------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly News Release (17 Year-Old First Time Offender Faces 10 Years For Role In $20 Marijuana Sale In Missouri; AIDS Treatment Publication Defends Medical Marijuana; American Farm Bureau Reverses Position On Industrial Hemp; Former US Attorney General, New York Times Columnist, Others To Speak Out On The Drug War) From: NORMLFNDTN
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:38:41 EST Subject: NORML WPR 1/22/98 (II) A NON-PROFIT LEGAL, RESEARCH, AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION THE NORML FOUNDATION 1001 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW SUITE 710 WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036 T 202-483-8751 o F 202-483-0057 E-MAIL NORMLFNDTN@AOL.COM Internet http://www.norml.org . . . a weekly service for the media on news items related to marijuana prohibition. January 22, 1998 17 Year-Old First Time Offender Faces 10 Years For Role In $20 Marijuana Sale January 22, 1998, Fayette, MO: A Missouri judge sentenced an adolescent first time offender to ten years in state prison after finding him guilty of selling $20 of marijuana within 2,000 feet of the Central Methodist College. State law classifies the offense as a Class A Felony that carries a sentencing range of ten years to life. Billy Polson, 17, helped Alex Martinez acquire 3.4 grams of marijuana from students at the Missouri college campus. Martinez -- who dated Polson's sister at the time -- later revealed that he was working undercover for the Boonville Police Department. He also admitted purchasing malt liquor for the defendant shortly before Polson agreed to sell him marijuana. Missouri attorney and NORML board member Dan Viets -- who represented Polson -- called the felony conviction "horribly unfair." "I told the judge that if he wanted to help Polson get along with his life, then giving him a felony conviction record was the worst thing he could do," Viets said. He explained that the judge had the option of placing Polson on probation without a conviction. Viets also said that the prosecutor in the case, Greg Robinson, could have charged Polson with a lesser offense to avoid the excessive sentence. Viets said that Robinson wished to make an example out of Polson before the upcoming elections. Attorney Tanya Kangas, Director of Litigation for The NORML Foundation, questioned why law enforcement would use its limited resources to target someone like Polson. "Alex Martinez was a reserve officer with the Boonville Police Department," she explained. "He was paid to become intimate with a young woman to gain the trust of her younger brother. The police department paid Alex to encourage a minor to drink alcohol. The department paid Alex to arrange a transaction close to the college to increase Bill's sentence under a law designed to protect elementary school children from drug dealers. Except here in this case, the law served to incarcerate a kid who is younger than the attendees of the nearby school. Since when is this the proper role of law enforcement?" Polson is presently serving his ten year sentence in a Missouri Department of Corrections bootcamp facility. The judge has the option of placing Polson on probation within 120 days. For more information, please contact either Tanya Kangas of the NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or Dan Viets of The NORML Legal Committee @ (573) 443-6866. *** AIDS Treatment Publication Defends Medical Marijuana January 22, 1998, San Francisco, CA: AIDS Treatment News, a San Francisco-based bi-monthly medical journal, voiced support for efforts to allow the use of marijuana as a medicine in its most recent issue. The following excerpt is taken from the "Comment" section of the January 23 issue. "The public has strongly supported legitimate medical use of marijuana for years. Whenever given a chance to vote or express its opinion in surveys, almost all of the opposition is from government officials and anti-drug professionals. Meanwhile, the scientific case for medical use keeps growing stronger. Far more dangerous psychoactive drugs, like morphine, are successfully allowed in medical use. Somehow marijuana has become a symbolic or political hard line to be maintained by anti-drug believers regardless of human cost. The costs will mount until the public can organize itself to insist that those who urgently need this medicine can obtain and use it legally." The issue also featured articles on medical marijuana patient Will Foster -- an Oklahoma man sentenced in 1997 to serve 93 years in prison for growing marijuana to treat the inflammation of severe rheumatoid arthritis -- and the experimental anti-inflammatory drug CT-3 that is derived from a marijuana metabolite. For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** American Farm Bureau Reverses Position On Industrial Hemp January 22, 1998, Charlotte, NC: The American Farm Bureau Federation reversed its two-year position supporting research and domestic cultivation of industrial hemp, at its January 14 annual convention. The Federation is the largest farming organization in the United States. Delegates to the convention voted 198-168 to go on record against producing hemp and eliminated previous language in favor of research. Two years earlier, delegates unanimously endorsed a resolution to "encourage research into the viability and economic potential of industrial production in the United States." At that time, delegates further approved that "such research include planting test plots ... using modern agricultural techniques." Eric Steenstra, owner of the Virginia based hemp company Ecolution, called the Farm Bureau's action a definite "setback." "It is a big disappointment to see farmers succumbing to pressure from law enforcement," Steenstra said. He charged that the Farm Bureau changed their position based upon inaccurate information, and challenged the argument that hemp plots would be used as a cover for growing marijuana. "Once hemp cultivation is a tightly regulated, licensed industry, it is difficult to believe that this will be a legitimate reason for concern," he said. Missouri Farm Bureau president Charles Kruse led the charge to repeal the federation's position. Kruse said he was swayed after hearing testimony from state law enforcement who alleged that marijuana and hemp would be indistinguishable to police officers. Law enforcement also argued that hemp was unlikely to be a profitable cash crop. "Since when are law enforcement agents experts on agriculture and the fiber industry?" asked Allen St. Pierre. St. Pierre noted over 30 countries, including Canada, already allow for the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp. "Apparently, law enforcement in those countries has no difficulty distinguishing hemp from marijuana." For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** Former US Attorney General, New York Times Columnist, Others To Speak Out On The Drug War January 22, 1998, Boston, MA: The Voluntary Committee of Lawyers will coordinate a forum on January 29 to examine the present state of the "War on Drugs." Panelists for the event are Federal District Court Judge Nancy Gertner, law professor John G. S. Flym of Northeastern University Law School, and Dr. David Lewis of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis will moderate the event. Former U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson will also be in attendance. For more information, please contact either Richard Evans @ (413) 586-1348 or Michael Cutler @ (617) 739-9093. MORE THAN 11 MILLION MARIJUANA ARRESTS SINCE 1965...ANOTHER EVERY 49 SECONDS!
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rolling Stones Concert Petitioning Blitz Needs You! (Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Seeks Volunteer Signature Gatherers January 30-31 At Rose Quarter Arena In Portland) From: "D. Paul Stanford"
Reply-To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" To: "'Restore Hemp!'" Subject: Rolling Stones Concert petitioning BLITZ needs you! Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 14:02:41 -0800 Organization: CRRH We need your help, again. On Friday, January 30th and Saturday, January 31st, the Rolling Stones will perform at the Paul Allen's new stadium, the Rose Garden at the Rose Quarter, next to the old Memorial Coliseum. Each night there will be tens of thousands of registered Oregon voters that are just waiting to be asked to sign and support the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act and stopping the War on US, plus scores of folks who we can register to vote too. We are meeting under the BP Marquis/Sign on the south side of the Rose Garden, at the east end of the Steele Bridge where the Light Rail Max Train goes under Interstate 5 along Multnomah Avenue at 7 pm on both Friday the 30th and Saturday the 31st, come rain or shine, hell or high-water. We will be circulating both the OCTA and the ODCA petitions. We have petitions, voter reg. cards, clip boards and pens (but bring more.) Come down, make a difference and have some fun petitioning in a crowd of overwhelmingly positive supporters. This is also an opportunity to learn and practice very valuable interpersonal skills. We need 80,000 more signatures to put OCTA on the ballot. We have 5 months. We need you. Yours truly D. Paul Stanford *** We need your help to put this important issue on the ballot in Oregon! November 3, 1998 ballot question on the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, certified by the Oregon Supreme Court: " 'Yes' vote permits state-licensed cultivation, sale of marijuana for medical purposes and to adults." "Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp." CRRH ; P.O. Box 86741 ; Portland, OR 97286 Phone:(503) 235-4606 Fax:(503) 235-0120 Web: http://www.crrh.org/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ralph Seeley, A Columnist, Lawyer And Father, Dies At 49 (Cancer Patient And Activist Who Lost Medical Marijuana Rights Case Before Washington State Supreme Court Last Summer) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 16:02:22 -0800 (PST) From: Ben
Subject: Ralph Seeley Dies at 49 Sender: email@example.com Source: The Tacoma News Tribune Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Bruce Rushton Pubdate: January 22, 1998 Website: http://www.tribnet.com/ RALPH SEELEY, A COLUMNIST, LAWYER AND FIGHTER, DIES AT 49 One of Tacoma's toughest men has died. Ralph Seeley, a Tacoma lawyer and a leading advocate of the medical use of marijuana, died shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday at Tacoma General Hospital. He had collapsed at his North End home Saturday following a potluck dinner party that featured his famous spaghetti and infamous personality. Seeley, 49, a former News Tribune columnist, died after suffering cardiac arrest. His five-day coma at Tacoma General may have been the longest silence of his life. "Ralph had a million interests," said attorney Jeff Steinborn. "If there was some subject Ralph couldn't speak about in an entertaining and knowledgeable way, I never heard of it." Seeley always spoke his mind and always had an opinion. His outspokenness cost him jobs and earned him plenty of critics as well as friends. Even his admirers acknowledged he could seem callous. Underneath was compassion for people no one else would help and an attraction to causes that seemed hopeless. "He was one of the most unorthodox people you'll ever meet," said attorney Michael Clark, who shared an office with Seeley. Seeley enjoyed debate and didn't suffer fools. Principles were more important than money. He favored an ancient Underwood typewriter over modern electronic word processors. He loved fishing, flying airplanes, horseback riding, reading, poker, storytelling and playing his cello. He suffered setbacks that would have shattered many people, but he always bounced back. After leaving The News Tribune in 1988, Seeley made headlines as a civil rights attorney and an advocate for medical use of marijuana. He won a record $9 million verdict in his first court case, then saw the award thrown out by the state Court of Appeals. In a case that brought national attention, a judge gave Seeley the right to smoke marijuana to ease the pain he suffered from cancer. But once again a higher court reversed his victory. Shortly after he left the newspaper, Seeley was diagnosed with chordoma, a rare form of cancer. Doctors told him he had two years to live. Seeley proved them wrong. In the decade before his death, Seeley suffered more than a dozen surgeries and lost a lung. He judged his quality of life by whether he needed a walker or just a cane, or whether he could get out of bed at all. "Probably Ralph's greatest attribute - and his greatest deficit - was his ego," Clark said. "I have never seen anyone with a larger ego than Ralph. When Ralph had cancer, he decided it wouldn't kill him."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Bill - Chances Are Slim ('Seattle Times' Predicts Washington Senator Kohl's Proposed SB 6271Won't Make It Out Of Committee) From: "W.H.E.N."
