------------------------------------------------------------------- Underdog Battles Forces Of Darkness (Veteran Journalist's Op-Ed Column Explains Need For Cannabis Clubs, Praises Two On City Council In Thousand Oaks, California, Who Compassionately Changed Their Votes, Keeping Open The Ventura County Medical Cannabis Center) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 19:34:10 EST Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Underdog Battles Forces Of Darkness Newshawk: Jeff Meyers (email@example.com) Source: Ventura County Star (CA) Author: Jeff Meyers Section: OPED page Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sunday, 18 Jan 1998 UNDERDOG BATTLES FORCES OF DARKNESS It's been several weeks since Thousand Oaks City Council drug warriors couldn't swing enough votes to close the Ventura County Medical Cannabis Center. As far as I can tell, Thousand Oaks is still one of the safest cities in America, drug dealers aren't lurking on every corner, and civilization as we know it hasn't come to a crashing end. Not often in politics does the underdog win, but that's what happened at the city council meeting last month. A diminutive fireball named Andrea Nagy stood up to the city bureaucracy and pulled an astounding upset against the forces of darkness. Barraging the city council with illuminating expert testimony and gut-wrenching testimonials from sick people, Nagy managed to convince council members Linda Parks and Elois Zeanah that a tiny pot dispensary in a nondescript office complex wasn't a threat to the health and safety of the community. Before the meeting, I'm sure that Parks and Zeanah never would have imagined themselves championing marijuana, but they had the decency and diligence to actually pay attention to the overpowering evidence brought before them. If only all politicians were as open-minded, honest and fair, we could bring some semblance of reason and sanity to the War on Marijuana. As a journalist, I've been following this story for 25 years. I know that politicians and bureaucrats have no intention of changing their demon-weed ideology. There are too many powerful interests who need to keep marijuana illegal. The prison lobby. Law enforcement. DARE. Pharmaceutical companies. DEA. Without marijuana's 11 million regular users, the entire Drug War crumbles -- the feds could never justify spending $17 billion a year just to hunt down and arrest this country's 2 million cocaine/heroin addicts. That's why Janet Reno filed federal civil charges against Northern California cannabis clubs last week. The forces of darkness will do anything -- including denying medicine to sick and dying people -- to maintain the status quo and keep their jobs. Irrationally sticking to long-discredited "Reefer Madness" propaganda that has fueled the War on Marijuana for six decades, these immoral drug warriors are deathly afraid of us ordinary people learning the truth about pot. And the truth is, pot is a relatively harmless substance compared with alcohol, cigarettes, most prescription drugs and many over-the-counter remedies. It is not addictive, nor does it lead to hard drugs or violence. While the New England Journal of Medicine supports legalizing medical marijuana, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet went so far as to call pot smoking, even long term, "not harmful to health." The DEA's own administrative law judge, the late Francis L. Young, said marijuana "was safer than most foods." These facts are being acknowledged all over the world, with major efforts underway in Canada, England, France, Germany and Australia to legalize pot for medicinal and recreational use. But even though notable doctors, scientists and public figures have endorsed pot's medical benefits, political power structures in their countries continue to stonewall, which is nothing new. Every major government examination of marijuana - from the 1894 British Raj study to the 1944 LaGuardia Commission report to Nixon's 1972 Shafer Commission investigation - came to the same conclusion: arresting pot-smokers causes more harm to society than pot does to the individual. But these studies were either ignored or suppressed, and so an estimated 15 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges since cannabis became illegal in 1937. In Australia recently, a government council studying marijuana recommended legalizing it for personal use by adults, but government leaders refused to act on the recommendation and then did what countless other pols have done over the years to forestall legalization: they commissioned another study on marijuana. That's what Thousand Oaks wanted to do. They wanted to close down the cannabis center to "study the issue" for 45 days, hoping no doubt that Nagy would go away and the streets would be safe from marijuana fiends. Thankfully, Linda Parks and Elois Zeanah did the right thing in voting against the moratorium. A Ventura resident, longtime journalist Jeff Meyers is the producer of "The M Files," a documentary short on the absurd origin of marijuana prohibition.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Public Policy Preview - At Issue In '98 - The Dope On Buyers (Senior Editorialist For 'The Orange County Register' Says Local Government May Have To Pick Up The Ball, Since California And US Officials Have Ignored Proposition 215's Mandate 'To Implement A Plan To Provide For The Safe And Affordable Distribution Of Marijuana To All Patients In Medical Need') Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 12:50:29 -0800 Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: The Dope on Buyers: A Public Policy Preview Sender: email@example.com Newshawk:John W.Black Source: Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 Section: Commentary, page 4 Author: Alan W. Bock, the Register's senior editorial writer Newshawk Note: This editorial discussed many different issues, but only the medical marijuana issue is provided. the complete story begins on page 1. A PUBLIC POLICY PREVIEW - AT ISSUE IN '98: "THE DOPE ON BUYERS" By passing prop.215 in 1996,Californians declared that they want marijuana for medical patients under the supervision of a doctor to be removed from the criminal arena. Last year saw the federal government first threaten to arrest doctors, then by year-end back off the threat and sponsor new studies on the medical efficacy of marijuana. Meanwhile, California localities - seldom helped by inconsistent signals from Attorney General Dan Lungren - struggled with little success to design policies to permit ill people to use marijuana while keeping the substance illicit for "recreational" use. This year opened with new assaults by the federal government on California's voter-endorsed preference. Federal officials announced that they plan to close down several Northern California cannabis "buyers' clubs" on grounds that they are illegally selling marijuana. Garden Grove, among other cities, has also opened a legal assault on a buyers' club. The result - probably unintended - will be to force medical patients to rely even more heavily on the already large black market for the drug. Officials - with a few honorable exceptions - seem to have forgotten that one of the purposes of Prop. 215 was "to encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need." That means authorizing a "white market" with appropriate safeguards against its use by people with no medical need. Since the state and federal governments seem determined to create roadblocks instead, local government might have to pick up the ball.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lawmakers' Social-Issues Agenda Brimming ('Associated Press' Notes Washington State Legislature Has Scheduled An Unusual Evening Hearing Tuesday On SB 6271, The Medical-Marijuana Bill, By The Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee) From: "W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) Subject: HT: ART: Many issues at bat in Oly Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 17:28:44 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Lawmakers' social-issues agenda brimming By DAVID AMMONS The Associated Press 01/18/98 5:26 PM Eastern OLYMPIA (AP) -- Turning from the pomp and speechmaking of opening week, Washington lawmakers this week confront a potpourri of tough social issues, ranging from abortion and medical use of marijuana to ending no-fault divorce and rolling back affirmative action. House and Senate members will spend long hours in committee rooms, conducting public hearings and perfecting scores of bills on a dizzying array of topics. Legislation must clear committee in the next three weeks. While budget, tax and transportation legislation continues to simmer, dozens of social issues are bubbling up. A sampler of the measures being considered this week: --MARRIAGE & DIVORCE. The Senate Law & Justice Committee on Tuesday will consider bills to do away with no-fault divorce and to authorize "covenant" marriages that would make divorce harder. Lawmakers have not yet scheduled a hearing on measures to ban gay marriages and to forbid same-sex partners to qualify for married student housing or other benefits. --MEDICAL POT. A narrowly drawn bill to allow medical use of marijuana is the subject of an unusual evening hearing by the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee on Tuesday. --DRUNKEN DRIVING. A package of bills to crack down on drunken driving continues through the Senate process. Most of the bills are in the Rules Committee for scheduling of a full Senate vote. The House, meanwhile, is moving more deliberatively, girding to look at the price tag and other issues. Democratic Gov. Gary Locke's DUI package has been introduced in the House. --ABORTION. On the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, abortion will have high visibility this week. Locke and abortion-rights advocates will take part in a series of events Thursday in Olympia, Seattle, Spokane and Vancouver. Abortion foes will stage their annual "March for Life" on Jan. 26. Anti-abortion forces soon will have hearings on bills to ban the procedure critics call "partial-birth" abortion and to require advance notification of a girl's parents before she gets an abortion. --AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. Secretary of State Ralph Munro is expected to certify Initiative 200 late this week. The measure would forbid preferential treatment of minorities and women in government hiring, contracting and college admission. Lawmakers can approve the plan or let the voters decide this November. Hearings will be scheduled, but Republican leaders say it's too early to tell what will happen. Monday is a state holiday to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., the slain civil rights leader whose words are invoked by both proponents and opponents of I-200. As usual, the Legislature isn't taking the holiday off, but will move into its regular work after approving resolutions honoring King. The week's committee hearings include a variety of other topics, including: --EDUCATION. Committees will take testimony on new bills to authorize charter schools, independent state-funded schools that operate largely without state regulation. A Senate panel will consider a plan to require a notation in schoolbooks that evolution is just a theory. The House Education Committee will spend three days on legislation to improve reading and will consider parents' rights legislation and full-day kindergarten programs. The House Higher Education Committee is considering a bill to allow a student regent or trustee on college boards. --RESOURCES. Lawmakers will consider bills dealing with watershed management, regulation of storage tanks and other issues. --SOCIAL & HEALTH. The House will take testimony on creation of a Department of Children & Family Services, removing those programs from the Department of Social and Health Services. Other panels are discussing services for the developmentally disabled, migrant housing, group homes for juvenile offenders and treatment of mentally ill offenders. --ET CETERA. Other committee sessions are considering legislation dealing with changing state computers by the year 2000, allowing rural counties and their cities to opt out of growth-management planning requirements, banning phone solicitations after 5 p.m., and planning for freight mobility improvements.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Washington State Senator Kohl Discusses Medical Marijuana 11 AM Monday On KIRO In Seattle (Call Toll-Free About SB 6271 Or Listen On RealAudio) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 16:06:46 EST Sender: email@example.com From: Richard Lake (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: Senator Kohl will be discussing medical marijuana - CALL Forwarded from the Hemp Talk mailing list. The time is Pacific Standard - Richard >From: Robert Lunday (firstname.lastname@example.org) >Subject: HT: Dave Ross - Monday morning > >Tune in to KIRO-710 for the Dave Ross show on Monday morning at 11 am. > >Senator Kohl will be discussing medical marijuana and SB 6271. > >Call in and give your support. (Does someone have the KIRO call in >number?) Hi All, The call in number is 206-421-KIRO or toll free 1-800-KIRO-710 If you can't get the show on your radio (like me) go to http://www.kiro710.com/ and click on the microphone graphic that says, "KIRO 710 live" to hear the show live via Real Audio. Keep fighting peacefully, Tom Hawkins Grand Coulee
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Abby (Syndicated US Advice Columnist Reassured 95 Percent Of Physicians Agree With Dr. Gorback Of Houston's Center For Pain Relief - Narcotics Restorative, Not Harmful, To Chronic-Pain Patients' Sleep - Real Problem Is State And Federal Regulatory Agencies, Overzealous Bureaucrats) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:37:48 -0500 Subject: MN: US: DEAR ABBY Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: John Smith Source: The Herald Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun., 18 Jan 1998 NOTE: Dear Abby can be contacted at Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90068 Dear Abby Abigail Van Buren Dear Abby: The letter from Dr. Michael Gorback with the Center for Pain Relief in Houston prompts this letter. It is not as simple as he makes it sound. Narcotics are not dangerous merely because they cause addictive behavior or dependence. Narcotics progressively weaken the brain physically by destroying sleep quality. Chronic pain patients are already sleep-deprived. That is why they require such large doses of narcotics to soothe. We must find ways to protect restorative healing sleep for our chronically ill. Poor sleep habits and sleep impairment are major public health problems in our nation. Sleep deprivation causes learning disorders, disease, substance abuse, suicide. violence, and industrial and motor vehicle accidents. We cannot casually use medications they continue to destroy sleep quality. EDWARD S. FIEDRICHS. M.D., BROWN DEER, WIS. *** Dear Dr. Friedrichs: Most chronic pain patients suffer sleep deprivation because of pain, and pain medication makes a positive impact on their lives by allowing them to sleep more comfortably. The message in Dr. Gorback's letter was that narcotic pain medication, when administered properly, is restorative rather than addictive. Please read on for another letter from a fellow physician. *** Dear Abby: I enjoyed the letter you printed by Dr.,. Michael Gorback. You responded that Dr. Gorback's philosophy may be viewed by some as audacious; nonetheless you thought it was sensible and logical. Abby, 95 percent of physicians agree with Dr. Gorback. His philosophy is not audacious at all. It is simply common sense and love for one's fellow human beings. The real albatross over the years has been state and federal regulatory agencies and overzealous bureaucrats. Any person who odes not endorse Dr. Gorback's philosophy (simple humanitarianism and logic) is frankly ignorant. You have done a great service by publishing that letter. I applaud and admire you. -A WISCONSIN PHYSICIAN *** Dear Physician: Thank you for the supportive letter, and for the reassurance that the majority of physicians feel as you and Dr. Gorback do.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Weed Wars' Is Back At CNN (Text Of Recent Broadcast Now Online) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 03:10:53 EST Sender: email@example.com From: Eagle Net Support (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Weed Wars is back at CNN The big expose on reef that CNN pulled after two hours a couple of weeks ago is back on the WEB... I don't know how long it will last this time so I'm saving it now if you don't get to see it. Rather well done for a national rag. Weed Wars - http://cnn.com/HEALTH/9702/weed.wars/ joe
------------------------------------------------------------------- For Your Information - Alcohol Taxes ('Kane's Beverage Week' Says US Federal Revenue From Alcohol Declined To $7.6 Billion In Fiscal 1997, While 'Chain Drug Review' Notes Sales At 20,000 Drugstores Nationwide Rose 8.7 Percent, To $89 Billion) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 23:07:52 EST From: Bob Ramsey (email@example.com) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: FYI - Alcohol Taxes Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 12:37:44 -0500 Sender: Drug Policy Forum of Texas
