Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Don't you love the smell of chlorinated compounds in the morning?

White Yeti - 20-3-2012 at 17:35

Are chlorinated compounds we use in consumer products safe?

It seems as if the FDA is an outdated organisation that is controlled by the companies it should scrutinise. This is a rather scary prospect, not only for the food aspect, but also the _drug_ aspect. As we all know, when a new drug is made, it had to be approved by the FDA first before hitting the market.

Later on, studies are conducted and show that those compounds are not as safe we thought they were. Even if a compound is safe when high doses are administered for a short period of time, little data exists on long term effects.

I find the development of chlorinated compounds destined for use in consumer products most frightening. Chlorine is usually present in compounds that KILL, think phosgene, bleach, the elemental form Cl2, DDT etc... If that wasn't enough, many other chlorinated compounds are carcinogenic or neurotoxic, PCBs, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and the list goes on.

Why then, are we so convinced that sucralose and triclosan do not pose a threat to human health? I'm fine with triclosan in hand soap, but in toothpaste?

Bot0nist - 20-3-2012 at 18:30

Yeah! What about those pesky chloride salts? Those have to be bad for you too, right? NaCl and KCl are insidious poisons, just biding their time to strike us down... ;)

White Yeti - 20-3-2012 at 18:43

Ahh, those pesky chloride salts. Studies show that drinking salt water can lead to dehydration and death. They are the cause of our ultimate demise :D

Seriously though, organochlorine compounds?

[Edited on 3-21-2012 by White Yeti]

497 - 20-3-2012 at 18:52

Man I think triclosan is bullshit. Seriously, why do we feel the need to fill every body of water with persistant polychlorinated aromatics for no legitimate reason? In the late 90s production surpassed 1 million pounds/year, so it must be several million by now... And for what? This stuff pisses me off.

Quote:
A comprehensive analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health indicated that plain soaps are just as effective as consumer-grade antibacterial soaps with triclosan in preventing illness and removing bacteria from the hands.


WTF are people thinking?

I suppose corporations needed a cheap ingredient to add to their products so they can legally plaster ANTIBACTERIAL all over it?

[Edited on 21-3-2012 by 497]

White Yeti - 21-3-2012 at 11:46

Public ignorance is a major factor as well. I asked some guy if antibiotics killed viruses and instead of pointing out that viruses cannot be "killed" he said yes. Lysol and other cleaning products seem to prey on people's fears of viruses and bacteria.

I met another person why would clean his hands with hand sanitizer after shaking people's hands. This is really sad since our skin is covered in bacteria which keep the skin healthy.

This germophobia has to stop, or else we will end up damaging ourselves and the ecosystem instead of improving human health. This not only goes for antibacterials but also artificial sweeteners.

People lack perspective, the only way to keep people healthy in the long run is to use chemicals that stimulate the immune system, not to make chlorinated organics that kill bacteria. I made a list of fungi that produce immunomodulatory substances (there's quite a bit to choose from) :

Agaricus bisporus
Agaricus subrufescens
Astraeus hygrometricus
Grifola frondosa
Inonotus obliquus
Pleurotus eryngii
Polyporus umbellatus
Phellinus linteus
Sparassis crispa
Tremella mesenterica

Granted, the effects of these extracts are not thoroughly documented, but are they really much worse than artificial chlorinated aromatics?

[Edited on 3-21-2012 by White Yeti]

entropy51 - 21-3-2012 at 16:42

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
It seems as if the FDA is an outdated organisation that is controlled by the companies it should scrutinise. This is a rather scary prospect, not only for the food aspect, but also the _drug_ aspect. As we all know, when a new drug is made, it had to be approved by the FDA first before hitting the market.

Later on, studies are conducted and show that those compounds are not as safe we thought they were. Even if a compound is safe when high doses are administered for a short period of time, little data exists on long term effects.

You demonstrate a breath taking ignorance of the drug development and approval process. It could easily be remedied by doing some reading, for example on the FDA website.

White Yeti - 21-3-2012 at 16:53

Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
You demonstrate a breath taking ignorance of the drug development and approval process. It could easily be remedied by doing some reading, for example on the FDA website.


Don't you think that the FDA's website is a biased source? Don't you find it suspicious that there are very few chemicals that don't pass the FDA inspection? Pharmaceutical companies LOBBY the FDA so that their product can be manufactured and sold.

Some drugs hold potential that is just too good to pass and every day spent testing it represents millions of dollars lost. Result: FDA is rushed and publishes results on short term effects while ignoring the long term effects.

We as consumers become guinea pigs. I'm not comfortable with that because corporations are faceless and heartless. They don't care about consumers, so long as they keep buying their products and their reputation is not hurt too badly by a recall.

entropy51 - 21-3-2012 at 18:04

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Don't you think that the FDA's website is a biased source? Don't you find it suspicious that there are very few chemicals that don't pass the FDA inspection? Pharmaceutical companies LOBBY the FDA so that their product can be manufactured and sold.
Sorry dude, but you're just letting more and more of it hang out. Your ignorance that is.

Cite some references man. This is (or used to be) a scientific discussion group. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts, OK?

Not 1 of 1000 compounds that enter development ever receive FDA approval.

Lobby? That has no meaning in the context of the FDA. Interest groups lobby congress, as in contribute to their campaigns, but no one at FDA is allowed to accept a cent from the regulated industry. FDA staff are not even allowed to own stock in companies like Safeway, because Safeway sells food and FDA regulates food.

This would be a good chance for you to learn about the drug development and approval process, but that information resides in the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory agencies and you have a pre-conceived notion that these sources cannot be trusted.

Twospoons - 21-3-2012 at 18:38

Well, there is always the controversy over the approval of aspartame.
http://www.rense.com/general33/legal.htm
I have no opinion on whether this is true or not, maybe it is , maybe not. Its always hard to tell when big money is involved.

White Yeti - 21-3-2012 at 18:55

rosiglitazone. A drug that should be taken off the market in light of data collected AFTER the approval of the drug by the FDA. The FDA is restricting its use but is leaving the door open to any company that can prove that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Exerpt:
"The suspension will remain in place unless the marketing authorization holder can provide convincing data to identify a group of patients in whom the benefits of the medicines outweigh their risks."
From:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/202447.php

Face it, the FDA is corrupt, pharmaceutical companies are too powerful and neither one nor the other can be trusted 100%. If the FDA did its job correctly, the drug would not have hit the market in the first place. It seems like consumers are part of the testing procedure. Only after a drug is released onto the market are real studies done on the effects on human health. Only after a few people die from the new invention does the FDA go "Nope, this drug doesn't work, sorry GlaxoSmithKline, your product is killing people, we have to recall your drug and take it off the shelves."

madmanhere - 22-3-2012 at 01:11

Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
Sorry dude, but you're just letting more and more of it hang out. Your ignorance that is.

...

This would be a good chance for you to learn about the drug development and approval process, but that information resides in the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory agencies and you have a pre-conceived notion that these sources cannot be trusted.

??
http://www.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q=fda+lo...

[Edited on 22-3-2012 by madmanhere]

AJKOER - 22-3-2012 at 12:12

In my opinion, the current approval path for any drug is definitely in need of reform.

I believe quite accidentally it is possible to place an ineffective drug (or worst, dangerous?) on the market with FDA approval. How? Start with a billion in seed capital and run 20 simultaneous (or, do it sequentially) studies on your 'wonder' drug. If one (or better, perhaps more) happens, due to pure statistical error at the 95% significance level, to show a statistically significant positive result just once, your in the money! No need to cheat on the drug trial, although I wonder if this is always the case.

By the way, the other 19 failures need not be reported under current rules (how cool).

I also like the idea of selecting a large number of testing candidates with multiple conditions, and if any subgroup with the same condition shows a positive effect, make that a purpose of interest for your wonder drug (a little data mining never hurt the pocket book).

Please, don't change the game, I think I going to be rich! Well, at least, I am honest, as when was the last time the warning label read: "This drug, at best, most likely doesn't work, but it is expected to make somebody else rich, guaranteed."

unionised - 22-3-2012 at 12:26

The pharmaceutical companies have better things to do than submit paperwork to the FDA for chemicals which they know will not pass.
So of course the FDA passes a lot of chemicals.
However only something like 1 in 1000 or 1 in 100000 chemicals that are looked at are ever passed to the FDA for approval.
If I wanted to corrupt this system I wouldn't bother trying to get the FDA to pass a drug that didn't meet the requirements. I would just pay a test house to come up with data that showed that the drug was "Safe and effective".
"Honest!- none of our lab rats died"

Citing an example of where the FDA has suspended licensing of a drug is hardly evidence that they are in the drug companies' pockets.
Of course problems will come to light after a drug is marketed- that's when it's given to lots of people. Rare problems couldn't show up before then.