To: "Hemp Talk" Subject: HT: ART: Med mj bill - chances are slim Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 16:34:20 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Posted at 02:11 a.m. PST; Thursday, January 22, 1998 Chances slim for marijuana bill by Michael Ko Seattle Times Olympia bureau OLYMPIA - They were suffering from AIDS and cancer and massive injuries, and looked out of place amid the coats and ties of the Senate hearing room. But they came anyway, in wheelchairs and supported by canes, to offer their perspectives on life, pain and marijuana. Ray Gleason of Spokane said he suffered head injuries several years ago while in high school and now smokes pot daily to alleviate the pain and depression. "I was taking lithium every day and I had to get my blood tested to make sure my heart and my liver wouldn't stop," Gleason told the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee. "I can't see where smoking marijuana is much more dangerous than that." Despite the emotional testimony of terminally ill patients at Tuesday's public hearing - and the sentiment of the committee chairman himself - it's unlikely a bill to allow the use of medicinal marijuana will go before the Senate this year. Sen. Alex Deccio, R-Yakima, chairman of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee, said the timing of the bill is bad, coming so soon after November's defeat of Initiative 685. He said the public and the Legislature need to learn more about the issue before Senate Bill 6271 has a realistic chance of passing. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl, D-Seattle, would allow physicians to authorize - and patients to use - marijuana to alleviate suffering caused by serious illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Patients would need the documented permission of a physician and would pay for the marijuana themselves. The bill comes just two months after state voters overwhelmingly defeated Initiative 685, which would have allowed medical use of marijuana, LSD, heroin and other drugs and decriminalized all nonviolent drugs. "There is medical value in the use of marijuana," Deccio said after Tuesday's hearing. "Based on the people who spoke here tonight, it's evident that we can't ignore the issue. If the legislators could have been here tonight, I'm sure it would have opened some of their eyes." Deccio's knowledge of the issue extends back to 1979, when he urged lawmakers to support a study on medicinal marijuana. Four years earlier, he watched his 24-year-old daughter suffer the pain and nausea of intense chemotherapy before she died of cancer. "This is a subject close to me," he said. "I can't be scared off politically because it is a political hot potato. I have firsthand knowledge and so I'm obligated to do something about it." Many legislators and opponents of the bill say they would like more clinical research done before approving the medicinal use of marijuana. "We can wait around and do more research. I advocate it," Kohl said in response. "But we need to be able to provide access to people who are suffering now. We can't make criminals out of gravely ill people." Legislators and Gov. Gary Locke would also like to have a clear method for distributing medicinal marijuana. Kohl's bill does not address marijuana distribution. She would have terminally ill patients "get it where they can get it." Although she acknowledges this isn't the safest method, she thinks marijuana is easily accessible among people who are seriously ill. The bill seems to be dead for now, but Kohl has a few more weeks to file bills with the committee. She said she will work on the issue until then, modifying the language and perhaps reintroducing it. Dr. Rob Killian, the Tacoma-based physician who sponsored I-685, has said if the bill fails in the Legislature, he will indeed gather signatures for another initiative.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Group Appeals To Keep Pot Clubs Open ('San Francisco Examiner' Reports Dennis Peron's Californians For Compassionate Use Has Filed Appeals In State Supreme Court Against Both State And US Justice Department Lawsuits Seeking Closure Of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries - Action Likely Within 90 Days) Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 22:25:28 -0800 Subject: MN: US CA: Bay Area Datelines Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Frank S. World"
Source: San Francisco Examiner Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.examiner.com Page A 9 BAY AREA DATELINES Group appeals to keep pot clubs open San Francisco - A group supporting Californians' right to medical marijuana appealed a Justice Department decision to close several pot clubs in the state. Californians for Compassionate Use, a group headed by marijuana activist Dennis Peron, announced Wednesday it had filed suit in state Supreme Court to block efforts by the federal government and state Attorney General Dan Lungren to close the clubs. The Justice Department moved Jan. 9 to bar pot distribution by clubs in Marin, San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and Ukiah. The appeal is likely to be acted on within 90 days.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legal Marijuana Smokers Testify At Institute of Medicine's Public Hearing On Medicinal Marijuana (Press Release From Marijuana Policy Project In Washington, DC, Reports Barbara Douglass And Irvin Rosenfeld Two Of The Eight Patients In Entire US Who Have Feds' Permission, Speak In New Orleans) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 14:38:36 EST Reply-To: MPP@MPP.ORG Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Marijuana Policy Project
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Legal Marijuana Smokers Testify at IOM's Public Hearing on Medicinal Marijuana Organization: Marijuana Policy Project FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 22, 1998 Legal Marijuana Smokers Testify at Institute of Medicine's Public Hearing on Medicinal Marijuana NEW ORLEANS -- Two of the eight patients in the entire nation who have legal permission to use medicinal marijuana testified at the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) public hearing on Thursday, January 22, in New Orleans at the Marriott Hotel. IOM is conducting an 18-month "comprehensive review" of "the health effects and potential health risks of marijuana use." This research and subsequent report was commissioned for $1 million by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in January 1997. IOM's first hearing was held in California in December, and another is scheduled for February 23-24 in Washington, D.C. The topic of the New Orleans hearing was "Acute and Chronic Effects of Marijuana," which focused mainly on the potential health risks of marijuana use. IOM is not allowed to address policy and legal issues. Instead, the study is limited to scientific and clinical issues. Nevertheless, Marijuana Policy Project Director of Communications Chuck Thomas says, "It is important to make the study investigators aware that thousands of marijuana-using patients are living in fear of arrest and prison -- and IOM's recommendations should reflect this emergency." Barbara Douglass and Irvin Rosenfeld receive legal marijuana from the federal government to treat multiple sclerosis and pain caused by bone tumors, respectively. This program, which now serves eight (8) patients nationwide, has been closed to all new applicants since 1992. Douglass and Rosenfeld testified that their marijuana use has not caused any negative health effects, despite their use of several joints a day for decades. Greg Scott, an illegal user of medicinal marijuana, explained how marijuana helped treat his AIDS conditions and contrasted the effects of marijuana with the debilitating effects of the many prescription drugs he has taken, including morphine. Scott said, "Every day, I risk arrest, property forfeiture, fines and imprisonment." Jim Montgomery, who was imprisoned for using medicinal marijuana, will explain how the horrendous health conditions in prison caused him to have his leg amputated -- which is unquestionably more damaging than his medical use of marijuana. The MPP's Chuck Thomas said, "Patients face one year in prison for a joint, five years for a plant. Marijuana works as a medicine for some people. Research should not detract from the number one goal of getting smokable marijuana approved as a legal medicine."
