------------------------------------------------------------------- Man Says He's Not Guilty Of Pot Charge (Washington State Medical-Marijuana Cultivator Clifton R. Messerschmidt) From: "W.H.E.N."
To: "Talk Group" Subject: HT: ART: Olympian - med mj arraignment Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 15:11:06 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Man says he's not guilty of pot charge The Olympian 1/1/98 By Joel Coffidis A former Olympia resident who says he let a dying AIDS patient grow marijuana in his basement pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a felony marijuana-growing charge. A half-dozen of the man's supporters - who advocate legalization of marijuana for medical purposes - showed up at the arraignment. Clifton R. Messerschmidt, 28, of Federal Way and formerly of Olympia, entered his plea in front of Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor. His trial is scheduled to begin the week of March 16, with a pretrial hearing set for Jan. 29. In mid-October, Olympia police seized 18 marijuana plants from the South Capitol neighborhood home Messerschmidt rented. The seizure occurred about three weeks before voters rejected an initiative that would have legalized some medicinal uses of marijuana. Messerschmidt was charged Dec. 19 in Thurston County Superior Court with manufacturing marijuana. If convicted, he would face up to three months in jail. In an interview after Wednesday's arraignment, Messerschmidt said he let a friend dying of AIDS grow the drug in his basement. The friend took care of the plants when Messerschmidt was at work he said. "There are too many people who know it wasn't my stuff," said Messerschmidt, who said he hasn't drank alcohol or smoked marijuana for 10 years. "He's a friend of mine dying of AIDS," he said. The friend had to temporarily live with his parents and could not take the marijuana plants to his parents' home, Messerschmidt said. Messerschmidt said he offered his friend the use of his basement. "I certainly think that people who are dying should have access to pain-control medication," he said. The friend had tried a prescription medication, which contained an active ingredient of marijuana, to ease his pain. But the medication had negative side effects, Messerschmidt said. "I commend the man for what he did," said Patrick Kelly, a member of the Washington Hemp Education Network. "I think he ought to get a civil award for what he did," Kelly said. Phil Harju, senior deputy county prosecutor, declined comment about the case Wednesday. But during an interview last week, Harju said it's against the law to manufacture marijuana. If someone wants to change the law, they need to work with legislators, Harju said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Wisconsin Marchers Wheel Into Madison (Medical Marijuana Caravan Is 'High Times' Freedom Fighter Of The Month For January) Newshawk: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Source: High Times Author: Steve Wishnia Pubdate: Jan., 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.hightimes.com/ Photo: by Jean E. Taddie shows James Dawson followed by Jack Rickert, in wheelchairs, captioned: "Wisconsin Journey for Justice marchers (Jackie Rickert, second) start another day." Freedom Fighters of the Month WISCONSIN MARCHERS WHEEL INTO MADISON Madison, WI - Fifteen medical-marijuana patients spent a week last September marching 210 miles from the small town of Mondovi to the state capitol here, in a follow-up to last May's "Journey for Justice" in Ohio. The march's arrival on Sept. 18 coincided with the introduction of a medical-marijuana bill in the state legislature by Rep. Frank Boyle (D-Superior). Boyle's bill would reschedule cannabis as a Schedule III drug - - equating it with Tylenol/codeine, rather than with heroin - and create a medical-necessity defense for patients with "acute, chronic, incurable or terminal" illnesses, if their doctors say conventional treatment "is either not effective or is causing severe side-effects." Rep. Boyle says he decided to sponsor the bill because medical-marijuana patients "convinced me this was more than worth the political risk." He argues there's "absolutely no rational" to deny people medication that improves their lives, especially when drugs like steroids, barbiturates and codeine are legal and frequently prescribed. However, Rep. Gregg Underheim (R-Oshkosh), chair of the Assembly Health Committee, says the bill will not get a hearing. "It's not about medicine, it's about intoxication," he says of the medical-marijuana movement. The movement, he adds, will not have any credibility until it presents "sound intellectual rationales, not aging hippies." As the marchers passed through Black River Falls, Elroy, the Wisconsin Dells and Sauk City, the reaction was "ninety-nine percent positive," says Steve Wessing of Madison. "We had people running out to greet us in every town." Wessing, 36, has spinal-process bifida, a back deformity, and uses cannabis to prevent muscle spasms that could seriously damage his vertebrae. "It was one of the biggest highlights of my life. I never realized there was so much support out there," says Jacki Rickert of Mondovi, where the march began on Sept. 11. Rickert, 47, suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective-tissue disorder in which her joints - including shoulders, thumbs, knees and ankles - become dislocated very easily. If the dislocation isn't reset within 20 minutes, she says, the muscles around the injured area get so tight that "they're more like cable than muscle." But if she smokes a joint before then, they relax in time. Rickert, an active swimmer, horseback rider and gymnast before she was diagnosed with the syndrome at 21, thought marijuana's muscle-relaxing effect was a fluke the first time she discovered it. She was waiting in a hospital emergency room when a friend invited her to step outside for a toke. "It was a strange time to be lighting up a joint." She recalls. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that this was a medicine." By 1987, she was unable to sit up for more than 15 minutes at a time. She smoked to get high occasionally - and "stumbled across" the effect again. "I was playing Pac-Man, of all things," she tells HT. "I realized I'd been sitting up for one and a half hours, and my score kept getting higher and higher." She soon discovered that cannabis could help her control the dislocations and keep her other medications down. In 1990, Rickert was approved to receive cannabis under the now-defunct Compassionate IND program, but the federal government has refused to provide her with any. They urged her to take Marinol instead, when she says made her tongue swell up so much she could barely fit a straw into her mouth. Before her doctor died in 1993, she says, "he went through every channel, he met every specification they asked for." Says march organizer Kay Lee, "She's as legal as Elvy Musikka." Rep. Boyle says that despite his medical-marijuana bill's imminent death, getting the issue on the table is still worth the effort. "We have an obligation to promote change," he tells HT. "The long term says we'll win."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Updated Web Page Radio Hosts And Yesterday's Transcript (Darral Good On KIRO In Seattle) Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 21:19:25 -0800 From: Darral Good
To: email@example.com Subject: updated web page radio hosts and yesterdays transcript Check out my transcript of my 12/31/97 conversation with DAVE ROSS at http://www.hemp.net/~darral/local.html I scored on two shows that day! one local and one national!
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lungren Doesn't Write Laws (Op-ed Clarifies California Attorney General's Policies On 11362.5) Subj: US CA: OPED: Lungren Doesn't Write Laws From: Jerry Sutliff Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 15:27:19 -0800 Source: Oakland Tribune Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 LUNGREN DOESN'T WRITE LAWS YOUR EDITORIAL, "Lungren Ignores the sick and dying," was obviously written with a complete lack of regard for Attorney Dan Lungren's constitutional duty to enforce California law. You observe, "The problem with Proposition 215 is that the distribution of marijuana has never been clearly addressed." Exactly. The law's authors wrote a law that doesn't address the issue, so why do you blame the attorney general for what you call a problem with a law he didn't write? Surely, you don't advocate an attorney general for California who enforces some laws and ignores others. The Tribune incorrectly asserts, "Lungren wants to challenge the entire proposition's legality." Lungren has been clear in stating that Proposition 215 is the law of the land enacted by the people. What your editorial failed to note (although it appeared in an article in your paper the same day) Is that Lungren has joined state Sen. John Vasconcellos in pushing for a study into the harmful and potential medicinal benefits of marijuana. Your absurd suggestion that Lungren is ignoring the sick and dying perpetuates a sensationalist point of view that trashes the facts , the law and the legal duties of the attorney general. There is a gulf between what your inflammatory rhetoric promotes and what the law allows. Rob Stutzmans - Attorney Generals Office -
------------------------------------------------------------------- Facilities Crisis Still Unsolved (Editorial By 'San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune' Blames California's Governor And Assembly For Demagoguery, Failing To Remedy Resulting Funding Crisis For Prisons And Schools) Subj: US CA: Facilities Crisis Still Unsolved From: Jo-D Harrison Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 15:28:13 -0800 Source: San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Saturday, January 1, 1998 Author: Dan Walters Section: Opinion Page: B-4 FACILITIES CRISIS STILL UNSOLVED SACRAMENTO - Gov. Pete Wilson, accompanied by law enforcement and victims rights representatives, launched an advertising campaign Tuesday to warn Californians of a new law that will sharply toughen penalties for those who use guns in crimes. The program - television spots and printed notices to inmates, probationer and parolees - is dubbed "use a gun and you're done." Wilson said he wants to "put gun-wielding criminals in jail for a very long time." Few law-abiding Californians would argue the concept of hammering those who use guns in crimes. That's why lock-'em-up measures are so popular with politicians. Likewise, the single most popular thing that Wilson and lawmakers of both parties have done in recent years is to redirect sate school aid into reducing class sizes in elementary grades. Wilson will propose another expansion of class-size reduction when the Legislature reconvenes next week and wants to engrave the program permanently into law via an education reform ballot measure next year. There is, however, another facet to such trendy political actions as locking up more criminals and putting school kids in smaller classes: finding space to do both. While Wilson and lawmakers have catered to the public, they have abjectly failed to come to grips with the prison and school facilities crises that have resulted. And when the Legislature returns to Sacramento, the politicians will have only a few weeks to reach agreement on prison and school construction programs if measures are to be placed before voters at the June primary election. Secretary of State Bill Jones is warning Wilson and lawmakers that bond issues need to be enacted no later than Feb. 9 to be included in the June voter's pamphlet - which is a virtual impossibility, given the serious political conflicts that remain unresolved. But even if Wilson and lawmakers want to push the envelope by authorizing a supplemental voters' pamphlet, Jones says, they would have only another month. The state has completed its last authorized prison, but Wilson and lawmakers of both parties have been deadlocked for several years on what to do next as prison populations continue to expand and approach the point when even double-ceiling of inmates will be insufficient. Although inmate populations have expanded slower than previously forecast after the "three strikes and you're out" law was enacted, the state still will run out of prison space around the end of the decade. Given the three-year lead time needed to construct new facilities, the real deadline for action may already have passed. Class size reduction, meanwhile, has imposed new demands on a school system that was already overcrowded, thanks to rising enrollment from a new baby boom that began in California in the mid-1980s. Cafeterias and libraries have been converted into emergency classrooms - mirroring the steps being taken in the prisons to warehouse inmates - but a school housing crisis grows worse by the moment while Wilson and lawmakers remain stalemated on how to deal with it. Educators want more state bonds and a lowering of the vote requirement on local bond issues, but the building industry is demanding curbs on school construction fees, and no one has found a magic formula that will also garner the required two-thirds vote in the Legislature. Locking up more violent felons and putting kids in smaller classes are fine policies to pursue - but only if we're willing to shoulder the multibillion-dollar costs that result.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Smoking Lawsuit Settled (California Family's Award From Lorillard Tobacco Due To Asbestos Filters) Subj: US: Smoking Lawsuit Settled From: Art Smart
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 15:27:26 -0800 Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 URL: http://www.chron.com/content/ SMOKING LAWSUIT SETTLED SAN FRANCISCO -- Lorillard Tobacco Co. has paid more than $1.5 million to the family of a California smoker who died of cancer, the first time a U.S. cigarette maker has ever paid a smoking- related personal injury claim, lawyers said Wednesday. Milton Horowitz, a Beverly Hills psychoanalyst, died in 1996 from a type of lung cancer attributed to the asbestos found in the filters of Kent cigarettes that Lorillard manufactured in the early 1950s. Kent eventually replaced them with cheaper, non- asbestos filters in 1956. A San Francisco jury in 1995 awarded the family $1.3 million in compensatory damages for medical and other expenses and $700,000 in punitive damages. On Tuesday, Lorillard paid the compensatory portion of the award, plus interest: $1,556,851. William Ohlemeyer, Lorillard's attorney, said Wednesday the company likely would continue to appeal the punitive portion of the award to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also contested the Horowitz description of the case as cigarette-related, noting that the crucial factor leading to Horowitz's death was asbestos, not tobacco.
