------------------------------------------------------------------- Corrections Officer On 'Crime Prevention' (Everett, Washington, 'CCO' Says 'Relatively Harmless Drug Offenders' Overwhelm System, Increase Danger To Society) Subj: OPED: Corrections Officer on 'Crime Prevention' From: John Smith Source: Herald, The Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 Webpage: http://www.heraldnet.com CRIME PREVENTION Doing the best they can Recent publicity about the parole officer in Tacoma highlights the yawning gap between what citizens of Washington know about how supervision of offenders works versus what really goes on. Even more importantly, there is the gap between citizens wanting to be safe in their homes and the reality of how difficult it is to provide real safety. An entire book could be written about all the contradictory and often counter-productive changes in the criminal laws in this state since 1984. As a small example, there are no longer any "parole" officers in this state. They are now "community corrections officers (CCOs)." Our ability to keep offenders from committing new crimes is directly proportional to the motivation of offenders to stop committing crimes. There are numerous and varied opportunities to intervene to prevent certain types of crimes. CCOs are highly trained and dedicated to public service. Nonetheless, the notion that we CCOs can unerringly prevent all criminal acts from occurring is a major misconception. For many years, society has been quite willing to pour ever increasing dollars into arresting, convicting, and incarcerating low level drug offenders. We would rather take money away from health care, education, repairing bridges, etc. and put that money to punish large numbers of people for using non-prescription drugs. While the citizens of Washington are crying out that they are not safe in their homes, we CCOs are managing large caseloads of relatively harmless drug offenders. The issues in public safety are very complex. Society will never be safe as long as we spend most of our money for police and prisons. On the one hand, we are clogging our system with non-violent, non-threatening drug offenders. On the other hand, we have done little to remedy the social ills that are the breeding ground for later criminal behavior. It is seldom a single mistake or oversight by a community corrections officer that is the source of the problem. CCOs do an incredible job considering the almost impossible task they are thanklessly given to do. MICHAEL GOLDBERG Community Corrections Officer II Everett
------------------------------------------------------------------- Purer, Cheaper Snortable Heroin Floods US (Interdiction Fails - Colombia Gains Lion's Share Of Market, With New England's Growing Fastest, Admits DEA) Subj: WIRE: Purer, Cheaper Snortable Heroin Floods U.S. From: David Hadorn and Marcus-Mermelstein Family Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 15:15:27 -0800 Source: Reuters Pubdate: Wed, December 31, 1997 Author: Leslie Gevirtz PURER, CHEAPER SNORTABLE HEROIN FLOODS U.S. BOSTON (Reuters) - Purer product, cheaper prices and savvy marketing have given deadly Colombian heroin the lion's share of the U.S. market with New England the fastest growing segment, Drug Enforcement Administration officials said Wednesday. George Festa, the DEA special agent in charge of New England, attributed the resurgence of heroin to "a lack of memory on the part of youth, celebrity heroin chic and the fact that you no longer have to inject it. The purity is so incredible, you can snort it. "The ability to snort heroin like cocaine means that it eliminates needles and the risk of AIDS. So its use is spreading. These people don't realize that heroin is not cocaine. Heroin is not a recreational drug," Festa said. The Colombians use their well-established cocaine distribution networks to offer free samples of the drug and make it available in smaller, cheaper quantities. The result is that after decades of a market once dominated by Southeast and Southwest Asian drugs, Colombian heroin now accounts for more than 60 percent of the heroin smuggled into the country, the DEA said. "The purity of the product is what really concerns us," Festa said. "We've made street buys with a purity of 95 percent, even 97 percent." When blues singer Billie Holiday died from an overdose of heroin, purity levels were about 7 percent; when rocker Janis Joplin overdosed, purity levels hovered about 20 percent; and when rock group Smashing Pumpkins' keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin died, purity levels had already reached more than 60 percent. "There is still a heroin chic thing, too," Festa said. He pointed to Oscar-nominated actor Robert Downey Jr., who was sent to prison for six months earlier in December. The actor was caught with heroin and cocaine in violation of his probation on an earlier charge of drug use. Bags of Colombian heroin can be bought on Boston streets for $4. The price rises a bit by the time it gets to Vermont where the same quantity costs about $15, Festa said. The wholesale price of a kilo (2.2 pounds) of heroin has remained pretty stable in the last few years, averaging between $125,000 and $180,000 depending on the source, he said. The comparable cost for a kilo of cocaine has gone down to $25,000 from $60,000, DEA statistics show. Nationally, the number of people receiving emergency treatment for drug overdoses in U.S. hospitals declined in 1996, but for the main illegal drugs, the overall trend remained upward, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The DEA's drug abuse warning network in 1995 found Boston, Baltimore, New York and Newark, N.J., were the regions of the country with the most striking increases in heroin use. Kilo shipments are no longer the rule. "What we're seeing is people driving to New York and bringing back bundles (50 bags) and gram and ounce quantities," Festa said. Dominican traffickers are wiring their proceeds out of the country in varying amounts of no more than $2,000, the DEA reported. Conversely, the DEA said, Colombians seem to prefer to ship the funds back to New York concealed in the same cars that transported the drugs. REUTERS