------------------------------------------------------------------- IOM's Medicinal Marijuana Hearing In New Orleans (A Second Press Release From The Marijuana Policy Project Provides More Details) Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 18:48:45 -0500 From: Marijuana Policy Project
Organization: Marijuana Policy Project Reply-To: MPP@MPP.ORG Sender: email@example.com Subject: follow-up report: IOM's medicinal marijuana hearing in New Orleans To: MPPupdates@igc.org MPP's Follow-Up Report on the Institute of Medicine's Medicinal Marijuana Hearing in New Orleans January 1998 The Institute of Medicine (IOM) held its second of three medicinal marijuana hearings on January 22-23, 1998, in New Orleans. The topic was "Acute and Chronic Effects of Marijuana," which focused mainly on the potential health risks of marijuana use. The public testimony portion was held on Thursday, January 22, and the scientific sessions were held on Friday. In December 1998, the IOM will release a report detailing its findings and making recommendations for future research. This report will be limited to scientific and clinical issues; it will not address policy and legal issues. The Marijuana Policy Project's (MPP's) goal is to make the study investigators aware that thousands of marijuana-using patients are living in fear of arrest and prison, so that the recommendations in the report accurately reflect this emergency. *Public Testimony* The MPP arranged for seven speakers to testify on Thursday: - David Edwards, M.D., a retired pathologist, explained that marijuana does not cause fatalities, contrasted marijuana's toxicity with that of prescription drugs and various legal herbal medicines, and discussed the many harmful effects of prison. - Leo Hollister, M.D., who has been studying marijuana's effects for more than three decades, provided scientific evidence that marijuana is a relatively safe substance. - Greg Scott, an illegal user of medicinal marijuana, explained how it helped treat his AIDS conditions and contrasted the effects of marijuana with the debilitating effects of the many prescription drugs he has taken, including morphine. Scott said, "Every day, I risk arrest, property forfeiture, fines and imprisonment." - Jim Montgomery, who was arrested and imprisoned for using medicinal marijuana, tearfully explained how the horrendous health conditions in prison caused him to have his leg amputated -- which is unquestionably more damaging than his medical use of marijuana. - Barbara Douglass, one of the eight legal marijuana-using patients, testified that her long-term use of medicinal marijuana has not caused any health problems. - Irvin Rosenfeld, another legal patient (and successful stockbroker), testified that 12 joints per day for 25 years have not caused any health problems -- but that mistreatment by the police during a marijuana arrest in 1983 (after he was already legally approved by the federal government) caused his ankle to hemorrhage. - MPP Director of Communications Chuck Thomas suggested that the IOM report recognize that the laws are more dangerous than the medicinal use of marijuana. Therefore, the IOM should recommend that the top research priority should be to expedite the approval of smokable marijuana as a legal medicine. [testimony and suggested recommendations at http://www.mpp.org/iomtest.html] In addition to the MPP's entourage, only three people testified: Local criminal defense attorney Gary Wainwright described the legal ordeal his client, Greta Dubowick, had to endure because of her medicinal marijuana use; Louisiana State University professor Richard Scribner, M.D., M.P.H., explained that marijuana is not a major cause of crime, especially compared to alcohol; and Kenison Roy, M.D., a local representative of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, claimed that marijuana is dangerous and addictive -- but still supported research and the eventual medical availability of the plant if it is approved by the FDA and tightly controlled. In sum, it was a 9-1 near-shut out. A clear and compelling case was made that marijuana should be legally available as a medicine, and the IOM study investigators, Stanley Watson, M.D., and John Benson, M.D., listened attentively and compassionately. *Scientific Sessions* On Friday, prominent experts selected by the IOM presented testimony: - Stephen Sidney, M.D. (Kaiser Permanente) -- Presented epidemiological evidence that marijuana does not cause an increase in early fatalities. - Thomas Klein, M.D. (University of South Florida) -- Argued that marijuana and/or THC may diminish the immune system's ability to fight off certain infections. - Donald Tashkin, M.D. (University of California at Los Angeles) -- Presented evidence that marijuana may cause pulmonary damage -- but acknowledged that epidemiological evidence is lacking and that marijuana does not seem to be more dangerous than tobacco. - John Morgan, M.D. (City University of New York Medical School) -- Decisively dispelled the myths that marijuana is highly addictive or causes amotivational syndrome. - Dr. Richard Foltin and Dr. Margaret Haney (Columbia University)-- Offered experimental and anecdotal evidence that marijuana may diminish productivity and cause withdrawal symptoms. Chuck Thomas and Dr. Morgan challenged their interpretations, revealing that (1) productivity is dependent on the necessity and desirability of the reward, making it likely that marijuana-using patients who need to work for a living will not experience decreased productivity, and (2) the withdrawal symptoms are clinically insignificant. - Robert Pandina, M.D. (Rutgers University) -- Decisively dispelled the "gateway" myth. Most of the myths of marijuana's extreme dangers were dispelled. The few claims of harm that emerged -- such as possible immune system and pulmonary damage -- were essentially insignificant when compared to the side effects of countless legally available medicines. In sum, a compelling case that marijuana is too dangerous to be used as a medicine was *not* made. *News Coverage* Extremely favorable articles, focusing primarily on the patients, were written by the _New Orleans Times-Picayune_ and the Associated Press (AP). The AP article featured a photo of medicinal marijuana user Barbara Douglass. The local ABC and CBS affiliates also provided good coverage. News stations across the nation also ran local stories giving their perspectives on the hearing, e.g., the CBS affiliate in Tampa and the NBC affiliate in Chicago. *Background and Conclusion* On January 3, 1997, Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey announced that the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy would pay the Institute of Medicine $1 million to conduct an 18-month "comprehensive review" of "the health effects and potential medical use of marijuana." The Marijuana Policy Project immediately began working to influence IOM to make the report as favorable as possible. IOM is not a government agency, and it has a reputation for being quite objective, regardless of the source of funding. Indeed, in the past IOM has issued reasonable reports regarding drugs. The MPP has been in contact with the IOM study directors for this project from the start, has sent them useful information, has recommended doctors and patients as expert witnesses, and has helped ensure that the study's "principle investigators" are unbiased. But the most important endeavor is to make sure that each hearing -- open to public testimony -- is filled with supportive doctors and patients. The patients' testimony served to (1) remind IOM that the issue is patients, not cannabinoids, and (2) help attract favorable media coverage. The New Orleans hearing, as well as last month's hearing in Irvine, California, accurately conveyed that medicinal marijuana is effective and safe enough to be used as a medicine. Most importantly, the public testimony at the New Orleans hearing focused on the fact that patients can be arrested and imprisoned for using their medicine. The MPP is hopeful that the IOM will recognize this emergency and follow the MPP's suggestions for the final report. *MPP's Suggestions for the IOM's Medicinal Marijuana Report* The MPP urges the Institute of Medicine to state the following: 1. Smokable marijuana works as a medicine for some people. 2. Thousands of patients are already using medicinal marijuana, despite its illegality. 3. Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. The most significant health risk associated with the medicinal use of marijuana is a prison sentence. 4. The IOM has found no scientific evidence indicating that prison is better for patients than marijuana. 5. Because the present laws are so dangerous to patients, the number one research priority should be to conduct the simplest, least expensive studies required to get smokable marijuana approved by the FDA as a legal medicine as quickly as possible. While research into the value of isolated, synthesized cannabinoids would be beneficial to patients in the long run, such research should not distract from the number one goal of getting smokable marijuana approved as a legal medicine. Research should be funded, and a sufficient quantity of marijuana should be provided, if the research is designed to determine if smokable marijuana meets the minimum standards of safety and efficacy. *Expenses* The total cost for transportation and hotel accommodations of the MPP's Chuck Thomas, the patients and their caregivers, and supportive doctors was approximately $5,500. The MPP has received a restricted grant to cover $2,500, so its remaining need is $3,000. *** HOW TO SUPPORT THE MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT: To support the MPP's work and receive the quarterly (hard-copy) newsletter, "Marijuana Policy Report," please send $25.00 annual membership dues to: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) P.O. Box 77492 Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. 20013 202-462-5747 TEL 202-232-0442 FAX MPP@MPP.ORG http://www.mpp.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Orleans Hearings On Medical Marijuana (A Belated First-Person Account Of The IOM Hearings In New Orleans) From: MJDOCDLE@aol.com Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 23:28:01 -0500 (EST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: N. Orleans Hearings on med mj The hearings by the Inst. of Med. of the National Acad. of Science took place in N.Orleans last Thurs. & Fri.(22-23 Jan). Dr. Leo Hollister (who has published an excellent & well recognized critique of the flawed studies on med mj) & I were the only M.D.s testifying in favor during the Public Sessions (day 1) . We were, I believe, reasonably convincing. We were opposed by 2 local M.D.s in Addiction Medicine ( Drs. Roy & Scribner) who really couldn't offer much to prove that it isn't a medicine, but issued the usual caveats about the need for it to be well controlled by physicians, etc., etc. We scored lots of points with our med mj patients including 2 of the 8 legal users( Irvin Rosenfeld & Barbara Douglass). The guy who stole the show was Jim Montgomery from Okla. who is on medical parole from a LIFE SENTENCE for less than 2 ounces of medicine. He had to have one leg amputated due to medical neglect in prison. Greg Scott an AIDS patient who uses it illegally also spoke well, as did Chuck Thomas of MPP who organized the team. A local lawyer (and admitted user), Gary Wainwright, was very persuasive and got to talk twice , once telling of a (multiple sclerosis patient) client's experience, and then later as a defender of many med mj victims. All in all , the first day was, I felt, a plus for us. The second day was testimony by long term drug research experts giving the scientific results of their research. Dr. Stephen Sydney( Kaiser Permanente) gave impressive favorable epidemiologic testimony. Dr.John Morgan (of "Mj Myths-Mj Facts") handled amotivation and addiction claims easily. Dr Robert Pandina of Rutgers did a good job on the gateway theory. These were the unmitigated good guys, and they got boosts from some other good people in the Q & A sessions. Dr. Donald Tashkin from UCLA did a pretty even-handed presentation on pulmonary harms (which favor mj due the disparity of exposure of mj vs nicotine) but he injected a caveat about upper respiratory tract cancers in young people despite the fact that there is also a heavy history of alcohol & tobacco (known carcinogens) abuse in a majority of the cited cases. The bad guys included 2 PhD.s from Columbia U.