------------------------------------------------------------------- New York Mayor Begins Second Term Targeting Drugs, Taxes (Giuliani Eyes 'National Office') Subj: US: New York Mayor Begins Second Term Targeting Drugs, Taxes From: Jim Rosenfield Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 20:03:46 -0500 Source: Los Angeles Times Author: Michael Blood, Associated Press Writer Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: January 1, 1998 NEW YORK MAYOR BEGINS SECOND TERM TARGETING DRUGS, TAXES NEW YORK--Mayor Rudolph Giuliani began his second term Thursday by promising to lead New York into an era of sustained prosperity, better schools and lower crime, cementing the Big Apple's reputation as "the undisputed capital of the world." After years of resignation toward the ills of urban life, New York has emerged as "a city of resurgence and a city of progress," Giuliani said. "The best days are yet to come," he said. Standing without an overcoat despite freezing temperatures, Giuliani took the oath at City Hall before 5,000 invited guests, including his wife, Donna Hanover, and their two children, Andrew and Caroline. Unlike Giuliani's first inauguration in 1994, his 11-year-old son behaved himself this time, sitting quietly next to his father. Giuliani was upstaged four years ago when Andrew, then 7, joined his father at the lectern and repeated some of the mayor's key lines, pumping his fist for emphasis. Giuliani earned a return trip to City Hall by trouncing Democrat Ruth Messinger in November, becoming the first Republican to win back-to-back elections since Fiorello La Guardia, who served from 1934 to 1945. Giuliani begins his second term at a time when the city has seen its fortunes soar, in part from a sharply reduced crime rate, a boom in tourism and a bull market on Wall Street. In light of the turnaround, the mayor has attracted notice as a prospect for national office and he has refused to pledge to serve his full, four-year term. In a half-hour speech that was short on specifics and surprises, Giuliani sketched an unwaveringly upbeat picture of life in the city. He asserted his administration had achieved an unrivaled change in direction, and that the challenge now was to make permanent those improvements "with no one left out, and no one left behind." Giuliani reassured New Yorkers he would continue his campaign against street crime by hiring 1,600 more police officers and expanding anti-drug initiatives. "We can put unrelenting pressure on the people who try to destroy the lives of our children -the drug dealers," he said. Giuliani also said schools should end "social promotions," in which students are advanced even if they fail to meet requirements to enter the next grade. Copyright Los Angeles Times
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Washington Post' Calls Medical Marijuana 'In' In 1998 Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 11:32:00 EST From: VOTEYES57@aol.com To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Wa Post: Medical Marijuana is in in '98 DC's major daily declares Medical Marijuana in '98 Washington DC (January 1, 1998) Today Marc Fisher of the Washington Post's Style Section declared that medical marijuana was "'In' for 1998." Organizers of the local ballot initiative to make marijuana available for sick and dying patients in the District of Columbia, the AIDS advocacy group ACT UP Washington, expressed enthusiasm. "We have worked long and hard to make the case to the people of the District of Columbia that seriously ill patients should not be criminally prosecuted if they turn to small amounts of marijuana to ease their suffering." states ACT UP Washington spokesperson Steve Michael, sponsor of DC's Initiative 57. "Our efforts have clearly had an impact." Notes Fisher of the Post, "We must rigorously catalogue the year's events and spirit, and present the facts as we find them." States Michael, "The spirit of initiative 57 will live in our successor initiative. Dozens of our volunteers are ready to hit the streets of Washington again in a big push for a quick certification. I appreciate their energy and determination. ACT UP members working in concert with other local activists groups like the Statehood and Green Party will hit the ground running as soon as authorized by the Board of Elections and Ethics. Michael, who is HIV+, co-authored a commentary published in the editorial pages of the Washington Post disputing charges by drug Czar General Barry McCaffery that the local, patient driven effort was part of an internationally financed conspiracy to legalize drugs for recreational users. Michael acknowledges that the all volunteer effort fell short by several hundred signatures to place Initiative 57 on the DC ballot. ACT UP Washington organizers are prepared to begin again, with an strong team of volunteers including the DC Green Party, "Our folks are excited. They're geared up ready to start again." Michael told the Washington Post in a recent article. The Washington Post also reported on a plan by a California public relations firm funded by billionaire financier George Soros, to spend $500,000 on an initiative against the efforts of local AIDS activists. Adds Wayne Turner from ACT UP Washington, "We won't stand for these sleazy Soros operatives coming into the District and profiteering off our work. After talking to literally tens of thousands of District residents while gathering signatures for 57, there's no tolerance out there for the big money pro-drug legalizers." Activists plan to relaunch their campaign for for the DC medical marijuana initiative next month after a Board of Election hearing on Jaunary 9th. following is the list of "In's" and "outs" IN/OUT GAY WHITE YOUNG REPUBLICANS/STRAIGHT BLACK OLD DEMOCRATS M-CLASS MERCEDES/RANGE ROVERS EL NINO/L.A. DHARMA/ELLEN GERALDO RIVERA/TOM BROKAW SEX/THE WEB JENNICAM/JENNY McCARTHY "TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL"/TOUCHED BY MICHAEL JACKSON MCI CENTER/JACK KENT COOKE STADIUM "GOING SPREWELL"/"GOING POSTAL" LICE/LYME DISEASE CAMPYLOBACTER/SALMONELLA CHOCOLATE LABS/VIRTUAL PETS TIARAS/YOU KNOW WHO SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS/BRITISH NANNIES CAPITAL CRESCENT TRAIL/INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR CLARENDON BARS/ADAMS-MORGAN BARS EROL'S/AOL CARL ROWAN JR./LARRY SOULSBY THE FOX CHOPPER BABE/KELLYANNE FITZPATRICK THE RON BROWN "MURDER"/THE VINCE FOSTER "MURDER" MILLION-DOLLAR DINNERS/MILLION-PERSON MARCHES "SHOW ME THE MONEY"/"NO CONTROLLING LEGAL AUTHORITY" FULL KEE/ASIA NORA DEEP PURPLE/MUCUS GREEN TEA-FLAVORED ICE CREAM/FAT-FREE ICE CREAM ALL-CLAD/CALPHALON ABSINTHE/ECSTASY MEDICAL MARIJUANA/CIGARS "STAR WARS"/VERMEER JOHN QUINCY ADAMS/GEORGE WASHINGTON HOLLYWOOD ACTORS IN PRISON/HOLLYWOOD ACTORS ON DRUGS PAM GRIER/TINA TURNER MULTI-TASKING/MULTICULTURALISM PODIATRISTS/STILETTOS BACK-BITING/BACKSTABBING HEAD-BUTTING A STADIUM/BUILDING A STADIUM CHEST IMPLANTS FOR MEN/BREAST IMPLANTS FOR WOMEN CINDY MARGOLIS/PAMELA ANDERSON LEE LARRY LAWRENCE/LARRY LAWRENCE JIANG ZEMIN/BINYAMIN NETANYAHU PAPA JOHN'S/PAPARAZZI TARGET/NORDSTROM'S BOOKSTORES/READING PATENTED GENES/BAGGY JEANS BRADY ANDERSON/CAL RIPKEN BRETT HABER/KEN BROO *** for more information cotact ACT UP Washington at 202-547-9404
------------------------------------------------------------------- Thinks Gray Reduced To Mean-Spirited Name-Calling (Carl Olsen Discredits Altoona, Ohio, Police Chief's Lies About Proposition 215 And 11362.5 In California) Subj: US IA: PUB LTE: Thinks Gray Reduced To Mean-Spirited Name-calling From: "Carl E. Olsen"
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 21:13:06 -0500 Pubdate: Thursday, January 1, 1998 Source: The Altoona Herald - Mitchellville Index Section: Viewpoint - Letters to the Editor Page: 4A Mail: Post Office Box 427, Altoona, Iowa 50009 Fax: 515-967-0553 THINKS GRAY REDUCED TO MEAN-SPIRITED NAME-CALLING To the editor: Regarding the comments of Altoona police chief John L. Gray ("Marijuana not humorous" Dec. 25), I was disappointed that your newspaper would print such a mean-spirited, ad hominem attack. If Gray had any evidence that someone was smoking pot, it would be his duty to arrest that person, not call him or her names in the newspaper. Once again, Gray demonstrates that he will not investigate the facts, and that he has a complete disregard for the truth. The people of Altoona would be well-served to find a law enforcement officer with a better sense of justice and fair play. Regarding Chief Gray's personal attack printed under the headline "Head shops don't help patients" (Dec. 11): Here are more facts that Chief Gray needs to know. While it is true that the voters in California approved a broad medical marijuana initiative in November of 1996, this only happened because for two years in a row California's Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed more conservative medical marijuana bills passed by the California State Legislature. Medical marijuana activists were left with no choice but to take the issue directly to the voters, and they made the law as broad as it could possibly be made. The law approved by the voters in California allows patients and their immediate caregivers to grow and possess marijuana on the oral or written recommendation of a doctor. Since federal law prohibits the growing or possession of marijuana, as well as the prescription of marijuana, the initiative only protects patients and doctors from prosecution in state courts. The federal government can still theoretically prosecute anyone for possession of any amount of marijuana for any reason, although there is a question of states' rights currently being considered in federal court in Washington, D.C. Pearson v. McCaffrey, Case No. 97-CV-00462 (WBB) ("http://pw2.netcom.com/~zeno7/complain1.html"). Interestingly, a federal court in San Francisco has recently ruled that the federal government may not threaten doctors who simply recommend (not precribe) the use of marijuana to their patients. Conant v. McCaffrey, Case No. C97-0139 FMS ("http://www.lindesmith.org/mmjsuit/order.html"). Chief Gray is mistaken in his comments regarding the recent article in the Dec. 8 issue of TIME magazine "Too High in California" regarding the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club. Just this past week, a San Francisco, California appellate court found that the club did not fit the definition of an "immediate" caregiver and ordered the club to shut down. Because the club was in full operation for several years prior to the passage of last year's medical marijuana initiative, Chief Gray's comments about the club being the result of the initiative are highly misleading. I'm certainly delighted to know that Chief Gray has not violated Iowa's medical marijuana law by arresting doctors for recommending marijuana to their patients, as this would place him in violate of both state and federal law. However, he would do well to stop referring to Iowa's medical marijuana law as some scheme to sell crack cocaine to kids in candy stores. Such tactics are worthy only of a runaway police state. As for clearing the air in my room, I submit that the air in my room is cleaner than the hot air Chief Gray is blowing from his bully pulpit as chief of Altoona's police department. Carl E. Olsen Des Moines
------------------------------------------------------------------- Texas' Teen Smokers See New Law As A Drag ($250 Fine And Possible Driver's License Suspension) Subj: US TX: Texas' Teen Smokers See New Law as a Drag From: Art Smart
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 15:27:40 -0800 Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 http://www.chron.com/ Author: John W. Gonzalez and Steve Olafson Page 1 TEXAS' TEEN SMOKERS SEE NEW LAW AS A DRAG Some Texas teen-age smokers say they'll be more discreet when they light up their cigarettes today. But don't expect them to go cold turkey, even with a new law that can impose fines of up to $250 and possibly suspend teen-age driver's licenses. "I think the new law sucks," said Josh Paiz, 14, a student at Lake Jackson Intermediate School. "We should have a right to do it. We're gonna die someday. We just may die a little younger," said his 13-year-old buddy, Billy Terrill. He said his parents, both smokers, sometimes buy him cigarettes -- a practice that is still allowed under the new law. "I told my mom and dad, 'When you quit I'll quit,' and they said, 'Can't help you there,'" Terrill said. Fourteen-year-old Matt Sharp's plan is simply to go underground. "I think I won't smoke hardly in public," he said. Some aspects of the tougher anti-smoking law, adopted by the Legislature last spring, took effect Sept. 1. But the law's real bite comes into play today with the penalty phase for tobacco consumption and possession by people under age 18. Endorsed by cancer-fighting groups and state health officials, the new law makes possession, purchase, consumption or receipt of cigarettes or other tobacco products by a minor a violation of the state health code. The exception to that is when the minor is accompanied by an adult parent, guardian or spouse -- meaning you can buy, smoke or chew tobacco if your parents let you do it around them. A violation is punishable by a fine of up to $250, but the fine would be suspended if the violator attends a tobacco awareness program. A court also may require the parent or guardian of the defendant to attend. A young smoker who blows off the seminar and doesn't comply within 90 days will wind up losing his driver's license for up to six months. Several other smoking-related regulations arrived with the New Year, including a requirement that retailers check the identification of all buyers who look younger than age 27. Retailers also must begin training employees in the new law and they must safeguard cigarette vending machines to prevent unfettered access by minors. While the state is only now cracking down on minors who possess tobacco, some Texas cities are already doing so. Lubbock, for example, approved an identical measure two years ago. Police there just last week charged a 17-year-old with illegal possession of tobacco. The state anti-smoking law was authored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, who said it was needed because minors felt no punitive consequences from prior laws, which made it a crime to sell tobacco to a minor but didn't effectively punish young users. The House sponsor, Rep. Hugo Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi, said the measures were the kind of drastic steps needed to offset the pervasive influence of tobacco advertising on children, which he said made Joe Camel and the Marlboro man better known than Mickey Mouse or Barney. Some youngsters said they were glad to see a statewide crackdown on an unhealthy habit. Cynthia Rodriguez, 16, a nonsmoking sophomore at Mayde Creek High School near Katy, said the new law could be "a wake-up call for teen-agers who need to be made aware that smoking is a serious issue. Actions need to be taken so their eyes will be opened tothe hazards. This is for the benefit of kids." "Too many kids our age are smoking. They think it makes them look older or they want to be different," said Sean Roden, 14, of Crosby. Gina Monteleone, another Crosby 14-year-old, agreed. "If the new law makes kids attend that class and then they stop smoking, that would be good. Maybe kids need to think they could be caught," she said. But Courtenay Morris, a sophomore at Clear Lake High School, wonders how effectively the law can be enforced. "Who's going to catch them?" asked the 15-year-old nonsmoker. However, one young smoker is using the new law to gather her New Year's resolve to quit -- along with her dad. "I'm quitting now because of the new law," said 16-year-old Morgan Wikowsky, a sophomore at Mayde Creek High School. "My dad is quitting with me ... I've smoked two years, about a pack a day. It's real hard to quit ... I started because of friends."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Anti-Drug Battle Not Over, Texas Expert Warns (Jane Maxwell, Chief Of Research For The Texas Commission On Alcohol And Drug Abuse) Subj: US: Anti-drug battle not over, Texas expert warns From: Art Smart
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 15:27:32 -0800 Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 http://www.chron.com/content/ Author: Peggy Fikac of the Associated Press ANTI-DRUG BATTLE NOT OVER, TEXAS EXPERT WARNS AUSTIN -- A national report showing an overall drop in the number of drug-related emergency room visits is far from a sign that the battle against drugs is being won, a Texas drug expert said Wednesday. Dallas figures included in the study show an increase in emergency room visits by teen-agers involving cocaine, heroin or morphine and marijuana, said Jane Maxwell, chief of research for the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. She said she believes that trend would hold true in other Texas cities as well. "I'd hate for people to be lulled into complacency thinking the numbers are down when they're not," she said. "We still have a serious problem, particularly among our young people." The Drug Abuse Warning Network survey, which polled a sampling of U.S. hospitals including Dallas, shows an overall 6 percent drop in the number of drug cases at emergency rooms from 1995 to 1996. The decrease is largely attributable to fewer cases involving legal drugs, such as aspirin. Cocaine, heroin and marijuana incidents remained steady overall, while the number of cases involving methamphetamine and the psychedelic drug PCP fell. Barry McCaffrey, White House national drug policy director, said in a statement when the report was released Tuesday, "The slight success we are seeing encourages us to continue our hard work." Maxwell said it's important to look at the breakdown of the figures by age, adding that Texas was given such a breakdown for cocaine and crack; heroin and morphine; and marijuana. While the figures from the national survey include only the Dallas area, she said she believes the trends would hold true for other parts of the state because drug use doesn't differ that much. "I don't see that many differences between Dallas and San Antonio and Houston," she said. "I don't think Dallas is that different from the rest of the state." Emergency room mentions of heroin and morphine in the Dallas metropolitan area went from 14.1 per 100,000 population in 1989 to 12.7 in 1995, then up to 15.9 in 1996. That includes all age groups. The study shows no reports of heroin- or morphine-related cases for those age 12 to 17 from 1989 through 1995, Maxwell said. In 1996, the report was 9.5 per 100,000 population. Other findings: * For those age 18 to 25, the Dallas report of heroin or morphine involvement went from 18.6 per 100,000 population in 1989 to 17.2 in 1995, then up to 31.5 in 1996. * Regarding cocaine, emergency-room mentions in the Dallas metropolitan area rose from 59.1 per 100,000 population in 1989 to 65.3 in 1995, then dipped to 60.9 in 1996. * For those age 12 to 17, the figures went from 33.3 per 100,000 in 1989 to 21.9 in 1995, then back up to 32 per 100,000 in 1996. In the 18-to-25 age group, cocaine-related cases dropped from 140.9 per 100,000 in 1989 to 109.3 in 1995, then to 91.7 in 1996. * Reports of marijuana-related cases increased slightly from 23.8 per 100,000 population in 1989 to 23.9 in 1995, then dropped to 22.9 in 1996. That includes all age groups.