------------------------------------------------------------------- Key Findings - Drug Abuse Warning Network (Bogus DAWN Statistics On Emergency-Room 'Mentions' Of Marijuana) Subj: US: Key Findings: Drug Abuse Warning Network From: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 KEY FINDINGS: DRUG ABUSE WARNING NETWORK Among key findings announced Tuesday by the federal government's Drug Abuse Warning Network: In 1996, there were 487,600 drug-related hospital emergency-department episodes overall, down significantly from 1994 (518,500) and 1995 (517,800). There was no statistically significant change in the total of cocaine-related cases between 1995 (138,000) and 1996 (144,200). Between 1995 and 1996, there were no changes in either cocaine- or heroin-related episodes by age, sex or race and ethnicity. However, between 1994 and 1996, there was a 21 percent increase in cocaine cases and a 20 percent increase in heroin cases among those 35 and older. Although heroin-related episodes had increased steadily since the early 1980s, there was no change in the number of heroin-related episodes reported from 1995 (72,200) to 1996 (70,463). However, between 1990 and 1996, there was a 108 percent increase, from 33,900 to 70,500. Marijuana/hashish episodes rose from 40,200 in 1994 to 50,000 in 1996, an increase of 25 percent. Since 1990, such incidents have increased 219 percent. Between 1995 and 1996, there were no changes in marijuana/hashish cases by age, sex or race/ethnicity. However, between 1994 and 1996, marijuana-related episodes have increased 33 percent among those 12 to 17; 27 percent among those 26 to 34; and 41 percent among those 35 and older. Methamphetamine-related episodes dropped from 16,200 in 1995 to 10,800 in 1996. Health officials attributed the increases among older Americans to their higher vulnerability to a range of age-related health problems and to a greater likelihood that they would seek professional care.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Drug-Related Hospital Visits Fall For First Time In The '90s (DAWN Returns With Annual Emergency-Room Misinformation Campaign) Subj: US: Drug-Related Hospital Visits Fall For First Time In The '90s From: Art Smart
Date: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 13:36:13 -0500 Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 Source: Houston Chronicle Page: 1 Front Page Author: Marlene Cimons, Los Angeles Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chron.com/ DRUG-RELATED HOSPITAL VISITS FALL FOR FIRST TIME IN THE '90S WASHINGTON -- In another sign of progress in the nation's war on substance abuse, the number of drug-related visits to hospital emergency rooms across the country has fallen for the first time in the 1990s, federal health officials announced Tuesday. After rising steadily through 1994, drug-caused emergency treatment declined 6 percent from 1995 to 1996, according to the federal government's Drug Abuse Warning Network, a national reporting system. The data came from responses from 21 metropolitan communities. The statistically significant decrease resulted mostly from a drop in cases that involved legal drugs -- prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, the government said. But the trends most lauded Tuesday by health officials were the leveling off of cases related to heroin and cocaine use, a drop in cases involving methamphetamine ("speed"), and an apparent drop in the rate of increase in episodes involving marijuana and hashish. These findings are especially significant in light of the dramatic increases that preceded them, officials said. "The reasons for this apparent turnaround involve everyone in America -- parents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders and community coalitions," said National Drug Policy Director Barry McCaffrey. "The media also plays a large role. ... Everyone has been a part of effectively spreading the message that drug abuse is devastating to the user and the nation. The slight success we are seeing encourages us to continue our hard work." But the fact that marijuana-related episodes continued to increase, even though at a much slower rate, prompted Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala to warn that "marijuana is a powerful drug with potentially serious consequences" and caution that "our work to prevent substance abuse and treat addiction is far from finished." McCaffrey said the decreases in drug-related emergency treatment, "though slight," give credence to other recent surveys that indicate "the upward slope of drug abuse has indeed begun to be arrested. The numbers are an incentive to turn these slight decreases into substantial long-term reductions." Recently, HHS released its annual study of teen-age drug use showing that use of illicit substances appears to be leveling off after rising throughout the 1990s; marijuana use among older teens, however, continued to climb. The findings showed that the number of cocaine-related episodes, which increased 78 percent between 1990 and 1994, remained constant between 1994 and 1996. Heroin-related episodes, which rose 113 percent from 1990 to 1995, showed no change from 1995 to 1996. Episodes of speed-related emergency room visits, after increasing 237 percent from 1990 to 1994, fell by 39 percent between 1994 and 1996. Between the first and second halves of 1996, however, such incidents increased 71 percent, from 4,000 to 6,800. Officials said the drop may be due to the short supply of speed from mid-1995 through early 1996 -- the result of stepped-up efforts on the part of drug agents to crack down on "meth labs" -- and cautioned that the number of speed-related cases could continue to climb. While marijuana and hashish-related cases were statistically unchanged between 1995 and 1996, the rate of increase appears to be slowing, health officials said. The kinds of drug-related episodes that result in emergency room visits typically involve drug overdoses, drug interactions with alcohol, accidents resulting from disorientation and impaired reflexes, and suicide attempts, officials said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Emergency Room Drug Cases Fall 6% ('San Diego Union Tribune' Version) Subj: US: Emergency Room Drug Cases fall 6% From: "Tom Murlowski"