( Drs.Foltin & Haney) presenting expected slanted reports on behavioral studies on drug abuse. Dr. Thomas Klein from Florida gave what to me was unconvincing evidence on immunosuppression by mj and admitted towards the end that it took unduly large doses to get some of the effects.. They got some boost for their stuff from a bad dude named Dr. Billy Martin in the Q & A period but all in all I felt that we carried the day. On the whole the panel seemed receptive, respectful of the speakers , and interested in getting valid info. I don't know if they'll have the guts/opportunity to make strong favorable recommendations. We shall see. The last panel hearing to be held in Wash. D.C. in mid Feb. may be critical.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re - New Orleans Hearings On Medical Marijuana (Professor Roger Roffman From University Of Washington Responds To Comments About His Testimony) Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 05:59:49 -0800 (PST) From: Roger Roffman (email@example.com) To: Magic (firstname.lastname@example.org) cc: MJDOCDLE@aol.com, email@example.com Subject: Re: HT: N. Orleans Hearings on med mj Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org On Sun, 25 Jan 1998, Magic wrote: > Hello, David. Thanks for the info. I watched Prof. Roffman from the UW > on channel 9 today (I taped it), and was I confused. His report on > amotivation and "addictive" behavior of mj users was in conflict with the > info presented in MJ Myths and MJ Facts, a book I just purchased. Towards > the end of the program he did make the admission that mj has validity as > medicine, but we need more "scientific" rather than anecdotal studies. > All in all I was disappointed with the majority of the info. > What do others have to say about this. Magic Sorry that you were disappointed, Magic. The Morgan and Zimmer book, in my opinion, doesn't adequately address the issue of marijuana dependence. The answers I gave in the "Upon Reflection" interview accurately summarize research that I've conducted over the past 15 years. Perhaps if you re-watch the videotape, you'll note that I spoke strongly in favor of public initiatives about medicinal marijuana. That perspective is consistent with my role in the late 1970's in lobbying for, and then helping administer, this state's medical marijuana research program. You might also note that I argued that both the pharmaceutical industry and the federal government had incentives to avoid doing the safety and effectiveness studies that have been needed. While it's now out of print, my book, MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE, was an effort to help translate the findings of science for the general public. Finally, I testified strongly in support of Sen. Kohl's bill last week in Olympia. Once again, I'm sorry that you were disappointed. Roger *** Roger A. Roffman, D.S.W. Voice: (206) 543-2312 FAX: (206) 685-8739 Professor, School of Social Work University of Washington 4101 15th Ave. N.E. Seattle, WA 98105-6299 Email: email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Jim Gray Has A Web Site (Clifford Schaffer Reports On Campaign For Congress By Proponent Of Drug Policy Reform - Santa Ana, California Jurist Opposes Bob Dornan For US House Seat Of Loretta Sanchez) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 12:15:28 EST Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: "Clifford Schaffer"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Judge Jim Gray has a web site. Judge James P. Gray has a web site now at http://www.judgejimgray.org Judge Gray's candidacy is one of our best chances to make some real progress. If he is elected, we will have someone dedicated to reform, who really understands the issues, and the solutions -- and really listens to us -- in Congress on a full-time basis. Judge Gray tells me that (despite his years of sacrifice and work on this issue) he still really has not heard from the drug policy reform crowd, either in terms of volunteer work, or in terms of (most importantly) cash contributions. He is up against the incumbent, Loretta Sanchez, and one of the worst members of Congress ever -- B-1 Bob Dornan. We need to get Jim Gray elected. I urge everyone to commit whatever time and money they can to helping his effort. Contact information is below: Judge Jim Gray for Congress P.O. Box 325 Santa Ana, CA 92702 Phone (714) 835-3005 Fax (714) 835-3026
------------------------------------------------------------------- Paul Wolf Setting Up Shop In Washington, DC (For Initiative 59, A Local Medical-Marijuana Bill Aimed At September 1998 Ballot) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 16:48:33 EST Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Paul Wolf
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: hello, I'm back Organization: ACT UP Washington I have a new internet account here in Washington DC, and soon a webpage, too, about Initiative 59 -- Medical Marijuana Saves Lives! Identical to our previous Initiative 57, 59 will get on the September 98 ballot and win by a large margin, it's a very popular bill. We will win -- count on it. I'm living at the campaign headquarters, and you can contact us any time. - Paul Paul Wolf ACT UP Washington 409 H Street NE Washington, DC 20002 (202) 547-9404 (202) 547-9458 (fax)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Watts' Sister Facing Six Drug Charges (Sister Of GOP Representative From Oklahoma Who Repeatedly Speaks Out Against 'Drug' Use Faces Life Behind Bars - Accused By Man Who Provided Methamphetamine To Undercover Agent, She Went On Lam For Two Months) Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 16:49:56 -0500 Subject: MN: US OK: Watts' Sister Facing Six Drug Charges Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Bartman
Source: Tulsa World (OK) Author: Jim Myers And Barbara Hoberock, World Staff Writers Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 22 Jan 1998 WATTS' SISTER FACING SIX DRUG CHARGES The youngest sister of U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., R-Okla., is facing drug trafficking charges in Oklahoma County that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. The congressman has denied one report that his sister visited him in Washington, D.C., while she was a fugitive in the case for nearly two months after she failed to appear in court. Darlene Watts, 34, of Oklahoma City, has been in jail in Oklahoma County since New Year's Eve and is being held on $76,000 bail. Rep. Watts, who repeatedly speaks out against drug use, declined to talk to the Tulsa World about his sister. ``He is very concerned about her situation,'' said Mike Hunter, the congressman's chief of staff in Norman. Hunter said the congressman denied a story his sister allegedly told Oklahoma City bailbondsman Monty Davis as she was being taken back to jail in December. Davis said Darlene Watts said she had been with the congressman in Washington and in New York City and was attempting to talk to a lawyer and work things out. Davis conceded that he could not verify her story. According to the congressman, Hunter said, he has not seen his sister for more than a year, but he has talked to her by telephone. It was unclear exactly when those calls took place. J.C. Watts Sr., a Democrat running for the post of state labor commissioner, agreed to talk about his daughter but said he knew little about her case. Like his son, Watts Sr. said it has been more than a year since he has seen his youngest child. ``Well, the only thing I can say is I just hate it for her,'' he said. ``Naturally, I would. She's my daughter. I just hate it for her. ``There's nothing I can do about it. . . . I just have to accept what they (the authorities) do.'' Watts Sr. said he hasn't seen or spoken to his daughter in more than a year. While he has no plans to see his youngest daughter at this time, Watts Sr. went to Oklahoma City to take her 14-year-old son home to Eufaula with him. ``He's doing fine. We got him in school,'' he said of his grandson. Darlene Watts is one of six children: three boys and three girls. ``The rest of them are doing real good,'' said Watts Sr., a minister and a former police officer. In addition to the congressman, he said his other children are a teacher, a telephone company supervisor, a rancher and an airplane factory worker. According to court documents, Darlene Watts is facing six charges in two parallel cases, one stemming from a raid conducted by Oklahoma City police and another from a case brought by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. Court records show that Darlene Watts and two others were arrested on July 7, 1997, after officers, acting on a search warrant, raided the Oklahoma City home where Darlene Watts was living. The arrest report says that inside the home, officers found, among other things, marijuana, rolling papers; a cigarette rolling machine; loose marijuana seeds; razor blades, ashtrays, straws, a plastic vial and bag, and scales that all tested positive for methamphetamine residue. Darlene Watts was charged with one count of marijuana possession, one count of methamphetamine possession, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of maintaining a dwelling where a controlled substance is kept. In a separate case, Watts is charged with trafficking in illegal drugs and conspiracy to traffic a controlled dangerous substance. Court records state that Watts provided methamphetamine on May 30, 1997, to an Oklahoma City man who provided the drugs to an undercover agent. Darlene Watts has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Her attorney, Irven Box of Oklahoma City, declined to discuss the case, saying the charges carry a maximum of life in prison. The six charges are the only state charges Darlene Watts has faced, according to an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation background check. A source said state agents knew Watts only by her ``street name'' of Chocolate and did not realize they had arrested the sister of a congressman until she told them. Watts was scheduled to appear Nov. 10 for a hearing in Oklahoma County District Court but failed to show up, records state. ``We chased her all over the country,'' Davis said, adding that an informant eventually turned her in to his firm. Watts told authorities she was employed by PB's in Oklahoma City. The western Oklahoma City establishment is a strip club. On July 16, 1996, Watts was one of 11 employees arrested at the club, records show. Officers were investigating allegations that some of the dancers were accepting food stamps in exchange for table dances. "While inside the club, we observed several morals violations," the arrest report said. "These violations were being committed by the dancers during their table dances." Three dancers were arrested for food stamp trafficking and engaging in an act of lewdness. Officers confiscated $315 worth of food stamps. Watts was among seven other dancers who were arrested for engaging in an act of lewdness, according to the arrest report. She was charged in Oklahoma City Municipal Court with public indecency, according to the Court Clerk's Office. The maximum penalty is $753, 180 days in jail, or both. At least twice, Watts failed to appear in municipal court on the nudity charge and was subsequently charged with failure to appear, records state. The failure to appear charge carries a maximum penalty of $753 and 180 days in jail. Once Watts resolves her state drug charges, she will be held to face the municipal charges, officials said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- FBI Arrests 44 Cleveland Cops (Agents In Sting Posed As Drug Traffickers Seeking Protection) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 07:52:05 -0500 Subject: MN: US OH: Wire: FBI Arrests 44 Cleveland Cops Organization: http://www.mapinc.org Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Richard Lake and David Hadorn Source: Associated Press Author: John Affleck Pubdate: Thursday, 22 Jan 1998 FBI Arrests 44 Cleveland Cops CLEVELAND (AP) -- The dealer promised up to $3,700 for protection while he bought and sold drugs, an offer the FBI says 44 police officers, sheriff's deputies and prison guards gladly accepted. The dealer, it turned out, was an undercover FBI agent making bogus sales. In a huge bust Wednesday, authorities arrested the officers and charged them all with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years to life in prison. ``Today has been a very difficult day in law enforcement,'' said Van Harp, the agent in charge of the FBI's Cleveland office. The probe ``really turned back on law enforcement itself.'' Those arrested include police from Cleveland, East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and Brooklyn, plus one deputy, 24 corrections officers and a former corrections officer from Cuyahoga County. Each took part in at least one of 16 staged deals between November 1996 and this month, the FBI said. An East Cleveland officer was late to one deal because he was giving an anti-drug presentation. The arrests are the latest in a string of police corruption cases across the country, from Washington, New Orleans and Philadelphia to Indianapolis and Chicago. Allegations against officers in the past two years include murder, extortion, assault, framing suspects and attempted robbery. In Cleveland, Mayor Michael White said he has suspended the city officers without pay. ``We're talking about a police division in the city of Cleveland with over 1,800 people,'' he said. ``Yes, it is frustrating and disappointing. But it in no way reflects on the entire division of men and women who serve all of us on a daily basis.'' Eight other people were arrested on conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The sting grew out of an organized crime investigation that began in 1995, Harp said. Fifteen people have been arrested and charged with actually distributing the drugs and with other counts. The FBI said it began to put together the conspiracy case against the officers in October 1996 when an undercover agent met Michael Joye, a Cuyahoga County corrections officer who was fired a few months later. According to an FBI affidavit, Joye sold cocaine to an undercover agent and offered protection. The affidavit quotes Joye extensively, sometimes boasting about the people he recruited. ``We're the toughest gang on the street. That's how we look at it,'' the affidavit quotes Joye as saying. FBI Director Louis Freeh said the arrests erode public confidence in the police.