Portland NORML News - Saturday, January 17, 1998

Medical Marijuana Club Left Low And Dry (Deputy District Attorney
Carl Armbrust Files Charges Against Marvin Chavez, Founder
Of The Orange County Cannabis Co-op And Champion Of The Indigent,
Saying, 'He Cannot Sell It, And That Means Not Taking Donations')

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 12:22:24 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Medical Marijuana Club Left Low and Dry
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Pubdate: January 17, 1998
Author: Tina Nguyen, Times Staff Writer


Founder no longer can distribute pot after arrest. Members say they'll
have to turn to black market.

SANTA ANA--Patients who obtained pot from an Orange County medical
marijuana group say they will be forced to deal on the black market now
that the leader of their cannabis club has been charged with multiple
felonies and ordered to stop making deliveries.

Marvin Edward Chavez, the vocal, 43-year-old founder of the Orange County
Cannabis Co-op, was arrested this week at his Santa Ana home by district
attorney investigators. He was charged with eight felony counts, one for
conspiracy to sell marijuana and seven counts of selling marijuana, some
dating back to last March.

At his arraignment Friday, Chavez pleaded not guilty to all charges and was
released on his own recognizance, on the condition that he stop
distributing marijuana to others. The judge allowed him to continue to use
pot for his degenerative spinal disease.

"Enough is enough," said a 39-year-old former buyer who uses marijuana for
his glaucoma. "There are patients that are going to have to break the law
and look for medical marijuana in the back alleys."

Chavez has been a strong advocate of supplying marijuana to indigent
patients who need it for medical purposes. He has also insisted in the past
that he does not require payment for the drug, but does accept "donations."

Chavez, who could not be reached for comment Friday, began operating the
medical marijuana co-op in 1996, shortly after California voters passed
Proposition 215, which legalized the use of marijuana with a doctor's

His arrest comes a week after federal authorities filed civil suits seeking
to close six similar operations in Northern California.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carl Armbrust, who filed the charges and got a judge
from Municipal Court in Santa Ana to issue the arrest warrant, said state
laws forbid the selling of marijuana and that Chavez's acceptance of
"donations" is just that.

"He can use the drug for his own medical reasons, but he cannot sell it,
and that means not taking donations," Armbrust said.

Chavez's lawyer, Bob Kennedy, said donations were accepted because
supplying the substance can get costly.

"The marijuana generally is not provided to the cannabis clubs for free,"
Kennedy said. "Taking donations was the only way they could subsist to
facilitate the needs of these patients. It is not a profit motivation."

Co-op member William Britt, who uses pot for epilepsy and other medical
conditions, said Chavez provided marijuana to poor patients for free.
Patients also were required to show a doctor's prescription to obtain

"There are going to be a lot of people who don't know where to go to get
marijuana," Britt said. "Marvin did a lot of the deliveries. But people who
can't leave their homes are really going to be hard pressed."

Court Rejects Permit For Pot Outlet ('Los Angeles Times' Reports Ventura
County Medical Cannabis Center In Thousand Oaks, California, Loses Bid
In Superior Court To Obtain Occupancy Permit - City Council To Revisit Issue
At January 27 Meeting)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 12:14:40 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Court Rejects Permit for Pot Outlet
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Pubdate: January 17, 1998


Operator of Thousand Oaks store had sought an occupancy certificate for her
medical cannabis business.

The operator of a Thousand Oaks pot outlet lost her bid in court Friday to
obtain an occupancy permit for her medical marijuana business. But she said
that ultimately--though it may take some time--the city will have to give
her one.

"[The city] was telling me that they have to follow state guidelines," said
Andrea Nagy, the 28-year-old legal secretary who operates the Ventura
County Medical Cannabis Center in Thousand Oaks. "But they are going to
make it tough every step of the way. I'm not sure why they are targeting
sick people. That's kind of sick itself." She added that she is concerned
she is being allowed to operate without a certificate of occupancy.

Thousand Oaks Deputy City Atty. Jim Friedl said Friday's Superior Court
decision in Ventura does not change anything. The city already had grounds
to shut Nagy's pot outlet down if it wanted to, he said.

The city has not issued an occupancy permit, officials have said, because
local zoning laws do not specifically allow such an establishment in that
area. "Legally, she could have been shut down all along," Friedl said,
adding that the city has chosen to focus on regulating such businesses,
rather than closing Nagy's establishment.

Last month, the City Council decided not to pass a 45-day moratorium on
medicinal marijuana outlets. That decision also has kept the city from
shutting the center down. "We've felt like we would have had clear
direction with four out of five council members voting for the moratorium,"
Friedl said. "But we didn't get that."

Councilwoman Elois Zeanah--who voted against the moratorium--said at that
time that she did not want to invite a lawsuit against the city. "I don't
want us to step on legal quicksand, and I believe that by shutting down
this club we are inviting litigation," Zeanah said then.

As a result, Friedl said, the city has taken the same approach many other
cities have taken: to officially ignore such establishments. But that is
becoming increasingly difficult to do, he said. "She [Nagy] is pushing her
agenda almost too hard," Friedl said. "She is making it too obvious.
Unfortunately, we are going to have to take steps to shut her down."

Friedl added that he believes Nagy wants an occupancy permit so she can
expand. "With the occupancy permit, she can say, 'Give me a building
permit' and turn this into a marijuana grow room," Friedl said. "I think
that is where she is going."

Nagy, who says she smokes marijuana to ease the pain of chronic migraines,
has said repeatedly that voters' approval of Proposition 215 last year
allows her to dispense marijuana for treatment of medical conditions.

After getting a business license in September for her
"pharmaceutical-related" storefront and then sitting through meetings with
city officials, sheriff's deputies and Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury,
Nagy began distributing marijuana out of a Thousand Oaks strip mall in
September. Initially, she had about six clients, all of whom are required
to have prescriptions for the marijuana. She now has 44 clients.

On Jan. 9, the U.S. attorney's office in Northern California filed civil
lawsuits against six clubs and their operators. The federal attorneys are
seeking permanent injunctions to shut down medical dispensaries in San
Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ukiah and Marin. The action stressed that
although using medicinal pot is legal under state law, cultivation and
distribution of marijuana are still illegal under federal law, which takes

The Times on Friday mistakenly characterized Nagy's opinions on the
Northern California lawsuit. She said she does not want to be arrested in
connection with the suit and that she is "happy that this issue will go
before the juries in Northern California now that the government has
initiated civil action." She also said that while she will not join the
defendants in that case, she supports them--along with other clubs in
Southern California.

The issue will be discussed next at the Jan. 27 Thousand Oaks City Council
meeting. At that time, city officials will present a review of the zoning
and safety issues that a medicinal marijuana outlet raises.

Yamaguchi Has It Wrong (Two Letters To Editor Of 'San Francisco Chronicle'
Protest US Justice Department Lawsuits Against California Medical Marijuana
Dispensaries - First Letter Quotes 10th Amendment, Challenges US Attorney
To Cite What Power Has Been Delegated To US To Control What Plants
Californians May Or May Not Grow, Sell, Or Ingest Within Their Own State)

Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 23:38:01 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: LTE's: Yamaguchi Has It Wrong
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/


Editor -- U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi has sued to shut down provision
of medical marijuana to Californians in spite of our vote to allow such.
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly reserves to the states
or the people all powers not delegated to the United States.

I challenge attorney Yamaguchi, who claims he swore an oath to uphold
federal law, to cite any power delegated to the U.S. to control what plants
we may or may not grow, sell, or ingest within our own state. Or he may
state why he thinks the Constitution does not constitute federal law.
Absent an answer to either question, I suggest he cease attempting to
violate our constitutional right to self-government.

IAN MacEWAN, Oakland



Editor -- Ever since I was old enough to talk my parents and teachers told
me that America was great because it was a democracy. When I as a teen
pointed out that alcohol was socially and physically far more destructive
than marijuana, I was told that through the democratic process laws that
were unjust could be changed.

The voters of California passed Prop. 215 and our ``elected'' officials are
doing everything possible to see that it is never enacted. What a shame
that our great democracy has joined Santa, the Easter bunny and the rest of
our childhood myths.


