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August 22, 1996

Latest Edition Of Household Survey Fuels Election Year Rhetoric - NORML Responds To Calls To Escalate The Drug War

August 21, 1996: Washington, D.C.: Illicit drug use (defined as use at least once in the past month) among adolescents age 12 to 17 rose 33 percent since last year and now stands at 10.9 percent, reports the latest annual findings from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

The use of marijuana, the illicit drug used primarily by adolescents, increased from 7.3 percent to 8.2 percent.

Not surprisingly, both prohibitionists and politicians are using the latest statistics to call for increased anti-drug efforts. "This is nothing short of a national tragedy," said Republican nominee Bob Dole. "Starting next January, I'm going to make the drug war priority No. 1 once again."

In light of the recent data, NORML issued the following statement:

"The statistics indicating rising levels of teen marijuana use cited by the National Household Survey should be an issue of concern for both parents and political leaders alike. NORML opposes the use of marijuana, or other drugs including alcohol and tobacco, by adolescents. " NORML remains committed to the notion that adolescents should grow up drug-free. However, there is no evidence to demonstrate that increasing penalties against adult users will address the problem. In fact, federal statistics indicate that just the opposite is true."

"Despite criticism that the Clinton administration has abandoned the drug war, FBI figures show that nearly one-half million Americans were arrested on marijuana charges in 1994, a remarkable 42 percent increase over the average yearly total for marijuana arrests under the Bush administration. That equates to an arrest every 65 seconds! (More than 83 percent of the arrest were for simple possession.)"

"In spite of this significant increase in the enforcement of marijuana laws, recent studies such as the Household Survey indicate that the use of marijuana is rising, especially among adolescents. This fact confirms that marijuana prohibition does not effectively deter marijuana use. "

"Today's rates of adolescent drug use are better understood when put in historical perspective. As late as 1988, during the height of the Reagan/Bush 'Just say no' campaign, the number of adolescents who reported using an illicit substance stood at 9.2 percent, just slightly below today's so-called 'emergency levels.' In addition, today's use rate - despite the recent increase - still remain well below the peak level in 1979 (16.7)."

"We will probably never know why marijuana use-rates fluctuate over time. It is worth noting that the recent increase has occurred among the same population of young people who have been exposed to a decade-long anti-marijuana campaign in the schools and the media. That campaign, based on exaggerations of marijuana's alleged harms and a 'Just say no' ideology has clearly failed."

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano with NORML at (202) 483-5500. NORML's position papers, Weeding Through the Hype: The Truth About Adolescent Marijuana Use and NORML's Principles of Responsible Use are available upon request.

Study To Determine Whether Marijuana Helps Individuals Suffering From AIDS Wasting Syndrome Rejected By National Institutes Of Health

August 7, 1996, San Francisco, CA: Dr. Donald Abrams of UC-San Francisco recently learned that his proposal to conduct a pilot study into the use of smoked marijuana in the treatment of the AIDS wasting syndrome was rejected by a peer-review committee of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This means the study cannot proceed because the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) arbitrarily required that it pass the NIH peer-review process to qualify to receive marijuana for the study. This condition has not been previously required of other FDA-approved studies. NIDA retains a monopoly on the legal supply of marijuana for research purposes.

NIAID will provide to Dr. Abrams an explanation for the rejection in six to eight weeks. Dr. Abrams will evaluate the comments and decide whether to revise and resubmit the protocol a third time.

NORML board member Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has been working closely with Dr. Abrams for four years to sponsor this study. He noted that this was the second time a specific pilot study proposed by Dr. Abrams to investigate the use of smoked marijuana in the treatment of weight loss in patients suffering from the AIDS wasting syndrome has been rejected by federal health officials.

Although Dr. Abrams' initial protocol design was extensively reviewed, critiqued, modified, and approved by the both the FDA and the California Research Advisory panel in 1994, he was originally denied the marijuana necessary for his study by NIDA in April of 1995. After addressing several of NIDA's concerns - including revisions limiting the protocol to an in-patient study - Abrams resubmitted a proposal to NIH on May 1, 1996.

This latest rejection "delays [us] at least a year, if not permanently," said Doblin. "In 1992, DEA Administrator Robert Bonner stated: 'Those who insist that marijuana has medical uses would serve society better by promoting or sponsoring more legitimate scientific research.' All we are asking is simply to conduct that research."

"The events of the past weeks in San Francisco make the bankruptcy of the government's policy glaringly evident," said California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer. "Why is it easier for your kids to get marijuana than for researchers, physicians, and patients?"

For more information, please contact Rick Doblin of MAPS at (704) 358-9830 or Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

Swiss State To Legalize Marijuana

August 19, 1996, Zurich, Switzerland: The government of the state of Zurich in Switzerland approved a proposal that could legalize the use of cannabis, reported the Reuters news agency.

In a 85-40 vote, the state council endorsed a resolution by the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) that calls for a change in the narcotics law through a referendum.

The FDP argued that using marijuana should no longer remain a punishable offense because 20 years of federal prohibition have not proved to be an adequate deterrent of either marijuana use or availability. Therefore, the proposal recommends that the sale of cannabis be organized and regulated by the state in order to insure quality and eliminate the black market.

Board Strikes Down Proposal To Declare Medical Marijuana 'Emergency' For San Francisco's Sick

August 16, 1996, San Francisco, CA: A measure to declare a city-wide state of emergency allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes has been struck down by San Francisco city officials. The proposal, spearheaded by city Board of Supervisors member Tom Ammiano, was introduced following a raid by state narcotics officers on the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club.

On the advice of the city's District Attorney Terence Hallinan and Director of Health Sandra Hernandez, a Board of Supervisors committee backed off from the declaration. Many officials claimed that approving such a controversial measure could jeopardize the city's needle-exchange program that currently operates under an emergency declaration. The decision came one day after Mayor Willie Brown withdrew his support for the proposal.

"If it were up to me, I would have a state of emergency, but given the [advice], it doesn't look a state of emergency is going to fly," said Ammiano.

Brown said that he also felt a declaration of a medical marijuana emergency could legally endanger the clean needle program. He added that city officials were attempting to work out an agreement with the state attorney general's office to let another organization distribute marijuana to patients.

"If they say that it can't be done [by the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club and] it has to be done [by] some other organization that's free of any taint, then we'll do that," Brown said at his bi-weekly press conference.

"My interest is to get [medical marijuana] to an organization that has no history with legal or illegal use of marijuana," added police commissioner Pat Norman. "[This] should not be a political issue; it should be provided as treatment."

Responding to the possibility that city officials may attempt to procure an outside entity to distribute medical marijuana, San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club founder Dennis Peron told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would support any and all efforts to viably get medical marijuana to the sick.

For more information, please contact Mark Capitolo of Californians for Medical Rights at (916) 457-5546 or Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858. For the latest information on the status of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club, please contact Californians for Compassionate Use at (415) 621-3986.

(Meanwhile) San Francisco Church Sponsors Medical Marijuana Giveaway

August 19, 1996, San Francisco, CA: A city church distributed marijuana on Sunday to patients who possessed a doctor's recommendation in wake of the temporary injunction closing the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club.

About 25 patients showed up for the giveaway, news of which was spread through word of mouth. Those possessing valid documentation were provided with one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana.

"I believe the moral stance [in this instance] is to break the law to make this marijuana available," said Rev. Jim Mitulski of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. "Our church's spiritual vitality has always come from a willingness to act where people have been reluctant to act. This is not a bystander church."

Allen White, a community activist who helped organize the event, said he had notified Mayor Willie Brown, Assistant Police Chief Earl Sanders, and District Attorney Terence Hallinan Saturday night about the church's plan to distribute marijuana. Organizers said that they knew of no other church that had conducted such an operation.

Mitulski did not specify whether he would hold repeat giveaways, but added that there were no plans to distribute marijuana on a long-term basis. He said he hoped other churches will become actively involved in the issue.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.