497 - 22-3-2012 at 12:43

I've talked in person to a former database contractor that worked for multiple pharma corporations and had access to their proprietary data. They said with complete certainty that pharma corporations fabricate/manipulate data, fail to complete clinical tests, disregard harmful side effects, bribe regulators, and pay doctors per prescription written as standard procedure. There should be no doubt that most corporations are far outside the sphere of ethical business practices. That should be obvious just by looking at the ratio of potential profits from unethical practices vs the losses.

GreenD - 22-3-2012 at 12:52

Quote: Originally posted by 497  
Quote:
A comprehensive analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health indicated that plain soaps are just as effective as consumer-grade antibacterial soaps with triclosan in preventing illness and removing bacteria from the hands.


WTF are people thinking?

I suppose corporations needed a cheap ingredient to add to their products so they can legally plaster ANTIBACTERIAL all over it?

[Edited on 21-3-2012 by 497]


I actually work on a project on a big brand name soap maker. We all know that ivory soap is better than anti-microbial soap for removing germs. :) Yet I get paid to make one with the label of Antimicrobial ;)

Twospoons - 22-3-2012 at 15:05

As it turns out - you don't even need soap! Simply drying your hands on a clean towel is very effective at removing bacteria.

White Yeti - 22-3-2012 at 15:44

Soap and water are our best weapons against bacteria. Unlike triclosan, bacteria do not build up a resistance to soap because soap is fundamentally non-toxic (unless you add triclosan).

I think at the end of the day, we're just poisoning ourselves with all these antibiotics.
I posted a question on a separate thread, and I figured it would fit right in this one, seeing how this discussion panned out.

Is there a substance that can kill bacteria, but that bacteria have no possible way to evolve a resistance to? One chemical that comes to mind is bleach, but I'm not entirely sure bacteria cannot metabolise it in some way or another. I know heat treatment is something bacteria can't really develop a resistance to, unless archaebacteria somehow transfer genes for making heat resistant enzymes.

I'm not saying we can do without antibiotics altogether, but we can go without triclosan in particular. There are countless other ways to kill bacteria.

I appologise to the moderators for having posted something so close to politics. I didn't realise it at the time. I still think this is a subject worthy of discussion, so long as it doesn't get out of hand.

entropy51 - 22-3-2012 at 16:47

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
If the FDA did its job correctly, the drug would not have hit the market in the first place. It seems like consumers are part of the testing procedure. Only after a drug is released onto the market are real studies done on the effects on human health. Only after a few people die from the new invention does the FDA go "Nope, this drug doesn't work, sorry GlaxoSmithKline, your product is killing people, we have to recall your drug and take it off the shelves."
I will try to speak slowly and not use big words.

The typical serious adverse event that causes death occurs in only 1 of 100,000 to 1 of 200,000 people who take the drug.

It costs many millions of dollars to conduct a study of a drug in a population of just 1,000 or 2,000 subjects.

Now what are the chances that the serious adverse event will occur in even one of the subjects in the study. Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Now what are the chances that the serious adverse event will occur in some of the 20 million people who take the drug once it goes on the market? That's right! You are starting to get it. In a population this big you will start to see serious adverse events that could not be predicted in the smaller but horribly expensive clinical study of 2,000 subjects.

If FDA required every new drug to be tested in 20 million subjects, in order to discover all the possible adverse events, guess what? We would never have any new drugs come on the market. If you have cancer or AIDS this would not be a good thing.

As for the balancing of risk versus benefit, this is exactly what the statutes require the FDA to to when considering the approval of a new drug. Did you expect any drug to have zero risk? Dream on.

ripple - 22-3-2012 at 17:38

I think this is point where science fades.

Arguments can be made for or against there being corruption in the FDA. If we're talking straight numbers, their job is to meet the demands of the public, which are focused on longer life while living more unhealthy lifestyles. There is nothing black and white about this job; they approve more products in order to maintain their funding, while they are also seen to be holding back new "life saving" treatments because they're too experimental or unproven.

I think that fully backing or fearing the FDA are both positions of ignorance because neither acknowledge the scale of the role that the FDA fills. Same goes for pharmaceutical companies. These entities represent innumerable interests that can't be all fit into 'good' or 'evil'.

Its understandable that people would want to quantify things on a scale that they can easily understand or relate to but, as people of science, we should all be used to things that are too big for us to fully understand.

Every government, corporation... hell, even individual, acts out of a balance of self-interest and sacrifice and its naive to try and simplify it further.

PaleoFreak - 22-3-2012 at 18:09

It blows my mind that, at least in my experience,whenever someone sees a problem with a drug they quickly point the finger at "Big Pharma" or "Big Government."

I am thrilled that I can live in a time where most diseases are manageable, where I don't have to fear being diagnosed with a death sentence tomorrow. There is some risk to everything, but this isn't from the approval process or the drug manufacturers fault. (I know your all about to write thimerosal, and that was a manufacturing error without a doubt)

Now the main point of my writing: DDT, the chlorinated compound mentioned in the first post. 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-di(4-chlorophenyl)ethane has been directly linked to saving the lives of over 50 million people (more than any other artificial chemical), mostly children in the poorest countries of the world. I think to imply that DDT was some sort of bogeyman is a gross oversimplification of the problem, and really symbolizes this whole discussion.

In the end nothing is perfect, be it the drug, or the approval process, or the company themselves, but to say that we have a totally broken system is naive.

Bot0nist - 22-3-2012 at 20:34

Quote: Originally posted by ripple  
I think this is point where science fades.

Arguments can be made for or against there being corruption in the FDA. If we're talking straight numbers, their job is to meet the demands of the public, which are focused on longer life while living more unhealthy lifestyles. There is nothing black and white about this job; they approve more products in order to maintain their funding, while they are also seen to be holding back new "life saving" treatments because they're too experimental or unproven.

I think that fully backing or fearing the FDA are both positions of ignorance because neither acknowledge the scale of the role that the FDA fills. Same goes for pharmaceutical companies. These entities represent innumerable interests that can't be all fit into 'good' or 'evil'.

Its understandable that people would want to quantify things on a scale that they can easily understand or relate to but, as people of science, we should all be used to things that are too big for us to fully understand.

Every government, corporation... hell, even individual, acts out of a balance of self-interest and sacrifice and its naive to try and simplify it further.



Wow, you speak very wisely. Seriously, that last line is quotable. Thank you ripple.

AJKOER - 23-3-2012 at 11:56

Around the world, punishment for misdeeds (including bribes) that result in deaths from bad products varies greatly.

Currently in the USA, most go without prosecution, and a few are a sent to a low security federal prison complete with amenities. Or, perhaps fines, but often not even clawbacks of bonuses. To be more forceful in prosecution would be considered anti-business and even anti-jobs.

A century ago, in the old West, most offenders were hung and left hanging for days for a large variety of offenses. A remarkable effective deterrent.

China currently has a similar effective strategy. The executive in charge is quickly tried and shot. The concept of making excuses for ones greed as inherently part of human nature apparently doesn't work well in China. Not surprisingly, many foreign corporations are reluctant to have local subsidiaries on the China mainland itself.

White Yeti - 23-3-2012 at 16:06

Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
If FDA required every new drug to be tested in 20 million subjects, in order to discover all the possible adverse events, guess what? We would never have any new drugs come on the market. If you have cancer or AIDS this would not be a good thing.


Forgive me if what I am about to say is excessively blunt.

If we find a cure for cancer or a cure for AIDS, we will just endorse unhealthy behaviour. If we want to improve public health, we must fix the problem at the root. People take unnecessary risks with their health, ignoring long term effects and relying on the fact that the solution is contained in a pill. There is nothing farther from the truth because many drugs increase chances of you damaging your health further.

For example, immunosuppressants repress spring fever, but they also increase your chances of developing a tumour. The choice is yours, spring fever or cancer.

When will people realise that the risks outweigh the benefits for most of the drugs we have made thus far? I can only name a dozen or so drugs that have really revolutionised medicine and that have benefits that vastly outweigh the risks.

We are just developing medicine that postpones death, nothing more nothing less.

entropy51 - 23-3-2012 at 16:08

Quote: Originally posted by AJKOER  
China currently has a similar effective strategy. The executive in charge is quickly tried and shot.
Could you please cite an authoritative reference for that?

entropy51 - 23-3-2012 at 16:13

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I can only name a dozen or so drugs that have really revolutionised medicine and that have benefits that vastly outweigh the risks.

We are just developing medicine that postpones death, nothing more nothing less.
I submit that the number you can name may be an incomplete list, based on the blind spots that are apparent from above posts.

White Yeti - 23-3-2012 at 16:23

Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
I submit that the number you can name may be an incomplete list, based on the blind spots that are apparent from above posts.


Really, if you were to name the most life saving pharmaceuticals ever created, how many would there be? Complete with statistics to substantiate your claims.

Pointing out where others have erred does not solve the problem unless you provide a solution.

Polverone - 23-3-2012 at 16:50

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  

When will people realise that the risks outweigh the benefits for most of the drugs we have made thus far? I can only name a dozen or so drugs that have really revolutionised medicine and that have benefits that vastly outweigh the risks.

