Drugs

I didn’t know Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the gifted and apparently bedeviled actor who died of a heroin overdose this week. I have, however, known more than one friend who died from the same drug. They were middle class, suburban guys, honors students, active in their churches and communities. They would now be in their mid- and late-thirties, had they lived. But they didn’t live.

Even as a growing number of states begin the process of piecemeal decriminalization of marijuana, hard drugs like heroin remain another matter. Many people from both sides of the political spectrum agree that our marijuana laws ought to be radically reformed. I’ve written before about the economics of legalization. Civil libertarians, both right- and left-leaning, argue that prohibition offends principles of personal autonomy. Pot, though, is relatively safe — no more dangerous by most metrics than alcohol or tobacco, for however much that means. The fact that, as a general rule, people don’t die from smoking weed makes decriminalization an easier sell for legal reformers.

Heroin, on the other hand? The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that 3,038 people died of heroin overdoses in 2010, the last year for which the DEA has published statistics. A federal survey suggests that 335,000 people used heroin in the U.S. in the past month. (Compare this to an estimated 19.1 million pot users in the same time span, with nary an overdose among them.) Even when an overdose doesn’t kill, the addiction often leaves the user with an abysmal quality of life. Heroin addiction is also a perniciously treatment-resistant dependency. Abstinence rates for recovering opiate addicts are about 10 percent after one year.

Opioid replacement therapies like methadone offer one possible avenue for recovery from heroin addiction, but they are fraught with a lot of their own problems. Under federal law, methadone must be administered primarily at heavily regulated clinics often located in seedy neighborhoods. Also, methadone is a maintenance drug — instead of using heroin daily, an addict uses methadone daily for the long term. Furthermore, methadone carries its own alarming rate of overdose.

Ibogaine, a Schedule I drug in the United States, is available in many other countries, including Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, Mexico, Norway, and the U.K. among others, where it is used to treat addiction. Unlike methadone, ibogaine is not a maintenance therapy: addicts typically experience relief after one or two doses. Its efficacy rate is reportedly extremely high. So, why isn’t this potentially life-saving anti-addiction drug available in the United States?

Who’s to blame for the legal unavailability of ibogaine?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who’s To Blame For Ibogaine? A Debate Over Whether Big Government Or Big Pharma Is Keeping Heroin Addicts From Getting Well”

Is the internet good or evil? Well, neither — the internet, just like the information you find on it, is really what you make of it. Some people use information for good purposes, and some use it for bad.

Here at Above the Law, we tend to see the internet as a force for good. We use our bandwidth on the web to entertain and to educate. Our view is that, in general, more information is good. With more information, people can make better choices about their lives and careers. Should I go to law school? If so, which law school? And what about law firms? Which firms are the best places to work?

But you can use the internet for anything, really. For some folks, to quote the popular song from the musical Avenue Q, The Internet Is For Porn — and so much more, from the shady to the downright illegal….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “LegalTech 2014: The Internet Is For Porn (And Drugs, Contract Killings, And Other Illegal Activity)”

Woody Allen

* Woody Allen’s lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, responds to Dylan Farrow’s account of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of her famous father. [Gawker; Gothamist]

* Sound advice from Professor Glenn Reynolds on how not to increase applications to your law school. [Instapundit]

* What is a “nitro dump,” and will it provide information about who (or what) killed Philip Seymour Hoffman? [ATL Redline]

* “Is Elena Kagan a ‘paranoid libertarian?’ Judging by [Cass] Sunstein’s definition, the answer is yes.” [Reason via Althouse]

* A petition of possible interest to debt-laden law school graduates: “Increase the student loan interest deduction from $2,500 to the interest actually paid.” [WhiteHouse.gov]

* Vivia Chen wonders: Is Amy Chua, co-author of The Triple Package (affiliate link), being attacked as racist in a way that it itself racist? [Time]

* Yikes — journalists around the country have been receiving “a flurry of subpoenas in recent months,” according to Jeff Kosseff of Covington & Burling. [InsideTechMedia]

* Congratulations to Orrick’s 15 new partners — an impressively diverse group, from a wide range of practice areas and from offices around the world. [Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe]

Amanda Knox

* Quinn Emanuel got a pretty harsh benchslap from Judge Paul Grewal over its litigation strategy in the Apple / Samsung case, calling it “650 lawyers wide and one lawyer deep.” Sick burn, Judge. [Courthouse News Service]

* At Cardozo Law, Jordan Belfort’s former lawyer says that the movie Wolf of Wall Street “played down the sex and drugs.” Dear Lord, if that’s the case, Leo’s muse should be happy he’s alive. [DealBook / New York Times]

* “I’ve been around the block. And I’ve never seen an attorney general sanctioned.” Ahh, the rarest rose. Nevada’s AG was sanctioned for failing to provide evidence in a fraud case against a mortgage lender. [Forbes]

* Eighteen people were arrested for their alleged attempts to market and sell Super Bowl “party packs” to football fans. It’s pretty sick, but you’d got to admit that hookers and blow beat wings any day of the week. [Bloomberg]

* Law schools in the Southeast closed their doors because their states were “unequipped for dealing with the roadways.” Send them up here, we’ve got school when there’s a foot of snow. [National Law Journal]

* A recent grad of a “good school” wanted to know how to get a job, so she asked an advice columnist. Here are five of the suggested jobs she probably already applied to and was rejected from. [Fortune]

* The third time’s apparently the charm in Italy: Amanda Knox was convicted of murder, again. Foxy Knoxy must be pissed that her case has turned into an extradition question on an international law exam. [CNN]

Emoticons Of Death

To paraphrase Paula Cole: “where have all the gangstas gone?”