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN Statistics And A Must-Read (Excerpt From 'Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts' Debunks Emergency-Room Propaganda) Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 19:29:56 EST From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: DAWN statistics and a must-read Regarding the recent "drug-related" ER visit hype, Pat Dolan asked: >I have seen references to hospital admissions and to admissions to rehab >courses for Mj users/abusers. I have never used Mj. I understood it was >(a)relatively harmless and (b) non-addictive. What wd propel a user to >become an abuser and what wd be the effects which wd cause him to seek help >in a hospital emergency room? It is amazing how much *lying* is going on in government and media about what the recently reported DAWN statistics mean. As an erstwhile emergency physician-and as someone who has just read Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts- I can assure you that the inferences drawn from the DAWN data regarding marijuana are *invalid*. Quoting from MMMF, "For every drug-related hospital visit--what DAWN calls a "drug abuse episode", hospital staff list up to five drugs that the patient reports having used recently. This includes illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and over the counter medications. Emergency room staff also record whether the patient recently consumed alcohol." As authors John Morgan and Lynn Zimmer explain, the fact that marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug ensures that it will be widely "mentioned" by people who find themselves in the ER for *non-marijuana related* reasons. So use of the phrase "marijuana-related visit" and the like when analyzing these data is simply *dishonest*. Of course, that never stopped the drug warriors before, did it? Now, I'd like to issue an appeal to all dpr activists to buy and thoroughly read the eminently readable Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence. Speaking as someone who has made his living for the past decade analyzing scientific research, this book is the *definitive* hard-copy source of what the scientific evidence says--not just about the health and psychological effects but also the effects of drug education and punitive policies. The citations are exhaustive, the book is well organized and well written, and it is cheap-- $12.95, especially since there are now 20 myths exploded, up from 14 in the previous version, including an important new chapter on the myth that marijuana use can be prevented. There is also an excellent conclusion on science, politics and policy. Call BookWorld Companies at 1-800-444-2524 to order. Although I consider myself well-informed on this issue, I learned many interesting things from reading this book. For example, for a long time I have been saying that "somebody should do a study" of whether the deep breaths and breathholding typically employed in smoking marijuana is actually effect in increasing the efficiency of smoking in terms of achieving desired psychoactive effects. Well, it turns out there are three such studies in peer reviewed journals. I had never heard of them. FYI, apparently deep breaths and breathholding are not effective (very rapid uptake through the lungs, apparently) and therefore these practices should be discouraged. This harm reduction tip in itself is worth much more than the cost of the book. This book should be widely disseminated to politicians, the press, drug 'educators' and the like who can then be held completely accountable for any subsequent unfounded assertions: "Is what you just said compatible with the evidence you yourself have seen; if not, what other evidence do you have?" We plan to do this here in NZ. I realize this sort of educational function is also the rationale of the drug libraries, which will continue to be vital to scholars, analysts, reformers, etc. But something about holding this slim but substantial volume in your hand produces a feeling of concreteness unmatched by anything in cyberspace. I suspect the same might be true--perhaps even more so--for the uneducated out there. And they're the ones we need to reach and convert. David
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Criminalization Of Youth Culture (Survey By Public Agenda In New York Finds Two-Thirds Of Baby Boomers See Teens As 'Rude,' 'Irresponsible' And 'Wild') Subj: US: The Criminalization Of Youth Culture From: John W. Black Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 19:52:48 -0500 Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 1 Jan 98 Section: Life & Style - page 1 Author: D. James Romero - Times Staff Writer THE CRIMINALIZATION OF YOUTH CULTURE As teenagers, baby boomers forged a reputation for being free spirits. As parents, they are becoming increasingly authoritarian. The constant here is that the protest generation is highly principled, focused on ideology, as it always has been. It's just that, now that boomers have babies on board, the principles have changed: Drugs no longer are tolerable, teenagers no longer should be out late at night, students no longer should be able to wear whatever they want. Indeed, boomer parents are making the '90s look like the '50s. "There is an irony in a way, these onetime recreational drug users are coming down hard on the very things they used to do," quips generational historian Neil Howe, 46. "A generation that used to trust no one over 30 new wants to teach morals to everyone under 30." Cities and states are restricting everything from skateboarding to boomboxes, and experts say boomers are the main political force behind this criminalization of youth culture. A recent survey by the Public Agenda policy institute in New York found that two-thirds of adult Americans describe teenagers with such negative adjectives as "rude," "irresponsible" and "wild." Another survey, by Princeton Survey Research Associates, found that almost three-quarters of Americans feel that young people with low educations, dim job prospects and poor values are a greater risk to this country than any threat from a foreign power. "There seems to be a wide breach between teenagers and adults," states the Public Agenda report, "with adults looking at teens-preferably, in their minds, from a safe distance-with anxiety and disappointment, not at all certain that this generation bodes well for their communities or for the country." The recent history of parenting has been marked by contradiction: Newfound parental freedom (the notion that parents are people too and should enjoy life) has coincided with evolving science about how profoundly childhood affects adulthood. While the '50s and '60s painted the quintessential picture of conservative American family life (albeit with dysfunction lurking beneath the surface), psychologists and historians point to the '70s as a modern low point, when divorce became an easy out and popular culture held little regard for children. In the '70s, movies depicted children as monsters and prostitutes ("Pretty Baby") and public school funding began to unravel. (Proposition 13 in California limited taxation for school funding.) By the '80s, psychologists were widely critical of the effects of divorce and the freewheeling lifestyle of some parents of the '70s. But by then it was too late for an entire generation of young people raised in one-parent families with too little love. Some of those very children grew up to be demonized in the popular media (they were dubbed "child predators") as they discovered drugs, guns and new form of family life-gangs. But when baby boomers began having children en masse in the mid-'80, things changed. Minivan placards announced "Baby on Board" as parents woke up to child abuse, school funding and child care. "There is a sense of trying to protect kids, shelter them, entertain them," says historian Howe. "Young people really need certain parameters," says Sunny Cloud, a 47-year-old-testing kit for parents. "It helps them grow up with a sense of responsibility and respect for laws in society." With television ratings, music warning labels and the coming of the V-chip, "there is a feeling that boomers are fighting the culture," says Howe. "But in way, they own the culture." Still, as boomers have used their muscle as leaders in politics and media to reign in childhood freedoms, some prominent voices-many of them from boomers themselves-say the new rules go too far. Others say the rules have become a cop-out for good old discipline, and that the it-takes-a-village mentality needs to be supplanted by a former generation's attitude: that good parenting starts at home. Baby boomers are "producing a generation of bratty and out-of-control kids," argues Wade Horn, a 42-year-old family psychologist who is president of the National Fatherhood Initiative in Garithersburg, Md., a suburb of Washington. "They're good at laying down rules for other children, but not very good at laying down rules for their own." Horn also disputes the notion that boomer fathers are more in tune with their children than fathers past. "When four out of 10 children don't even have a father in the household, how can you be optimistic that we're doing it better than any other generation?" Wade asks. "It's simply not true. In no other period have fathers been more disconnected to their children, except in times of war and deadly disease." "I think the promise that most of us made to ourselves, that our generation is going to be different, hasn't paid off in the parenting," says Paul Mones, a 45-year-old attorney and father of two who lives in Santa Monica. "We haven't been so successful at the real stuff of being a parent. What size are your kids' shoes? Do you help them with their homework?" Michaael A. Males, author of "The Scapegoat Generation: America's War on Adolescents" (Common Courage Press, 1996), has made a career of pointing out the irony in America's anti-teen sentiment. He reports that Americans aged 35 and older account for more than 40% of emergency room visits involving cocaine, and that from 1980 to 1995 there was a 76% rise in violent crime arrests of those aged 30 to 45. "Kids today are being raised by the most violent, drug-abusing parents in history," Males says. Mones, who has defended many teenage criminals in court, says he thinks the source of teen violence is the home itself. "When you look at kids who kill, you just have to scratch the surface to find homes with mental illness, domestic violence and child abuse." "It's naive," says Horn, "to think that school uniforms and curfews will make teenagers behave."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Control Issues (Emboldened By First Baby Boomer Bill Clinton, Who Has Endorsed Daytime Curfews, Smoking Bans And School Uniforms, 'Los Angeles Times' Says Adults Across The United States Are Experimenting With Unprecedented Controls In An Effort To Both Protect And Punish The Young, Especially Teenagers) Subj: US: Control Issues From: John W.Black Date: Sat, 03 Jan 1998 07:34:20 -0500 Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: 1 Jan 1997 Section: Life&Style, page 1 Author: Lynn Smith - Times Staff Writer Note: This article ties with, and was printed on the same page as, The Criminalization Of Youth Culture by D. James Romero, previously posted. CONTROL ISSUES With all the curfews, dress codes and other restrictions being imposed on kids, are we raising a generation of upstanding citizens-or future leaders of a police state? For Nicole Eklund,a 16-year-old cheerleader from Simi Valley, coming of age has meant getting used to police dogs sniffing for drugs at her school locker, dress codes proscribing bare midriffs, and an official 10 p.m. curfew seven days a week. Leaders in her community-a suburb so benign she calls it "Anytown, USA" - have expelled a kindergartner for bringing a pink squirt gun to school and are considering, as state legislators plan to, a daytime curfew for people under age 18. What's more, living in California, she now is subject to a $75 fine and community service if she ever smokes a cigarette, even if her parents give it to her. Friends applying for their first driver's licenses this year likely will be restricted from driving late at night or with other kids. Those who engage in vandalism or graffiti may not be able to obtain licenses at all and may have to stay home looking at blank TV screens-if their parents can program a V-chip. In Nicole's opinion, some of these efforts miss the mark. She thinks adults should be preparing their children for the real world instead of overprotecting them. "People learn by experience and mistakes," Nicole says. Nevertheless, emboldened by First Baby Boomer Bill Clinton-who has endorsed daytime curfews, smoking bans and school uniforms-adults across the country are experimenting with unprecedented controls in an effort to both protect and punish the young, especially teenagers. Only a few years ago, it was fashionable to talk bout children's rights, one of Hillary Clinton's original passions. We're not talking about children's rights today," says William Strauss, a political commentator in Washington, D.C. "We're talking about the right of the principal to probe into their lockers and the duty of the child not to put anything in that locker." High courts already have ruled that some efforts have gone too far in restricting liberties, but in general the controls are being met with open arms. "The thing that's remarkable is that there's no single ideological group you can point the finger at for this renaissance of enthusiasm for authority," says UC Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring, whose book on juvenile crime will be published this have discovered family values,' a little bit 'the terror of youth violence' and a little bit of people now interested in making laws for other people's kids." "The public perception is that it isn't like it used to be, that kids are doing more and more bad things at a younger and younger age, and the things they are doing are worse than ever before," adds professor Thomas Nazario of San Francisco, a specialist in children's law. "It is worse," Nazario believes. "The only question is how much worse." Zimring disagrees. He contends that fear of youth violence-often the genesis of curfews and dress codes-has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Most of the "increase" in youth violence since the mid-1980s, Zimring says, can be attributed to a reclassification of minor attacks as more serious ones. While still disturbing, even those figures have been declining in recent years. However, in a recent survey of American cities, many officials attributed dramatic decreases in juvenile crime precisely to an increase in restrictions on children, namely daytime and nighttime curfews. An estimated 35 regional jurisdictions, including the city and county of Los Angeles, have daytime curfews, also known as antitruancy laws, requiring children to stay off the streets during school hours. The majority of schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District have implemented policies requiring students to wear uniforms. New laws, rules and policies are gaining steam almost everywhere. In Long Beach, parents' enthusiasm for school uniforms, required at every elementary and middle school for the past three years, spread this fall to a high school where freshmen will begin a four-year phase-in. At the nation's largest mall, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., teenagers under 16 must have chaperons after 6 p.m. This summer in King's County, Wash., law enforcement officials used a helicopter to find and arrest underage drinkers partying in secluded areas. One of the most puzzling and ironic aspects of the new wave of controls is that they are being proposed and enforced by the Summer of Love generation, one of the most pampered and individualistic groups of children ever raised (see accompanying story). Some suggest the controls may be a reaction to the disarray in the boomers' own lives. When social problems appear overwhelming, adults historically have grasped at whatever controls are handy, says psychologist Lawrence Steinberg of Philadelphia, who is studying national juvenile justice reform. Steinberg notes that clothing is a frequent target. One of the problems with the current wave, Steinberg says, is that some adults fail to distinguish between things that need adult control and things that don't. In some cases, he argues, kids are given too much freedom by the very same adults who are overly controlling in other areas. "Censoring the kind of information that kids have access to over the Internet is probably a lot less important than monitoring kids' whereabouts in the after-school hours," Steinberg says. As much or more than teenage crime or baby boomer hypocrisy, some researchers suspect the new restrictions stem from fundamental changes in adult attitudes toward teenagers. Strauss theorizes that the shift is based on generational patterns that alternate between over-and under-protection of children. "Parents tend to raise children to become more like their own parents were than they themselves were," Strauss says. "This is because of a self-correcting mechanism in the way a society raises children." The baby boomers were raised indulgently, but Generation Xers grew up in an era when society had relaxed its grip on children, says Strauss. "'Now, boomers are looking for their children to become like the World War II generation: civic-minded, virtuous and stalwart, says Strauss. Over the next few years, he predicts, we will see magazine covers praising youths, and youths themselves returning to singable songs, teamwork and community service. A return to wholesomeness already is evident from the popularity of such your, clean-cut singing groups as Hanson, Strauss adds. "Our advice to government is: Don't overbuild prisons. This is not a generation you're going to want to stuff in prison. Our society will love them." According to another theory, the new crackdown represents a historical pattern in which adults tend to view young people differently depending on economic and political circumstances. When they are needed to serve in wars, for instance, they are considered capable and responsible, says social psychologist Robert Enright, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. But in economically insecure eras when they might be rivals for jobs, they tend to be viewed as immature, disruptive and needing guidance for a longer developmental period. The new "zero tolerance" and other policies represent "the first wave of a new social experiment" to legislate social norms, says Enright. Asking for moral improvement is not such a bad idea, he adds. "But it's a tightrope. We might choke off their liberties, and have to be careful." Complaints have begun to surface. Some fear that blanket policies such as curfew allow too much discretion for officials who enforce them, opening up the door for racial discrimination. Others say good kids get swept up in the net. Parents in central Los Angeles, for instance, were shocked in June when 13-year-old students on an errand for their teacher were handcuffed in the hall by armed police looking for miscreants. Even in family-friendly Monrovia, a group of parents is suing the city over its award-winning anti-truancy ordinance. Rosemary Harrahill, a home-schooling mother who has joined the litigation, says two of her children have been stopped a total of 22 times by police. Like others, they have been issued fluorescent identity cards to show police. Harrahill likens the principle to Nazi restrictions in prewar Poland. "They've targeted a class of people and they're children." "The real question," says Mayor Robert T. Bartlett, "is do you adapt the community to one or two families' concerns, or do you try to do the most good you can for the most number of people in the community?" Citing truants-and fining parents-often inspires parents to become more involved, Bartlett says. "The gift we're giving them is, we're letting them know we care." Even Harrahill admits she feels safe in the "charming, little, wonderful city" but questions the price: Children becoming accustomed to a society where they routinely are stopped and questioned by police during the day. Last year, an appellate court struck down San Diego's nighttime curfew ordinance as being unconstitutionally vague. The city consequently revamped its law, which still allows police to arrest teens in public after 10 p.m. Some students say locker searches, for example, lead to drugs being carried in pockets or backpacks. Nazario calls the controls a "quick fix." "What we really need to do something about juvenile crime in America, is a lot more resources being poured into education and into opportunity for kids," he says. "Something has to be done for kids with no access to after-school programs and the number of kids who live in poverty and families who don't care or who are not there for them. "Those are tough issues and cost money and time and are overwhelming for people. Instead, we go to the law and try to spank kids for getting out of line." Some officials who have implemented new restrictions are trying to temper them with softer interventions as well. For instance, at the Mall of America-where officials say as many as 4,000 kids used to gather on weekend evenings-family activities such as basketball and choral singing have been introduced on the weekends, along with the chaperon policy. Parents have been recruited and paid $20 and hour to walk side by side with security officers on patrol. "If a security officer says, 'You need to stop that,' a young kid might say, 'No, I don't.' With a mother, it's a lot harder to do that," says mall spokeswoman Teresa McFarland. "In some cases, these mothers might even know [the kid's] parents." In the year before the new policies were enacted, McFarland says, there were 394 arrests of youngsters under 17 for disorderly conduct at the mall. In the year since the changes, there has been one.