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 14:34:46 -0800 Source: San Diego Union Tribune Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Wed, Dec. 31 1997 URL: http://www2.uniontrib.com/news/ EMERGENCY ROOM DRUG CASES FALL 6% Drug czar touts decline in '96 as sign of success WASHINGTON -- The number of drug cases moving through emergency rooms dropped 6 percent last year, with cocaine, heroin and marijuana incidents remaining steady. Officials welcomed the news, released yesterday, as a sign that the nation has reversed its rising use of illegal drugs. The decrease, though, is largely attributable to fewer cases involving legal drugs. For instance, there were significant drops in cases involving pain relievers aspirin and ibuprofen. Also falling were the number of cases involving methamphetamine, or speed, and PCP, a powerful psychedelic drug. The man in charge of the Clinton administration's war on illegal drugs, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, hailed the figures as a sign of success in his campaign. "(They) give additional credence to other recent surveys indicating that the upward slope of drug abuse has indeed begun to be arrested . . . The slight success we are seeing encourages us to continue our hard work," he said in a statement. Overall, there were 487,564 drug-related emergency room visits in 1996, down from 517,764 in 1995, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network survey, which polls a sampling of U.S. hospitals. Half the cases were drug overdoses, and another 37 percent were attempted suicides, the report said. The most common cases were alcohol used in combination with another drug; there were nearly 160,000 of these cases last year, down from 168,000 in 1995. Cocaine and heroin were the next most common cases, at 144,180 and 70,463, respectively, both essentially unchanged from 1995. Because one visit to he emergency room often involves more than one drug, the individual statistics add up to more than the total number of visits. Officials said a leveling off of illegal drug cases is significant given the steep increases in illegal drug use and emergency room visits between 1990 and 1994. "We've watched the upward side of the slope begin to turn down," said Bob Weiner, spokesman for McCaffrey. Earlier this month, President Clinton released the Monitoring the Future survey by the University of Michigan, showing an increased number of eighth-graders disapproving of drug use. But that annual survey also found that more 10th and 12th graders had tried marijuana at least once, and cocaine use by high school seniors increased. Another national survey released this summer showed the use of illegal drugs by teen-agers down slightly but still much higher than it was in 1992. Yesterday's survey, released by the Department of Health and Human Services, also found: The number of cocaine-related episodes was unchanged from 1994 and 1995 after rising 78 percent between 1990 and 1994. Marijuana-related cases continued to increase, although the difference between 1995 and 1996 Speed-related cases -- 10,787 in 1996 -- dropped 39 percent from 1994 after more than tripling since 1991. The decline in methamphetamine was partly due to a shortage of the drug. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala noted the growing number of marijuana cases -- more than 50,000 in 1996. The growth "provides a loud and clear message that marijuana is a powerful drug with potentially serious consequences," she said in a statement. "Drug abuse has real and severe consequences for the abusers themselves, for their families, for the health care system and for taxpayers," she added.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Two Letters To The Editor On California Court Of Appeals Ruling (That Dennis Peron's San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators' Club Does Not Meet The Criteria For A 'Primary Caregiver' Under 11362.5 - Laura Kriho's Letter, 'Lungren Vs. Prop. 215,' Includes Addresses For Some State Officials) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 16:55:08 EST From: AMMO
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: E-mail Lungren San Francisco Bay Guardian 520 Hampshire San Francisco, CA 94110 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.sfbg.com December 31, 1997 Two Letters to the Editor on California Court of Appeals Ruling E-mail: email@example.com Dealers and cops, rejoice The California Court of Appeals has offered a rare opportunity for law enforcement and large-scale marijuana traffickers to celebrate together. The ruling closing cannabis buyers' clubs has been cheered by law-enforcement officials. The reaction is predictable, since their job has been resimplified. They won't have to distinguish between a caregiver and a drug dealer; there will only be drug dealers again. Subtle nuances do not help to increase arrests or asset forfeitures. Those people who profit obscenely from marijuana sales on the street also have reason to be happy. Several old customers (and their money) will return. As a bonus, these businessmen can expect some of the heat to be taken off their own operations, since the police will now be authorized to wreck the life of anyone weak-willed enough to grow marijuana for a sick friend. Medical marijuana patients say they feel as if they are being kicked while they are already down. How typical -- thinking only of themselves. If they had any real empathy, they wouldn't let allow their misery to rain on the parade of rejoicing cops and dealers. STEPHEN YOUNG Roselle, Ill. *** Lungren vs. Prop. 215 A recent California appellate court ruling, which reinstated an injunction to shut down the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, may have chilling consequences. The court ruling was specifically directed at Dennis Peron and the San Francisco club, but I worry that Attorney General Dan Lungren may use it as an excuse to shut down clubs throughout California. In a Dec. 12 Associated Press story, Lungren said he believes the ruling "gives proper guidance throughout California and we will so advise the law enforcement." In the same article, Gov. Wilson's spokesperson said, "The state needs to do everything in its power to limit the distribution of potentially dangerous drugs." That sounds to me like the state government is getting ready to fight with patients and caregivers throughout California to thwart access to their medicine. Was that the intent of Prop. 215? In a dissenting opinion from the appellate court, Justice J. Anthony Kline said the majority ruling would make marijuana unavailable for many seriously ill Californians. Was that the intent of Prop. 215? Justice Kline said, "The right to obtain marijuana is ... meaningless if it cannot legally be satisfied." I agree with Justice Kline. I think the majority on the appellate court got this one wrong. The intent of Prop. 215 was to allow seriously ill patients