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September 26, 1996

Government Marijuana Researcher Speaks Favorably About Marijuana's Medical Utility

September 21, 1996: In a recent interview conducted by the Journal of the International Hemp Association (JIHA) in Amsterdam, Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly - Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) Marijuana Project at the University of Mississippi and one of the federal government's premiere marijuana experts - spoke openly about marijuana's medical potential.

Specifically, ElSohly discussed the possible medical role of cannabichromene (CBC), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana. He also spoke about the limited effectiveness of oral THC.

According to ElSohly, CBC occurs in high portions of certain strains of marijuana, but has been typically overlooked because it is difficult to distinguish from the more familiar property, cannabidiol (CBD), in standard chemical tests. Nonetheless, the pharmaceutical properties of CBC and CBD are quite distinct.

"CBD is famous for [its] anti-convulsant activity ... [and] CBC obviously has good anti-inflammatory activity," remarked ElSohly. "Certainly there is the [anecdotal use of medical marijuana historically] and every day you look at the cannabinoids and activities in the light of today's science and today's pharmacology and so on, and you can really go back and scientifically and legitimately explain the use of cannabis over the years for so many things.

" ... There is no question about the use of cannabis for certain conditions. It does have a history. It does have the utility and so on."

Responding to the issue of smoked inhalation of marijuana versus orally consumed THC, ElSohly commented that THC in oral preparation "doesn't seem to be doing the good job it should." He speculated that this is because oral and smoked THC produce different pharmacological profiles in the body. Because oral doses are processed by the liver before entering the bloodstream, oral THC produces high levels of the metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC, while smoked marijuana does not. Since 11-hydroxy-THC is four to five times more psychoactive than regular THC, this may explain why some users report a high rate of overdoses and discomfort with Marinol.

"The comments made by Dr. ElSohly indicate that there exists not only anecdotal, but accepted scientific evidence supporting marijuana's medicinal properties," said NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "It also specifies that there exists chemical properties in marijuana other than THC that hold medical value, further supporting the argument that marijuana appears superior to synthetic THC as a medicine."

For more information or for a copy of the interview please contact either Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858 or Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

House Holds Hearing On Adolescent Drug Use

September 26, 1996, Washington D.C.: Purporting that adolescent drug use has reached "epidemic" levels, a joint hearing of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families, and the House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on National Security was held today.

Those testifying before the House included Former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Robert Bonner, Executive Vice President of the Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE) Douglas Hall, Ohio Congressman Rob Portman, and others.

Hall's appearance before the committees coincided with the release of a 1996 PRIDE survey indicating rising levels of adolescent illicit drug use. According to the study, nearly 38 percent of high school seniors reported trying marijuana once within the past year. "Drug use by today's teenagers is not just part of growing up, a youthful indiscretion," said Hall. "More students are using more drugs more frequently, and their use is more hardcore than we have ever seen."

"Ladies and gentleman, drugs kill," announced Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families. "It is more important than ever to be absolutely uncompromising about this message."

"This hearing was nothing other than a pre-election dog and pony show," said NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "Despite claims from both parties that spending toward anti-drug efforts have been slashed, federal figures demonstrate that annual federal drug control spending increased from less than five billion in 1988 to more than 15 billion for fiscal year 1997. According to government statistics, illicit drug use during this period of time has remained virtually unchanged among adults and actually risen slightly among adolescents. We cannot continue to keep throwing money at the problem and arresting record numbers of adult users and expect any sort of tangible results."

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

Marijuana Medicine And Hemp Exposition To Take Place This Weekend

September 26, 1996: An exposition to raise public awareness to the medicinal uses of marijuana will take place on September 28 and 29 at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. The show will include workshops by both doctors and patients and will include a host of speakers, including San Francisco Supervisors Angela Alioto and Tom Ammiano as well as representatives of the Proposition 215 campaign for medical marijuana.

Though the focus of the exposition will be on the medical uses of cannabis, the event will also have forty booths relating to hemp's industrial uses. In addition, the Human Rights 95 Exhibit, which poignantly documents the human costs of this nation's "War on Drugs," will also be featured at the show.

"Because of the controversy surrounding this issue, the show promises to be one of the most interesting and well-attended of the fall season," said California Coordinator Dale Gieringer.

Proceeds from the event will go to benefit the medical marijuana movement in California.

For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858. For more information about Proposition 215, please contact Dave Fratello of Californians for Medical Rights at (310) 394-2952.

Mass/Cann NORML Rally Draws At Least 50,000

September 21, 1996, Boston, MA: More than 50,000 people gathered for a rally in support of ending federal marijuana prohibition. The event, organized by Mass/Cann NORML, featured speeches by NORML board member Richard Evans, Steve Hager of High Times magazine, marijuana activist John Sinclair, Richard Stratton of Prison Life magazine, and others and included several musical acts. There were almost no arrests during the all-day festival.

Although organizers note that media coverage of the event was mixed, Mass/Cann President Bill Downing called the seventh annual event a "success."

"Any time you gather over 50,000 people and have no incidents of violence and virtually no arrests is a success," he commented. Responding to media criticism about the relatively young age of some crowd-goers, Downing said, "Many of the younger attendees were Boston college students -- many of which happen to be voters -- and we want them to be aware that there is a group that represents their interests."

For more information, please contact Bill Downing of NORML Mass/Cann at (617) 944-CANN.




Regional and other news

Body Count

The Oregonian omitted publishing this week any Multnomah County court records on how many felons were sentenced to jail or prison terms on what charges. A newsroom employee contacted by phone said this week's court reports would be printed "back to back" with next week's reports in the Oct. 3 paper. That leaves the tally so far this year at 276 out of 498, or 55.42 percent.

OCTA Ballot Title Certified - Petitioning To Start Soon

The Oregon Supreme Court signed off Sept. 26 on the ballot title for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act initiative petition, removing the words "Amends Constitution" that had inadvertantly been inserted by the state.

The ballot title summary, prepared for each initiative by the Attorney General's office, appears in boldface at the top of each initiative petition and on the ballot if supporters gather enough signatures. Compared to the summary OCTA received last time around, the new summary is much better at describing all aspects of the initiative, including its ramifications for industrial hemp production and medical marijuana. The summary reads:


RESULTS OF "YES" VOTE: "Yes" vote permits state-licensed cultivation, sale of marijuana for medical purposes and to adults.

RESULTS OF "NO" VOTE: "No" vote retains present prohibition on cultivation and sale of marijuana.

SUMMARY: Replaces state, local laws on marijuana except DUII laws. Directs OLCC to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop. Commission sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies and medical research facilities for medical purposes and to qualified adults for profit through state liquor stores. Ninety percent of net proceeds go to state general fund; smaller percentages for drug abuse education, treatment, promotion of certain hemp products. Bans sales to, possession by minors. Bans public consumption except where signs permit and minors barred. Provides penalties.

[End quote]

Thanks to Oregon's liberal initiative rules, OCTA petitioners will have more than 18 months to collect 73,261 registered Oregon voters' signatures, by July 1998, to qualify for a vote in November 1998. If passed by voters, OCTA would take effect on Jan. 1, 1999, ending 61 years of marijuana prohibition in the United States. (For the text or more details on OCTA go to its home page at

Who all will serve as OCTA's official Chief Petitioners has not yet been finalized, but current Chief Petitioner Paul Stanford hopes to have all the final names and documents filed by Oct. 2 so signature-gatherers will have a good chance of hitting the streets on the weekend of Oct. 5-6.

According to the state, OCTA supporters will not be allowed to post the petition and signature sheets on the World Wide Web in Adobe Acrobat format, which would have made it easy for anyone to print out, sign and mail in. Reportedly, the state is claiming that Internet users are incapable of reading instructions and printing out the official forms on the requisite 20-pound paper. However, state officials also noted that OCTA was the first campaign even to ask about the possibility of collecting signatures via the 'net (a tactic used by Proposition 215 organizers in California), and various appeals are available, so OCTA will pursue its right to make use of cyberspace vigorously.

Media please note: Until further notice, signature-gatherers for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act will be unpaid volunteers. OCTA hopes to find funding at some point that would allow signature-gatherers to be paid. No such funding exists at this point.

Oregon legislators, perhaps jealous of the initiative process's ability to get things done, have passed a new law requiring initiative campaigns that hope to pay petitioners at any point to state on each petition sheet that such petitioners are being paid, even if they're not. Thus, unless the OCTA campaign promises not to pay signature-gatherers at any point in the future, signature gatherers will have to carry around state-sponsored misinformation designed to cast doubt on their motives.

Even so, a meeting over the weekend among OCTA's acting executive committee and activists based in Eugene and downstate yielded a near-unanimous vote to go ahead with the petition-sheet format saying signature-gatherers were being paid. Signature-gatherers will be given "volunteer" buttons and handout sheets for voters explaining the state's duplicity. Stay tuned - next week's news release should have the final details.

African-Americans React To CIA-Cocaine Allegations

More than a few African-American commentators on the San Jose Mercury News' Dark Alliance series seem to be portraying blacks as victims in particular of a racist conspiracy whose purpose is or was genocide. Sometimes it almost seems some editorialists are saying African-Americans have some genetic weakness that makes them particularly susceptible to crack cocaine compared to the rest of the population.

For example, at a recent news conference called by Dick Gregory and California's U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, Gregory, who should know better, was quoted as saying of the CIA:

"There is nothing as evil as what they have done. We're talking about crack babies, babies lynched in their mothers' wombs."
Such hyperbole only worsens the harm to African-Americans because it repeats government and media misinformation and stereotypes. The fact is that, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, cigarettes are more harmful to babies than crack. Other research shows alcohol is, too. Do blacks use proportionately more cocaine than alcohol or tobacco - or other races? No, of course not. The rates are similar for blacks and whites, meaning there are far more black babies harmed by government-sponsored and revenue-producing drugs than by cocaine, whether you look at the sheer numbers or the proportions. At least one author has observed that the rise of the media-hyped "crack baby" phenomenon could best be attributed to the Reagan administration's defunding of prenatal care for poor women.

We'd all make a lot more progress in this discussion if more people in the black community would realize it's not so much the drugs that are ravaging inner cities and low-income people, it's the prohibition and the racism that leads to eight out of 20 blacks being under the control of the criminal-injustice system compared to one out of 20 whites. The families broken apart by incarceration and the young people drawn into a mileau of quick money and easy access to drugs is what proves so damaging to the African-American community. A cynic might even take the extreme view that whites oppose the medicalization of drug policy because it would mean blacks would thus obtain better access to medical care.

If the CIA, which supposedly includes our best and brightest, can be seduced into drug trafficking as a means to achieve its objectives, how can we expect dirt-poor, unemployed, inner-city blacks to withstand the same temptation?

At another time in American history, the CIA, instead of selling cocaine through the African-American community, might have sold it through the impoverished, inner-city Irish-American community, or the Italian-American community. The motive isn't racism or even ethnic prejudice. It's money. And it's the money that brings poor African-Americans into contact with cocaine and heroin, not some genetic predisposition to use hard drugs.

Only a few years ago, illegal-drug consumption by blacks and whites was virtually equal. In the late 1960s and 1970s, one would think whites' usage rates even exceeded blacks'. And though blacks are sentenced for drug-related "three-strikes" offenses with as much as 17 times the frequency as whites in California, for example, and drug arrests are at an all-time high, the latest figures show that nationwide, "The rate of current illicit drug use for blacks (7.9 percent) remained somewhat higher than for whites (6.0 percent) and Hispanics (5.1 percent) in 1995. However, among youths the rates of use are about the same for the three groups." ("Any Illicit Drug Use," posted at The previous year's survey stated "The rate of current illicit drug use for blacks (7.3 percent) was somewhat higher than for whites (6.0 percent) and Hispanics (5.4 percent)." ("Patterns of Substance Use in 1994," posted at

(The figures on disparate arrests and sentencings come from "Young African Americans and the Criminal Justice System in California: Five years Later," as researched by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (Los Angeles Times, "Study Questions Justice System's Racial Fairness," Feb. 13, 1996, posted at The report notes that "Nearly four in 10 of the state's young black men were under some form of criminal justice control last year. By comparison, the rate was about one in 10 for young Latino males and one in 20 for white men.")

If throwing people in prison for drugs reduced drug use or drug selling, we would have seen the results by now in the African-American community. Assuming the NHSDA is credible, wildly disproportionate enforcement seems to correlate only with disproportionately more use in the African-American community. The tighter we turn the screws of enforcement, it would seem, the more we increase usage.

Yet crack houses, public drug markets and turf-war gun battles would disappear overnight if people could get such drugs under medical supervision, where providers would have much more incentive to help abusers recognize and treat their problem than they do now.

Any African-American who is willing to believe the CIA sold drugs in the black community should also be willing to reconsider whether it isn't really the genocidal government policy of adult drug prohibition that is at the root of the drug problem in impoverished inner-city communities. Does anyone think getting rid of the CIA will get rid of drive-by shootings and crack houses?

The underlying premise of all prohibition laws is that humans are defective and cannot be trusted to manage their own lives. But as Ronald Reagan once asked, "If you can't manage your own life, what makes you think someone else can manage your life any better?"

In fact, drug prohibition was never instituted for reasons of public health or public safety. Invariably, the original drug prohibitionists were white Americans inspired by racism and/or religious intolerance. That is the view of none other than Charles Whitebread, a law professor at the University of Southern California, in a lecture he presented at the 1995 annual conference of the California Judges Association. His lecture is titled "The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States" and it's posted at Whitebread previously taught at the University of Virginia from 1968 to 1981. In that time, the first major research he published was "The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of Knowledge - The Legal History of Marihuana in the United States," which is also posted on the Web. His co-author was Professor Richard Bonnie, still of the faculty of the University of Virginia. It was published - all 450 pages - in the Virginia Law Review in October of 1970. It got a lot of national attention because no one had ever done the legal history of marijuana before. As a result, Professor Bonnie was named Deputy Director of President Nixon's National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse and Whitebread became a consultant to the commission.