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Commonsense Drug Policy (Ethan Nadelmann Of The Lindesmith Center In 'Foreign Affairs' Contrasts Harm Reduction Policies In Europe With US Policy, Which 'Has Failed Persistently Over The Decades Because It Has Preferred Such Rhetoric To Reality, And Moralism To Pragmatism') Newshawk: Ethan Nadelmann http://www.lindesmith.org/ Source: Foreign Affairs, Vol. 77 No.1. Author: Ethan A. Nadelmann Pubdate: January-February, 1998 Contact: http://www.foreignaffairs.org/ Editor's note: Our newshawk writes: "Commonsense Drug Policy" as published in Foreign Affairs contained only one footnote. But over the next few weeks, we'll be adding dozens of footnotes & links to this article [at]: http://www.lindesmith.org/library/foreigna.html COMMONSENSE DRUG POLICY FIRST, REDUCE HARM In 1988 Congress passed a resolution proclaiming its goal of "a drug-free America by 1995." U.S. drug policy has failed persistently over the decades because it has preferred such rhetoric to reality, and moralism to pragmatism. Politicians confess their youthful indiscretions, then call for tougher drug laws. Drug control officials make assertions with no basis in fact or science. Police officers, generals, politicians, and guardians of public morals qualify as drug czars-but not, to date, a single doctor or public health figure. Independent commissions are appointed to evaluate drug policies, only to see their recommendations ignored as politically risky. And drug policies are designed, implemented, and enforced with virtually no input from the millions of Americans they affect most: drug users. Drug abuse is a serious problem, both for individual citizens and society at large, but the "war on drugs" has made matters worse, not better. Drug warriors often point to the 1980s as a time in which the drug war really worked. Illicit drug use by teenagers peaked around 1980, then fell more than 50 percent over the next 12 years. During the 1996 presidential campaign, Republican challenger Bob Dole made much of the recent rise in teenagers' use of illicit drugs, contrasting it with the sharp drop during the Reagan and Bush administrations. President Clinton's response was tepid, in part because he accepted the notion that teen drug use is the principal measure of drug policy's success or failure; at best, he could point out that the level was still barely half what it had been in 1980. In 1980, however, no one had ever heard of the cheap, smokable form of cocaine called crack, or drug-related HIV infection or aids. By the 1990s, both had reached epidemic proportions in American cities, largely driven by prohibitionist economics and morals indifferent to the human consequences of the drug war. In 1980, the federal budget for drug control was about $1 billion, and state and local budgets were perhaps two or three times that. By 1997, the federal drug control budget had ballooned to $16 billion, two-thirds of it for law enforcement agencies, and state and local funding to at least that. On any day in 1980, approximately 50,000 people were behind bars for violating a drug law. By 1997, the number had increased eightfold, to about 400,000. These are the results of a drug policy over-reliant on criminal justice "solutions," ideologically wedded to abstinence-only treatment, and insulated from cost-benefit analysis. Imagine instead a policy that starts by acknowledging that drugs are here to stay, and that we have no choice but to learn how to live with them so that they cause the least possible harm. Imagine a policy that focuses on reducing not illicit drug use per se but the crime and misery caused by both drug abuse and prohibitionist policies. And imagine a drug policy based not on the fear, prejudice, and ignorance that drive America's current approach but rather on common sense, science, public health concerns, and human rights. Such a policy is possible in the United States, especially if Americans are willing to learn from the experiences of other countries where such policies are emerging. ATTITUDES ABROAD Americans are not averse to looking abroad for solutions to the nation's drug problems. Unfortunately, they have been looking in the wrong places: Asia and Latin America, where much of the world's heroin and cocaine originates. Decades of U.S. efforts to keep drugs from being produced abroad and exported to American markets have failed. Illicit drug production is bigger business than ever before. The opium poppy, source of morphine and heroin, and cannabis sativa, from which marijuana and hashish are prepared, grow readily around the world; the coca plant, from whose leaves cocaine is extracted, can be cultivated far from its native environment in the Andes. Crop substitution programs designed to persuade Third World peasants to grow legal crops cannot compete with the profits that drug prohibition makes inevitable. Crop eradication campaigns occasionally reduce production in one country, but new suppliers pop up elsewhere. International law enforcement efforts can disrupt drug trafficking organizations and routes, but they rarely have much impact on U.S. drug markets. Even if foreign supplies could be cut off, the drug abuse problem in the United States would scarcely abate. Most of America's drug-related problems are associated with domestically produced alcohol and tobacco. Much if not most of the marijuana, amphetamine, hallucinogens, and illicitly diverted pharmaceutical drugs consumed in the country are made in the U.S.A. The same is true of the glue, gasoline, and other solvents used by kids too young or too poor to obtain other psychoactive substances. No doubt such drugs, as well as new products, would quickly substitute for imported heroin and cocaine if the flow from abroad dried up. While looking to Latin America and Asia for supply-reduction solutions to America's drug problems is futile, the harm-reduction approaches spreading throughout Europe and Australia and even into corners of North America show promise. These approaches start by acknowledging that supply-reduction initiatives are inherently limited, that criminal justice responses can be costly and counterproductive, and that single-minded pursuit of a "drug-free society" is dangerously quixotic. Demand-reduction efforts to prevent drug abuse among children and adults are important, but so are harm-reduction efforts to lessen the damage to those unable or unwilling to stop using drugs immediately, and to those around them. Most proponents of harm reduction do not favor legalization. They recognize that prohibition has failed to curtail drug abuse, that it is responsible for much of the crime, corruption, disease, and death associated with drugs, and that its costs mount every year. But they also see legalization as politically unwise and as risking increased drug use. The challenge is thus making drug prohibition work better, but with a focus on reducing the negative consequences of both drug use and prohibitionist policies. Countries that have turned to harm-reduction strategies for help in alleviating their drug woes are not so different from the United States. Drugs, crime, and race problems, and other socioeconomic problems are inextricably linked. As in America, criminal justice authorities still prosecute and imprison major drug traffickers as well as petty dealers who create public nuisances. Parents worry that their children might get involved with drugs. Politicians remain fond of drug war rhetoric. But by contrast with U.S. drug policy, public health goals have priority, and public health authorities have substantial influence. Doctors have far more latitude in treating addiction and associated problems. Police view the sale and use of illicit drugs as similar to prostitution-vice activities that cannot be stamped out but can be effectively regulated. Moralists focus less on any inherent evils of drugs than on the need to deal with drug use and addiction pragmatically and humanely. And more politicians dare to speak out in favor of alternatives to punitive prohibitionist policies. Harm-reduction innovations include efforts to stem the spread of HIV by making sterile syringes readily available and collecting used syringes; allowing doctors to prescribe oral methadone for heroin addiction treatment, as well as heroin and other drugs for addicts who would otherwise buy them on the black market; establishing "safe injection rooms" so addicts do not congregate in public places or dangerous "shooting galleries"; employing drug analysis units at the large dance parties called raves to test the quality and potency of MDMA, known as Ecstasy, and other drugs that patrons buy and consume there; decriminalizing (but not legalizing) possession and retail sale of cannabis and, in some cases, possession of small amounts of "hard" drugs; and integrating harm-reduction policies and principles into community policing strategies. Some of these measures are under way or under consideration in parts of the United States, but rarely to the extent found in growing numbers of foreign countries. STOPPING HIV WITH STERILE SYRINGES The spread of HIV, the virus that causes aids, among people who inject drugs illegally was what prompted governments in Europe and Australia to experiment with harm-reduction policies. During the early 1980s public health officials realized that infected users were spreading HIV by sharing needles. Having already experienced a hepatitis epidemic attributed to the same mode of transmission, the Dutch were the first to tell drug users about the risks of needle sharing and to make sterile syringes available and collect dirty needles through pharmacies, needle exchange and methadone programs, and public health services. Governments elsewhere in Europe and in Australia soon followed suit. The few countries in which a prescription was necessary to obtain a syringe dropped the requirement. Local authorities in Germany, Switzerland, and other European countries authorized needle exchange machines to ensure 24-hour access. In some European cities, addicts can exchange used syringes for clean ones at local police stations without fear of prosecution or harassment. Prisons are instituting similar policies to help discourage the spread of HIV among inmates, recognizing that illegal drug injecting cannot be eliminated even behind bars. These initiatives were not adopted without controversy. Conservative politicians argued that needle exchange programs condoned illicit and immoral behavior and that government policies should focus on punishing drug users or making them drug-free. But by the late 1980s, the consensus in most of Western Europe, Oceania, and Canada was that while drug abuse was a serious problem, aids was worse. Slowing the spread of a fatal disease for which no cure exists was the greater moral imperative. There was also a fiscal imperative. Needle exchange programs' costs are minuscule compared with those of treating people who would otherwise become infected with HIV. Only in the United States has this logic not prevailed, even though aids was the leading killer of Americans ages 25 to 44 for most of the 1990s and is now No. 2. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that half of new HIV infections in the country stem from injection drug use. Yet both the White House and Congress block allocation of aids or drug-abuse prevention funds for needle exchange, and virtually all state governments retain drug paraphernalia laws, pharmacy regulations, and other restrictions on access to sterile syringes. During the 1980s, aids activists engaging in civil disobedience set up more syringe exchange programs than state and local governments. There are now more than 100 such programs in 28 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, but they reach only an estimated 10 percent of injection drug users. Governments at all levels in the United States refuse to fund needle exchange for political reasons, even though dozens of scientific studies, domestic and foreign, have found that needle exchange and other distribution programs reduce needle sharing, bring hard-to-reach drug users into contact with health care systems, and inform addicts about treatment programs, yet do not increase illegal drug use. In 1991 the National aids Commission appointed by President Bush called the lack of federal support for such programs "bewildering and tragic." In 1993 a CDC-sponsored review of research on needle exchange recommended federal funding, but top officials in the Clinton administration suppressed a favorable evaluation of the report within the Department of Health and Human Services. In July 1996 President Clinton's Advisory Council on HIV/aids criticized the administration for its failure to heed the National Academy of Sciences' recommendation that it authorize the use of federal money to support needle exchange programs. An independent panel convened by the National Institute of Health reached the same conclusion in February 1997. Last summer, the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and even the politicized U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed the concept of needle exchange. In the fall, an endorsement followed from the World Bank. To date, America's failure in this regard is conservatively estimated to have resulted in the infection of up to 10,000 people with HIV. Mounting scientific evidence and the stark reality of the continuing aids crisis have convinced the public, if not politicians, that needle exchange saves lives; polls consistently find that a majority of Americans support needle exchange, with approval highest among those most familiar with the notion. Prejudice and political cowardice are poor excuses for allowing more citizens to suffer from and die of aids, especially when effective interventions are cheap, safe, and easy. METHADONE AND OTHER ALTERNATIVES The United States pioneered the use of the synthetic opiate methadone to treat heroin addiction in the 1960s and 1970s, but now lags behind much of Europe and Australia in making methadone accessible and effective. Methadone is the best available treatment in terms of reducing illicit heroin use and associated crime, disease, and death. In the early 1990s the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine stated that of all forms of drug treatment, "methadone maintenance has been the most rigorously studied modality and has yielded the most incontrovertibly positive results . . . Consumption of all illicit drugs, especially heroin, declines. Crime is reduced, fewer individuals become HIV positive, and individual functioning is improved." However, the institute went on to declare, "Current policy . . . puts too much emphasis on protecting society from methadone, and not enough on protecting society from the epidemics of addiction, violence, and infectious diseases that methadone can help reduce." Methadone is to street heroin what nicotine skin patches and chewing gum are to cigarettes-with the added benefit of legality. Taken orally, methadone has little of injected heroin's effect on mood or cognition. It can be consumed for decades with few if any negative health consequences, and its purity and concentration, unlike street heroin's, are assured. Like other opiates, it can create physical dependence if taken regularly, but the "addiction" is more like a diabetic's "addiction" to insulin than a heroin addict's to product bought on the street. Methadone patients can and do drive safely, hold good jobs, and care for their children. When prescribed adequate doses, they can be indistinguishable from people who have never used heroin or methadone. Popular misconceptions and prejudice, however, have all but prevented any expansion of methadone treatment in the United States. The 115,000 Americans receiving methadone today represent only a small increase over the number 20 years ago. For every ten heroin addicts, there are only one or two methadone treatment slots. Methadone is the most tightly controlled drug in the pharmacopoeia, subject to unique federal and state restrictions. Doctors cannot prescribe it for addiction treatment outside designated programs. Regulations dictate not only security, documentation, and staffing requirements but maximum doses, admission criteria, time spent in the program, and a host of other specifics, none of which has much to do with quality of treatment. Moreover, the regulations do not prevent poor treatment; many clinics provide insufficient doses, prematurely detoxify clients, expel clients for offensive behavior, and engage in other practices that would be