to have safe access to a medicine that is beneficial to them. What is to protect the patients and caregivers from the police? The court of law has failed them, though hopefully only temporarily. In the meantime, we have only the court of public opinion. I urge you to call your local law-enforcement agencies, the attorney general, and the governor and tell them that you will strongly object to any attempt to shut down buyers' and cultivators' clubs statewide. State law enforcement should not be using your tax dollars to fight your sick family and friends. Prop. 215 was about compassion, not control. Stop arresting sick people! LAURA KRIHO Nederland, Colo. *** Governor Pete Wilson State Capitol, 1st Floor Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916) 445-2841 Fax: (916) 445-4633 Email: PeteWilson@ca.gov Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis State Capitol, Room 1114 Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916) 445-8994 Fax: (916) 323-4998 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Attorney General Daniel E. Lungren 1300 I Street Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916) 445-9555 Fax: (916) 324-5205 Attorney General's Office Public Inquiry Unit Web: http://caag.state.ca.us/piu/mailform.htm E-mail: email@example.com Re-distributed as a public service by the: Colorado Hemp Initiative Project P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466 Hotline: (303) 784-5632 Email: Web: http://www.welcomehome.org/cohip.html "Fighting 60 years of lies and dis-information with 10,000 years of history and fact." To be added to or removed from our mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Trust, Drugs And Paso School Board (Zero Tolerance At Paso Robles High School, California, Precedes 'Epidemic' Of Methamphetamine) Subj: US CA: LTE: Trust, Drugs And Paso School Board From: Jo-D Harrison Pubdate: Wednesday, December 31, 1997 Source: San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune Section: Comment Page: B-4 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Trust, drugs and Paso school board To the editor: Regarding methamphetamine in the Paso Robles schools, the following is a true story: Within the last two years, a Paso Robles student told school administrators a student's backpack contained a small amount of marijuana. The backpack was searched but no marijuana was found. This same student also admitted taking a sip from a can of juice that had been spiked with alcohol. Upon discovering the alcohol, the student said, "I don't want this," and gave the can back. This student had not been a disciplinary problem. However, based on the student's own, voluntary admissions, and their so-called "zero tolerance" policy, the school administrators decided to expel the student. At a board hearing, an elected member of the Paso Robles School Board repeatedly asserted that this student's behavior was "drug abuse." Suddenly there is an "epidemic" of methamphetamine at Paso Robles High School. Students using the drug are being encouraged to come forward, supposedly to get "help." However, the school board has already shown it does not the difference between drug abuse and a dead camel! They also clearly demonstrated that honesty will be punished. Why, now, do they expect students to trust them? David Hagan Pismo Beach
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bus Driver Involved In Chase Gets Jail Term (Houston, Texas, Man Just Wanted A 'Couple Of Rocks') Subj: US TX: Bus Driver Involved in Chase Gets Jail Term From: Art Smart
Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 URL: http://www.chron.com/content/ Author: Jo Ann Zuniga page 17A BUS DRIVER INVOLVED IN CHASE GETS JAIL TERM A Metropolitan Transit Authority bus driver who led police on a 90-mile chase earlier this month was sentenced Tuesday to 280 days in the Harris County Jail. Joshua Burgos, 34, pleaded no contest to charges of evading arrest in the Dec. 11 chase and to criminal mischief in connection with a domestic dispute Sunday when he purposely damaged his girlfriend's car. Harris County Court at Law No. 14 Judge Jim Barkley handed down the stiff sentence because Burgos had been arrested over the weekend while awaiting sentencing in the bus chase. His attorney, Lynn Alan Shepherd, said, "He has said he was sorry for what happened. He apologizes to Metro." "He's going to take full advantage of getting help while in jail for his domestic problems and any drug problems he has," Shepherd said. Burgos led pursuers on a two-hour, low-speed chase on several area freeways before ending east of Baytown on Interstate 10. At one point, he told Metro dispatchers that all he wanted was a "couple of rocks" -- slang for crack cocaine. Though his tires had been flattened by spikes deployed by police, Burgos continued on for several miles as sparks flew from the wheel rims. Dozens of patrol cars from several different agencies joined in the pursuit. "It was a panic situation. He was off his route and was afraid of losing his job," Shepherd said. After being suspended from work with pay immediately after being taken into custody, he was fired the following week, said Metro spokeswoman Julie Gilbert. Burgos was hired by Metro in September 1994, resigned for personal reasons in March 1995, and was rehired in September 1995. Officials said he was suspended for three days last year when he took a two-month leave for health reasons, but could not produce a doctor's note on his return. Burgos' record includes citations for attendance problems and tardiness, and he took a leave of absence from Sept. 12 to Oct. 8 this year, apparently for personal problems, Gilbert said. Until Dec. 11, his record showed no accidents or complaints from passengers, and, Gilbert said, he had passed four Metro drug tests. Burgos submitted to a breath analysis after his arrest, and no alcohol was found in his system. After Burgos' sentencing Tuesday, Gilbert said, "In light of this incident, we are re-evaluating the entire process (of drug tests). But we have no details to release yet." On Dec. 11, just before 10 p.m., when Burgos should have been driving to the Metro station at Polk and Wayside to turn in his bus, two Houston Police Department gang officers spotted the vehicle in the 1900 block of Scott, which is not on a bus route. The bus nearly hit a pedestrian, and the officers tried to pull it over. When the bus took off instead, it was first thought to have been stolen and the chase began.