From: Jimmy Green Subject: Alcohol Taxes For your information: According to Kane's Beverage Week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms show $7,601,345,000 in federal alcohol taxes were collected in fiscal 1997, ending Sept.31, down from $7,635,526,000. Both beer and wine taxes fell to $3,368,073,000 from $3,383,950,000. In the pharmaceutical industry, according to Chain Drug Review, sales at nearly 440 drug chains that operate more than 20,000 units nationwide reached a record 89.41 billion dollars in 1997 a 8.7% increase from last year. The total amount represents all sales not just prescription drug sales But prescription medication remains the primary factor behind last year's sales increase. I also read that Texas has 53 dry counties, of which 43 are in the Texas Panhandle area.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Reach Of Roe, How The Court's Ruling Has Transformed Privacy Rights ('Washington Post' Essay Notes That, While The Roe-Wade Decision's Establishment Of A Constitutional Right To Privacy Or 'Bodily Integrity' Has Influenced Other Legal Issues, Its Impact On Marijuana Prohibition Has Been Nil) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 07:57:21 -0500 Subject: MN: US: The Reach of Roe, How the Court's Ruling Has Transformed Privacy Rights Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Washington Post Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Pubdate: Sunday, January 18, 1998 Page: C01 Author: Joan Biskupic. Joan Biskupic covers the Supreme Court for The Washington Post. THE REACH OF ROE, HOW THE COURT'S RULING HAS TRANSFORMED PRIVACY RIGHTS >From the moment the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade, it was apparent that the ruling's impact would be vast, that this landmark of landmarks would change our politics, our culture and even our social relationships in a way rivaled by only a handful of decisions in the court's history. Twenty-five years later, the Roe decision looks even more influential. Its underlying rationale of a constitutional right to privacy has been used to establish a new right to "bodily integrity," as judges call it -- a concept of physical freedom that is becoming increasingly important to some of the pressing issues of our time. In the years since its creation, Roe's right to privacy has been invoked by the Supreme Court to forbid states from forcing terminally ill people to stay on respirators or to endure other artificial life support. It has been used to stop prison officials from compelling mentally ill inmates to take anti-psychotic drugs. Its notion of physical liberty has given severely retarded adults in institutions the grounds to claim "freedom of movement" to protect them from bodily restraint. In other cases simmering throughout the country, lawyers are arguing that the right to bodily integrity derived from Roe should prohibit prosecution of women when they give birth to babies who test positive for drugs, and that this right allows the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Attempts to apply Roe principles to cases in the future -- involving genetic testing, for example -- are sure to surface. In an era of advanced technology and medical breakthroughs, where the physical self can be invaded, monitored and altered in ways never thought possible a quarter-century ago, Roe's privacy right and its offspring could be used as a shield against government interference in a range of new acts and experiences. Only with time has it become clear how a rationale that justified the legalizing of abortion has gained legitimacy in the courts, if not in the minds of its many critics. The expansion of Roe v. Wade also reveals the wonder (some would say evil) of the U.S. constitutional system: a principle of questionable (some would say illegitimate) constitutional parentage, contained in a discrete case and involving a particular set of facts, bursts and grows to affect new situations and new times. With Americans believing so dearly in a right to be left alone, it may surprise many people that the Constitution does not include the word "privacy" and offers no explicit mention of any right to it. When Justice Harry A. Blackmun, the author of Roe, invoked such a right to strike down laws banning abortion, he was relying on no specific wording in the Bill of Rights or in any previous court decision. In varying contexts, he observed, the court or individual justices had found at least the roots of a general right to privacy. It could be discovered in the First Amendment's right of association; the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures; the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against self-incrimination; and in the open-ended notion of "rights" mentioned in the Ninth Amendment. ("The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.") He also drew on the "penumbras" and "emanations" of several guarantees in the Bill of Rights, as Justice William O. Douglas famously wrote for the court in the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down a ban on contraceptive devices. Certainly Blackmun could refer to some past variations of the privacy question, but the reality was that the court had never before articulated a constitutional basis for a sweeping right to privacy or personal autonomy, let alone to an abortion. Blackmun ultimately rested his case on the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty, saying it was "broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." Based on that rationale, states could no longer make abortion a crime. In 1992, when the Supreme Court reaffirmed abortion rights in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the justices accepted Blackmun's analysis and elaborated on how a constitutional right to privacy protects the physical self. The court's main opinion, signed by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and David H. Souter, said it is "settled now, as it was when the court heard arguments in Roe, that the Constitution places limits on a state's right to interfere with a person's most basic decisions about family and parenthood, as well as bodily integrity." The justices went on to declare that "the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life" is at the heart of one's liberty and freedom. Of course, nothing was "settled" before 1973, as many legal experts have observed. Some of the earlier cases invoking protection for bodily choices arose in the criminal law context, as in 1952 when the court denounced police for pumping the stomach of a suspect to recover capsules of drugs he had swallowed at the time of his arrest. While Roe necessarily focused on a woman's autonomy and choices about procreation, says Columbia University law professor Michael C. Dorf, "the case has been subsequently connected with a right to bodily integrity possessed by all persons." "What Roe v. Wade did was open the door for the Supreme Court to provide protections for individuals in society to control their own bodies," says University of Pennsylvania law professor Seth F. Kreimer. "As we move toward the twenty-first century, with the technological possibilities for government to control people, to involve itself in people's health care and to infringe on physical liberty, it has become enormously important for the Constitution to provide a check on this interference." The justices plainly have been relying on Roe's privacy right in other cases that involve threats of government intrusion. But, as Kreimer observed, only recently would a majority say so explicitly. Referring to a decision last year on physician-assisted suicide, Kreimer noted that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (who dissented in both Roe and Casey) specifically referred to a right of bodily integrity, citing the abortion cases, to support the proposition that the Constitution protects the most intimate choices a person makes in a lifetime. Perhaps the greatest dilemmas involving individual rights since Roe have been the "right-to-die" and assisted-suicide cases. The justices in 1990 took up the case of Nancy Cruzan, who was in a vegetative state as the result of a 1983 car accident and required feeding and hydration tubes to stay alive. Her parents wanted to remove the tubes, but the hospital refused to do so. After the family sued, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the state's interest in preserving life demanded that the parents' request be met only if they showed by clear and convincing evidence that their daughter would have wanted the tubes removed. The Supreme Court agreed with this requirement, in an opinion by Rehnquist, but not before finding a constitutional guarantee that permits people in certain circumstances to refuse medical treatment. The justices thus extended the bodily integrity principle to allow patients (or their families) to reject lifesaving care. In a concurring opinion, O'Connor wrote, "Because our notions of liberty are inextricably entwined with our idea of physical freedom and self-determination, the court has often deemed state incursions into the body repugnant" to the Constitution. In another 1990 case, the justices heard the protests of Walter Harper, an inmate in Washington state who was diagnosed as suffering from a manic-depressive disorder. Corrections officials had wanted him to take anti-psychotic drugs against his will. While the court said the state could, in Harper's case, force an inmate to take the drugs, Kennedy wrote for the majority that prisoners nevertheless have a "significant liberty interest" in being free of unwanted medication. By last year, the right of bodily integrity was so ingrained that it was a starting point for the court in its approach to physician-assisted suicide cases, reviewing whether states could outlaw the practice. In its rulings last June, the court said there was a long tradition protecting personal autonomy and defending people from unwanted medical treatment. But it ultimately allowed the states of Washington and New York to criminalize physician-assisted suicide, with Rehnquist observing that the country's history and legal tradition justified a prohibition on doctors helping people kill themselves. He said no general right to assisted suicide can be drawn from the Constitution. The court left unanswered the question of whether someone suffering intensely may be able to claim an individual right to assisted suicide. "Dying will be different for each of us," O'Connor wrote. "For many, the last days will be spent in physical pain and perhaps the despair that accompanies physical deterioration and a loss of control of basic bodily and mental functions." As last term's cases demonstrate, there is no absolute legal right to use one's body as one pleases. Notably, the current court has rejected that argument in the context of homosexual relationships. It is also likely to be cautious in finding any more new "implicit" rights in the Constitution. But few people are making predictions. "Roe created a privacy right in a context that no one would have anticipated," said Jay Alan Sekulow, a lawyer at the American Center for Law and Justice who has long fought abortion rights and now opposes any expanded rights for assisted suicide or same-sex marriage. And, he said, it has "led to a progeny no one could have thought."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prosecutor Goes After Pregnant Addicts For Abuse ('Houston Chronicle' Article On Charles Condon, South Carolina's Attorney General - Using Crack Babies As A Possible 'Wedge' To Reconsider Roe-Wade?) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 11:49:12 -0800 Subject: MN: US SC: Prosecutor Goes After Pregnant Addicts For Abuse Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Art Smart
Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/ Author: Rick Bragg, NYTimes PROSECUTOR GOES AFTER PREGNANT ADDICTS FOR ABUSE South Carolina attorney general is enjoying his latest controversy COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Pat Buchanan gazes approvingly from a framed photograph on Charles M. Condon's office wall. "To Charlie Condon," reads the inscription, "who is saving lives while others prattle on about the rights of drug addicts." Even without that endorsement of Condon's most disputed act as South Carolina attorney general -- prosecuting pregnant crack cocaine addicts for child neglect and even manslaughter -- the Republican prosecutor's political ideals shine clear. Instead of an electric chair, he once proposed an "electric sofa" to speed executions. He pushed to preserve the State Capitol's Confederate flag -- a symbol that even the conservative Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., reluctantly said was too contentious. He is attacking video poker, refused to swear in an atheist justice of the peace and firmly supported the Citadel's fight to bar female cadets. And if he has his way, this well-off, well-educated man from a respected Charleston family could stand before the highest court in the land and argue that a crack mother's fetus is "a fellow South Carolinian" and has protections under the law. In October, a majority of the state Supreme Court supported Condon in his assertion that a viable fetus is a person under the state's child abuse laws, and that a mother who uses illegal drugs during pregnancy can be charged with neglect, manslaughter, even murder. The court upheld the conviction, 3-2, of Cornelia Whitner, sentenced to eight years for neglect in 1992 after she gave birth to a baby with traces of cocaine in its blood. The South Carolina court contradicted five other state supreme courts that threw out similar convictions, and now lawyers for Whitner are expected to appeal her case to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the court agrees to hear the case, it will give South Carolina's attorney general more than a place to defend his law. "It is a wedge into reconsidering Roe vs. Wade," said Steven Bates, the South Carolina director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It's kind of scary to open that door of opportunity to the Supreme Court." By prosecuting pregnant addicts, Condon says, he is only trying to protect the unborn, and if a woman chooses, she can get drug treatment and generally avoid prosecution. Some fear that the prosecutions could be expanded so that a woman who aborted a fetus for a medical reason could be charged in the death of the child. (Condon has said his office would review such cases, but, so far, there have been no charges connected with abortion.) Only 23 women have been prosecuted for charges ranging from neglect to manslaughter. What he has done, however, is revisit the question of when life begins. It is a battle that he relishes. "You don't have the right to have a drug-impaired child," said Condon, 44, a tall, thin, sharp-faced man who graduated magna cum laude from Duke University's School of Law. "The child comes from God. We think we're in line with how most people feel in this country. We recognize the fetus as a fellow South Carolinian. And the right to privacy does not overcome the right to life." It promises to be a well-lighted stage for a politician who, political experts say, likes the glow. He is just one of a flood of conservative politicians -- some, like him, who used to be Democrats -- who have surged into state office in the South. Yet Condon is more effective, say supporters, and more dangerous, say enemies, than other populists. "He doesn't just talk," said David Lublin, a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina. "He makes a staunch use of the power of his pulpit, but also the power of his office," to pound out changes in South Carolina society. "He is quite willing to wade into areas where one wonders if the attorney general needs to," Lublin said. "He will enjoy the attention he will get when he argues the state's position." Dick Harpootlian, a lawyer and former prosecutor who lost to Condon for attorney general, said the political payoff drives this crusade. "He has the ability to disabuse himself of any beliefs he had, and to adopt the beliefs that 51 percent of the people have at that moment," said Harpootlian, referring to Condon's party switch in 1990. Political experts say that Condon will seek higher office -- the governorship or a U.S. Senate seat -- and has been criticized by people within his own party for personally prosecuting big- headline cases. But those who see him as a political opportunist see only half the picture, political experts said. "He seems to be willing to do anything to court the Republican right-wing electorate, and he's very ambitious," Lublin said. "But he seems to have genuine beliefs, and he seems to follow through on them. He's not a hypocrite, which is a rare quality. He's very intelligent, he's good at speaking, and even though he's stating his views from the very most right-wing stance, he doesn't sound crazy." That, Lublin said, is "the thing that makes him so acceptable, or so dangerous, if you're a liberal."