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 44 Ohio Police Officers Are Charged In Drug Sting ('Orange County Register' Version Of 'New York Times' Story Refers To At Least One Cop Selling Drugs - FBI Figures Show From 1994 To 1997, 508 Police In 47 Cities Have Been Convicted In Federal Corruption Cases) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:30:09 -0800 Subject: MN: US: 44 Ohio Police Officers Are Charged In Drug Sting Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk:John W.Black Source: Orange County Register Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thurs, 22 Jan, 1998 Section: news, page 12 Author: Pam Belluck-The New York Times 44 OHIO POLICE OFFICERS ARE CHARGED IN DRUG STING CORRUPTION: The suspects are five law-enforcement agencies. CLEVELAND-In what may be the largest and widest-ranging police-corruption investigation in the country in recent years, 44 officers from five law enforcement agencies were charged Wednesday with taking money to protect cocaine-trafficking operations in Cleveland and northern Ohio, federal authorities said. The arrests were the result of a 2 1/2-year federal sting operation that started as an inquiry into organized crime in Cleveland, officials said. Along the way, investigators discovered a large ring of police officers and Sheriff's Department corrections officers who readily hired themselves out to be escorts and security guards for people they believed to be cocaine traffickers but who were really undercover federal agents. "It's the largest I'm aware of," said Tron Brekke, deputy assistant director of the FBI's Office of Public and Congressional Affairs in Washington, who until recently supervised the bureau's police-corruption investigations. "There are other cases that may have dragged on for awhile and may have had as many officers involved. For a single-day arrest, I don't recall anything even close." Brekke said he believes there had never been a police-corruption case involving officers from so many different agencies. The Cleveland case is the latest in a series of police-corruption investigations that have struck cities across the country in recent years. From 1994 to 1997, 508 officers in 47 cities have been convicted in federal corruption cases, FBI figures show. The Cleveland police-corruption investigation was a "spinoff of the original undercover operation that targeted organized crime," said Van A Harp, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Cleveland. Harp also announced the arrest Wednesday of seven of what he called the "original targets," suspected organized-crime figures whose charges concerning money laundering, drugs, gambling and firearms violations were not related to the allegations against the officers. In the process of the investigation, federal agents got wind of a corrections officer for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Michael W. Joye, who sold drugs to an undercover agent and indicated he would provide security, first for the smuggling of illegal gambling machines and then for drug deals, according to a 99-page affidavit. Joye, the affidavit said, recruited 24 other officers and a deputy from the Sheriff's Department and 18 personnel from four regional police departments - seven from Cleveland, three from Cleveland Heights, six from east Cleveland and two from Brooklyn, N.Y. - to help out in the deals.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Looks Like Drug Arrest Is A Bust ('Philadelphia Daily News' Recaps Career Of Philadelphia Housing Authority Narc Whose Big Break - And New DEA Job - Were Based On His Lying Under Oath - Suborned Maybe Five Other PHA Cops) Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 18:03:06 -0500 Subject: MN: US PA: Looks Like Drug Arrest Is A Bust Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Philadelphia Daily News Author: Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer Contact: DailyNews.Opinion@phillynews.com Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.phillynews.com/ LOOKS LIKE DRUG ARREST IS A BUST It was a big bust for a Philadelphia Housing Authority narc. Two international drug traffickers were under arrest, and more than 3.2 pounds of heroin, worth at least $500,000 in street sales, had been seized from their car without a shot being fired. Within days, the feds elected to prosecute the pair, part of a Guatemalan heroin smuggling ring, hoping to send them to prison for a long time. And the gung-ho cop who made it all happen, Harry Fernandez, soon was recruited to work for the U.S. Drug Administration's local task force, a feather in any cop's cap, on an ongoing investigation of the Guatemalan connection. Problem was, according to a federal grand jury, Fernandez had made up the story about why he stopped the car and how the heroin had been found. And, Fernandez allegedly compounded his wrongdoing by getting five other PHA cops -- his partner, Rosemary Weston, and Michael Duross, Todd Jordan, Joseph Watts and Ariel Morales -- to lie to prosecutors and federal agents, the grand jury said. The other officers have now fingered Fernandez and they won't be charged with any criminal wrongdoing, sources said. In a four-count indictment unsealed yesterday, Fernandez was charged with conspiring to obstruct justice and making false statements to the U.S. attorney's office. Fernandez, 30, of Oakley Street near Princeton, a former star baseball player in high school, married and the father of three, pleaded not guilty and was released on a $100,000 bond, secured by his house, to await trial. In court records, Fernandez claimed he had good reason to stop the pair's car on Thompson Street near 4th, North Philadelphia, because the heroin was in plain view. The drug traffickers' told a far different story to authorities. They claimed the heroin and the cash were nowhere in sight, hidden in a secret compartment beneath the steering wheel. Faced with the tainted bust, prosecutors said they had no choice but to plea-bargain with the suspects, trading leniency for their testimony against other drug traffickers and the cop who busted them, Fernandez. One defendant, Enrique Matos Gotay, 46, was sentenced in October by U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell to 42 months in prison for his part in the heroin trafficking conspiracy. The other, Dr. Jose Barrios Lopez, 38, a physician, awaits sentencing for using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking, and the most he can get is 40 months.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cabinet To Oppose Medical Use Of Marijuana (According To 'The Miami Herald,' Florida Department Of Law Enforcement Commissioner Tim Moore, Betty Sembler Of St. Petersburg's Save Our Society From Drugs Persuade Florida Governor Lawton Chiles And Florida Cabinet To Oppose Medical-Marijuana Initiative From Floridians For Medical Rights - Christy McCampbell, Chief Of Narcotics Enforcement For The California Attorney General's Office, Betrays Californians By Working Against Initiative) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:11:28 -0500 Subject: MN: US FL: Cabinet to Oppose Medical Use of Marijuana Organization: http://www.mapinc.org Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: The Media Awareness Project Source: The Miami Herald Author: Bill Kaczor, Associated Press Pubdate: Thursday,22 Jan 1998 Contact: Email: HeraldEd@aol.com Fax: (305) 376-8950 Mail: The Readers' Forum The Miami Herald 1 Herald Plaza Miami, Florida 33132-1693 Website: http://www.herald.com/ CABINET TO OPPOSE MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA TALLAHASSEE -- A citizen initiative to legalize medical use of marijuana drew opposition Wednesday from Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Florida Cabinet. At the urging of law enforcement officials and the head of a group opposing the proposed constitutional amendment, the panel unanimously adopted a resolution calling on Floridians to reject the proposal. ``We think it's a trick . . . the camel's head in the tent's door on the bigger objective of legalizing all drugs not only in Florida but in America,'' said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Tim Moore. Fort Lauderdale-based Floridians for Medical Rights, chaired by Toni Leeman, is circulating petitions in an effort to get the proposal on the November ballot. ``This type of political posturing sacrifices serious health needs of Floridians and deprives them of medical treatment many physicians consider legitimate,'' Leeman, a paralegal for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a telephone interview from the ACLU's state office in Miami. Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida ACLU, also criticized the Cabinet action. ``We saw public policy developed in a vacuum of ignorance,'' Simon said in a news release. ``This is nothing more than a ploy to try to prevent the issue from appearing on the ballot.'' The Florida Constitution Revision Commission two months ago rejected a similar proposal on a 30-1 vote. That decision, however, does not affect the initiative. Supporters must obtain 435,100 signatures to place it on the ballot. They have collected about 10,000 so far, Leeman said. The proposal, based on similar initiatives passed in California and Arizona two years ago, would allow patients with cancer, AIDS, anorexia, glaucoma and other illnesses to use marijuana if a doctor certifies the drug is medically appropriate in their cases. Leeman said smoking the drug alleviates nausea and loss of appetite associated with AIDS and cancer chemotherapy, and prevents blindness from glaucoma. Moore told the Cabinet that a synthetic form of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, provides the same medical relief without risks associated with smoking. Proponents say the pills don't work as well as smoking. ``This is a deliberate ploy, playing on the voters' compassion to the sick and dying,'' said Betty Sembler of St. Petersburg, president of Save Our Society from Drugs. ``We cannot and will not stand by and watch the future of our state and our nation sabotaged,'' she told the Cabinet. ``We are determined to draw the line in Florida sand: Not here and not us.'' Christy McCampbell, chief of narcotics enforcement for the California attorney general's office, told the panel marijuana use has escalated in his state since passage of the medical marijuana and not just by sick people. ``Anyone of any age can virtually get marijuana in the state of California now,'' she said. ``It has been legalized. . . . There's no need for a doctor to do an examination or to maintain records.'' She said a doctor's prescription is unnecessary because the California measure uses the term ``recommendation.'' The Florida proposal says use must be ``certified'' by a doctor. Moore presented the Cabinet with a report titled ``Marijuana Legalization: A Very Bad Idea for Florida,'' upon which the resolution is based. ``Legalization of marijuana will certainly send a wrong message for our citizens, especially our children,'' Moore said