Medical Marijuana - Unpublished Federal Study Found THC-Treated Rats
Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer ('AIDS Treatment News' Obtains 126-Page
Study, 'NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies
Of 1-Trans-Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats
And B6C3F(1) Mice, Gavage Studies')
Link to 'Boston Globe' story
(ATN) Medical Marijuana: Unpublished Federal Study Found THC- Treated Rats Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer AIDS TREATMENT NEWS Issue #263, January 17, 1997; Published twice monthly Subscription and Editorial Office: P.O. Box 411256 San Francisco, CA 94141 800/TREAT-1-2 toll-free U.S. and Canada 415/255-0588 regular office number fax: 415/255-4659 Internet: aidsnews@aidsnews.org John S. James AIDS TREATMENT NEWS has obtained a 126-page draft report of a major toxicology study of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. The study was completed over two and a half years ago, and passed peer review for publication, but has been kept quiet until this month, when someone leaked copies of the draft report. As far as we know, the public has never been told about this research -- for example, the drug- reform movement seems not to have known about its existence. This work may have been hushed because its findings are not what the drug-war industry would want. The study gave huge doses of THC to rats and mice by stomach tube, and looked for cancers and other evidence of toxicity. First there were small toxicity studies, which used enough THC to kill some of the animals; later, two-year studies were run in both rats and mice, using doses which were still much higher than those of marijuana smokers. The two-year studies tested THC in several hundred rats and several hundred mice. In rats, those given THC had a clear survival advantage over the untreated controls; this effect was statistically significant in all dose groups, and in both males and females. In mice (which were given much larger doses than the rats relative to body weight) there was no survival difference among the groups -- except that those given the highest dose (which was close to the lethal dose for mice) had worse survival. In both mice and rats, in both males and females, "the incidence of benign and malignant neoplasms ... were decreased in a dose-dependent manner" -- meaning that the more THC the animals were given, the fewer tumors they developed. The treated animals weighed less than the controls (even though both ate about the same amount of food); the researchers speculated that the lower body weight may have partly accounted for the increased survival and reduced tumors in the THC-treated animals. The doses were large enough to cause seizures and convulsions in many of the animals, especially when they were dosed or handled. These did not start immediately, but after many weeks, depending on the dose. The researchers looked for brain lesions in animals which had seizures, but found none. No evidence of carcinogenic activity in the rats, but there was "equivocal evidence" of one kind of thyroid tumor in the mice -- with no evidence of a dose-dependent response. Other tumors were less common in the treated animals than in the controls -- except in one case, which the toxicologists believed was due to the fact that the treated animals lived longer, and therefore had more opportunity to develop tumors. The report includes a professionally objective review of the biological effects, possible toxicities, and possible medical uses of THC and marijuana. The title of the report is "NTP Technical Report on the Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of 1-Trans-Delta(9)- Tetrahydrocannabinol (CAS No. 1972-08-3) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F(1) Mice (Gavage Studies)." Over 35 researchers contributed to this study, and 12 others reviewed their work; several institutions, including the National Toxicology Program and SRI International, were involved. The document we received is report NTP TR 446, NIH Publication No. 94-3362, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ("NTP" stands for National Toxicology Program, which is made up of four Federal agencies within Health and Human Services.) Each page of the draft is stamped "not for distribution or attribution." In addition to the 126-page document we have reviewed here, there are 11 appendices, which we have not seen. According to the draft, the report will be available from NTP Central Data Management, 919/541-1371. AIDS TREATMENT NEWS requested a copy of the final report when it is ready, and also requested a copy of the draft. Now that the existence of the report has become publicly known, we have heard that draft copies are being sent if requested -- despite the notice on each page not to distribute them. Comment It would be wrong to interpret this study as showing a beneficial or protective effect of marijuana. The animals were given very large doses, resulting in substantially lower body weight, which may itself have caused much of the survival and tumor improvements. Also, this study used THC, not marijuana smoke -- which like any smoke contains many chemicals, some of which are likely to be harmful. But the study does provide strong evidence that there is no significant cancer risk (if any at all) from the main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana; any such risk would be from incidental substances in the smoke. And if there is such a risk, the modern high-potency marijuana would likely reduce it, by reducing the amount of smoke required to obtain the desired effect. Also, there is no known case of any human death from overdose of marijuana or THC, or from any other acute toxicity of these substances -- a remarkable safety record, compared with alcohol, aspirin, or many other common drugs. (The toxicology report does not say there have been no deaths, but the authors listed none, after doing an exhaustive survey of the literature.) The literature review on the effects of THC and marijuana shows how medical research has been politically skewed (although the paper itself does not state this point). There are almost no studies of possible medical uses of marijuana, but many studies looking for possible harm. Any positive findings, therefore, can be used to support the drug war -- while negative findings (those which fail to show any effect) are usually ignored. Although many doctors and patients have reported important medical benefits, scientific studies of medicinal use have seldom been allowed to happen, since positive findings could challenge the official public- relations tactic of demonization. The drug war itself has controlled the medical research agenda, since it controls legal access to marijuana. Like most permanent wars, it strives for self preservation. The newly available Federal toxicology study provides the best evidence yet that the risks of THC are small. What other drug would increase life expectancy of rats when given in huge overdoses daily for two years? The recent Federal attacks on medical marijuana -- against doctors and desperately ill patients -- are needlessly cruel, and bizarrely inappropriate to scientific and medical understanding. Copyright (c) 1997 - John S. James. Distributed by AEGIS, your online gateway to a world of people, knowledge, and resources. Direct Dial: v.34+: 714.248.2836; v.120/ISDN: 714.248.0433 Internet: telnet:aegis.com www: http://www.aegis.com 970117

Chavez Released, Phone Poll Results Are In ('Orange County Register'
Says Marvin Chavez, Founder Of Orange County Cannabis Co-op, Released -
District Attorney Intends To Proceed With Jury Trial Despite 'Register' Poll
Showing 99 Percent Disapproval)

Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 23:53:28 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Chavez Released; Phone Poll Results Are In
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: Sat, January 17, 1998
Author: Jeff Kramer-The Orange County Register; Contributing writer-Sturet


YES-1% NO-99%


The future of a fragile network that distributes medical marijuana in
Orange County has been thrown into disarray after the arrest of its
founder this week on pot-related charges.

Marvin Chavez, founder of the Orange County Cannabis Co-op, was released on
his own recognizance Friday after his arrest two days earlier at his Santa
Ana home. He faces eight felony counts of conspiracy and marijuana sales.

Chevez, widely seen as the driving force behind the organization, vowed in
court not to personally purchase or distribute marijuana while awaiting
trial. However, he said he will continue to be active in the co-op.

In an interview afterward, his attorney, Bob Kennedy of Long Beach, said,
"The club will continue to meet its obligation for those unfortunate
individuals who are in need of medicinal marijuana."

But how it will do that is unclear.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," said Del Dalton, a Laguna Niguel
anesthesiologist who occasionally refers patients to the co-op. "It won't
do anyone any good to get a recommendation to use marijuana if they can't
obtain it."

Bill Britt, 38, of Long Beach, a patient advocate for the co-op, said
Chavez's arrest means the club will be forced into a less-direct role in
providing pot to patients.

"It will be a combination of referring other clubs, like L.A. and San
Diego, and other black market sources," he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust, who is prosecuting
Chavez, said his office will respond if it hears allegations of other co-op
members breaking the law.

"We know Chavez has some volunteers," Armbrust said. "We're trying to
figure out where they are and if they're going to continue this co-op."

The co-op has operated as an informal association of care-givers, growers
and patients, with Chavez's home serving as a makeshift headquarters.

Chavez, 43, started the association in November 1996 after voters passed an
initiative legalizing marijuana use for seriously ill people with a
doctor's note.

The law legalized possession and cultivation of marijuana in such cases,
but selling or distribution of the substance is still banned.

To get around that problem, Chavez, who could not be reached for comment
Friday, has argued that his group accepts "donations" from patients, a
semantic distinction that fell flat with prosecutors.

Both sides expect the case to go to trial.

"I appreciate the fact that the district attorney has given us the
opportunity to let 12 jurors make the decision if it is appropriate to
distribute marijuana in this manner," Kennedy said.