------------------------------------------------------------------- '97 A Hit For Drug Busts (Canadian Customs Officials Take $517 Million In 'Narcotics' In 4,594 Incidents In 1997) Subj: Canada: 97 A Hit For Drug Busts From: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Toronto Sun Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Wednesday, December 31, 1997 Author: Scot Magnish -- Toronto Sun 97 A HIT FOR DRUG BUSTS It's been a boffo year for drug seizures, customs officials said yesterday. Michel Cleroux of Revenue Canada said inspectors across the country have snapped up $517 million in narcotics in 1997 - $176 million at Pearson International Airport alone. "1997 has been good to us," Cleroux said, boasting customs officers coast to coast made 4,594 individual seizures in the past 12 months. 'BEST YEARS EVER' "As far as seizures go, we're looking at one of our best years ever and a lot of it has to do with smugglers trying to get by us over the Christmas holidays," he said. Cleroux said the icing on the cake for Pearson came Christmas Day when customs officers intercepted two separate shipments of hash oil worth an estimated $41.2 million. UPPED THE VALUE Both seizures were made on flights arriving from Jamaica, he said. In the meantime, Revenue Canada yesterday upped the value of a 43-kilo heroin seizure made Sunday night at Toronto's international airport. Although the RCMP originally pegged the street value of the haul at $16.8 million, customs officials said the drug's purity makes it worth closer to $64 million. Copyright (c) 1997, Canoe Limited Partnership.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Guest Column - A Cop's Plea To Decriminalize Drugs (In The Vancouver, British Columbia, 'Sun,' Joining Perry Kendall, President Of The Canadian National Addiction Research Foundation, Former Canadian Premier Mike Harcourt, And Ken Higgins, A Deputy Police Chief Of Vancouver) Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 23:08:26 +1300 (NZDT) To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Subject: Acop's plea to decriminalize X-Mailing-List:
archive/latest/3962 X-Loop: email@example.com Source: Vancouver Sun Date: Dec. 31, 1997 Page: FORUM: A19 Guest column: A cop's plea to decriminalize drugs A Vancouver police officer doesn't want to tell one more mother of a son's overdose death. He writes that a public-health crisis, not a law-enforcement challenge, is besieging us all. WOULD WE RATHER COUNT BODIES? Gil Puder Vancouver Sun Recently, I had to tell a woman her son had died from a drug overdose. Leaving her world shattered by tragedy, I asked myself what our society is doing to help other mothers whose children are at risk. Absolutely nothing, I'm embarrassed to say. And with seven Vancouver residents dying in one 24-hour period from drug overdoses - nine in less than two weeks - that's not good enough. Rather than constructive action, however, lawmakers frantically rearrange deck chairs on the modern social Titanic. My hope for 1998 is that Santa has left a large measure of courage and wisdom in a number of stockings, so that our children can mark this year as the one when we finally began treating drug abuse as a health issue, rather than a criminal industry. We face no greater threat to the health and safety of our communities than the drug problem. Illicit drugs are driving an HIV epidemic, perpetuating systemic crime that has swamped the criminal justice system and providing limitless business opportunities which bankroll biker gangs and other criminal organizations. The hollow rhetoric of a "war" on drugs has become believable only when applying Clausewitz's definition - it's definitely an extension of politics. This contrived contest is the creation of its beneficiaries, who predictably cast themselves as winners in a rather one-sided game. Politicians build a law and order image by demonizing drugs and marginalize abusers as the epitome of moral decay. Unfortunately, victims such as a recently murdered 14-year- old New Westminster high school student just don't fit the rabid junkie stereotype. "Tough" new programs and laws are regularly announced, despite policy-makers knowing full well that there is no real money for enforcement. The time-honoured practice of sneaking offenders out the back door of parole and early release is the best evidence of the dearth of funds. Any hope of "winning" with this plan is laughable and Team Western Society is literally getting killed. Suggesting the status quo is flawed risks portrayal as a "loser", however, and politicians quake at the thought of challenging the myth that drugs require a law-enforcement solution. There's plenty of blame to go around. The top is as good a place as any to start: After all, the federal government retains jurisdiction over drug laws and prosecution. - Allan Rock, when he was the justice minister, brought in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; he ducked decriminalization then. Now that he's health minister, he says he can't get involved in drug issues; they're criminal matters. This guy wants the PM's job? - Attorney-General Dosanjh has declined to publicly endorse decriminalization; his ministry has received a lengthy report from a former chief coroner recommending just that. And it's "diverting" drug-related offences from the justice system, pretending a problem doesn't exist. I guess he would rather talk tough and count the bodies. - Our prison managers have allowed drug abuse to flourish behind bars. Any reader contemplating tougher sentences for narcotic possession, should first talk to a guard. - Police officers have no incentive to explore anything other than the status quo. The Hollywood version of the war on drugs casts us as the good guys. The only thing more addictive than a narcotic is public adulation - and, maybe, all that overtime pay the singular pursuit of drug-users can generate for individual officers. - The silence of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police makes me wonder how many senior officers built careers in drug enforcement. At some point the policing profession must live up to its image, place public safety ahead of careers and take up the leadership challenge abdicated by elected officials. Our Keystone Kops raid on a downtown hemp cafe doesn't indicate that this will happen anytime soon. Decriminalization would not result in heroin sold at corner stores alongside the penny candy. Various drugs require different forms of regulation, which could be phased in slowly once appropriate legislation and management programs are in place. Provincial jurisdiction could allow for regional differences. As in dress, what is appropriate for Wreck Beach might not work in Labrador. In B.C., low-risk substances like marijuana could be regulated under a revised provincial liquor act. The benefits to government would be immediate. (I would rather see pot revenues building schools than fortifying biker clubhouses.) The windfall savings on law-enforcement dollars could be plowed into health care, education and rehabilitation, which are the only methods proven to correct substance abuse. Participation would be much easier to encourage when sick people are not stigmatized by criminalizing their addiction. Policing would be a huge beneficiary. Resources could be redirected towards systemic public-safety problems. Enforcement against the few dealers who remained might actually make a difference. High-risk narcotics and pharmaceuticals would be managed by the medical community, with guidelines. Trafficking, importation and exporting should remain criminal offences, since these activities would subvert the necessary social controls. The clarion call for decriminalization advocates, is the ludicrous nature of the arguments opponents advance. Drugs in schools? There already. Health concerns? Got an epidemic now. Government's moral responsibility? Yeah, right, just like booze, gambling and honest budgets. In 1984, an armed addict robbed a bank; I fired a fatal round that cost that man his life. Two years later, another junkie with a gun took the life of a friend of mine, Sgt. Larry Young. I don't dislike the drug problem; I hate it. While millions of public dollars are squandered, people continue to die. I'm tired of bringing their families the bad news. I don't care whether we justify decriminalization fiscally or morally, but isn't 1998 about time for a change? Among those who have called for the decriminalization of drug use in this newspaper recently are Perry Kendall, president of the National Addiction Research Foundation, Nov. 18; former premier Mike Harcourt, Oct. 11; and Ken Higgins, a deputy police chief of Vancouver, Oct. 8.
