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Saturday, September 3

Is there a humane way to stop users of DNA-altering drugs from having children?

"... carfentanil is so potent, it can be dangerous to someone who simply touches or inhales it."

"Ingram foresees a turning point in illicit opioids. He wonders why anyone would go to the trouble of growing poppies in order to make heroin, when something much more powerful can be made in a lab."

The following report isn't only about carfentanil; it's also about an incredibly dangerous turn in the sale of high-inducing drugs. 

But what I want to know is what these designer drugs do to the DNA of those who manage to survive overdoses that should kill them but are saved by drastic medical interventions.   

I understand that the same question has been asked about cancer drugs and other legal pharmaceuticals that are known to effect changes in human DNA. The question is what the genetic mutations are doing to the human racial stock because the people who take these drugs can't be sterilized to prevent them from having offspring.

As for illicit drugs, frankly we've passed the point where we can treat the use of these drugs simply as a crime issue. So-called libertarians who say that people have a right to get high with drugs of their choice aren't facing the fact that dopers don't go off to a desert island. They're mixing with the general population and passing along to future generations whatever genetic damage is done by the dope. 

That has to stop, by any which way, because of the sheer number of dopers around today who are using designer drugs that very clearly cause irreversible brain damage -- an indication that this is negatively affecting their DNA.  

As to whether there's a humane way to stop the scourge -- well, survival-minded people could demand extensive medical tests of a prospective spouse if the couple plans to have children, the testing to include a brain scan. 

That last isn't my idea. Psychiatrist Daniel Amen set off a storm of criticism years ago (which probably never died down) by suggesting that prospective couples get brain "pre-screening." 

But such an approach to cutting down on brain-defective offspring is overdue, given the huge number of Americans on very powerful prescription drugs that have not been subjected to genuine long-term testing for effects on the brain.

Joining a religion that has draconian strictures against drug use would be another humane way. 

But I think the most effective way is for societies to do the reverse of what they're doing now, at least in the West, by stigmatizing the use of powerful pharmaceuticals by dopers -- and patients -- who are of childbearing age and refuse to be sterilized. 

In short, it's time to make this a social issue. At the very least, this would raise public awareness about the long-term harm done by powerful drugs. 

Look, when you consider that ingesting a small handful of chopped onions and two or three mushrooms a few times a week can prevent a number of cancers, it's not as if stigmatizing the routine use of DNA-altering pharmaceuticals is depriving humanity of its only option for warding off life-threatening diseases.(1)

What you would be doing is depriving people of the illusion that they can pop designer drugs with no fear of deadly consequences to themselves, their offspring, their society, and the entire human race. To see where this kind of illusion has led -- 

An Even Deadlier Opioid, Carfentanil, Is Hitting The Streets
By Jennifer Ludden
September 2, 2016 - 5:02 AM EDT

A powerful drug that's normally used to tranquilize elephants is being blamed for a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says communities everywhere should be on alert for carfentanil.

The synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the prescription painkiller that led to the death earlier this year of the pop star Prince. Fentanyl itself can be up to 50 times more deadly than heroin.

In the past few years, traffickers in illegal drugs increasingly have substituted fentanyl for heroin and other opioids. Now carfentanil is being sold on American streets, either mixed with heroin or pressed into pills that look like prescription drugs. Many users don't realize that they're buying carfentanil. And that has deadly consequences.

"Instead of having four or five overdoses in a day, you're having these 20, 30, 40, maybe even 50 overdoses in a day," says Tom Synan, who directs the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force in Southwest Ohio. He's also the police chief in Newtown, Ohio.

Synan says carfentanil turned up in Cincinnati in July. At times, the number of overdoses has overwhelmed first responders.

"Their efforts are truly heroic, to be going from call to call to call," he says. "One district alone had seen 14 in one shift, so they were nonstop."

First responders and emergency room workers are being told to wear protective gloves and masks. That's because carfentanil is so potent, it can be dangerous to someone who simply touches or inhales it.

This was devastatingly clear back in 2002, after a hostage rescue operation in Moscow that went wrong. To overpower Chechen terrorists who'd seized control of a theater, Russian Special Forces sprayed a chemical aerosol into the building. More than 100 hostages were overcome and died. Laboratory tests by British investigators later revealed that the aerosol included carfentanil.

In Ohio, Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram says it can take hours for the body to metabolize carfentanil, far longer than for other opiods. That means a longer-lasting high.

But it also means that when someone overdoses, it's more difficult to revive them — and save their life — with naloxone, the emergency medication used to block the effects of opioids.

"We've been getting lots of reports that they're using two or three doses to get people to come back," says Ingram. He's trying to distribute a more concentrated version of naloxone.

There is no approved human use for carfentanil. It's even highly restricted for veterinarians, who can use it lawfully to sedate large animals. The Drug Enforcement Administration says much of the carfentanil being sold on the streets is illicitly imported from China.

DEA spokesman Russ Baer says some of the illicit carfentanil is brought in by Mexican drug traffickers, then sold at huge profit since it only takes a granule or so to induce a high. He says carfentanil can also be bought online.

"You can go on the Internet and anybody can establish an anonymous account, and you can order carfentanil directly from China," he says.

Ingram foresees a turning point in illicit opioids. He wonders why anyone would go to the trouble of growing poppies in order to make heroin, when something much more powerful can be made in a lab.

"We may be seeing more and more synthetic opioids from this point forward," he says, "and we're going to have to prepare for it."

Synan thinks one shift should include tougher penalties. Generally, he says, selling drugs on the street is considered a nonviolent crime. But that may not make sense if the drug includes carfentanil.

"To me, that's just like pulling a gun out and shooting someone, because you know that a tiny bit can kill a person," Synan says. "To me, it's intentional. It's murder."


See also Frequent Cocaine Use Linked to Alterations in DNA (2011)

1)  Dr Joel Furhman (see link I provided) said once on a PBS TV show he was hosting that it doesn't matter whether the onions are raw or cooked; what matters is that they're well-chopped because it's the chopping that releases the volatile oil compounds, which are the cancer fighters -- the same compounds that make your eyes water when you chop onions. 

Regarding the mushrooms, from what he said I assume the cancer fighter is present whether the mushrooms are raw or cooked, but he advised cooking (e.g., sauteing) them at least a little to remove any 'toxins;' -- I guess these might be present from dirt on the mushrooms or from being handled during processing.  (Washing them well might also do the trick if you insist on eating them raw but that's just a guess.)

As to how often the onions and mushrooms should be eaten to be effective cancer fighters, I don't think they have to be eaten every day but check out Furhman's website or other internet sources for specific details on these and other foodstuff cancer fighters.


carfentanil is brought in by Mexican drug traffickers
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