New Book - 'Drug War Politics, The Price Of Denial'

Peter Webster writes:

Just received a new book, havent had the time to read it yet but on page 266 of Drug War Politics, The Price of Denial, by Bertram There are two charts, one showing Drug War spending from 1974 to 1994, the second chart the price per gram of cocaine in constant 1994 dollars. The two curves are so closely inverted to each other, one might suspect cause and effect to be operating here. The more we spent on the wosd, the faster the price fell.

Canada's Prohibitory Tax On Cigarettes Spurs 'Forbidden Fruit' Response?

The Daily News Worldwide
Tuesday, September 24, 1996
Teen Smoking up

TORONTO (CP) - The war on smoking, after decades of steady victories, is suddenly sputtering on the battlefield.

For the first time since the 1960s, smoking is on the increase across Canada.

In the soon-to-be-published Canada Alcohol and Other Drugs Survey 1994, researchers have found smoking on the rise, especially among teens. For those aged 15 to 17, smoking has risen to 27 per cent in 1994 from 23 per cent in 1991.

The numbers are more disturbing when you look at those 15 to 19 where smoking jumps to 30.4 per cent.

[Keep your eyes peeled for the "soon-to-be-published" survey. It may turn up on the CCSA Web site at]

National Household Survey On Drug Abuse - Smoke And Mirrors?

Does Annual Survey Of U.S. Drug Use Give Straight Dope?
Probably, But There Are Devils In Many of the Details; The White-Out Enigma

The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 18, 1996
By Michael Moss, staff reporter

Has drug use among U.S. teenagers really more than doubled between 1992 and 1995 to about 11% of all kids?

Has the number of adults 35 and older who sniff correction fluid - that white stuff in tiny bottles meant for correcting typos - doubled, while those in that age group who eat hallucinogenic mushrooms ballooned by 45%?

In the instance of teens, maybe. In the cases of glue-sniffing, mushroom-eating adults, probably not.

The statistics released last month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services led to instant declarations of a national teen crisis and a call to ratchet up the drug war. President Clinton blames Congress for shortchanging his $15.3 billion antidrug plan. Robert Dole unveiled his own plan this week, calling for draconian measures against an "epidemic of drugs and violent crime." Others are urging mandatory drug testing of teens, just for being teens.

No one doubts that drug use, including indulgence by teens, is a pressing problem needing attention. But compared with the tidy summaries from which headlines and posturing are drawn, the fine print and footnotes of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse tell a much foggier truth. Indeed, people who monitor such studies say that there are enough issues - from the sample size in some drug-use categories to the issue of whether respondents really tell the truth about using drugs - to warrant caution in interpreting the findings.

Changing the Questions

For starters, the survey, used since 1971, was radically rewritten in 1994 after its administrators decided it was both too cumbersome and vague to track drug use as accurately as it should have. Some questions were thrown out, others added or rephrased. Questions on marijuana use were reduced from 12 to six, for example.

One major result of this: To maintain "apples to apples" comparisons, trends picked up in previous years under the old survey have all been "adjusted" for what those respondents would likely have said had they been answering questions on the new survey. Tabulators concede that such adjustments are as much art as science.

"That is the kind of thing one tries to avoid in an ongoing series," says Lloyd Johnston, a director of Monitoring the Future, an Ann Arbor, Mich., annual survey of 50,000 secondary-school students. Mr. Johnston's survey has found similarly sharp increases in drug use among teens.

Other numbers in the survey - while they make good headlines - aren't statistically significant or reliable, even survey administrators concede. For example, heroin use by teens rose from 0.3% in 1994 to 0.7% in 1995 - an apparent doubling. But the actual number of teens - about 32 in 1995, up from 14 in 1994 - is far too low to attach any validity to it.

This doesn't stop people from using it, however. Mr. Dole, in an ad released last weekend, took potshots at the Clinton antidrug campaign citing that very statistic. The Dole camp defended its use - saying it, after all, came from the Clinton government.

Another of the more remarkable adult drug-use figures in the survey is likewise unreliable: The number of adults saying they sniffed correction fluid, degreaser or cleaning fluid doubled from 0.2% in 1994 to 0.4% in 1995. In this case, the actual numbers of people increased from eight to 16 - hardly enough to declare a trend.

Joseph Gfroerer, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration branch chief who oversees the survey, sticks by the poll's main conclusion that indeed teen drug use is rising. But he concedes that, between changes in the survey and problems with sample size among some age categories of teens, it would be a mistake to radically alter public policy based upon findings like those, for example, on teen heroin abuse.

Peter Miller, who edits poll reviews for the journal Public Opinion Quarterly, agrees: "Given the great complexities in measuring drug use and the limitations of this survey, we should be careful not to overinterpret the findings or jump to policy conclusions." He adds that the "technical details of a survey often tell a different, more interesting and often more important story."

Quirky Details

One example: Beyond the purported doubling of teen drug use, the survey also found that drug use among all teens had surged 33% between 1994 and 1995 alone - a troubling outcome that some have construed as an escalation in an already depressing trend. However, some who have looked at the data, including Public Opinion's Mr. Miller, say they doubt such a conclusion is warranted.

The total sample, about 4,600 boys and girls, was obtained by combining pools of age groups. In a number of cases, the sample size of the individual age groups was too small - thus the margin of error too great - to draw reliable year-to-year comparisons, Mr. Miller says. When pooled, however, those results - flawed or not - are extrapolated into the big picture.

The exception was white boys 14 and 15 years old from the West and North Central states. In that case, the sample size was large enough so that its finding of a year-to-year rise in drug use could be considered statistically significant.

"That's who showed the only significant change and it's one reason I wouldn't go jumping off the roof right now," says Public Opinion's Mr. Miller. Even that finding "could be a fluke," he says. Mr. Gfroerer says he believes the findings in that age category are indeed valid but he concedes the uncertainty of the findings for other age groups.

Tough Assignment

The survey, which began in 1971, is done for the government by the Research Triangle Institute, a Raleigh, N.C., contractor with more than one corner on the drug-study market. The institute also gets paid to roll marijuana cigarettes for the federal government's lingering obligation to supply a handful of people with pot for medicinal purposes.

Each year, about 200 temporary polltakers fan out to designated neighborhoods nationwide to interview about 18,000 people - one for every 12,000 people in America. In dangerous areas they are allowed to use escorts, often off-duty police officers.

They are also armed with advice on how to get in the door. "Often, the public is apprehensive about participating in a 'survey,'" the 140-page Field Interviewer's Manual prepared by the Institute states. "Use of the words 'study,' 'research,' and/or 'interview' are sometimes helpful. Assure the respondent that you are not selling anything."

People who say they "don't like the government surveys" are handed one of the specially tailored written appeals, which stress the poll's importance in shaping the president's and Congress's drug policies. When youngsters are interviewed, parents are encouraged but not required to leave the room. Teens and adults alike are then asked 370 questions, including 94 about drug use and other sensitive matters that they answer on a form to keep their responses confidential.

The answers are then edited to account for a slew of problems. Some of those surveys leave questions unanswered, so a "logical imputation" is used to fill in the blanks. Many people - 21% when it comes to marijuana and 37% for cocaine, last year - give conflicting answers. For example, they will answer yes to having used pot last month, but not to having used in the past year. These are also adjusted.

More Problems

All these things ratchet up the uncertainty of these kinds of surveys. On top of this came the federal agency's 1994 decision to reword its drug poll. The new survey in its inaugural year in 1994 found that in some cases - teen marijuana use, for example - drug use dropped slightly from 1993.

But researchers, as is common when a survey is rewritten, also passed out the old survey in 1994 as a way of determining how closely it picked up the kinds of drug use the new survey was measuring. What they found was that the new survey was turning up about 15% fewer users than the old.

Survey administrators concluded that the drop resulted from the survey changes - the new survey, administrators say, takes a more "conservative" approach in identifying drug users. This partly explains why, in going back to adjust pre-1994 findings to the new survey, tabulators actually lowered the estimate of teen drug use found by the old survey in 1992 and 1993. It was these adjusted numbers, against 1995 results, that produced the headline-grabbing statistic that said drug use among children 12-to-17 had jumped to about 11% from 5.3% earlier.

Illegal Drugs Kill 42 Dutch Out Of 15 Million In 1991 (Compared To 39 Oregonians Out Of Three Million)

In Holland they treat drug abuse as a medical and social problem. Below are some excerpts from the official Dutch drugs policy statement posted at

No matter how much opinion on drug-policy may vary, there is considerable consensus on the ultimate criterion by which the effectiveness of any nation's drug policy should be measured. That is the number of hard-drug addicts, especially the number of such users under the age of 21, and the trend in those numbers.

Table 1 provides an overview of the estimated number of hard drug addicts in various countries.

International comparative prevalence figures on hard drug addicts

              Number of Addicts     Inhabitants              Per 1000
                                     (millions)             of population

Netherlands 	25,000			15.1 			1.6
Germany    	100,000/120,000		79.8			1.3/1.5
Belgium		17,500			10.0			1.8
Luxembourg	2,000			0.4			5.0
France		135,000/150,000		57.0			2.4/2.6
United Kingdom 150,000 			57.6			2.6
Denmark     	10,000			5.1			2.0
Sweden		13,500			8.6			1.6
Norway		4,500			4.3			1.0
Switzerland	26,500/45,000		6.7			4.0/6.7
Austria		10,000			7.8			1.3
Italy		175,000			57.8			3.0
Spain		120,000			39.4			3.0
Greece		35,000			10.1			3.5
Portugal    	45,000			10.0			4.5
Ireland		2,000			3.5			0.6
Sources: Bosman and Van Es (1993); Bless, Korf, Freeman, Urban drug policies in Europe 1993 (1993); WHO regional office for Europe, European summary on drug abuse, first report: 1985-1990 (1992); Commission of the European Communities, Second Report on drug demand reduction in the European Community (1992); Bossong (1994); Van Cauwenberghe et al. 1993 (Belgium).

Various experts estimate that there are about 25,000 hard drug addicts in the Netherlands. This is equivalent to 0.16 percent of the population. As stated above, this estimate is reliable, partly because in the Netherlands care agencies manage to maintain contact with a relatively high proportion of drug addicts.

It is not possible to make a clear comparison with estimated numbers of hard drug addicts in other European countries because of methodological uncertainties but it is likely that the "dark number" is higher in certain other countries, where care agencies reach fewer addicts, than it is in the Netherlands.

The estimates which do exist, however, suggest that the number of hard drug addicts per 100,000 inhabitants in the Netherlands is low in comparison with the European average of 2.7 and indeed considerably lower than in France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, for example.

Annex I contains an overview of the estimated numbers of drug addicts in a number of European countries, according to a number of sources. All estimates suggest that the number of addicts in the Netherlands is relatively low.

What is particularly pleasing is that in the Netherlands the number of heroin users under the age of 21 is relatively low, even among vulnerable groups, and has continued to fall in recent years. Nor has the use of cheaper forms of cocaine made any real inroads as was feared a few years ago on account of developments in the United States and elsewhere.

Increases in the numbers of young users are probably partly prevented by the "loser" image which has come to be attached to heroin addicts. The presence of older addicts who are in a serious state of degeneration in some socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods constitutes compelling propaganda against the use of heroin. The lack of repressive action by the police against addicts purely on account of their drug use and the ease with which they can obtain the substitute methadone prevent the lifestyle of addicts being seen by young people as an expression of social or cultural rebellion.

The number of fatalities resulting from drugs overdoses in the Netherlands is small. According to a report by the United Nations, 42 people died in the Netherlands from drugs-related causes in 1991. The figure for Belgium was 82, Denmark 188, France 411, Germany 2,125, Italy 1,382, the United Kingdom 307 and for Spain 479. In the United States there were 5,830 such deaths. The number of deaths from drugs per 100,000 of the population is thus at least twice as high in other countries as it is in the Netherlands and here, unlike in other parts of the world, it is not rising.

[As reported in "Oregon sets high in '95 for drug-related deaths" (The Oregonian, Jan. 26, 1996, pp. C1 & C5, posted at, all deaths from illegal drugs in Oregon in 1991 totaled 39. The 1995 total for Oregon was 183.]

The Netherlands also has a relatively small number of people suffering from AIDS among its drug addicts. In southern European countries in particular, the percentage of drug users who are infected is considerably higher. The accessibility of care services, including needle exchange systems, and the broad public information campaigns which have been conducted, have resulted in considerable risk reductions in intravenous drug use. The proportion of drug addicts in the total HIV positive population is relatively small. Research has shown that almost 60% of heroin-addicted prostitutes now use condoms, as against 20% in 1986. This also has the effect of helping to prevent the spread of AIDS outside high risk groups. ...

The fact that there are virtually no young people under 20 using heroin or cocaine in the Netherlands is extremely gratifying, especially as experience shows that the later in life a person starts using a drug the greater the chance of their overcoming their addiction at some stage. ...

The policy on drug addicts, which concentrates heavily on prevention and care, has helped achieve a situation where the health of addicts resident in the Netherlands also compares favourably with that in other countries. There is less widespread HIV infection among addicts and infection levels are falling.

The mortality rate among addicts is low and is not increasing, as it is in many European countries.

The government regards the results achieved to date as grounds for continuing the principal elements of the pragmatic policy pursued up to now, which has been geared to controlling the damage done to health.

Jury Nullification Increasing

San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, September 24, 1996, p. A1

Some Jurors Revolt Over 3 Strikes
Penalty prospects sway their verdicts

Harriet Chiang, Chronicle Legal Affairs Writer

Last of Two Parts

When Henry Jackson Jr. heard the court clerk announce in May that he had been found guilty of possessing a rock of cocaine, he stood up in a rage, lifted and then dropped the defendant's table. "I want you all to know you put me away for 25 to life!" he cried out to the jurors.

The Los Angeles judge ordered Jackson to be quiet, but he continued his tirade, accusing police of setting him up. "That ain't right!" he yelled as bailiffs dragged him out of the courtroom.