Regional and other news

Body Count

Nine of the 15 felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts in the most recent week received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance violations, according to the "Portland" zoned section of
The Oregonian, delivered to subscribers in the central metropolitan area. (Aug. 22, 1996, p. 9, 3M-MP-SE). That makes the body count so far this year 238 out of 443, or 53.72 percent.

Portland NORML Meeting August 28

The Portland chapter of NORML holds its "fourth Wednesday" meeting 7:30 pm this week at the Phantom Gallery, 3125 SE Belmont St. Everyone is welcome. No smoking. The message phone is (503) 227-2478 or call Portland NORML Director T.D. Miller at (503) 777-9088 for more details. "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -- Tom Paine, 1737-1809

National Household Survey On Drug Abuse - More Commentary

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has posted the complete text and graphs from its new survey at Everyone interested in drug policy issues should read the new survey. It has much more interesting information than the media reported.

Probably the most surprising news in the 1995 survey is that, while consumption rates remained stable overall, "The current illicit drug use rate ranged from 7.8 percent [of ages 12 and older] in the West region to 4.9 percent in the Northeast" ("Any Illicit Drug Use," posted at The previous 1994 survey indicated the rate was 6.6 percent in the West and 5.1 percent in the Northeast region ( So it would seem a mass exodus to the West is under way by illegal drug-users - or perhaps people elsewhere in the country are just more likely to lie to government survey-takers. But the government now says there are three such outlaws in the West for every two in the Northeast.

The West, of course, includes Portland and Oregon. So in the past year, despite yet another record number of arrests, illegal-drug users increased regionally from 6.6 percent to 7.8 percent of the population ages 12 and up. While that is statistically negligible in itself, people who repeat the mantra that "kids' pot use has increased more than 100 percent," if they used the same methodology, would find the hike from 6.6 percent to 7.8 percent is an 18.18 percent increase (that is, the 1.2 percent increase is 18.18 percent of 6.6.).

On the other hand, the drug warriors' emphasis on marijuana prosecutions might explain the new report's finding that pot use on the whole is down. "Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, used by 77 percent of current illicit drug users. Approximately 57 percent of current illicit drug users used marijuana only, 20 percent used marijuana and another illicit drug, and the remaining 23 percent used only an illicit drug other than marijuana in the past month" ("Any Illicit Drug Use," The figure of 77 percent in 1995 is down from 81 percent the year before. In 1994, "Approximately 61 percent of current illicit drug users used marijuana only, 20 percent used marijuana and another illicit drug, and the remaining 19 percent used only an illicit drug other than marijuana in the past month" ("Patterns of Substance Use in 1994," at Anyone who realizes marijuana is demonstrably the least harmful illicit drug will find this development counterproductive.

The small percentage increase in illegal-drug use in the West dramatically multiplies what the minimum cost would be to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate such users. Next week the editor will update Portland NORML's current estimates for the minimum number of cannabis consumers and other illegal-drug users in Portland, Multnomah County and Oregon, as well as the minimum cost just to build jail or prison cells to hold them all.

(Despite, or perhaps because of the fact that it produces the most conservative estimates, the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse is the standard reference. Portland NORML weekly news releases consistently use NHSDA figures in order to obviate as many objections as possible over methodology. But in all likelihood, actual rates of marijuana-use are much higher, perhaps by a factor of two or three. People who are breaking the law have little incentive to tell the truth to survey-takers representing the government waging war on them.)

Several other surprising factors weren't mentioned in most media reports, which also consistently failed to debunk the more biased aspects of the new survey. One example of such misinformation is the purported increase in hospital emergency-room admissions attributed to marijuana use.

For a thorough debunking of those bogus figures, see Exposing Marijuana Myths: A Review of the Scientific Evidence, particularly Claim #10: Marijuana-Related Medical Emergencies Are Increasing, by Lynn Zimmer, Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College and John P. Morgan, Professor of Pharmacology at City University Medical School, posted in the Lindesmith Center Web pages. For example, "Of 24,000 marijuana mentions in 1992, more than 13,000 involved alcohol and nearly 10,000 involved cocaine. ... While marijuana accounted for 6.48% of drug mentions by youth, over-the-counter pain medications accounted for 47%. ... Despite marijuana being the most frequently used illicit drug, in emergency rooms, it remains the least often mentioned illicit drug."

From 15 percent to 25 percent of all emergency-room admissions are attributable to alcohol, according to "Consequences of Alcoholism, Alcohol Use and Abuse, p. 236, published by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. Self-reporting- i.e., "mentions" of alcohol use indicate that 55 percent of people injured in fights had consumed alcohol prior to the event. More than half of homicide victims tested positive for alcohol.

One interesting question posed by the new data is whether an increase in teen cannabis use might have anything to do with the lower juvenile crime rate reported in such recent articles as this:

>WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The juvenile crime rate in the United
>States fell last year for the first time in a decade, but more
>needs to be done to keep the trend down, Attorney General Janet
>Reno said Thursday.
>Reno said the arrest rate for children aged 10 to 17
>declined 2.9 percent in 1995 and the arrest rate for murders by
>juveniles dropped 15.2 percent in 1995 and was down 22.8 percent
>since 1993.
The new 1995 NHSDA report also notes that the rate of illegal-drug use in prisons (whose population of 1.6 million was not included in the survey) is much higher than among the general population. It's nice the government finally admits it, in "Appendix 2: Limitations of the Data," at ("Persons living in institutional group quarters, such as prisons and residential drug treatment centers, are not covered in the NHSDA and have been shown in other surveys to have higher rates of illicit drug use. Also excluded are homeless persons not living in a shelter on the survey date, another population shown to have higher than average rates of illicit drug use.")

Neither the 1995 NHSDA nor media reports made it very clear, but more than half of all high school seniors drank alcohol in the past month. The rate for all high school students in Oregon was 47 percent in the 1995 survey, according to a news article posted in Portland NORML's Web pages at In Oregon at least, the rates for 1995 were 24 percent for tobacco and 25 percent for pot. Obviously, it's hard for pot to be a gateway drug when two or three times as many kids use alcohol and just as many kids use tobacco.

Also obviously, it's hard for alcohol use to increase 100 percent or more when it's already at 47 percent. The use of such percentages to represent rate changes is inherently misleading. Such fluctuations should always be expressed as the difference between this percent last year and that percent this year.

Teens' use of illicit drugs other than alcohol, pot and tobacco (including cocaine, heroin, LSD and methamphetamine) increased at those misleading percentage rates much more than their pot use did - which would also undercut the "gateway" myth.

See too "Drug Czar Revises 'Gateway' Theory" in the July 4 Portland NORML news release at, based on a Marijuana Policy Project news release.

There are also more kids who are "binge drinkers" and/or "heavy drinkers" than there are kids who used pot in the past month. Most kids who try it just don't like pot - only a small percentage who have tried marijuana actually used it in the past month.

The overall stability in usage rates means that, for every kid who started smoking pot in 1995, one adult quit. It makes less sense than ever to increase penalties for adults in order to inhibit kids' use.

Alcohol and tobacco are just as illegal for kids as pot, and much more likely to harm their health, addict them, lead to accidents and otherwise cause them grief later in life. As always, the media reports focused on pot but failed to quote rates of tobacco and alcohol use, which also increased among ages 12-17.

The survey is inherently unscientific and in all likelihood kids are just being more honest because the social scorn heaped on marijuana consumers has become increasingly ridiculous, and increasingly subject to scorn itself. Possibly kids are even overstating their use. It was surprising to read several news reports quoting kids as saying pot had become very "cool," and that kids who use it in some places reportedly gain a certain respect among peers. (See for example, "Marijuana Users' Air of Defiance; Some Area Teens Say Drug Is Widespread, Not Harmful," in the Aug. 3 Washington Post - a text version is available on request.) Anyone who is a parent will find this rather disturbing.

