Friday Reads, Vol. 3

Editor’s IntroductionBecause we here at Points believe that an understanding of the past is best supplemented with an eye toward the present (and the future), we offer up this weekly selection of long-form pieces on drug- and alcohol-related issues.

This past week, the British Isles have been abuzz with discussion about how best to deal with the region’s perceived binging problems. In the Guardian, Juliet Rix interviews London judge Nicholas Crichton who tells the paper that the systemic problems that lead to alcohol and drug abuse might be best handled in family court. Meanwhile, the Scottish government is using a decidedly blunter instrument to handle problem drinking, raising the cost of alcohol to 45 pence per unit. While the rest of the United Kingdom panics over alcohol abuse, however, Irish sources report significant decreases in the nation’s overall consumption of beer, wine, and spirits.

Back in the United States, the country continues to joust over what constitutes justifiable drug use. Colorado’s debate over marijuana legalization may be an important sign of Americans’ greater willingness to accept THC-related therapies. As for NPR’s Morning Edition podcast report on the use of the rave drug Special K to treat depression? Well, we don’t really know what to make of that.

The political blogosphere has produced a substantial amount of commentary on the place of prescription drugs in the upcoming Presidential election. Yesterday, GOP Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum had a chippy exchange with a mother and daughter who were less than impressed with the Senator’s view that the pricing of life-saving drugs should be left up to the market. Cold? Perhaps. But at HuffPo, Paul Blumenthal explains that such hard-heartedness is the product of how major a player the drug lobby is in Washington.

Lastly, for you baseball fans out there, the Royalman Report podcast has an interview with Willie Mays Aikens, one of the sacrificial lambs of the 1985 Pittsburgh Drug Trials. As you may recall, that event is of no little interest around these parts.