We are just developing medicine that postpones death, nothing more nothing less.


You made the risible claims, you provide evidence to substantiate them. None of this burden-of-proof judo.

White Yeti - 23-3-2012 at 17:47

Do any of our drugs fix problems from the root? Or do they just delay the problem? The way I see it, drugs that have truly revolutionised medicine are chemicals that eliminate the root cause of an illness. With this in mind, there are few chemicals that truly fit this image, if any at all.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" (Benjamin Franklin). Why take Valsartan to lower your blood pressure, when you can take care of yourself and watch your salt intake every day of your life? By developing new drugs to treat diseases that arise from an unhealthy lifestyle, we are justifying malconduct and irresponsibility. There is something deeply troublesome about that.

Only in the past 150 years have cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and asthma been serious issues in our society. This is traced back to the industrial revolution, where our way of life changed fundamentally. Bacteria were no longer a threat with the advent of penicillin and the development of germ theory.

Today, we slowly destroy ourselves with all these synthetic chemicals we are using to "treat" these diseases that were not a problem only a century and a half ago. We are only starting to pay the price of these new developments.
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/drugs-in-our-dri...

We fight a losing battle, the more "diseases" we cure, the more we develop, the cycle repeats, and pharma companies pocket the profits.

entropy51 - 23-3-2012 at 18:19

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Do any of our drugs fix problems from the root? Or do they just delay the problem? The way I see it, drugs that have truly revolutionised medicine are chemicals that eliminate the root cause of an illness. With this in mind, there are few chemicals that truly fit this image, if any at all.
You raise a rather high barrier in terms of a definition of a valuable drug.

I have to wonder if you are a pharmacologist or a teenager with some moisture posterior to the pinna.

You seem to imply that there have been no advances in antimicrobial therapy since Fleming discovered penicillin.

One of my medical school professors was herself the daughter of one of my professors. When she was 12 years old she was diagnosed with a very agressive lymphoma, but her life was saved by the newly discovered nitrogen mustards and vinca alkaloids. She is alive now 50 years later. Whenever we made a new diagnosis of lymphoma in a child she took an hour to explain how she had been saved by chemotherapy to the child and impart some hope for the future to them.

I wish you could make your specious arguments regarding drug efficacy to this grand lady. She would cut you to shreds.

ScienceSquirrel - 23-3-2012 at 18:23

I am moving this to Legal and Societal Issues where the philosophic fat can be chewed over a pie, a pint and a pipe.

ziqquratu - 23-3-2012 at 22:03

I've thought a couple of times about posting some responses, but backed away... however, the level of pain induced by some of the statements made has crossed the threshold. I apologise for the length... Picking on some that stood out (and trying to avoid ones which have already been covered) from the top:


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I asked some guy if antibiotics killed viruses and instead of pointing out that viruses cannot be "killed" he said yes


Sophistry - you really expect the general public to make a distinction between "killed" and "inactivated"? As far as the average patient is concerned, it doesn't matter whether the virus is dead, alive or otherwise, as long as they're no longer infected - that is, the results are the same no matter what terminology you use. (Side note, though - I do agree that the "antibiotics are ineffective for viral infections" message must be pushed harder amongst the general population).


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
the only way to keep people healthy in the long run is to use chemicals that stimulate the immune system, not to make chlorinated organics that kill bacteria.


Another name for someone with a "stimulated" immune system is "patient with autoimmune disease". Your immune system exists in a delicate balance - active enough to destroy what needs it, without going into overdrive and killing you. And, while there is some recent research showing methods which might one day be useful for SELECTIVELY stimulating the immune system to target a specific threat (eg tumor cells), and there's always vaccines, as a general rule firing up the immune system in response to an acute threat (such as an infection) is more likely to kill the patient than to cure them. That (along with the relative ease of targeting foreign rather than host cells) is why we administed drugs which target the pathogen, not the host.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Don't you find it suspicious that there are very few chemicals that don't pass the FDA inspection?


Nope - drug companies employ people specifically to ensure that all the criteria for FDA approval of a new drug are met prior to application. They do NOT submit unless they think there's a very good chance of approval being granted. Therefore, it's no surprise that a large proportion ARE approved by the regulator.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Some drugs hold potential that is just too good to pass and every day spent testing it represents millions of dollars lost. Result: FDA is rushed and publishes results on short term effects while ignoring the long term effects.


The lost money for time wasted is one of the main reasons why drug companies do their best to have everything in order before submission - being told by the FDA "nope, go back and run another trial" can kill a drug because of the costs (both in terms of actual expenses as well as lost income).

And as for the short vs. long term effects issue - you'd deny life saving therapies to thousands or millions by insisting that a drug be tested (in patients!) for what, 20 years? 40? Surely we can accept that it's simply impossible to do some of these test (which, in an ideal world, we would do) but make sure we keep an eye out for anything that shows up later on in the real world? Oh, and what about the trial patients - they're LITERALLY guinea pigs, and you want to ensure they stay that way for a few decades?


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
We as consumers become guinea pigs. I'm not comfortable with that because corporations are faceless and heartless. They don't care about consumers, so long as they keep buying their products and their reputation is not hurt too badly by a recall.


A company is in business to make money - simple as that. And it could lead to the situation you describe. That's why we have regulations and standards for things where it matters - health care, vehicle safety, etc. These are what keep corporate greed in check (and the effects of the lack of regulation is evidenced in a number of recent events - but for the most part the drug industry has relatively smaller scandals).


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
rosiglitazone. A drug that should be taken off the market in light of data collected AFTER the approval of the drug by the FDA. The FDA is restricting its use but is leaving the door open to any company that can prove that the benefits outweigh the risks.


Yup, and despite being imperfect, this is how the system is MEANT to work! It's not perfect because the world isn't! It's not possible to catch all possible side effects of a drug in a clinical trial, no matter how large, because some side effects are just too rare.

And, ultimately, ALL medical therapies are considered on a risk-vs-reward basis - do the toxic effects of drug X (and EVERY drug has side effects) outweigh the benefits of taking the drug to treat condition Y? Sometimes, they don't - and a physician won't prescribe the drug. Other times, a few side effects are the far better option (would you rather lose hair and suffer severe nausea, or die of a treatable cancer? Slightly increased risk of a heart attack, or definite reduction of lifespan through chronic diabetes?).


Quote: Originally posted by AJKOER  
I believe quite accidentally it is possible to place an ineffective drug (or worst, dangerous?) on the market with FDA approval. How? Start with a billion in seed capital and run 20 simultaneous (or, do it sequentially) studies on your 'wonder' drug. If one (or better, perhaps more) happens, due to pure statistical error at the 95% significance level, to show a statistically significant positive result just once, your in the money! No need to cheat on the drug trial, although I wonder if this is always the case.


Yes, and that's going to work in real life... First, one trial is not enough to satisfy the FDA. Even if we simply consider one phase I, one phase II and one phase III trial - there's a minimum of 60 trials you need to run to get the hits you need. Know how many hundreds of millions of dollars that'll take? And, given the number of staff required, what's the chance that you have just one honest guy blow the whistle?

Also, on a later point - regulators don't like subgroup analysis. Usually, if you want to claim approval for a subgroup, you need to run a new trial designed to show efficacy in that group - and if it IS efficatious in that group, well, you have a real drug, don't you?


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
If we find a cure for cancer or a cure for AIDS, we will just endorse unhealthy behaviour.


Yeah, because contracting (most) cancer is a lifestyle choice... and nobody ever contracted AIDS through a needlestick injury, for example - you can only get it from having "gay sex" or shooting up drugs, don't you know? [/sarcasm]


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
For example, immunosuppressants repress spring fever, but they also increase your chances of developing a tumour. The choice is yours, spring fever or cancer.


They also allow us to perform organ transplants. Generally a life saving therapy, and often used to treat conditions which, once again, have nothing to do with a person's lifestyle.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
When will people realise that the risks outweigh the benefits for most of the drugs we have made thus far?


Please provide specific examples. I'll be happy to counter them for you. Bear in mind that ther will be MANY cases where the risks do outweigh the benefits (aspirin, for example, can be deadly to children, for example - but is generally harmless and helpful for the treatment of acute pain in adults). This is why we visit a doctor, who attempts to consider those risks before suggesting a treatment.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I can only name a dozen or so drugs that have really revolutionised medicine and that have benefits that vastly outweigh the risks.


Well, if we assume that there's more than a dozen antibiotics available (in fact a quick count on the Wikipedia "list of antibiotics" includes 22 CLASSES of antibiotic, along with an "other" group), we've already smashed your argument out of the water. Most of those are used to treat life threatening infections - the risks are massively outweighed by the benefits.

Sticking with infectious diseases - the USA recommends a total of 16 vaccinations for children. Rare side effects can include febrile convulsions and anaphylactic shock (and please don't cite autism - there's no evidence in support of it). Most of the parent diseases cause death in a large number of patients (eg. measles, 2% of cases; influenza, 1%; tetanus, 50%) or serious long term injury (polio, for example). The risks definitely outweigh the benefits - and again your "dozen or so" is knoked down by a single class of drug (and one where we're only counting the specific drugs recommended for children in the USA!).