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hair Tests For Drug Usage Raising Concerns ('Orange County Register' Notes That Although The FDA Says 'Hair Analysis For The Presence Of Drugs Is Unproven, Unsupported By Scientific Literature Or Controlled Trials,' It's Increasingly Popular, Thanks Largely To Sustained Lobbying And Marketing Efforts By Florida Entrepreneur H. Wayne Huizenga, Founder Of Blockbuster Entertainment, Whose Psychemedics Corp. Of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dominates The Hair-Testing Market) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 12:45:41 -0800 Subject: MN: US: Hair Tests for Drug Usage Raising Concerns Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sunday, 18 Jan, 1998 Section: news, page 10 Author: Frank Greve-Knight-Ridder Newspapers HAIR TESTS FOR DRUG USAGE RAISING CONCERNS Despite the bias issue, the procedure is becoming more popular because it turns up more drug users than urinalysis. WASHINGTON-An increasingly popular test for drug abuse, based on hair strands for traces of narcotics, identifies far more users than standard urine tests, federal authorities agree. But many worry that hair-based tests sometimes finger innocent subjects; such as children of drug abusers or police assigned to narcotics details, who can be exposed to drugs without taking them. There also is concern that hair tests turn up disproportionate numbers of non-Caucasians. That's because some researchers have found that traces of drugs last longer in thick, dark hair than thin, light-colored hair. "The scope of drug testing is expanding dramatically, and with expanding hair testing, the likelihood of bias will increase, too. It's a major problem" warned J. Michael Walsh, executive director of the President's Drug Advisory Council under Presidents Reagan and Bush and now a consultant to the urinalysis industry. The potential effects are wide-ranging. About 20 million Americans undergo drug tests each year, according to the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace, a Washington-based alliance of drug-test proponents. The majority are job applicants without rights of appeal. About 80 percent of companies that test for drugs rely solely on urine, and only 2 percent use hair. One reason is legality. Urine tests have universal acceptance in courts, while skepticism about the science behind hair tests persists. The other reason is politics. Employers, state regulators and courts want a green light from federal public-health experts before they go ahead with hair testing. And the regulators remain skeptical. To date, "hair analysis for the presence of drugs is unproven, unsupported by scientific literature or controlled trials," Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Sharon Snider said. "Hair testing may turn out to have a complementary role in workplace testing," said Robert Stevenson, deputy director of the Workplace Programs Division of the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. "But we have yet to resolve remaining questions about its fairness and the ability to interpret results consistently." Still, hair tests are becoming more popular. That's partly because the tests turn up more drug users than urinalysis and counter some of urine testing's shortcomings. Also important are sustained lobbying and marketing efforts by Psychemedics Corp. of Cambridge, Mass, which dominates the hair-testing market. A decade ago, Psychemedics' biggest customers were Nevada casinos. Today, they include Anheuser-Busch, the Federal Reserve System and General Motors. Florida entrepreneur H. Wayne Huizenga, founder of Blockbuster Entertainment, gets much of the credit. He led a group of investors that bought Psychemedics out of debt in 1989. With Blockbuster as a mainstay customer, the firm grew to more than 750 clients, according to its 1996 Securities and Exchange Commission filings. In that year, Florida legislators, pushed by Huizenga's lobbyist, approved hair testing in the state. The law grandfathered Psychemedics' patented hair-testing process and set high hurdles for future competitors. By the end of 1997, according to company general counsel William Thistle, Psychemedics had 1,000 clients. Thistle and other Psychemedics executives insist patented methods are unbiased and produce no "false positives" from innocent drug exposure. If hair testing were to supplant urine testing for drugs, Thistle ventured in an interview, from three to 10 times more illicit drug users would be caught. The result could be a new epoch in the nation's drug-war history: "Drug users wouldn't be employed," Thistle said flatly, "or they'd be in rehabilitation programs." Using scheduled urine tests, the New York City Police Department caught one drug abuser in seven year, according to a published report. In the first 18 months of random hair test by Psychemedics, more than 30 NYPD employees tested positive. In another comparison, involving 774 job applicants to Steelcase Corp., a Michigan furniture maker, urinalysis tests were 2.7 percent positive. Psychemedics hair tests on the same applicants were 18 percent positive. But hair testing also has its flaws. It can't catch recent drug use the way urine tests can, because traces of ingested drugs take about five to seven days to show up in hair. On the other hand, hair tests can detect drug use within 90-day period. "We can't see what's immediate," said Psychemedics general counsel Thistle, "and they can't see what's not immediate." Hair and urine tests are complementary in another way, researchers say: Urine tests catch marijuana easily and cocaine and heroin with great difficulty. Hair tests do just the opposite.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DARE-ing To Rethink Drug Classes (Two-Year Study By Educators In Colorado Springs Finds That When Local Fifth-Graders - The Only Students Who Take Part In DARE - Move On To Middle School, They Are Suspended And Expelled For Drugs, Weapons, Fighting And Other Offenses At Higher Rates Than Even High School Teens) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 09:28:29 -0500 Subject: MN: US CO: DARE-ing To Rethink Drug Classes Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: The Furnace Room
Source: The Gazette, Colorado Springs Author: Wendy Lawton - firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 Contact: email@example.com DARE-ING TO RETHINK DRUG CLASSES Program May Move To Higher Grades DARE, the most widespread and popular drug prevention program in the country, isn't nearly as effective as it could be in Colorado Springs. A task force of educators from the four city school districts - and the police sergeant in charge of overseeing DARE in Springs elementary schools - have come to this conclusion after two years of study. Members point to national research that sharply questions the impact of the lessons, delivered by police officers and aimed at teaching youngsters how to resist peer pressure and exposing the dangers of violence, smoking, drinking and drugs through lectures and role-playing. And there is evidence that local fifth-graders - the only students who take part in DARE - aren't getting the message. When these students move on to middle school, they are suspended and expelled for drugs, weapons, fighting and other offenses at higher rates than even high school teens. So school boards in Colorado Springs School District 11, Harrison School District 2, Academy School District 20 and Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 will decide soon whether to make small - or big - changes to DARE, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. Right now, boards are being asked to tinker with the timing of the program and extending the sessions. But within a year, they could face very different questions: Should students be taught DARE lessons at all? Or could another prevention program, or perhaps an amalgam of programs, better serve Springs students? There is a lot at stake in the answers. More than 64,000 students attend schools inside the city. And schools offer DARE as the main line of defense against dangerous behavior like getting high or bringing a gun to school. Police Chief Lorne Kramer put it this way to the District 11 school board last week: "This is a major policy decision." Kramer and the task force agree that the program needs to change. The first recommendation is to move DARE from elementary schools to middle schools this fall. Under the plan, presented last week to board members in Districts 11 and Harrison, the 17-week DARE program would be taught to sixth-graders instead of fifth-graders. Because the number of schools targeted would shrink from 67 elementary to 16 middle schools, police officers would have time to teach "booster" sessions at least twice a year to kids in grades 7 and 8. Supporters hope these extra lessons will strengthen students' ability to resist peer pressure, the not-so-subtle squeeze to experiment and misbehave that skyrockets among young teens. "What we are doing right now is saying to kids 'Stay away from drugs, here's your T-shirt, and good luck in middle school,'" said Sgt. John Taylor, who oversees DARE for the city. "DARE is a good program - don't get me wrong - but we need to be in the middle schools. That's where kids are getting pressure to use drugs. That's when they're experimenting. That's where they're getting into trouble. "So what we want to say is 'Here's your T-shirt. And if I see you with a cigarette in your mouth, or I hear you're doing drugs, I'm going to be here in your school next year to make sure you stop.'" While this is the argument officials in District 11 and 2 will struggle with during the next few weeks, the DARE discussion is different in Academy School District 20 and Cheyenne Mountain School District 12. The District 20 board won't decide whether to move the program to middle schools until it decides whether to fund DARE at all. This year, all non-academic programs in the district must be run through a tough new budget process, which will be completed next month. In District 12, the conversation about DARE has taken a different shape altogether. DARE is already taught to sixth-graders, who attend elementary schools. There are no plans to move the program. But there is a proposal to expand drug prevention efforts into the junior high. At their January 26 meeting, Cheyenne Mountain school board members will decide whether to assign a police officer to the school to serve as a mentor and teach DARE-like lessons, as well as patrol the high school, for the rest of the school year. Caryl Thomason, a task force member and the assistant superintendent for Cheyenne Mountain, explained the citywide focus on extending the reach of drug prevention this way: Just like a diet, DARE requires reinforcement to truly work. If there's no follow-up or feedback, kids will forget or ignore what they learned. "It's just like anything else. If a program isn't constant, you're going to drop it after three weeks," Thomason said. "We need more specific, continuous drug prevention across the system." Research seems to bear this out. An Ohio State University study showed that students who had DARE lessons in two or more grades were more likely to stay away from drugs. A new national report and a December article in the education journal Phi Delta Kappa also stress the importance of follow-up. Even DARE officials agree. Most schools that teach DARE do it in grades 5 or 6. Now, DARE America, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit that created the program in 1983, will ask Congress for $50 million in grants so schools can continue the program in the upper grades. But the timing or intensity of DARE isn't the only issue. Several reports have surfaced in the last five years showing that DARE is a weak antidote against drugs. One such study was commissioned by the National Institute of Justice, which found no differences in reported drug use in 1994 between students who had, and those who didn't have, DARE classes. Research in Illinois and Indiana has shown that the program had little or no long-term effect on student drug or alcohol use. In fact, the 1991 Indiana report found that the only difference between high school seniors who had or hadn't taken DARE classes in earlier grades was that teens enrolled in the program used hallucinogens more than their program-free peers. Local research, conducted by University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor Richard Dukes, is more promising. On one hand, Dukes' 1995 study of DARE showed that the city's program didn't have long-lasting effects. But Dukes also found that the program is more effective here than in other places, especially for teen-age boys. Given these somewhat mixed messages, the task force is just beginning to research other drug prevention programs, which have mushroomed in the last decade. The group has three choices: Stay with DARE, go with another set of lessons, or write its own. Members say they could pull the best elements from several programs, fold in Colorado's new academic standards, then add in a pinch of developmental "assets," or positive influences on children, which are the subject of a citywide campaign. Whatever the task force recommends, school boards must agree on one approach if they want police to lead the lessons. Sgt. Taylor said it would be too difficult and too expensive to train officers to deliver one program in District 11, another in District 12, another in District 20 and yet another in District 2. But this decision is months away. All that's certain now is that some educators and police are no longer wedded to the idea that DARE is the only drug prevention alternative. "What we need," said District 20 student services director Pete Cicatelli, "is a program that makes sense and really works for kids."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Popular 'Rave' Drug, Alcohol Deadly Mix (Although No Incidents Are Reported And Police In Denver, Colorado, Have Seen Little Of The Drug, 'The Gazette' Launches Advertising Campaign To Make Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid, Or GHB, Popular With Teens) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 09:33:58 -0500 Subject: MN: US CO: Popular 'Rave' Drug, Alcohol Deadly Mix Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: The Furnace Room
Source: The Gazette, Colorado Springs Author: Associated Press Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 Contact: email@example.com POPULAR 'RAVE' DRUG, ALCOHOL DEADLY MIX Officials Issue Warning DENVER - It gives a feeling of euphoria. It can also cause seizures or stop a person from breathing. It's a drug found at "raves," all-night parties attended by young people. Authorities are concerned because mixing it with alcohol could be fatal. Its medical name is gamma-hydroxybutyric acid. Its street name is GHB, for Georgia Home Boy or grievous bodily harm, and it's also known as liquid ecstasy, g-riffick or organic quaalude. Partygoers mix the drug with water or other liquids and pass it around, police said. But doctors at Rocky Mountain Poison Center said if taken with alcohol, it can cause seizures or respiratory spasms. Large doses cause a loss of inhibitions or impulse control. At worst, the drug can put the user into a trance-like state, said Greg Bogden, chief of research at the Rocky Mountain Poison Center. The drug is popular in Europe, where it's used as a sleep aid or, in larger doses, as an anesthetic for surgery. Body builders first brought it to the United States a few years ago, thinking it would release growth hormones. Lt. Sam McGhee, commander of the Aurora Police vice and narcotics division, said his officers are finding GHB about once a month. But Denver police and the Adams County North Metro Drug Task Force have seen little of the drug. "We usually don't see it unless someone has gotten into trouble with it," McGhee said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bishop Finds Ash Street Jail Conditions A 'Growing Concern' (Roman Catholic Bishop Sean O'Malley Of New Bedford, Massachusetts, Takes Seriously Jesus' Teaching To Help Prisoners) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:04:35 -0500 Subject: MN: US MA: Bishop finds Ash Street Jail Conditions a 'Growing Concern' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sun., 18 Jan 1998 Source: The Standard-Times, Serving the South Coast of Massachusetts Contact: YourView@S-T.com WebPage: http://www.s-t.com Author: Ric Oliveira, Standard-Times staff writer Note: You can contact Ric at email@example.com BISHOP FINDS ASH STREET JAIL CONDITIONS A 'GROWING CONCERN' FALL RIVER -- The situation at the Ash Street jail in New Bedford is a "growing concern," Bishop Sean P. O'Malley said in an interview. "I think the whole approach to prison needs to be looked at," the head of the Fall River Diocese told The Standard-Times editorial board last week. The bishop said he doesn't want to second-guess Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and his new get-tough policies, but he said the current Catholic chaplain at the jail is concerned about the tension there. Bishop O'Malley said perhaps prisoners not considered security risks could be afforded more time outside their cells. Sheriff Hodgson has said prisoners are locked down 23 hours a day for their safety. The bishop said it is important to treat prisoners with dignity, while at the same time maintaining discipline at the jail. He said more can be done to address prisoners' addiction and psychological problems and to raise their education level and job skills. He applauded work-release efforts and recalled that as a young priest and prison chaplain he once started a painting business to help rehabilitate inmates. Touching on other subjects, Bishop O'Malley said: Welfare reform, though needed, has caused some "upsetting" problems for the state's poorer families. The human impact should be weighed, along with seriousness of the crime, before deporting an immigrant. The diocese has seen an increased demand on its food pantries. HERE ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE STANDARD-TIMES' CONVERSATION WITH BISHOP O'MALLEY AT HIS OFFICE IN FALL RIVER: Q. Have you been following the situation at the Ash Street jail with the 23-hour lockdowns in place? A. Somewhat. I am not entirely apprised of what is going on. But it is a growing concern. I understand more guards are being hired and I understand that is a step in the right direction. I think the whole approach to prison needs to be looked at. I don't know if a local county is in the best position to do that. I worked as a prison chaplain for two years myself. I have always been involved in prison ministry since then. In my former diocese we only had 10 churches but I always considered the prison my 11th parish. I had Mass there once a month. Most of the prisoners were Catholic so they were my people ... Q. Do you feel the prison systems are taking the right approach? A. With addiction problems, unemployment, it is so costly to warehouse people, there has to be a better way to deal with this. I had heard that the sheriff's office is getting more and more people on work-release programs. I applaud that. When I was a prison chaplain there was no work-release program. No one was allowed out on parole until they were able to secure a job. You know how hard it is to get a job when you can show up in your best outfit, hair combed and everything. But when the return address is the county lockout, you know ... Q. So what happened there? A. In my youthful enthusiasm I started a painting company to hire people so I could take them out of prison. I, of course, knew nothing about painting. We were moderately successful, though, and managed to get a lot of prisoners jobs and get them rehabilitated. But I knew nothing about how to run a painting company. I put a touch on my dad for the money to get us started, bought brushes, paints and ladders. When it came time to buy a vehicle, with the amount of money I had the only thing I could afford was this red station wagon that would only go in reverse. So at the first job, we actually showed up going backwards until we had money to repair the car. Those are the kinds of issues I think somehow we have to come to grips with. How to prepare them for a job. How to get people back into the community to help them to deal with the drug problem which is often the source