and patients, met for the first time at the Federal Narcotics Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.  One of the addicts who attended these first meetings was an addict named Danny Carlsen” (p. 18).

Obituary for Daniel L. Carlsen

At the same time in 1946 in New York, Dorothy Berry, a brigadier in The  Salvation Army, started working with addicts.  Danny Carlsen, who had been attending meetings of the Narco Group in Lexington was discharged and returned to New York.

In 1948 Danny Carlsen, Dorothy Berry, and Rae Lopez started a group in the NYC Prison System called Narcotics Anonymous.  Danny Carlsen eventually wrote a book called The Addict.

The first meeting outside of a prison took place in 1950 at a YMCA in New York City.  The group developed 13 Steps of their own and never adopted the Traditions:

1. Admit the use of narcotics made my life seem more tolerable but the drug had become an undesirable power over my life.

2. Came to realize that to face life without drugs I must develop an inner strength.

3. Made a decision to face the suffering of withdrawal.

4. Learn to accept my fears without drugs.

5. Find someone who had progressed thus far and who is able to assist me.

6. Admit to the nature and depth of my addiction.

7. Realized the seriousness of my shortcomings as I know them and accept the responsibility of facing them.

8. Admit before a group of NA members these same shortcomings and explain why I am trying to overcome them.

9. List for my own understanding all the persons I have hurt.

10. Take a daily inventory of my actions and admit to myself those that are contrary to good conscience.

11. Realize that to maintain freedom from drugs, I must share with others the experience in which I have benefited.

12. Determine a purpose in life and try with all the spiritual and physical power within me to move toward its fulfillment.

13. God help me.

The book The Junkie Priest was based on Father Daniel Egan, a NYC priest, who served as chaplain for these NA meetings

The group’s structure was similar to that of the Salvation Army.  There was a captain, director, and a chaplain (p. 19).  Besides detoxifying addicts they also worked to find addicts jbs and housing.  This version of NA survived until 1960 in locales where it could be sponsored by the Salvation Army.

The Early Years

Most people in the 1950s were enjoying the postwar boom years, listening to Elvis, watching the tv (a new invention), and living the American Dream.

The “Beat Generation” was a growing group of underground radicals who were anti-authoritarian and were characterized by their use of marijuana and methamphetamines.  They set the stage for the revolution of the youth in the 60s.

“Writers like Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg, reacting against the growing surge of consumer capitalism in the U.S., would set the tone for a later generation’s call to “turn on, tune in, and drop out” (p.21).

In 1951 the Boggs Act and in 1956 the Narcotics Control Act imposed harsher penalties on addicts.

A mass migration of African-Americans from the Southern U.S. and Hispanics from Puerto Rico, the Carribbean Islands, and Central and S. America to northern and western cities occured after WW2. As European immigrants were moving out of the cities, Hispanics and African-Americans were moving in.  They moved into areas with preexisting problems with narcotics addiction and trafficking.  I emphasize preexisting so that no one will misunderstand the true nature of how African-Americans and Hispanics began to get such a bad rap and how wrong it is to assume that they are the problem.  They began replacing the European addict statistically (p. 21).  “Thus, the continuing stigmatization of addicts and their drugs of abuse now even further reflected class and ethnic biases within the community” (p. 21).

Fear of marijuana began in the 30s with movies like Reefer Madness.  People were told that

1936 film Reefer Madness, originally called Tell Your Children

marijuana use would certainly lead to heroin use.  Few measures were taken to treat the increasing use of heroin in post-WW2 America.  For example, Riverside Hospital for adolescent addicts was opened in New York.  It quickly closed after a study showing that less than 3% were abstinent.  This 3% were never even addicted in the first place.  They had been arrested on narcotics charges and chose hospitalization (p. 23).

AA was flourishing on the sidelines and alcoholics were finding sobriety and new lives and recovery in the rooms.  “It was through the hope that was at last being found by the suffering alcoholic that similar hope for addicts would begin to appear” (p. 23).

We Do Recover: Part 1

The following is inspired by the book Miracles Happen: The Birth of Narcotics Anonymous in Words and Pictures released by Narcotics Anonymous World Services.  Some of the content has been researched and added by the author.