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
We are just developing medicine that postpones death, nothing more nothing less.


I don't know what else you expect... all medical interventions are designed to postpone death - nobody I've ever heard of has managed to eliminate death. Sometimes our efforts provide years or decades of additional life - sometimes just weeks. Either way, the patient is still going to die at some point.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Why take Valsartan to lower your blood pressure, when you can take care of yourself and watch your salt intake every day of your life? By developing new drugs to treat diseases that arise from an unhealthy lifestyle, we are justifying malconduct and irresponsibility. There is something deeply troublesome about that.


Case study - you are genetically predisposed to high blood pressure; how do you avoid said disease? And, if we can only sell our fancy blood pressure drugs to those who are "worthy" (ie. their symptoms are not caused by lifestyle), how do we pay for them to be developed in the first place? But, of course, that's not the issue - so what if a few people die through absolutely no fault of their own, as long as we send a strong message to people that "if you eat crap, we're not going to help you out because you don't deserve it" - that's certain to improve society.

Furthermore, who are you to decide what is "malconduct and irresponsibility"? Yes, people should take responsibility for their own actions - but not all consequences can be predicted, and certainly not all people do take responsibility (nor will they ever do so, despite your wishes to the contrary). But again, bugger those people who can't or won't control their salt intake - it's their own fault, let them die of a heart attack.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Only in the past 150 years have cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and asthma been serious issues in our society.


Turns out, if we ignore asthma from your list, the others tend to occur more frequently in older people. Therefore, as people live, or average, longer now than they did 150 years ago, statistically we should EXPECT these diseases to be more of an issue. The "cause" of this increase in incidence is not the "synthetic chemicals" we're exposed to, it's that we live longer and therefore have a higher probability of developing such diseases with our without said chemical exposure.

As for asthma, first of it's another one of those diseases caused by an over-active immune system; second, it is believed to have a large genetic component, too.

(Another aside - given that this discussion is taking place on a board dedicated to CHEMISTRY, the "synthetic chemicals" statement - which implies a distinction with "natural chemicals" - REALLY gets my goat).


I think that covers most of the points I wanted to... I would recommend you get some information from sources that are not biased against modern medicine, and which do not include popular news outlets - and keep an open mind whilst reading (you are, after all, proclaiming an interest in science by being on this board - which should mean you're open to changing your mind based on superior facts).

Bot0nist - 23-3-2012 at 23:30

Thank you so much ziqquratu and entropy, for shining light on this situation with your (presumed) inside qualifications/experiences.

I also found this quote a tad offensive -
Quote:
If we find a cure for cancer or a cure for AIDS, we will just endorse unhealthy behaviour.

though he may not have fathomed the implications. Just how can I avoid all suspected carcinogens? Attempting to do so would not be a life at all.

[Edited on 24-3-2012 by Bot0nist]

White Yeti - 24-3-2012 at 06:23

Bot, entropy51, when I said that a cure for cancer and AIDS will endorse unhealthy behaviour, I meant it as a generalisation. I posted a warning because I know it's a blunt thing to say. Of course some people are naturally predisposed or have the illness from birth, and I do feel sympathy for them. In fact, I know a few myself, and contrary to popular belief, they can still lead normal lives.

Take a look at these statistics:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/commoncancers
An excerpt from this source:


"Lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other
cancer in both men and women. An estimated 160,340 deaths,
accounting for about 28% of all cancer deaths, are expected to
occur in 2012. Death rates began declining in men in 1991; from
2004 to 2008, rates decreased 2.6% per year." page 15

Lung cancer is mostly, but not exclusively, caused by smoking. Thankfully, death rates are declining because people's attitudes on smoking are changing for the better. So in a sense, we've already found the cure for lung cancer.

Surprisingly, rates of prostate cancer and breast cancer are rapidly increasing. If any of you happen to know why, please post.

Moving on to AIDS:
http://www.avert.org/usa-statistics.htm
These statistics will show you that the majority of people who contract HIV do so through promiscuous sex, gay and otherwise. "Other" causes only make up for about 2% of the pie. This figure is expected to grow if no curb develops in the next decade or so. Promiscuity is a sign of decay in society, Ancient Roman society featured much of it before it collapsed.

Remedy for the damage done by mass media (which encourages promiscuity and says it's OK) will be very difficult to fix, if the possibility even exists.

entropy51 - 24-3-2012 at 13:43

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I can only name a dozen or so drugs that have really revolutionised medicine and that have benefits that vastly outweigh the risks.

We are just developing medicine that postpones death, nothing more nothing less.
If you can only name a dozen or so, either you don't know much about drugs or you are not trying very hard.

My quick list would include the following:

General anesthetics
Several classes of local anesthetics
Aspirin
Arsephenamine
Sulfanilamide and successors
Insulin
Vitamins
Diphenhydramine and other anti-histamines
Narcotic analgesics
Corticosteroids
Multiple classes of anti-hypertensives
Neuromuscular blocking agents
Anticoagulants
H-2 receptor blockers
Multiple classes of anti-psychotics
Multiple classe of anti-depressants
Halothane and other nonflammable anesthetics
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory agents
Insulin
Oral hypoglycemic agents
Anti-malarials and other anti-protozoal agents
Antimicrobials (tens of classes, hundreds of agents)
Multiple classes of anti-neoplastic agents
Multiple classes of anti-viral agents
Immunomodulatory drugs that allow organ transplants
Non-sedating anti-histamines

The list could go on and on and be expanded to include individual drugs (probably 1,000) and classes of drugs but most people will get the idea.

The use of these drugs over decades would seem ample evidence of favorable risk to benefit ratios. Dangerous and ineffective drugs tend to fall by the wayside as better drugs are developed. Those of us who have treated patients are well aware of the efficacy of drugs like the ones summarized above. Anyone lacking such experience can find statistical evidence in the literature, including the comprehensive reviews conducted by the FDA on older drugs during the 1960's.

And one should not dismiss the benefits of delaying death too casually. There is often a benefit in living a few more years to watch your grandchildren grow up. I suspect that when your time comes to face death you may find considerable benefit in delaying that even by a few months or years.

[Edited on 24-3-2012 by entropy51]

Polverone - 24-3-2012 at 14:11

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  

Moving on to AIDS:
http://www.avert.org/usa-statistics.htm
These statistics will show you that the majority of people who contract HIV do so through promiscuous sex, gay and otherwise. "Other" causes only make up for about 2% of the pie. This figure is expected to grow if no curb develops in the next decade or so. Promiscuity is a sign of decay in society, Ancient Roman society featured much of it before it collapsed.

Remedy for the damage done by mass media (which encourages promiscuity and says it's OK) will be very difficult to fix, if the possibility even exists.


Ah, so you don't really want medicine to cure major ills. You dislike anti-retroviral drugs not because they fail to cure completely but because they stop AIDS from being a certain death sentence. You want some medical problems to remain untreatable so you can use them as control mechanisms against social trends you don't like.

White Yeti - 24-3-2012 at 16:05

Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  
Ah, so you don't really want medicine to cure major ills. You dislike anti-retroviral drugs not because they fail to cure completely but because they stop AIDS from being a certain death sentence. You want some medical problems to remain untreatable so you can use them as control mechanisms against social trends you don't like.


I respect life, it is sacred from birth until natural death. But what we do with it in between is our decision, our free will. Everything you do has a price to pay, when you drink soda, you destroy your teeth and you increase your likelihood of developing cavities. When you eat too much, you get fat (there at least you have a second chance). When you go out in the sun every day for hours without protection, you damage your skin and you increase your chances of developing skin cancer.

The exact same goes for promiscuous sex. You take a risk every time and similarly you have to pay. You NEVER get something for nothing.

Quote:
social trends you don't like


I'm a bit offended by that, not by what you wrote, but by the indifference this implies. I am desperately trying to keep religion out of this, but sex was intended to strengthen the relationship between one man and one woman, not two men, not two women and not any number of each either. As soon as we start destroying the family as a social unit, the society as a whole collapses.

In theory HIV, should strengthen the family, by encouraging monogamy and by discouraging promiscuity. Unfortunately, the media is bringing back out caveman instincts and tendencies. How far will this go, only time will tell.

weiming1998 - 24-3-2012 at 16:40

But contracting HIV is not always, or even most of the time, the person's fault! A person could be having a long-term relationship with somebody, which has HIV but the symptoms hasn't shown up yet (symptoms can hide for years or even, in cases, decades). The person then contracts HIV. Is it the person's fault? No! It might not even be the other person's fault, as the other person might have the same scenario, etc. Another example is a mother contracting HIV, then giving birth to a child. The child gets the disease. Does the child have to suffer because of what the mother has done? By not finding a cure, you are denying all these innocent people, who has done nothing morally wrong, a cure. Sure, you might be cleansing polygamers out of society, but is it really worth it to take innocent people with them?