------------------------------------------------------------------- CORA Antiprohibitionist Action Report 23 (Italian Summary Of Global News) Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 09:50:17 EST From: Cora.Belgique@agora.stm.it To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: ANTIPROHIBITIONISTS OF THE ENTIRE WORLD...#23 Antiprohibitionist action report December 31, 1997 - (Year 3) #23 CO.R.A. | | Radical | Association federated with Antiprohibitionist | the Transnational Coordination | Radical Party OLD - Observatory of laws on drugs PAA - PARLAMENTARIANS FOR ANTIPROHIBITIONIST ACTION European campaign for the revision of international conventions CORA-ITALY Via di Torre Argentina 76 00186 ROME Tel:+39-6-68.97.91 Fax:+39-6-220.127.116.11 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org CORA-BELGIUM Rue Belliard 97 c/o European Parliament Rem 5.08 1040 BRUSSELS Tel:+32-2-230.41.21 - 646.26.31 Fax:+32-2-230.36.70 E-mail: email@example.com *CORAnet http://www.agora.stm.it/coranet (in Italian) Director: Vincenzo Donvito All rights reserved NEWS FROM CORA ITALY/BEST WISHES FOR THE HOLIDAYS TO THE PREMIERE AND THE PRESIDENTS OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES AND THE SENATE FROM CORA In its letter to the main Italian political figures, CORA points out the fact that the Government has only given the impression of reforming Italy's policies on drugs, but that has not started any actual revision. The Parliament has been unable (or unavailable) of taking into consideration a debate that is growing among the public. Only very recently, the Chamber of Deputies has decided to discuss the bills proposed in the last few years on the matter - included those presented by CORA in 1994, and endorsed by over 50,000 citizens. A positive fact that could radically change the Italian situation. CORA takes into account the Government's neutral position on the matter, and its decision to rely on the Parliament on this issue, but reminds the necessity of the enforcement of the 1993 referendum on the decriminalization promised at the Naples Conference last year. "The controlled distribution of heroin in Switzerland and the partial decriminalization of the Netherlands experience" write the Secretary and the Treasurer of CORA, Mr. Picard and Mr. Cappato, "demonstrate that courageous and pragmatic policies are able to obtain positive results supported by consolidated scientific evidence; other European States and cities are considering with interest these two examples. The time has come for Italy to start doing the same, and give a concrete answers to these harm reduction proposals". In the letter it is also underlined how legalizing means reducing harms, particularly those imposed on the community by the escalation of criminal powers' profits, "against those harms and offences neither 'solidarity' nor the simple decriminalization of consumption can be definitive. [...] if we take all this into consideration, effective harm reduction policies should absolutely include the controlled distributions of hard drugs and principles of legalization". These are the reasons why CORA is trying to open new forum for confrontation, particularly with the initiatives of 25 citizens that have decided to disobey the laws on drugs in order to have better ones. The Secretary and the Treasurer of CORA conclude their message confiding in the Italian Parliament and Government and in their willingness of confronting the choice of those who have decided to become "conscientious objectors" to the prohibition on drugs in order to start the reform process. UN/ARLACCHI APPRENTICE WIZARD In l'UNITA', the newspaper of the Democratic Party of the Left, UNDCP Under-Secretary General, Sen. Pino Arlacchi (former member of that same party), has restated the "good" reasons of his Afghani crop eradication project that will cost the UN $250 million in 10 years. The money will be given to the religious militia of the Talibans that will be asked to implement the project. Mr. Arlacchi candidly seems to believe in what he says; he is convinced that an army that has built its political and military success on the profits of opium, will be ready to renounce to that same money and willing to implement an ambitious UN program in a country with a devastated economy that, after 20 years of war, also lacks a public system and civil servants. Mr. Arlacchi thinks that UN money can win the competition with a product that, when sold, can augment its value over 100 times. It is not necessary to be an internationally well-acclaimed sociologist to understand how these "materialistic" reasons, and the geopolitical importance of Afghanistan and the region in which drugs are cultivated can suggest a different approach to the problem. Last but not least, if one considers the fact that the deal should be struck with some assassins (that Mr. Arlacchi calls "young people that express their people's feeelings", the picture is perfect. Pino Arlacchi is an apprentice wizard, but he won't pay the price of his apprenticeship NEWS FROM THE WORLD FRANCE The Committee on Information and Research on Cannabis (CIRC) has sent via mail to 577 MPs, 577 small packages containing a joint as a symbol request for the opening of a parliamentary debate on the matter. (LIBERATION 10-12/12, LE MONDE, 11-12/12, DIE PRESSE, SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 11/12) THE NETHERLANDS The municipality of Amsterdam has decided to regulate the selling of MDMA pills, produced mainly in the country. The spokesperson for the Mayor has declared that