Jimmy K

Incorporated in Chatsworth, California.  The photos in the book will be hard to reproduce but I will try my best to convey the overall feel of the literature as best I can.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Jimmy K.  “His tireless efforts in the early years of our formulation and growth laid the foundation for our movement (p. 7).”

Old pill bottles

Introduction

There seems to be this alternative: either go on as best we can to the bitter ends – jails, institutions or death – or find a new way to live.  In years gone by, very few addicts ever had this last choice.Little White Book

In 2007, there were over 25,065 groups holding over 43,900 weekly meetings in 127 countries.  The improbability of such a movement makes the existence of this God-given program an absolute miracle in the lives of suffering addicts.  There was a time in history when there were none to very few options for addicts who wanted to get clean.  Addiction itself, was a crime.  There was a time when it was illegal for addicts to meet together.  The “truth” about an addict was this: “Once an addict always an addict”.

Drug Use Before and In the Twentieth Century

Drug use has been around probably as long as humans have been around.  It has been used for medicinal purposes, for religious rites and practices, and for recreational purposes.

Wine was used at least from the time of the early Egyptians; narcotics from 4000 B.C.; and medicinal use of marijuana has been dated to 2737 B.C. in China. But not until the 19th cent. A.D. were the active substances in drugs extracted (FactMonster.com).

Ancient paraphernalia (Drug Kit)

Andean mummy hair has provided the first direct archaeological evidence of the consumption of hallucinogens in pre-Hispanic Andean populations, according to recent gas chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis.  Indirect evidence for psychoactive drug use in South America’s ancient populations abound, ranging from the discovery of drug equipment to the identification of hallucinogenic herb residuals in snuffing kits.

In Europe, Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus invented laudanum (opium dissolved into liquid form) in 1541.  It became a widespread curative potion.

Hmmmmmm.......

The use of opium became epidemic in 19th century Europe and in America.  It was commonly used in children’s medicine with cute labels such as “Godfrey’s Cordial”, “Munn’s Elixir”, and get this….”Mother Bailey’s Quieting Syrup” (p. 10).

In 1803, a German pharmacist by the name of F. W. Serturner successfully isolated the active ingredient in opium: Morphine.  Morpheus is the Greek God of sleep and dreams.  This is Morphine’s namesake.  The hypodermic was not invented for about another 40 years (p. 10).  The drug was effective and thought to be harmless.  It’s peak use was during the Civil War in which it is estimated that 400,000 morphine addicts were created in the army alone.

Old ad for morphine: apparently accepted for use as a teething aid

We now had patent medicines such as “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup”, “Darby’s Carminative”, and “Ayer’s Cheery Pectorial” (p. 10).  They were particularly popular with older white women from middle and upper classes.  In 1900 there were an estimated 300,000 opiate-dependent people in the U.S.  At this point the affliction was looked upon with sympathy.  When immigrant’s began to have the same addiction issues these views rapidly changed.  Urban tenements and slums developed, poverty increased and so the poor more often turned to alcohol and narcotics.  Lower-class addicts brought the views on addiction to a new light and addiction was driven into criminality, dereliction, and hopeless despair (p. 10-11).

Criminalization of Addiction

Perhaps the earliest recorded example is the prohibition of the use of alcohol under Islamic law (Sharia), which is usually attributed to passages in the Qur’an dating from the 7th century.

Religious intolerance was a motivation for drug prohibition in Christian Europe. In a move interpreted as support for the efforts of the Spanish Inquisition against the Arabs, in a 1484 fiat Pope Innocent VIII banned the use of cannabis. The persecution of heretics in the form of witch hunts also gathered momentum around this time, and frequently targeted users of medicinal and hallucinogenic herbs. The Inquisition proceeded apace in Meso-America and South America, where peyote (péyotl), ololiúqui, toloáche, teonanácatl and other sacred plants of the Mexican culture were prohibited as works of the devil.