The co-op has suffered from the unwillingness of any Orange County
community to pass an ordinance sanctioning a cannabis club or otherwise
providing for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana for medical
purposes, an option permitted by the initiative.

Robert Harris, a medical marijuana activist from Humboldt County, said he
contacted Laguna Beach City Manager Kenneth Frank about the possibility of
that city adopting such a law.

Frank, however, was dubious in an interview with The Register.

"While Laguna Beach probably is the most liberal city in Orange County, I
don't think Laguna Beach is on the same level as Berkeley, San Francisco or
Arcata," he said. "I just don't see any interest."

State Drug Tax Ruled Unconstitutional ('Greensboro News & Record'
Says North Carolina Law - Which Has Raised $26 Million In Eight Years -
Has Been Ruled Unconstitutional Double Jeopardy
By Fourth US Circuit Court Of Appeals)

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 09:22:40 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: adbryan@onramp.net
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: ART: State drug tax ruled unconstitutional

From the 1-17-98 Greensboro News & Record

State drug tax ruled unconstitutional


By JOHN A. NAGY, Staff Writer

A federal appeals court has ruled North Carolina's drug tax
unconstitutional, prompting state Attorney General Mike Easley to fight
for what many consider one of the state's most popular and successful

The tax, originally sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bob Shaw of
Greensboro, collects about $4 million a year from individuals charged
with possessing illegal drugs. It has raised more than $26 million since
its inception eight years ago.

The ruling from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week
threatens not just an end to that revenue but also the end to an
effective weapon in the state's battle against drug dealers.

State officials say the tax is a fair and legitimate form of revenue,
much like taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. But the court, deciding a
case that originated in Reidsville, ruled the tax is "in reality a
criminal penalty" that subjects people to being punished twice for one

That, the court said, violates the Fifth Amendment's ban on double
jeopardy, the act of facing punishment for the same crime more than

"North Carolina cannot treat the imposition of its drug tax as if it is
a civil sanction," wrote U.S. Circuit Judge M. Blane Michael. "It is a
criminal penalty."

The decision is exactly opposite to a ruling earlier this year by the
N.C. Supreme Court. In a different case, the state court found the drug
levy was a tax, not a penalty.

Easley said Friday he either will appeal the federal ruling to the U.S.
Supreme Court or request another hearing before the appeals court.

"We're very surprised the 4th Circuit would get into this issue to begin
with since it's a state tax issue," Easley said. "This is extremely
important to law enforcement and we're going to pursue the matter."

The court's ruling stems from a 1993 case in which state and federal
agents arrested David Lynn Jr. of Reidsville and seized 970 grams of
cocaine, worth about $25,000 on the street.

The state Department of Revenue sent Lynn a tax bill for $389,125 --
$194,000 in taxes, $194,000 for not paying the tax on time and $1,125 in
interest. Cars, televisions, VCRs, video games, furniture and a
grandfather clock eventually were seized to pay the bill.

Terry Harn, a Chapel Hill attorney who represented Lynn, said the drug
tax was meant to be punishment, not an objective levy.

"You can't punish people over and over again," Harn said Friday. "You
get one bite at them -- one prosecution -- and that's it."

Calls to Lynn's home seeking comment Friday went unanswered.

Local police bemoaned what could be a costly loss to their departments.

For example, the Guilford County Sheriff's Department now has about
$220,000 in drug tax money set aside, said Sheriff BJ Barnes. That money
offsets the costs of new vehicles, surveillance equipment, guns and
protective vests, and it reduced the department's reliance on tax

"It's been a godsend," Barnes said. "That's going to be a heavy hit on

Drug taxes are popular around the country as a way of hurting drug
dealers financially. More than 30 states have enacted them over the
years, but the levies have run into numerous legal challenges at the
state and federal level. The U.S. Supreme Court, deciding a Montana
case, ruled four years ago that states may not force people to pay
drug-possession taxes in addition to criminal penalties.

However, North Carolina's law is slightly different. It levies the taxes
immediately after suspects are arrested for possession but before they
are convicted and punished. A person is charged $200 per gram of cocaine
and $3.50 for every gram of marijuana. The tax is doubled if not paid
within 48 hours of an arrest.

North Carolina has been much more aggressive than other states in
enforcing its drug law. The $26 million collected is 10 times greater
than any other state. The tax is popular with police because 75 percent
of the money collected goes back into law enforcement agencies. The rest
goes into the state's general fund.

The tax also has been politically popular. Lawmakers have gotten credit
for being tough on drug dealers, and voters like the tax because of its
punitive nature.

Shaw was out of town and attempts to reach him Friday were unsuccessful.

Massive Report On Fatal Collision Lays Blame On Driver (A Fiery Two-Car
Collision That Left 11 Dead Near Lompoc, California, Is Blamed On
One Driver's Excessive Speed And Ingestion Of Heroin, Cocaine And Marijuana -
Though The Driver Of The Other Auto Had Also Used Cocaine)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 12:07:02 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Massive Report on Fatal Collision Lays Blame on Driver From V.V.
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison
Source: Santa Maria Times (CA)
Contact: FAX: 1-805-928-5657; Santa Maria Times 3200 Skyway Drive, Santa
Maria, CA 93456-0400
Pubdate: Saturday, January 17, 1998
Author: Christine Bedell, Times Staff Writer
Page: Front Page, bottom

Lompoc Crash

a local housing area]

A four-month investigation into the cause of a fiery two-car collision that
left 11 dead on Highway 1 near Lompoc last September lays full blame on a
Vandenberg Village man driving too fast and under the influence of drugs.

Michael Bucci, 42, crossed the roadway's double-yellow lines in his truck
at 79 miles per hour and plowed head-on into a van carrying 12 Mexican
nationals, the California Highway Patrol said in a report released Friday.

Bucci ingested cocaine within four hours of the collision -- and heroin
wihtin 12 hours of the crash -- impairing his ability to drive, a
toxicologist determined.

As earlier reported, Bucci also was found to have had opiates and traces of
marijuana in his system when he died.

The driver of the van, Julio Rosa Camacho, 20, who also died, had ingested
cocaine within 48 hours of the accident, but toxicologists could not
determine whether he was under the influence at the time.

"He was driving straight, at a reasonable speed, and someone ran into him,"
said Lt. Paul Matthies, commander of the Buellton CHP office.

Eleven people died in the Sept. 9 crash. They included eight Mexican
nationals on their way home to Canoga Park in the van after selling corn in
Lompoc; plus Vandenberg Village residents Bucci and Charlotte Wright, 29,
and former Lompoc resident Joseph "JoJo" Navarro, 28, in the truck.

Four passengers in the van survived. One required extensive burn and
orthopedic surgery. All survivors have returned to Mexico.

Wright's mother, Peg Purkey of Vandenberg Village, said the cause of the
accident is irrelevant to her now.

It's an accident. It happened," Purkey said. "It doesn't matter who's at
fault. It doesn't bring them back."

Naturally, it's been a tough four months for Purkey, her husband and other
children. Wright's birthday was in October, then they had to get through
Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"We're doing OK. One day at a time," she said. "We have good days and bad days."

The 139-page report was prepared by the CHP's Multi-Disciplinary Accident
Investigation Team from its San Luis Obispo office. The team, assembled
just one month before the crash, reconstructed the accident to draw its

Matthies, in the county on and off for 27 years, again called it "the worst
single traffic collision I've ever seen."

The vehicles, like most of the dead, were unidentifiable immediately after
the crash. The truck, the report said, was a 1994 Ford Ranger pickup; the
van, a Chevy G-10.

Though much of Highway 1 was shut down during the day for repairs, the
section where the crash occurred was determined not to have been a
construction zone, Matthies said.

DA Files Murder Charges Against Fiorella (If, Like Most Murders In California,
This One Were Attributable To Alcohol, And Marijuana Wasn't Involved,
The 'San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune' Wouldn't Have Bothered)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 12:57:39 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: D.A. Files Murder Charges Against Fiorella
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison
Source: San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune
Contact: slott@slnt01.sanluisobispo.com
Pubdate: Saturday, January 17, 1998
Author: Danna Dykstra, Telegram-Tribune


San Luis Obispo -- Anthony Fiorella's friends described him as a "pothead"
who "smoked marijuana on a daily basis" and "sold about $200 to $300 worth
of marijuana a month" to supplement his income as a machine technician,
according to Grover Beach police reports filed in county Municipal Court.

