Prominent Women in the Field of Drugs

Ann Shulgin

Ann Shulgin (Laura Ann Gotlieb born 22 March 1931) is an American psychotherapist, researcher and the wife (widow) of American chemist, psychopharmacologist and researcher Alexander Shulgin (1925-2014).

Ann Shulgin worked with psychedelics such as MDMA and 2C-B in therapeutic settings while they were still legal. She has unique and valuable insights into the beneficial effects psychedelics can have in therapeutic contexts. In her writings she accentuates the potential these drugs have from a Jungian psychoanalytic perspective.

Ann continues to speak at conferences about the healing potential of MDMA and psychedelics and has continued to advocate the use of psychedelics in therapeutic contexts and research.

Together with her husband she has authored the books PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story - Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved (1991) and TiHKAL: The Continuation - Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved (1997) and she is working on Book Three in that series. Ann Shulgin has also contributed to the books Thanatos to Eros: 35 Years of Psychedelic Exploration; Entheogens and the Future of Religion, Manifesting Minds: A Review of Psychedelics in Science, Medicine, Sex, and Spirituality and many more.        

Source Info:

Dosage of Psychoactive Substances

The term overdose implies an accepted safe dose and safe use of PAS or medications.

With periodic use of psychoactive substances (PAS) in low or moderate doses, serious and life-threatening conditions are not common. The risks from psychoactive substance use largely depend on the substance, the dosage, frequency and mixing different PAS.    

What is a dose?

The term dose refers to the ‘quantity of PAS or a medication introduced to the body in order to achieve optimal effects in most users.’ In terms of classification of dosage, there are several levels: microdose, threshold, light, common, strong, heavy and overdose (fatal or non-fatal). Each of these levels is distinguished with different intensification of the effects depending on the substance consumed.

In the context of recreational PAS use, understanding the doses and being careful regarding the quantity and manner of consumption is crucial to achieving a safe and pleasant experience. Consumption of a higher dosage can lead to negative experiences such as extreme anxiety, strong physical and psychological side effects, unpleasant psychedelic trips, hospitalization or (in extreme cases) death. On the other hand, with a very low dosage, a person might not feel the full effects, and that can lead to unpleasant feeling and frustration. This should not be disregarded since in such cases, a re-dose can result with sudden intense and potentially dangerous experience that is hard to control.

The Macedonian War on Drugs

The War on Drugs is a term applied to “the campaign of police and military interventions for the prevention of illegal production, trade and use of illegal drugs.” Drugs are “all psychoactive substances declared as illegal by the UN and specific governments.” The term War on Drugs was “popularized by the media after President Richard Nixon’s speech on 18th June, 1971 in which he declared drugs as public enemy number one and announced harsh measures to eradicate drugs.”  

Famous psychotherapists

Stanislav Grof

Stanislav Grof (born July 1, 1931) is a Czech psychiatrist, one of the founders of the transpersonal psychology and a researcher in the field of consciousness studies.

Grof is known, in the scientific circles, for his early studies of LSD and its effects on the psyche - psychedelic therapy. Grof constructed a theoretical framework for prenatal, perinatal and transpersonal psychology in which LSD and other powerfully emotional experiences were mapped onto a person's early fetal and neonatal experiences. Following the suppression of legal LSD use in the late 1960s, Grof develops a theory that many states of mind could be explored without drugs by using certain breathing techniques. He continues this work under the trademark "Holotropic Breathwork".

Grof received the VISION 97 award granted by the Foundation of Dagmar and Václav Havel in Prague on October 5, 2007.
Grof is a prolific author, having written numerous books about LSD's use in psychotherapy, altered states of consciousness, and other methods of conducting deep psycho-spiritual work.     
Source info: Erowid and Wikipedia

Disrespecting the Law on Execution of Sanctions – reason for adverse consequences on the life of people who use drugs

Pursuant Article 193 from the Law on Execution of Sanctions during a prison sentence, with an increased intensity in the last three months before the expiration of the sentence, “it is necessary to undertake activities in order to prepare the convicts for release from prison and their adjustment to life at freedom.” However, quite often people are released from prison without any personal identification documents and proper health care.   

On October 9th, 2016, M.H. was released from prison, serving a sentence at the correctional facility Idrizovo in duration of 14 years. During imprisonment he had no personal documentation. And here is where the first question arises. How could M.H. have been convicted without proper personal identification? How did the prosecutor and the judge establish the defendant’s correct identity without proper personal identification documents? According to our sources, the judiciary system doesn’t allow for such situations, however convicts without valid personal identification documents are still found in prisons. The failing system goes so far that during elections convicts vote with their facility badges instead of IDs. However, convicts who lack valid personal identification documents are faced with real problems once they are released.