the current lack of controls on the variety and the quality of the product constitutes a serious danger for consumers' health. (EL PAIS, FRANKFURTER ZEITUNG, SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 12/12) ITALY In her answer to an article published in the Sole 24 Ore, Carla Rossi, Professor of Statistics and member of CORA, states that the increase in deaths by OD in 1994/1995 is not related to the decriminalization of drug-related crimes after the 1993 referendum promoted by the lista Pannella. The increase in deaths is due to the active principle contained in heroin bought on the streets and to the average age of the consumers. (IL SOLE 24 ORE, 12/12) GREAT BRITAIN In a document sent to every school issued by the National Association of Head Teachers, it is stated that elementary schools should provide pupils with phone numbers of support center on drugs. In the text it is pointed out how children aged five have more information on the matter than their teachers. The majority of the pupils live in communities where drug abuse is the norm, and where they become addicted to solvents at 8 or 9. (THE TIMES, 11/12) SPAIN The Supreme Court has condemned to four months in jail, and to a 500,000 pesetas fine, four directors of the Asociacion Ramons Santos de Estudios sobre Cannabis. In 1993, the four members cultivated cannabis for personal use. This last sentence overrules a previous one that absolved the indicted. (EL PAIS, 11/12) ITALY Being "alternative" and having a lifestyle similar to those of the Jamaican Rastafarians, can be a help for impunity for marihuana consumption. With this justification the prosecutor of Forl¨ (a small city near Bologna) has asked for the dismissal of a case regarding a "follower of Bob Marley" denounced for having been caught with a kilo of marihuana at home. The judge has stated that there was no evidence of dealing and that the quality of the pot was not good. (CORSERA, IL MESSAGGERO, LA REPUBBLICA, 12/12) GREAT BRITAIN There has been an increase in the number of girls raped after having been forced to assume "legal" tranquilizers sold in pharmacies. These girls hunt pubs searching for MDMA, but they are sold medicines like Roipnol and then raped. (THE TIMES 16/12) GREAT BRITAIN British politicians and physicians favor experiments on the medical aspects of hashish, so that, before its commercialization, strict and severe controls on the quality can be done. This position has been announced by David Evans, a Tory MP, who has, on the other hand, refused the proposal of his Italian colleague EuroRadical Gianfranco Dell'Alba on the liberalization. (SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 13/12) BOLIVIA The Third Drugs Report has been recently issued: 70,000 Bolivian farmers live out of coca leaves. In over 10,000 laboratories the crop is refined and turned into cocaine. A German officer has been appointed to hinder the trafficking to Germany. His only hope is that everything that starts will have an end; this struggle started 60 years ago and has never stopped. (DER SPIEGEL 15/12) SWITZERLAND Zurich - with 99 votes in favor and 58 against, the Regional Assembly of the Zurich canton has adopted a resolution in which it is asked to delete cannabis derivatives from the Swiss list of "soft drugs". (NEUE ZUERCHER ZEITUNG 16/12) SWITZERLAND After the failure of the initiative "Youths Without Drugs" the 4 parties that support the Government have decided to work together on the revision of narcotic laws. As a first step the working group has suggested the update of the controlled distribution of heroin in order to reach 800 new addicts. The experiment will expire at the end of the year. (NEUE ZUERCHER ZEITUNG 16/12) BOLIVIA During last weekend, at the presence of the Bolivian President, Mr. Banzer, farmers of the Chapare region have destroyed 7,000 hectares of cocaine field. The governmental program sets a reimbursement of $2,500 for each hectare. (FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE 22/12) GERMANY Schwerin - Paedagogium is the name of a private institute that has recently introduced an anti-drug test among its 80 students from 13 to 20. Every week a student is chosen for the urinal test. The initiative has ignited a debate in Maclenburg with the exception of the parents of the youngster, they all have given their written permission to the test. (SUEDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG 27/12) FRANCE A survey by IFOP on 1,000 people, recently published in the "Quotidien du medicin", states that 87% of French people is of the opinion that drug-addicts are ill; 88% thinks that they should be mandatory treated. (LIBERATION 17/12) ITALY Researchers at the Universita' Cattolica Sacro Cuore of Rome have experimented a new method of rapid rehabilitation from opium derivatives, a UROD-like therapy prolonged for a few days in order to fight abstinence. The experiment has proved effective in 40% of the patients treated, while UROD was in 25% of the cases. (IL GIORNALE 17/12) U.S. Dennis Peron, Ethan Nadelman and the Nobel for Economics Milton Friedman, are apparently leading a moderate antiprohibition movement in the States. They all have appealed to President Clinton requesting the legalization of soft drugs and the regulation of hard ones. Their interventions against prohibition as the cause of criminality and health problems are starting to leave a trace in the public opinion. (CORSERA 29/12) U.S. The Clinton administration is launching an anti-drug campaign with commercials broadcast on all media: radio, TV, Internet