------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: January 17, 1998 Author: Tina Nguyen, Times Staff Writer MEDICAL MARIJUANA CLUB LEFT LOW AND DRY 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 prescription. 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 marijuana. "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: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: January 17, 1998 COURT REJECTS PERMIT OF POT OUTLET 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 precedence. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: LTE's: Yamaguchi Has It Wrong Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Frank S. World"
Source: San Francisco Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ YAMAGUCHI HAS IT WRONG 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 *** THE DEMOCRACY MYTH 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. PATRICK ROBBINS, Clayton
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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')(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: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Chavez Released; Phone Poll Results Are In Sender: email@example.com Newshawk:John W.Black Source: Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, January 17, 1998 Author: Jeff Kramer-The Orange County Register; Contributing writer-Sturet Pfeifer EDITORS NOTE; THE RESULTS OF THE COUNTY LINE POLL FOR 1-16-98 WITH 982 RESPONSES. THE QUESTION? DO YOU AGREE WITH THE DECISION TO CHARGE MARVIN CHAVEZ WITH SELLING MARIJUANA? YES-1% NO-99% THE ORGANIZATION'S FOUNDER, CHARGED WITH SELLING MARIJUANA, IS RELEASED ON HIS OWN RECOGNIZANCE. 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: ART: State drug tax ruled unconstitutional From the 1-17-98 Greensboro News & Record http://www.greensboro.com/ email@example.com State drug tax ruled unconstitutional 1-17-98 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 levies. 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 crime. That, the court said, violates the Fifth Amendment's ban on double jeopardy, the act of facing punishment for the same crime more than once. "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 dollars. "It's been a godsend," Barnes said. "That's going to be a heavy hit on us." 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: firstname.lastname@example.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 MASSIVE REPORT ON FATAL COLLISION LAYS BLAME ON DRIVER FROM V.V [abbr. for 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 conclusions. 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Source: San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Saturday, January 17, 1998 Author: Danna Dykstra, Telegram-Tribune D.A. FILES MURDER CHARGES AGAINST FIORELLA 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 show. 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 bleeding. "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 dead."
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 Author: Steven Thomma, Mercury News Washington Bureau NATIONAL POLITICS NOW DEFINED BY AN ABSENCE OF 'HOT' ISSUES 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 pollster. 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 voters. 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 issue. 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: January 17, 1998 Author: Lawrence L. Knutson, Associated Press Writer CLINTON: SMOKING INITIATIVE NEEDED 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 boys. 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 legislation."
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.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/ SCARED OF LAWSUITS? TERRORIZE THE KIDS 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. LINDA KANGARLOO Oakton *** 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. JOHN SUNDA Centreville
------------------------------------------------------------------- '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: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 11:31:04 -0800 WETA is airing a 3-part roundtable on the US WOD. http://www.pbs.org/weta/wwir/headlines.shtml Transcripts of programs are available on the website one week after the air date. Matt
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.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) disagreement. 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 problem. 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 market. 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, Calgary.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com ADDICT DIED AFTER RAPID OPIATE DETOXIFICATION 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com (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/ CANNABIS IS A KILLER ON THE ROADS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: shug
Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 Source: The Scotsman Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com CONTROLLED CLINICAL TRIALS ON CANNABIS 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 Perthshire
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com 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/ BOY, 13, DIES FROM HEROIN OVERDOSE 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: firstname.lastname@example.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, Ireland Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407 Features - LIFE AFTER DRUGS '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 success. 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Zosimos Pubdate: Saturday, 17 January 1998 Source: The Irish independent Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org FAMILY'S LEGACY OF TRAGEDY FROM THE BOXER 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 children. 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Andrew Byrne and shug Source: Sydney Morning Herald Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 17 Jan 1998 Authors: Les Kennedy and Julie Delvecchio HEROIN PURITY WARNING AS OVERDOSE CASES SOAR 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 officers. 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 complications. "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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