of the crime. ... The more the prisoners are out working in these work-release programs, the more opportunities they have to be in contact with the people. I think a lot of fear about hiring prisoners is overcome that way. If local communities can give some kind of tax incentives to business who work with prisoners, that is also important. Q. The sheriff is keeping people in Ash Street locked down 23 hours a day. He also has stopped the Bible program and the Alcoholics Anonymous program for people awaiting trial. It was done, he said, to avoid security problems. How do you feel about this? A. I do not want to try and second guess him. I think it is necessary to try and determine who the security risks are and treat them accordingly. The other people who are not a security risk should be afforded time outside of the cells. It is a very tense situation. The chaplain there is very concerned. Father Matt Sullivan is the chaplain and has been there for years. He is certainly a seasoned prison chaplain and knows the ropes of prison very well. Q. Are you in touch with him on a regular basis? A. I just said Mass last week for the Feast of Three Kings for the Spanish-speaking prisoners. I was there before Christmas for the English Mass at Dartmouth. The Mass before Christmas there were 1,400 people and they had to bring extra guards. In the past they have brought prisoners from the other facility to the Mass but I think this year it was certainly not the case. Q. You have been in Ash Street many times. Former Sheriff David Nelson wanted to close that down. The current sheriff wants to keep it open to deter people from going there. How do you feel about that? A. I do not think prison should be luxurious or a place where people want to get into because they are struggling on the outside. On the other hand, I think there are certain amenities and standards set that are connected with human dignity. Part of the way we reach the prisoners is to teach them about themselves. Hopefully, if we treat them in a human way it is also an object lesson for them on how to treat other people. Sometimes they come out of very violent backgrounds. Sometimes they have a very low self-image of themselves and that is why they have problems with drugs and alcohol. I don't think it should be a country club. There should be discipline. I am interested in learning more about these boot-camp-type prisons they have started in some places for first-time offenders. I don't think it necessarily wonderful to have prisoners sitting in a cell watching daytime television as some sort of narcotic to keep them quiet. There are some things we can be doing. I had a Mass there last week, and a number of teachers came up to me who were teaching GED to the prisoners. They seemed like wonderful people. The more we can do that the better. Certainly if the government is not willing to underwrite the costs for something like that, certainly I would lend the help of the church, organize volunteers. Anything we can do to raise the educational level or job skills of people in prison and help to deal with the addictions and psychological problems they have, it is an important way to stop the sacrilege. Q. What is the state of demand on your Catholic Social Services agency at the present time? A. Our cities are still hurting and we need more jobs. It is not only the unemployment situation but the most recent developments from the government response. Certainly we find more and more people coming into the pantries for food. We cannot keep the food pantries filled. Q. How many food pantries do you have? A. There are at least five or six. Certainly the parishes use vouchers to send people regularly to get groceries. The demands on the social services have increased. I don't think it is because unemployment has increased. It think it is more because of the government help decreased. Q. How do you feel welfare reform is working? Is it having the desired affect? A. I think there was a lot which needed to be reformed in our system. I think a lot has been done with consideration of the bottom line rather than the welfare and safety of our families, particularly the children. The bishops of the state of Massachusetts do have someone in the Massachusetts Catholic Conference trying to study the results of changes in the laws. This will be publicized eventually. It is a big source of concern. Obviously, we would like to see a welfare system that encourages people to enter the job market, encourages families to stay together and is able to provide health insurance coverage for children. I think there has been a lot of disincentives in the old system that needed to be corrected. Obviously, just weaning people off welfare without helping people get off is upsetting. Q. Have you seen many changes in the immigrant population in the last couple of years? A. In the diocese certainly the Brazilians have been coming to the Cape and more people from Central America -- not terribly large numbers, but we have noticed them moving in with more frequency. Q. Are these folks outside of publicly provided social services? A. I would say most of them. It had been growing but I have the impression it is tapering off compared to the last two years. Q. To what degree are these folks being exploited because of the lack of status leaving them at risk? A. For any undocumented worker there is always a risk. I think that it is a very serious problem when private agencies, churches, hospitals, police stations are somewhat cooped into being agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This is not our job. I am not suggesting the U.S. should not have an immigration service. I think it is necessary. We need always to try to have just laws and to enforce them. But I think the INS should be the ones enforcing those laws. If a woman who is undocumented is raped or mugged and she cannot afford to go to the police because they will ask for a green card, or she has a child with a high fever and they can't take it to the hospital because the social workers will ask for a green card, I think it is wrong. Those kinds of situations often put undocumented workers at a greater risk than being exploited by unscrupulous employers. Q. Has the INS ever requested cooperation from the diocese? A. I think they know better. However I understand that in the hospitals or sometimes police forces are asked. I think it is counterproductive. Q. How do you feel about criminal deportations? A. I have mixed feelings about it. It is certainly a discretionary thing. They do not have to deported. There can be exceptions made for families. When someone has lived here almost their whole life, and we deport them to a country where they cannot speak the language and almost all of their family is here, I am just ... I am not against deporting criminals. But in those cases you have to look hard and long and really weigh how serious was the crime and the human impact it will have, not just on the individual but the family. I know of a man from Bolivia who came here as a baby in the arms of his parents. He was deported for exposing himself. It was a compulsion. He was sick. But his wife was not Bolivian, his children, his parents were all here. He had never been to Bolivia, he barely spoke Spanish but he was deported. I think a lot of these things have to be taken into account. If they are legal residents they do forfeit their rights to be here for committing a crime but I think there are some things that need to be weighed. I know this is becoming a problem in the Azores. You have people going there who do not know the language, have no skills, no family. Technically, they were not Americans but they were raised here. Q. Will the weekly Sunday television Mass remain on the air? A. The Mass will remain on the air, although I must say I ran a television station in the West Indies for what it cost me for the half hour. It is not free, but it will remain on the air.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prohibition's Inroads In State Ran Into Heavy Resistance ('Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' Historical Piece On Era Of Alcohol Prohibition, Part Of Series On Wisconsin's Sesquicentennial)Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 22:41:57 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US WI: Prohibition's Inroads In State Ran Into Heavy Resistance Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Frank S. World" Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Author: Dennis McCann of the Journal Sentinel staff Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 Contact: email@example.com Fax: (414) 224-8280 Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ Editor's note: Our newshawk writes: Another Sesquicentennial article from the J-S. My family had a brewery in Wisconsin that was raided during Prohibition, while operating under the guise of an ice cream factory! PROHIBITION'S INROADS IN STATE RAN INTO HEAVY RESISTANCE For 13 years, the grand experiment that was Prohibition staggered and teetered like the drunks it was supposed to have made extinct, forcing thirsty Americans to improvise but seldom to go without. Ultimately, it was the dry law that disappeared. The 1920s experience was not Wisconsin's first experience with controls on drink. In 1851, prohibitionists had forced a statewide referendum on the issue and won, 27,519 to 24,109. The Legislature declined to go along, however, and liquor remained legal until the nationwide ban 70 years later. But colorful as the era of bootleggers and "The Untouchables" seemed years later, Eliot Ness and all the G-men in America couldn't keep the spigots closed. By the early 1930s, beer was on its way back. Just as anti-German sentiment had added to the push for Prohibition, efforts to fight the ravages of the Great Depression helped bring it to an end. In Milwaukee, legal beer brewing would mean thousands of jobs, first for low-alcohol beer and later for the real stuff. Breweries geared up, even as politicians and wet and dry forces here and in Washington continued to haggle. When Milwaukeean Mary Eggert, still arguing for temperance, referred to "poisonous alcohol" at a 1931 hearing, Antigo Sen. James Barker objected. "Lady," he said, "I've been drinking alcohol for 55 years and I'm not poisoned." "You wouldn't act like that," Mary Eggert replied, "if you weren't poisoned mentally." Others sweated the details, whether the percentage of alcohol that would be set or the rate of tax. Some feared too high a tax would make the nickel glass of beer impossible. Hundreds attended hearings on beer regulation. But brewers, and many beer drinkers, kept their eye on the big picture and were more than ready when low-alcohol beer was legalized again on April 7, 1933. Lines formed early outside breweries, waiting for beer by the glass and by the barrel. Others stood outside their favorite former taverns, waiting for them to be transformed again. At 12:01, deliveries began, taps were opened, factory whistles blew and the party began. Trains and trucks began beer shipments within minutes, returning Milwaukee to its rightful status as brewer to America, and beer was even flown from Milwaukee that night to President Roosevelt in Washington. On April 17, when the city officially celebrated the end of this long, national nightmare, 20,000 people squeezed into the Auditorium to rejoice. As state Sen. H.W. Bolens had said during debate in Madison: "I am glad that the people of Wisconsin have returned to their senses. . . . "Happy days are here again."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Illegal Drugs - What Should We Do Now? (Staff Editorial In Pennsylvania's 'Centre Daily Times' Invites Readers To Take Part In A 'National Issues Forum' January 31 In College Township) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 15:46:19 -0500 Subject: MN: US PA: Editorial: Illegal Drugs: What Should We Do Now? Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Centre Daily Times (Serving Central Pennsylvania) Author: Paul V. Carty, Editorial Page Editor Pubdate: Sunday, January 18, 1998 Contact: email@example.com Note: Please indicate whether your comments may be considered for publication. Website: http://www.centredaily.com/ ILLEGAL DRUGS: WHAT SHOULD WE DO NOW? As special as Centre County is, it is not immune to the significant drug problem that afflicts Americans nationwide. And calling it significant is an understatement. Consider the following, based on research from Public Agenda and the Kettering Foundation: "One in two Americans has a drug problem or knows someone who does. And now, after declining for years, teen-age drug use -- mostly of marijuana -- has doubled since 1992." The statistics vary considerably from community to community, but illegal drug use is widespread and the impact is pervasive. The use of illegal drugs is linked to crime, AIDS, workplace injuries, failure in school, unemployment, domestic violence and the disintegration of families and communities. Such matters ultimately affect everyone, in taxes, in safety, in quality of life. And the problem permeates society. Contrary to criminal conviction rates, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, three-quarters of Americans who admit using illegal drugs are white and employed. That's the background for a National Issues Forum called "Illegal Drugs: What Should We Do Now?" The forum, open to all Centre County residents, will be held Saturday, Jan. 31, at Mount Nittany Middle School in College Township. Today, three citizens help to frame the discussion by introducing the choices that will start deliberations at the forum: Choice 1: Step up enforcement to finish the job. Choice 2: Change attitudes about illegal drugs. Choice 3: Treat substance abuse as an illness. We encourage citizens to read the material, think about how this community might improve drug-fighting strategies locally and nationwide, and offer their suggestions at the forum.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Century Of Drug Use And Drug Policy ('Centre Daily Times' Publishes Chronology Outlining US Drug Laws And Highlights Since 1900) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 15:54:02 -0500 Subject: MN: US PA: CDT series: A Century Of Drug Use And Drug Policy Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Centre Daily Times Author: From CDT staff reports Pubdate: Sunday, January 18, 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Note: Please indicate whether your comments may be considered for publication. Website: http://www.centredaily.com/ A CENTURY OF DRUG USE AND DRUG POLICY 1900: U.S. public health officials estimate that 300,000 Americans are opiate addicts. Opium, cocaine and morphine are commonly used in health remedies and legally sold even in grocery stores. 1914: The nation's first anti-drug law, the Harrison Act, requires doctors and pharmacists to register prescriptions for cocaine and opiates. Other use of narcotics becomes illegal. 1922: Congress enacts the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act to monitor illicit traffic in narcotics. 1923: Congress outlaws heroin. 1930: Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the forerunner to the Drug Enforcement Administration, is created. 1937: Congress outlaws marijuana. 1951: Congress passes the Boggs Law, which establishes uniform penalties for violations of drug laws. A first conviction results in a mandatory minimum sentence of two years; a second conviction, five to 10 years; a third conviction, 10 to 20 years. 1973: President Richard Nixon declares an "all-out global war" on drugs. 1974: Cocaine makes a comeback as a popular euphoric. A New York Times Magazine piece, "Cocaine: The Champagne of Drugs," states: "For its devotees, cocaine epitomizes the best of the drug culture -- which is to say, a good high achieved without the forbiddingly dangerous needle and addiction of heroin." 1975: A presidential task force recommends shifting the emphasis of federal drug policy from law enforcement to treatment and prevention, noting that "total elimination of drug abuse is unlikely." 1977: Testifying before Congress, officials from four government agencies recommend eliminating criminal penalties for the use of marijuana. The federal government takes no action, but 10 states decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. 1978: President Jimmy Carter asks Congress to abolish all federal criminal penalties for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. 1980: President Ronald Reagan increases funding for the war on drugs, and first lady Nancy Reagan launches a "Just Say No" campaign. 1981: U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., now speaker of the House, proposes legislation to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. And, the military begins random drug testing of enlisted personnel. 1986: Congress allows the use of the military for intelligence-gathering in the war on drugs, imposes mandatory life sentences on adults who sell drugs to a juvenile for the second time, and permits the introduction of illegally seized evidence in drug offense trials. 1988: Congress creates a "drug czar" to coordinate drug-control strategies as head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and makes drug offenders ineligible for college loans and public housing. 1996: Voters in California and Arizona approve ballot initiatives that legalize medical use of marijuana. Source: Public Agenda