regarded as unethical in any other field of medicine. Attempts to open new clinics tend to be blocked by residents who don't want addicts in their neighborhood. In much of Europe and Australia, methadone treatment was at first even more controversial than in the United States; some countries, including Germany, France, and Greece, prohibited it well into the 1980s and 1990s. But where methadone has been accepted, doctors have substantial latitude in deciding how and when to prescribe it so as to maximize its efficacy. There are methadone treatment programs for addicts looking for rehabilitation and programs for those simply trying to reduce their heroin consumption. Doctors in regular medical practice can prescribe the drug, and patients fill their prescriptions at local pharmacies. Thousands of general practitioners throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (notably in Ontario and British Columbia) are now involved in methadone maintenance. In Belgium, Germany, and Australia this is the principal means of distribution. Integrating methadone with mainstream medicine makes treatment more accessible, improves its quality, and allocates ancillary services more efficiently. It also helps reduce the stigma of methadone programs and community resistance to them. Many factors prevent American doctors from experimenting with the more flexible treatment programs of their European counterparts. The Drug Enforcement Administration contends that looser regulations would fuel the illicit market in diverted methadone. But the black market, in which virtually all buyers are heroin addicts who cannot or will not enroll in methadone programs, is primarily a product of the inadequate legal availability of methadone. Some conventional providers do not want to cede their near-monopoly over methadone treatment and are reluctant to take on addicts who can't or won't commit to quitting heroin. And all efforts to make methadone more available in the United States run up against the many Americans who dismiss methadone treatment as substituting one addictive drug for another and are wary of any treatment that does not leave the patient "drug free." Oral methadone works best for hundreds of thousands of heroin addicts, but some fare better with other opiate substitutes. In England, doctors prescribe injectable methadone for about 10 percent of recovering patients, who may like the modest "rush" upon injection or the ritual of injecting. Doctors in Austria, Switzerland, and Australia are experimenting with prescribing oral morphine to determine whether it works better than oral methadone for some users. Several treatment programs in the Netherlands have conducted trials with oral morphine and palfium. In Germany, where methadone treatment was initially shunned, thousands of addicts have been maintained on codeine, which many doctors and patients still prefer to methadone. The same is true of buprenorphine in France. In England, doctors have broad discretion to prescribe whatever drugs help addicted patients manage their lives and stay away from illegal drugs and their dealers. Beginning in the 1920s, thousands of English addicts were maintained on legal prescriptions of heroin, morphine, amphetamine, cocaine, and other pharmaceutical drugs. This tradition flourished until the 1960s, and has reemerged in response to aids and to growing disappointment with the Americanization of British prescribing practices during the 1970s and 1980s, when illicit heroin use in Britain increased almost tenfold. Doctors in other European countries and Australia are also trying heroin prescription. The Swiss government began a nationwide trial in 1994 to determine whether prescribing heroin, morphine, or injectable methadone could reduce crime, disease, and other drug-related ills. Some 1,000 volunteers-only heroin addicts with at least two unsuccessful experiences in methadone or other conventional treatment programs were considered-took part in the experiment. The trial quickly determined that virtually all participants preferred heroin, and doctors subsequently prescribed it for them. Last July the government reported the results so far: criminal offenses and the number of criminal offenders dropped 60 percent, the percentage of income from illegal and semi-legal activities fell from 69 to 10 percent, illegal heroin and cocaine use declined dramatically (although use of alcohol, cannabis, and tranquilizers like Valium remained fairly constant), stable employment increased from 14 to 32 percent, physical health improved enormously, and most participants greatly reduced their contact with the drug scene. There were no deaths from overdoses, and no prescribed drugs were diverted to the black market. More than half those who dropped out of the study switched to another form of drug treatment, including 83 who began abstinence therapy. A cost-benefit analysis of the program found a net economic benefit of $30 per patient per day, mostly because of reduced criminal justice and health care costs. The Swiss study has undermined several myths about heroin and its habitual users. The results to date demonstrate that, given relatively unlimited availability, heroin users will voluntarily stabilize or reduce their dosage and some will even choose abstinence; that long-addicted users can lead relatively normal, stable lives if provided legal access to their drug of choice; and that ordinary citizens will support such initiatives. In recent referendums in Zurich, Basel, and Zug, substantial majorities voted to continue funding local arms of the experiment. And last September, a nationwide referendum to end the government's heroin maintenance and other harm-reduction initiatives was rejected by 71 percent of Swiss voters, including majorities in all 26 cantons. The Netherlands plans its own heroin prescription study in 1998, and similar trials are under consideration elsewhere in Europe, including Luxembourg and Spain, as well as Canada. In Germany, the federal government has opposed heroin prescription trials and other harm-reduction innovations, but the League of Cities has petitioned it for permission to undertake them; a survey early last year found that police chiefs in 10 of the country's 12 largest cities favored letting states implement controlled heroin distribution programs. In Australia last summer, a majority of state health ministers approved a heroin prescription trial, but Prime Minister John Howard blocked it. And in Denmark, a September 1996 poll found that 66 percent of voters supported an experiment that would provide registered addicts with free heroin to be consumed in centers set up for the purpose. Switzerland, attempting to reduce overdoses, dangerous injecting practices, and shooting up in public places, has also taken the lead in establishing "safe injection rooms" where users can inject their drugs under secure, sanitary conditions. There are now about a dozen such rooms in the country, and initial evaluations are positive. In Germany, Frankfurt has set up three, and there are also officially sanctioned facilities in Hamburg and Saarbrucken. Cities elsewhere in Europe and in Australia are expected to open safe injection rooms soon. REEFER SANITY Cannabis, in the form of marijuana and hashish, is by far the most popular illicit drug in the United States. More than a quarter of Americans admit to having tried it. Marijuana's popularity peaked in 1980, dropped steadily until the early 1990s, and is now on the rise again. Although it is not entirely safe, especially when consumed by children, smoked heavily, or used when driving, it is clearly among the least dangerous psychoactive drugs in common use. In 1988 the administrative law judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Francis Young, reviewed the evidence and concluded that "marihuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." As with needle exchange and methadone treatment, American politicians have ignored or spurned the findings of government commissions and scientific organizations concerning marijuana policy. In 1972 the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse-created by President Nixon and chaired by a former Republican governor, Raymond Shafer-recommended that possession of up to one ounce of marijuana be decriminalized. Nixon rejected the recommendation. In 1982 a panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences reached the same conclusion as the Shafer Commission. Between 1973 and 1978, with attitudes changing, 11 states approved decriminalization statutes that reclassified marijuana possession as a misdemeanor, petty offense, or civil violation punishable by no more than a $100 fine. Consumption trends in those states and in states that retained stricter sanctions were indistinguishable. A 1988 scholarly evaluation of the Moscone Act, California's 1976 decriminalization law, estimated that the state had saved half a billion dollars in arrest costs since the law's passage. Nonetheless, public opinion began to shift in 1978. No other states decriminalized marijuana, and some eventually recriminalized it. Between 1973 and 1989, annual arrests on marijuana charges by state and local police ranged between 360,000 and 460,000. The annual total fell to 283,700 in 1991, but has since more than doubled. In 1996, 641,642 people were arrested for marijuana, 85 percent of them for possession, not sale, of the drug. Prompted by concern over rising marijuana use among adolescents and fears of being labeled soft on drugs, the Clinton administration launched its own anti-marijuana campaign in 1995. But the administration's claims to have identified new risks of marijuana consumption-including a purported link between marijuana and violent behavior-have not withstood scrutiny.(1) Neither Congress nor the White House seems likely to put the issue of marijuana policy before a truly independent advisory commission, given the consistency with which such commissions have reached politically unacceptable conclusions. In contrast, governments in Europe and Australia, notably in the Netherlands, have reconsidered their cannabis policies. In 1976 the Baan Commission in the Netherlands recommended, and the Dutch government adopted, a policy of separating the "soft" and "hard" drug markets. Criminal penalties for and police efforts against heroin trafficking were increased, while those against cannabis were relaxed. Marijuana and hashish can now be bought in hundreds of "coffeeshops" throughout the country. Advertising, open displays, and sales to minors are prohibited. Police quickly close coffeeshops caught selling hard drugs. Almost no one is arrested or even fined for cannabis possession, and the government collects taxes on the gray market sales. In the Netherlands today, cannabis consumption for most age groups is similar to that in the United States. Young Dutch teenagers, however, are less likely to sample marijuana than their American peers; from 1992 to 1994, only 7.2 percent of Dutch youths between the ages of 12 and 15 reported having tried marijuana, compared to 13.5 percent of Americans in that age bracket. Far fewer Dutch youths, moreover, experiment with cocaine, buttressing officials' claims of success in separating the markets for hard and soft drugs. Most Dutch parents regard the "reefer madness" anti-marijuana campaigns of the United States as silly. Dutch coffeeshops have not been problem free. Many citizens have complained about the proliferation of coffeeshops, as well as nuisances created by foreign youth flocking to party in Dutch border cities. Organized crime involvement in the growing domestic cannabis industry is of increasing concern. The Dutch government's efforts to address the problem by more openly and systematically regulating supplies to coffeeshops, along with some of its other drug policy initiatives, have run up against pressure from abroad, notably from Paris, Stockholm, Bonn, and Washington. In late 1995 French President Jacques Chirac began publicly berating The Hague for its drug policies, even threatening to suspend implementation of the Schengen Agreement allowing the free movement of people across borders of European Union (EU) countries. Some of Chirac's political allies called the Netherlands a narco-state. Dutch officials responded with evidence of the relative success of their policies, while pointing out that most cannabis seized in France originates in Morocco (which Chirac has refrained from criticizing because of his government's close relations with King Hassan). The Hague, however, did announce reductions in the number of coffeeshops and the amount of cannabis customers can buy there. But it still sanctions the coffeeshops, and a few municipalities actually operate them. Notwithstanding the attacks, in the 1990s the trend toward decriminalization of cannabis has accelerated in Europe. Across much of Western Europe, possession and even minor sales of the drug are effectively decriminalized. Spain decriminalized private use of cannabis in 1983. In Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court effectively sanctioned a cautious liberalization of cannabis policy in a widely publicized 1994 decision. German states vary considerably in their attitude; some, like Bavaria, persist in a highly punitive policy, but most now favor the Dutch approach. So far the Kohl administration has refused to approve state proposals to legalize and regulate cannabis sales, but it appears aware of the rising support in the country for Dutch and Swiss approaches to local drug problems. In June 1996 Luxembourg's parliament voted to decriminalize cannabis and push for standardization of drug laws in the Benelux countries. The Belgian government is now considering a more modest decriminalization of cannabis combined with tougher measures against organized crime and heroin traffickers. In Australia, cannabis has been decriminalized in South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra), and the Northern Territory, and other states are considering the step. Even in France, Chirac's outburst followed recommendations of cannabis decriminalization by three distinguished national commissions. Chirac must now contend with a new prime minister, Lionel Jospin, who declared himself in favor of decriminalization before his Socialist Party won the 1997 parliamentary elections. Public opinion is clearly shifting. A recent poll found that 51 percent of Canadians favor decriminalizing marijuana. WILL IT WORK? Both at home and abroad, the U.S. government has attempted to block resolutions supporting harm reduction, suppress scientific studies that reached politically inconvenient conclusions, and silence critics of official drug policy. In May 1994 the State Department forced the last-minute cancellation of a World Bank conference on drug trafficking to which critics of U.S. drug policy had been invited. That December the U.S. delegation to an international meeting of the U.N. Drug Control Program refused to sign any statement incorporating the phrase "harm reduction." In early 1995 the State Department successfully pressured the World Health Organization to scuttle the release of a report it had commissioned from a panel that included many of the world's leading experts on cocaine because it included the scientifically incontrovertible observations that traditional use of coca leaf in the Andes causes little harm to users and that most consumers of cocaine use the drug in moderation with few detrimental effects. Hundreds of congressional hearings have addressed multitudinous aspects of the drug problem, but few have inquired into the European harm-reduction policies described above. When former Secretary of State George Shultz, then -Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders, and Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke pointed to the failure of current policies and called for new approaches, they were mocked, fired, and ignored, respectively-and thereafter mischaracterized as advocating the outright legalization of drugs. In Europe, in contrast, informed, public debate about drug policy is increasingly common in government, even at the EU level. In June 1995 the European Parliament issued a report acknowledging that "there will always be a demand for drugs in our societies . . . the policies followed so far have not been able to prevent the illegal drug trade from flourishing." The EU called for serious consideration of the Frankfurt Resolution, a statement of harm-reduction principles supported by a transnational coalition of 31 cities and regions. In October 1996 Emma Bonino, the European commissioner for consumer policy, advocated decriminalizing soft drugs and initiating a broad prescription program for hard drugs. Greece's minister for European affairs, George Papandreou, seconded her. Last February the monarch of Liechtenstein, Prince Hans Adam, spoke out in favor of controlled drug legalization. Even Raymond Kendall, secretary general of Interpol, was quoted in the August 20, 1994, Guardian as saying, "The prosecution of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens every year is both hypocritical and an affront to individual, civil and human rights . . . Drug use should no longer be a criminal offense. I am totally against legalization, but in favor of decriminalization for the user." One can, of course, exaggerate the differences between attitudes in the United States and those in Europe and Australia. Many European leaders still echo Chirac's U.S.-style antidrug pronouncements. Most capital cities endorse the Stockholm Resolution, a statement backing punitive prohibitionist policies that was drafted in response to the Frankfurt Resolution. And the Dutch have had to struggle against French and other efforts to standardize more punitive drug laws and policies within the EU. Conversely, support for harm-reduction approaches is growing in the United States, notably and vocally among public health professionals but also, more discreetly, among urban politicians and police officials. Some of the world's most innovative needle exchange and other harm-reduction programs can be found in America. The 1996 victories at the polls for California's Proposition 215, which legalizes the medicinal use of marijuana, and Arizona's Proposition 200, which allows doctors to prescribe any drug they deem appropriate and mandates treatment rather than jail for those arrested for possession, suggest that Americans are more receptive to drug policy reform than politicians acknowledge. But Europe and Australia are generally ahead of the United States in their willingness to discuss openly and experiment pragmatically with alternative policies that might reduce the harm to both addicts and society. Public health officials in many European cities work closely with police, politicians, private physicians, and others to coordinate efforts. Community policing treats drug dealers and users as elements of the community that need not be expelled but can be made less trouble some. Such efforts, including crackdowns on open drug scenes in Zurich, Bern, and Frankfurt, are devised and implemented in tandem with initiatives to address health and housing problems. In the United States, in contrast, politicians presented with new approaches do not ask, "Will they work?" but only, "Are they tough enough?" Many legislators are reluctant to support drug treatment programs that are not punitive, coercive, and prison-based, and many criminal justice officials still view prison as a quick and easy solution for drug problems. The lessons from Europe and Australia are compelling. Drug control policies should focus on reducing drug-related crime, disease, and death, not the number of casual drug users. Stopping the spread of HIV by and among drug users by making sterile syringes and methadone readily available must be the first priority. American politicians need to explore, not ignore or automatically condemn, promising policy options such as cannabis decriminalization, heroin prescription, and the integration of harm-reduction principles into community policing strategies. Central governments must back, or at least not hinder, the efforts of municipal officials and citizens to devise pragmatic approaches to local drug problems. Like citizens in Europe, the American public has supported such innovations when they are adequately explained and allowed to prove themselves. As the evidence comes in, what works is increasingly apparent. All that remains is mustering the political courage. Note Lynn Zimmer and John P. Morgan, Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence, New York: Lindesmith Center, 1997.