In an Oregonian report on the new survey, Jeff Kushner of the Oregon Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs blamed drug-policy reformers for the increase in use, charging that such activity implies certain drugs aren't "dangerous" ("Illicit drug use soars across U.S.," The Oregonian, Aug. 21, 1996, pp. A1 & A20). Since Kushner and his allies in the prohibition and propaganda business have had considerably more access to the kids surveyed than drug-policy reformers (Portland NORML wasn't even founded until late 1994, and none of its messages are targeted at kids), anyone who wants to point fingers should look first at DARE and the fear-mongering know-nothings in charge of drug policy and drug education.

An invitation was extended to Kushner months ago inviting him to partake in the discussion promoted by this newsletter. That invitation remains open. If Kushner would like to cite any scientific evidence that pot is more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, he has our address. But even if pot were as dangerous as tobacco, why don't we lock up people who sell tobacco to adults? What evidence can Kushner cite showing adult prohibition decreases kids' pot use, or that taxpayers can afford to enforce it effectively anyway?

The biggest cause for concern in the new survey is indeed the declining age at which kids use drugs, licit and illicit - a phenomenon with little precedent except alcohol Prohibition. Inasmuch as the age group showing the increase has been subjected to DARE and similarly misleading but intensive propaganda all their lives, it would help if drug educators would quit ignoring proven results and examine the different model implemented by Holland, which has helped bring about a rate of pot use among Dutch teens that is one-fifth the rate in America (British Medical Journal, "the 1976 changes in the Netherlands seem to have been followed by a fall in use of cannabis: from 13% of those aged 17-18 in 1976 to 6% in 1985. Monthly prevalence of cannabis use among Dutch high school students is around 5.4% compared with 29% in the United States." Prohibition isn't working - some legalisation will help, Volume 311, 23-30 December 1995.) Fortunately, one doesn't have to scare kids into thinking pot is "dangerous" to lessen their use of it. If 24 percent of kids aren't sufficiently scared by the dangers of cigarettes - which kill about 400,000 addicted Americans a year - it's going to be a hard using the same scare tactics on the 25 percent of kids who experiment with a herbal tonic that has never killed anyone. How will the know-nothings and propagandists distort the evidence when the world's most widely respected medical journal recently wrote, The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health."

If lawmakers were really concerned about this issue, they could make real progress simply by regulating cannabis use for adults. That is what the Dutch credit as the biggest factor in reducing marijuana's "forbidden fruit" appeal to their kids. Remember? In Oregon, that's why hard alcohol is sold in liquor stores. To keep it away from kids. And that's why Oregon teens invariably report hard liquor is much less popular and much less easy for kids to obtain than marijuana.

Prison Population Climbs To 1.6 Million Nationwide, Up 13.7 Percent In Oregon

Also released this week to the land of the free were the annual prisoner-population figures from the U.S. Bureau of Justice. As reported in Number of inmates doubles in 10 years (Associated Press, as published in The Oregonian, Aug. 19, 1996, p. A5), one out of every 167 Americans was in jail or prison at the end of 1995.

(Last year's BOJ press release, "The Nation's Correctional Population Tops 5 Million," posted at, also included the number of people on parole or probation.)

According to the news report, the nation's prison population increased 113 percent since 1985. A sidebar headed "In Oregon" reported "Oregon is among states showing the biggest percentage growth in prison populations last year. Oregon's 13.7 percent increase to 7,826 inmates in 1995 - the seventh biggest nationally - was twice the national average of 6.8 percent.... The increase in Oregon came even before the state could feel the full force of tougher sentencing laws adopted by voters in 1994." (So probably illegal-drug offenders made up most of the increase.) The actual BOJ press release - if and when it becomes available - or the Oregonian article will soon be posted in Portland NORML's Web pages for researchers.

CIA Sponsored 1980s Crack Trade To Fund Contras

The San Jose, California, Mercury News published an exhaustively-documented series of reports Aug. 18-20 proving the CIA brought together the principals and assisted in furthering the crack-cocaine and high-tech-weapons trade in Los Angeles (and by implication, other cities) in the early 1980s in order to fund its Contra army in Nicaragua. The series, "Dark Alliance," is posted, together with background material not included in the newsprint version, at

It's impossible to summarize briefly all the amazing revelations in this series except to say it's a much bigger scandal than Iran-Contra, Watergate or even Teapot Dome. (Even Hitler and the Soviets never thought of selling illegal drugs to their own people in the midst of a domestic drug war in order to finance a real war on foreign shores.) If Congress fails to follow up, it would seem the republic has quite broken down. In fact, it should be surprising if the CIA survives these revelations. Be sure to read the series, even if you have to borrow a friend's computer. It's not every day that the wildest "conspiracy theories" get front-page vindication in a major American newspaper.

While The Oregonian summarized the first part of the series in a front-page article Aug. 19, its account distorted and downplayed several aspects, including the extent of the CIA's involvement. So far the White House and Congress have been very quiet, and other national media are either ignoring the story entirely or showing signs they hope it will be eclipsed by the O.J. Simpson civil trial. One interesting revelation - a DEA agent tried to investigate the case early on but was stymied by superiors, who were obviously also compromised.

Former Pot Smoker Newt Gingrich Seeks Death Penalty For Drug Sellers

San Francsico Examiner, Aug. 18, 1996
Gingrich wants drug dealers executed
Associated Press

CHICO -- Convicted drug dealers should be sentenced to death, House Speaker Newt Gingrich told a cheering crowd of 3,000 people Saturday.

Gingrich, aiding in the Republicans' post-convention blitz across the nation's most electoral-vote rich state, said during the rally, "It is time that we said to predators, 'We love our children enough to stop you.'"

He also blamed President Clinton's administration for a drug-tolerant attitude that, he said, has contributed to increased drug use and "has failed our children."

To stop the influx of drugs into the United States, Gingrich called for life sentences without parole for anyone who crosses the U.S. border with commercial quantities of illegal drugs. Drug dealers, he said, should receive capital punishment. A bill will be put before Congress in September with harsher penalties, Gingrich said.

He also said the country should revisit Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" anti-drug program and that a nationwide toll-free phone number should be set up to help drug addicts recover.

Predicting Bob Dole can carry California in the November election, Gingrich said that the Republican campaign would focus on "cutting taxes, balancing the budget and having fun."

Dole's proposed 15 percent tax cut played prominently in Gingrich's remarks. Clinton criticized the plan in his weekly radio address, calling the cuts indiscriminate and reckless.

Malaysian Death Penalty For Drug Possession Gets Results

Neil Johnson writes:

.... an article in the Singapore newspaper, the Straits Times ... printed results of a Malaysian youth survey. According to the survey conducted of Malaysian adolescents ages 13 to 21, every 6th respondent within that age group uses hard drugs, either heroin or morphine, despite Malaysia's dealth penalty for possession of even small amounts of these drugs. Furthermore, 40% of the respondents view pornographic videos and 28% participate in gambling. So much for draconian measures to curb drug use. ... I actually found the article on the Singapore Straits Times web page (

One in 6 youths on hard drugs, study shows

PENANG, Aug. 23, 1996 -- Over 70 per cent of youth in the 13-21 age group smoke and one in six are on hard drugs, according to a study made public by Youth and Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said that 28 per cent of those interviewed admitted they gambled while 14 per cent took hard drugs such as morphine and heroin.

The survey, conducted in the Klang Valley recently by local university researchers, found that 71 per cent of youth smoked and 40 per cent watched pornographic video tapes.

Although the findings were not official, they indicated the seriousness of social ills in the country, Tan Sri Muhyiddin told Penang reporters after speaking with about 500 youth and community leaders on Tuesday.

Of these, 20,964 cases involved youths who had returned to the habit despite undergoing rehabilitation. Other disturbing findings included rising numbers of people with HIV, escalating cases of young women involved in vice and an increase in unmarried women giving birth at welfare institutions.