------------------------------------------------------------------- To Win The Drug War, We Must Fight The Battles ('Centre Daily Times' Series Features Pennsylvania Prosecutor Saying Step Up Enforcement To Finish The Job) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 16:12:30 -0500 Subject: MN: US PA: OPED CDT series: To Win The Drug War, We Must Fight The Battles Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Centre Daily Times Author: Michael T. Madeira. Michael T. Madeira is a deputy attorney general for Pennsylvania. Pubdate: Sunday, January 18, 1998 Contact: email@example.com Note: Please indicate whether your comments may be considered for publication. Website: http://www.centredaily.com/ TO WIN THE DRUG WAR, WE MUST FIGHT THE BATTLES Choice 1: Step up enforcement to do the job: The nation's war on drugs already has reduced casual drug use by 53 percent since 1979. Now is not the time to second-guess success, but rather to redouble our efforts to keep drugs out of the country and out of our homes, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." When Edmund Burke said that in the mid-18th century, he was not talking about drug policy, but he could have been. A serious effort to curb the problematic use of drugs in our society cannot ignore the importance of the law enforcement effort. Retreating from the "war on drugs" will only allow the evil to succeed. The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General has taken a three-pronged approach to the drug problem in Pennsylvania. Attorney General Mike Fisher has often said that we must fight the drug problem from both the supply and demand sides. Enforcement efforts must be combined with treatment and anti-drug education that involves the family, the community, schools, church and government. We must not, however, begin the new millennium by reducing the law enforcement approach to fund these other applications. Those who say that we can have only one or the other -- that is, enforcement or prevention through education and treatment -- present us with a false dichotomy. In the 1980s, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overall drug use dropped by about 50 percent. This decrease was a result of increased committed funding to law enforcement and a zero-tolerance approach to drug trafficking and use. While we must deal with the demand side of the equation, the suppliers and purveyors of the poison infecting neighborhoods, schools and homes must be dealt with severely. Current levels of enforcement and community anti-drug campaigns need to be increased. On the international level, the United States should increase efforts to cooperate with other countries' anti-drug efforts. Additionally, the United States should demand that other countries actively address their drug problems and the exportation of illicit drugs. This means getting tough with nations that tacitly allow the drug industry to flourish within their borders. We also need to continue our efforts at interdiction of the constant flow of drugs into the United States. In Pennsylvania, interdiction at bus depots, airports and train stations has resulted in significant seizures of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other illegal drugs. Law enforcement agents have seized hundreds of thousands of dollars en route to source cities for the purchase of more drugs. These interdiction efforts are largely successful not only because they result in prosecution of dealers and couriers of drugs, but because large quantities of drugs seized never make it to our streets for resale. While this means spending for more police on the streets and building more prisons, the costs are well worth the results we have seen. Other successful efforts undertaken in Pennsylvania include investigation of drug dealers at all levels. The attorney general's Task Force Program has provided incentive by offering funding to attack local drug problems. Hundreds of street-level arrests in small towns, boroughs and cities have taken on the drug dealers at their front door. Agents from the attorney general's office continue to pursue arrests of mid- and upper-level dealers. These investigations target organized crime and "kingpins" who attempt to keep their hands clean from the taint of street-level dealing. Although costly, the results, which place dealers in prison and provide cleaner, safer streets and a reassured citizenry, support that cost. Other effective approaches to fighting the war on drugs include lengthy mandatory sentences for dealers and forfeiture of their profits. These seizures and sentences deter the dealer by showing that crime does not pay. Additionally, seized assets are returned to law enforcement to help fund anti-drug efforts. Communities and businesses also can get involved by taking action that promotes a zero-tolerance approach to the use and sale of drugs. Government's enforcement actions can remove the dealer, but it will be the efforts of parents, employers, schools and community activists that will reduce the demand. We will be victorious in the war on drugs only if we are serious about fighting it. The history of wars fought by Americans demonstrates that when we commit the necessary resources to do the job, we will overcome any enemy. The United States spends a minor portion of its budget on drug control. This allotment includes treatment, education, law enforcement and international anti-drug activities. Compared with the costs of other major U.S. initiatives and the cost of drug abuse, this spending is minuscule. Any effort to reduce the outlays for enforcement will only increase the availability of drugs that need to be combated through more education and treatment programs. Experience has shown us that legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, have related costs, including health, treatment and education, that are almost overwhelming. Recent increases in drug abuse by younger members of society would suggest that any reduction in law enforcement efforts dealing with the supply of illegal drugs is irresponsible. Treatment and education alone are insufficient to attack the problem. Responsible policy-makers will recognize the significant impact zero-tolerance efforts had in the '80s and will continue to get into the fray to reduce the availability of drugs at all levels of our society. We must be willing to provide funding and commit our resources to fight the battles. Then, and only then, will we win the war.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Send One Strong Message, And Share The Responsibility ('Centre Daily Times' Series Features Pennsylvania Health Educator Saying Change Attitudes About Illegal Drugs, Encourage Prevention) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 16:40:26 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US PA: OPED CDT Series: Send One Strong Message, And Share The Responsibility Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Centre Daily Times Author: Natalie Croll. Natalie Croll is the assistant director of the Office of Health Promotion and Education at Penn State. Andrew Bills, health promotion specialist, contributed. Pubdate: Sunday, January 18, 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Note: Please indicate whether your comments may be considered for publication. Website: http://www.centredaily.com/ SEND ONE STRONG MESSAGE, AND SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY Choice 2: Change attitudes about illegal drugs: Since government cannot significantly reduce the supply of illegal drugs, we must reduce the demand for them -- by changing tolerant attitudes. Parents, schools and the entertainment media must say, with one voice, that illegal drugs are dangerous and socially unacceptable. The link of substance abuse with negative consequences, such as the loss of employee productivity, poor school performance, increasing health-care costs, increasing acts of violence and death, has been the focus of media attention throughout the past decade. Prevention messages and programs such as "Just Say No" and others have become prolific throughout the United States, and yet we see little change in the cost to society caused by the abuse of alcohol, the use of tobacco and the prevalence of illegal drugs. To address this crisis, a shift is under way in the way we think about alcohol and other drug-abuse prevention. No longer is prevention the job of just the local health education teacher or prevention specialist hired by a school district, county or college. The community as a whole is seen as a catalyst for the prevention of alcohol and other drug problems. Prevention, therefore, is a multidisciplined approach of multiple strategies that affect the entire community and that strive for environmental change. Dr. Richard Keeling, director of University Health Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has noted the prevention messages we have used for decades -- such as "Know when to say when," "Drink responsibly" and "Know your limits" -- place all the responsibility on the individual, and none on the community. This isolation of individual responsibility supports the broader misperception that bad things happen to bad people; that the individual didn't know enough or was irresponsible. And the community's role in this is merely to mourn the individual's misfortune or loss, and move on. There is rarely a community response that involves identifying cultural norms, practices, principles, values, institutions and beliefs that support continued consequences of use, misuse or abuse. Current thinking in prevention asserts that alcohol and other drug abuse is not the problem of a troubled few, but is a reflection of the nature of the communities we create. We must identify where and how our communities directly and indirectly support misuse and abuse, where behaviors and messages are inconsistent with our desires for a safe, caring community. This needed approach to prevention is no longer one of mere information-sharing; it is a community public health approach. It will not occur in a classroom or lecture, but rather in daily living. There will be a shift in strategies from those which focus only on the individual to those that address the environment. No longer will use be OK, laughed at, glorified by the media or approved of within our stories. Mixed messages and behaviors inconsistent with the values of the community will be challenged. It is a process of changing the context in which we all make our decisions for use. Prevention does not compete with but relies upon and supports the continued rigorous enforcement of current policies and laws. It supports ongoing treatment for those who suffer from the effects of the disease of addiction and builds upon intervention programs to identify those at risk for dependency. The National Issues Forum, which will provide an opportunity for public talk on public politics, is an example of prevention in action and practice. Through this forum individuals will be able to come together as a community to engage in conversation and debate this critical issue. This is a long-term, communitywide process of change requiring us to engage in difficult conversations and to take action. It is time for us to change our beliefs about prevention from "know your limits" to embracing our collective responsibility, as Keeling says, to notice, care and act.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Treat Complex Problem As A Public Health Issue ('Centre Daily Times' Series Features Author Theodore Vallance Promoting Harm Reduction) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 16:46:38 -0500 Subject: MN: US PA: OPED CDT Series: Treat Complex Problem As A Public Health Issue Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Centre Daily Times Author: Theodore Vallance. Theodore "Ted" Vallance is a frequent contributor to the Centre Daily Times. He lives in State College. Pubdate: Sunday, January 18, 1998 Contact: email@example.com Note: Please indicate whether your comments may be considered for publication. Website: http://www.centredaily.com/ TREAT COMPLEX PROBLEM AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE Choice 3: Treat substance abuse as a health issue: Drug abuse is a treatable illness, and illegal drugs are primarily a public health problem, demanding medical, social and legal remedies. Government must jail drug traffickers, but should treat drug users. Prevention programs should be expanded to reach more families before they turn to drugs. Nothing is as simple as it first appears. The extreme complexity of the drug problem must be recognized in order to devise a workable plan to reduce the harms that illicit drugs and their surrounding set of rules and policies inflict on the public. The drug problem is a crime problem. Millions of crimes occur daily, and most are committed by the estimated 20 million users of illegal drugs who generate more than a million arrests annually. More newsworthy are crimes to obtain money for buying drugs. Competition for market share includes gunfire to deter competitors from a seller's turf. The drug problem is a major economic problem, coming to around $135 billion annually. The largest part of this cost comes from the fact that many recreational mood-altering drugs are illegal. The drug problem is an international problem. The United States intercedes in the affairs of other nations as we pressure them to stop lucrative commerce in drugs headed our way and complain when they fail to relieve our drug problem. Finally, drugs -- legal and illegal -- comprise a health problem. People get sick from taking drugs. Some die. A 1979 report cites 900 deaths associated with 57 million Valium prescriptions to help people manage stress. Annually we have nearly 35,000 alcohol-related deaths from injuries and accidents, and 430,000 associated with smoking tobacco. And yes, lots of people die annually from using illegal recreational drugs; a recent estimate is 7,600, of which about half were from poisoning via impurities and contaminated needles. All told, the criminal orientation toward our drug problem, the predominant emphasis in national policy, has failed. It is time to adopt a general public health approach to the very complex problem. What would a public health orientation look like? It would seek "to reduce and control the use of all recreational mood-altering drugs in order to provide for their safe, pleasurable use, consistent with centuries-old human experience, while minimizing their harmful effects on individuals, the family and society as a whole," according to Steven Jonas, a physician and professor of preventive medicine. It is the broadest approach to this complex problem because it encompasses all the features mentioned so far. While opposing the use of drugs as unhealthful and socially damaging behavior, the public health approach would emphasize the discovery and alleviation of causal conditions, preventive efforts through education and propaganda, and accessible treatment for the individual user. What do advocates of the public health approach propose? One proposal is a relaxation of controls on prescription pain relievers. Many physicians have had needless trouble with the law for allegedly over-prescribing narcotics for relief of the pains of organic illnesses. Another proposal is the medicalization of illicit drugs that have therapeutic value. The active ingredient in marijuana, for example, reduces internal eye pressures that lead to glaucoma, reducing the nauseating effects of several chemical treatments for cancer, and restores appetites of AIDS patients. The 1996 referenda in California and Arizona legalizing physician-ordered marijuana use for certain afflictions reflect the public health orientation. Non-enforcement of anti-marijuana laws can be expanded, emulating the successful Dutch and German experiences. Ten American states have removed criminal sanctions on possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. One study shows that states without criminal sanctions on marijuana experience fewer auto fatalities. Heavy restrictions on marijuana seem to encourage substituting more dangerous drugs, including alcohol, especially among teen-agers. What about legalization of all currently illicit drugs? Eventually, total and controlled legalization should come about, but only after extended public debate and education on the risks and benefits of reform. The experience with anti-nicotine education is instructive. Adult smoking and its attendant hazards are way down. Increased treatment for addicted people, while costly, is measurably less costly than repeatedly jailing drug users. In a public health orientation, gradual steps toward controlled legalization could reduce many of the harms that now afflict us and would more than offset the risks of increased drug use. What form of legalization? There are many versions of legalization. I propose that with a public health orientation we should work gradually toward a regulated open drug market, starting with marijuana, and an expanded educational program to inform the citizenry of the dangers of drugs and the advantages of such a market. Buyers and sellers of recreational drugs would be licensed, after passing qualifying tests. Records of sales would be used to substantiate license suspensions or punishments based on violations of laws against reckless driving or other offenses associated with overuse of drugs. Protection against impurities would be provided by market competition and governmental regulation. Packages would show contents and warnings about overuse and health hazards. Price regulation would be left to market processes. Federal taxes would apply uniformly to each class of products, and states and municipalities could tax at levels low enough to discourage black markets. Tax proceeds and drug war cost savings would be dedicated to prevention and treatment and to programs of human and social development -- child care, education, job training, housing, recreation, parks -- all known to promote a quality of life that breeds self-respect and reduces the need for recreational mood-altering drugs. Is such a changed policy attainable? Yes, with patience and steady effort. Many members of Congress and state legislatures are open to gradual change, but widespread misunderstanding and fear make sympathetic legislators reluctant to speak out and possibly risk their jobs. At the state level, further advocacy of medicalization of marijuana and decriminalization through revising law enforcement priorities are reasonable goals. At the national level, turning the authority back to the states would be simplest. The 21st Amendment in 1933 didn't legalize alcohol; it just gave the issue over to the states. Yes, it is time to change our thinking about the drug problem and the scourge of the drug wars. Treating the drug problem in a public health context can liberate public and private resources for more constructive use: prevention of drug abuse, treatment for addicts, and the development of a society that has minimal demands for recreational drugs as the road to happiness and mutual respect.