The first law outright prohibiting the use of a specific drug in the United States was a San Francisco ordinance which banned the smoking of opium in opium dens in 1875.  Even though the law prohibited the trafficking of opium, laudanum and other tinctures were allowed to persist in medicinal form.  The distinction between its use by white Americans and Chinese immigrants was thus based on the form in which it was ingested: Chinese immigrants tended to smoke it, while it was often included in various kinds of generally liquid medicines often (but not exclusively) used by people of European descent. The laws targeted opium smoking, but not other methods of ingestion.  This was followed by the Harrison Act, passed in 1914, which required sellers of opiates and cocaine to get a license. While originally intended to require paper trails of drug transactions between doctors, drug stores, and patients, it soon became a prohibitive law.  In 1919, the Supreme Court ruled in Doremus that the Harrison Act was constitutional and in Webb that physicians could not prescribe narcotics solely for maintenance.

Then, of course, we had the Prohibition on alcohol.  Most of us know this story so here is a link if you would like to learn more: Prohibition of Alcohol.

In 1936 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) noticed an increase of reports of people smoking marijuana, which further increased in 1937. The Bureau drafted a legislative plan for Congress, seeking a new law and the head of the FBN, Harry J. Anslinger, ran a smear campaign against marijuana.  During this particular time frame, the media was swarmed with propaganda regarding the effects of marijuana.

Marijuana Propaganda

Marijuana Propaganda

Marijuana Propaganda

In 1972, United States President Richard Nixon announced the commencement of the so-called “War on Drugs.” Later, President Reagan added the position of drug czar to the President’s Executive Office.

In 1973, New York State introduced mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years to life imprisonment for possession of more than four ounces (113g) of a so-called hard drug, called the Rockefeller drug laws after New York Governor and later Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Similar laws were introduced across the United States.

California’s broader ‘three strikes and you’re out‘ policy adopted in 1994 was the first mandatory sentencing policy to gain widespread publicity and was subsequently adopted in most United States jurisdictions. This policy mandates life imprisonment for a third criminal conviction of any felony offense.

After the Harrison Act courts refused to define addiction as a disease.  Addicts were driven underground and were subjected to street violence, diseases, arrests, convictions, and incarcerations.  Dispensing clinics were opened.  in 1919 thirteen municipalities had 44 opiate dispensing clinics aimed at detox or opium maintenance.  The government perceived these as a threat and had them all closed by 1924 (p. 12).  There was another increase in crime.  In 1929 Congress adopted The Porter Act.  Treatment facilities were established finally for addicts.  One was in Lexington, Kentucky and the other was in Fort Worth, Texas.  These were operational in the 30’s.

Lexington, Kentucky

Fort Worth

In the early years they primarily served as prison hospitals for convicted addicts.  Those who entered voluntarily were detoxified.  Treatment included “sweating it out” with hard work on the farm in Kentucky.

We now have employee assistance programs, hospital and residential-based treatment, and 12 step fellowships.  In the 30s and 40s doctors were threatened into not only stopping treatment of addicts but also into reporting them to authorities (p. 13).

William Burroughs' Junkie allows a peak into the limited treatment options available to addicts

At one point it was illegal for any two addicts to be seen together.  Addicts went even further underground where drugs were bought on the black market and the street or to complain of the “right symptoms” to doctors in order to satisfy their needs.

After WW2 addicts were put into two general categories: those addicted to pills, sedatives, barbiturates, laudanum, Demerol, etc.; and “dope fiends”.  The second category more often needed to obtain their drugs through illicit means (p. 16).

Searches, harassment, and incarceration were normal parts of everyday life.  Addicts and doctors who attempted to help them were seen as criminals.  These are the truths of an addict from this time.  We may not fully understand the words spoken by Jimmy K, that very few addicts DID have a choice like we have found today in Narcotics Anonymous.

A Day in the Life of a Lioness: Lots of Nuzzling

One of the newer devices used to peer into the lives of animals is the “Crittercam.” Crittercams are affixed, for a time, to individual animals, as close to eye level as possible so you gain the animal’s point of view. In the National Geographic video that follows, you’ll get to know — for a few moments, anyway — what it’s like to be a lioness in Kenya, as you see what she sees in a normal day.