He said the Cabinet Committee on Social Problems had difficulty deciding which problems should receive priority.

A special unit has been set up to study the effectiveness of the current programmes carried out to combat social ills. A report will be prepared for the Committee.

Marinol 'Proven' To Reduce Memory Loss In Alzheimer's Patients

Marnie Regen writes (on Aug. 20, 1996):

"Dr. Dean Edell (KGO ch.7 SF) did a report tonight on a pharmaceutical company who will be marketing Marinol for patients suffering with Alzheimer's disease. He said Marinol has been proven in clinical studies to increase appetite and reduce memory loss, anxiety and anorexia associated with the disease. He also said it elevates mood and overall quality of life and said if it wasn't for the drug war, more research could be done to confirm marijuana's medicinal benefits. He said the government should focus on 'the medicine not the mayhem' and stop using the drug war to interfere with medical research. He did not mention the name of the pharmaceutical company. He also stressed that patients who cannot swallow the pill should be able to smoke marijuana legally and safely."

Dr. Dean Edell's nationally syndicated medical-news program can be heard in Portland on No. 1-rated talk-radio station KXL 750 AM, between 3 pm and 4 pm Mondays through Fridays. For more information on Marinol (synthetic THC), and its medicinal inferiority to herbal cannabis, an excellent summary can be found in the article "Marinol: The Little Synthetic That Couldn't," from the July 1994 High Times, posted by Portland NORML at

Chocolate May Mimic Marijuana In Brain, Study Suggests

Associated Press, Aug. 21, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) - Chocolate contains substances that might mimic the effects of marijuana, boosting the pleasure you get from eating the stuff, researchers say.

The ingredients might make the texture, smell and flavor of chocolate more enjoyable and combine with other ingredients like caffeine to make a person feel good, researcher Daniele Piomelli speculated.

"We are talking about something much, much, much, much milder than a high," said Piomelli, a researcher at the Neurosciences Institute of San Diego. He reported the work with colleagues in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

But a researcher who studies the brain chemistry of marijuana said chocolate contains such low levels of the ingredients Piomelli identified that he doubts they have any effect.

Christian Felder of the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that a 130-pound person would have to inject the equivalent of 25 pounds of chocolate in one sitting to get any marijuana-like effect.

Piomelli found that chocolate contains anandamide, which is also produced naturally in the brain and which activates the same target that marijuana does.

He also found two chocolate ingredients that inhibit the natural breakdown of anandamide, which could lead to heightened levels of anandamide in the brain.

Piomelli stressed that his work does not imply that chocolate is addicting.

[End quote]

Matt Elrod added some additional details about the Nature report:
Chocolate on the Brain
Aug. 21, 1996

Scientists say chocolate's effect on the human brain is similar to that of marijuana, perhaps partially explaining the fondness of millions of people around the world. Writing in the science journal Nature, scientists from San Diego's Neurosciences Institute say a chemical contained in chocolate mimics the effects of cannabis. The scientists say they looked at a molecule called anandamide that is contained in chocolate because it is a brain lipid, or fat -- and of course chocolate is high in fat. They say it could act as a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries signals between brain cells. Chocolate contains three different versions of anandamide, which could activate receptors in brain cells that are known to react to chemicals in marijuana.

[End quote]

Matt followed up his original post with this fascinating elaboration:
Adam writes:

}Jay Leno (Tonight Show) said eating 25 lbs of chocolate
}was like smoking marijuana. If you smoke marijuana, you
}eat 25 lbs of chocolate. How could they tell the difference?
}:-) :-) :-)

You get twice as high? Then again, the sugar and caffiene might
counter act the anadamide.
Chocolate High
August 22, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) -- Chocolate contains substances that might mimic the effects of marijuana, boosting the pleasure you get from eating the stuff, researchers say.


Piomelli found that chocolate contains anandamide, which is also produced naturally in the brain and which activates the same target that marijuana does.

He also found two chocolate ingredients that inhibit the natural breakdown of anandamide, which could lead to heightened levels of anandamide in the brain.

Piomelli stressed that his work does not imply that chocolate is addicting.

Piomelli seems to be overlooking the work of Drewnowski who has concluded that chocolate is addictive in the very same way the opiates are. If you take all the recent studies into consideration it quickly becomes clear that we are facing a "national tragedy" and an "upward spiral" of candy abuse, particularly among non-voting teens.

What sort of a "message" does Halloween send to the kids? Sure I experimented with marzipan in the sixties, didn't everybody? If I knew then what I know now ... Does anyone have any figures for chocolate ER mentions?

What's so bad about being a chocoholic? Plenty, says Adam Drewnowski, who is hunting for a drug to battle those cravings.

Chocolate is the food most desired by women who binge eat, because of a brain chemical that gives them physical pleasure from the sweet indulgence, says the University of Michigan nutritionist. So he and other scientists are pursuing drugs to block that brain chemical.

"It's possible that we may be able to control the onset of binges," Drewnowski said.

At issue are not just people who need to shed weight, but sufferers of medically defined disorders that cause severe food cravings and huge eating binges, often followed by vomiting or laxatives to fight the resulting pounds. About 1 million Americans, mostly women, suffer from one such disorder, bulimia.

Antidepressants that affect the brain chemical serotonin offer help to some binge eaters, but not all, and they can cause side effects. So doctors are looking for better alternatives.

Women who binge most desire foods high in fat and sugar - chocolate is the No. 1 urge - while men crave foods high in fat and salt, surveys show.

The brain naturally produces opiates, drug-like chemicals that cause pleasure sensations and are linked to addictions. Animal studies show that these chemicals could be a trigger for sweet, fatty cravings. And consuming such foods made the brain produce even more of the chemicals, as shown in studies of rats given chocolate milk.

When the brain's normal opiate production was blocked, rats chose their normal feed over previously tempting sweets.

Drewnowski tested the theory on 41 women, bingers and normal eaters. They were offered their favorite foods, from pretzels and jelly beans to chocolate chip cookies and chocolate ice cream. Half received injections of naloxone, a drug used to treat heroin overdoses because it blocks brain opiate receptors. The rest got a placebo of salt water.

Naloxone made bingers eat notably less - 160 fewer calories per meal, Drewlowski reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Their chocolate consumption dropped in favor of lower-fat foods like popcorn. When asked to rate their favorite foods again, chocolate dropped.

Non-bingers, however, weren't affected.

"The effect of naloxone was to reduce the pleasure response of food" in bingers, Drewnowski concluded. "Binge eaters often know a binge is coming. ... That may be the time to take the medication."

Naloxone is available only intravenously, which makes it impractical for chronic bingers. Drewnowski is searching for an easier-to-take drug.

"It's a promising avenue," said Dr. Katherine Halmi, an eating-disorder specialist at Cornell University. Drewnowski's work shows binge eating affects more than one neurotransmitter - opiates as well as serotonin. "There is a need for a spectrum of treatments," she said.

Penn State nutritionist Barbara Rolls cautioned that understanding of brain function is still in its infancy. "These are provocative findings ... but this is one first phase."

However, Wayne State University pharmacologist Mary Ann Marrazzi said she also has linked opiates to binge eating.

In a study to be published in International Clinical Psychopharmacology, Marrazzi reports that high doses of a similar drug, naltrexone, reduced binge eating and food cravings in 18 of 19 patients at Harper Hospital. None could control the symptoms while on a placebo. Six weeks of naltrexone left one woman binge-free since 1991, Marrazzi said.

Naltrexone, a cousin of naloxone, the drug Drewnowski tested, is prescribed for alcoholism. Marrazzi found that it interrupted binge symptoms just as it interrupts alcoholics' cravings, illustrating that eating disorders are themselves a form of addiction.

Naltrexone, unlike naloxone, can be taken orally, but experts caution that it can cause serious side effects, so more proof is needed of its benefits before it is offered to bingers. Marrazzi is beginning a larger study.