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Wine Might Lower Risk Of Blinding Disease (Report In 'Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society' Finds Possible Benefit For Elderly With Age-Related Macular Degeneration) Subj: US: Wine Might Lower Risk Of Blinding Disease From: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 17:35:48 -0500 Source: Associated Press Pubdate: 1 Jan 1998 WINE MIGHT LOWER RISK OF BLINDING DISEASE NEW YORK -- Drinking moderate amounts of wine might lower the risk of an eye disease that's a leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in the elderly. In a large study of people ages 45 to 74, researchers found that wine drinking was associated with lower rates of age-related macular degeneration. The disorder, which impairs sight in about 1.7 million Americans over 65, robs people of their sharp central vision needed for activities such as reading and driving. The study found the lowest risk in people who reported having only about one drink of wine a month, but because of faulty recall that could really be two or three drinks, said Dr. Thomas Obisesan, chief of the geriatrics section at the Howard University Hospital in Washington. Beer and liquor showed no significant effect on the risk of the disorder. Obisesan and other researchers report the study in the January issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Because of how the study was designed, it can't actually prove that wine consumption lowered the risk of the eye disease. And it's not clear how wine would reduce the risk of the disorder, researchers said. Prior studies have concluded that moderate drinking reduces the risk of heart disease. For the new work, researchers examined data from 3,072 participants in a huge federal study that was done in the 1970s. The participants had an eye exam as part of that study, and 184 had the eye disease.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prison Stats - US (United States' Incarceration Statistics) Date: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 12:52:11 To: Mattalk@islandnet.com From: Kathy galbraith
Subject: Prison Stats-US I got this from my friend Abby, who is a 58-yr.old Calif. midwife wrongly imprisoned for attending homebirths.. don't know the name of the publication: Think About It: There are over 5 million Americans in prison, on probation, or on parole. * The U.S. now has 1.6 million people in prison. This is a five-fold increase since 1970 with a weekly net increase of 2,000 prisoners 4 new prisons would have to be built per week to accommodate this increase. * More than 94% of incarcerated men and women will be released from prison and re-enter our communities. About two-thirds will be re-arrested within 3 yrs. * The U.S. has the highest per capita prison population of any country in the world, including dictatorships. It is five to eight times higher than other countries in the industrialized world. * A study at the Brookings institution found that if the present rate continues, more than half of America will be in prison by 2053. * In many state budgets, prisons are now the fastest rising item. The cost of building and operating U.S. prisons has grown to more than $31 billion a year from 6.8 billion in 1980. Budgets for operating prison systems are increasing at the direct expense of social services, health care, and education. * Ten years ago California spent 14% of the state budget on higher ed. and 4% on prisons. Two years ago it spent 9% on higher ed and 9% on prisons. Now it spends more on prisons than it spends on higher education. The Rand Corporation predicts that by 2002 the state of Calif. will spend 18% of its yearly budget on prisons which will leave 1% for higher education. * Nonviolent offenders accounted for 84% of the increase in commitment to state prisons between 1980 and 1992. * The MA Dept. of Corrections spends an average of 29,604 a year on each prisoner. The Boston school system spends an average of $5,500. on each student. * The vast majority of America's prisoners are between 18 and 24 years old. RACE: * On any given day, one in every three African-American men between the ages of 20 and 29 are in prison or jail, or on parole or probation. * According to a report entitled Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, published by the Rand Corporation, charges against whites are reduced to lesser non-prison charges more frequently; they are offered better plea bargains and are ordered incarcerated much less frequently and for shorter sentences than blacks. * As drug law enforcement resources continued to be focused on minority communities, drug arrests of minorities increased at ten times the rate for whites. DRUGS: * It is estimated that 85% of people entering prison have significant drug or alcohol problems. * After nearly thirty year war on drugs in which approx.70% of all federal prisoners are now incarcerated for drug offenses, drugs are more plentiful, more pure, and cheaper on American streets than ever before. * In states like NY that have longer standing programs, studies have shown that inmates who complete drug treatment are only half as likely to return to prison as those who do not. * A Calif. study showed that every $1. invested in solid drug treatment saved $7. in future costs of crime and incarceration. EDUCATION: * As of 1995, Pell Grants (for college tuition) are no longer available to prisoners. (The college program was one of the big symbols of hope that someday you could get out of the ciminal-justice system.) * It is estimated that over 66% of ex-offenders are re-arrested within five years. Over 35% return to prison. For those receiving college degrees the recidivism rate was an estimated 7%. * 75% of all NY State prisoners- who now number more than 68,000- came from 7 communities in NY City. Those inner-city neighborhoods were characterized by abject poverty, disintegrated families, unemployment of at least 60% among black males between 18 and 35, a more than 50% high school dropout rate among males and high incidence of AIDS, tuber- culosis, and low-birthweight babies. * Intensive alternative sanctions for non-violent offenders (which usually involves confinement, restitution, restoration and community service) costs about one fourth that of incarceration. The recidivism rate is one half of those who are incarcerated. * Since 1980 the number of prison guards in Calif. has risen to over 23,400 from 4,800. Their average income is almost 10,000 more a year than the average public school teacher in Calif. The prison guard union gave $1 million to candidates for seats in the Legislature in 1992 and provided $101,000 for the Three Strikes You're Out Committee to help pass the sentencing law. * There are thousands of mentally ill people incarcerated in adult and juvenile facilities and most facilities in U.S. are not equipped to care adequately for the mentally ill offender. * The number of Calif. prisoners older than 50 is expected to increase from 5000 in 1994 to more than 51,000 by 2005. Medical care and maintenance for prisoners over age 60 is 69,000 per prisoner, three times the average. Most crimes are committed by those in their teens and twenties. *** My friend said that the guards are vicious, violent, and inconsistent. She asked one of them when he planned to retire..... "The cops model inefficiency to the utmost. Irrationality and inconsistency are what it taught. Hurry up and get it done so I can do nothing, is the thought. A question is a bother. Employees here probably wouldn't last in any for-profit business, as there are no internal checks and balances. Large salaries are paid and the cops brag about it. I asked one cop in his sixties when he was going to retire and he said, "Why would I retire? At home I'd do nothin', Here I get paid to do nothin'." The cop parking lot is loaded with fancy cars...." Please forward this to the DRC list... Let's increase our efforts this year to correct this terrible situation in the penal system.. Sad and mad, Dr.Kate --- Kathy Galbraith e-mail: GALBRAITH@upanet.uleth.ca Public Access Internet The University of Lethbridge
------------------------------------------------------------------- California Prisons Fact Sheet (Statistics On Inmates, Institutions, Employees, Budget, Compiled By California Department Of Corrections) Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 11:58:45 -0500 From: Cheryl Dykstra & Scott Dykstra
Organization: Dykstra Computer Repair Service To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: CanPat> Prison breakdown of profits, budgets, parolees, race, etc.... Sender: email@example.com http://www.cdc.state.ca.us/factsht.htm January 1, 1998 About the Department The California Department of Corrections operates all state prisons, oversees a variety of community correctional facilities, and supervises all parolees during their re-entry into society. Budget: $3.7 billion (1997-1998 Budget Act) Avg. yearly cost: per inmate, $21,098; per parolee, $2,145. Staff: 43,991 currently employed including 38,402 in Institutions, 2,587 in Parole, and 2,790 in Administration (about 27,193 sworn peace officers). . . . and the State Budget While it is the largest in terms of staffing, Corrections' operating budget is just 7.6 percent of the state General Fund in the 1997-1998 Budget Act. About Construction Since the early 1980s, Corrections has been involved in the largest prison building program in the United States. Cost: $5.27 billion; Beds Completed: 47,844; Under Construction: 3,424. Authorized/Proposed: 0; Total: 51,268. Sites planned/under review: California City, Delano, Sacramento, San Diego County, Solano County, and Taft. About Prisons FACILITIES: 33 state prisons ranging from minimum to maximum custody; 38 camps, minimum custody facilities located in wilderness areas where inmates are trained as wildland firefighters; and 6 prisoner mother facilities. POPULATION: All Institutions: 155,276. One year change: 9,711. +6.7%. Prisons: 145,258. Capacity: 72,444; Occupied: 200.5%. Camps: 3,883. Capacity: 3,908; Occupied: 99.4%. Community Facilities: 5,847 Outside CDC: 1,757 At large: 428 USINS (Immigration) Holds: 19,140. Top 5 counties: 35.5% LA; 8.0% San Diego; 5.9% San Bernardino; 5.4% Orange; 5.1% Riverside. CHARACTERISTICS: Males: 93.0% Females: 7.0% Parole Violators: 17.3%. Race: 30.1% white; 31.0% black; 33.9% hispanic; 4.9% other. Offense: 41.5% violent; 25.3% property; 26.4% drugs; 6.7% other. Classifications (males): 31.8% Level I; 21.5% Level II; 24.5% Level III; 19.6% Level IV; 2.5% Special Security. Lifers: 17,765 LWOPs: 2,582 Condemned: 497 Avg Reading Level: Eighth grade Median Age: 32. Employed: 57.3% Unavail: 29.5% Waiting List: 13.2% Avg Sentence: 41.4 months; Avg Time Served: 22.6 months. Commitment Rate: 388.3 per 100,000 Calif. population. Assault Rate (per 100 ADP): 3.3 in '96; 3.2 in '95; 3.4 in '94. Escape Rate (per 100 ADP): 0.05 in '96; 0.06 in '95; 0.05 in '94. About Parole FACILITIES: 31 re-entry centers, 1 restitution, 1 drug treatment, 1 boot camp and 12 community correctional facilities (CCFs). Most are operated by public or private agencies under contract to CDC. Parole staff monitor the security measures and oversee the day-to-day operations of these facilities. OFFICES: 130 parole offices in 71 locations. 4 parole outpatient clinics and 56 clinicians. POPULATION: Total: 105,449. One year change: 4,514. +4.5%. Paroled to committing county: 90.4% Paroled to another county: 9.6% Region I (North/Central Valley): 21,024; Region II (Bay Area/North, Central Coast): 21,691 Region III (most of LA County): 36,565; Region IV (San Diego/San Gabriel Valley/S.Ca) : 26,169 Return rate (per 100 avg daily pop) with new prison term: 15.9; Return rate (per 100 avg daily pop) as parole violator: 52.9 Top 5 counties: 29.4% LA; 6.5% San Diego; 5.7% Orange; 5.5% San Bernardino; 3.9% Riverside. CHARACTERISTICS: Males: 89.9% Females: 10.1% Race: 29.9% white; 26.2% black; 39.0% hispanic; 4.9% other. Offense: 26.8% violent; 28.2% property; 34.3% drugs; 10.6% other. Median Age: 34
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Kleber At CASA ('The Chronicle Of Higher Education' Reports On Columbia University's National Center On Addiction And Substance Abuse) Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 05:51:58 EST From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Dr. Kleber at CASA My brother sent me the October 3, 1997 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education which has a good article on Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Ethan Nadelmann is quoted as describing Joseph Califano as "essentially a reincarnation of the old temperance warriors." He also got the biggest picture! Just to summarize (I still don't have OCR). The story begins with a description of how reporters credulously copy down whatever Califano tells them, such as his spin on that rat research we chewed on several months ago. Califano: "The days of marijuana as a safe drug are over. This research has crowned marijuana a 'hard drug'". But the part that burn me the most comes from CASA's infamous medical director, Dr Herbert Kleber, apparently the only Columbia U-tenured person on the CASA staff. Kleber was quick to label the rat research as the "smoking gun" he has been looking for linking marijuana use to the production of cravings for hard drugs. Quoting from the article: "The argument that marijuana is a 'gateway drug' is key to [CASA's] goal. . . For every 100 people who have tried pot, 28 have tried cocaine, and only one uses cocaine weekly. . . .CASA's medical director, Herbert D Kleber, responds that the risk that a marijuana smoker will try cocaine is no different from -- and even greater than -- the risk that a smoker will get lung cancer. 'The people who say most marijuana smokers don't try cocaine either don't understand risk ratios, or disingenuously pretend not to,' he says. He is convinced that there is a biochemical trigger that leads marijuana users to seek other drugs. 'We just haven't found it yet.'" Is 28 percent more than 50 percent, Dr. Kleber? Maybe Dr. K doesn't understand what the word "most" means -- or is disingenuously pretending not to. Either way, this guy is a disgrace to the medical profession and to Columbia University. Isn't it amazing that Columbia would give tenure to Kleber after they were burned by his cut-from-the-same-cloth fellow drug war pseudo-scientist, Gabriel Nahas? Frankly, I don't think I'd trust any research coming out of Columbia University -- not if this is how much respect they have for the truth. BTW, Columbia's president, Gerge Rupp, is on CASA's board of directors, along with Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford. Something needs to be done about this situation. . . But what? David
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Exception To Fourth Amendment (Excerpt From Dan Baum's 'Smoke And Mirrors') Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 17:10:22 EST From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Drug exception to Fourth Amendment Somebody asked on the list if there really is a drug exception to the Fourth Amendment's (supposed) protections. Anyone not aware of this fact should read Dan Baum's excellent book, 'Smoke and Mirrors.' Baum describes in chilling detail the dismantling of Fourth Amendment protections in the name of the war on drugs. Here's a passage that sets the stage: "In response to the activist Court of Earl Warren, conservatives adopted a rallying cry that judges 'shouldn't legislate from the bench.' But in decision after decision throughout the 1980's, the Supreme Court assembled by Nixon, Ford, and Reagan rewrote the Fourth Amendment's protections against police excess as actively as any Congress. The Court let police stop cars at roadblocks and search them without a warrant. It let police crack open a traveler's suitcase or a piece of private mail on the say-so of a barking dog. It permitted the use of 'courier profiles' -- lists of such characteristics as 'black with a Jamaican accent' that constitute sufficient grounds to search a person in an airport without a warrant. It let police spy through windows from low-flying helicopters and *then* get a warrant on the basis of what they see. It permitted compulsory urine testing for federal employees. It essentially revoked the Fourth Amendment rights of schoolchildren by allowing warrantless searches of their lockers and pockets. And it ruled that even if fenced and posted 'No Trespassing,' the fields, barns, and outbuildings surrounding a home are not protected by an expectation of privacy' and may be searched without a warrant. (para) Every one of the 1980s cases that weakened the Fourth Amendment had one thing in common: they all involved drugs. The Court shared both the national distaste for illegal drugs and the conservative desire to use that distast to empower the prosecution. Drug trafficking, the Court ruled at one point, 'is as serious and violent as the crime of felony murder.' The Court followed the Drug War agenda of Reagan's White House so closely that conservative Justice John Paul Stevens lamented in writing that the Supreme Court had become little more than 'a loyal foot soldier' in the War on Drugs." (pp.177-8) All dpr activists should own and read this book, IMHO. David
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re - Drug Exception To Fourth Amendment (Richard Lawrence Miller's 'Drug Warriors and Their Prey' Also Explains 'Drug Exception') Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 19:40:44 EST From: Gerald Sutliff
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Re: Drug exception to Fourth Amendment At 05:10 PM 1/1/98 EST, David Hadorn wrote: >Somebody asked on the list if there really is a drug exception to the Fourth >Amendment's (supposed) protections. Anyone not aware of this fact should >read Dan Baum's excellent book, 'Smoke and Mirrors.' Baum describes in >chilling detail the dismantling of Fourth Amendment protections in the name >of the war on drugs. Here's a passage that sets the stage: Agreed. Another book I recommend is, 'Drug Warriors and Their Prey,' by Richard Lawrence Miller. Warning! it is not for the faint of heart. After you read these two books you will no longer wonder if there is a "drug exception." vty, jerry sutliff