------------------------------------------------------------------- We Can't Just Ignore The Devastation Of Drugs (Three Letters To The Editor Of 'The New York Times' Responding To Milton Friedman)Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 08:32:48 -0500 Subject: MN: US: NYT LTEs: We Can't Just Ignore the Devastation of Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Richard Lake email@example.com Source: New York Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sunday, January 18, 1998 WE CAN'T JUST IGNORE THE DEVASTATION OF DRUGS To the Editor: While Milton Friedman's facts are excellent on the impact of the drug problem, his conclusion that it's up to addicts to decide whether to use drugs is absurd (Op-Ed, Jan. 11). Drugs -- especially hard-core drugs like heroin and cocaine -- have an enormous biological, psychological and social pull that defeats rational thinking about whether to use them. Mr. Friedman's solution, which is no solution at all, does not seem to be an improvement over the war on drugs that he laments. LISA M. NAJAVITS Belmont, Mass., Jan. 12, 1998 The writer is an assistant professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. *** A RACIAL EFFECT To the Editor: Milton Friedman asks how America's drug war policy can be moral if it has so "racist" an effect (Op-Ed, Jan. 11), but the effect is racial, not racist. "Racist" and "racism" are two of the most misused words in the English language. A disparate impact on a certain race is a racial effect, but it is not always the result of racism. For example, African-Americans dominate professional basketball, but that does not mean that the National Basketball Association is racist. It is impossible to have a meaningful dialogue on the subject of race if people carelessly interchange words and confuse cause with effect. America's drug policy has had a racial effect, but is racism the cause? Mr. Friedman never answers this important question. CRAIG J. CANTONI Scottsdale, Ariz., Jan. 14, 1998 *** NEEDLESS SUFFERING To the Editor: Milton Friedman's discussion of our failed drug war hits a painful truth regarding the undertreatment of chronic pain by physicians (Op-Ed, Jan. 11). As someone who recently suffered painful burns to his hands, I can testify to this sad fact. Physicians are indeed quite afraid to prescribe narcotics. They often substitute less effective medication or prescribe narcotics in minimal amounts. Patients are left rationing their pills in case greater pain presents itself in the future. This is clearly one of the hidden effects of our current drug policy. JOE FERRARI Astoria, Queens, Jan. 14, 1998
------------------------------------------------------------------- Was Troubled Son Kidnapped Or Rescued? (Alameda County, California Judge Will Rule On Parental And Children's Rights In Case Of Drug-Abstaining Oakland High School Freshman With Attention Deficit Disorder Sent To 'Tough Love' Type Camp In Jamaica By Fundamentalist Parents) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 13:05:29 -0800 Subject: MN: US CA: Was Troubled Son Kidnapped or Rescued? Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 Author: Dan Reed and Sandy Kleffman, Mercury News Staff Writers WAS TROUBLED SON KIDNAPPED OR RESCUED? Judge to rule whether parents had right to force him to Jamaican `tough love' camp OAKLAND -- Two strangers stepped inside David Van Blarigan's bedroom at midnight two months ago as the teenager's father shook him awake. ``He kind of barked at me, `Leave me alone,' '' James Van Blarigan remembered of the night he paid two burly men to take his son -- against his will -- to a yearlong exile at a Jamaican reform school whose practices are outlawed in California. ``I said, David, you're going to a new school.'' As prearranged, the 16-year-old boy's parents, who had signed papers giving school officials the right to use pepper spray, Mace, restraints or stun guns against their son if necessary, left the room. The strangers took over, threatening to handcuff David if he didn't comply. They allowed him to go to the bathroom before they packed him into a rented car, dressed in the sweatsuit he slept in, for a 700-mile drive to a Utah mental hospital and, two weeks later, a flight to the Caribbean school. Was their choice an extreme, illegal punishment for a normal, rebellious teenager? Or did his parents, frightened by their son's downward slide, do the right thing in a last-ditch effort to put a wayward boy on the straight and narrow? Because David was left alone long enough at a Jamaican airport to call a sympathetic neighbor, who alerted authorities, the matter is now in court. An Alameda County Superior Court judge is expected to rule Tuesday whether the Oakland high school freshman should be ordered back to California in a potentially precedent-setting clash of parental and children's rights. The courtroom drama is being watched across the nation by those in the burgeoning field of specialty schools, the kind of strict, no-nonsense -- and some say loosely regulated and occasionally brutal -- camps designed to exorcise the behavioral demons from defiant or drug-addicted boys and girls. ``This industry is very lucrative, growing like wildfire, and nobody is really watching what's going on,'' said Catherine Sutton, whose daughter, 15-year-old Michelle, died of dehydration in 1990 while enrolled in a wilderness camp for troubled youths. ``They really need federal regulation.'' Believing in `tough love' But other parents, such as Tim Flood, who leads a support group of 125 Bay Area families enrolled in similar programs, have become apostles of ``tough love.'' ``We realize we only had a few months until he was 18, to basically try to save his life,'' Flood says of his son Jacob, now drug-free and living at the family's Peninsula home. No one knows how many of these programs exist, but they are spreading as a get-tough attitude sweeps the nation, parents worry about teen suicide and violence, and entrepreneurs realize the money to be made. Despairing parents -- at least those well-heeled enough to afford it -- learn about these schools of last resort through word of mouth, educational consultants or advertisements in publications such as Sunset magazine. ``Attitudes adjusted here,'' reads one ad. ``Is your teen turning your life upside down?'' asks another. The programs are usually run by private, for-profit organizations, and they vary widely in techniques used to tame a nightmare child. Tuition ranges from $30,000 to $70,000, and most students stay six to 12 months. To foot the bill, some parents must mortgage their homes, borrow from relatives or deplete their child's college fund. Some swear it's worth every cent. ``This isn't Jonestown; this is Boys Town,'' said Daniel Koller, a San Diego attorney defending the Van Blarigans, referring to a camp in Western Samoa where he shipped his own son. The boy, who will turn 18 next month, ``became a crystal meth addict'' and was headed for jail or death had he not gone to the camp. Now he thanks his father, Koller said. The camp, Paradise Cove, gives teenagers ``the tools to work, self-esteem, accountability for their conduct. And this is a safe place,'' Koller said. To some, David Van Blarigan hardly seems the kind of hardened youth who needs a dose of tough love. Hindered by attention deficit disorder, he had a so-so academic record but never did drugs, drank alcohol or got into trouble with the law. ``He was like a grandchild to me,'' said Neil Aschemeyer, an administrative law judge and neighbor of the Van Blarigans who has taken up the boy's cause. ``He is extremely bright, very articulate. . . . He was a joyful kid, full of energy.'' His parents, devout, Bible-believing Christians and volunteer marriage counselors in their San Leandro congregation, said he suffered from ``anger turning to rage'' and believed the nighttime maneuvers were their only answer. ``It was with very heavy hearts that we sent David away for a year,'' Susan Van Blarigan said at her home Friday, in her first newspaper interview. ``Although we deeply miss him, we know this program will give him the skills that will allow him to succeed (in life).'' Confrontations His mother said the Skyline High School student was suspended once for threatening a teacher and once also ran away from home overnight but returned on his own. Another time, not wanting to talk to his mother and holed up in the elaborate three-story tree house he built, he threatened to douse her with water if she climbed up. She did; and he soaked her. But more than that, his parents say, was the rage that would fulminate at home, although never with physical violence. ``We saw some deep, deep problems,'' Susan Van Blarigan said. ``When he looked in my eyes and said the things he said, I was scared for me and I was scared for him.'' He eventually resisted going to church, she said, in order to hurt them because they loved it so. An ad in the back of Sunset magazine sent them on a journey that led to Tranquility Bay. On the night of Nov. 10, after committing themselves to expenses of about $38,000, they handed two men a suitcase that Susan Van Blarigan had secretly packed and let them into David's room. He was dropped off at Brightway Adolescent Hospital in southern Utah, a clearinghouse for boys and girls on their way to the discipline schools. The hospital, according to two sources, is operating on a conditional license for violations of state regulations. The director of Brightway did not return several calls seeking comment. On Nov. 23, he was flown to Jamaica's Montego Bay but slipped away to a pay phone -- breaking a no-contact rule -- and called his neighbor, Aschemeyer. ``He said, `I want to get out of here,' '' the judge recounted. `` `This place is like a prison.' '' In his call to Aschemeyer, David said the attendants at Brightway would knock down a teenager who talked back or would drug him with a hypodermic needle. School officials would not allow David to talk to reporters. Aschemeyer set about finding help and eventually contacted Robert Hutchins, a former Air Force pilot nicknamed ``Swoop'' who is the expert on child-abduction cases for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. At issue, both sides contend, is where parental rights end and a child's begin and where the state must step in to protect a juvenile. In a similar case in 1993, a Santa Clara prosecutor filed criminal charges against a parent and the man and woman she hired to spirit her daughter away from a Palo Alto high school to a New Mexico camp, where she claimed abuse. But the case -- the only one in the state that ever sought criminal sanctions against a parent for hiring so-called kidnappers -- was dismissed. Civil, not criminal, suit Hutchins is taking a different legal tack. His action is a civil proceeding -- which carries a lower burden of proof than criminal complaints -- that accuses the Van Blarigans of aiding and abetting the kidnappers but only demands that they return their son to California to ask him if he wants to stay or return. At this point, Susan Van Blarigan says, she thinks she knows the answer: ``I think he would feel he could work on these problems at home.'' Judge Ken M. Kawaichi is being asked to decide whether, as Hutchins contends, the Van Blarigans illegally delegated their right to custody to ``insensitive and uncaring corporations,'' as Hutchins argues in one impassioned court pleading. ``David stands alone in a foreign land,'' Hutchins wrote, ``stripped of his civil rights . . . immersed in a snake pit of very troubled and possibly dangerous teenagers, and ignorant of whom he can go to for independent help in the event he is being abused or mistreated.'' But Koller, the Van Blarigans' attorney, counters that the couple have ``in no way relinquished their parental rights over (David). To the contrary, the couple has spent, and continues to spend, large amounts of time, money and emotional energy to educate, discipline, rehabilitate and care for their son.'' Flood, a project manager at Stanford University's information systems, found his son's redemption in a similar way, at a cost of about $40,000. Flood's boy smoked pot, dabbled with harder drugs, stole from the family and flouted house rules. Last year, he shipped the boy off to Paradise Cove, which is affiliated with Tranquility Bay. Like the Van Blarigans, he arranged for the escorts to come in the still of night, when the teenager would be groggy, less likely to run or fight. ``I said, `I love you with all my heart, but you're going to have to go with these people.' He was very angry.'' Not all experiences have been so benign. Stan Goold, now 17 and living in Fremont, says he was kidnapped from his mother's home in Lake County and sent to Paradise Cove after a stopover in Brightway in Utah. `I heard screams' In Paradise Cove, Stan claimed, some kids were beaten. ``I saw kids after it happened,'' he claims. ``I heard screams.'' He said a scant, poor diet led him to malnutrition and an outbreak of boils, which he says have left purple scars on his knees. His father was finally able to get him out of the camp, against which they are planning to file a lawsuit alleging abuse. Paradise Cove officials could not be reached, but Koller said his son had not been abused. Such institutions are often in rural outposts in places like Samoa, Utah and Jamaica, where land and labor costs are cheap and oversight minimal. Although the schools are not required to obtain accreditation, many do and use it as a marketing device. Parents should be aware, however, that such seals of approval refer only to the educational program and not the techniques for treating unruly behavior, experts say. Tranquility Bay in Jamaica has been accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, one of six regional accrediting bodies in the United States. But the team that visits each school looks only at classroom activities such as curriculum, textbooks and teacher credentials. It does not have jurisdiction over the behavior modification program. ``There's nobody to deal with the interaction between kids and adults as far as treatment