When the jurors were polled to confirm their verdict, two changed their minds, including the foreman. Over the protests of prosecutors, the trial ended in a hung jury.

The two jurors' abrupt change of heart when they realized the severe punishment that accompanied Jackson's crime illustrates one of the unexpected reactions to California's controversial three- strikes law: juror rebellion.

Two years ago, California voters, fed up with career criminals on the loose, overwhelmingly passed the "three strikes, and you're out" law to lock up dangerous felons for life.

The law requires a minimum sentence of 25 years to life for third-time felons with two prior convictions for serious or violent crimes. Felons with one prior conviction for a serious or violent crime receive a mandatory sentence of double the standard penalty. The most recent felony -- or what prosecutors commonly call the "trigger strike" -- does not need to be a serious or violent offense.

But in counties throughout the state, jurors in three-strikes cases have been shocked by the law's sweeping brand of justice.

They have been outraged to learn their guilty verdict for criminals caught with a few dollars worth of drugs or a stolen six-pack of beer has meant penalties of 25 years to life behind bars. And in some cases, when jurors have learned of the potential consequences of their verdicts, they have taken the law into their own hands.

"It's a phenomenon that's happening up and down the state," said Superior Court Judge J. Richard Couzens of Placer County, a member of the policymaking Judicial Council who travels throughout the state teaching judges about the three- strikes law.

Although jury revolts are not rampant, Couzens said, "it's enough of a problem that it's being spoken of rather openly in judicial and legal circles."

There are no numbers or surveys, but anecdotes are being told from Los Angeles County, where several defendants have been set free, to Santa Clara County, where jurors have shown up at sentencing hearings to plead for leniency for felons they have convicted. In some cases, juries have ignored the evidence and returned hung verdicts -- and sometimes even acquittals.

Citizen defiance of the law in the jury box has been a part of American justice since colonial times. In trials involving Southern civil rights cases and Vietnam War protesters, jurors have ignored the law and returned not-guilty verdicts they said reflected a greater justice.

"It's a concept of jury mercy," said Alan Scheflin, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law who has written several articles on jury nullification, an unorthodox procedure where the jury disregards the evidence and delivers a judgment on a broader issue. "The jury is exercising its voice as the conscience of the community." In a Yolo County courtroom recently, jurors who found a defendant guilty passed along a note accompanying their verdict to the judge, asking him to have mercy.

Anthony Ortiz had been caught red-handed with $8 worth of methamphetamine in his pocket after he was stopped for riding a bike without a headlight. With two prior felonies, a "third-strike" conviction would mean a minimum of 25 years to life behind bars.

That potential sentence upset the jury, which generally is not allowed to know or to consider the punishment a defendant is facing. But Ortiz's attorneys were able to let the jurors indirectly know that Ortiz was facing his third strike.

Afterwards, jurors said they tried to rely on reason and not emotion. "But you can't help but consider the consequences," said the forewoman of the Yolo County jury, Maril Revette Stratton, in explaining the note to the judge. "And the consequences, we believed, were way out of line with the crime."

The jurors, including several who had voted for the initiative, "assumed that it was meant to take serious violent career criminals off the street and put them in jail," said Stratton, who has served on several other juries in which she voted to convict.

She described the group as heartsick over the decision and frustrated by what she called a "miscarriage of justice."

Last month, a judge struck one of Ortiz's prior three strikes convictions and sentenced him to six years in prison. Legal experts say they are not surprised by the juries' reaction to the three-strikes law.

"It's easier for people to vote for the three-strikes law when they're faced with the chaos around them," said Karen Jo Koonan, a trial consultant with National Jury Verdict West, an Oakland jury consulting company. "But it's much more difficult (to support the law) when you're in the courtroom dealing with a real human being."

Many jurors are hesitating to punish felons caught in the broad net of the three-strikes law for petty thefts or minor drug violations.

By law, jurors must not discuss or even consider the penalty a defendant is facing, except in death penalty cases. In three- strikes cases, jurors generally are not even told of the potential penalty. However, judges say that it is not hard for them to catch on when the prosecutor points out the prior burglary convictions of a defendant.

"Jurors aren't stupid," said Superior Court Judge William Pounders of Los Angeles. "They can add two and one and come up with three."

In Los Angeles County, where three-strikes cases are clogging the trial courts, Pounders says, there have been several cases of jurors returning a not guilty verdict after learning of the potential sentence.

Jackson's outburst prompted the Los Angeles judges to change the rules so that jurors now must review the written verdict form to confirm their vote before their decision is announced, so an abrupt change of heart won't affect the verdict.

Judges in San Francisco, the only county where voters did not support the three-strikes measure, have grappled with the flip side of the dilemma: jurors who mistakenly believe they are dealing with three-strike cases and return hung verdicts for defendants who are not facing 25 years to life.

Superior Court Judge Lucy McCabe said judges now are asking potential jurors about their opinions on the sentencing law and, if both lawyers agree, informing them that the three- strikes law is not involved.

In Santa Clara County, Judge Leonard Sprinkles said that it has become routine in three- strike cases for at least a few jurors to speak out against the sentence.

Sprinkles has even had jurors show up at a sentencing hearing, asking him to strike a prior conviction or refrain from levying a heavy sentence. "The only time that it's ever happened is in a three-strikes case," he said.

Defense lawyers, meanwhile, have come up with a host of ways to capitalize on such jury sympathy, realizing that jury nullification may offer the best chance for their clients.

One lawyer began his opening statement by telling jurors that there were three things wrong with the case, and then proceeded to write on a board "Strike One, Strike Two, Strike Three . . ."

Another attorney casually walked into court carrying a folder with the words "three strikes" written on top.

Still another lawyer posed this question to the jury during his closing argument: "In 25 years from now will you have an abiding conviction that justice was served?" Some have even tried baseball analogies, comparing the defendant with the batter.

Judges have been unamused. "At first they didn't get it," said Los Angeles Deputy Public Defender Al Menaster of the judges. But now, he said, they are starting to threaten lawyers with contempt if they refer to the three-strikes law.

A more simple, if less creative, way to inform jurors about a defendant's criminal record is to have the defendant testify about his prior convictions.

Revealing a defendant's prior missteps with the law is a switch from the traditional defense strategy of keeping that information out of court for fear that it will prejudice the jurors. Lawyers admit it's a gamble, but with three-strike cases, they say, it has become a strategy of last resort in seemingly hopeless defenses.

San Diego Deputy Public Defender Jack Hochman said he has taken to trial cases that have appeared futile, including one defendant who was caught on videotape shoplifting and then confessed. When defendants are facing 25 years to life, he said, "there's no reason to go to trial except (to hope) for nullification."

Prosecutors say that jurors who give three-strike felons a break are ignoring their sworn oaths to focus only on a defendant's guilt or innocence. "It really undermines how our criminal justice system is set up," said Lawrence Brown, executive director for the California District Attorneys Association.

He said that jurors are acting out of misguided intentions because they only hear about the prior strike convictions and do not see a defendant's complete rap sheet.

Brown said that most jurors are so frustrated with crime that they are willing to convict repeat offenders. He called the defense tactic of exposing a defendant's prior convictions a risky move that could easily backfire.

But judges say that enough jurors have been speaking out against the blanket justice of the three-strikes law for the Legislature to take notice and consider new restrictions on a judge's ability to toss out a prior strike conviction.

Pounders sees the jury response as a justification for allowing judges to step in and reduce a sentence in the right cases. "The public is telling us in their votes in the jury room how they feel about the law," he said. "They're saying: `I do not want this penalty for a minor offense.' "

Sprinkles believes that jurors are responding to what they perceive as a growing gap between law and justice. "As you begin to make the system more arbitrary and unknown, it puts pressure on jurors to do what they feel is just, as opposed to what the law is," the veteran judge said. "Hopefully, you want the two to be the same."

Coca Czar Protests United States' War On Drugs

From wire services:
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 1996

Growers' Rights

COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA -- If the cold war is over, nobody has told Bolivian union leader Evo Morales.

Mr. Morales, Bolivia's coca czar who has led five growers' unions since 1994, calls US efforts to eradicate the leaf "Yankee imperialism" and ends most rallies with his war cry: "Long Live Coca, Death to the Gringos."

"He comes from a viewpoint completely opposite of ours," says US Ambassador Curtis Kamman. "He stands for a crop whose only use is to make cocaine."

Mr. Morales insists that growing coca, a crop traditionally used by Andean Indians for religious and medicinal purposes, is a matter of national sovereignty. He claims the US Drug Enforcement Agency controls the Chapare, a tropical lowland north of the nation's third-largest city, Cochabamba, and home to about 100,000 coca union members.

In the past, Morales has called on union members to block roads and march in protest to La Paz, Bolivia's capital. He has been jailed three times and has three criminal cases pending against him for sedition and defamation.

To the consternation of Bolivia's government, the cocalero leader has become a favorite in Europe, where he is often feted and asked to speak before politicians and nongovernment agencies. In 1995, European groups such as the Green Party and the Luxemburg parliament nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, according to local press reports.

"Evo Morales has been paraded around the world as an indigenous leader beat up by the US government," says Eduardo Gamarra, a Bolivia expert at Florida International University in Miami. "His image transcends the Chapare."

His critics say that most coca used for traditional purposes comes from the Yungas region near the nation's capital of La Paz, while leaf used as the raw material for cocaine is exclusively from the Chapare.

Not surprisingly, honoring Morales as a foreign dignitary especially galls US officials, who see him as a nemesis who has helped turn Bolivia into the world's third-largest producer of coca leaf and cocaine. Bolivia is the largest recipient of US antinarcotics aid, having received about $1 billion since 1983.

Moreover, US officials suspect his trips abroad are funded by drug traffickers. "If I were receiving drug money," Morales replies vehemently, "I would be jailed within 24 hours."

Morales, a former baker and trumpet player, concedes that up to 60 percent of Chapare coca goes to drug traffickers but says farmers have no other choice for survival. Morales says he agrees with the US program of crop substitution but argues that it's underfunded and "just not working and until it does, campesinos 1/8peasants3/8 have to make a living."

Since 1983, the US has poured $175 million into the Chapare to build infrastructure and introduce such substitute crops as pineapple and palm hearts. While the area remains poor, it is much better off than most regions that have yet to receive any development aid. Bolivia is South America's poorest nation with some 70 percent of its 7 million inhabitants living in poverty.

Over the past five years, US officials claim the substitution program has doubled the number of acreage dedicated to legal crops from 98,000 acres to 197,000 acres while coca has remained stable at 86,000 acres.

"While we haven't succeeded in cutting back coca production, we have significantly added to legal crops," Mr. Kamman says. "The balance is shifting."

Morales, however, complains that there are not enough guaranteed markets for new crops, that the Bolivian government hasn't fulfilled its promises to develop the region, and that farmers lack investment funds. Coca, on the other hand, has a guaranteed market, needs little capital, is easy to grow, and can yield four harvests a year.

The union leader also argues that the drug trade has been boosted by US-backed austerity measures in Bolivia that have caused thousands of workers to lose their jobs. Many cocaleros are former tin miners - laid off when mines shut down in the mid-1980s - who wound up in the Chapare looking for work.

"Until we can make a decent living, we won't let the government take our crops by force," says ex-miner and coca grower Jose Torres.

Mr. Torres is referring to US-trained antidrug forces known as the Mobile Rural Patrol Unit (UMOPAR) and its intensified campaign to destroy coca plants. Both Bolivian and US human rights organizations have charged UMOPAR with committing widespread human rights violations, including unlawful arrests, illegal searches, arbitrary confiscations, and excessive force. In 1995, six peasants were killed and 14 wounded in clashes with police, according to the Cochabamba chapter of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights.

"If the government continues to attack," warns Morales, "there could be civil war."

Bolivian and American officials, on the other hand, scoff at such remarks and say human rights violations have been greatly exaggerated. According to the Bolivian government, disciplinary action against abusive police has been taken and most peasants were killed in clashes organized by the growers' unions.

However, a US human rights group blames the United States. "Unfortunately, while demanding throughout 1995 that Bolivia move vigorously with its eradication program, the United States failed to make the effective protection of human rights a cornerstone of US counternarcotics support," said a May report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch/Americas.

In bilateral agreements, Bolivia has agreed to eradicate 12,000 to 19,000 acres of coca per year. If the government doesn't comply with the quota, it could lose US certification, which would mean a suspension of foreign aid and approval of funds from international agencies such as the World Bank.

At union headquarters in Cochabamba, Morales is making final preparations for yet another protest march. In an office decorated with a poster of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary killed trying to foment revolution in Bolivia in 1967, Morales barks out orders to his staff.

"When we mobilize, we win," he says. "When we sit down to negotiate with the government, we lose."

Some political observers say Morales' influence is waning and point to the thousands of campesinos who have switched to substitute crops in recent years without union permission.

Yet few would count him out as a political strongman. Last year, Morales launched a new party called the Assembly for the Sovereignty of the People to "fill Congress with campesinos."

To date, the ASP has been blocked by government red tape from running a slate of candidates in the last municipal elections. But to show their potential political force, the cocaleros joined an established regional party and won several elections in the Cochabamba area.

"This has the government shaking," says Federico Aguilo, a Jesuit priest who heads the Cochabamba Permanent Assembly for Human Rights.

"In the future, Evo could play two political cards," says La Paz-based political analyst Carlos Toranzo, "one in the street and another in parliament."

'Getting Over Getting Stoned' (Garry Trudeau In Time)

An impolitic proposal for the post-pot generation

Time, Sept. 16, 1996, p. 64.
By Garry Trudeau

"Zero! Zero! Zero!" -- Bob Dole, describing the amount of tolerance a Dole Administration would have toward drug use

It was a stirring call to arms. The Republican candidate may have sounded like a panicky swabbie alerting the bridge about incoming Japanese fighters, but as wedge issues go, the war on drugs definitely has juice. If the Democrats wanted to take credit for the cascade of positive economic indicators, then they'd have to step up to the new negative drug numbers as well. Smartly reasoned, if you overlooked one tiny detail: a lot of Republicans are under 50.