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Exception To Fourth Amendment (Reply By Eric Sterling Of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation Notes It's The Drug Exception To The Bill Of Rights) Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 18:34:00 EST From: "Eric E. Sterling"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Drug Exception to 4th Amdt, etc. >Somebody asked on the list if there really is a drug exception to the Fourth >Amendment's (supposed) protections. [What does "really" mean in this context? There is nothing in the text of the Fourth Amendment, or elsewhere in the Constitution, that is a "drug exception to the 4th Amendment. The rulings of courts in drug cases have created what lawyers have been calling a drug exception to the Bill of Rights for over a decade.--EES] >David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) replied to the question: >"Anyone not aware of this fact should read Dan Baum's excellent book, >'Smoke and Mirrors.' " Dan is an excellent journalist and author, and his book is excellent, but he is not an attorney. The issues are much broader than the 4th Amendment. My speech to the Colorado Bar Association, 92nd Annual Convention in September 14, 1990, "The Bill of Rights: A Casualty of the War on Drugs," was published in "Vital Speeches of the Day," November 1, 1990. There I outlined how all of the Bill of Rights, including the 3rd, 7th, 9th, and 10th Amendments, as well as the 13th and 14th Amendments, were being undermined by the war on drugs. I spent a great deal of attention to focusing on the reliance of the Congress upon its power to regulate interstate commerce (Article I, section 8) as its Constitutional basis for regulating individual drug use. I argued that "the war on drugs is the cornerstone of an as yet unbuilt edifice of totalitarianism. Challenging the war on drugs is the most important issue facing civil liberties and the preservation of the Bill of Rights." If you want to read what other lawyers have written about "the drug exception to the Bill of Rights" (more than the 4th Amendment is implicated), you should read: (1) Steven Wisotsky's article in the Hastings Law Journal, "Crackdown: The Emerging 'Drug Exception' to the Bill of Rights," Volume 38, p. 889 (1987). (1(a)) An excellent earlier article by Wisotsky is "Exposing the War on Cocaine" in the Wisconsin Law Review, volume 1983 (1983). Wisotsky is a law professor at Nova University Law Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (1(b)) Also see Silas Wasserstrom, "The Incredible Shrinking Fourth Amendment" in the American Criminal Law Review, vol. 21, no. 3, 1985. (2) Wisotsky reviews these legal analyses in his excellent and comprehensive book, which was published twice. Hardcover: "Breaking the Impasse in the War on Drugs," Greenwood Press, 1986. ISBN 0-313-24266-6 Softcover: "Beyond the War on Drugs, Overcoming a Failed Public Policy," Prometheus Books, 1990. ISBN 0-87975-587-3 Both editions include a foreword by Thomas Szasz, MD. (3) Yale Law Professor Steven B. Duke and Albert C. Gross, Esq., have written an outstanding book: "America's Longest War: Rethinking Our Tragic Crusade Against Drugs," Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1993. ISBN 0-87477-541-8 (hardcover) I think I've seen it in softcover. The book has an excellent Foreword by Kurt L. Schmoke In particular read chapter 7, "Freedom Costs" with 130 footnotes to the important court opinions, other legal materials and authorities. (4) Richard Lawrence Miller wrote, _Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State_ by Praeger Publishers, 1996. ISBN 0-275-95042-5 Miller's book follows his 1995 book, "Nazi Justiz: Law of the Holocaust," also by Praeger, and has an extremely dire warning about what the drug laws are really about and where their enforcement is taking us. Miller's book, with over 35 pages of footnotes is a powerful analysis about why this issue is not about "mere technicalities" of court proceedings or "loopholes" as police and prosecutors would have us believe. Miller concludes, "I believe authoritarians are manufacturing and manipulating public fears about drug use in order to create a police state where a much broader agenda of social control can be implemented, using government power to determine what movies we may watch, determine who we may love and how we may love them, determine whether we may or must pray to a deity. I believe the war on drug users masks a war on democracy." (p.191) Dan Baum's book is an excellent history of how drug policy came to be. For a more comprehensive understanding of the change in how the 4th Amendment is being applied -- the true test of what it "means," check out the more in-depth analyses. Both Wisotsky, and Duke & Gross, in addition to examining 4th Amendment caselaw, have excellent comprehensive analyses of many of the drug issues of interest to all drug policy reformers. Eric E. Sterling, President The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation 1899 L Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20036-3804 202-835-9075 Fax--202-833-8561 Email: email@example.com http://www.cjpf.org (The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation) http://www.ndsn.org (National Drug Strategy Network)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Report - GOP Is Stalling On Judges (Rehnquist Chides Senate Republicans) Subj: US: Report: GOP Is Stalling On Judges From: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 16:54:15 -0500 Pubdate: 1 Jan 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News Author: David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor's note: The relationship between drug policy and this and the following story is subtle but interesting. Drug cases are clogging and backlogging the courts. Rehnquist is criticizing Senate Republicans for stalling on Clinton appointments. In today's response Hatch blames the courts themselves. REPORT: GOP IS STALLING ON JUDGES WASHINGTON -- Wading into a simmering dispute between Congress and the White House, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist chided Senate Republicans on Wednesday for stalling on President Clinton's judicial nominees. In an annual report on the federal judiciary, the conservative chief justice warned that delays have left one out of every 10 federal judgeships vacant, threatening the quality of justice in federal courts. ``The Senate is surely under no obligation to confirm any particular nominee, but after the necessary time for inquiry, it should vote him up or vote him down,'' Rehnquist said in his year-end report. ``Vacancies cannot remain at such high levels indefinitely without eroding the quality of justice.'' The vacancy problem is ``particularly troubling'' on the West Coast, Rehnquist noted. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is supposed to have 28 judges, has only 18 judges to hear appeals from the nine-state region. Since taking control of the Senate at the start of 1995, the Republicans have adopted a go-slow strategy on court nominees. They have not voted down a single Clinton nominee, but they have delayed action on dozens. Rehnquist noted that while 101 judges were confirmed in 1994, only 17 won Senate approval in 1996, followed by 36 in 1997. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who was unavailable for comment Wednesday, has firmly denied the GOP is deliberately stalling, saying he and his colleagues are closely scrutinizing the backgrounds of Clinton's nominees to weed out ``liberal activists.'' The Republicans also blame the administration for the vacancy problem because of its slow pace in submitting nominations. The year-end numbers could bolster either argument. While 86 judgeships are vacant nationwide, the administration has only 42 nominations pending before the Senate. Rehnquist's comments focused on the dozen Clinton nominees who have been in limbo for more than a year. Topping the list is University of California-Berkeley law Professor William A. Fletcher, who was nominated for a seat on the 9th Circuit in April 1995. His nomination is still pending, but Republican leaders say they plan no further action to either confirm or reject Fletcher. Administration officials and Senate Democrats cheered Rehnquist's comments. ``I think the chief justice is entirely right. No one has a right to be confirmed, but they (Republicans) have an obligation to act,'' said Assistant Attorney General Eleanor D. Acheson, who is in charge of selecting judicial nominees. ``This process takes a very real and personal toll on people whose lives and careers are put on hold.'' Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, said he hoped Rehnquist's message ``will help shame the Senate into clearing the backlog early in the new year.'' But the potential impact -- if any -- of the chief justice's remarks is unclear. It also is hard to gauge the impact of judicial vacancies on the quality of justice. In recent years, judges have complained about the increasing workload in the federal judiciary, but that is due mostly to a sharp rise in drug and immigration cases. Vacancies on the courts ``aggravate the problem of too few judges and too much work,'' Rehnquist said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dan Lungren In 'Smoke and Mirrors' (California Attorney General Facilitated Passage Of 1984 Omnibus Crime Bill As Congressman) Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 20:00:14 EST From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Dan Lungren in 'Smoke and Mirrors' In rooting around my copy of Smoke and Mirrors (kindly provided by Jerry Sutliff), I notice that the possible next governor of California, Dan Lungren, rated a couple of mentions. In 1984, Lungren was enlisted by the Reagan administration to facilitate passage of the Omnibus Crime Bill, which gave "huge new powers to prosecutors." "Republican congressman Dan Lungren came up with a parliamentary trick to force passage of the big new crime bill. On September 25 he made a motion to attach a brand-new House bill, identical to the [tougher] Senate bill, to a 'must pass' appropriations bill and send it to the full House for a vote. If the House delayed or failed to pass it, federal funding would freeze and the entire government would be shut down. The House had spent months tinkering with the Senate bill, rewriting portions and adding new sections, but that work was out the window. What faced House Democrats now was a straight up-or-down vote on what was essentially the Senate bill they'd received in February. It was a 419-page bill, and under House rules only five minutes of the debate was permitted. "'The American people have shown in the latest poll that this is the number one issue for them!' Lungren exhorted his colleagues. 'Do not worry about next week! Do not worry about last week!' Faced with the choice of giving in or leaving the government with no money to run on, the House voted yay." (p.203) I had forgotten the role Lungren played in bringing about the current shameful prison situation in the United States. And we see his demagoguery against drug use is no recent invention either. The other thing occurred in 1986, when Lungren was arguing that merchants who accept money from "drug dealers" should be penalized: "Make it illegal for a dry cleaner or a grocery store to take money from a drug dealer he argued, and if they do, seize the business. Put the merchant in jail. 'The whole Len Bias story, it seems to me, suggests we have been far too lenient,' Lungren said." (p.227) "For newcomers, Len Bias was the college basketball player whose death (supposedly) as a result of a cocaine overdose incited the US congress into a frenzy of anti-drug legislation." Perhaps these quotes could be used in LTEs or essays linking Lungren to the police- and prison-state the US has become. Finally, here's this gem from S&M: "The same week Len Bias died, coincidentally, William Rehnquist was nominated to replace Warren Burger as chief justice of the Supreme Court." Ouch. David
------------------------------------------------------------------- Minister In Drug Scandal 'Wants To Reveal Identity' (England's 'Independent' Censors Itself) Subj: UK: Minister in Drug Scandal 'Wants to Reveal Identity' From: Zosimos
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 15:28:01 -0800 Source: The Independent (UK) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 MINISTER IN DRUG SCANDAL 'WANTS TO REVEAL IDENTITY' The minister whose son was allegedly caught dealing in drugs has spoken of his frustration at being legally barred from revealing his identity. Michael Streeter, Legal Affairs Correspondent, looks at the legal confusion over the case. The Sun newspaper said yesterday that it would not appeal against an injunction won by the Attorney-General preventing it from naming the 17-year-old. But the Cabinet minister said he was frustrated that he was prevented in law from going public about his predicament. In an interview with the Mirror today, he said he had prepared a statement before taking his son to the police but then found he was legally bound to remain anonymous after the youth was arrested. "I want to talk about this in public and reveal my identity but I have been told I can't. Lawyers have said I haven't got any choice. I'm not in any doubt about that," he said. "That is obviously very frustrating because I am not the sort of person who normally avoids confronting issues like this publicly." He added that he had asked that his son be treated no differently from anyone else. He also said that the arrest of the reporter who broke the story, Dawn Alford, was nothing to do with him. "They [the police] make their own decisions and that's always the way the police operate. It would be outrageous if politicians were to interfere in who was arrested." On Tuesday evening, Mr Justice Moses granted the Attorney-General, John Morris QC, an injunction banning the Sun from publishing the name of the minister's son. He ruled that while the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 protecting a juvenile's identity in court proceedings did not apply, under the law of contempt publication could prejudice a trial, add to the burden of any sentence and wrongly stop the trial judge banning publication of identity during the case. Dan Te, a media specialist at solicitors Lovell White Durrant, said the ruling "strained" the law of contempt. Walter Greenwood, editor of Essential Law for Journalists, praised the integrity of the Attorney-General, but said the injunction "gave the appearance of double standards". Some observers saw the Sun's failed attempt to publish the name as a ploy to draw attention from the rival Mirror, which ran the story before Christmas. Tim Ross, the legal spokesman for the Sun, said: "We felt we had good legal grounds to name the minister but we have decided that arguments on both sides were thorough and the judge took time to consider his judgement." Paul Cavadino, principal officer of the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, defended the injunction, adding: "It is important to remember that the anonymity rule exists to protect juvenile defendants, not to protect their parents from embarrassment.". The Tory spokesman on home affairs, Sir Brian Mawhinney, said the case had become a "slow torture process" for the cabinet minister's family. Meanwhile, Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Brian Hayes has rejected claims of political pressure. Ms Alford's arrest was part of normal police practice and had not been ordered by the Crown Prosecution Service, although they had been consulted as was standard in such cases.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Not Such Dopes (Letter To Editor Of London's 'Daily Mail' Notes Many Accomplished People Have Used Drugs Other Than Alcohol) Subj: UK: PUB LTE: Not Such Dopes From: Richard Lake
(by way of Richard Lake ) Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 16:55:55 -0500 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (CLCIA) Source: Daily Mail (London) Section: Letters Pubdate: 1 Jan 1998 Contact: email@example.com NOT SUCH DOPES Alcohol kills more than 5,000 people worldwide daily and destroys millions of relationships every hour. Dr Anthony Daniels quotes two particular incidents of cannabis abuse (Mail) and seeks to give the impression that the world has something to fear from its increased use. He asks to be shown a habitual taker of drugs and will then try to prove how unhappy and unfulfilled they are /were. He can choose any of the following: Baudelaire, Victor Hugo, Cocteau, Picasso, Coleridge, Keats, Lewis Caroll, Oscar Wilde, Brecht, Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain. Clive Stewart Dusseldorf, Germany
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Summer Of Love - When Drugs Were Not A Problem (1967 Scottish Government Report Released) Subj: UK: The Summer Of Love - When Drugs Were Not A Problem From: Zosimos
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 20:57:53 -0500 Source: The Scotsman, Edinburgh, UK Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com Pubdate: 1 Jan 1998 THE SUMMER OF LOVE - WHEN DRUGS WERE NOT A PROBLEM DURING the summer of love in 1967, the newspapers were reporting shocking stories that children were taking LSD and other hard drugs, writes Jenny Booth. Faced with this threat to the health of the nation's youth, education ministers hastily ordered a survey of hard drug use among children to be conducted by medical officers of health (MOHs). Scotland's MOHs were the first to report back, according to government documents published today, and the news they brought was reassuring. "In Dundee there is no evidence of a problem and seems to be no need for any action to be taken," a Scottish Office memo of October 1967 states. "In Edinburgh no instances of drug taking among school children appear to have been drawn to the authority's notice. In Glasgow there is virtually no problem as regards hard drugs and LSD so far as school-children and college students are concerned, but quite a number of older school pupils and college students resort to 'pep pills' at times of stress." Thirty years on, 53 per cent of Scottish 16-year-olds in the summer of 1997 had tried illegal drugs before they left school, according to the anti-drugs campaign Scotland Against Drugs. It is difficult to compare this statistic with the 1967 survey, because trying drugs is not the same as having a problem with hard drugs. Most experimentation by teenagers today is with the soft drug cannabis, which would probably have fallen outside the remit of the MOHs' inquiries. Comparisons between 1967 and 1997 cannot be exact as attitudes to drugs are much harsher today. For example, in 1967 Scottish doctors still routinely treated heroin addicts as if they were sick and prescribed them medical heroin, but, in the same year, the Dangerous Drugs Act came into force, criminalising heroin, so that heroin addicts were sent to prison instead. The scale of the problem has also changed. In 1967 there were 1,299 notified heroin addicts; in 1994 there were 22,000 notified heroin addicts and an estimated 180,000 further addicts not registered with the health authorities. In 1967, it was a school medical officer who discovered that youngsters took pep pills when he "did a spot-check on a dozen young people being held in the remand centre and had nine positive responses, and this surprised him. The inspector of schools for the Glasgow area considers that the situation there does not appear to be a cause for undue concern and suggests that it would be best to leave it alone at this juncture." It is hard to imagine a response as mild as "surprise" if nine out 12 young people were found to be taking drugs today. "A considerable number of MOHs in the areas where there appears to be no problem doubted the wisdom of an active health education campaign lest it should encourage adolescents to experiment with drugs," the memo notes, preceding this year's findings of Edinburgh University's drugs expert Prof Martin Plant by three decades. "Quite a number of them, however, were providing health education on this subject in their areas." The idea of a national campaign of the type waged today by Scotland Against Drugs was seen as a waste of time in 1967. "As regards the future, most felt that a publicity campaign was neither necessary nor desirable," the Scottish home and health department note says.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Editorial - Remembering The Way We Once Were (Release Of 1967 Scottish Public Records Shows 'There Never Was Much Of A Party To Miss') Subj: UK: Editorial: Remembering The Way We Once Were From: Zosimos