etc. Cost of the campaign $195 million. (IHT, 23/12) SWITZERLAND There is a decrease in the number of victims of drugs. In 1997, according to police statistics, there has been a drop of 1/3. Police and experts agree both on the positive influence of the controlled distribution of heroin to chronic addicts and the use of methadone. The President of the Italian Parliamentary Committee on Justice, Hon. Giuliano Pisapia (communist) has said that this could become an example that should be followed also in Italy. (CORSERA 28-29/12, IL GIORNALE 28/12) ITALY According to the final report of the Minister of Internal Affairs on the national public order situation, marijuana imports from Albania have become a multinational trafficking: five tons have been confiscated in 1996, 42 this year. The national anti-mafia prosecutor has recently launched the biggest campaign against illicit trafficking of Italian-Albanian Mafias. The transnational mobs buy and sell drugs, weapons and immigrants. (LA REPUBBLICA 24-29/12, LA STAMPA 29/12) U.S. California - Despite the result of Proposition 215 (the referendum for the legalization of medical marijuana), the local Appeal Court has decided to prohibit the selling of the substance. (LIBERATION 15/12) PORTUGAL Like the President of the Republic and other Socialist MPs, the mayor of Lisbon, Mr. Joao Soares, favors the universal decriminalization of soft drugs. Mr. Soares has proposed a meeting of representatives of big cities at a European level in order to address the issue throughout the continent. (EL PAIS 28/12) GREAT BRITAIN The "Independent on Sunday" is campaigning for the decriminalization of cannabis targeting Tony Blair. The initiative started almost a year ago, and promoted by its editor in chief, Rosie Boycott, former alcoholic and addict, has increased the number of issues sold up to 15,000. (PANORAMA 29/12) GREAT BRITAIN After a phone call denouncing the dealing activities of a son of an undersecretary of the Labor Government from the director of The Mirror, the case "Joints of the Government" is dividing the political scene. The guy is 17, and his name will not be published for legal reasons, but the episode has re-ignited the antiprohibition campaign of the "Independent on Sunday", pointing out the hypocrisy of the whole situation. (THE TIMES 24-28/12, CORSERA 29/12) SPAIN A decision of the Court of the Bilbao province states that the interruption of rehabilitation treatments by sending "criminal" patients to prison, has a perverse effect in the social rehabilitation of convicted people. The sentence criticizes the national Penal Code on alternatives to prison considering the current Code as more restrictive than the previous one and goes against the jurisprudence of the Supreme Tribunal. (EL PAIS 21/12) FRANCE Paris - On December 12-13, the Ministry of Health has convened 300 experts on drug abuse issues. All experts agree on the depenalization. Secretary of State for Health, Bernard Kouchner, has said that the reform of the 1970 law on drugs is not a taboo and can be taken into consideration. AMERICAS U.S. and Panama have agreed on the creation of an international anti-drug center in Panama City. The institution will allow the States to maintain a military presence in the county even after 1999 when the channel will be handed over to Panama. Other nations like Brazil and Mexico will be asked to participate in the operation. (FINANCIAL TIMES 29/12) MEXICO CIA is training some Mexican military officials in order to establish an effective network of anti-drug troops all over the country. Despite criticism about its possible effects on the most respected Mexican institution and the risk of corruption, the initiative is proceeding. (INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, 30/12) ITALY Rome - After the campaign launched by Marco Pannella, leader of the Italian antiprohibition movement, the mayor of the Italy's capital, Francesco Rutelli (member of the Transnational Radical Party) has agreed to experiment the controlled distribution of heroin to chronic heroin addicts. (L'ESPRESSO, 8/1) JOIN THE CORA Yes, I want to be member (send by Email, or fax, or Mail) Name and Surname ........................................ Address, Post code, City, State .......................................... Email ..................................... Occupation ............................................. Date of Birth .............................. Phone home .............. office ................. fax ...................... mobile ..................... and I am enclosing a membership fee of ..................... By means of /Postal Order to CORA /Crossed Cheque to CORA /ccp (only in Italy) /Bank Account (choose below) /Credit Card type ........................................... no .....................................................................Expiry Date ...................... MEMBERSHIP FEE OF CORA 1997 IN EUROPEAN UNION Austria 800 ATS, Belge 2000 Bfr, Denmark 500 DKK, Finland 400 FIM, France 330 FF, Germany 100 DEM, Great Britain 35 GBP, Greece 5000 GRD, Ireland 20 IEP, Italy 100.000 LIT, Luxembourg 2000 Lfr, The Netherlands 100 , LG, Portugal 5000 PTE, Spain 5000 ESB, Sweden 500 SEK BANK ACCOUNT - no. 010381 to CORA, Deutsche Bank (Abi 3002, Cab 03270), Italy - no.10067.00101.1032083440/4 to CORA, France - no. 310107591981 to CORA, Belge MAIL CCP: ONLY IN ITALY - c.c.p. 53362000 to CORA, Via di Torre Argentina 76, 00186 Roma -------------------------------------------------------------------
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