Hours after Fiorella allegedly gunned down a 16-year-old boy over a drug
dispute, authorities seized suspected pot and an assortment of
paraphernalia from Fiorella's bedroom, according to a search warrant report
filed in court.

Among the items seized: 10 pipes, six bongs, two scales, three shopping
bags and four baggies containing suspected marijuana. Authorities also
seized 39 Polaroid photos of marijuana plants and other drug-related
images, as well as a list of 27 names and phone numbers -- mostly pager
numbers, according to reports.

While some friends described Fiorella as passive, others recalled
uncharacteristic displays of violence in recent weeks, suggesting Fiorella
was losing control, reports show. Fiorella's mother, Betsy Leo, told the
Telegram-Tribune she believed her son "snapped" over recent home robberies
and personal problems that came on the heels of his younger brother's
arrest for murder in 1996.

Joseph Fiorella, now 17, is serving 26 years to life for the ritualistic
slaying of 15-year-old Elyse Pahler near her former Nipomo Mesa home.

Among the items seized during a Jan. 9 search of Anthony Fiorella's Lyn
Road residence were two envelopes containing letters Joseph Fiorella had
written to his brother from prison. Authorities also seized a note Anthony
Fiorella had written to his mother after the shooting, stating he had her
car and was heading to San Francisco.

On Thursday, the District Attorney's Office filed murder charges against
Anthony Fiorella, who remained at large late Friday.

Charges of murder and felony discharging of a firearm were filed on
Fiorella's 20th birthday -- a week to the day after he allegedly fired a
sawed-off shotgun point blank at 16-year-old Garrett Hunter outside a
Grover Beach restaurant.

Fiorella reportedly went after Hunter and his older brother Grant because
the two tricked him into delivering a half-ounce of marijuana they had no
intention of paying for, police reports state.

The Hunter brothers reportedly paged Fiorella the night before the Jan. 8
shooting to meet in Arroyo Grande for a drug deal, according to reports.
The Hunter brothers and a friend were waiting in a green Mitsubishi at the
park on Traffic Way when Fiorella pulled up around 12:30 a.m. in his white
Volkswagen bug.

The Hunters reportedly claimed they had purchased pot from Fiorella in the
past, but this time they planned to steal it from him, reports state.

Grant Hunter got out of the Mitsubishi and spoke briefly with Fiorella
before Fiorella reportedly handed over a bag of pot. Grant Hunter then
handed the bag to his younger brother, seated in the back seat of the car.

Fiorella asked for his money before Garrett Hunter allegedly told the
driver to take off, reports show. Asked why the Hunters decided to "rip
off" Fiorella, one witness told an investigator: "I don't know. He was
easy, I guess."

Fiorella was becoming increasingly angry in recent weeks, particularly
after he told friends someone stole marijuana plants he had grown at his
rural Arroyo Grande mobile home. Fiorella also said he'd been robbed
several times of stereo equipment and other property.

In November he showed up to his ex-girlfriend's house and accused her of
telling people where he lived so they could rob him, reports show. Fiorella
reportedly told her he had a gun with him, and that he "was so upset about
being ripped off that he thought about coming over to shoot her," reports

Police interviewed Fiorella's father, who said he doesn't have a close
relationship with his son, according to District Attorney's reports. Joseph
Fiorella, who lives in New York, told an investigator he hadn't heard from
his son since he sent him $25 for a Christmas present.

Fiorella added he did not believe his son would surrender to police. "I
asked him to explain this comment, and Mr. Fiorella stated that, since the
arrest and subsequent conviction of Anthony's brother, Joe Fiorella, he
(Mr. Fiorella) has had conversations with Anthony, wherein he was told by
Anthony that if he were faced with the same circumstances (wanted by law
enforcement), that he would flee the area and possibly the country."

Garrett Hunter was shot outside Boston Market moments after his brother ran
in to the restaurant to call 911. Grant Hunter told police he worked at the
restaurant and was on a break around 8 p.m. when Fiorella pulled up in his
mother's blue Ford Tempo.

He said he and his brother were smoking cigarettes near a pay phone when
Fiorella got out of the car and pulled a shotgun out from the front seat.
Grant Hunter said he ran to get back inside and shouted to his brother :
"Get in the restaurant! Get in the restaurant!"

Grant Hunter said when he got inside he asked the manager to call police.
He then heard a shot and heard his brother scream.

Grant Hunter was holding his brother when police arrived. Hunter's
responses to police questions were followed by words of encouragement to
his dying brother, according to a transcript of the taped interview.

"C'mon fool, don't die," Grant Hunter urged, to which Garrett Hunter
replied: "I don't want to die."

Garrett Hunter told police that before Fiorella shot him, Fiorella ordered
him to hand over his wallet "or he was gonna kill me," reports state.

At 12:35 a.m. that Friday morning, the Hunter family was advised by the
attending physician there was nothing more they could do to stop Garrett's

"Arrangements were made for the family to come to his bedside before he
died," police reports state. "At 1:10 a.m., Garrett Hunter was pronounced

National Politics Now Defined By An Absence Of Hot Issues
('San Jose Mercury News' Essay Notes Polls Show Few If Any Issues
Top Priority To More Than 10 Percent Of US Public, Possibly Prompting
Special-Interest Groups To Push Their Goals More Forcefully, Against A
Divided Government Unable To Agree On The Problems, Let Alone Solutions)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 13:12:50 -0800
Subject: MN: US: National Politics Now Defined By An Absence of 'Hot' Issues
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 1998
Author: Steven Thomma, Mercury News Washington Bureau


WASHINGTON -- We've won the Cold War. Balanced the budget. Cut crime, got
the economy humming.

Now what?

For the first time in decades, no one knows what should come next. Sure,
everyone has his or her own idea of what is the most important problem for
the country and the government to tackle. But few Americans agree with one
another, and no single issue dominates the national agenda the way national
security or the federal budget deficit did for years.

In poll after poll, few if any issues are listed as a top national concern
by more than 10 percent of the public.

This unusually blank slate -- all the more striking in an election year --
invites several different results.

It already is leading politicians to make a federal case out of
traditionally local issues, such as hiring schoolteachers. It is prompting
special-interest groups to push their goals more forcefully onto the
national stage. And it could produce a divided government unable to agree
on the problems, let alone solutions.

``There is no clear road map in terms of what the American public wants the
next issue to be for Congress to focus on,'' said Ed Goeas, a Republican

Absence of an issue

``It leaves the election with a fairly disengaged electorate and vulnerable
to currents we might not be focused on right now,'' said Democratic
pollster Stan Greenberg. ``In the absence of a big issue, small issues can
rush in. We just don't know which ones.''

Lacking a clear agenda, even well-meaning politicians can misinterpret what
the people want.

Ask President Clinton. He thought the people wanted health care reform in
1993 -- but they rebelled at what he proposed. Ask the Republicans who took
over Congress in 1995. They thought the people wanted them to rein in the
federal government at all costs, but the people turned angry when the
government shut down.

Without an agenda, not much gets done beyond the routine. Washington
politicians rarely are able to make real progress on an issue until it
becomes a crisis or, more important, reaches critical mass in the minds of

Take the federal budget deficit. It took more than a decade of deficits and
growing anger on the part of voters before both political parties agreed to
adopt potentially painful measures to curb the problem.

But these days Americans appear quite happy being left alone -- at least
for now.

``There's no sense of crisis, either economic or in values,'' said
Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, a Republican pollster.

``People are increasingly unanchored from big things, from big
institutions. There's no national glue in our fabric because we don't all
turn and look to the government or media to identify solutions.''

Still, there are politicians and interest groups out there ready to write a
new agenda driven by politics, principles or both.

``It's a very good opportunity for the ideological parts of both parties to
push their agenda,'' said Fitzpatrick. ``Most Americans feel settled and
prosperous enough that they're not fighting for basics, like economic
security. All of that is there. There's no risk of people saying, `Why are
you fighting for something else now?'

So, you're able to gently lead Americans to a bolder agenda, things you
might not try to achieve when calls of national security or prosperity are
at hand.''