Why this is a problem was dramatically illustrated when, on the eve of the Republican convention, family values keynoter Congresswoman Susan Molinari, 35, was outed as a former pot user. "Mustang Susan," as she was soon dubbed, quickly trotted out the "youthful-experimentation" defense, an option not available to vice-presidential short-lister Senator Connie Mack, whose shot at the ticket can't have been helped by news that he was still lighting up in his 30s.

Does Dole really want to start down this road? When he excoriates the White House gang who never grew up, who never did anything, he adds, by implication, "except get high." He means to ask voters, How can you expect people who never respected our drug laws to enforce them now? But as Molinari's untimely admission so vividly demonstrates, this is a dangerous game.

By now, 80 million Americans have tried marijuana. That's a lot of people using a substance we all say we abhor. Before we can get any traction on controlling pot (which accounts for most of the rise in teen drug use), the generation that popularized the stuff has got to finally come clean about what made it so alluring in the first place--and then square that with current marijuana policy. A good start might be for every middle-aged public official in America to take the following oath:

Let it be known that I, an educated, middle-class baby boomer, do declare that I have knowingly utilized a delte-9-THC delivery system (hereinafter referred to as "TOKING UP") for the purpose of inducing intoxication. My actions cannot be described as "experimental," as their outcome (hereinafter referred to as "GETTING STONED") was known to me in advance.

I further acknowledge that my memories of TOKING UP are fondly held, particularly as they cross-reference with memories of concurrent sexual activity. It is even possible that I once believed GETTING STONED to be a beneficial experience, teaching tolerance, since it rendered all co-users equally attractive and all rock bands equally talented. I may also have believed that GETTING STONED engendered profound INSIGHTS, which I may have, at least once, attempted to record with a Day-Glo marker on the back of an empty doughnut box (in Molinari's world, this would be known as a "LAB REPORT").

In the alternative, if I did not enjoy GETTING STONED, I admit that my cessation reflected a simple preference for abstinence, rather than any deep moral concerns or a sudden new respect for our nation's drug laws.

Moreover, I am not willing to describe my earlier actions, which I knew to be illegal, as "youthful indiscretions" unless I am also prepared to characterize similarly other nonviolent offenses, such as fraud or burglary. I acknowledge that in the unlikely event that I never tried TOKING UP, I probably attended parties where TOKING UP took place, an activity currently considered criminal in several states.

I further concede that small marijuana transactions were at one time so commonplace that I may have even forgotten being involved in one. In the event that I did sell a friend a single JOINT, I accept that that activity renders me a former DRUG TRAFFICKER, guilty of an offense that is now punishable by several years in prison.

I concede that I once did not view marijuana as dangerous, knowing that it is not physically addictive or lethal. Accordingly, I believed marijuana laws to be draconian, a view once shared by Jimmy Carter, Dan Quayle and Richard Nixon's marijuana commission, all of whom favored decriminalization. It was only after my appetite for recreational drugs had abated, and I had produced children whom I did not believe capable of "handling" marijuana as responsibly as I had, that I came to oppose decriminalization. I acknowledge that it was this fear, and not new medical evidence, that caused me to subsequently support mandatory sentencing for other people's children caught emulating the actions of my generation.

To summarize, at one time I possessed, consumed and probably distributed marijuana--activities for which I may feel embarrassment but not guilt. I concede that there is nothing in my actions to distinguish them from the charges on which nearly 4 million Americans have been arrested since 1982.

Finally, I admit that this has not caused me to lose a moment of sleep, except insofar as it has pertained to my career.

Ad Hominem In Action

Grand Rapids Press
Sept. 14, 1996

Anti-drug program officials chide county for anti-DARE information
The panel is discussing how to save the program without the benefit of a county millage to fund it.

HOLLAND[, Mich.] - Ottawa County officials embarrassed earlier this week by reports they circulated anti-DARE information from "an organization favoring legalization of drugs" were chastised Friday by the anti-drug program. The Ottawa County Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program Association criticized the officials as it discussed how the program can be saved in light of the county board's rejection of a proposed DARE millage. Although remaining undecided about proposing another millage levy, the 13 group members were quick to approve a resolution of the county's actions. The resolution, written by Prosecutor Ronald Frantz, invites those concerned with DARE to visit classrooms where the program is taught. It also condemns the county board for denying voters the chance to consider a DARE millage and county officials for circulating anti-DARE sutdies that are "self-serving in nature."

County Administrator Robert Oosterbaan and Commissioner Leon Langeland, who widely circulated materials taken from an Internet computer site maintained by an organization seeking more lenient drug laws, could not be reached for comment on the action.

"We are ... dismayed that certain Ottawa County commissioners and officials have cited as justification for their position propaganda and materials from organizations that favor legalization of drugs," the resolution states.

"There are credible objective studies that show that a comprehensive DARE program is an effective tool in reducing the demand for drugs among children." The majority of documents critical of the DARE program were taken from an on-line computer "home page" maintained by the Drug Reform Coordination Network, an organization advocating less restrictive drug laws and an end to the war on drugs. Its board of advisers includes representatives from NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and the San Andreas Needle Exchange.

Eight two-page packets questioning the effectiveness of the DARE program were sent in late August to city managers across the county by Oosterbaan. Smaller versions were distributed tto members of the Grand Haven City Council by Langeland, a former Spring Lake police chief.

Last month, the county board's criminal justice committee rejected a poposed .16-mill tax levy for the DAE program. If approved by voters, the seven-year millage would have raised an estimated $750,000 a year for at least 14 DARE officers and for a kindergarten-through-12th-grade program.

The program sends trained officers into elementary and junior hhigh schools to teach students how to refuse drugs and alcohol.

Tom Ball, DARE and communitty safety officer for the Zeeland Police Department, said reaction by parents at three recent school meetings has been "extremely negative" toward the county. The parents cited rejection of the millage reports and the circulation of anti-DARE documents.

Grand Haven DARE officer Rick Yonker said he's also received critical comments. "Some are saying, 'Throw the commissioners out,'" Yonker said.

The DARE association's finance committee will meet next week to decide whether it should float another millage request. Zeeland Police Chief Robert Metzger said the group may have no choice but to go to taxpayers because federal grants dry up next year for the majority of DARE programs.

'The Politics Of Heroin' Revised And Reissued

Here's the beginning of Alfred McCoy's preview to his new book. If Congressional hearings are held after the November 1996 election, this book will be essential to the case against the CIA.


Alfred W. McCoy

A completely revised and expanded edition of "The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia"



Writing this book has been a long journey, from America to Asia and from youth to middle age. In 1971, then twenty-five and in my second year at Yale Graduate School, I set out on a trip around the world to study the politics of the global heroin trade. Somehow I survived the unanticipated adventures that followed and two years later I published The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, a book that was more expose than explanation. Over the next fifteen years, I returned to Southeast Asia several times to research revisions to that first book and to gather materials for a second, entitled Drug Traffic, a study of heroin's impact on crime and corruption in Australia. Finally, in the summer of 1990, I combined my own data on Southeast Asia with the research of others on Central America and South Asia to produce the present volume.

My work on the heroin trade began in the fall of 1970 as an outgrowth of a book I had edited on Laotian politics. Elisabeth Jakab, my editor at Harper & Row, suggested that I use my knowledge of Southeast Asian politics to write a book providing a historical perspective on the sudden spread of heroin addiction among American troops in South Vietnam. What began as a small project based on library research soon mushroomed into a much larger one after three more or less chance encounters.

During spring break, I took time off from research in Yale's Sterling Memorial Library to conduct interviews in Paris with former French officers about the opium trade during their Indochina War of the early 1950s. My meeting with General Maurice Belleux, the former chief of French intelligence for Indochina, inadvertently revealed that the CIA was involved in the opium trade as their French counterparts had been before them. Receiving me in the offices of a helicopter company he now headed, Belleux responded to a broad question about opium by explaining in detail how his agency had controlled Indochina's illicit drug trade and used it to finance clandestine operations against Communist guerrillas. The general added that "your CIA" had inherited his network of covert action allies when the French quit Vietnam in 1964. He suggested that a trip to Saigon would reveal that American intelligence was, like its earlier French counterpart, involved in the opium traffic. Other French veterans, notably the paratroop commander Colonel Roger Trinquier, conffrmed both the general's information and his suggestion.

It was not only General Belleux who convinced me that the Vietnam drug problem needed investigation. At a street demonstration in New Haven for Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, I met the beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who insisted that the CIA was deeply involved in the Southeast Asian opium trade. To back his claims and aid my research, he mailed me a carton containing years' worth of unpublished dispatches from Time-Life correspondents that documented the involvement of America's Asian allies in the opium traffic.

The third chance encounter was the most unlikely of all. At a society wedding in New York City for the sister of a former Columbia fraternity brother, I was astonished to hear a group of marine officers, guests of the groom, tell stories of North Vietnamese soldiers found dead with syringes in their arms on the slopes of Khe Sanh and Communist truck convoys rolling down the Ho Chi Minh trail in South Vietnam loaded with heroin for American troops.

After submitting overdue term papers to my tolerant Yale professors, Karl Pelzer and John Whitmore, I started for Southeast Asia in the summer of 1971. On the way, I stopped in Washington, D.C. to interview the legendary CLA operative Edward Lansdale, General Belleux's successor in Saigon. Both Lansdale and his former CIA aide Lucien Conein received me in their modest suburban homes not far from the CIA's Langley headquarters and told stories about drug trafficking in Saigon by the French, the Corsicans, and the intimates of President Ngo Dinh Diem. A former Saigon coup leader, General Nguyen Chanh Thi, now exiled to an apartment near Dupont Circle, confirmed the CIA stories and, more important, gave me introductions to some of his friends in South Vietnam. The Washington bureau of Dispatch News Service, a fledgling agency best known for its expose of the My Lai massacre, told me that one of its stringers, an Australian named John EveAngham, was writing about CIA helicopters carrying opium in Laos.

How could I find him? Easy. Everingham was the only white man in Saigon who wore a blond ponytail and "Viet Cong-style black pajamas."

During one of my last interviews in the States, I received the first of the death threats that accompanied this research. Moving west, I stopped at a restored nineteenth-century flour mill on the banks of a stream in Readyville, Tennessee. Its owner, a young man named Joe Flipse, had recently returned from volunteer service with tribal refugees in Laos. Over coffee at his kitchen table, he finished the interview by threatening to kill me if I sourced any information to him.

By the time I landed at Saigon's Tan Son Nhut airport in July, I was armed with some introductions and an idea for a new way to ask controversial questions. Instead of working like a journalist tracking the visible signs of the current heroin trail, I would start my interviews with questions about opium use in the past-when it was legal and not at all controversial. Working forward to the present, I would compile information about the illicit traffic and individual involvement that would lead, slowly perhaps, to those who controlled the current trade. Instead of confronting the protectors and drug dealers with direct accusations, an unproductive and dangerous method, I would try oblique and apparently unrelated questions, seeking to confirm the profile I had built up from documents and other interviews. In short, I would use historical methods to probe the present.

During my first days in Saigon, General Thi's introduction opened the door to the home of Colonel Pham Van Lieu, an influential leader of South Vietnam's "third force" who had once commanded the country's marines and national police. Over the next month, Lieu arranged meetings in his living room with senior Saigon officers who presented details and documentation about the role of senior government officials in the sale of heroin to U.S. troops.

A number of young Americans working in Saigon as stringers and researchers for the famous by-line reporters helped me check this information. Mark Lynch, now a Washington lawyer, gave me access to the files in Newsweek's offices, where he worked as a researcher. A Cornell graduate student, D. Gareth Porter, was in Saigon working on current politics and shared information. A friend from Yale Graduate School, Tom Fox, now editor of the National Catholic Reporter, was then in Saigon stringing for The New York Times. One night he took me on a six-hour odyssey from the flashy neon bars at Saigon's center to the tin-shed brothels at the fringe of Cholon's sprawling shantytowns, rebuffing the advances of prostitutes and calling for heroin at every stop. For an outlay of twenty dollars, I returned to my hotel room with pockets bulging from vials of high-grade heroin worth maybe five thousand dollars on the street in New York. As I flushed the powder down the drain that night, I thought about trying it just once. I can recall raising a vial to my nose before hesitating and tipping it into the toilet.

During my last week in Saigon, I was walking up and down Tu Do Street at Saigon's center looking for the Dispatch stringer when I spotted a tall white man in black pajamas striding down the other side of the street. I screamed out "Everingham, Everingham" above the roar of the rock music spilling from the bars and the revs of the Saigon-cowboy motorcycles. He paused. Over coffee, we agreed to meet at 5:00 P.M. two weeks later at the bar of the Constellation Hotel in Vientiane, Laos. Yes, he had been in tribal villages where CIA helicopters had flown out the opium. He could take me to those villages to see for myself. He was trying to get a start as a photographer and asked that I use his pictures in my book.

Two weeks later, I was sitting at the bar of the Constellation Hotel nursing a Coca-Cola when John Everingham walked in with Phin Manivong, our young Lao interpreter. Next day at dawn, we took a taxi out of Vientiane, hitched a ride on a USAID highway truck north for most of the day, and then started hiking up a steep path that climbed from road's edge into the hills. By nightfall we were sleeping in a Yao hill tribe village near the peak of a mile-high mountain. After a few days spent watching the women plant opium in the valleys around the village, we traveled north through mist-shrouded mountains with the look of ancient Chinese scroll paintings to Long Pot village, a Hmong settlement at the edge of the battle lines. Approaching just before dark, we were escorted to the house of Ger Su Yang, the local Hmong leader who held the post of district officer.

