Portland NORML News - Wednesday, December 31, 1997

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: letters@heraldnet.com
Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 1997
Webpage: http://www.heraldnet.com

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.

Community Corrections Officer II


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


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

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.

Follow link to learn more

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: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 1997


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

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: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/


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

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: letters@uniontrib.com
Pubdate: Wed, Dec. 31 1997
URL: http://www2.uniontrib.com/news/


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

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

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

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: letters@sfbg.com
Web: http://www.sfbg.com

December 31, 1997

Two Letters to the Editor on California Court of Appeals Ruling

E-mail: letters@sfbg.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

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.



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: gray.davis@ltg.ca.gov

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: piu@hdcdojnet.state.ca.us

Re-distributed as a public service by the:
Colorado Hemp Initiative Project
P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466
Hotline: (303) 784-5632
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: slott@sint01.sanluisobispo.com

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: viewpoints@chron.com
Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 1997
URL: http://www.chron.com/content/
Author: Jo Ann Zuniga
page 17A


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

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

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: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Toronto Sun
Contact: editor@sunpub.com
Pubdate: Wednesday, December 31, 1997
Author: Scot Magnish -- Toronto Sun


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.


"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.


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: flydoc@xtra.co.nz
From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Subject: Acop's plea to decriminalize
X-Mailing-List:  archive/latest/3962
X-Loop: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.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.


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 

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

European campaign for the revision
of international conventions

Via di Torre Argentina 76
00186 ROME
E-mail: cora.italia@agora.stm.it

Rue Belliard 97
c/o European Parliament
Rem 5.08
Tel:+32-2-230.41.21 - 646.26.31
E-mail: cora.belgique@agora.stm.it

*CORAnet http://www.agora.stm.it/coranet (in Italian)

Director: Vincenzo Donvito
All rights reserved



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.


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


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,

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.

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)

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)

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
(EL PAIS, 11/12)

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)

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)

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)

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.

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".

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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)

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)

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)

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)

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.

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)

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)

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)

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 ...........................................
Date ......................

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

- no. 010381 to CORA, Deutsche Bank (Abi 3002, Cab 03270), Italy
- no.10067.00101.1032083440/4 to CORA, France
- no. 310107591981 to CORA, Belge

- c.c.p. 53362000 to CORA, Via di Torre Argentina 76, 00186 Roma




Comments, questions and suggestions.E-mail

Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/

Back to the 1997 News page.

This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/123197.html