President Clinton has proposed a new round of expansions of government
services, including Medicare and federal support for child care. House
Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., has proposed a long-term goal of reducing the
overall federal, state and local tax burden from the current total of about
40 percent of wages to 25 percent.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., recently unveiled an ambitious agenda for a
``new progressive era,'' including an increase in the minimum wage, a big
boost in tobacco taxes to finance health care, federal financing to hire 1
million local teachers over 10 years, and extending Social Security taxes
to wages beyond the current limit of $65,000 while cutting the rate for
everyone -- from 6.2 percent to 5.3 percent.

Things that annoy

``We have been given an extraordinary moment in history; let's not waste
it,'' Kennedy said. ``Let's direct the tide, not just ride it.''

In this new era, some things will become issues just because there's an opening.

``We'll see some candidates, parties and consultants will try and create a
perception that there's crisis,'' said David Hill, a Houston-based GOP
consultant. ``There are things out there that annoy people, but are not
really an issue.''

Until politicians get hold of them, that is. He pointed to the 1997
governor's race in Virginia, when the Republican candidate made an issue
out of a hated tax on cars and rode it to election.

``It was something that annoyed people, but people didn't think of it as an
important problem, in part because they didn't think they had a chance to
get rid of it,'' Hill said. ``Then a politician comes along and says,
`Let's get rid of it.' ''

Some issues move higher on the agenda because it helps politicians.

Voters tend to trust Democrats more on such subjects as education and the
environment, and Republicans more on topics such as taxes or defense. So,
politicians try to move the agenda onto the issues that help them. And
their opponents either try to change the agenda, or at least co-opt the

Take education. Democrats are proposing various plans to hire local
teachers. Republicans used to oppose any federal role in local education,
but have faced angry voters as a result. Now, they already have countered
with a proposal to pay for 100,000 new teachers over five years.

The result: Federal financing of local teachers is on the agenda. All that
remains is the likely compromise over numbers.

Or health care. Both parties perceive some anger about restrictions on
health care imposed by health maintenance organizations or other
managed-care health programs, but the Democrats appear more aggressive.
Wednesday, Clinton proposed a patients' ``bill of rights'' to assure
top-quality care from HMOs.

``There's a real opportunity for the Democrats to create a populist agenda
around fighting for the middle class. Probably our best bet for that is the
HMO bill of rights,'' said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. ``That
agenda can be broadened into an agenda around education and family economic
security as well.''

Clinton - Smoking Initiative Needed (The Overeating Cigar-Smoker
Purportedly Wants To Protect Kids By Giving FDA Authority To Regulate Tobacco
As A Drug - 'Los Angeles Times' Does Not Mention Any Need
For Constitutional Amendment As With Alcohol)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 12:19:01 -0800
Subject: MN: US: Clinton: Smoking Initiative Needed
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Pubdate: January 17, 1998
Author: Lawrence L. Knutson, Associated Press Writer


WASHINGTON--President Clinton called today for strong bipartisan
legislation to keep the tobacco industry out of the youth market and permit
the regulation of tobacco as a drug.

After decades of denials from the industry, Clinton said, newly released
documents from a major cigarette producer show a longstanding campaign to
hook teen-agers and create a new legion of lifetime smokers.

"This is not about politics. This is not about money; it is about our
children," the president said in his weekly radio address, recorded Friday.
"The 1998 Congress should be remembered as the Congress that passed
comprehensive tobacco legislation, not the Congress that passed up this
historic opportunity to protect our children and our future."

Clinton commented two days after the release on Capitol Hill of secret
memos showing that R.J. Reynolds, the nation's second-largest cigarette
producer and marketer, developed and sustained a direct advertising appeal
to younger smokers -teen-agers as young as 13 -beginning in the 1970s that
resulted in the hip Joe Camel campaign and even a special brand aimed at

Reading from the Reynolds documents, Clinton quoted one 1970s line that he
said he found startling: "Our strategy becomes clear: direct advertising
appeal to younger smokers" who represent "tomorrow's cigarette business."

"For years, one of our nation's biggest tobacco companies appears to have
singled out our children, carefully studying their habits and pursuing a
marketing strategy designed to prey on their insecurities in order to get
them to smoke," the president said.

"Today I want to send a very different message to those who would endanger
our children: Young people are not the future of the tobacco industry; they
are the future of America," Clinton said. "And we must take immediate,
decisive action to protect them."

Clinton urged the Republican-controlled Congress to take early action on
legislation he first proposed last September.

It would:

-Require development of a plan to reduce teen-age smoking "with tough
penalties for companies that don't comply."

-Affirm the full authority of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate
tobacco products.

-Include measures to hold the tobacco industry accountable, "especially for
marketing tobacco to children."

-Adopt measures to protect public health, "from reducing secondhand smoke
to expanding smoking cessation programs, to funding medical research on the
effects of tobacco,"

-Protect tobacco farmers and their communities "from the loss of income
caused by our efforts to reduce smoking by young people."

"If Congress sends me a bill that mandates those steps, I will sign it,"
Clinton said. "Our administration will sit down with them anytime, anywhere
to work out bipartisan legislation."

"Reducing teen smoking has always been America's bottom line," he said.
"But to make it the tobacco industry's bottom line we have to have

Scared Of Lawsuits? Terrorize The Kids (Two Letters To Editor
Of 'Washington Post' Fault Zero-Tolerance Policies At Schools
In Fairfax County, Virginia)

Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 21:03:35 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US VA: LTEs: Scared of Lawsuits? Terrorize the Kids
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org
Source: Washington Post
Section: Letters to the Editor
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Pubdate: Saturday, January 17, 1998
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/


I just finished reading in The Post yet another discussion of the stupid
drug policy of local school systems -- particularly, in this case, that of
Fairfax County [Steve Twomey's Jan. 5 Metro column, "A Criminal School Drug
Policy"]. My husband and I have three children in the system: two
high-schoolers and one in elementary school. I am a Girl Scout leader and a
mom over 40 who enjoyed the freedom of the '70s as a college student. I
accept that the challenges we made to the system then probably have
something to do with the dangers our children have to live with today.

But the school drug policies have become so ridiculous that no one can work
with them! Why should a busy teenage girl with regular menstrual cramps or
headache each month have to reduce her work load of classes, after-school
athletics, and club or literary activities because she can't find relief
with two Tylenol or Advil and a drink of water during her long school day?
Her adult counterpart -- the teacher, principal or school board member --
who made the policy would take the Advil if needed in a flash. We ask these
kids to make adult, responsible decisions on a daily basis, yet because of
the abuse of a minor few, the many have to suffer.

I think the hysterical policies of the current educational system cause
damage to good kids and cause kids who would abuse any policy to laugh.
Those who buy and sell real drugs do so under the noses of the teachers and
in classrooms every day. We should put pressure on those who would
introduce hard drugs to children, not punish responsible children and
parents for using over-the-counter medication in the way it was intended.
The current fear tactics do little to stop serious problems and serve only
to confuse many children as to who their friends are in the
teacher-principal-peer realm of day-to-day life.



I agree wholeheartedly with Steve Twomey that the Fairfax County School
drug policy concerning over-the-counter drugs is misguided. A policy that
treats over-the-counter drugs, creams, vitamins, etc. the same as
prescription and illegal drugs makes little sense. There is a current trend
in school and other government agencies to promulgate zero-tolerance
policies regarding drugs, weapons and sexual harassment. I like to refer to
this as the "one size fits all" phenomenon.

In my opinion, such policies are a serious abdication of the responsibility
of the authorities to use discretion. The direct casualties are obvious,
such as the mental anguish and reputation of children who were
disproportionately punished for such innocuous infractions as carrying
Advil or nail files or the kiss on the cheek of a 6-year-old. However, I am
more concerned about the indirect effect that such policies have on the
attitude of children toward adult authority.

Whether we like it or not, children are going to evaluate for themselves
whether rules established for them are rational and fair. If they perceive
a rule as arbitrary or unfair, their respect for the rule and the
rule-enforcers will be diminished, and they are likely to question other
rules. Children will show greater respect for the rules and the authorities
if they perceive the rules to be rational and proportionate to the
potential consequences.