Over a dinner of pig fat and sticky rice, Ger Su Yang asked Everingham, through our interpreter, what we were doing in his village. Knowing the Hmong leader from earlier visits, Everingham was frank and told him that I was writing a book on opium. For a man who did not read a daily newspaper, Ger Su Yang proposed a bargain that showed a keen sense of media management. He would provide armed men to escort us anywhere in his district and would allow us to ask anything we wanted about the opium. If he did that, could I get an article in a Washington newspaper reporting that the CLt had broken its promise? For ten years, he explained, the men of his village had died fighting in the CLA's army until only the fourteen-year-old boys were left. When he refused to send these boys to die, the CIA had stopped the rice airdrops that fed his village of women and children. After six months the children were visibly weak from hunger. Once the Americans in Washington knew about his situation, surely, said Ger Su Yang, they would send the rice. I promised.

Over the next five days, we conducted our opium survey, door-to-door, at every house in the village. Do you grow opium? Yes. After the harvest, how do you market the opium? We take it over to that hill, and the American helicopters come with Hmong soldiers who buy the opium and take it away in the helicopters.

We also learned that we were being watched. A Hmong captain in the CIA's Secret Army was radioing reports to the agency's secret base at Long Tieng. On our fourth day in Long Pot, a helicopter marked "Air America," the CIA's airline, spotted us on a nearby hill as it took off from the village. It hovered just above our heads, pilot and copilot staring for a long minute before flying off. On the fifth day, we were hiking to the next village with an escort of five Hmong armed with carbines when a shot rang out. The escort went ahead to the next ridge and waited momentarily before motioning for us to proceed. As we slipped down the face of that slope wet from the monsoon rains, several automatic weapons opened up from the next ridge, spraying the hillside with bullets. We fell back into a small hollow. While our escorts gave us a covering fire, we slithered on our bellies through the elephant grass to get away. Overweight and out of shape from months in Sterling Memorial Library, I rose to my knees. Everingham slammed my face into the mud. Somehow we all made it to safety behind the ridge and assembled, laughing at our luck to escape from the "Communist guerrillas" who we assumed were the authors of our ambush.

The next day, as we were interviewing in a nearby village, a tribesman whispered to our interpreter that it had not been the Communists. We had been ambushed by the Hmong soldiers of General yang Pao, commander of the CIA's Secret Army. The next morning, we cut short our research and fled down the path toward the highway, later hitching a ride on a truck heading north, not south for Vientiane, fearful of another ambush. An hour later, we came to a junction where a U.S. army major was supervising a helicopter ferrying Royal Lao troop detachments into the Communist zone. Worried about what might be waiting for us on the road south to Vientiane, I decided to lie. I told the major that I was an adviser to the U.S. embassy on tribal matters and needed to borrow his helicopter for an urgent trip to Vientiane. He was going back to the capital anyway and would give us a lift. When we landed at the outskirts of the city later that afternoon, two unshaven Americans approached us with light machine guns slung over their shoulders. They demanded that we go with them, claiming that they were U.S. embassy security officers. We refused and took a taxi instead.


Although the threats stopped once I finished the final draft of the book in the spring of 1972, I began to face other kinds of problems. President Richard Nixon had just declared "war on drugs," making the global drug traffic a major domestic political issue for the first time in U.S. history. Evidently, the Nixon admlrustration was not about to be embarrassed by a political issue of its own making. On June 12, I testified about CLA complicity in the Indochina drug traffic before Senator William Proxmire's Committee on Appropriations. A few days later, Elisabeth Jakab rang from New York, summoning me from Washington for a meeting with the president and vice-president of Harper & Row.

Receiving us in Harper & Row's executive suite looking out on the groves of Gothic spires on the roof of St. Patrick's Cathedral, the company's president, Winthrop Knowlton, announced that Cord Meyer, Jr., a senior CIA official, had recently visited Harper's owner and president emeritus, Cass Canfield, Sr., apparently an old friend from New York social circles. Claiming that my book represented a threat to national security, the CIA had asked Harper's owner to suppress it. To his credit, Canfield had refused. But he had agreed to allow the CIA to review the manuscript prior to publication. Although Knowlton argued forcefully in favor of the CIA review, I resisted the idea and withheld my approval.

A month later Knowlton gave me an ultimatum: If I did not agree to a CIA review of the manuscript, Harper & Row, contract notwithstanding, would refuse to publish my book. I spent almost twenty-four hours struggling with the dilemma. My friend David Obst, a freelance literary agent in Washington, put me in touch with Hal Dutton of the publishing house E. P. Dutton, who was, David said, very upset by Harper's decision to grant the CIA prior review of any manuscript. Dutton was willing to publish the book but warned that editorial work and legal battles with Harper & Row could mean a delay of six months.

Rather than slow the publication of timely material, I worked out a compromise with Harper & Row. We created a procedure for submitting the manuscript to the CIA for prior review in a way that would preserve some semblance of editorial integrity.

Tipped off to a potential story by our mutual friend David Obst, Seymour Hersh, recently hired as an investigatiive reporter for The New York Times, interviewed Harper's staff and published his expose of the CIA's attempt to suppress the book on page 1 of the The New York Times. Over the next week, The Washington Post ran an editorial attacking the CIA's infringement of freedom of the press and NBC's Chronolog program televised an hour-long report by Garrick Utley on the agency's complicity in the Laotian drug trade.

Faced with a barrage of negative media exposure, the CIA studied my manuscript for a week before delivering a review full of undocumented and unconvincing denials. It was a dishonest document, indicating that Harper & Row's trust in the agency's integrity had been ill advised. For example, to counter my thesis that the CIA's alliance with Nationalist Chinese irregulars in Burma had expanded local opium production, the CIA simply denied that the Chinese irregulars had been involved in drug dealing. But only five months before, the CIA had spent nearly $2 million to buy and burn the "last" 26 tons of opium that its Chinese clients had hauled out of northern Burma.

In August 1972, Harper & Row ran quarter-page advertisements in The New York Times announcing publication of my book-without any changes.

Humiliated in the public arena, the CIA turned to covert harassment. Over the coming months, my federal education grant was investigated, my phone was tapped, my income tax was audited, and my sources were intimidated.

After the agency's inspector general ordered an internal investigation, an Air America helicopter landed in Ger Su Yang's village and a CIA man ordered him aboard for a flight to a covert combat base in northern Laos.

Interrogated for an hour by an irate CIA agent, the Hmong leader, fearing arrest or execution, lied and denied everything. Soon after Ger Su Yang landed back in his village, John Everingham arrived on one of his periodic mountain treks. Ger Su Yang apologized for lying and asked the photographer: "Do you think they will send a helicopter to arrest me, or send yang Pao soldiers to shoot me?"

Shortly after my book was published, New York Congressman Ogden Reid, a ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, telephoned me to say that he was sending investigators to Laos to look into the opium situation. By the time they arrived, the CIA had silenced my sources, and the investigators returned to Congress with the agency's sanitized story.

Although I had scored in the first engagement with a media blitz, the CIA won the longer bureaucratic battle. By silencing my sources and publicly protesting its abhorrence of drugs, the agency convinced Congress that it had been innocent of any complicity in the Southeast Asian opium trade. In its hearings on CIA assassinations and covert operations in 1975, Senator Frank Church's committee accepted the results of the agency's own internal investigation, which had found, not surprisingly, that none of its operatives had ever been in any way involved in the drug trade. Although the ClA's report had expressed some concern about opium dealing by its Southeast Asian allies, Congress did not question the agency about its alliances with leading drug lords-the key aspect, in my view, of CLA complicity in narcotics trafficking. As the flow of drugs into America slowed and the number of addicts declined during the mid-1970s, the heroin problem receded into the inner cities for much of the decade. The media moved on to new sensations, and the issue was largely forgotten.

If the CIA had not interfered in the congressional investigations, legislative restraints on future covert operations might have prevented the agency's complicity in the disastrous heroin and cocaine epidemics of the 1980s. Denied CIA logistic support and political protection, the drug lords of Asia and the Americas might not have been able to deliver such limitless supplies of heroin and cocaine, perhaps slowing the spread of the U.S.'s drug problem. As it was, the CIA convinced Congress of its integrity on the drug issue, thus preventing an honest appraisal and blocking any chance of reform.

The DEA's enforcement shield that had allowed America's brief respite from drugs during the 1970s simply deflected the Golden Triangle's heroin exports to new markets in Europe and Australia. For the first time in over a half century, both continents suffered widespread narcotics abuse. Indeed, heroin's spread created a worldwide narcotics market with unprecedented enforcement problems. I followed this heroin trail during a twelve-year residence in Australia, an experience that gave me a sharper sense of the global nature of the narcotics trade.

In the summer of 1989, I returned to America to take up a post at the University of Wisconsin, arriving a few months before President George Bush declared his "war on drugs." Listening to my thoughts on the latest drug war, Dr. Ruby Paredes felt that I had something to add to the public debate and urged me to publish a revised edition of my first book. Soon after I arrived in Madison, the news director at the city's community radio station, Jeffrey W. Hansen, stoked my enthusiasm for the project with several hours of interviews about America's drug wars. Simultaneously, an independent New York publisher, Shirley Cloyes of Lawrence Hill Books, proposed publishing a revised edition that would allow major changes to old material and the inclusion of new chapters on the current drug war.

I did not have to risk my life to update this book in 1990. As the narcotics trade expanded beyond the Golden Triangle to much of Asia and Latin America, the localized, dangerous field interviews of the early 1970s in places such as Saigon and Vientiane were no longer the most appropriate method for researching a vast global narcotics industry. Once an obscure subject, the documentation on the international narcotics traffic, particularly of criminal organizations and government complicity, has grown tremendously over the past twenty years. Consequently, this book required a massive research effort instead of the on-site investigations of the early 1970s.

Because the global drug trade has now expanded far beyond Europe and Southeast Asia, I had to call on the expertise of many scholars for this new book. At the University of Wisconsin, John Roosa assisted with research into southern Asian history. David Streckfuss contributed his considerable insights on current Thai politics and worked with dedication as the main researcher for the whole project. Steve Galster and Craig Nelson at the National Security Archives in Washington, D.C. demonstrated the enormous value of their collections by locating recently declassified documents on current U.S. drug policy. Marian Wilkinson of the Sydney Morning Herald provided documents on the CIA involvement in the Nugan Hand Bank scandal and helped me understand its complexities.

The new section on southern Asian heroin could not have been written without the help of Lawrence Lifschultz, a specialist on Indian and Pakistani politics. As a Yale undergraduate twenty years ago, Larry had helped me research my first book. With the same generosity, he now opened files from his years as a distinguished southern Asian correspondent to provide me with press clippings, documents, and his own seminal articles on Pakistan's heroin industry. Larry also put me in touch with another former Yale student, Barnett Rubin, now resident southern Asian specialist at the U.S. Institute for Peace, who sent me his materials on the Afghan guerrilla situation.

To update the section on organized crime in Europe and America, I benefited from the encyclopedic expertise and archives of Professor Alan A. Block at Pennsylvania State University. I told him my interests and he sent me a carton of declassified documents that he has collected over the past fifteen years. During the period of revisions and corrections, the book's copy editor, Barbara Flanagan, managed the formidable task of integrating the old text with the new, solving many complex editorial problems.

With all this help, I was able to discard obsolete data from my first book and write new material, comprising more than half the present volume. Moving beyond expose to explanation, I have included new analytic sections on the political dynamics of the global narcotics trade, two chapters that cover the past twenty years of drug trafficking, and material that places the current drug war in historical perspective. Although I am grateful for all this assistance, I remain, as always, solely responsible for any errors of fact or interpretation.

Alfred W. McCoy Madison, Wisconsin

December 1990

[One hopes this excerpt has whetted the appetites of many to read the rest of this book. Much of the middle chapters are massive, but frankly fairly dry recountings of the specifics of CIA alliances with drug producing local warlords and local politicians who are also traffickers or otherwise beneficiaries of the drug trade. There are also some highly illumiunating disclosures as well as brilliant flashes of McCoy's insight which is primarily that of an historian.]

'Drug Warriors And Their Prey' Excerpt On Death Squads

[Another chilling episode from the new book, "Drug Warriors and their Prey - From Police Power to Police State," by Richard Lawrence Miller, end of chapter 5, "Annihilation." The publisher is Praeger and the ISBN number is 0-275-05942-5.]

We do know that law enforcement personnel kill persons suspected of drug law violations. Some killings are incidental, such as in the case of the California millionaire shot in a forfeiture raid and the innocent man whose heart failed when a Boston drug squad wrongfully stormed his residence. Some killings, however, are deliberate. How death squads could be considered "law enforcers" is baffling, but courts have sanctioned kidnap squads whose actions appear just as illegal. Whether courts would be less receptive to approving death squad activity is uncertain. More certain, however, is the fact that victims of death squads are unlikely to ask for court relief. So the question of death squad legality may never arise, let alone be settled.

Drug warriors are circumspect about death squads. A senior Nixon drug war official admitted that U.S. drug agents shot five suspected drug dealers in Mexico, although those deaths may have been incidental to a botched kidnap squad mission. 126 Nixon's director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, however, told Nixon's top White House drug war advisor Egil Krogh that assassination was the only effective way to stop major dealers. The BNDD director later excused his remarks as intended to illustrate the impossibility of using murder as a law enforcement tool, but scholar Edward Jay Epstein found that the influential White House drug adviser G. Gordon Liddy supported an assassination program. Indeed, Epstein found that the White House asked BNDD to prepare such a program. 127

Krogh admitted that such killings were accomplished in Southeast Asia, and his assistants implied that killings were more widespread, particularly in Latin America.