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Tests Work (Although 'Chicago Tribune' Article Reprinted By 'Orlando Sentinel' Says Urine-Testing Is Increasing And More Than 80 Percent Of Orlando, Florida-Area Businesses Now Test Job Applicants, No Evidence Is Offered That The Tests Are Accurate Or Cost-Effective) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 13:31:53 -0500 Subject: MN: US: Drug Tests Work Organization: http://www.mapinc.org Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Richard Lake Source: Chicago Tribune Author: By Jeanne Peck, The Orlando Sentinel Pubdate: Thursday, 22 January 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/ Note: Sidebar HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT IF CALLED IN FOR EXAMINATION below. DRUG TESTS WORK The Home Depot in Orlando has a simple message for job applicants: If you want to be on the payroll, you have to pass a drug test. "We are a family-oriented company, and we don't condone the use of drugs," said Penny Ericksen, district assistant for Home Depot's central Florida stores. "And don't overlook the safety issue. That has to be a primary concern for our employees and our customers." That's the same position many businesses and government agencies have taken with prospective and current employees, including school bus driver Linda McKenzie in Seminole County, Fla. She will find out whether her refusal to take a fourth random drug test will cost her job. The state of Florida does not track how many companies screen employees for drugs, but more than 80 percent of nearly 100 Orlando-area businesses say they test job applicants, according to a 1995-1996 report by the Longwood-based Employers Association of Florida. "The testing is becoming more and more prevalent," said Christine Crews, director of human resource services for the association, a 450-member business organization. In Florida, employers get a 5 percent discount on worker's compensation insurance premiums if they do any kind of employee drug tests as part of a state-authorized drug-free workplace program. "In order for the employer to obtain the discount, it requires pre-employment and follow-up testing," Crews said. Employees who have sought help from company-sponsored treatment programs for their drug problems often have to submit to follow-up drug tests. "In addition to the pre-employment tests, most companies are doing reasonable-suspicion and post-accident testing." Drug tests became especially popular during the early 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan declared his war on drugs, said Andy Kayton, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. The Navy has randomly tested sailors since 1982. Some central Florida employers such as Orlando Sentinel Communications and Lockheed Martin Corp. implemented drug-testing policies in the mid-1980s. "It is an economic decision made by private employers," Kayton said. "I can't speak for them, but I'm assuming there are costs that are incurred by employees who are inspired by the use of drugs or alcohol. Obviously, they can create dangerous conditions for themselves or others for which a company can be liable." Unless you are in a safety-sensitive position such as McKenzie, government agencies can screen for illegal substances only if they have a reasonable suspicion that you're using drugs. Safety-sensitive government workers such as police officers or school bus drivers can be tested at any time. The rules are different for private employers. Unless you're protected by a collective bargaining agreement that limits drug testing, private employers can test for drugs at will. That means that besides asking you to take a pre-employment test, private companies can test you for drugs at random after you have been involved in a job-related accident or just to make sure you are fit for your job. People worried they will be victims of false-positive drug tests can ask for retests. However, although most businesses pay for initial drug tests, individuals usually have to pay for retests. "The type of recourse you have will depend on where you are employed," Kayton said. If you work for the government, you could try to challenge the validity of the testing methods, he said. "Many private employers also have those same types of processes in place." The fate of people who test positive and don't challenge the results rests with their employers. While some companies support on-the-spot dismissals of anyone who fails a drug test, others sponsor treatment programs for admitted substance abusers. Most drug tests are based on urinalysis, which can detect the presence of cocaine for three or four days after use and marijuana for about three weeks after use. Employee drug testing made the news recently when McKenzie refused to submit to a random drug test for the fourth time in 20 months. Even though McKenzie had passed three times, her refusal amounted to failure and she was suspended without pay. McKenzie, who has said she didn't want to take the test because she needed to care for her bedridden mother, has appealed. Since January 1995, the Seminole County school system has complied with a federal law that subjects all bus drivers to drug tests, said John Reichert, ombudsman and director of human resources and professional standards for the Seminole County public schools. Of the county's 430 school bus drivers, just four have tested positive, he said. "Overall, the policy has been well received," Reichert said. The Seminole County School Board will decide whether McKenzie should be allowed to keep her job. Construction companies and other private blue-collar industries have long tested employees for drugs. For example, people eager to work for Kelsey Construction in Orlando have to pass pre-employment drug tests as well as subsequent tests "if there is a reason," said office/personnel manager Marcine Wells. White-collar businesses have caught the drug-testing bug too. "We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drugs," said Universal Studios Florida spokesman Tom Schroder. Even so, the company does not screen job applicants for drugs but tests employees "if there is an incident or an accident or if the manager has a suspicion about something happening in the workplace," he said. Circuit City in Richmond, Va., screens employees by asking them to pass drug tests before and sometimes after they join the company, said spokesman Morgan Stewart. Instead of relying on urine-based drug tests, Electronic Data Systems required its 288 central Florida employees to pass drug tests based on hair analysis, said company spokeswoman Diane Coffman. *** DRUG TESTING HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT IF CALLED IN FOR EXAMINATION [This sidebar to main story on this page was written by Jeanne Peck of The Orlando Sentinel] The first time Mark Williams Sr. took a drug test, he was surprised that the person collecting his urine had to make sure it passed a temperature test. "They put a temperature thing on the bottle," says Williams, 27, who took his most recent drug test last September so he could work for Certified Mechanical Co. Inc., a plumbing, heating and air conditioning company in Apopka, Fla. In his adult life, he has passed more than a half-dozen pre-employment or random drug tests. "I never even thought about how people could bring in something with them," he says. As a drug-test veteran, Williams now understands that screening employees must follow strict procedures to discourage cheating during the five-minute tests. For example, requiring the urine to register a temperature between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit makes it more difficult for a drug-user to smuggle in a "clean" sample provided by a friend. There are other procedural requirements. So if you're going to take a urine-based drug test for the first time, here's what to expect: - Be ready to prove your identity by producing a drivers license, passport, employee badge or other official-looking picture identification. For a job-related drug test, your supervisor can vouch for your identity in person. - The person administering the test starts "chain of custody" procedures to limit tampering opportunities. You provide some basic personal information such as your Social Security number and address, and the person administering the test breaks the seals on the collection kit. "You're allowed to see that the kit hasn't been tampered with," says Christine Claussen, owner of RN Expertise Inc., a drug-testing company in Altamonte Springs, Fla. - You have to remove your coat and hat and empty your pockets. "They don't have to strip, but they have to take off their outer garments," says Pat James, health services and facilities consultant supervisor for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration in Tallahassee. If you carry a purse or briefcase, you must surrender it during the test. You can keep your wallet with you as long as the screening agent is allowed to check it for possible contaminants. "We are not allowed to frisk or search anyone in any way," Claussen says. This part of the procedure makes it harder for people to smuggle in liquids or other materials that could be used to dilute the sample. - Next, you will be led into a bathroom, where you'll have to wash your hands with soap. - After that, you might be led into another bathroom -- one that doesn't contain anything that could dilute the sample. "The toilet has to have blueing in it so you can't dilute the sample with the water from the toilet," says Barbara Bauer, supervisor of Florida Hospital Corporate Health, a drug-testing company in Orlando. Other water sources, such as the top of the toilet tank and the sink spigots, should be covered with tamper-evident tape. - In most cases, you will be allowed to do your business in private, but the test administrator must stay close. "We listen at the door for any rustling," Bauer says, adding that test-takers have as long as three hours to produce a sample. "If they cannot supply a specimen, then it's assumed that they choose not to supply." If you can't go, you fail, unless you can prove that you are medically incapable of urinating. - You will be told not to flush the toilet when you finish. "You might be able to dilute the sample with fresh water if you flush," Claussen says. - When you return the sample to the test administrator, he or she will note the sample's temperature, Bauer says. The sample has to be between 90 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Most fresh samples will be slightly cooler than the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees. If the sample's temperature is out of range, you might have to provide another, and you might have to provide it with someone of the same sex watching over you. - After filling the collection cup, you'll return it to the test administrator, who will place a seal over the top of the container and then place it in a tamper-evident plastic bag. Then everything goes into a box, which also is sealed. The person taking the drug test initials every seal on the sample container to limit opportunities for tampering. Says Claussen, "You get to watch every move I make." - Your sample is then taken to a lab, where it is tested for between five and 10 illegal drugs. The most common "five-panel" test screens for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP and opiates. About 5 percent of the people Bauer screens test positive for illegal drugs. About 2 percent of RN Expertise customers fail their tests, Claussen says. Now that Mark Williams has done the drug-test drill, he's no longer shocked by any part of the procedure. "I have no problem with it," he says. "If people can't pass the test, it just opens up more jobs for me." (c) 1997 Chicago Tribune