I would have a difficult time to explain to my child with a straight face
the rationale behind the Fairfax County nonprescription drug policy except
to say that some adults get a little carried away at times. You see, I too
have developed a diminished respect for the authorities in this instance. I
believe one of the first steps on the road toward a life of crime and drug
use is the development of a contemptuous attitude toward authority. We
should be developing rules and policies that foster children's respect
rather than appearing to simply provide a convenient means for authorities
to abdicate their responsibility to use discretion in meting out punishment.


'Washington Week In Review' (Transcript Of Three-Part Program
About The US War On Drugs To Be Available Online)

Subj: Washington Week in Review
From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 11:31:04 -0800

WETA is airing a 3-part roundtable on the US WOD.


Transcripts of programs are available on the website one week after
the air date.


Drug Prohibition Hasn't Worked (Letter To Editor Of Canada's 'Financial Post'
Disagrees With Physician's Column That Mentioned 'Soft' Drug Laws)

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 09:12:19 -0800 (PST)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: LTE: Drug prohibition hasn't worked
Newshawk: Alan Randell
Pubdate: January 17, 1998
Source: Financial Post
Contact: letters@fpeditor

Drug prohibition hasn't worked

As a regular reader of Dr. Gifford-Jones' columns on health
and an admirer of his common-sensical approach, his column,
Canada And The U.S. Are Not Healthy Nations (Jan. 10-12) is
the first one with which I find myself in (partial)

The disagreement stems from his views on the illegal drug
problem. He feels we have "soft laws" on drugs and yet
remarks, "everyone bears the cost of stolen cars and home
break-ins to purchase illegal drugs."

The issue is complex, but obviously prohibition hasn't
worked. The fact drugs cannot be obtained legally by the
wretched addicts is what causes the car thefts and break-
ins, since they can only obtain supplies from criminals, at
a high price.

Last month The Financial Post ran a guest column by a Fraser
Institute writer suggesting we need a public debate on this
situation. A few years ago the head of Interpol expressed
himself as being in favor of decriminalizing drug possession
by users, but not in favor of legalization. He regarded drug
use as a social and health issue rather than a police

In August, FP ran an article by Martin Wolf, a Financial
Times correspondent, making a good case for legalization,
which he remarked would remove an estimated US$400 billion
annually from the criminal organizations who control the

Wolf's concluding comment seems to me to make a lot of
sense: "What is needed is for mature societies to recognize
that some vices must be tolerated, because the alternative
is still worse."

Dec Dunne,

Right To Toke (Letter To Editor Of Canada's 'Financial Post' Disagrees
With A Different Article - The Nanny State Has No Right To Prohibit
Its Citizens From Taking Risks)

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 08:45:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: PUB LTE: Right to toke
Sender: mattalk-request@listserv.islandnet.com
Newshawk: Alan Randell
Pubdate: January 17, 1998
Source: Financial Post
Contact: letters@fpeditor

Right to toke

Ted Byfield's piece, "Curbing Risk-Taking Denies An
Essential Human Instinct" (Jan. 10) misses the point by a
country kilometre. It's not so much that The Nanny State he
so rightfully chastises would be better advised not to
prohibit its citizens from taking risks, it is the fact that
the Nanny State has no right to do so.

One example.

To its shame, "caring and compassionate" Canada imprisons
thousands of innocent citizens just because they happen to
prefer drugs not ingested or approved by the majority of the
population. "But we're only trying to keep them from harming
themselves" pontificates the sanctimonious majority and its
hypocritical political representatives.

Free adults have a right to ingest any drug. Drug
prohibition is an obscenity.

Alan Randell
1821 Knutsford Place, Victoria BC Canada V8N 6E3
E-mail: arandell@islandnet.com
Telephones: Home 250-721-0356, Work 250-952-2926

Addict Died After Rapid Opiate Detoxification ('British Medical Journal'
Identifies New Peril For Heroin Users - Addiction Specialists Ask For Review
Of Controversial Treatment)

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 12:20:09 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: Addict Died After Rapid Opiate Detoxification
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: shug 
Source: British Medical Journal (No 7126 Volume 316)
Author: Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
Pubdate: Jan 17, 1998
Contact: The Editor, BMJ, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JR
Fax: +44 (0)171 383 6418/6299
Email: bmj@bmj.com


A heroin addict who survived the IRA bus bombing in London last year died
as a result of "inadequate care" after rapid opiate detoxification
treatment at a private hospital, an inquest jury decided last week. But the
jury delivered a verdict of "misadventure."

Addiction specialists called for a review of the controversial treatment
after the death of Brendan Woolhead, who had been addicted to heroin for 13
years (10 May, p 1365). Patients undergoing the treatment are put under
general anaesthetic for six to eight hours while the opiate antagonist
naltrexone is administered.

The technique is said to clear opiates from the body within 48 hours,
leaving the patient to wake up with the worst of the withdrawal symptoms
over. It has never been subjected to a randomised controlled trial, and the
death has now made such a trial unlikely for the near future.

The inquest was adjourned last April after two specialists, Professor
Griffith Edwards of the National Addiction Centre and Professor Robert
Kerwin from the Institute of Psychiatry, said that the treatment at the
Wellbeck Hospital in London was reckless and grossly negligent.

The case file was sent to the director of public prosecutions for
consideration of possible manslaughter charges against the anaesthetist in
charge of the treatment. But no charge was laid after a toxicologist said
that he was certain that Mr Woolhead had taken opiates smuggled into the
clinic during treatment.

The anaesthetist had reluctantly agreed that Mr Woolhead could take one
final heroin fix at home before booking in for treatment. But police told
the inquest that large quantities of heroin or methadone were found in his
bloodstream, indicating that he had taken the drug after waking up from the
anaesthetic. His girlfriend, Gillian Cox, denied smuggling in the drugs.

Cannabis Is A Killer On The Roads (Britain's 'Evening News' Publicizes
Ignorant, Fear-Mongering Warnings From A Norwich 'Charity')

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 21:01:31 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Is A Killer On The Roads
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: webbooks@paston.co.uk (CLCIA)
Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 1998
Source: Evening News, Norwich, UK
Contact: EveningNewsLetters@ecn.co.uk
Editors note: Our newshawk RAC is the Royal Automobile Association, UK with
a Web site at: http://www.rac.co.uk/


MOTORISTS who take to the wheel after smoking cannabis could pose a greater
risk of causing accidents than drink-drivers, it was warned today.

A charity that helps Norwich families who have lost relatives in road
accidents has welcomed moves to introduce a roadside drugs tests by a
motoring organisation.

Cannabis, smoked by about 10 per cent of drivers, slows the reaction times
and reduces concentration, according to research published by the RAC today.

And 12 per cent of UK drivers killed in road accidents have cannabis in
their bloodstream.

Jackie Boys, East Anglia co-ordinator for RoadPeace, spoke out today as the
RAC launched its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of taking drugs
and driving. "When people are killed by drink or drug-using drivers then
the families in some cases never do recover. "It's so devastating, so
violent, so sudden. It's just selfishness on the part of the driver."

Educating people about the dangers was the key, not catching them on the
roads. Ms Boys said: "It's prevention we want, not more people getting
caught. "It's about people taking responsibility for themselves."

Norfolk police also welcomed the RAC's plan to introduce roadside tests,
more research into dangers, and educate people about the dangers.

Insp. John Fairey, of the traffic division, said he welcomed anything that
could lead to a reduction in the number of accidents. "We are aware that
there is a problem. Our awareness is growing which does not mean the
problem is growing too." He said work was being carried out in Scotland to
see if such a device could be developed along the lines of similar machines
used in other countries.

Edmund King, RAC head of campaigns, said: "There could be thousands of
people who would never dream of drinking and driving but are still putting
themselves and other road-users at risk by using cannabis or other drugs
which impair their driving and reduce their concentration."

Controlled Clinical Trials On Cannabis (A Physician's Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Scotsman' Agrees There Is A 'Strong Case For Further Scientific
Investigation Of Cannabis As A Medical Drug')

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 20:06:08 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: LTE: Controlled Clinical Trials On Cannabis
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: shug 
Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 1998
Source: The Scotsman
Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com


Sir, - Professor Anthony Seaton (Letters, 8 January) has rather put me to
shame by exposing my ignorance of the controlled clinical trials he carried
out in the 1970s on 5-tetrahydrocannabinol (the pharmacologically active
compound of cannabis resin) in the management of patients with terminal
lung cancer.

