Prompted by “Five Drug Scares In 2014”: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/12/25/the-5-best-drug-scares-of-2014/2/
The whole piece is worth reading, but I echo resonating statements here…
“The lack of reliable information, a perennial hazard of the black market, is especially worrisome when dealing with novel compounds that can be more dangerous than the drugs they are supposed to imitate. The unpleasant effects attributed to the Cloud 9 sold in southeastern Michigan, for example, are quite different from what people expect when they smoke pot, which is not generally associated with “hallucinations, agitation and severe vomiting.” And although deaths related to 25I-NBOMe seem to be pretty rare, they are more common than deaths related to LSD, which has been used by around 25 million Americans without being linked to any fatal overdoses.
By prohibiting one drug after another, thereby encouraging constant innovation by underground chemists trying to stay one step ahead of the law, the government encourages this sort of dangerous substitution. That point is generally lost in stories about the peril posed by the latest synthetic, which instead of prompting a reconsideration of the war on drugs encourage its escalation.”
“This year there have been more than 3,000 references to a ‘heroin epidemic’ in these news sources, reflecting the tremendous attention attracted by the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death on February 2 (which was caused by ‘mixed drug intoxication’ but generally attributed to heroin alone).”
“When the Denver Police Department (DPD) warned parents to be on the lookout for marijuana-infused Halloween candy this year, it cited the recent opening of state-licensed stores selling such products to recreational customers. But marijuana edibles have been legally available to Colorado patients for years, so it’s not like the sort of prank the cops envisioned was suddenly feasible, and it remained highly implausible: Why would someone waste expensive cannabis candy on trick-or-treaters, especially when he couldn’t be sure anyone would actually eat it and he would not be around to witness the results in any case?
Although the opening of Colorado’s pot stores provided a new hook, law enforcement officials have been issuing warnings about THC-tainted treats for years. They find a credulous audience in overanxious parents who are already carefully inspecting their children’s Halloween hauls, looking for signs of razor blades, needles, and broken glass. All these stories feature seemingly friendly neighbors who want to hurt innocent children for no comprehensible reason, and they share another theme: a dearth of actual examples. ‘We don’t have any cases of it,’ a DPD spokesman told me two weeks before Halloween. That was still true after the holiday had come and gone.”