------------------------------------------------------------------- Coronado Survey Details Kids' Drug Use ('San Diego Union-Tribune' Article On Results From 1997 Survey Of 579 Students In Affluent Suburb - 'No Different From Elsewhere' - Almost Half Of 11th-Graders Used Alcohol In Past Month - Survey Designed By Rodney Skager In California AG's Office, Funded By Asset Forfeitures, Distorted Results By Contrasting Percentages Who Used Cannabis In Past Six Months) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Coronado survey details kids' drug use Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 21:35:38 -0800 Lines: 97 Newshawk Tom Murlowski http://www.november.org/ Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 Source: San Diego Union-Tribune Contact: email@example.com Author: Angela Lau, Staff Writer CORONADO SURVEY DETAILS KIDS' DRUG USE CORONADO -- Kids in this affluent city are no different from those elsewhere: They drink and do drugs and say they do it for fun, to experiment and out of boredom, according to survey results released yesterday. The results confirmed many of the conclusions from previous, less formal surveys that caused consternation among school and law-enforcement officials. According to the 1997 survey results, released at a combined meeting of the City Council and school board, the older the age group, the higher the rate of alcohol and drug use. The drug of choice was alcohol, followed by marijuana. Students said they used drugs mainly for fun or to experiment. And, they said, youngsters obtain drugs from friends, at parties and from their parents. The survey, funded with Drug Asset Forfeiture money, was conducted on seventh-, ninth-and 11th-graders. Anonymous questionnaires were given out one day last year, and about 94 percent, or 579 students, responded. "We figure better in many ways than students throughout the state, but the statistics are still terribly alarming to us," Superintendent Rene Townsend said. "We need to come up with plans, find out if there are gaps we need to fill." Designed by Rodney Skager, who has been conducting substance abuse surveys for California's attorney general for 11 years, the study found that almost one-half of the 11th-graders had used alcohol in the past 30 days. That compares with 36.5 percent among ninth-graders and 13 percent of seventh-graders. Additionally, 63 percent of the 11th-graders admitted they had been drunk at least once by the time they reached 11th grade. About 37 percent admitted to excessive alcohol use -- drinking and getting sick at least three times, and enjoying getting drunk. That compares with 31 percent of 11th-graders statewide, and is one of a few local statistics that exceeded the state's average. Thirty percent of the 11th-graders also admitted to having driven while drunk or to riding in a car with friends who were drinking and driving. As for illicit drugs, marijuana topped the list. About 3 percent of the seventh-graders said they had used marijuana in the past six months, while 20 percent of the ninth-graders and 32 percent of the 11th-graders said they had used it in the same period. Fewer students said they used inhalants, LSD, methamphetamine and cocaine. However, 10 percent of the ninth-graders and 21 percent of the 11th-graders fell into the category of high-risk users because they used drugs at least once a week. Almost one-third of the 11th-graders mixed various drugs. "It shows that by the age of 15, 16, or 17, kids in a typical school district have knowledge of drugs and alcohol," Skager said. "Threats or scare tactics are not working." Asked why they used drugs, 78.5 percent of the 11th-graders said they did it for fun, with 66 percent citing experimentation, and 63.4 percent blaming boredom. The juniors also said youths obtain drugs from friends and at parties, with 9 percent saying kids get them from their parents. Skager suggested an interactive approach to teaching youths about drugs that allows them to share their thoughts. He also said some studies indicate that the D.A.R.E. program and zero-tolerance policies are not effective and that alternative approaches should be developed. Skager further suggested that parents supervise their children's parties to make sure they are drug-free. Police Chief Bob Hutton, who said he is encouraged by the lower rates of alcohol and drug use compared with statewide statistics, added that he believes D.A.R.E. played a positive role. "I'd like to see it expanded to high school -- it doesn't have to be called D.A.R.E. or delivered by the police," Hutton said. "But we need to continue the inoculation." Superintendent Townsend said that while D.A.R.E's effectiveness needs to be further assessed, the district's task continues to be to help students overcome addictions before resorting to punishment. "We also have to help parents see the signs of addiction, help them stop thinking, 'This can't happen to my kid,' she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hispanic Activists File Lawsuit To Stop Anti-Drug Operation Along The Border ('Houston Chronicle' Article About The Mexican American Legal Defense And Educational Fund's Lawsuit Asking US District Judge George Kazen Of Laredo, Texas, To Halt Military Construction Of 240 Miles Of Roads And Helicopter Pads) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:25:42 -0800 Subject: MN: US: Hispanic Activists File Lawsuit To Stop Anti-Drug Operation Along The Border Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Art Smart
Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/ HISPANIC ACTIVISTS FILE LAWSUIT TO STOP ANTI-DRUG OPERATION ALONG THE BORDER LAREDO (AP) -- A Hispanic rights group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to stop an anti-drug operation along the border launched by the military and U.S. Border Patrol. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, suing on behalf of two residents of a colonia, asked U.S. District Judge George Kazen of Laredo to immediately stop a military operation that aims to build or improve 240 miles of roads and to build helicopter landing pads. The project is intended to make it easier for the Border Patrol to reach remote areas along the Rio Grande. Targets of the operation are drug smugglers as well as undocumented immigrants and bandits who prey on them. "We want the court to look at it as quickly as possible to stop the construction that is already under way," said Cynthia Cano, an attorney for MALDEF in San Antonio. The lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Department of Defense, the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which oversees the Border Patrol. The suit claims roads to be built in the targeted construction zone will adversely affect the area's environment. However, Cano said, plaintiffs Maria Gonzales and Guadalupe Elizondo of the Rio Bravo colonia are worried about having soldiers around their community, especially in light of last year's fatal shooting of teen-ager Esequiel Hernandez by a Marine on drug patrol in the Big Bend area. "We are ultimately concerned about the use of that infrastructure," the attorney said. Also suing to stop the project are the Rio Grande International Study Center and rancher David Brask, according to Cano. They are represented by environmental attorneys from Austin. Maureen Bossch, a spokeswoman for Joint Task Force Six, which oversees joint military-law enforcement operations, said she had not seen the lawsuit but defended the roads project as environmentally safe. "They spend a lot of time, money and effort to ensure that they comply with all the environmental regulations," she said. "If this project were not environmentally sound the military wouldn't be doing it." She also said the project is entirely different from the military anti-drug patrols in West Texas, which were suspended after the shooting of Hernandez. No soldiers are carrying weapons in the initiative in Webb, Dimmit and Maverick counties, she said. The military is bringing in more than 500 soldiers for the project centered near the border cities of Laredo and Carrizo Springs. In addition to building or improving roads, the crews are building a dozen helicopter landing pads and a refueling site for helicopters. Opponents claim it is a militarization of the border and that the project will threaten wildlife and increase erosion along the Rio Grande.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Seven Arrested In Rockwall Drug Case ('Dallas Morning News' Says Two Rockwall, Texas High School Students, Five Others Arrested For Dealing Heroin, Other Drugs - Investigation Launched After Calls About School Drug Use, But Cops Don't Claim Dealers Sold To Them On School Property - At Least One Student Denies Charges) Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:16:01 -0800 Subject: MN: US TX: 7 Arrested in Rockwall Drug Case Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Author: Christy Hawkins / The Dallas Morning News 7 ARRESTED IN ROCKWALL DRUG CASE Investigation was launched after calls about school drug use ROCKWALL - Two Rockwall High School students and five others have been arrested and charged in connection with the dealing of heroin and other drugs after an undercover investigation, authorities said Wednesday. The seven were involved in a local drug ring, drug task force officials said. In custody were Michelle Lynn Shipley, a 17-year-old junior at Rockwall High School; senior Dylan Thomas Lotz, 17; Christopher McKay, 20; Jaclyn Diane Prince, 18, a former Rockwall High School student; Charles Jason Duncan, 22; and Zeke Sublett, 18. All were being held in the Rockwall County Detention Center, jail officials said. The seventh person taken into custody, a 16-year-old juvenile, was being held in a Hunt County juvenile facility, officials said. Rockwall does not have its own juvenile detention center. School officials said they could not determine whether the juvenile was a high school student. As police led Mr. Lotz to a squad car in handcuffs, he denied being involved in drug dealing. "I don't know what's going on," he said. His father, Randy Lotz, said, "This is his first arrest. . . . We've never had a problem with him in the past." Mr. Lotz said his son enjoys school and had plans to graduate in May. A woman related to Ms. Prince, who did not want to be identified, said the 18-year-old has received medical treatment for drug addiction. "She's had some drug problems, but she swore she was over them," the woman said. Calls to the Shipley residence were not returned Wednesday evening. Families of Mr. McKay, Mr. Duncan and Mr. Sublett could not be reached. The undercover operation began in October after officials with the Northeast Area Drug Interdiction Task Force began receiving calls from residents complaining about drug use among high school students, said Patsy Williams, the task force commander. The task force covers Rowlett, Rockwall County and Greenville in neighboring Hunt County. Task force officers then went under cover and made three drug buys of between $300 and $400 from the group, involving heroin, cocaine, LSD and marijuana, officials said. Typically, one member of the ring would negotiate the deal with an officer, another would accept the money and a third person would make the delivery, officials said. Officials said they knew the group had discovered the undercover operation when an officer paid for drugs last week but never received them. The purchases and deliveries of drugs were typically made in public places such as convenience store parking lots, officials said. None of the buys was made on the high school campus, officials said. Heroin is becoming more popular with young people in Rockwall County and around the area because it is inexpensive, District Attorney Ray Sumrow said. "It's relatively cheap, that's the problem," Mr. Sumrow said. Cmdr. Williams said she plans to hold an assembly at Rockwall High School to explain the drastic effects of heroin use. "Kids now don't know how heroin used to be a long time ago," she said. "They've heard of heroin all their life, but they don't understand and comprehend the purity of it. This stuff is pure. It only takes you one shot." Mr. Sumrow says he has received phone calls and letters from Rockwall High School students telling him about the heroin problem at the high school "They're telling me we've got a problem," he said. "They're aware of it, and they don't want it to happen in our community." Jim Randolph, principal of Rockwall High School, said he is concerned about the problem and is pleased to cooperate with the task force. "We want that away from our kids, and we want it away from our community," Mr. Randolph said. Bail had not been set Wednesday evening for any of the six adults except Ms. Shipley, whose bail was set at $30,000. She is charged with delivery/offer of a dangerous drug and engaging in an organized criminal activity. Arraignments for the other adults were set for Thursday. In arrest warrants, Mr. Lotz is charged with manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance over 4 grams, under 200 grams, along with engaging in an organized criminal activity. Mr. McKay is charged with manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance over 1 gram, under 4 grams. Ms. Prince is charged with manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance over 4 grams, under 200 grams, along with engaging in an organized criminal activity. Mr. Duncan is charged with two counts of manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance over 1 gram, under 4 grams, along with engaging in an organized criminal activity. Mr. Sublett is charged with possession of a controlled substance over 1 gram, under 4 grams.