The same thing with lung cancer . Tobacco smoking might be the first cause, but radon exposure is the second! Do you want all those people who did not think that there's radon in their basement to die with lung cancer, without any hope of curing or at least delaying their death?

The same with other diseases, which I won't attempt to list here.

I'm sorry to say, but not everyone is religious and follows the same set of moral rules as you do. People might not consider gay relationships wrong, and there are no studies to prove on how it is unhealthy scientifically. HIV will eventually strengthen the family, but with a quarter of the entire planet, and almost the whole of Africa dying! Do you really want to make that sacrifice, just to stop gay relationships and polygamy?

White Yeti - 24-3-2012 at 17:05

Quote:
The same thing with lung cancer . **Tobacco** smoking might be the first cause, but radon exposure is the second!

Marijuana smoking also causes lung cancer. There are more marijuana smokers than people with radioactive basements. As for radon, the solution is simple, build above ground. The basement used to be a place where machinery would be stored, where the noisy boiler would do its thing, now it's just an extra room, as if houses in America were not big enough already.

"Do you really want to make that sacrifice, just to stop gay relationships and polygamy?"

Aren't there other diseases to this day that are just as deadly as AIDS and cancer, yet still incurable to this day? Why do you pay so much attention to AIDS (transmitted through caveman-like behaviour), aren't people dying from cystic fibrosis as well? I would focus more on curing genetic diseases that cannot be transmitted through mostly irrational behaviour.

As for contracting HIV at birth, this case presents itself as 2% of all the cases of HIV. If you glanced at the statistics, you would not have made such a weak argument.

Bot0nist - 24-3-2012 at 17:10

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  


In theory HIV, should strengthen the family, by encouraging monogamy and by discouraging promiscuity.


Yeti, can you hear me back there in the fifties? It is almost as if you believe HIV to be a good thing. That statement backed up the phrase that offended you from Polverone.
As far as promiscuity is concerned... I don't know about Yeti girls, but women around here are quite lovely, and that is why Jesus Christ invented condoms. ;-)

Oh, and how many "innocents" (not gay, or promiscuous, etc) have to die for AIDS to be bad Yeti. How many dead is that 2%?

[Edited on 25-3-2012 by Bot0nist]

White Yeti - 24-3-2012 at 17:25

Quote: Originally posted by Bot0nist  
It is almost as if you believe HIV to be a good thing. That statement backed up the phrase that offended you from Polverone.[Edited on 25-3-2012 by Bot0nist]


Suffering has its place in the world. Yes, bad things happen to good people, but it's all part of life. To be honest, I don't know at which point AIDS and cancer showed up in this thread, but what about the countless other diseases that take the lives of many other people? I mentioned cystic fibrosis but there are countless others, which are not contracted through irrational behaviour.

Imagine a world without diseases, no pressure valve on population growth, no way to be grateful for your health. Too many people take health for granted. It's the same thing as the "why is there evil in the world" question. Similarly, you cannot be grateful for your health without there being disease as well.

weiming1998 - 24-3-2012 at 17:39

The answer to overpopulation, a legit issue, is not to have diseases kill people off, but to spread the message for people to have less children. We are succeeding in this message in developed countries, as population growth has stopped or even decreased there. But we still have to work on developing countries, where diseases kill lots of people off, but they respond to that by giving birth to more children, often six or seven per family! It is a lose-lose situation, both with people dying and overpopulation not being controlled, eventually having mass starvation(like in Africa). To stop this, we need to both develop better medicine (or ways to make more medicine) for these countries, which will reduce the mortality rate of children there, and encourage them to give birth to less children and use protection, which will both help in reducing the number of children being born, which will resolve the starvation issue some years later because of the decrease in population. That way, we have both less people, starvation issue resolved, and lower death rate by diseases, using just medicine!

entropy51 - 24-3-2012 at 17:47

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  

I am desperately trying to keep religion out of this, but sex was intended to strengthen the relationship between one man and one woman, not two men, not two women and not any number of each either. As soon as we start destroying the family as a social unit, the society as a whole collapses.

In theory HIV, should strengthen the family, by encouraging monogamy and by discouraging promiscuity. Unfortunately, the media is bringing back out caveman instincts and tendencies. How far will this go, only time will tell.
What a self-righteous little twit!

If you were trying to keep religion out of this you would not be telling us what sex was intended for. Intended by whom pray tell? You must be like 13 years old if you think you can read God's mind with such clarity.

White Yeti - 24-3-2012 at 18:11

Quote: Originally posted by weiming1998  
The answer to overpopulation, a legit issue, is not to have diseases kill people off, but to spread the message for people to have less children. We are succeeding in this message in developed countries, as population growth has stopped or even decreased there.


Spreading this message is not the answer either. Countries with collapsing populations (Germany much?), have just as many problems as those with populations getting out of hand. Issues with social security and pensions will have to be faced one way or another. The only solution is to have a slowly increasing population worldwide. When we find ways to colonise the solar system, then we can alleviate population by sending people to other planets, and later, to the stars.

I did not think it would come to this, but it seems like none of you guys gives a shit about triclosan.

@entropy, I don't read God's mind, I simply heed his word and I think you should as well.

entropy51 - 24-3-2012 at 18:27

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
@entropy, I don't read God's mind, I simply heed his word and I think you should as well.
It sounds like you have Him on speed dial. Just let me have His number, I'm not at all sure that I trust your transcription of His word.

White Yeti - 24-3-2012 at 18:38

Speed dial:
Clear your mind of every distraction, create complete silence, and you will hear God. God appears in the silence.

weiming1998 - 24-3-2012 at 18:54

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Quote: Originally posted by weiming1998  
The answer to overpopulation, a legit issue, is not to have diseases kill people off, but to spread the message for people to have less children. We are succeeding in this message in developed countries, as population growth has stopped or even decreased there.


Spreading this message is not the answer either. Countries with collapsing populations (Germany much?), have just as many problems as those with populations getting out of hand. Issues with social security and pensions will have to be faced one way or another. The only solution is to have a slowly increasing population worldwide. When we find ways to colonise the solar system, then we can alleviate population by sending people to other planets, and later, to the stars.

I did not think it would come to this, but it seems like none of you guys gives a shit about triclosan.

@entropy, I don't read God's mind, I simply heed his word and I think you should as well.


There would be an economy issue if populations are decreasing and a population is suffering from ageing, but you can't do anything about it. If we just let the population grow and wait for us to colonize the solar systems, eventually either our technology will not be advanced enough to move further into the universe, and mass starvation will ensue or we will become parasites of this universe, draining the life out of planets and continue expanding until eventually every resource in our universe is going to be exhausted. Not to mention that we are certainly going to kill off the original inhabitants of some planets. Economic issues are hard to resolve and a pain, but this is much worse.

White Yeti - 24-3-2012 at 19:14

Population growth will be curbed in some way or another. You mentioned ageing, aren't the medicines we are making allowing people to live longer? This is such a blessing! Economies collapse because of ageing populations. Imagine the entire world population was like that of Europe. Europeans, although few in number use lots of resources and are charged with taking care of their elderly.

You cannot have the population of the world remain constant, a decreasing population causes all sorts of problems, only a slowly growing population will provide the kind of stability we need.

Polverone - 24-3-2012 at 19:58

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Too many people take health for granted. It's the same thing as the "why is there evil in the world" question. Similarly, you cannot be grateful for your health without there being disease as well.


Historically documented suffering is enough to inspire gratitude for its absence. You don't need to be beaten every Tuesday to enjoy all the days you aren't cringing before the rod. You don't need to reintroduce smallpox to appreciate its previous eradication.

ziqquratu - 24-3-2012 at 20:20

Yeti, since this thread has degenerated into a discussion of morality (and, for now, I'm not even going to try and address your arguments on population growth), I'm going to put to you again a question I posed above.


Let's assume that, for any given disease, the number of patients who have "legitimate" reasons for having it (eg. genetics, accidental exposure, injury, etc.) is 5 %. This is probably a massive overestimate for some diseases, and quite reasonable for others - but for the purpose of this scenario, an overestimate is useful to show the point.

Now, it is a widely reported fact (if you pay any attention to valid information about the drug industry, and not to less reputable sources) that a large proportion of drugs never manage to pay for themselves - that is, the profits made by selling them are less than the expenses incurred in development.

Given this, we can infer that if only 5% of current patients were to take drugs (because we wouldn't prescribe them to the people who could have avoided the disease by making some appropriate, moral choices), then NO drug would ever pay for itself. And the lower the percentage of "worthy" patients, the more true this statement becomes.

Now, if it were impossible to make a profit off of developing drugs, then no company would do so (and government funded research is notoriously poor at producing viable pharmaceuticals - although, to be fair, this may not hold true if it were the only option). Therefore, the drugs to treat that 5 % would never exist.

