Friday Reads, Vol. 2

Editor’s Introduction: Because 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.

In the past week, we’ve seen the fifth estate double-down on their calls for the governments of the Anglo-American world to end their respective “Wars on Drugs.” On the home front, Daniel Robelo argues that the catastrophic failure of Mexico’s drug wars indicate the fruitlessness of America’s own symbolic crusade. In Britain, billionaire media darling and Global Commission for Drug Policy member Richard Branson calls on the Cameron Government to end the “failed war on drugs.” In Canada, the ruling Conservative Party’s official opposition, the New Democratic Party, are in the midst of choosing a new leader. Cannabis Culture magazine surveys the NDP’s half-dozen leadership hopefuls, finding all six believe it’s time to end the drug war.

On Saturday, the New York Times ran an interesting long-form piece on drug addiction and recovery on college campuses. In “A Bridge to Recovery on Campus,” author Abigail Sullivan Moore discusses the growing prevalence of drug and alcohol addiction recovery-focused dormitories on college campuses throughout the country.

For your listening pleasure: This week’s Scientific American’s “60 Second Science” podcast briefly discusses a study proving that alcohol can double the length of a worm’s life. Meanwhile, NPR’s Amy Pavuk and Tom Parkinson provide a fascinating discussion of the prescription drug abuse panic in Florida on Talk of the Nation.

Lastly, to complement Points’ own “Points Toward the Presidency” series, The Guardian provides a handy reference guide to where each of the remaining Republican candidates for President stands on drugs. While not nearly as charming or provocative as Kelsey Harclerode’s series, it’s a handy reference nonetheless.

Friday Reads, Vol. 1

Editor’s Introduction: Because we here at Points believe that an understanding of the past is best supplemented with an eye toward the present (and future), we’ve decided to offer up a weekly selection of long-form pieces relating to recent drug- and alcohol-related news stories currently being discussed in the public arena.

The past week has seen a barrage of reporting from major outlets on the Mexican drug war on the heels of the government’s recent admission that drug-related organized crime took nearly 13,000 lives between January and September of last year.  The war has gone so badly of late that President Felipe Calderon is stepping down from office, finding that his policies have only escalated national violence. This week, both the New York Times and CNN.com offer lengthy reports on the current state of that country’s drug war.

In Britain, Scottish poet John Burnside has received much fanfare for his collection Black Cat Bone, for which he was awarded the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize. As Nick Clark of The Independent notes, Burnside – a 2001 recipient of the Whitbread Award – is also a recovered alcohol and drug addict. The Guardian offers a fine interview with Burnside, and the poet reads five of his own works, on the Guardian books podcast this week.

On NPR, Michelle Alexander talks about her important new monograph The New Jim Crow, in which the Ohio State law professor contends that drug laws serve as de facto racial segregation policies. The 40 minute interview on Fresh Air is a fascinating look into both Alexander’s research and her role in the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Lastly, in light of Points‘ ongoing series on the Republican Presidential nominees’  drug policies, we offer you Scott Morgan’s repudiation of Manon McKinnon’s American Spectator article about drug legalization.