[End quote]

One more wire report on the topic provides a few more details:

Wednesday August 21 10:25 PM EDT

Chocolate Affects Brain Like Marijuana

LONDON (Reuter) - It may not come as a surprise to chocolate junkies, but scientists in California said Wednesday they had found another chemical in chocolate that could explain its addictive properties.

The chemical mimics the effects of cannabis, Daniele Piomelli and colleagues at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego said.

They looked at the molecule, anandamide, because it is a brain lipid, or fat -- and of course chocolate is high in fat. They said it could act as a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries signals between brain cells.

Writing in the science journal Nature, they said tests showed chocolate contained varying amounts of anandamide while white chocolate, made of milk and cocoa butter, and coffee did not.

Chocolate contains three different versions of anandamide, which could activate receptors in brain cells that are known to react to chemicals in cannabis.

They said further experiments were needed to see if the chemicals would have this effect in a living animal.

"Canniboid drugs are known to heighten sensitivity and produce euphoria. A possible effect of elevated brain anandamide levels could be to intensify the sensory properties of chocolate thought to be essential to craving," they wrote.

Previous efforts to explain chocolate's appeal have focused on phenylethylamine, a molecule closely related to amphetamines. These drugs raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels, making people feel more alert and sometimes creating a sense of well-being.

Some studies have also said the chemical is secreted when people fall in love.

Chocolate also contains caffeine, which is addictive, and a very similar chemical known as theobromine. And cocoa butter melts just at body temperature -- meaning pure chocolate literally melts in the mouth, providing a very pleasant sensation.

Some researchers say binging on chocolate could be a form of self-medication.

Britons spend $5 billion a year on the confection, while Americans spent $11 billion. In Switzerland enough is sold for each citizen to eat 21 pounds a year.

[End quote]

For more details about the most current scientific understanding of "Marijuana and the Human Brain," read the excellent
two-part series by Jon Gettman.

Dutch Cities Opening Their Own Marijuana Shops

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP), Aug. 20, 1996 -- After decades of tolerating marijuana sales in coffee shops, some Dutch towns have decided to go into business themselves.

"Of course we don't want people to use drugs, but that's not realistic," Delfzijl City Hall spokeswoman Marjon Edzes said Tuesday. "This is a healthier solution."

Authorities in the northern harbor town of Delfzijl are spending $294,117 to open a soft drugs shop on Sept. 1. It's modeled on a similar project in the town of Bussum, outside Amsterdam. Profits will fund education campaigns on drug use, and the store will be staffed with counselors and youth workers offering free health information on drug use.

Both hard and soft drugs are officially illegal in the Netherlands, but drug use is non-prosecutable. "Hard drugs" include heroin, cocaine and amphetamines, while the term "soft drugs" refers to marijuana and hashish.

Small-scale sales of hashish and marijuana are allowed in hundreds of officially sanctioned coffee shops around the nation -- part of a police effort to separate the soft drug trade from heroin and cocaine trafficking. Authorities say the policy discourages hard drug use.

Irish Have High Hopes For Cannabis, Fuel Of The Future

By Audrey Magee
Ireland Correspondent, circa Aug. 18, 1996

CANNABIS will light up thousands of Irish homes by replacing Irish peat as a vital fuel to generate electricity. A fast-growing strain is said to be a perfect new crop for European farmers.

Scientists in Carlow, southwest of Dublin, have been growing cannabis in a secret area for the past four years, testing its properties as an energy source to burn in power stations. James Burke, who has grown three acres under licence from the Department of Justice, said that the plant flourished in Irish conditions, growing up to a height of 14ft.

It is a strain developed in France for agricultural use. Called Cannabis sativa L also known as hemp, it is essentially the same plant smoked by drug users, but modern science has removed the narcotic element. [I wish we could stop spreading this baloney--dpw]

"There is no possibility of everyone getting stoned from the fumes of a power station because the cannabis has no chemical constituent," said Dr. Burke, who works at Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority part-funded by the Government.

"Despite the name, it bears no resemblance to the other plant. You would have to smoke five or six acres of the stuff to get a high."

The plant has a slightly minty smell. Stringy fibres inside the stem burn as well as wood and yield similar energy levels, but the cannabis is easier and faster to grow than wood and dries out more quickly. A typical growing season lasts six months, from April to September.

The fibres can also be used to make fine paper, canvas shoes or car bumpers. Ireland intends to be the first country to use it to generate electricity.

The Government is holding an international competition to find the best design for a biomass power plant, which would burn cannabis, waste paper and chicken droppings. The plant could be in operation by 1999, generating electricity for more than 30,000 homes 1 per cent of Ireland's total energy needs.

Dr Burke said that Cannabis sativa would be a perfect alternative crop for farmers curtailed from producing more food for the European Union.At 3190 an acre, it is 350 cheaper to produce than wheat or barley.

Ireland's planned use of cannabis is a far cry from the staple fuel of bog peat which has warmed Irish houses for generations. But the bog is running out. There are 1.2 million hectares of bog in Ireland, 8 per cent of them owned by Bord na Mona, the national peat cultivator. Peat accounts for 12 per cent of the fuel used to generate electricity, fourth to coal, gas and oil. Bord na Mona says it has sufficient resources for another 30 years, after which its contribution to the national grid would dwindle.

Humans have been using hemp to make ropes and baskets for at least 6,000 years. The plant is widely grown in India and throughout Eastern Europe. Its main use is as a source of fibre used for twine, rope and string, and for coarse sacking and canvas.

The plant, an annual grown from seed, can grow up to a height of 16ft. In dense cultivation it usually reaches between 7ft and 10ft. The seeds are a source of oil used to make paints, varnishes, soaps and, more commonly, birdseed. The narcotic chemicals are usually found in the leaves and blossoms.

Traverse City NORML Charges Election Violations

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 21, 1996 (UPI) -- A group seeking to legalize marijuana use said Wednesday Traverse City officials violated state election laws in fighting a proposal there recently.

The National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML) has made a complaint against Traverse City's police chief, prosecutor and several civic groups including its chamber of commerce, for illegally opposing their effort to convince voters to adopt a liberal marijuana ordinance in the August primary. The proposal was defeated 58 percent to 42 percent.

William Bustance, president of the northwest Michigan chapter of NORML, has filed a complaint with the Secretary of State's elections division and seeks a new election.

The complaint alleges Traverse City Police Chief Ralph Soffredine, Prosecutor Dennis LaBelle and others acted as a political committee but failed to file papers as such with the county clerk, as required under Michigan Campaign Finance Acts. The complaint also said the proposal's opponents sent out a leaflet, under the city's mailing permit, to area residents opposing the plan.

The proposed marijuana ordinance would have been similar to that adopted in some college towns, such as Ann Arbor.

Under the NORML proposal, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana would have been treated as a ticketable offense, punishable by a fine of $100 and community service. Second time offenders would draw $200 fines and third time smoker would be fined $300 and required to enroll in drug counseling program.

Colorado Judge Threatens Juror

The ensuing "Net Activism Alert" was distributed by the Libertarian Party of Boulder County, Colorado:
This is not a test.
Please distribute this announcement
and post to Usenet groups freely.

Judd Ptak Paul Grant
Libertarian Party of Boulder County Defense Counsel
Box 663 P.O. Box 1272
Nederland, CO 80466 Parker, CO 80134
(303) 258-3457 (303) 841-9649
Gilpin County, Colo. --- In a case that threatens to destroy trial by jury, a Gilpin County judge has charged a juror with contempt of court for deliberating "improperly" in a jury room. The prosecution of this juror threatens the very foundations of American justice by inquiring into confidential jury deliberations and forcing jurors to testify against each other.