So, should that 5 % just suck it up and die so that the 95 % are given a "strong message" about moral behaviour? (Side note - it worked REALLY well during alcohol prohibition, and that whole "war on drugs" thing is going just swimmingly - even in the many Asian countries where drug trafficking can get you the death penalty).


Drugs are an effective tool in the treatment of a wide range of diseases - some avoidable, some not; even in some where risk is increased by "immoral behaviour". Either way, denying a person a life-saving therapy simply because you think they made a wrong choice or two along the way can NEVER be a moral position. If you hold such a philosophy, well, I'm not sure you can actually be qualified to lecture others on morality (something about those without sin casting stones...?).

White Yeti - 25-3-2012 at 05:28

Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
So, should that 5 % just suck it up and die so that the 95 % are given a "strong message" about moral behaviour?


I don't even think we need to go that far. Say tomorrow someone patents a cure for cancer. Let's be idealistic, no side effects and it applies to all kinds of cancer. You can only imagine the multibillion dollar market that will develop. Depending on where you live, insurance policy may be different, but if you live in the United States, only the rich can afford expensive life saving procedures. With this in mind, the poor usually do welding, are exposed to carbon monoxide from machinery and are more likely to develop cancer. Do you think they will receive the treatment they deserve? Of course not, insurance companies will cover the cheaper chemotherapy/radiotherapy alternative, and deny coverage on the new treatment. Once the technology matures, then maybe insurance will cover it

Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
(Side note - it worked REALLY well during alcohol prohibition, and that whole "war on drugs" thing is going just swimmingly - even in the many Asian countries where drug trafficking can get you the death penalty).


Actually, the prohibition was not a complete failure. It may not have stopped the consumption of alcohol in the United States, but it changed people's attitudes about alcohol consumption, leading to a decline in popularity:
http://edgeofthewest.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/prohibition...

The war on drugs in another issue. The problem with drugs is that there are many different kinds and chemists are worsening the situation by making derivatives which are not "illegal" per se. This makes restriction and regulation a nightmare.

Government intervention is not all that futile. Thanks to the government, supply is held back and purity of drugs in decreasing (dealers cut the product more and more). What dealers cut drugs with is not my problem, but I've heard that some use powdered glass. Even the dumbest addict knows that powdered glass is not something you should be introducing into your body intravenously. The result, cocaine and heroin are decreasing in popularity, but other drugs (a very long list) are increasing in popularity. Whether we like it or not, drugs are here to stay.


turd - 25-3-2012 at 09:26

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Speed dial:
Clear your mind of every distraction, create complete silence, and you will hear God. God appears in the silence.

If you hear voices you should seek professional help.
In retrospect:
You don't understand chemistry in the slightest (the first post in this thread is a major facepalm moment and it just goes downhill from there).
You don't understand drugs in the slightest.
You have the world view of a 13 year old kid that isn't yet mature enough to question the silly beliefs indoctrinated by his family. (Which actually is no shame - you probably are that 13 year old immature kid.)

Quote:
What dealers cut drugs with is not my problem, but I've heard that some use powdered glass.

Gosh. You're so naïve and full of it! If you'd spend one minute thinking about it instead of regurgitating unreflected fairy tales, you would realize that cutting smack with something that doesn't dissolve in water is about the stupidest thing one can do. Newsflash: Dealers generally want their clients to buy more of the stuff, not kill them.

This thread should be locked to protect you from yourself: every post makes you look more foolish than the last (if that is even possible).

White Yeti - 25-3-2012 at 10:20

Quote: Originally posted by turd  

You have the world view of a 13 year old kid that isn't yet mature enough to question the silly beliefs indoctrinated by his family.


For your information, I was an atheist at one point, I have questioned the beliefs I have been exposed to for as long as I can remember. I know the mind of an atheist very well, because I WAS one. The fact that we, as human beings, are in constant search for a higher being is innate, and universal. Stating an absolute belief that "there is no God" goes against all scientific theory, at the centre of which there is uncertainty. God has revealed himself in many ways, and failing to accept his presence is a mortal sin, for which you will pay greatly if you do not change your views.

Let me ask you a question, as an atheist, where would you put the "zero" mark for counting years? And how would you agree with your atheist friends on one year?

Quote:
you would realize that cutting smack with something that doesn't dissolve in water is about the stupidest thing one can do.


Drug dealers are not the brightest people. The fact that they enter the business in the first place proves that they are pretty dull to begin with.

unionised - 25-3-2012 at 11:26

"Let me ask you a question, as an atheist, where would you put the "zero" mark for counting years? And how would you agree with your atheist friends on one year?"
I'd probably call for a debate on the pros and cons of these then have a vote.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epoch_(reference_date)#Notable_epoch_dates_in_computing

ziqquratu - 25-3-2012 at 23:02

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
I don't even think we need to go that far. Say tomorrow someone patents a cure for cancer. Let's be idealistic, no side effects and it applies to all kinds of cancer. You can only imagine the multibillion dollar market that will develop. Depending on where you live, insurance policy may be different, but if you live in the United States, only the rich can afford expensive life saving procedures. With this in mind, the poor usually do welding, are exposed to carbon monoxide from machinery and are more likely to develop cancer. Do you think they will receive the treatment they deserve? Of course not, insurance companies will cover the cheaper chemotherapy/radiotherapy alternative, and deny coverage on the new treatment. Once the technology matures, then maybe insurance will cover it


Fortunately, not all western countries have such byzantine arrangements for the funding of healthcare as does the US. Irrespective of that, however, insurance companies in the US do, in fact, fund the expensive treatments - they don't like it, and are always looking for a way out, but they DO fund it. And, to be fair, there are good reasons for restricting access to some of the more expensive, newer drugs - certainly, price limitations play a part, but often these things are better used as second- or third-line therapies, after older drugs have failed (to avoid the development of resistance, for example, or for treating already resistant illnesses).


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Actually, the prohibition was not a complete failure. It may not have stopped the consumption of alcohol in the United States, but it changed people's attitudes about alcohol consumption, leading to a decline in popularity:
http://edgeofthewest.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/prohibition...


Your graph seems to be missing a few decades of data... a short term decrease is not sufficient to justify the consequences of prohibition.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Government intervention is not all that futile. Thanks to the government, supply is held back and purity of drugs in decreasing (dealers cut the product more and more).


Rubbish. Look at it like this - police report seizing a multi-million dollar shipment of heroin. And yet, the street price of the drug is unaffected. This is evidence of the seizure having NO effect on the availability.


Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
Whether we like it or not, drugs are here to stay.


This is the smartest thing you've said in the entire thread. And it applies to obesity, heart disease, cancer, AIDS, asthma, Alzheimers.... and just about all other diseases, too (with the possible exception of a few viral diseases - such as smallpox - which we're capable of eliminating). No matter what controls - what moralistic requirements - you put in place, these things are never going away.

ripple - 2-4-2012 at 08:29

So many really great debates on here get far too heated and ruined with personal attacks. We have this fairly unique hobby/interest and are fortunate enough to have a forum to share it with each other- it would be nice for that to be reflected in the tone and quality of discussion.

Its a very small pool, please stop pissing in it

White Yeti - 2-4-2012 at 17:35

Thanks for pointing that out.

Different views on certain topics are almost always rejected initially, and I hoped (when I first signed up) that this forum would be accepting of different points of view. I'm afraid that many topics devolve into personal attacks for no definite reason other than the fact that some people are not willing to consider things from a different point of view. This lack of open mindedness is strange, because as a community of scientists (for the most part) you should always be open to new ideas and perspectives, if they are supported in some way or another by a logical train of thought (which I believe I articulated clearly enough for laymen to understand).

For the rest of you, personal attacks show that this community is not better than any other forum on the Internet; any group of fools can start hurling insults at one another. Granted, my original post was not perfect, far from it I might add, but you guys determined in which direction this thread was headed. Never had I though this thread would go anywhere near AIDS and oncology.

I still believe that diseases should be dealt with from the ground up. First we get rid of malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis and cholera (yes these diseases still exist). Once deaths from these diseases in developing countries are low enough to be acceptable by western standards, then we can tackle cancer, AIDS, genetic disorders etcetera…

497 - 4-4-2012 at 03:58

I totally agree with ripple. No need for personal attacks. But how surprised can you really be when people react strongly to you showing up and posting posting stuff like this

Quote:
The war on drugs in another issue. The problem with drugs is that there are many different kinds and chemists are worsening the situation by making derivatives which are not "illegal" per se. This makes restriction and regulation a nightmare.

Government intervention is not all that futile. Thanks to the government, supply is held back and purity of drugs in decreasing (dealers cut the product more and more).


And then you say everyone else is refusing to be open to new perspectives? Anyone even vaguely familiar with the black market will tell you just how effective government intervention is... But you would prefer to listen the prison gaurd's story instead? Find some real indepent evidence that prohibitions are so great for us. Data from after 1930.

How did Portugal's prohibition work out?