goes,'' said Dave Steadman, executive director of the association. ``That's unfortunate.'' Many states, including California, restrict what can occur in such programs. California bans corporal and ``humiliating'' punishment. Children cannot be placed in restraints or locked in time-out rooms, and they have guaranteed personal rights, including communicating with their family, said Larry Bolton, chief counsel for the California Department of Social Services. Little oversight Utah, on the other hand, has few regulations, which accounts for the proliferation of programs in that state, experts say. Connie Love, education specialist for the Utah state office of education, worries about the lack of oversight for such programs. ``Very few standards are placed on the counseling component. It's quite alarming,'' she said. Administrators who run such programs deny that they located in Jamaica, Samoa or Utah to avoid regulation. They argue that putting a child in a tranquil rural setting -- far from their peers and the fast-paced urban lifestyle -- can be effective in changing behavior. It also reduces the chance that a child will try to run away. And they downplay the language in contracts, such as the one the Van Blarigans had to sign, that acknowledges lower standards than in the United States for ``water, electricity, food, health standards, building codes, space requirements, etc.'' The contract also approves the use of pepper spray, Mace, an ``electrical disabler,'' mechanical restraints or handcuffs, if needed. Jay Kay, director of Tranquility Bay, said the camp has no stun guns or so-called electronic disablers but is allowed under its contracts ``to leave our options open.'' He said workers at the camp, which has only been open a year, last used pepper spray five months ago to subdue a student attacking a school worker. Kay and others say the full-day, six-days-a-week schedule of classes, physical fitness, chores and group time -- along with discipline and earning privileges such as calling their parents on the phone, something often not allowed in the first couple of months -- often turns bad kids into good ones. But others think there's another way. Carl Thoresen, a professor of education, psychology and psychiatry at Stanford University, said parents should consider sending their kids to such camps only as a last resort. ``In our Silicon Valley, hurry-up culture, I worry that parents are being too quick to jump the gun and seek an outside solution,'' said Thoresen, who is not familiar with the Van Blarigan case. ``Shipping them off to another country is a very dramatic move. It conveys to the child that the parents no longer have confidence in them. That should not be taken lightly.'' He argued that parents should first explore local help that is available, including meeting with a child psychologist to assess changes parents could make to help resolve the problem. After all other alternatives are exhausted, Thoresen added, providing a change of venue for children and removing them from their peer group can sometimes be effective. Susan Van Blarigan said her family had exhausted other routes, and even though uneasy about signing away some of her parental rights, she felt it was for the best. ``If your child is going to go to the streets and get killed,'' she said, ``it's not such a big thing to sign away those rights.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Eased My Anxious Son's Mood Swings (Letter To Editor Of Britain's 'Independent On Sunday,' Contrasts The Case Of Jack Straw's Son With That Of A Woman In Sussex Whose 17-Year-Old Uses Cannabis To Alleviate A Mood Disorder - She Now Fears Her Conviction For Possessing 13 Plants With Intent To Supply Will Devastate Their Lives) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 21:33:17 -0500 Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign: 'Pot Eased My Anxious Son's Mood Swings' Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Zosimos
Pubdate: Sunday, 18 Jan 1998 Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England Editor's note: The Independent on Sunday's Cannabis Campaign has web pages at http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm 'POT EASED MY ANXIOUS SON'S MOOD SWINGS' IN THE week that saw Jack Straw's son let off with a caution for supplying cannabis, a woman in Sussex is coming to terms with a less lenient ruling, writes Tarquin Cooper. She too has a 17-year-old son, only he uses cannabis to alleviate terrible mood swings and anxiety, not for recreational purposes. She supplied him with the drug and now fears her conviction for possessing 13 plants with intent to supply will devastate their lives. Jane Huckell explains: "Last Thursday I was sentenced to 18 months' probation for supplying him the drug. I was told I needed guidance, not punishment, and should be grateful for the light sentence. Now I worry whether I will be able to do a legal executive course I had applied for. "What has been really unfair on my son is that the court failed to keep his name secret. I promised him all along that it would not be mentioned and my barrister asked that he be protected. "His name was plastered everywhere. He found out in the press that his father had committed suicide when he was young. I'd never told him because I feared for his condition. Last weekend he was depressed about going back to college. He fears what the other students are going to make of him." The case highlights the discrepancy in how charges relating to cannabis are dealt with across the country. It also demonstrates how the law fails the people who need the drug for medicinal purposes. "Cannabis calms him down," Jane continues. "He suffers from mood swings three to four times a week and has difficulty sleeping and eating. His problems are so severe I can't work. At one point I was afraid to leave the house to go to the shop. He has missed so much school. "Within seconds of smoking cannabis, however, he'd calm down and, quite simply, function. I couldn't afford to buy cannabis off the street so I decided to grow it. This is also safer - I only give him grass which is cannabis in its purest form. "Since the case he's stopped using it and been put on nasty drugs, which make him look like a junkie."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Labour 'Must Lead The Way On Law Reform' (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Reports Actor And Labour Party Stalwart Michael Cashman Said On BBC TV's 'Question Time' That The Labour Government Is Treating The Subject Of Cannabis Law Reform The Same Way The Previous Tory Administrations Dealt With Gay Rights Issues) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 22:37:44 -0500 Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign: Labour 'Must Lead The Way On Law Reform' Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Zosimos
Pubdate: Sunday, 18 Jan 1998 Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England Editor's note: The Independent on Sunday Cannabis Campaign has web pages at: http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm LABOUR 'MUST LEAD THE WAY ON LAW REFORM' ONE OF Britain's most prominent gay activists believes the Labour government is treating the subject of cannabis law reform in the same way that previous Tory administrations dealt with gay rights issues. The actor Michael Cashman, who was chair of the gay pressure group Stonewall for eight years, wants MPs to "come out of the closet" on their personal experiences of cannabis. On BBC TV's Question Time last week, Mr Cashman said: "I believe we need decriminalisation of cannabis leading to legalisation, but this is a very difficult subject because no politician will say in public what they say in private." Mr Cashman warned the Government that it faced mounting criticism if it did not lead public opinion on the subject of cannabis and the law. "I believe the Government has to lead public opinion. The greatest thing we have to fear is that we do nothing because adults are terrified to say there is a drug problem, that it's going on in most families, and that it's on most high streets. To deny that is morally irresponsible." Question Time chairman David Dimbleby tested his argument in an electronic poll of the studio audience. He asked: "How many of you have ever taken and used, if only once, an illegal drug?" As many as 46 per cent said they had had some illegal drug experience, while 42 per cent said they had no experience, and 12 per cent abstained. "There is a parallel I have noticed in this issue with my own experiences in Stonewall in negotiating with a hostile Tory government," said Mr Cashman. "We had to deal with them in a language they understood, and could only succeed by steady lobbying to overcome prejudice and blind hypocrisy." Mr Cashman, who is also a prominent Labour Party supporter, acknowledged that his pro-decriminalisation views were likely to be frowned on by the upper echelons of the party. "It is unfortunate but I believe many of us in the wider Labour movement have been looking for a radical change on a whole range of social as well as economic issues. We have stood still in this country for 18 years, I believe the Government should have the integrity to go forward." At the end of the debate David Dimbleby tested audience opinion once more and asked them whether or not cannabis should be legalised now. Once more the majority (50 per cent) agreed, while 44 per cent said no and 6 per cent remained undecided. "Most MPs went to university in the 1960s and 1970s, when they must have come across the odd joint or two," said Mr Cashman. "But if they tell me they somehow existed in a hermetically sealed world isolated from what was going on around them, then I have to tell them that the public will simply not believe them." Meanwhile, the general prosecutor of Italy's highest court has created a storm after advocating the decriminalisation of drugs. Speaking at the inauguration of the judicial year last week, Ferdinando Zucconi Gallifonseca said that while users were imprisoned, dealers invariably escaped to enjoy a life on the beach. The Italian government failed to respond to the debate last week, but the media have taken up the issue seriously, and thousands of people have written in support of his cause.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Addicts Face Jail Or Cure By Heroin Blocker ('The Independent On Sunday' Says British Home Secretary Jack Straw Impressed By Singapore Claims, Will Consider Practicing Medicine Without A License In Trial Treatment Programmes Coercing Offenders To Use Naltrexone As Condition Of Probation) Subj: Addicts face jail or cure by heroin blocker Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 16:49:47 -0800 Newshawk:Pat Dolan Source: Ind on Sun PubDate: Jan. 18, 1998 Subject: Addicts face jail or cure by heroin blocker Author: Heather Mills, Home Affairs Editor Contact: http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm Addicts face jail or cure by heroin blocker (Heather Mills, Home Afrs Ed) Offenders could be coerced into taking a powerful heroin-blocking drug to help wean them off the twin evils of drugs and crime. The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, is to consider trial treatment programmes using naltrexone which would be linked to probation orders. Convicts could be given the choice of taking the drug or remaining in prison. Home Office officials will also consider whether the drug would be suitable for addicts while they are still in jail. Concerns were expressed yesterday about the 'state-ordered' administration of strong drugs. Professor John Strang, director of the National Addiction Centre at the Maudsley hospital in south-east London, said: "The worry is that a powerful medicine would be administered not by a doctor but by a court or prison. Even with a patient's consent, that consent becomes questionable when there is any form of coercion." Mr Straw is said to be impressed by research from Singapore and the United States which has shown unprecedented success rates in keeping former addict offenders off drugs - and off crime. In Singapore, 75 per cent of addict offenders prescribed naltrexone as part of a probation programme were opiate-free a year later. Only 25 per cent of those on a similar rehabilitation programme, but denied naltrexone, remained drug-free a year on. Dr Colin Brewer, medical director of the Stapleford drug addiction centre, dismissed concerns about the coercive use of the drug. "Addicts would be given a choice - maybe prison or probation," he said. "Sometimes addicts need an element of pressure to help them off drugs. These results are impressive. I believe they represent one of the most hopeful areas in the management of addicted offenders." Naltrexone is an opiate-blocker which pushes heroin out of the brain's receptors, thus neutralising any effect should an addict succumb to temptation. Taken in tablet form or as an implant, it is being used increasingly in the UK in treatment programmes for paying patients. Ministers are determined to tackle the link between drug addiction and crime. Home Office research suggests there are 100,000 drugs-users in England and Wales, each spending an average £200 a week on their habit - and financing it largely through theft and burglary. They have to steal about four times the value in goods, in order to realise that £200 in cash. In inner-city areas, 2,500 addicts are passing through the courts each year. The Crime and Disorder Bill provides courts with the power to order drug testing and treatment for addicts. But the new orders have yet to be tried and a Home Office spokeswoman said there were no plans to link naltrexone treatment to any pilot schemes. Drug workers and probation officers say there are already long waiting lists for treatment. And Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, shared Professor Strang's concerns: "Naltrexone seems ideal for those who genuinely want to come off drugs. But it is unsuitable for those with drink problems, liver damage and a chaotic lifestyle, with little family support - which probably covers most addict offenders."