The juror is Laura Kriho, a Gilpin County resident, who was summoned for jury duty on May 13. Ms. Kriho was seated on the jury in the case of a 19 year old female defendant charged with felony possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

Ms. Kriho and the other jurors listened to 2 days of testimony on the case and were sent to the jury room to deliver a verdict. The jury was hung on the possession charge. Eleven jurors wanted to convict the defendant, but Ms. Kriho said she had reasonable doubts that the defendant was guilty. The deliberations in the jury room reportedly became very heated.

Ms. Kriho claims several of the jurors began verbally attacking her and ridiculing her reasonable doubt. One juror sent a note to the presiding judge, Kenneth Barnhill, alleging that Ms. Kriho had told the other jurors what sentences the defendant would face if convicted. Based on this note, and with no other investigation, Judge Barnhill declared the jury had been tainted and declared a mistrial.

On July 19, Ms. Kriho received a citation for contempt of court. The citation alleges that Ms. Kriho should be held in contempt of court for 1) disobedience to an order of the court, 2) obstructing the administration of justice, and 3) committing perjury by lying under oath to the Judge and the attorneys.

The citation alleges that Ms. Kriho disobeyed a court order by discussing sentences in her deliberations. The Judge had instructed the jury to deliberate only on the facts of the case and not to consider sentences. However, Ms. Kriho insists that she ultimately voted to acquit because she had reasonable doubts as to the defendant's guilt based on the facts of the case as presented by the prosecution.

The prosecutor in the case, James Stanley, apparently was so angered at Ms. Kriho's alleged behavior in the jury room that he had an investigator look into her background. The investigator uncovered the fact that Ms. Kriho had received a felony drug conviction in 1984. Ms. Kriho had received a deferred sentence on that charge and says it was her understanding that when she successfully completed two years of probation, the conviction would be wiped from her record as if it had never happened. Ms. Kriho claims she was never asked during voir dire about her arrest record. However, the prosecutor feels she should have volunteered that information without being specifically asked, and now feels that she committed perjury.

The investigator also interviewed several of Ms. Kriho's fellow jurors after the mistrial was declared. These jurors alleged that, during deliberations, Ms. Kriho discussed some ideas about jury nullification and the rights of jurors to vote according to their conscience. The jurors also alleged that Ms. Kriho stated an opinion that drug cases should be handled by the family and community, and not the courts.

Ms. Kriho believes that she was a fair and impartial juror to the defendant and that she weighed the facts of the case as instructed by the judge. She says she is in shock about the contempt charges. "I tried to do my job as juror well. I had never been on a jury before, and the whole experience was unique and very stressful. Now I feel I am being unfairly singled-out and punished for coming up with the wrong verdict."

Paul Grant, who is representing Ms. Kriho in this case, warns that the prosecution of his client threatens to destroy the jury system.

"Jurors must be able to deliberate independently of the judge, without the threat of criminal prosecution hanging over their heads," said Grant. This prosecution has the potential to poison the attitudes of citizens toward jury duty even further. Citizens will not only be reluctant to serve on a jury, but fearful of criminal charges as well. Once on the jury, they will be afraid to discuss their true thoughts with the other jurors for fear of prosecution.

The right to trial by jury, protected under the Sixth Amendment, was deemed important by our Founding Fathers specifically because it prevents abuses of power by overzealous judges and prosecutors. If jurors are prosecuted for their deliberations, no defendant can ever expect a fair and impartial trial by jury.

Ms. Kriho's four day jury trial has been set to begin on September 30. She faces an open-ended prison sentence which could exceed 6 months and an unlimited fine.

A legal defense fund has been set up to help pay the legal expenses of this trial. Checks can be made to the: Laura Kriho Legal Defense Fund, c/o Paul Grant, P.O. Box 1272, Parker, CO 80134

What you can do:

1) Donate to the legal defense fund. Legal expenses for this trial are estimated at $10,000. This is a is an important case to all those who value their constitutional rights. It is important to fight it well. Laura Kriho Legal Defense Fund, c/o Paul Grant, P.O. Box 1272, Parker, CO 80134 (303) 841-9649. Contributions are not tax deductible. All unused contributions will be returned.

2) Solicit donations from others. You could: a) mention the case and defense fund in your next newsletter; b) do a mailing to interested people; c) organize a fund-raising event in your area.

3) If you are an attorney, you can donate time to work on legal motions and research.

4) Help gain local media attention on the case, through letters to the editor, press releases, or local talk shows. Send copies of any letters written or publicity generated for compilation and distribution.

5) Distribute this announcement over the Internet or make printed copies to distribute.

6) Sign on to the statement of support written below. It would be especially beneficial to have organizations who have an interest in this case sign on to the statement of support. If you belong to a group, please bring it up at your next meeting.

The People of the State of Colorado vs. Laura Kriho
Case #96CR91

I/We believe it is wrong to intimidate jurors by filing criminal charges against them for their deliberations in the jury room. I/We believe the right to trial by jury is a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution and should not be diminished in any way. I/We believe the contempt charge against Ms. Kriho should be dismissed immediately and that no other punitive actions should be taken against her.

Date Statement was Endorsed:


Can we use this endorsement publicly? Yes No

Thank you for your support!

Either we all hang together or we'll all hang seperately.

Drugs In Sport Should Be Legalized, Says Scientist

Found on
CNN Online August 21, 1996. Web posted at: 7:45 p.m. EDT

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (Reuter) -- A leading South African sports scientist has said drugs in sport should be legalized to end the "does he, doesn't he debate" once and for all.

Dr John Hawley, director of the High Performance laboratory at the South African Sports Science Institute in Cape Town, was quoted in the September issue of SA Sports Illustrated as saying it was no longer possible to tell who was "clean."

He said many athletes at last month's Atlanta Olympics have had to make a choice of whether they are going to take performance enhancing drugs.

"Whenever anyone stands up there on the podium I don't know whether it's them or the drugs," Hawley said.

"You can't ignore it. There's no question that drugs are a big part of today's superior performances. I'm not going to mention any names but you look at the physiques of those just don't get pectoral muscles like that from huge bench presses. In the strength and power events I would say that as many as 50 percent of competitors at the Olympics have used performance-enhancing drugs, maybe more."

He said the only way to recreate a level playing field was to consider legalizing the use of steroids and other enhancers.

"Maybe we should just make steroids legal. As unethical and as morally wrong as it sounds I actually think that's the way to go. It's an ethical problem. There's no question where I or anyone else at this institute stand medically -- steroids are illegal and performance-enhancing."

He claimed Atlanta's highly-publicized doping laboratory had been a public relations exercise.

"The public has been whitewashed into thinking that drugs enhance athletes the week before competition -- they don't. Steroids help in training in the winter months long before the competitions," Hawley said. "If an athlete stops using steroids three months before competition they won't be detected."

Hawley had been asked to theorize on how low world records would ultimately fall.

"If you are asking me what are the limits to human performance, we have already surpassed them. Most of these are drug records."

Living With Pain - Taboos Keep Helpful Narcotics From Sufferers

The Richmond Times Dispatch
July 25, 1996, p. F1
By Deborah Kelly; Times-Disaptch Staff Writer

Unrelenting pain, often caused by such everyday calamities as automobile accidents, back injuries, migraine headaches and arthritis, is a cruel and consuming master.

Chronic pain takes a grim center stage in the lives of sufferers. It ends careers, ruins marriages and costs Americans billions of dollars in health-care expenses and lost wages.

Yet many physicians avoid treating chronic pain. While strong narcotics have been part of doctors' arsenals for decades, societal taboos have suppressed their use. Time and again, chronic pain sufferers are denied medication that would ease their misery.

Physicians worry that prescribing narcotics to knock out pain will turn patients into addicts, or even worsen the disability.

They also fear scrutiny from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which keeps a watchful eye on doctors who prescribe large amounts of so-called opiods, natural or synthetic drugs that kill pain like opium. The market for those drugs is lucrative: A 4 mg tablet of the powerful narcotic Dilaudid, which costs a patient less than $1 from a pharmacist, sells for $40 to $65 on the street.

