Death Dealers

On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess, Dr. Isis reports that drug-maker Lundbeck “will no longer provide Nembutal to prisons in states where lethal injection is legal.” Nembutal is a barbiturate used in conjunction with two other drugs to execute capital offenders, and an alternative to Sodium Pentothal, which since 2010 has been in short supply. While Lundbeck may stand on merciful principles, Dr. Isis worries that Nembutal will no longer be available as a therapeutic option at U.S. prisons. On Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton writes that Alabama has a higher per-capita rate of execution than the infamous state of Texas. Ed writes, “Alabama is the only state in the nation that allows judges to overrule juries on death penalty decisions.” In other words, even if an Alabaman jury sentences a defendant to life without parole, the judge can order execution—and start looking for a new barbiturate.

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Going to Pot?

i-4011e68a37a3ecbf2d129afb9d236954-potbuzz.jpgWith medical marijuana now legal in thirteen states, and President Obama’s Attorney General advising Feds not to waste resources on users in compliance with state law, the tide of tetrahydrocannabinol seems to be on the rise. On The Scientific Activist, Nick Anthis reports that the American Medical Association has recently altered its view of the drug, calling for a revised federal classification and more research into its potential medical benefits. PalMD for one will wait and see, writing that “the available clinical data do not give a doctor a clear way to evaluate the risk/benefit ratio of pot.” DrugMonkey shows us a slew of graphs, revealing that “a majority of US respondents” support the outright legalization of marijuana while systematically refuting the legality of other Schedule I substances. DrugMonkey reminds us that all drugs, including alcohol, have differing potentials for harm and dependency, and compares the attitudes and usage trends of different US demographics.

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A Prescription for Alternative Medicine?

i-4d5c4663e54e0d912350b44b8b91c423-altbuzz.jpgLast month, lawmakers in Ontario, Canada introduced legislation that would award prescription rights to graduates of two naturopathic schools. Should students subject to different educational standards be granted the same powers of prescription? On Terra Sigillata, Abel Pharmboy calls it inconsistent for the naturopathic community to “want the right to prescribe regulated medicines while simultaneously decrying medicine and science-based investigative methods,” adding that “homeopathy is diametrically opposed to dose-response pharmacology.” You can learn more about homeopathy here. Then visit The White Coat Underground, where PalMD agrees with the skeptical maxim that there is “no ‘alternative’ to medicine; only that which is proven to work, and that which is not.” PalMD goes on to write that alternative medicine tends to inspire “oversimplification and naive, hyperbolic conclusions.” And finally, Greg Laden on his blog recounts the time when his friend slipped into a coma, bringing months of homeopathic floundering to a simple surgical conclusion.

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