Back in my day, if you stiffed a drug dealer on a drug deal, you’d be signing yourself up for a world of hurt. Nowadays, backing out of a drug deal gets you Insta-bombed with meany emoticons.

Well, the law can adjust to this new softness. If drug dealers are going to threaten people with hateful emoticons (or “emoji” as is the technical term), then the law is fully capable of recognizing the threat. You know how the song goes (NSFW):

Grab your gifs when you see 2pac
Close the comments when you see 2pac,
Who snarked me, But your punks didn’t finish
Now you ’bout to feel the frown of a menace
Nigga, I gram ‘em up

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Emoticons Of Death”

* Wal-Mart may recall loads of donkey meat from their stores. Not because they sold donkey meat — they intended to do that — but because there was fox meat mixed in. What does the Fox Say? Nothing, because it was ground into donkey meat. The end. [MSN Money]

* Of course Colorado got rid of mile marker 420. But it’s not because they don’t like weed — it’s legal there, after all — check out the real reason. [Lowering the Bar]

* Judges are reading briefs on iPads now? Here’s how you write a brief for a judge who has an app for “law.” [Columbia Business Law Review]

* A listing of this lawyer’s previous representations. In the words of our tipster: “Don’t know what’s worse: Courtney Love or the Gambino crime family.” [Andrew Mancilla, Esq.]

* The Ninth Circuit gave the go-ahead for about 60,000 tech workers to sue Google, Apple, and other companies for artificially driving down wages by agreeing not to poach each others’ employees. Hey, give these folks some love, not every one of them is going to go start a new video game company. [Reuters]

* A lot of Cuban-American families in Miami blow a lot of money on quinceañeras. Here’s a way to recoup some funds: throw a completely innocent party and wait for the cops to come by and commit police brutality. This guy netted $90,000 that way. [Miami New Times]

Drugs make people stupid. It’s not that they impair important mental faculties in those who ingest them. Rather, they make everyone who doesn’t do them freak the everloving fudge out about them. People will literally believe anything you have to say about drugs. Drugs are like satanism was in the 1980s or religion was in the every other decade: if you are confronted with some unexplained phenomenon, drugs will help you fill in the gaps of your embarrassing ignorance. This week, for instance, we learned that one baseball writer chose to leave Greg Maddux’s name off his Hall of Fame ballot. Why? Because steroids. Confronted with an admittedly complicated issue like steroids, the writer chose to go Simple Jack on the whole process. Drugs, man.

But the idiotic baseball writer isn’t the only one whose brain bananas were agog over drugs this week. This week, we were treated to a college player’s lame excuse and a football conference’s dumb rule. Also, OJ Simpson. And the always-fantastic handwritten musings of a pro se petitioner.

Let’s talk sports…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Big Ten Finds Ecstasy Not The Bestasy”

* A Supreme Court whose members are still afraid of using email will most likely have the final say on the NSA case, one of the biggest technology and privacy rulings in ages. Well, that’s comforting. [Talking Points Memo]

* Pittsburgh firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is reportedly in merger talks with Tampa firm Fowler White Boggs. Boy, a merger between two firms from lackluster cities sure sounds promising. [Daily Business Review]

* Law professors are completely outraged by the ABA’s proposal to cut tenure from its law school accreditation requirements. Quick, somebody write a law review article no one will read about it! [National Law Journal]

* Struggling to find a topic for your law school personal statement? You should ask someone who knows next to nothing about you and your life for advice. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Michael E. Schmidt, the lawyer killed in a police firefight, had some interesting things in his apartment, including a “green leafy substance,” a “white powdery substance,” and lots of pills. [Dallas Morning News]

* Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker pleaded not guilty in the beating death of a New Jersey lawyer. [New Jersey Star-Ledger]

* Judge Edmond E. Chang tossed Chicago’s gun sale ban as unconstitutional. [Fox News]

* Refusing to take a hint, Paul Clement is suing over the Affordable Care Act again. [The Blog of the Legal Times]

* Nixon Peabody is trying to stand out from the Biglaw crowd. Maybe it’s time for another theme song. [Washington Post]

* J.P. Morgan is close to a deal in the Madoff affair. Rumors place it at $2 billion or basically a week’s worth of revenue. [DealBook / New York Times]

* After getting busted for cocaine possession, GOP Rep. Trey Radel has hired Rob Walker of Wiley Rein to advise him on the looming House investigation. Only in Washington would you have an investigation into something after the guy already pleaded guilty. [Politico]

* Are you ready for your retirement? The answer is probably, no. [ABA Journal]

A sterner talking-to than Lanny Breuer gave HSBC.

* You can go to jail for possession, but if you actively aid and abet drug cartels, you can walk away with a fine worth 5 weeks of your income. It also helps if instead of “poor” you’re a bank. Hooray for “Too Big To Hold Accountable For Anything!!! [Rolling Stone]

* Disney has gotten fed up with “mockbusters,” films that jack the studio’s logo to confuse people into buying a different DVD. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been itching to check out this new flick September: Osage County. [Jezebel]

* Dahlia Lithwick explains that too many schools feel the cure for the trauma of school shootings is… creating more trauma. [Slate]

* Chief Judge Theodore McKee of the Third Circuit rules that the government can detain you for carrying Arabic flashcards. This doesn’t even make racist profiling sense: “bad guys” would already know how to speak Arabic, right? [The Raw Story]

* Defendants need to understand that getting an acquittal requires them to expend some personal effort, too. [Katz Justice]

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