"If only we could figure out the right set of federal regulations, the mexican cartel wars would be solved!" That's just not how it works.

http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/drug-prohibition-your-childre...

Quote:

The Mexican government reports that its War on Drugs has killed 28,000 people over the past four years. This ongoing tragedy is undermining Mexico's stability, which is bad news for the United States.

But that's not the only way drug prohibition is hurting us. I urge you to watch this interview with Neill Franklin, the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (under 9 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzOHQdKRANA

The video reveals that the Mexican drug cartels have expanded into 230 U.S. cities. Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of police 911 calls are related to this illegal drug trade. And yet, as our police go from one drug-related 911 call to the next, most violent crimes go unsolved, including . . .

* 60% of rapes * 73% of robberies * 88% of auto thefts * And 37% of murders

Whereas, in 1963, before the War on Drugs, only 9% of murders went unsolved!

Repealing drug prohibition would put an end to narcotics units and place more cops on the street to "do the work that is supposed to be done."

But unsolved crime is not the only danger caused by the Drug War. Our children are particularly at risk . . .

* Criminals don't ask for ID's to verify the age of their customers * This means that powerful drugs are more available to kids than cigarettes and alcohol * Criminals don't care about quality control, so the black market substances that lure our kids are more dangerous than they would be if prohibition didn't exist * And urban, African-American children are at special risk. They are heavily recruited to the drug trade because juvenile offenders get lesser sentences

Whereas in Portugal, which legalized personal drug possession ten years ago . . .

* There was a double-digit drop in drug use by school-age children * As well as a double-digit drop in AIDS cases * The stigma has been removed for people seeking treatment * And there is MORE MONEY for treatment

Even so, President Obama still wants to increase funding for the War on Drugs!

But the facts are clear. Drug prohibition doesn't work. Repeal the federal drug laws. Our communities will be safer and our children will be better off.


A few people out there are even starting to notice...
http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/4570-m...

This is a good way to illustrate the heart of the problem:

Quote:
People laugh when politicians talk about their drug use. The audience laughed during a 2003 CNN Democratic presidential primary debate when John Kerry, John Edwards and Howard Dean admitted smoking weed.

Yet those same politicians oversee a cruel system that now stages SWAT raids on people’s homes more than 100 times a day. People die in these raids –some weren’t even the intended targets of the police.

Neill Franklin once led such raids. The 33-year Maryland police veteran, now executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, locked up hundreds of people for drugs and felt good about it.

“We really thought that these drugs made people evil,” he told me.

But 10 years ago Franklin decided that drugs –even hard drugs –do much less harm to Americans than does the drug war.

“Drugs can be –and are in many cases –problematic. But the policies that we have in place to prohibit their use are 10 times more problematic.”

The raids helped change his mind. “We end up with kids being shot … search warrants being served on the wrong home, innocent people on the other side of the door thinking that they are protecting their home.”

And the level of drug use remains about the same.

Still, most Americans support the drug war. Paul Chabot, White House drug adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton, told me: “We should be kicking down more doors. … They’re kicking the door of somebody who’s a violent person.”

Violent?People who get high are rarely violent. The violence occurs because when something’s illegal, it is sold only on the black market. And that causes crime. Drug dealers can’t just call the cops if someone tries to steal their supply. So they form gangs and arm themselves to the teeth.

“We have the violence of these gangs competing for market share, and people get hurt,” said Franklin.

Especially kids. Drug gangs constantly look for new recruits.

“Some of these gangs have better recruitment programs than Fortune 500 companies. They know what to say to kids.”

People think that if drugs were legal, there would be more recruiting of kids. Franklin says the opposite is true.

“Prohibition causes that. We don’t have kids on the corner (saying), ‘Pssst, I got a fifth of Jack Daniel’s.’”

Kids rarely peddle liquor, and there’s little violence around liquor sales because alcohol is legal. There was lots of violence before 1933, but that was because Prohibition forbade liquor sales. Prohibition gave us Al Capone.

“Organized crime existed well before Prohibition,” Chabot replied.

That’s true. But much less of it. The murder rate rose when alcohol was banned. It dropped when Prohibition was repealed.

“If we were to do away with our drug laws … we know drug usage numbers will skyrocket,” Chabot said.

But we don’t know that.

It’s logical to assume that, were it not for drug prohibition, drug abuse would be rampant. But 10 years ago, Portugal decriminalized every drug –crack, heroin, you name it. The number of abusers actually declined.

Joao Goulao, Portugal’s top drug official, said that before decriminalization “we had a huge problem with drug use … around 100,000 people hooked on heroin.”

Then they started treating drug use more like a parking ticket. People caught with drugs get a slap on the wrist, sometimes a fine.

Independent studies have found the number of people in Portugal who say they regularly do drugs stayed about the same. And the best news, said Goulao: “Addiction itself decreased a lot.”

At first, police were skeptical of the law, but Joao Figueira, chief inspector of Lisbon’s drug unit, told me that decriminalization changed lots of minds.

“The level of conflicts on the street are reduced. Drug-related robberies are reduced. And now the police are not the enemies of the consumers!”

And teen drug use is down.

All good news. But in America and in most of the world, the drug war continues, thousands are murdered, and in ghettos the police are enemies of the people.

Governments should wake up and learn something from the Portuguese.


http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/on-pot-prohibition-and-portugal/

[Edited on 4-4-2012 by 497]

White Yeti - 4-4-2012 at 05:52

Quote: Originally posted by 497  
Anyone even vaguely familiar with the black market will tell you just how effective government intervention is... But you would prefer to listen the prison gaurd's story instead? Find some real indepent evidence that prohibitions are so great for us. Data from after 1930.

How did Portugal's prohibition work out?



Very well then, let me elaborate.

The drug war is mostly ineffective because it's focused on the wrong drugs and the wrong people. Instead of focusing attacks on hard drugs, the government is cracking down on all drugs when it should be focusing on crack, meth and (to a decreasing extent) heroin. The reason why echoes to the fundamental belief that the government should do everything in its power to protect public welfare and keep crime rates down to a minimum.

I have never heard of a pot head revert to bouts of violence to get his fix, some even say that cannabis calms people down to a certain extent. The same is not true of meth and crack. In my opinion, meth is the hardest drug of them all, it's the most addictive, it gives the user the highest and longest high of all drugs and it's also the one and only drug that seems to "possess" people into bouts of unjustified violence. In some ways, crack pales in comparison, but it's still a major cause of urban violence and crime. Another major cause of crime is poverty, but there's not much the government can do about that, hence why it didn't declare a war on poverty.

I put heroin in parentheses because its use is declining, instead, people are using prescription painkillers. This makes the drug war on this front impossible to fight because what is usually used as legitimate medicine is now used as a cleaner and purer alternative to heroin. The medicinal and therapeutical properties of certain drugs makes outlawing them an impossible feat, which is why the government should lift its nonsensical ban on shrooms, LSD, cannabis, DMT, ibogane and all the others I can't name off the top of my head.

So, a complete end to prohibition wouldn't be the best decision either. If you legalised meth and crack you would not be solving the problem, you'd make the black market and even larger and more dangerous market. Since the current situation is that enforcement is too spread out over all the drugs, a different approach should be adopted. The government should base their decisions on whether or not to outlaw a drug based on statistics on public violence that consumption of the drug brings with it. With this outlook, crackdown would theoretically be more focused on there it is needed rather than dispersed over every and any drug in existence. Organised crime over the distribution of cannabis would disappear. In that sense, we would already improve public safety by simply legalising cannabis.

[Edited on 4-4-2012 by White Yeti]

Bot0nist - 4-4-2012 at 06:18

Hate to say it, bit im with The Dark Lord Sauron on this one... Legalize all drugs and make the FREELY available to anyone (of age) that wants them, at the pharmaceutical companies expense (since they founded the mainstream use of many of these drugs at one time). Removing monetary value and lack of availability will reduce most, if not all drug related violence and crime. The governments role could then be purely focused on education, harm reduction, and treatment. A role they are much better suited too, IME

"fundamental belief that the government should do everything in its power to protect public"

But not to protect.me from myself. When the Pure Food and Drugs Act was passed this is not what was in mind. The G men have no more right to persecute me for the chemicals I intake than it does four the literature I read! Stupid Nanny State!

[Edited on 5-4-2012 by Bot0nist]

White Yeti - 4-4-2012 at 07:17

Quote: Originally posted by Bot0nist  
Legalize all drugs and make the FREELY available to anyone (of age)


That "of age" part is difficult to enforce, when youths want to get messed up, they will, and by any means necessary. There is an age restriction for the consumption of alcohol, it may be enforced, but is it always obeyed? The problem will only be magnified when you legalise hard drugs that go hand in hand with addiction and violence. If you give an age restriction to some drugs and provide a good reason, then people might follow it. The reason being that the brain is adversely affected by all drugs (especially psychedelics) and more profoundly so, when it is initially developing during the first 20 years of life.

There is no black and white when it comes to politics, but I think it's obvious that drugs like meth and crack should remain illegal.