Providing sustainability of harm reduction programs with funds from beer, ethyl alcohol and cigarettes excise duty

The funds allocated to the Ministry of Health for promotion of citizens’ health on annual basis, from beer, ethyl alcohol and cigarettes excise duty, , are potential source for funding of harm reduction programs. Half of the funds collected from this source, are spent for the Ministry’s current expenditures, instead of providing health care.
The Ministry of Health and the Macedonian Government have at their disposal many opportunities for providing sustainability of the 16 active harm reduction programs, implemented by 10 civil society organizations in the country. These should be seriously considered in the development and budgeting/operationalization of the 2017-2021 National HIV Strategy, especially since the financial support received from the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria designated for these purposes is ending on June 30, 2017. Consequently, if the Global Funds’ participation is not compensated with funds provided from the National Budget, Macedonia is going to face a severe increase in the HIV incidence, other blood-borne diseases, and other consequences to the health of people who use drugs.

We have located funding for the HIV programs, it’s the politicians’ move now

The budget of the Macedonian Ministry of Health provides possibilities for financing the harm reduction programs, yet it remains inexplicable why funds allocated for these programs in the 2017 Budget were significantly cut. Was the Ministry attempting to avoid support and consequently the obligations under the contract between the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Macedonian Government?   

Harm reduction programs in Macedonia have been financially supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since November 2004. The programs help provide health, social, legal, psychological and other services to people who use drugs. Finances are granted to the Ministry of Health, i.e. a separate unit working within the Ministry as the primary recipient, which further allocates specific amounts to secondary recipients (civil society organizations) that have previously signed detailed contracts with the Minister of Health, all towards smoother sustenance of the 16 harm reduction programs in 13 towns in Macedonia. The contract between the Global Fund and the Republic of Macedonia on financing harm reduction programs ends in June 30, 2017. The contract stipulates that after the Global Fund finishes its financial support, the Macedonian Government will resume the obligation. According to the estimations, harm reduction programs require a budget ranging from 27,392 MKD in thousands to 34,875 MKD in thousands, depending on the financing model, a minimum or an optimal one. However, the latest indications from the Government, confirmed with the latest 2017 Budget, revealed insufficient funds for financial support of the harm reduction programs.

A Message against Neglect

Harm reduction programs are facing a serious threat of being closed unless finances for future sustenance and development are allocated from the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia. If this happens, many people will lose the only health, social and legal support they receive in this state, with consequences resonating throughout the society. This is far from just our personal opinion. The staff at the City of Skopje, Department for Social, Child and Health Protection agrees. We asked Eleonora Panchevska Nikolovska about her personal views on the advantages of harm reduction programs for the protection of public health and the potential disadvantages in case of closure.

Eleonora Panchevska Nikolovska is the head of the Department for Social, Child and Health Protection at the Sector for Public Activities in the City of Skopje. She is also the coordinator of the Coordinative Body on Drugs of the City of Skopje, founded in 2007, with representatives from the Skopje municipalities, institutions, civil society organizations and religious organizations concerned with drug issues. The Coordinative Body developed the two consequent strategies on drugs of the City of Skopje.  

We HAVE the support but NOT the finances!!!

We were approaching Macedonia Square with heavy hearts, silently wondering whether it was possible to fall down in obscurity and be forgotten after 12 years at the forefront of the epidemic struggle. Was it possible to lose the defence lines against an epidemic dropping in European countries, whereas here, after decades of successful low HIV prevalence we couldn’t afford to provide the basic services? Was it really possible that the country would simply dismiss its citizens after 12 years?  

Ninth issue of Drugs - Policies and Practices

We have published the ninht edition of the magazine Drugs - Policies and Practices. This edition is dedicated to Harm Reduction Programs.

The hour has come. The Harm Reduction Programs are being closed. It took an incredible amount of effort to draw the attention of those elected and paid to provide for the protection of the citizens’ health. Now the excuse is the current political crisis, despite the fact that the competent institutions had more than 10 years to come up with and introduce measures for sustaining and developing harm reduction programs. We keep waiting for someone else to solve our problems, only to complain afterwards how foreigners interfere in our internal politics. And yet, there is a way; finances as well. All it takes is strong will.

We take this opportunity to appeal to decision-makers that the country’s policies cannot revolve around their personal beliefs or individual mood. Decision-makers are elected and paid to address citizens’ needs and requests, citizens’ health and wellbeing, which is more important than prolonging the mandate or indulging other people’s caprices.