Dr. Stephen P. Long, director of acute pain service at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, said a variety of factors fuel physicians' aversion to prescribing narcotics. Patients develop a tolerance to the drugs over time, so dosages must be gradually increased to levels that eventually appear alarmingly high.

Negative public attitudes toward narcotics, and physicians' reluctance to prescribe adequate doses for fear of harming their patients, play a major role in limiting pain control, Long said.

Even an aggressive pain practitioner like Long prescribes narcotics with caution, only after having exhausted ''all conservative approaches'' he said. ''We work our way up this ladder. Opioids are close to the top.''

Efforts by state and federal drug agencies to keep prescription painkillers from being resold on the street has a chilling effect on physicians, said Dr. John C. Rowlingson of the University of Virginia Medical Center's pain management center.

''Every other year we have the State Police people come in and talk to us about the things people do -- be they doctors or patients -- to divert medication'' to illegal channels, Rowlingson said. ''It's an issue but it shouldn't be so dominant that it obliterates the physicians' rational thinking in prescribing drugs.''

Next week, physicians and patients nationwide will be watching the case of a Washington, D.C., pain specialist whose license to practice medicine was summarily suspended by the Virginia Board of Medicine.

Dr. William E. Hurwitz lost his state license after the deaths of two patients, not terminally ill, who had been prescribed high levels of opioids.

The board charges that Hurwitz overprescribed drugs and inadequately supervised his patients. His lawyer argued that one of the deaths was a suicide, and the other patient was a drug abuser who deceived Hurwitz.

Hurwitz, president of the National Chronic Pain Outreach Association, a grass-roots organization with a membership of about 3,000, prescribed painkillers to more than 200 patients nationwide.

A hearing on whether to reinstate his license is set for July 29-31 in Richmond. The hearing originally was scheduled for last month, but after one day of testimony it was postponed so more patient records could be reviewed.

The hearing drew about 75 pain patients and family members from throughout the country. They've vowed to return next week.

''I'm standing by the man who gave back my life,'' said Mary C. Jacka of Bella Vista, Ark., an Army veteran who's been intermittently bedridden with debilitating pain after a car accident 10 years ago. ''I'll come if I have to crawl.''

Doug Ventura, national director of the National Chronic Pain Outreach Association, said the Hurwitz case has national implications because it illustrates the potential danger to doctors who treat chronic pain with narcotics.

''If this case is lost it will have a very chilling effect on the treatment of chronic pain patients throughout the country . . . and will undoubtedly cause the loss of lives,'' he said. ''I've talked to four or five people who said if they have to go without medication they're not going to go through that pain'' and will commit suicide.

The Hurwitz case illustrates the potential danger to doctors who treat chronic pain with narcotics.

While he declined to comment on the specifics of the Hurwitz case, Rowlingson said many doctors are already unwilling to prescribe opioids on a long-term basis for nonmalignant, nonterminal chronic pain.

''When you deal with patients with intense, acute pain you run into problems,'' he said. ''Medications which are available are not made available to patients upon prescription because the doctors or pharmacies won't provide them. . . . They're afraid of the regulatory agencies.''

The problem of prescription drug fraud is considered serious enough to warrant its own investigative unit within the Virginia State Police. The Pharmaceutical Diversion Investigation Unit was begun in 1988 and has 12 agents that cover the state, according to William R. Bess, assistant special agent in charge of the unit. From 1988 until June 1996, the agents made 1,218 arrests. In contrast, drug abuse violations in Virginia in 1994 alone accounted for 24,102 arrests, according to a Justice Department report.

Rowlingson acknowledged that the diversion of prescription painkillers to street abusers is a serious problem.

''But the majority of people are not out to jack the system. . . . The majority suffers because the minority is irresponsible.''

In other words, America's war on drugs has caught pain sufferers in a cross fire of competing interests.

In a society that demands that people ''just say no'' to drugs, those unfortunate souls who need painkillers just to get out of bed say they often are made to feel like low-life drug abusers.

One such patient is Eyssel Gurganous of Littleton, N.C., a former teacher who heads the southern region of the National Chronic Pain Outreach Association. For the past decade, Gurganous, a self-described teetotaler who opposes recreational drug use, has battled chronic back and leg pain.

Once athletic and energetic, she's spent weeks on end curled and crying in bed. Her dilemma has been compounded by doctors' inability to find the cause of her pain, even though her right leg barely functioned. She eventually was diagnosed with lumbar radiculopathy, a pain syndrome caused by severe nerve damage in the lower back.

Gurganous' 10-year medical odyssey to stop the pain has included a hysterectomy, back fusion, nerve blocks, acupuncture, physical therapy and healing prayers.

''When you're in chronic pain you'll bury a rag under the back porch'' if a doctor says it will help, said Gurganous, 45. ''It is the most miserable thing -- your life is slipping away, your money is gone. You're losing your personality, your friends.''

But she didn't lose her family. She and her husband, who own a clothing store in North Carolina and have a 19-year-old son in college, will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in February. Her mother moved in to help out when Gurganous was incapacitated by pain.

The back fusion did far more harm than good, she said. Rather than relieving her pain, the surgery compounded it, and now she faces another operation to remove the plates and screws in her back.

''People are pushed into these surgeries that kill you financially, emotionally and physically when they're unnecessary,'' Gurganous said.

Only in the past 20 months has Gurganous found reliable relief -- through daily doses of narcotics.

She now takes a combination of morphine and Dilaudid, and is allowed up to 30 pills per day. She spends about $500 to $600 per month on the medication, which her insurance doesn't cover.

Gurganous believes that if she had gotten narcotics earlier, she could have avoided the back surgery that now exacerbates her pain. She also resents the suggestion that she's taking medication because she's getting some kind of pleasure out of it.

''I don't feel anything -- just pain relief,'' she said. ''Nobody wants to be in this situation.''

She rues the day that former first lady Nancy Reagan began her campaign urging Americans to ''just say no'' to drugs.

''I'm sure she had no idea she was dooming a whole generation to no pain control,'' Gurganous said.


Places to go for help and information:

Anheuser-Busch - This Lawsuit's For You

BC-BREWERY-LAWSUIT ( BW)(BREWERY-LAWSUIT) Anheuser-Busch Inc. target of a lawsuit by 19 current and former employees for drug operation Business Editors

VAN NUYS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 14, 1996--Just days before the first anniversary of a `search and seizure` drug operation conducted by Anheuser-Busch Inc. at its Los Angeles (Van Nuys), plant, an additional 19 of its current and former employees filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court for personal grievances and numerous civil rights violations during the alleged illegal operation. At a news conference held today in Los Angeles, a majority of the plaintiffs were present with their attorney, Andrew M. Wyatt, to provide details of the operation and lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which has to be filed before Aug. 18 because of a one year statute of limitations, is the second filed relating to the operation. On Nov. 21, 1995, four other Anheuser-Busch employees filed a lawsuit. Among the charges brought in the lawsuit were allegations of false imprisonment, false arrest, assault and battery, invasion of privacy, defamation, wrongful termination and malicious prosecution. Included among the defendants was August Busch III, chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch who allegedly approved and ordered the operation.

Also named as defendants were:

Russ Whitmeyer and Associates Inc. and its principals, Russ and Leta Whitmeyer; Wells Fargo Guard Services; and Anheuser-Busch employees John Burke, Chris Hardin, George Logan, Robert Warner and Gary Prindiville. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit included three former Anheuser-Busch employees who were terminated as a result of the operation - Alex Bilich (Hollywood, Calif.), Noah Smith (San Fernando, Calif.) and Steve Simon (Castaic, Calif.) - as well as 16 current employees: Scott Anderson (Reseda, Calif.), Hector Martinez (Los Angeles), Steve Anderson (Covina, Calif.), Santiago Casillas (Granada Hills, Calif.), Larry Dillon (Hawthorne, Calif.) and Curtis McDowell (Simi Valley, Calif.). Other plaintiffs include: Tom Raymo (Acton, Calif.), Edward Simber (Palmdale, Calif.), Michael Scott (Saugas, Calif.), Willie Wesley (Arleta, Calif.), Steve Wilson (Palmdale), Michael Symonds (Lancaster, Calif.), Charlie Collins (Covina), Gregory Derossi (Covina), Cornelius Hines (Los Angeles) and Dennis Knittle (Simi Valley).