He concluded it had "medically desirable affects" in that condition but,
surprisingly, publication of his favourable results was not followed by any
attempt to introduce an appropriate preparation of cannabis into the
palliative care of terminal malignant disease.

He might, I think, concede there could be a case for doing so, since the
medically desirable effects of cannabis he demonstrated might, at least for
a time, spare patients the unpleasant side-effects of opiates. It is also
not inconceivable that a combination of cannabis and opiates might provide
better palliation than either medication given alone.

Prof Seaton and I at least seem to be in agreement that there is a strong
case for further scientific investigation of cannabis as a medical drug. I
would favour extending the field of investigation from terminal malignant
diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Because of the widespread opposition to any relaxation of the regulations
governing addictive drugs, it would probably be necessary for influential
medical bodies (such as the Royal Colleges of Physicians) to put pressure
on the Government to permit, and possibly to fund, the extensive clinical
trials necessary to confirm or refute whatever favourable opinions have
been expressed on the value of cannabis in clinical practice.

(Dr) Ian W B Grant
Nether Balchandy
By Pitlochry

Boy, 13, Dies From Heroin Overdose ('The Scotsman' Reports A Pit Bull Mauled
The Glasgow Youth's Body Before Its Discovery - Residents Nearby Say
It May Have Been The First Time He Experimented With Heroin)

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 20:22:45 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: Boy, 13, Dies From Heroin Overdose
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: shug 
Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 1998
Source: The Scotsman
Page: 3
Author: Jim Wilson
Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com
Website: http://www.scotsman.com/


Glasgow Woman Devastated By Son's Death

A 13-YEAR-OLD boy has died of a suspected heroin overdose, becoming one of
Scotland's youngest drugs victims.

Tests have shown that Alan Harper died after taking drugs in the home of
his mother's boyfriend in the east of the Glasgow. A pit bull terrier is
said to have mauled his body before his death was discovered.

Strathclyde police confirmed last night that Alan, who was found dead in
the flat in Startpoint Street, Cranhill, on 3 January, had taken drugs
before his death.

He was found dead in a sleeping bag on the floor after apparently dying in
his sleep. Although it is believed he had taken heroin, toxicology tests
have not determined the drugs linked to his death.

The divisional commander, Chief Superintendent Louis Munn, said last night:
"The indications at this stage are that Alan may have been involved in some
form of drugs misuse.

"Therefore, the possibility of a criminal investigation cannot be excluded.
Police inquiries are continuing to ascertain if Alan had been involved in
taking drugs and, if so, how and where he obtained the drugs which led to
his death."

This tragic occurrence serves as a reminder to all young people and their
parents about the danger of dabbling in drugs.

Alan, who lived with his mother Jackie, younger brother and grandmother in
a flat in Bellrock Court, near where he died, was not known to use drugs
and neighbours describ-ed his death as devastating.

It is not known if he swallowed, smoked or injected the drug but residents
living nearby said it may have been the first time he had experimented with
heroin. "He was just a wee boy like a thousand others round here," one
neighbour said. "Kicking a ball about, in and out with his pals. This has
hit everybody hard. His mum is absolutely finished."

Another friend said that Alan's grief-stricken mother was being comforted
by friends and family. "She crawled into the wee boy's bed the day he died
and didn't get out for a week. She must have been able to smell him still,
just a trace of him," she said.

"He had got a new Kickers jacket for Christmas and she has that wrapped
around her all the time."

It is a terrible thing to have happened.

"It's not sunk in yet. His gran said to someone that she thinks he is only
joking and that he'll be coming back through the door, but that's not going
to happen."

It is thought that his mother was not in the flat in Startpoint Street when
Alan, a pupil at St Andrew's Secondary, died. It is understood that only
her boyfriend was present.

His death comes as drugs agencies report heroin dealers targeting younger
users on the city's housing estates as an increasing number of older
addicts join programmes prescribing methadone, a heroin substitute.

David Macauley, the director of the Scotland Against Drugs campaign, said
Alan's death should prompt the kind of public outrage against dealers that
has recently been reserved for paedophiles.

"We cannot stand by and watch everything that Scotland holds dear get swept
away by drugs. The talking has to stop and communities have to rise up
against the dealers," he said. "How many tragic deaths does it take before
we realise that our society is being eaten away from the inside?"

Gaille McCann, a Glasgow city councillor and a near neighbour of Alan, said
his death had stunned local people. "Nothing you could say could express
the sense of loss that Alan's family are suffering at this moment and no
parent could think of that without understanding the real dangers facing
all our child-ren every day," she said.

"There are no easy answers but something has to be done before this kind of
tragedy is simply taken for granted as just another death. This wasn't just
another death, this was a mother's son, a young boy with all his life ahead
of him."

Life After Drugs ('Irish Times' Feature On People With Drug Problems
Attending Narcotics Anonymous - Established In Venice Beach, California,
In The 1950s And Imported To Ireland In 1978)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 09:54:54 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Ireland: Life After Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Source: The Irish Times
Author: Luke Holland
Pubdate: Saturday, January 17, 1998
Contact: Letters to Editor, The Irish Times, 11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2,
Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407


'I remember looking at heroin addicts and thinking they were low-lifes. I
said I'd never do that. But eventually I did everything I said I wouldn't
do.' Some drug addicts tell LUKE HOLLAND how Narcotics Anonymous has
changed their lives

We have a tendency to see the drug culture in our society as some sort of
faceless underground monster. It's easy to forget that drugs are not the
problem, it is the misuse of drugs which is the problem.

Drug addicts are widely perceived as vacant slaves of a habit, even as a
problem in themselves rather than people with an illness. This dehumanising
perception reduces addicts to almost subhuman status, faceless criminals.
It is important to remember that they are people, people with a disease -
an addiction - and they are suffering. Addiction is a disease, not a
defect. It is recognised as such by the World Health Organisation and
considered by many to be a condition its sufferers are born with. It is
likewise considered to be incurable, progressive and potentially fatal.
Recovering addicts will tell you that addiction, if it is not arrested,
always ends in the same way: jails, institutions and death.

For many the last stop, the last chance of a lifeline, comes in the form of
Narcotics Anonymous. NA is like a spin-off organisation from Alcoholics
Anonymous, for people with a variety of drugs of choice. The fellowship was
started in Venice Beach, California in the 1950s, by a group of addicts who
had been attending AA meetings in order to stay clean.

As numbers grew, and AA meetings were flooded with sufferers from a variety
of drug addictions, it became necessary to set up a whole new fellowship.
Now, four decades later, NA has over one million members worldwide, spread
over five continents and 150 countries. The founders of NA discovered it
was necessary to abstain from all mind or mood altering substances,
including alcohol, in order to recover. They found that merely giving up
their drug of choice, whether marijuana, heroin, alcohol or ecstasy, was
not enough as it is so easy to simply substitute with something else.

The first European branch of the fellowship was established here in
Ireland. The first meeting was held in Dublin in 1978 and since then the
numbers have grown and grown; membership in Ireland is now estimated to be
in the thousands.

One member told me how NA has led to a complete turnaround in his life.
Dermot (not his real name) is a recovering drug addict from Dublin's North
City Centre, he is 27 years old and has been clean for over 18 months.

"NA is the most important thing in my life today, bar nothing. That goes as
far as my family, my girlfriend and my daughter, because without NA I
wouldn't have them, any of them - without NA I'd have nothing. "I never
realised how much tunnel vision I had in my life. I thought I knew it all
when I was 20. I thought I'd done it all. I would regularly wake up with
charge sheets in my pocket with absolutely no recollection of how I got
them - it was insane.

"And I remember looking at heroin addicts and thinking they were low-lifes.
I said I'd never do that, I said I'd never do a lot of things, but
eventually I did everything I said I wouldn't do. I thought I was a
failure, I thought I was weak because I just couldn't stop using. But I see
now that I really had no choice - I was addicted - I was ready to kill for
drugs, I just wanted to die.

"Every addict I know wants to get clean. For a long time I wasn't capable
of getting help but when people say `once a junkie, always a junkie' -
that's bullshit. I knew there had to be a way out. NA is just ordinary Joe
Soaps helping each other stay clean.