Epstein found Nixon drug control advisor Howard Hunt to be active in the Latin American murders. Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider, member of a government commission studying marijuana, reported a conversation with BNDD officials: "There was some talk about establishing hit squads (assassination teams), as they are said to have in a South American country. It was stated that with 150 key assassinations, the entire heroin refining operation can be thrown into chaos. 'Officials' say it is known exactly who is involved in these operations but can't prove it." 128

Without proof of their suspicions, Nixon drug warriors found murder to be more efficient than trials. An assistant to Henry Kissinger confirmed that "black stuff" had been "expedited." 129 A CIA colonel freely admitted that he joined the BNDD to head death squad operations. 130 Howard Hunt recommended the colonel to BNDD, 131 and a Watergate burglar recalled Hunt telling him about the White House organizing death squads "ostensibly to assassinate narcotics leaders." 132

When Epstein interviewed Nixon officials, he found that "the assassination bureau was not a subject that any of the former employees of BNDD or the White House desired to discuss." 133 We do not know whether drug warrior death squads disbanded after Nixon left office. The history of U.S. government secret operations after World War II suggests that such a program would have continued and perhaps even expanded. During the presidency of former CIA Director George Bush, the National Security Council reportedly prepared approval for death squad murders of suspected drug dealers. 134 America's top drug police officer William Bennett declared that ethically no trial is required before killing citizens suspected of drug dealing. 135 The next day Bennett said of drug dealers, "You deserve to die." 136 (In law a "dealer" can be someone who hands a marijuana cigarette to a friend.)

Bennett expressed satisfaction over the murder of "drug dealers" whose guilt was never proven in court. 137 In 1992 the Jackson County, Missouri, prosecutor's office declared that "fleeing felons" could be summarily shot. 138 If doubt existed about whether a fleeing citizen was a felon, the issue could be settled if police recovered a packet of thirty-six grams of marijuana from the dead person's coat pocket. We can be sure that only felons will be shot.

With senior drug warriors supporting secret death squads and public lynchings, we should not be surprised if warriors also advocate formal executions. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates had national influence on drug war strategy and tactics. The DARE program he founded and designed has been adopted nationwide. In 1990 he advised the U.S. Senate about the "'casual user' and what you do with the whole group. The casual user ought to be taken out and shot, because he or she has no reason for using drugs." 139 Gates later emphasized that he was not being facetious" and declared marijuana users to be guilty of treason. 140 Calling Gates "one of the all-American heroes," 141 President Bush continued rhetoric used by Ronald and Nancy Reagan, rhetoric inflaming public opinion by portraying drug users as murderers.

A county prosecutor building his reputation on the drug war told me that citizens at neighborhood meetings had shifted their anger away from drug dealers and instead blamed users for havoc caused by drug houses and open air markets. More than one person has told me that the answer to the drug problem is to poison illicit supplies. Such persons are unlikely to oppose formal executions.

Would it be possible for authorities to implement the program recommended by DARE founder Gates, to round up and shoot every tenth man, woman, and child in the United States? At one time the answer would have been a resounding "NO!" But we have seen how measures demanded by drug warriors are used to punish citizens innocent of any crime (innocent even by admission of drug warriors administering punishment). We have seen courts bow to drug warrior demands and extinguish civil liberties that once made such abuses impossible. We have seen drug users hounded from jobs, homes, and communities as an orchestrated nationwide campaign of hate rhetoric portrayed them as bums, perverts, and murderers deserving to die. We have seen judges and the public approve military incarceration of blameless men, women, and children in concentration camps.

Necessary mechanisms for mass killing are clicking into place as senior drug warriors demand a war to the death. We do not know if they will achieve their death wish. Before the American public succumbed to the war on drug users, mass murder was neither thinkable nor possible in the United States. Now it is both.

Readers who have not devoted considerable study to both the German war on Jews and the American war on drug users may see no possibility of death camps in the United States. But the potential has emerged. I cannot forget a warning from a distinguished student of the Holocaust: "Total integration requires complete acceptance. So long as that acceptance is withheld from a group of people, those people will live more or less peacefully in a state of equilibrium between ultimate incorporation and final annihilation." l42

Anti-Drug Chief, Three Aides Found Slain In Mexico

Los Angeles Times
September 23, 1996
By Anne-Marie O'Connor, Mark Fineman

MEXICO CITY--Assassins tortured and killed the Tijuana district chief of the federal anti-narcotics agency and three of his aides, authorities here said Sunday--the second slaying within a week of a Mexican anti-drug officer.

And it was the seventh grisly murder this year of a law enforcement official who had dealt with narcotics cases in Baja California, prompting fears among senior U.S. officials that drug violence could begin to threaten civil authorities in Mexico much as it does in Colombia. None of the killings have been solved.

In the latest incident, Jorge Garcia Vargas, 43, and three federal agents who served as his bodyguards were found strangled early Saturday in a black Dodge Ram Charger in the middle-class Mexico City suburb of Cuajimalpa, according to the attorney general's office of the federal district of Mexico City.

The four men's wrists had been bound and their bodies badly beaten, officials said. "It appears that before they killed them, they tortured them," spokesman Ricardo Zamora said. "It was very ugly."

Zamora declined to state a motive for the slayings, but an official in the attorney general's office said they had all the hallmarks of a drug-related execution.

Garcia Vargas directed the Tijuana offices of the Institute for the Combat of Drugs, which has close ties to its U.S. equivalent, the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was well known to U.S. anti-drug agents, and his nickname was "El Yankee," according to a ranking Mexican federal agent in Tijuana.

The rash of police killings is "all very out of control," said Jacinto Rodriguez, 28, an agent on duty Sunday at the Tijuana offices of the agency. "We are all very nervous."

Ignacio Calderon, a spokesman for the federal district's attorney general's office, whose jurisdiction includes Mexico City, said he did not know why Garcia Vargas and his three bodyguards had flown from Tijuana to Mexico City on Friday morning. But the anti-drug agency has its central offices there.

Garcia Vargas had taken over the agency's Tijuana branch in October after an assignment in Mazatlan. His predecessor, Ricardo Cordero Ontiveros, was jailed on corruption charges in Tijuana after he publicly stated that corruption and indifference had made Mexico's anti-narcotics effort "a joke."

Garcia Vargas' body was found with those of his aides, men evidently working as his bodyguard, personal secretary and driver. Along with Garcia Vargas, the three--Reynaldo Perez Aguirre, 35, Rafael Esparza Villalobos, 45, and Gustavo Alberto Luz Tijerina, 44--were found by police who had been called by residents of the street where the sports utility vehicle was abandoned.

Garcia Vargas is the latest casualty in what some are calling an offensive by drug traffickers against Baja prosecutors and police commanders. Some top U.S. officials suspect that much of the violence is related to the so-called Tijuana drug cartel, whose reputed leaders are the Arellano Felix brothers.

Human rights leaders say other factors are corruption and political intrigue in Tijuana, combined with the recent firings of allegedly corrupt police, and U.S. pressures for a tougher stance against traffickers.

"There are many crossed wires here," said Victor Clark, a prominent human rights leader in Tijuana. "This could be [done by] the fired police or traffickers.

"We are in a terrible cycle," he said. "Is this going to happen every week? With this death, our situation is certainly grave."

Just a week earlier, killers in Mexico City gunned down the Baja federal police commander, Ernesto Ibarra Santes, along with his two bodyguards and a cab driver. Ibarra, who was well-liked by U.S. law enforcement authorities, had vowed to go after the Arellano Felix brothers and purge the Mexican federal police ranks of any corrupt agents who stood in his way.

Ibarra was named to his post in mid-August, when Mexico's Attorney General Antonio Lozano Gracia announced the firing of more than 700 allegedly crooked federal police nationwide, a shake-up that resulted in the replacement of the Baja commander and the dismissal of half the 120 agents there.

On Sunday, the day that Garcia Vargas' killing was confirmed by investigators here, the independent TV network Azteca referred to the deaths in Mexico City as a direct result of drug violence related to the Arellano Felix cartel in Tijuana, which it called "the hottest" place in the country.

The police firings were a suspected motive in the Aug. 17 killing of Tijuana prosecutor Jesus Romero Magana--who handled narcotics cases--a few steps from his doorway. But Romero also was the first federal prosecutor to interrogate Mario Aburto, the only triggerman convicted in the killing of Mexican presidential heir apparent Luis Donaldo Colosio at a Tijuana rally in March 1994.

A former Baja federal police commander, Isaac Sanchez Perez, was shot dead July 19 in Mexico City, where he was an anti-narcotics deputy police commander.

Sergio Moreno Perez, the state's top prosecutor for a year until January, was kidnapped with his adult son in Michoacan in May. Their bodies later were discovered in a car in the Mexico City suburbs. A predecessor, Arturo Ochoa Palacios, was shot at close range as he exercised at a Tijuana health club April 17.

The Feb. 23 slaying of Sergio Armando Silva, a former operations chief of Baja federal police, was followed five days later by the gangland-style murder in Tijuana of his close friend, Rebeca Acuna.

O'Connor reported from Tijuana and Fineman reported from Mexico City.

Trafficker Says INS Buses Transported Cocaine

HOUSTON (Reuter, Thursday, Sept. 26, 1996) - A former insider in the Gulf drug cartel said Thursday it used U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) buses to ship thousands of pounds of cocaine north from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Juan Antonio Ortiz, who ran the cartel's U.S. transportation system, also said the cartel routinely paid off Mexican police and other officials.

Ortiz, testifying in the trial of alleged cartel leader Juan Garcia Abrego, said the cartel began using INS buses to ship drugs in 1986 and kept it up until 1990 when one of the INS staffers working with the drug dealers was caught.

The drugs were stashed on buses used to transport illegal immigrants captured in southern Texas to Houston, 300 miles to the northeast, for flights back to their homelands, he said.

The beauty of the scheme, he testified, was that the INS buses were never checked at U.S. government checkpoints inside Texas where agents searched all vehicles for drugs.

"They just waved (them) on," said Ortiz, who was arrested in 1993 and sentenced to 70 months in prison after agreeing to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors.

He said Mexican police and other officials were easy targets for cartel bribery. On two occasions, Luis Garcia Medrano, the cartel's second in command, was arrested but freed after payoffs, he said.

"They (Mexican officials) had Mr. Medrano but they let him go. They (the cartel) would pay his way out before they took him to jail," he said.

Medrano finally went to jail in 1993. He died in prison of liver problems on Aug. 20, the Mexican government said.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Tony Canales, Ortiz told of paying $45,000 to a Mexico City police commander in a McDonald's restaurant in the Mexican capital.

"You have no faith in the police in Mexico?" Canales asked.

"I don't have none, sir. The police over there are bribed, corrupt -- you can buy them," Ortiz said.

Garcia Abrego, a former cookie factory worker from Texas, was captured in Monterrey, Mexico in January and flown to Houston for trial. He faces up to life in prison if convicted on 22 drug-related counts and has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors charge that he was the leader of the Gulf Cartel, which once shipped up to one-third of the cocaine consumed in the United States. His lawyers say he was not.

Ortiz said he never met Garcia Abrego but was told he was the boss. The cartel hierarchy was secretive and reclusive but maintained strict discipline through the use of violence, sometimes ordering the murder of cartel members who broke the rules, he said.

One of the cartel's top hit men went by the Spanish nickname of "El Amable" ("The Gent"), Ortiz said.

Inside Report On Los Angeles CBC Raid

On Sept. 21, Scott Imler ( wrote:

Hi folks,

It's been a hectic week but finally I have a few minutes so here's an outline and update best as I can muster.

Monday at 4 PM the LA-CBC was raided by County Sheriff's Narcotic Officers and Agents of the State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement (B.N.E.). Four staff members were arrested. Two have AIDS, one has glaucoma. The Public Safety Administrator of the City intervened and got the staff released after about eight hours. The media came out in force to the jail and to the City Council Meeting which was in progress down the street. Suffice it to say that nobody in West Hollywood was very happy about the raid. Least of all the WeHo Sheriff's Captain who wasn't informed prior.

Lungren has denied knowing about the raid. The two BNE agents present were called as a matter of routine by the Sheriff's Narcotics Department (downtown). The BNE guys in San Francisco, who I was to meet with the following day, were also out of the loop according to my attorney in Santa Cruz. One of the CBC staff identified one of the BNE guys as having been turned down for membership when the LA-CBC was in Santa Monica. Which is precisely what the Sheriff says was the reason for the "all local" action -- a local complaint that they were denied membership in the CBC.

Moral of the story for CBC's : Separate the intake location from the disbursement location. "Duh, now they tell me."

Wednesday at 11 AM the LA-CBC held a Press Conference outside our club, which we had been locked out of by the landlords, and announced that at 3 PM we would re-open the CBC at an "undisclosed" location. Once again the media was there with bells on, as were about fifty club members and representatives of AIDS organizations and the City. We handed out slips of paper to the members and the media with the new location on them.

Wednesday at 3PM the LA-CBC re-opened at the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church in West Hollywood. The WeHo Sheriff's Deputies watched from down the street. It was easy to find us -- they just looked for the swarm of satellite trucks. Plus the Pastor, Tom Griffith, had spoken at the press conference so it was never really much of a secret anyway, but most of the media played along and kept the secret in their reports. Most.

The church's Baord will discuss and vote on the matter tomorrow. We hope to stay at the church until we can get into a new building. We have tenatively found a new site but . . ..

No criminal charges have been filed and hopefully won't be. We are more concerned about an injunction, although we won't abide that either as "necessity" means not optional.

To fight the popssibility of both and more, we have retained the services of Duran, Loquvam, & Robertson. They are a well established law firm in West Hollywood and have done trailblazing work on needle exchange, domestic partnerships, and lover-assisted suicide. They got our property and medical records released in less than twenty four hours.

Since meeting them we all feel alot better. We'll see what's next.

Grace & Peace

Scott Imler
730 Marine St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Kriho Trial To Be Mockery Of Justice

Contact: Joe Vigorito, Colorado Legal Eagles
Phone: (303) 258-3990
For background info. on the case, e-mail:

In what may turn out to be one of the most unfair trials in American history, Laura Kriho has been scheduled for trial on October 1, 1996. Kriho has been charged with contempt of court for allegedly deliberating "improperly" when she served on a jury recently. Former prosecutor and First Judicial District Chief Judge Henry Nieto assigned himself the case last week after the original judge, Kenneth Barnhill, recused himself. In court on Friday, Judge Nieto ruled that Kriho could not have the trial re-scheduled to give her adequate time to prepare her defense, that Kriho would not be tried by a jury but by himself, and that the prosecutor probably would not be dis-qualified from the case. These rulings will make Kriho's trial a mockery of justice.