497 - 4-4-2012 at 12:37

Bot0nist has it right this time. The monetary value (sometimes combined with drug effects) is the only thing that results in violence. Drugs are sooo cheap to manufacture, the costs should never be an issue.

So, tell me how subjectively different amphetamine is from meth? It's pretty damn close based on all the people I've talked to. The route of administration makes a much bigger difference. So if these are such a scourge on us, why are there 5 million prescriptions for it, plus almost 10 million for methylphenidate as of 10 years ago..

Meth is not that different than any other drug. It's ability to keep you awake for many days does result in more rapid damage if heavily abused, but it is most definitely not on the same level as opiates in terms of addiction.

The point is, if you tell people they are incapable of using something responsibly, they won't use it responsibly. That's a fact. People only treat drugs like a big deal because society makes a big deal about them, and they're worth their weight in gold. You're trying to argue that demonic possession chemicals are the driving force behind the black market's destructive effects, while it is clearly economics.

The of age issue will plague us in many ways until a real "rite of passage" is used to delineate where childhood ends and adulthood begins. Treating it as huge taboo when kids experiment with drugs only increases their interest. There is ample evidence for that concept if you look at the way some Europeans treat alcohol vs the way Americans often treat it... The same applies to all drugs. 18 is such arbitrary bullshit, how can we expect anyone to act like an adult when we won't even allow them to, until years after they would have had a family just a few centuries ago.

And what about those wars? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Poverty

turd - 4-4-2012 at 12:38

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
This lack of open mindedness is strange, because as a community of scientists (for the most part) you should always be open to new ideas and perspectives, if they are supported in some way or another by a logical train of thought (which I believe I articulated clearly enough for laymen to understand).

Nothing what you said in this thread (and mostly elsewhere) is even remotely based on scientific method. Science is not:

- There's invisible pink unicorns everywhere because you can't prove the opposite. (Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence)
- There's a life after death because it makes me feel better. (Wishful thinking, one of the biggest sins of a scientist)
- Repeating fairy tales without questioning them

Again and again, you show absolute ignorance on the topic of drugs (and physics and chemistry) and act if you were some kind of authority. You are too lazy to use Google for two minutes before spouting your nonsense. Otherwise, you would for example realize how ridiculous the claim "methamphetamine is the most addictive drug" is. No wonder people react with irritation.

http://www.exchangesupplies.org/article_bad_heroin.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphetamine

Quote:
Data from The Lancet suggests amphetamine is ranked the 8th most addictive and 6th most harmful of 20 popular recreational drugs.


The same for your religious tirades: There's no theologically of philosophically interesting content to them. It's like the caricature of religion filtered through the mind of an immature kid. If I were Christian I would be deeply embarrassed by the contemptuous, inhumane drivel you are posting. But there's hoping that you grow up one day.

White Yeti - 4-4-2012 at 14:48

Quote: Originally posted by 497  
The route of administration makes a much bigger difference. So if these are such a scourge on us, why are there 5 million prescriptions for it, plus almost 10 million for methylphenidate as of 10 years ago..

[...]but it is most definitely not on the same level as opiates in terms of addiction.


I definitely agree that the method of administration is a huge factor, hence why you can abuse pills by simply injecting them. What was (somewhat) safe to begin with becomes a powerful narcotic when administered in a different fashion.

But I still think that amphetamines are just as, if not more addictive than opiates. Here's why, even though withdrawal from amphetamines is not as dangerous as opiate withdrawal, it lasts longer and is more severe than withdrawal from cocaine (wikipedia). Methamphetamine triggers the release of dopamine and you all know the rest, the reward cycle etc... The brain is depleted of dopamine for years after the user discontinues the use of meth. Think about how crumby an existence that would be and how strong the pull must be towards the drug. You're effectively depressed for the rest of your life and that can be changed if you take more meth.

Apparently, ibogaine can be used to treat opioid dependence and it can treat methamphetamine dependence as well, but the craving for the drug makes treatment very difficult because although the physical aspect of the dependence can be eliminated, the mental craving for the drug is not eliminated.

@turd, you might think I act like an immature kid, but you're the one hurling senseless insults, and you're the one acting like a fool. You know very well that personal attacks are not welcome on this forum.

watson.fawkes - 4-4-2012 at 15:39

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
[...] but you're the one hurling senseless insults
You must have no idea, then, how insulting you have already been in this thread:
Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
[...] but sex was intended to strengthen the relationship between one man and one woman, not two men, not two women and not any number of each either.
Take your private metaphysical beliefs and keep them out of this science board. Asserting the universality of such beliefs is at best unseemly, and become insulting when you insist upon it, which you have, and particularly so when with even a fragment of thought you would have realized how many people disagree with you. Doubly so when this is not a general-topic discussion board, but one about science.

White Yeti - 4-4-2012 at 17:07

"Asserting the universality of such beliefs is at best unseemly, and become insulting when you insist upon it."

Although what I said may be offensive to some, my comments are impersonal. You may choose to take my comments any way you like. If you choose to take offence, go right ahead, that's not my problem.

"with even a fragment of thought you would have realized how many people disagree with you. Doubly so when this is not a general-topic discussion board, but one about science."

Firstly, I don't care whether or not people agree with me. I don't judge myself based on what others think. This is a forum, what's the point of having a forum where everyone agrees on everything? There would be no discussion. This is already a very monochrome forum some of these threads are pathetic because everyone agrees on the same subject.

Secondly, yes my original post was flawed, but I was hoping for a reasonable, unheated discussion on scientific ground. The problem was that this topic overlapped into politics and society, something I didn't realise until the discussion started to degenerate. I even posted an apology to the moderators:

"I appologise to the moderators for having posted something so close to politics. I didn't realise it at the time. I still think this is a subject worthy of discussion, so long as it doesn't get out of hand."



[Edited on 4-5-2012 by White Yeti]

watson.fawkes - 4-4-2012 at 17:53

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
my comments are impersonal.
Doesn't matter. Still insulting.

White Yeti - 4-4-2012 at 18:14

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
Doesn't matter. Still insulting.


It depends solely on your personal judgement, what one might find offensive, another might find in line. What homosexuals do is insulting and out of line, especially when they do it on front of the world, for everyone to see.

Bot0nist - 4-4-2012 at 18:18

Your a bigot and a homophobe, that is my impersonal opinion. Maybe you should spend some more time worrying about your own life, and stop trying to dictate others, you fascist! If gays make you so uncomfortable, then I guarantee that you have some issues with your own sexuality that needs attention...

Go beat your bible elsewhere! Dick. :mad:

Quote: Originally posted by turd  


This thread should be locked to protect you from yourself: every post makes you look more foolish than the last (if that is even possible).


Too late...

EDIT: Just so you know where that came from, not that you deserve or care; My younger brother is a homosexual and has had to deal with people like you his whole life. It makes me sick. He is a much better and "moral" human being than you could ever pretend to be with all your self righteous rhetoric. WTF makes you think you have the right to tell others who to love or how to live there life?


*TheBot leaves this thread, along with any respect he had for Yeti, behind.

[Edited on 5-4-2012 by Bot0nist]

watson.fawkes - 4-4-2012 at 18:39

Quote: Originally posted by White Yeti  
What homosexuals do is insulting and out of line, especially when they do it on front of the world, for everyone to see.
You really don't think that overt homophobia, as you have well illustrated here for everyone to see, isn't insulting to homosexuals, even if you claim it's impersonal. Wow.

Just so that I'm clear, I entered in after you accused turd of being insulting. Hint: the parable of the mote and the beam is in Matthew 7.

497 - 4-4-2012 at 18:49

So can you or anyone else present any evidence at all that drugs even begin to approach alcohol in destructive effects? Why should we be pouring more and more money in to stopping people from gaining new perspectives (a proven result of some drugs, unlike alchol) while alcohol is treated in this way?

Quote:
Some might say there is a beneficial effect of the growing incidence of FAS: it's good for prison business. According to some research, as many as half of the young offenders appearing in court have FAS. (8) Besides having poor judgment and lack of impulse control, many persons with FAS are destined to become alcohol abusers, all of which makes them vulnerable to committing crimes. Alcohol alone is involved in seven times more violent crimes than all illegal substances combined. (9) Education and treatment is seven times more cost effective than arrest and incarceration for substance addiction, yet we continue to spend more tax dollars on prisons than treatment. (9) The Justice Department reports that the cost per prisoner per year is $13,500. (10) In the US, over two million people are now locked up.

In Canada, the cost of FAS now exceeds that of that country's national debt. Bonnie Buxton, founder of FASworld based in Toronto, states, "Just caring for people now alive with fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects will cost us at least $600 billion, which is the approximate size of the national debt." (7)


http://www.acbr.com/fas/$5Mbaby.htm

It is common for older individuals to have trouble accepting that the world is changing... Based on your drug knowledge base, I would guess you learned most of it at least 20-30 years ago. Things have changed, and are accelerating towards even more change. Deal with it.