"Today there's so much hope in my life - I see that all the things I wanted
- I can have them, there not just dreams. Things like an education, a job,
a nice place to live, holidays - normal things." Dermot says he owes all
these things to the fellowship. NA describes itself as "a nonprofit
fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs have become a major
problem". NA spokesman Mark (not his real name) is anxious to point out
that it is not affiliated to any political, religious or law-enforcement
groups and is under no surveillance at any time. He goes on to say "the
only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using - it's a
programme of abstinence from all drugs.

"There are no strings attached, we have no initiation fees or dues, no
pledges to sign or promises to make. The most important thing about the
fellowship is that it works."

The preamble of the NA basic text states "Anyone may join us, regardless of
age, race, creed, religion or lack of religion. We are not interested in
what or how much you used or who your connections were, what you have done
in the past, how much or how little you have, but only in what you want to
do about your problem and how we can help."

Mark also says addicts come from all walks of life and have all sorts of
experience. The media cliche of the addict as a working class statistic
from a broken home, who uses heroin every day, is far from universally
accurate, even if that scenario is real too.

Another recovering addict who agreed to speak to me was Mary (not her real
name). She is a 37year-old mother and comes from a middle class background.

"I didn't start using drugs until I was about 18 - when I left school." She
tells how using destroyed her life, how her child was taken from her
because her habit had made her incapable of acting as a guardian. She says
her habit led to her life becoming completely unmanageable.

Mary's life has improved dramatically since she has been clean. She too
says that she owes a great deal to the fellowship and is glad she found the
courage to go to her first meeting. "I was introduced to NA by a friend in
another fellowship - I was nervous at first but I got there and I kept
coming back."

While the vast majority of recreational drug users do not develop problems,
some do - and the rave generation has brought with it a whole new wave of
street drugs.

Thomas (not his real name) comes from a working class background in the
predominantly nationalist area of Andersonstown in Belfast. He is 22 years
old and has been clean for three years. "My parents were good Christians,"
he says. "There was nothing dysfunctional in the house - only me. I was
just like any other kid. I was pretty spoilt, pretty selfish. I took drugs
to get confidence, to be the life and soul. They took the edge off life. I
loved Es, speed, raves - looking back, although I didn't realise it at the
time, I was powerless over my using from the word go. I became anti-social
and unemployable. I blamed everyone and everything for my problems, except
the drugs.

"People used to say I used too much, but I was sort of proud of the fact.
And I was so paranoid - every time a car passed my house, I thought someone
was coming to shoot me.

"A miracle happened when I came to NA, I was willing to do whatever it took
to stay clean, I had nowhere else to go so I did the suggested things. If
they had told me to cut off all my hair and wear pink trousers I would've
done it.

"I've been clean ever since and I've started to work through the things
that made me use: my insecurities, my fears, my resentments."

Thomas talks about how addicts from all walks of life, and from both
traditions in Northern Ireland, attend meetings to help each other stay
clean. Political opinions are left at the door for the good of the
fellowship. NA itself has no opinions on political matters. Its preamble
describes "open-mindedness, honesty and willingness" as the keys to its

All NA offers is the freedom not to use mind or mood altering substances,
but for many people that freedom means the freedom to find some peace of
mind, some success, in their lives.

There are probably many addicts out there who don't know that they have a
problem, or are too wrapped up in fear or low self-esteem to get help. And
with a whole new generation of drug users, and new drugs like GBH (a liquid
opiate, completely legal and currently flooding Dublin clubland) out there,
it is likely that more and more people will continue wanting what NarAnon
has to offer.

There are meetings every day, all over the country. There are 40 regular
meetings in Dublin alone. For further information, if you are concerned
about yourself or someone close to you - or if you are just curious - call
01-8300944 (24 hours). NA advises people who think drugs may be a problem
in their lives and are considering attending a meeting, to "keep an open
mind and give yourself a break".

Family's Legacy Of Tragedy From The Boxer ('Irish Times' Rationalizes
18-Year Sentence For Drug Seller Called 'The Boxer' By Citing Dublin Parents
Who Lost Four Of Their Five Children To Street Heroin)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 10:00:55 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Ireland: Family's Legacy Of Tragedy From The Boxer
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Saturday, 17 January 1998
Source: The Irish independent
Contact: independent.letters@independent.ie


DRUG pushing has taken 18 years from the life of Tommy "The Boxer" Mullen,
but for one Dublin mother it has taken much more the lives of four of her

Mary Connaughton and her husband Frank lost four of their five children to
the killer drug in the space of 2 years.

And today in their city centre flat all they have left to remind them of
their children are the pictures and the memories. But the greatest reminder
is the drugged look they grew to know so well in the eyes of their own
children, and those of children in the streets.

It depresses Mary to see other youngsters go down the same path her
children strayed down but feels she can do nothing to stop the process
repeating itself.

``I know to look at them because I saw it before. But what I can say to
them. It's none of my business,'' she says.

Frankie, Elizabeth, Roderick and Leslie were the names of her children who
got tangled in the web of Heroin. Now their cremated ashes are resting in
the Garden of Memories in Glasnevin.

The couple's only son to escape the horror of addiction was Alex who left
the inner city and its drug culture for England. He even brought his
brothers Frankie and Roderick in a bid to help them beat their addiction.
But it was to no avail and they died while in England.

All Mary's children died before they reached the age of 35. And Elizabeth
was just 28 when the killer drug took her life. A clot formed in
Elizabeth's left leg and she finally died from a heart attack.

Mary can feel nothing but anger for drug pushers like The Boxer who was
jailed for 18 years in Britain yesterday.

She says his jailing was no loss to anyone and wishes he was given more
time to serve. But she adds angrily: ``The thing is there's more of them.
They're like mushrooms. One goes down and another comes up''.

Heroin Purity Warning As Overdose Cases Soar (Australia's
'Sydney Morning Herald' Reports Surge In Sydney Heroin Deaths -
Police Blame Increasing Purity, But National Drug And Alcohol Research Centre
Points To Impurities, Mixing With Other Drugs Such As Alcohol)

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 22:54:51 -0500
Subject: MN: Australia: Heroin Purity Warning As Overdose Cases Soar
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Andrew Byrne and shug
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Contact: letters@smh.com.au
Pubdate: 17 Jan 1998
Authors: Les Kennedy and Julie Delvecchio


A higher grade of heroin on Sydney's streets has been blamed for a jump in
the number of drug overdoses this week, according to ambulance and police

The Ambulance Service is called to an average of about 13 drug overdoses a
day in Sydney but on Tuesday officers attended 18 cases, another 29 on
Wednesday and 36 overdoses on Thursday, a NSW Ambulance spokeswoman, Ms
Nerida Jose, said yesterday.

These figures compared with a total of 40 cases for the same three days
last year.

More than half of this week's overdoses are believed to have been from heroin.

Nine of the cases on Thursday were overdoses at Kings Cross, while six were
at Cabramatta.

"Sometimes the quality and strength of "street drugs' vary and can be very
dangerous," Ms Jose said.

"The ingredients the drugs are cut or mixed with can also cause fatal

"Some may experience inadvertent overdosage resulting in unconsciousness,
breathing difficulties, asphyxia and death."

The information officer at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre,
Mr Paul Dillon, said purity alone would not necessarily explain the rise in
overdoses seen this week.

"Undoubtedly, purity is a major issue in overdoses; however, it would be
wrong to over-emphasise it to users when other factors such as poly-drug
use or mixing your drugs are equally important," he said.

"To keep reminding users that the heroin on the streets is pure doesn't
actually discourage them from using it at all."

Police said heroin sold in Cabramatta was usually of a higher grade and
cost between $20 and $25 a hit, cheaper than heroin sold on the streets in
Kings Cross, where the drug was usually cut with some other substance.

Police believe many of the overdoses in Kings Cross were people who had
travelled to Cabramatta to buy heroin.

"They get on the train and have a hit, by the time they get to the Cross
some of them have overdoses, that's what we usually see here," a Kings
Cross police officer said.

Ms Jose warned all drug users not to "use" alone and to avoid taking the
drug in a hidden place, so help could be called if an overdose occurred.



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