In the first ruling, the judge denied a defense motion to re-schedule the trial for a later date. Paul Grant, defense attorney for Kriho, argued that the defense had not had enough time to prepare their case. Grant argued that it was a complex case, the "first case like it in the history of the U.S.," and that more time was needed to research and file motions, to interview witnesses, to raise money and to prepare Kriho's defense.

Grant also argued that he needed an opportunity to discover the extent of communications about Kriho's case between the judge and the prosecutor. Grant argued that Judge Barnhill, the original judge who started the contempt proceedings, could not have known which juror to prosecute if he hadn't been communicating with the prosecution. Grant contended that such communications would be an improper compromise of the independence of the prosecution and of the judge and that such cooperation would violate Kriho's right to a fair trial.

In addition, Grant wanted an opportunity to explore communications about the case among judges in the district. Grant argued that the prosecution of Kriho seems to be based on theories espoused by Judge Frederic Rodgers, another Gilpin County judge. Grant produced an article written by Judge Rodgers which appeared in the summer issue of the "Judge's Journal." The article described theories about how to prosecute "obstructionist" jurors and falsely described Kriho's case. The article may have been written before Barnhill even signed the contempt citation against Kriho.

Grant pointed out that Judge Rodgers' article proposes a new theory for prosecuting jurors and that theory is contained in the contempt citation against Kriho, further indicating collaboration between the prosecutor and the court. Grant said Kriho has a right to know how Rodgers' theories became the basis for her prosecution.

Grant asked Judge Nieto to compel the state to disclose any communications about Kriho's case between Judge Barnhill, other judges, and the prosecutor. Judge Nieto refused to allow Grant to interview Judge Barnhill about these alleged communications. Judge Nieto said there were "other avenues" for pursuing these allegations and that it was not relevant to Kriho's case.

Jim Stanley, deputy district attorney, opposed the motion to re-schedule the trial, saying it was a very "simple" case and should go forward as scheduled. Judge Nieto ruled in favor of the prosecution, agreeing it was a "simple" case and that it was important to the citizens of Gilpin County to get this case resolved quickly. Judge Nieto said the defense should have had adequate time to prepare and that the case would go forward on October 1. (This was changed from the original trial date, September 30, due to a scheduling conflict of Judge Nieto.)

Grant was surprised that Judge Nieto would not allow him to interview Judge Barnhill to determine the extent of his communication with other judges and the prosecutor. Earlier in the hearing, Judge Nieto had denied a defense request to have expert witnesses testify on jury rights and jury behavior. Grant said, "The judge has already denied us the right to defend Laura against the charge that she had a hidden agenda when she served on the jury by not allowing our expert witnesses to testify. Now they are refusing to allow us to explore their hidden agenda by not allowing us to interview Judge Barnhill."

Defense attorney Grant also argued a motion to disqualify Jim Stanley as the prosecutor. Grant plans to call Stanley as a witness, since Stanley was the original prosecutor on the trial in which Kriho was a juror. Stanley argued he didn't need to testify because everything he ever said at the trial was in the trial transcripts. Grant refused to let his client be "tried by transcript" and offered evidence to Judge Nieto, a witness statement from a juror, that said Stanley had talked to jurors outside the courtroom.

Judge Nieto decided not to rule on the motion to disqualify Stanley, pending an interview of Stanley by defense attorney Grant to determine what, if any, communication Stanley had with other jurors that was not on the court record.

Judge Nieto also denied a defense motion to preserve Kriho's trial by jury. The prosecution had granted Kriho a jury trial on August 16 at her arraignment. Prosecutor Stanley said he had changed his mind since then and now would not seek a jail term of more than 6 months. (According to Colorado's contempt rule, the defendant in a contempt of court proceeding does -not- have a right to a jury trial unless a sentence of more than 6 months might be imposed.)

Defense attorney Grant argued that the prosecution's attempt to withdraw the jury trial was obviously a trial strategy maneuver. Grant also argued that, since 11 other jurors will be testifying against Kriho, that the court should grant her a jury trial so it would have the appearance of fairness to the public. Judge Nieto ruled in favor of the prosecution, denying Kriho a trial by jury. Nieto stated that Kriho should be glad the jail term could not exceed six months.

Kriho said, "To deny me a jury trial leaves little doubt about the outcome of the trial. I can't imagine how I can ever get a fair hearing in front of any judge in this district when they have all probably read Judge Rodgers' article. It looks like they intend to make my case a demonstration case, based on Rodgers' article, so that they will be free to prosecute other jurors who want to acquit based on reasonable doubts." A motions hearing on Kriho's case has been set for Friday, September 27. At that hearing Judge Nieto will rule one the motion to disqualify the prosecutor. If Judge Nieto rules in favor of the defense, a special prosecutor will be appointed. A continuance would then be granted in the trial to give the new prosecutor time to prepare. Judge Nieto will also rule on other motions entered by the defense.

What you can do:


It is very important to for Laura to have a large show of support at her motions hearing and trial. Come be a witness to this mockery of justice.

** Friday, September 27 1:30 pm Motions Hearing
** Tuesday, October 1 8:30 am Bench Trial Begins

Directions to Gilpin County Justice Center

The justice center is located on Colo. Hwy. 46 (Golden Gate Canyon State Park Road) about a half a mile east of Colo. Hwy. 119. Colo. Hwy. 46 is about halfway between Black Hawk and Rollinsville on Colo. Hwy. 119.

Please call to confirm that the court appearances have not been re-scheduled.

Gilpin County Court Clerk
(303) 582-5522

2) Donate to Laura's legal defense fund. This is a very important case to all those who wish to preserve the jury system. Jurors cannot be allowed to be poisoned by the courts with the threat of prosecution for expressing reasonable doubt and deliberating "improperly."

Donations to Laura's defense fund can be made to:

Laura Kriho Legal Defense Fund
c/o Paul Grant (defense attorney)
Box 1272
Parker, CO 80134
(303) 841-9649

3) Offers of legal assistance from serious attorneys can be made to Paul Grant (303) 841-9649.

4) Call these stations and ask them to cover Laura's controversial trial.

Denver Area Television Stations

KWGN (Ind. - Ch. 2) (303) 740-2855
KCNC (CBS - Ch. 4) (303) 830-6464 FAX 830-6380
KMGH (ABC - Ch. 7) (303) 832-0200 FAX 832-0119
KUSA (NBC - Ch. 9) (303) 871-1499 FAX 698-4700
KRMA (PBS - Ch. 6) (303) 892-6666 FAX 620-5600

National Broadcast Media

CNN (404) 827-1500 FAX (404) 681-3578

4) Write a letter to the editors of these local papers. Mention Laura's court dates and ask people to come. Letters should be short (200-250 words). Include your address and phone number.

***** Daily Newspapers ******

Denver Post
1560 Broadway
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 820-1010
Fax: (303) 820-1369

Rocky Mt. News
400 W. Colfax
Denver, CO 80204
Phone: (303) 892-5000
Fax: (303) 892-5499

Daily Camera
P.O. Box 591
Boulder, CO 80306
Phone: (303) 442-1462
Fax: (303) 449-9358

Colorado Daily
P.O. Box 1719
Boulder, CO 80306
Phone: (303) 443-6272
Fax: (303) 443-9357
Online Edition:

Longmont Times-Call
350 Terry Street
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: (303) 444-3636
Fax: (303) 772-8339
E-mail: none

**** Weekly Newspapers *****

Weekly Register-Call
Box 609
Central City, CO 80427
Phone: (303) 582-5333
Fax: (303) 582-3932
E-mail: none

Mt. Ear
P.O. Box 99
Nederland, CO 80466
Phone: (303) 258-7075
Fax: (303) 258-3547

Boulder Weekly
690 S. Lashley Lane
Boulder, CO 80303
Phone: (303) 494-5511
Fax: (303) 494-2585

P.O. Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
Phone: (303) 296-7744
Fax: (303) 296-5416

5) Copy and distribute this announcement.

Thank you for all your support! A great public outcry can help stop this mockery of justice and preserve the Constitution for our children.

"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." -- Thomas Jefferson (1789)

The Jury Rights Project (
Background info.:
Donations to support Laura's defense can be made to:
Laura Kriho Legal Defense Fund
c/o Paul Grant (defense attorney)
Box 1272, Parker, CO 80134
(303) 841-9649

Prison AIDS Rate Climbs To 14 Percent

Westchester Today [Westchester County, New York], circa Sept. 20, 1996

As the inmate infection rate climbs to 14 percent, advocates and officials debate counseling methods

By Eve Heyn
Gannett Suburban Newspapers

Stuck in a cycle, Eddie Lavezzary bounced from the streets to prison three times in a decade, including a year in Ossining's Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Five state prisons in all.

While behind bars, he said, he injected heroin and watched as dirty needles were shared by five men at a time and passed by inmates engaging in sex in the showers and on stairwells.

Yet only in his last months in prison did Lavezzary for the first time see a presentation about AIDS and realize that he was at high risk. His curiosity piqued, he asked to be tested for HIV, the AIDS virus, and he still carries in his wallet the faded papers announcing his positive test results.

Lavezzary, now a case manager for former inmates and others with AIDS, does not think that he got HIV while he was locked up, though he cannot say for sure. But with New York housing more inmates with AIDS than any other state and with the prison population exploding like never before, Lavezzary and other advocates say AIDS is inevitably spreading behind bars. Prison officials aren't doing enough and should train every inmate in nitty-gritty detail on how to prevent the spread of HIV, then allow risk-reducing tools like condoms because "this is reality," Lavezzary said.

"There's sex going on continuously," said Lavezzary, who left prison in 1991.

Newly released Michael McAlister, who served in Sing Sing and other state prisons in 11 years, said he also used drugs while incarcerated. "I've seen that (sex and drugs) in every prison I've been in," he said.

Buttressing prisoners' accounts, a study released today shows just how rampant sex and drug use are in New York prisons and how, lacking condoms, dental dams and clean needles, inmates rummage up ineffective alternatives like plastic wrap from the garbage that is reused "over and over and over again" for sex and pieces of light bulbs for shooting up drugs.

Several in the study said that they got AIDS, or know people who did, from dirty needles in prison.

"HIV is clearly being transmitted behind bars," said the study's author, Nancy Mahon, a lawyer with the Open Society Institute in Manhattan. "It's an infectious disease public health issue that should be treated as such."

The problem of prisons serving as epicenters for AIDS goes beyond their locked gates because inmates return to society -- to jobs, to families, to sex partners -- with 10 million people flowing out of incarceration facilities each year, the U.S. Justice Department says.

"All it takes is one infected inmate to infect a couple of other people to infect the community," said Francine Glasser, an AIDS counselor in the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla.

State prison officials don't dispute that AIDS could be spreading behind bars, though they say there is no documented evidence. They say they teach inmates that sex and shooting up drugs are against the rules and can kill them and that giving them tools like condoms would send the wrong message.

"If they choose to make that choice, that's their choice," said Michael Houston, a spokesman for the state Department of Correctional Services. "They are aware of the consequences both from a health standpoint and a disciplinary standpoint."

14% inmates have HIV

About 9,500 inmates, or 14 percent, in state prisons have HIV, the Department of Correctional Services estimates, compared with 0.6 percent of the state population. In the Westchester County Jail, 30 of 1,400 inmates are undergoing medical treatment for AIDS. The jail does not know how many more are HIV-positive.

Several studies of prisoner-to-prisoner transmission -- including Illinois, Florida, Maryland and Nevada -- found cases of inmates getting HIV while incarcerated. The 1994 Florida study found 18 of 86 inmates, who volunteered to be tested and were continuously locked up since 1977, had HIV.

"We know of people who have been incarcerated for 20-plus years" before the AIDS epidemic, said Cesar Loarca, criminal justice supervisor at the AIDS Related Community Services, which runs education programs in 12 New York prisons and jails, including the Westchester County Jail. "We can only assume that it happened in prison, though there's no proof."

"HIV transmission among correctional inmates remains a matter of serious concern," concluded a study on AIDS in correctional facilities that was released in December. The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Everyone seems to agree that incarceration offers a good opportunity to educate a population full of drug users and prostitutes about risky behavior associated with HIV.

Yet face-to-face AIDS education in correctional systems is declining nationwide, according to the federal CDC study, which called the trend "troubling." It found that fewer correctional systems offered it in 1994 than in 1992-93.

The Putnam County Jail in Carmel started monthly AIDS classes only this year. Because it describes how to use a condom properly and how to clean needles, Capt. Gerald Butler said, it "was a very, very difficult decision for me to make as a law enforcement official." He said that he allowed the class because AIDS is an expensive burden on the county health system.

In the Westchester County Jail, a counselor from AIDS Related Community Services gives orientation to new inmates and one-on-one counseling three days a week.

In state prisons, the Department of Correctional Services says that every inmate is offered counseling, education and HIV testing. This runs the gamut from "peer programs," in which inmates train one another as HIV counselors after extensive classes overseen by AIDS experts, to little more than brochures, videos and occasional classes, groups that work in prisons say.

"It varies from facility to facility, and that's the problem," said state Sen. Catherine Abate, New York City's former correction commissioner.

On a recent evening at the Osborne Association, a criminal justice organization in Manhattan, four former state prisoners who were juggling nonstop calls from a hotline for inmates with HIV said they received little or no AIDS education in prison.

That may change next year.

The state Health Department's AIDS Institute plans to increase its targeted prisons from 45 to 60 of the 69 prisons in the state system and to spend $3.2 million, up from $2.2 million. Staffers would be rotated through some prisons, and contracts with AIDS education groups would go from six to 19, spokeswoman Frances Tarlton said.

"Prisoners are a very high-risk population," Tarlton said. "We wanted to reach out to as many prisons as we could."

Advocates divided

Some say education is not enough, and that it is irresponsible to not let prisoners protect themselves when sex knowingly goes on. Yet even health and prison advocates are divided on how far to go and whether sterile needles or bleach kits should be allowed.