According to Wyatt, a Los Angeles-based attorney whose law firm specializes in civil litigation with an emphasis in employment law, the lawsuit seeks compensatory, punitive and special damages for emotional distress and physical and financial loss. The operation, Wyatt noted, was conducted at the Los Angeles brewery on Aug. 18, 1995 beginning at 4:30 p.m. and ending in the late evening. At 4:30 p.m., the turnstiles between the plant and the employee parking lot were locked by Wells Fargo as were the parking lot entrance and exit gates, he said.

Wyatt reported that personnel and dogs of the Whitmeyer security firm then checked all vehicles. If a dog indicated drugs were present, he pointed out, owners of the vehicles would be located and taken to a room in the administration building where they would be told to sign a consent form authorizing a search of their vehicles and persons. If they refused to sign the consent form, he emphasized, they were told they would be suspended and terminated.

Orders for the alleged illegal drug operation, Wyatt emphasized, `came from the top.` In testimony by Russ Whitmeyer under oath, he said he was informed by Burke, an Anheuser-Busch human resources executive in St. Louis that the corporation's legal department had approved it and that (August) Busch was quoted as saying: `the search better be conducted or (expletive) heads would roll.` Wyatt stressed that the operation also confirmed what had been rumored around the plant for years; that there existed a `hit list` of employees who were considered to be heavy drug users. The list included the names of: Steve Anderson, Dillon, McDowell, Simber, Scott, Symonds, Wesley, Wilson, Collins, Derossi and Hines. As an indication the list was being used, he said that Collins was singled out to have his car searched - even though he hadn't driven to work that day.

False arrest charges were brought on behalf of Smith and Simon, Wyatt reported, who were arrested and spent time in jail. When it was time for their hearings, no representatives of Anheuser-Busch or Whitmeyer appeared to testify. Five of the employees - Bilich, Martinez, Smith, Casillas and Simon - had both their bodies and cars searched, thus leading to charges of unreasonable search and seizure. The charge affecting the most plaintiffs was false imprisonment because they were locked in the plant and not allowed to leave while the operation was held. Plaintiffs `locked in` were Scott Anderson, Steve Anderson, Bilich, Casillas, Collins, Hines, Knittle, Martinez, McDowell, Raymo, Simber, Simon, Smith, Symonds and Wesley. Commenting on the operation, Wyatt remarked: `There are hardly any words to describe it; the whole operation was reminiscent of some of the horror stories emanating from Germany during World War II.` --30--jw/la.. CONTACT: Fisher & Associates Inc. Bob Fisher or Nele Freedman 818/593-2202 818/593-2281

Lamm - Pot Made Campfire 'Interesting'

DENVER, Aug. 21, 1996 (UPI) -- Former presidential aspirant Dick Lamm said Wednesday that he smoked marijuana on three different kayaking trips with friends, and on at least one of those occasions stared enraptured at a campfire.

"I tried it, yes, on a river trip," the former Colorado governor said in an interview on Denver radio station KTLK. "I used to do a lot of kayaking, and other people had some marijuana on a kayaking trip on the Green and the Yampa (rivers)."

Lamm, 60, who last week lost the Reform Party presidential nomination to Ross Perot, said the episodes were about 25 years ago, which is before he was elected governor but during the time he served in the Colorado House.

"We used to do a lot of kayaking, and they were a great bunch of people," Lamm said. "I remember looking into the coals of the fire, and it was an interesting experience."

Lamm, who was defeated by Perot in Reform Party balloting, was governor from 1975 to 1987 and made an unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for Senate in 1992. He runs the University of Denver's Center for Public Policy.

New X-Ray Gun Detects Concealed Weapons And Drugs

New X-ray gun detects concealed weapons:
Device, which can see guns from 90 feet away, seen as tool against terrorism.

By Michael Fleeman, Associated Press, as published in the Detroit News, August 14, 1996

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- The latest weapon against terrorism can see right through you.

The Passive Millimeter Wave Imager can X-ray through clothing to "see" a concealed weapon, plastic explosives or drugs. A police officer can surreptitiously aim it into a crowd from as far away as 90 feet.

The new X-ray gun is becoming a danger symbol for an unlikely alliance of civil libertarians and gun owners who fear the fight against crime and terrorism may be waged at the expense of personal freedoms.

"I'm incredibly concerned," said John Henry Hingson, a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, meeting here this past week. "The entire nation could become a victim of illegal searches and seizures and the law is powerless to protect them from these police abuses."

But in these nervous times following the the crash of TWA Fight 800 and bombings at the Olympics, Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center, many Americans now say they are willing to trade some of their privacy and civil liberties for greater security.

A poll last week by the Los Angeles Times found that a majority of people -- 58 percent -- said they would give up some civil liberties if it would help to thwart terrorism.

Thirteen percent said it would depend on what rights were at stake. The poll didn't ask people to single out any rights.

The Clinton administration has proposed increased wiretapping and other anti-terrorism steps, and is doling out research grants for cutting-edge anti-crime technology that once may have been intended for purely military use.

Last year, the National Institute of Justice awarded $2.1 million to three companies to develop weapon detectors for airports, stores and public buildings.

Two models are being developed of the Passive Millimeter Wave Imager, a creation of Massachusetts-based Millimetrix Corp.

The larger one, about the size of a shoebox, is mounted on a patrol car and pointed at the unsuspecting person. The gadget doesn't send out X-rays; instead, it picks up electromagnetic waves emitted by human flesh.

Anything that stands in the way of those waves -- like a gun -- or anything that emits weaker waves -- like a bag of cocaine or a plastic explosive -- will show up on a little screen in the patrol car.

Clothes emit no waves. Neither do walls, allowing the device to be used even from outside a room.

A second model is a smaller, battery-operated version that an officer can operate by hand, like a radar gun.

Millimetrix hopes to field test the larger model soon at a police agency.

Hingson argues the device runs roughshod over bans against illegal searches and seizures.

The law says police can stop and frisk a person only when an officer has a "reasonable suspicion" the person is armed or involved in a crime.

Millimetrix points out that while the imager can see through clothing, it still leaves people some privacy. The device's display screen, the company says, "does not reveal intimate anatomical details of the person."

Chip Walker, spokesman for the National Rifle Association, noted that devices like the imager threaten the legal rights of people in 31 states who are allowed to carry concealed weapons with proper licenses.

"We certainly support efforts to disarm criminals, but we need to be careful that we're not painting with too broad a brush here," he said.

Walker said that as troubling as terrorism is, people would be playing into terrorists' hands by giving up their privacy.

"One of the broader issues is that if we start giving up certain civil liberties, that essentially means that the terrorists are starting to accomplish one of their goals," he said.

Boulder Church Members Under Fire

Marnie Regen forwards this message from Jon Miller:
Subject: Colorado: Marijuana church Under Fire
Date: 19 Aug 1996

The mayor of Boulder, Colo., is pressuring police to arrest members of
a 300-member church that uses marijuana for holy communion. The Rev.
Michael Domangue, of the Sacred Herb Church, says any arrests will be
considered illegal religious persecution.

The whole story appeared this week in the Boulder Planet, a local
newspaper. Unfortunately, this paper is not on the Web. I called and
they sent me the article.

Their number is (303) 444-5761.

Their e-mail address is:

The author is Wayne Laugesen, who's at:



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