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Tale Of Two Drug-Dealing Children (Writer Of Letter To Editor Of 'Sunday Times' Contrasts Treatment Her 16-Year-Old Daughter Received For Selling Cannabis With That Received By The 17-Year-Old Son Of Jack Straw, The British Home Secretary, For The Same Offense) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:32:23 -0500 Subject: MN: UK: LTE: A Tale Of Two Drug-dealing Children Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Zosimos
Source: Sunday Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 A TALE OF TWO DRUG-DEALING CHILDREN My 16-year-old daughter and I allowed ourselves a sickly smile at Jack Straw's reaction when his son was let off with a caution for selling cannabis. "I hope the media will continue to agree he should not suffer additionally because he is my son," he said. Well, Mr Straw, it depends on your definition of suffering. The first I knew of impending trauma was a call from the headmaster of the sixth-form college where my daughter had just started. After a glowing crop of GCSEs, a bright future lay in prospect, until the day the head told me she had been arrested for selling drugs. A drug dealer? My daughter? It seemed unbelievable, until I saw the police in the interview room produce a tiny plastic bag of cannabis and a notebook detailing amounts sold and their value. She was smoking, not selling, when the police arrested her and a friend near the college. She had produced the cannabis, the notebook and £35 cash proceeds when asked to by the police. What emerged was not some pernicious drug-dealing enterprise, but a means of paying for her own use of the drug. The names in the book were all her friends and it was, she assured us, the first time she had done it. The police acknowledged that the amount involved was "relatively minute". Even so they, and the solicitor summoned to protect my daughter's interests, made it clear: she was likely to escape a custodial sentence only because of her clean record, good character, bright educational prospects and helpfulness with the police. So serious was the offence, I was told, that a simple caution was virtually out of the question. Even the friend, who faced a potential charge simply of possession, was unlikely to be so lucky. And so the two were bailed to await their fate. Given the initial shock to parents who always took a tough line on drugs, what followed was an awful period. There was no apology from our daughter. Instead she went into her shell and any attempts to break the ice ended in screaming. She did agree to undergo counselling with a psychotherapist recommended by our GP. And she also agreed that the best thing she could do was to put this behind her and get on with her education. But while William Straw's place at Oxford seems assured, my daughter was instantly expelled, despite two appeals by me to her head teacher. The expulsion was almost as shattering as the ordeal in the police station. We tried other colleges and schools. Most were full, but she was accepted by a secondary school. We decided reluctantly not to inform them of her misdemeanour for obvious reasons. But we had not reckoned with the local educational grapevine. Within days she was on the carpet for not declaring the arrest. She left. We tried the school she had attended before college and this time I volunteered the information that she had been arrested on drugs-related charges. They already knew it involved dealing. I received a ticking off for not being more forthright, and we walked away again empty-handed. By this time my daughter was in no mood for further rejection. It was decided she would take a year out and work, which is what she is doing quite diligently. Relations at home have warmed to the point where she is able to admit that she had been utterly stupid. She has not touched the stuff since. But as we had feared, there was to be no caution. She appeared before the youth court four months after the arrest, was put on probation for a year, given 40 days' community service and ordered to pay £40 costs. No, my daughter is not a minister's child and a natural target of tabloid interest. And that is the one aspect where I do allow that the Straws have suffered. While I regret being anonymous, I would not write this were it to expose my daughter to even a drop of the kind of publicity Straw and his son have endured. On this I have always had the strongest sympathy with the minister: the thing you most want is to keep it as quiet as possible so that an act of teenage stupidity - which I deplore - does not become a permanent blight. But two facts are also clear: my daughter was expelled from school while Jack Straw's son was not. She was prosecuted, sentenced and given a criminal record while his son was not. I am therefore not entirely sure who emerged better off. - Anon
------------------------------------------------------------------- Earlier Pub Closing 'No Cure For Violence' ('Scotland On Sunday' Reports Study Of Alcohol Users By Doctors At Royal Infirmary Of Edinburgh Also Confirmed Suspected Link Between Alcohol And Violence) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:17:50 -0500 Subject: MN: UK: Earlier Pub Closing 'No Cure For Violence' Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: shug
Source: Scotland On Sunday Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 Author: Sue Leonard, Health Correspondent UK: EARLIER PUB CLOSING 'NO CURE FOR VIOLENCE' Restricting licensing hours makes no difference to levels of alcohol-related violence, a study has confirmed. The research, which also confirmed the suspected link between alcohol and violence, will disappoint police and local authorities who will now have to find other ways of tackling the problem. Restrictions on extensions to permittted licensing hours have been introduced in some towns and cities to reduce street violence and demands on emergency services. "We found it did not make any difference," said Dr Colin Graham, a member of the research team now working at Inverclyde Royal Hospital. "The hope was that if people were coming out of these places at one time there would be a peak of people. Associated alcohol problems would be minimised and there would be a more predictable workload." The study was carried out by doctors at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh who took breath samples from patients two weeks before the restrictions were introduced, then two and five weeks after to monitor the immediate and longer-term effects. Almost 3,000 breath samples were taken during the period, nearly a third of which tested positive for alcohol. Assault cases accounted for one in five attendances between midnight and 4am, and nearly 70 per cent of those hurt in assaults had been drinking.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Scots Gangs Join Loyalist Drugs For Arms Network (England's 'Sunday Times' Alleges Pro-British Paramilitary Groups In Northern Ireland Have Cut Deals With Glasgow Drug Dealers To Import Large Quantities Of Cocaine And Heroin Into The Territory To Finance Their Terrorist Activities Against Pro-Irish Catholics) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:22:00 -0500 Subject: MN: UK: Scots Gangs Join Loyalist Drugs For Arms Network Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Zosimos
Source: Sunday Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 Author: Vincent Kearney IRELAND SCOTS GANGS JOIN LOYALIST DRUGS FOR ARMS NETWORK LOYALIST paramilitaries have established contacts with Scottish drug dealers to bring large quantities of cocaine and heroin into Northern Ireland to finance their terrorist activities. The terrorists are using contacts with sympathisers in the Glasgow underworld to develop a network to flood the province with powdered drugs. The Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Volunteer Force both have Scottish sections which have successfully supplied arms and explosives during the Troubles. Large consignments of the drugs are bought by criminal gangs in Glasgow from dealers in Holland. The loyalists then buy what they need at highly competitive prices. In return the loyalist groups will provide hitmen to assassinate members of rival gangs. There is evidence that cocaine and heroin are reaching Northern Ireland in larger quantities than before. Police figures for 1996 showed that 136.5g of opiates were seized, compared with just 8g in 1995. The first seizure of crack cocaine in Northern Ireland was made in Ballymena last July and it is also on sale in parts of Belfast, Londonderry, Antrim and Lisburn. The price of cocaine has dropped sharply from an initial £100 per gram to £60, indicating that dealers are making savings by buying larger quantities and that the market is expanding. In recent years senior figures within the UDA and UVF, the mainstream loyalist organisations, have clashed in a series of local disputes over drugs. They believe a sophisticated network could result in the organisations becoming totally self-financing, rather like terrorist groups in parts of South America. That would enable them to purchase large consignments of arms if their ceasefires end, or prepare them for a move into the more lucrative drugs scene in Britain if they hold. The profits available are huge. By joining a large cartel buying in bulk, dealers can get a kilo of high quality cocaine for about £25,000. That can then be mixed to make 5kg of reasonable quality that can be sold for £130,000, giving a profit of more than 400%. "In theory, these organisations could become self-financing in the foreseeable future. That would have serious implications because they would be in a position to buy weapons in much larger quantities," said a security source. "They could not succeed on their own because they have no credibility with international drug dealers, but by working with some of the big players in Scotland they overcome that hurdle and avoid the risk of being ripped off by being supplied with substandard drugs. "It is a very dangerous alliance because the Scottish gangs share the political views of the loyalist paramilitaries and are anxious to do as much as they can to support what they see as the 'war effort'. The element of political motivation will also reduce the likelihood of informants coming forward." Experts who work with young people taking drugs say there has been a significant rise in the number who have used or been offered cocaine. Crack cocaine, made by baking cocaine powder into small white chips, is highly addictive and users can quickly develop psychological dependency. Frank McGoldrick, director of the Belfast-based Research Group on Chemical Dependency, said the attraction of powdered drugs is increasing because the quality of ecstasy on offer is poor. While the availability of heroin is increasing at a slower rate than cocaine, McGoldrick fears both drugs could soon be in widespread demand. "Commentators often say that Northern Ireland does not have the kind of drugs culture needed to sustain cocaine and heroin, but that is a fallacy," he said. "There is a real danger that the demand for both drugs will expand dramatically if they become widely available."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cartels May Use Gold To Launder Profits ('New York Times' Reports US Officials Believe The Rapid Increase In The Amount Of Gold Coming To America From Guyana Is Attributable To Colombian And Bolivian Drug Syndicates) Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 08:36:54 -0500 Subject: MN: Guyana: NYT: Cartels May Use Gold to Launder Profits Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Richard Lake firstname.lastname@example.org Source: New York Times Author: Larry Rohter Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Sunday, January 18, 1998 CARTELS MAY USE GOLD TO LAUNDER PROFITS GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- An airline pilot was arrested after the suitcase he was taking aboard a plane he was about to fly was found to contain 155 pounds of gold. Eight businessmen are facing charges that they smuggled more than a ton of gold to the United States, and rumors abound that a list of other offenders has been compiled. In mid-1995, American officials told the authorities here of a sharp surge in the amount of Guyanese gold being declared to U.S. Customs in Miami and in New York, whose metropolitan area is home to some 100,000 Guyanese immigrants. A result has been a still-unfolding scandal that suggests that Colombian and Bolivian drug cartels have found yet another way to launder their profits: through exports from this small, dirt-poor South American country. "If this were just about the smuggling of gold, the United States wouldn't be interested," said Edward Shields, director general of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners' Association. "The Guyanese government is being pressured because of America's concerns that finances derived from these operations are being used for other ends." As Guyanese authorities and gold miners tell it, drug dealers buy gold from local prospectors and assayers, who agree to smuggle it for them to the United States. The bulk of the money from sales there and in Europe or India is then deposited in cartel-controlled bank accounts, with the Guyanese middleman keeping 15 or 20 percent. Guyanese officials have estimated that at least a quarter of the country's total gold production between 1990 and 1995, or some 100,000 ounces with a market value of more than $35 million, may have been smuggled out. It is not a violation of American law for Americans or foreigners to take large amounts of gold into the United States so long as they declare the market value to customs officials on entry. For the United States to have alerted Guyana to the traffic, and since then to have cooperated in additional, still unspecified, ways, is therefore unusual. "Any time you have vast quantities of any product going from one country to another, you have the possibility of money laundering," an American official explained. The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners' Association, which represents prospectors and dealers, challenges the laundering explanation, suggesting that Guyanese businessmen may simply have bought the gold in Brazil or Venezuela. It notes that American records indicate large amounts of gold are also imported from nearby Trinidad, a country with no production of its own. Nevertheless, gold smuggling has a long history in this former British colony. During the 1980s, in particular, Guyanese prospectors considered it a point of honor to evade government controls, which required them to sell their production to the Guyana Gold Board, the government agency that regulates sales. The board set a price, calculated in the weak local currency, that was half that of the international market and well below the prospectors' production costs. Nowadays, the board pays the going market rate to registered prospectors and that has led declared production to quadruple. But smuggling continues, officials and miners agree, in large part because some prospectors resent having to pay a 7 percent royalty to the Gold Board as well as taxes on whatever mining income they declare. In recent months, the price of gold has dropped sharply, to less than $300 an ounce. But that decline is unlikely to deter any Guyanese prospectors and gold dealers who are working with the drug cartels, said Joseph de Agrella, a former gold smuggler who until recently was a member of the Gold Board. "The money launderers here are not looking for a profit from the sale of gold," he said. "They're just looking to bring money into the United States, and as long as they keep getting their 20 percent cut, they're going to be satisfied." Guyanese miners argue that the best way to fight the combination of low prices and smuggling would be to remove, or at least temporarily suspend, the royalty payment. "Otherwise, a lot of operators are not going to be able to remain open during 1998," said Stanislaus Jardine, president of the gold miners' association. On the Essequibo River, where powerful dredges suck muck from the river hoping to find bits of yellow nuggets and dust, the same complaint is echoed. "This whole year, we have taken a lot of punches and suffered a lot," said Lenny Parsram, a dredge operator who like most of his fellow workers earns not a fixed salary but a percentage of whatever his boss makes. But President Janet Jagan said she saw no need to change the current policy. "How can you allow your natural resources to be extracted without anything going to the Treasury?" she asked in an interview just before the Dec. 15 election in which she won a five-year term. "That's nonsense." "They have been doing well," she said of gold miners. "They'll get over it." -------------------------------------------------------------------
The articles posted here are generally copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here for educational purposes under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107). NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and/or source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. The articles and information included here are not for sale or resale.
Comments, questions and suggestions.Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/
Next day's news
Previous day's news
to 1998 Daily News index for January 15-21
to Portland NORML news archive directory
to 1998 Daily News index (long)
This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/980118.html