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Students Popping Ritalin To Stay Alert (Fear-Mongering From 'Montreal Gazette') Resent-Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 12:14:13 -0800 (PST) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Students popping Ritalin to stay alert Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 09:13:16 -0800 Lines: 162 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Montreal Gazette Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Thu 22 Jan 1998 Section: A1 / FRONT Author: Jeff Heinrich STUDENTS POPPING RITALIN TO STAY ALERT Drug is prescribed for attention deficit Pop the Ritalin and hit the books. That's the reality for thousands of university students returning to classes this week at McGill and Concordia, staff doctors and counselors say. The students, many from Ontario and New England, are using the prescription stimulant like never before to help them focus on their work - or simply get high. The cost to them is minimal; under the Quebec government's drug plan or the university student unions' own policies, Ritalin is covered by insurance. In some cases, McGill officials suspect, the students are selling the pills to other students, who get a ``buzz'' from the drug to stay awake while they study. The campus users are the newest wave of a phenomenon that has seen Ritalin prescriptions almost quadruple in Quebec in the last five years among children, adolescents and, increasingly, young adults. A study by the Montreal-based drug research firm IMS Canada found that Quebec prescriptions of methylphenidate (sold under the brand names Ritalin and PMS-Methylphenidate) grew from 47,000 in 1992 to 179,000 last year. The vast majority are prescribed to children and adolescents, mostly boys. The drug has been around since the 1960s, and is used along with various kinds of therapy to treat a learning disability called attention-deficit disorder. People who have the disability, which is sometimes combined with hyperactivity, have trouble concentrating and are easily distracted. In the last five years, as the children who used it grew up and more new cases were diagnosed, Ritalin has become more common among adults. Now it's big on campus. And that worries university officials. ``The problem with Ritalin is that anybody who takes it is going to concentrate better - it's like a strong cup of coffee; it has this focusing effect on almost everyone,'' said Dr. Norman Hoffman, director of mental-health services for students at McGill. ``The danger is, we're seeing a lot of kids who are addicted to it, and it's becoming a major street drug at McGill now,'' he said in an interview. ``Kids used to take speed 20 years ago, or caffeine pills; now they're taking Ritalin.'' Of McGill's 20,000 students, between 5 and 10 per cent - anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 - are using Ritalin to help them study, Hoffman estimated, based on anecdotal evidence from students who pass through his practice. At Concordia, there may be even more: perhaps 15 per cent of the 25,000 who study there - more than 3,700 young adults, according to the university's disabled-students' services office. ``It's only over the last two years that we've been hearing about this,'' Hoffman said. ``Our concern is the possible health risk - depression, psychosis - associated with taking Ritalin.'' Taken two or three times a day, the drug mildly stimulates the central nervous system. For students who have trouble concentrating and juggling their assignments, it works wonders. ``Overnight there was a change, and I'm not exaggerating,'' said ``Mary'' (not her real name), a 34-year-old McGill graduate student, who started taking Ritalin 18 months ago and now takes it four times a day. Before she started ``I was almost thrown out of the master's program at McGill,'' she said yesterday. ``Now I'll be finishing with honours in May.'' It's not just that the pills help her concentrate, she said. ``You're able to keep organized. You don't have a sense of the wheel spinning all the time, where you've got five million things happening and you never remember from one minute to the next what to do. You become a very different person.'' In Mary's case, the prescription appears to have been apt. But university physicians and counselors say attention-deficit disorder has been mistakenly diagnosed in thousands of other students. In some cases, especially with out-of-town freshmen coming straight from high school, they're simply having trouble coping with the isolation from their families and the lack of structured work time, the staff say. ``They enter university, and because there are different demands, they don't do as well - and they start to wonder why that is, so they get assessed,'' said Dr. Pierre-Paul Tellier, director of McGill's campus medical clinic. For some, that means a rigorous evaluation by psychiatrists and psychologists. But for others, the ``assessment'' is simply a quick consultation in a general practitioner's office. After that, they walk out with a prescription for Ritalin in their hand - and the temptation to abuse it. Asked Tellier: ``Are people exposing themselves to Ritalin when they don't really need it, to get a high or to be able to stay awake when they're studying? It appears so.'' Some students use their diagnosis to explain away their bad marks to skeptical professors. Some use it to get special treatment - a chance to write exams privately, for example - then sell their prescription to other students. ``It's the faculty who are the skeptics,'' said Leo Bissonnette, co-ordinator of services for disabled students at Concordia. ``That hard-nosed faculty person says `Prove it to me. You look normal; you're just a little nervous. What the story here?' '' Joan Wolforth, director of McGill's office of student disabilities, has seen a few questionable cases pass through her office. It's part of the trend in diagnoses of adults with attention-deficit disorder - some aren't really ``disabled'' at all. ``It's changed,'' she said in an interview yesterday. ``Four or five years ago, I didn't have any students with ADD. It's been one of those steady growth areas, not just at McGill but right across North America.'' Many of the students come from Ontario and New England, where ``there seems to have been a much greater push on diagnosis than I've seen in Quebec,'' Wolforth said. Misuse of Ritalin ``is a real concern,'' she added. In one case she handled, the student increased his dosage so much ``he became totally dysfunctional, very jittery - you know, like (the effect of) four dozen cups of coffee.'' In another case, a student admitted giving some of his supply away to another student. There's a simple way to solve the problem of Ritalin abuse, experts believe: don't prescribe it when it isn't needed. Indeed, if doctors took better care before misdiagnosing ADD, fewer students would be using the drug, Hoffman said. At McGill's mental-health clinic, ``we see lots of kids with concentration problems, and the vast majority of time it's due to an emotional problem of one sort or another - stress, depression, anxiety,'' he said. ``A small per cent of the time it's due to what seems to be a true attention-deficit disorder. ``Unfortunately, it's very easy to look past the more complex problem and just prescribe a pill.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Funding Welcomed By Youth Council ('Irish Times' Notes National Youth Council Of Ireland Endorses Government's Extra £30 Million) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Ireland: Drug funding welcomed by Youth Council Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 21:24:23 -0800 Newshawk: Zosimos
Source: Irish Times Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 DRUG FUNDING WELCOMED BY YOUTH COUNCIL The news that the Government is to spend an extra £30 million on the drugs problem among young people was welcomed last night by the National Youth Council of Ireland. The variety of different measures under the Programme for Young People at Risk was a particularly positive feature, the NYCI stated. The president of the council, Ms Jillian Hassett, said that to date there had been a significant imbalance in the Government's approach to the drugs issue. The announcement of the new package of measures would help rectify this. There was an understandable outcry after the Budget when the drugs problem was not fully addressed. Drug use was the single biggest social problem facing young people in Ireland, she said. "The diversity of the package is a particularly positive feature. There is a balance between resources for areas with chronic drug problems and other parts of Ireland with potential and growing problems," Ms Hassett commented.
------------------------------------------------------------------- China Drug Busts, Detox Camp Inmates Soared Last Year ('Reuters' Fails To Note The Overall Numbers Are Considerably Lower Than Those In Some US States) Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 00:35:08 -0800 Subject: MN: WIRE: China Drug Busts, Detox Camp Inmates Soared Last Year Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Nando.net Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 CHINA DRUG BUSTS, DETOX CAMP INMATES SOARED LAST YEAR BEIJING (Reuters) - China's tough crackdown on illegal narcotics last year netted the country's biggest-ever drug haul and landed record numbers of addicts in detoxification camps, state media and medical therapists said on Wednesday. China prosecuted a record 106,000 drug-related crimes in the first 11 months of last year, up 29 percent from the 1996 period, the Guangming Daily said. Authorities arrested or detained 135,000 people for drug crimes during the period, up 57.8 percent year-on-year, and smashed 2,000 drug rings, the Legal Daily said. Most cases involved heroin or opium, but the report also mentioned cannabis and crystal methamphetamine, or "ice." Of the total drug cases, 108 involved heroin of more than 22 pounds, the Guangming Daily said. Experts said the sharp rise in cases showed stricter law enforcement to combat the return of a problem China's communist authorities had all but wiped out in the 1950s. "Although China's drug problem is increasingly serious, I think the statistics reflect more China's efforts to eradicate it," said a researcher who works with addicts in southwestern Yunnan province, the region in China worst affected by drugs. The number of people taken to China's 690 forced detoxification clinics and to the 80 "detoxification-through-labor camps" also surged, the Legal Daily said. Heroin addicts were dragged to China's involuntary detoxification institutions 180,000 times in the first 11 months, up 50,000 times from the same period last year, the newspaper said. "The scenario of a wife sending her husband, a father sending his son, to public security departments and requesting forced detoxification occurs often," Guangming said. "Building a proportionate number of forced detoxification centers and detoxification-through-labor camps as soon as possible is a basic policy toward banning drug abuse," said a commentary in the People's Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece. Medical workers told Reuters from Yunnan that many labor camps did not stock drug substitutes used in easing the process of detoxification. The brutality of forced detoxification, especially in the spartan labor camps, often did more harm than good in the long term, one of the therapists said. "According to my understanding, forced detoxification is not an effective measure," the researcher at the Yunnan Provincial Health & Anti-Epidemic Center said. "You cannot just brutally force someone to kick the habit." "Forcing addicts into a labor camp is not the best way to give people the support and family warmth they need," she said. Yunnan, in the southwestern corner of China, is the gateway for heroin imports from the nearby Golden Triangle opium growing zone where Laos, Thailand and Burma converge. Customs officials in China, increasingly used as a transit route to Western countries for illegal drugs, seized 812 lbs of illegal drugs in 1997, a haul 30 percent bigger than the year before, state media said on Monday. Authorities have pledged to crack down on drug smuggling, but the porous border and mountainous terrain of southern China where the problem is most rampant makes enforcement difficult. Drug smugglers are frequently executed in China. At the end of 1997, China had 77,000 beds in detoxification clinics for its more than 530,000 registered addicts, the Legal Daily said. China had 148,000 registered addicts in 1991. In 1997, authorities seized more than five tons of heroin and 350 tons of synthetic drugs, the Guangming Daily said. Drug use in China was almost eradicated under harsh communist crackdowns but has surged in recent years as two decades of economic reform have eroded social controls. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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