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 21:17:24 -0500 Source: Scotsman Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com Pubdate: 1 Jan 1998 REMEMBERING THE WAY WE ONCE WERE THINGS are not what they used to be - but then, they never were. Many people who grew up in the 1960s have spent years wondering how they managed to miss all the fun. How did the "permissive society", sex, drugs and rock and roll pass them by so completely? Woodstock may have been playing in the local fleapit but in the average Scottish town flower power seemed to be confined to neatly-kept herbaceous borders in the local park. It was as though your invitation to the party had gone astray. Now, with the release of public records from 1967, the truth can at last be told: there never was much of a party to miss. Whatever was going on elsewhere, Scottish teenagers in the Sixties neither turned on, tuned in, nor dropped out unless they were tuning in to Dr Who. Then, as now, there was public concern over drug use. The difference 30 years ago was that public fears were almost entirely misplaced. Indeed, Scottish Office officials took the sensible view that going on about "the problem" might make for a self-fulfilling prophecy. In reality, there was little to worry about. Times have changed since then, of course, but it is fascinating to consider the extent to which the myth of the Sixties has taken root. London's King's Road and Carnaby Street may have been at the cutting edge of fashion, drugs use and sexual politics. For much of the rest of Britain, in contrast, the transition from the grey, staid Fifties to the op-art Sixties was much less dramatic. In some Scottish towns we could mention people are still waiting patiently for it to happen. But then, this year's batch of records still provide some fascinating contrasts with the present. Given the condition of trade unionism today the chances of any government contemplating the use of troops to break a strike, as Harold Wilson did when Liverpool dockers struck, are remote. The condition of sterling today - - "the pound in your pocket" - in no sense resembles its state when Labour was forced into devaluation. Theatre censorship is now thankfully an almost-forgotten thing of the past. In 1967 Britain's problem with Europe was how we might enter the then EEC, not Euroscepticism. So it goes. Thirty years from now, no doubt, someone will be looking back in amusement at all the talk about a New Britain, mocking our fashions or ridiculing our quaint fears. History, in all things, is the great leveller.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Down But Not Out (CIRC Joint Operation To French Lawmakers Seeks Open, Honest Debate On Cannabis) Resent-Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 18:55:18 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Down but not Out -------- Forwarded message -------- Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 21:28:44 -0500} From: edward dawley <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "INTERNET:email@example.com"
, firstname.lastname@example.org Down but not Out In spite of heavy government pressure, the CIRC in Paris continues the struggle. Below is a press release that they have asked me to send to you. Dec. 10, 1997 Joint operation This very day, The Collectif d'information et de recherches cannabiques (Collective for Information and Research on Cannabis) aka the CIRC, sent its manifesto entitled "Cannabis, lettre ouverte aux législateurs" ( Cannabis, an Open Letter to the Lawmakers) to the 577 members of the French House of Representatives. The CIRC did this because: millions of people enjoy the effect of cannabis; this soft drug is more and more tolerated; every day thousands of young people break the law; prohibition deprives thousands of ill people of the benefits of cannabis; cannabis has been the cause of 50,000 arrests in France last year; Europe is moving towards more pragmatic policies; the debate takes place everywhere in French society except in the Parliament. The CIRC, continually subjected to police and judicial harassment, enclosed in its package a joint of grass grown in France. For the CIRC, this symbolic gesture serves not as an incitement to cannabis consumption but rather an incitement to the opening of a debate on the role of cannabis in a modern society. The representatives have indeed received their joint through the mail. They were surprised but, amused or shocked, the majority of those interviewed by the media came out in favour of a real debate on the legislation of drugs. The best of the book and the letter which was enclosed with it can be consulted (in French) on the CIRC's web site. The book (in French only) has been published by L'Esprit Frappeur. It is sold by the CIRC and all good bookshops at a democratic price : 10 French francs (about $2 US). CONTACT:Jean Pierre Galland tel. 00 33 1 40 09 69 85 fax. 00 33 1 40 09 69 71 CIRC 73/75 rue de la Plaine 75020 PARIS http://fra.drugtext.nl/circ
------------------------------------------------------------------- Antiprohibitionist Action Report, Year 4, Number 1 (Monthly Roundup For Activists Of International Drug Policy Reform News, From CORA In Italy) Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 11:08:26 EST Sender: email@example.com From: Cora.Belgique@agora.stm.it Subject: ANTIPROHIBITIONISTS OF THE ENTIRE WORLD...#1 Antiprohibitionist action report January 1, 1998 - (Year 4) #1 *** 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:+39-6-184.108.40.206 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 *** SWEDISH NEWSPAPER ACCUSES CORA OF BEING A MAFIA ASSOCIATION AND PUBLISHES THE IDENTITY PHOTOS OF MEPS WHO ADHERE TO THE CORA-PAA Stockholm, 9.1.98 - The biggest Scandinavian newspaper Aftonbladet published two pages about CORA, defined as a mafia association. The article is completed by 17 identity photos: these of MEPs who adhere to CORA-PAA: Parliamentarians for Antiprohibitionist Action, the campaign led by CORA for the revision of the international conventions on drugs. Strasbourg, 14.1.98 - The MEPs who featured in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet made a demand to the hierarchy of the European Parliament at the plenary session as to whether elements for a trial exist. The President of the EP will formally protest to the Swedish authorities when he visits Sweden in the coming weeks. *** A MAFIA DELEGATION VISITS THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: WE ARE AGAINST THE DANCONA REPORT Strasbourg, 14.1.98 - A delegation of the Mafia Incorporated met journalists, MEPs and the public in order to express their worries about the dAncona report, whose objective is the decriminalization of soft drugs and therapeutic freedom. The two mafia leaders Frank DellAlbone and Olivier Dups, escorted by two bodyguards with machine-guns, explained that legalization of drugs would cause enormous damage to the drug mafia who earns its money through the prohibitionist regime. At the end of the press conference, the two drug barons revealed their real identities: taking off the sunglasses and borsalino hats, Gianfranco DellAlba and Olivier Dupuis, MEPs for the Lista Pannella, declared to have set up this scenario with the aim of drawing public attention to the dramatic effects of prohibitionism and, in particular to the economic interests of organized crime, who would of course vote no to the dAncona report. *** STRASBOURG: THE DANCONA REPORT IS SENT BACK TO COMMITTEE Strasbourg, 15.1.98 - The European Parliament decided to send back the dAncona report to committee for further examination. The rapporteur, Hedy dAncona (Dutch Socialist, President of the Committee for Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs and former Health Minister), has expressed hope that the referral of the report back to committee - due to the large amount of amendments by both prohibitionists and antiprohibitionists - would permit the finding of a compromise and a stronger support for the proposal towards a resolution so that it could be voted at the plenary. The report - approved in committee with 17 votes in favour, 11 against and 4 abstentions - had found firm opposition from the conservative and prohibitionist MEPs, allied to British Labour and Scandinavian MEPs (their refusal to support the rapporteur of their own political group caused great disconcert amongst their colleagues). In contrast, Radical and Green MEPs (except Scandinavians) were ready to vote in favour of the report. *** ITALY - THE GENERAL PROCURATOR OF THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL FAVORS THE CONTROLLED DISTRIBUTION OF HEROIN For the second year in a row, the General Procurator of the Supreme Court of Appeal calls for the controlled distribution of heroin in Italy. Judge Galli Fonseca, has reiterated what common sense suggests, i.e. that criminality is not produced by drugs, but by prohibitionism, a policy that denies the right to therapy, treatment and sanitary help to addicts. Moreover, it leaves the monopoly of substances to organized crime. Pretending to abolish "evil" prohibition abolishes the right for addicts to have a life and jeopardize the security of the society. CORA thinks that the time has now come for the Minister of Health to "authorize" what the law already set: the right to effective treatments and the freedom of therapy. *** EUROPEAN UNION - AT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT THE CORA PETITION ON FREEDOM OF TREATMENT AND THE RIGHT TO THERAPY CORA has presented to the EP a petition that calls for the freedom of treatment and the right to therapy for physicians and addicts around the Union an in every Member States. The appeal has been endorsed by dozens of citizens, physicians, psychologists, University Professors, psychiatrists, politicians, social operators and parliamentarians. Ensuring the freedom of therapy to medics means to ensure the right to be cured to drug-addicts, respecting the free circulation of citizens. Europe cannot ignore the positive experience of some of its cities any longer. The time is now ripe for antiprohibition policies on drugs; freedom of treatment could be the first step. *** ITALY - A NEW TRIAL FOR MARCO PANNELLA On January 13, Radical founder and leader, Marco Pannella will be tried for having delivered 250 grams of hashish during a TV program aired on December 1995. This nonviolent action followed analogous actions organized in previous months in Piazza Navona and at the Porta Portese market. Contrarily to precedent cases, the prosecutor initially asked for the dismissal of the case, now the judge - pushed also by the indicted himself - has asked for the re-opening of the trial with the imputation of free delivering, and for instigating people to consume hashish. Mr. Pannella risks up to 6 years in jail. A next hearing has been scheduled for February 3. Other 25 antiprohibitionist activists, among which many directors of CORA, the Transnational Radical Party and the Lista Pannella are under indictment or are being tried for civil disobedience performed in Rome, Milan and Bologna. NEWS FROM THE WORLD AFGHANISTAN United Nations Drug Control Programme, (UNDCP) UnderSecretary-General, Pino Arlacchi, has signed an agreement with the Talibans for the progressive eradication of crop - opium poppy - and its conversion. The deal was recently criticized by EuroCommissioner Emma Bonino and by large sectors of the international public opinion. Critics point out that Mr. Arlacchi is dealing with an illegitimate regime that denies and violates the most elementary human rights. (LA STAMPA, LE MONDE 2/1. LA REPUBBLICA, PANORAMA 15/1) ITALIA The proposal of the Mayoralty of Rome and the Region of Lazio regarding the experimentation of a controlled distribution of heroin to Roman addicts has finally initiated a political debate: the center-left coalition and the radicals are in favor, the center right is against. (IL GIORNALE 31/13) GREAT BRITAIN The case of William Straw, 17, Mr. Blair's right arm Jack Straw's son, recently discovered while dealing, has provoked an earthquake in the British political and media world. The journalist who bought some cannabis from the guy has been arrested - a rare case of arrest in investigative journalism. The case has re-opened a debate on the legalization in the country. Jack Straw opposes the legalization but favors medical cannabis. (THE TIMES 30/12, 1-4/1, CORSERA, FRANKFURTER ALLGEMAINE 3/1, LA REPUBBLICA, IL MESSAGGERO 3-4/1, LA STAMPA 3-5/1, NEUE ZUERCHER ZEITUNG 5/1) U.S. After the failure of prohibition, the time has come to change the U.S. policy on drugs. Two articles - one of which by the Director of the Lindesmith Center founded by George Soros - advocate the decriminalization of cannabis and call for the controlled distribution of heroin and harm reduction policies. (INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE 4-10/1) SPAIN Alfred McCoy, an expert on heroin trafficking, has written a book titled "CIA's Complicity in the World-wide Drug Trafficking" in which he condemns the counterproductive effects of the American repressive policies on the issue. (CAMBIO 16-29/12) COLOMBIA The discovery of 10,000 checks coming from an account operated by the Cali' cartel, which were probably used to corrupt some influential members of the Colombian political scene, enlarges the scenario of public corruption involving journalists, politicians and bankers. (FINANCIAL TMES 7/1) MEXICO The Governor of Chihuahua, Francisco Barrios, estimates that half a billion dollars per year is used by the Narcos of Juarez City in order to corrupt journalists, politicians and the police. (EL PAIS 9/1) AUSTRIA Vienna - the local approach to the drug question is based on prevention, madicare, substitution and public security. The "Vienna Approach" has given positive results: during the last three years deaths by OD, as well as the percentage of consumers, has diminished. Since 1996, there are less youngsters involved in the business and/or in rehab centers. Despite this success, in the rest of the country the policy remains a mixture of repression, moderation and toleration. (FRANFURTER ALLGEMEINE 7/1) AUSTRIA In the Voralberg area, deaths by drugs started 20 years ago. Since then 179 people (148 men) have died. Almost half of them died by overdose, the rest for drug-related questions: AIDS, hepatitis, suicides, incidents, killings. (DUE PRESSE 8/1) GERMANY Hannover - Researchers at a local support center are carrying out tests on ecstasy outside discos. The initiative is considered with favor by politicians and the judiciary, with skepticism by the police. The latter fears that the whole operation can favor dealers and send an assuring message to young people. (SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG 8/1) SWITZERLAND Bern - On January 7, the "Citro" police operation, which targets drug trafficking, started. 75 officers out of 575 members of the local police, will be mobilized in order to make the city less appealing to dealers and consumers. (NEUE ZUERCHER ZEITUNG 9/1) GERMANY In 1997, in the Bremen Region 46 people died by drugs, 30% less than the previous year. The city has lost the old appeal to narco-tourism. Nevertheless, all over Germany there remains an increase in the use of hard drugs. (FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE 10/1) ASIA-EUROPE The historic "Way of Silk" between Europe and Asia has become the way of narcotics. The are many couriers and they are all poor, the police is corrupted, the barons of drugs are a sort of popular heroes. The trip starts in Afghanistan, which has become the leader of opium production in the world (2,800 tons a year), at the Afghani border a kilo of opium costs $50, when it reaches Osch, in central Asia, it is $500, eventually it goes to Saint Petersburg, where it is refined. When the product called heroin reaches Germany, costs 80 German marks per gram. (DER SPIEGEL 12/1) ALBANIA In 1992, Agron Musaraj became the Minister of Internal Affairs of the first democratically elected Government of Premier Berisha. According to some countrymen Mr. Musuraj used to have strange contacts with Switzerland, and apparently is the most powerful dealer of Albania. After the last elections, he moved to Greece where apparently he lives a very wealthy life. (NEUE ZUERCHER ZEITUNG 8/1) ITALY During the opening of the "Judicial Year", the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Ferdinando Galli Fonseca, has proposed the controlled distribution of heroin to serious addicts. The statement has been received with criticism by the center-right coalition and some other sectors of the public opinion. 47% of Italians recently interviewed for a survey, oppose the idea. The center-left Government is prudent because it says that there is no majority on the proposal. (CORSERA, IL GIORNALE, IL MESSAGERO, IL SOLE 24 ORE, LA REPUBBLICA, LA STAMPA, 11-12-13-14/1, NEUE ZUERCHER ZEITUNG 12/1) FRANCE In November the Minister of Health, Bernard Kouchner, expressed his personal favorable position on medical cannabis. Mr. Kouchner has recently received a request to import 10 kilos of marijuana for medical purposes. The request was filed by the Movement for the Controlled Legalization (MLC) founded by the French lawyer Francis Caballero. (LIBERATION 12/1, LE MONDE 13/1) PARAGUAY Some Italian missionaries and a journalist have been menaced by the local drug dealers. According to a denounce by Father Luigi Moretti, in 1997 mobs have killed at least 70 people in the small missionary community of Capitan Bano on the Brazilian border. (CORSERA 14/1) 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 .....................................................................Exp 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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