For example, The World Health Organization back in 1993 recommended bleach and condoms. Yet a half-dozen former addicts who were interviewed, including Lavezzary, opposed bleach and sterile needles, although they said bleach was accessible from prisoners who cleaned and did laundry. Abate, meanwhile, opposes needles and bleach because they can be used as weapons.

"I think the balance tips for the provision of condoms," Abate said. "It would not tip in my mind for the provision of needles."

While prison officials say dispensing condoms and clean needles would condone dangerous and illegal activity and pose security risks, the idea is not new. New York City jails gave out 36,000 condoms in 1995. Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and the San Francisco jails also allow condoms, as do the state prison systems of Vermont, Mississippi and 18 countries. San Francisco gives exiting inmates bleach for the streets, and more than a dozen countries make bleach available in prisons for cleaning needles. Germany and Switzerland are experimenting with needle exchange programs.

But the programs pose a paradox. While New York City jails provide condoms and dental dams, being found engaging in sex can lead to a month or more in isolation, said Thomas Antenen, a New York City Correction Department deputy commissioner. But with 40 percent of the inmates leaving within 14 days, the city viewed possible transmission as a public health issue affecting the outside world, too, and so introduced condoms in 1989.

"You couldn't put your head in the sand and say it (sex) didn't happen," Antenen said. "If there's something that could be done to eliminate the spread of AIDS, it should be done."

The fast turnover in the Westchester County Jail -- 25 percent move in and out every four days -- was the reason given for not allowing condoms there. Instead, the jail focuses on arming inmates with education for returning to society and on making sure prohibited behavior is minimized through security and no double bunking, Deputy Commissioner Robert Maccarone said.

"It is a brief moment in their overall lives, and what will happen to them when they return to the community has been the primary concern of the council," said Maccarone, referring to the Westchester's AIDS Council, on which he serves.

Despite security, Francine Glasser, the jail's AIDS counselor, said she had had "clients come up and tell me that sex is going on and that it's unprotected." Some have asked her for condoms, she said.

Condoms, like drugs and weapons, are considered contraband. So inmates find alternatives.

"They have to give you gloves if you clean the bathroom," said Aida Rivera, a former prisoner in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility who works with Lavezzary at Housing works, which provides housing and other services for those with HIV. "You have two choices: You can clean it with your gloves or you just save the gloves" and cut them open for use as a barrier.

"There is Saran Wrap you have around food that you use," said Lanere Rollins, director of ACE OUT, a group of former women prisoners that gives AIDS classes in New York prisons.

"Guys use latex gloves, sandwich bags," said George Cook, who, while incarcerated, helped start a prisoner-led HIV education program.

At the Taconic Correctional Facility at Bedford Hills, where 75 percent of the women are incarcerated for drug-related offenses, Superintendent Bridget Gladwin said that protective devices were not necessary because sex and drugs were not prevalent. If they occur, she said, there is likelihood that both women have HIV. "So what are they transmitting?" Gladwin said.

Meanwhile, Lavezzary, who is pushing for AIDS services in Spanish statewide, was unconvinced.

"Like I stated, this is real," Lavezzary said. "It's happening."


By Eve Heyn
Gannett Suburban Newspapers

Bolstering arguments by some prison advocates that condoms and sterile needles should be allowed in prisons to prevent the spread of AIDS, a study released today documented widespread sex and drug use behind bars without proper protection from HIV.

Lacking condoms and dental dams, inmates scrounge up unsafe alternatives like used plastic wrap plucked from the garbage and rubber gloves stolen from the clinic, the study said. Lacking clean needles and bleach, prisoners shoot drugs with used syringes from the clinic garbage, pieces of pens, the insides of light bulbs and basketball pump needles.

Lawyer Nancy Mahon, who wrote the study published today in the American Journal of Public Health, said that condoms and dental dams should be distributed and sterile needles and bleach should be considered.

"It's a very complicated issue, but I don't think we do it any service to ignore it and say it's not happening," said Mahon, who grew up in Pleasantville and Chappaqua.

State correction spokesman James Flateau called the study "absolutely worthless" because it was based on "anectodal information" from 22 former inmates in a state system that holds 69,179 prisoners.

"There is a certain amount of sex between inmates," Flateau said. "Is it rampant? No. Does it occur? Yes. We are no more going to give inmates the means to engage in sex than we are going to give inmates heroin to shoot up."

The study also included inmates in New York City jails, where condoms and dental dams are allowed after signing up for an appointment. The study says that the New York City system isn't working, and that condoms should be distributed anonymously.

Prisoners described quick sex in the showers, bathrooms and cellblocks, both consensual and nonconsensual, among inmates and with correctional officers.

A Drug Policy Driven By Racism Won't Be Successful

The following op-ed ran in the Sept. 22, 1996 Dallas Morning News

Derrick Z. Jackson

The anti-crime rhetoric of both President Clinton and Bob Dole may not seem as racist as George Bush's stereotyp- ing of Willie Horton in 1988. But in the context of the failed drug war, it is just as vile.

For instance, in a recent speech, Mr. Clinton said states should be forced to test prison inmates and parolees for drugs. Those who test positive should stay in jail or be sent back behind bars. Mr. Dole claimed to have said the same thing four months ago.

"We never will break this problem until we break the cycle of crime and drugs and stop the revolving door between prisons and drug use in the streets," Mr. Clinton said in Pueblo, Colo.

The only revolving door the two men are talking about is one that traps African-American men in the cycle of jail. A decade ago, in political hysteria, Congress began penalizing the users and sellers of crack far more harshly than the users and dealers of powdered cocaine. A person caught with five grams of crack cocaine gets a mandatory five years in jail. By contrast, it takes 500 grams of powdered cocaine to receive five years -- a 100-to-1 ratio.

Crack is treated more harshly than heroin, LSD and all other dangerous drugs. Yet there is no evidence to show that crack is so addictive that it deserves 100 times more penalties by weight. Nor does crack by itself produce more violence, any more than any cheap drug introduced to blighted and frighteningly armed areas.

What we do know is that the federal government contributed to the cycle of drugs by letting powdered cocaine flow into Los Angeles ghettos in the early 1980s. As the San Jose Mercury News recently reported, agents with connections to the Central Intelligence Agency sold cocaine on Los Angeles streets and sent the profits back to U.S.-backed armies in Latin America. The agents, the American banks that held their money, the U.S. firms whose chemicals were exported to Colombia to make cocaine and the CIA were untouched by Congress and the White House.

Instead, the government bored in on "crackheads." White Americans, about 80 percent of the population, consume 80 percent of the illegal drugs and even half of the crack. But African-Americans, 12 percent of the population and 13 percent of the illegal drug users, make up 74 percent of those sentenced to prison for drug possession.

Until 1981, the rate of drug arrests for white youths was higher than for African-Americans. But by 1992, according to a study by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, African-American juveniles in California were seven times as likely to be incarcerated for a serious drug offense than white juveniles.

Today, hugely because of drug arrests, 32.2 percent of African-American men in their 20s are in jail, on probation or on parole. Only 6.7 percent of young white men are in the corrections system. The disparities convinced the federal Sentencing Commission, a congressional panel, to recommend equalizing the penalties for crack and powdered cocaine.

For the prior seven years, all of the commission's recommendations had become law. But not this time. Mr. Dole's Senate balked. Mr. Clinton at first blasted the 100-to-1 ratio, saying, "Blacks are right to think something is terribly wrong." Than, fearing a soft image on crime, he signed a bill to keep tlse ratio.

Mr. Dole said that, if he becomes president, he will double spending for federal prisons. Mr. Clinton talks about being tough on gangs without remedies for employment. Criminologist John Hagedorn of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee said two-thirds of African American drug sellers are moonlighters who also work at legitimate but low-paying jobs. Mr. Hagedorn said the men know drug dealing is wrong but see no other options.

Now that drug use is rising among white youths Mr. Clinton is talking about drug treatment. But for African-Americans with no access to lawyers, addiction clinics and jobs to occupy their time, the option remains jail. Since African-Americans are 74 percent of those sentenced for drugs, the inmates and parolees that Mr. Clinton and Mr. Dole want to test for drugs are, of course, black men.

Damning drug offenders without damming up the flow of drugs is Willie Horton by another name. All Mr. Clinton and Mr. Dole are fighting for is the right to spin the revolving door to a pogrom.

Derrick Z. Jackson writes for the Boston Globe.

Oil Companies Say They Help In Colombia's Drug War

MIAMI, Sept. 24, 1996 (Reuter) - Oil companies operating in Colombia have launched a U.S. campaign to fight the Latin American country's reputation as a centre for drug production and smuggling.

A consortium of firms took out a full-page advertisement in the Miami Herald and New York Times on Tuesday to insist the Colombian government was winning the war against drugs.

"In the war against drugs we have a powerful new weapon at our disposal," it said, saying new discoveries of oil fields in Colombia would help fight the narcotics barons.

The ad was carried in some U.S. newspapers last week but Tuesday was the first time it appeared in Miami, a key transit point and money-laundering centre for drug smugglers.

U.S. attention has focused on Colombia, the world's leading exporter of cocaine whose President Ernesto Samper made impassioned defence of himself and his country before the U.N. General Assembly on Monday. "We do not want to continue to be demonised when, in fact, we are all victims," he said.

Samper was embarrassed before leaving for New York when heroin was found stashed on his plane at an air force base near Bogota. Eleven members of Colombia's air force including several officers were arrested in connection with the find.

The advertisement said the oil business would provide a chance for Colombians to make an honest living. The consortium had organised a reform programme to encourage farmers now growing illegal crops to switch to legitimate enterprises.

It also hailed the government's progress in jailing drug barons and destroying drug crops.

"There are more than 37 million people in our country. All but a handful are good, honest, hard-working people who are greatly distressed by what drugs have done to our country and by the pain and suffering they have brought to millions around the globe," it said.

Among the companies that paid for the campaign were Amoco Colombia Petroleum, BP Exploration Colombia and Compania Shell de Colombia.

The multibillion-dollar narcotics business is run by powerful drug cartels and thousands have died in drug-related violence in Colombia. Washington has also been concerned by charges that Samper personally approved the use of millions of dollars in drug money to finance his 1994 electoral campaign.

Smoking Out Dole's Line On Marijuana

Los Angeles Times
"Column Left," by Robert Scheer
September 24, 1996

Pot won't kill you, but cigarettes and alcohol will. Let's talk about real substance abuse.

Of all the prissy and petty complaints that have come to define Bob Dole's election campaign, his TV ads raising Clinton's single, abortive youthful experiment with marijuana as a test of the president's character takes the cake. It's also lousy politics, since 60 million voters admit to having survived an even more intense personal experience with marijuana than did Clinton--they managed, at least once, to inhale.

Like Clinton, I have not been able to inhale without choking, not even cigarette smoke. Call us respiratorily challenged. Indeed, that's why I became addicted to cigars long before they were fashionable; you don't inhale. A costly habit, however, even before Schwarzenegger made nicotine-loaded stogies "in"--it's hard for me to believe that my old buddies who stuck with reefers have taken greater health risks or wasted more money. And that's without counting the sums I've spent on expensive cabernets, my other addiction.

But inhaling marijuana is bad, and an enlightened public health advocate might urge marijuana's use in cooking instead of smoking. Dole could take the lead, offering his favorite brownie recipe for medical marijuana use. But that would endanger his solid base of support in the tobacco industry, by suggesting that smoking carries any risks at all.

Last week during my annual physical, the doctor didn't ask me if I had ever eaten pot brownies, but he did once again warn me to go easy on the cigars and booze. Don't I get any points for a lifetime of remaining loyal to the legal vices? Surely a long abstinence from marijuana inhaling must have extended my life expectancy.

Evidently not. I called the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and talked to the man in charge of churning out the death statistics. I asked how many people die from using marijuana. Not, I cautioned, from using it along with alcohol and other drugs, which is the government's usual composite figure, but just from using marijuana by its lonesome like a good old Deadhead would.

Well, he hemmed and hawed before finally telling me that in 1994, the last year for which we have reliable data, the answer is . . . none. What? Imagine my disappointment. Surely after all we've heard about the drug epidemic, one could count on marijuana, which represents fully 77% of illicit drug use, to have contributed a bit more to the body count. Alcohol, by contrast, causes around 100,000 deaths a year and cigarette smoking more than 400,000--as compared with 20,000 for all illicit drug use.

However, while alcohol and cigarettes may be quite dangerous to your health, they are legal, and that has always been very important to me. Don't count me among those aging boomers whom Dole charges with leading the young astray.

Au contraire, I am one of those chickens who obeys the letter of the law and even gets shouted at by passing motorists for refusing to exceed the posted speed limit. As no less a sage of the '60s, Realist magazine editor Paul Krassner, has documented, I was the only person in the Berkeley of that era to refuse to smoke a joint simply because it was illegal. You can just imagine the ridicule I experienced.

But I give that same advice to young people even today: Marijuana may not be as dangerous as alcohol and cigarettes, but if you must risk your health, do it with a dangerous vice that is socially condoned.

That must be what Dole had in mind when he got all excited about a government-reported rise in teenage marijuana smoking while ignoring its more troubling findings for legal drugs: "Binge drinking" was practiced by 4.4 million youths (2.5 times greater than for marijuana) and 4.5 million adolescents are already addicted to cigarettes. Kill yourself the way decent, patriotic, law-abiding, beer-guzzling, chain-smoking Americans always have, and not like some hippie scum.

Those like Dole who want big government to save us from ourselves had better wake up to the fact that alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking combined represent the real epidemic of substance abuse for all U.S. age groups. By comparison, the number of illicit drug users is half of what it was in the peak year of 1979.

Why doesn't Dole return to that true spirit of Kansas Puritanism, as it was in his youth, and call for prohibition of alcohol and cigarettes? That way the nation would have a consistent substance-abuse policy, the anti-drug and prison industry would grow even faster, and we, as Bob Dole has urged, would arrest our moral decline and begin the ascent to the levels of purity enjoyed now only by more enlightened nations. Like Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

Robert Scheer is a Times Contributing Editor.



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