Portland NORML News - Thursday, January 22, 1998

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)

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:38:41 EST
Subject: NORML WPR 1/22/98 (II)

T 202-483-8751 o F 202-483-0057
Internet http://www.norml.org

. . . a weekly service for the media on news items related to marijuana

January 22, 1998

17 Year-Old First Time Offender Faces 10 Years For Role In $20 Marijuana

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

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

"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.

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: "stanford@crrh.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: owner-wa-hemp-all@hemp.net
Source: The Tacoma News Tribune
Contact: leted@p.tribnet.com
Author: Bruce Rushton
Pubdate: January 22, 1998
Website: http://www.tribnet.com/


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

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

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: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net
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

"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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Examiner
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.examiner.com
Page A 9


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

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
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.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

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

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
Sender: owner-mppupdates@igc.apc.org
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

- 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.


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.



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

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: hemp-talk@hemp.net
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

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 (roffman@u.washington.edu)
To: Magic (magic@hemp.net)
cc: MJDOCDLE@aol.com, hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: Re: HT: N. Orleans Hearings on med mj
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

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

Finally, I testified strongly in support of Sen. Kohl's bill last week in

Once again, I'm sorry that you were disappointed.



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: roffman@u.washington.edu

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: schaffer@smartlink.net
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
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: paulwolf@erols.com
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Bartman 
Source: Tulsa World (OK)
Author: Jim Myers And Barbara Hoberock, World Staff Writers
Contact: tulsaworld@mail.webtek.com
Pubdate: 22 Jan 1998


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: Thurs, 22 Jan, 1998
Section: news, page 12
Author: Pam Belluck-The New York Times


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
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/


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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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
Website: http://www.herald.com/


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

Fort Lauderdale-based Floridians for Medical Rights, chaired by Toni Leeman,
is circulating petitions in an effort to get the proposal on the November

``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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Richard Lake
Source: Chicago Tribune
Author: By Jeanne Peck, The Orlando Sentinel
Pubdate: Thursday, 22 January 1998
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/


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

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.




[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

- 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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mapnews@mapinc.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: letters@uniontrib.com
Author: Angela Lau, Staff Writer


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

The results confirmed many of the conclusions from previous, less formal
surveys that caused consternation among school and law-enforcement

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

Students said they used drugs mainly for fun or to experiment. And, they
said, youngsters obtain drugs from friends, at parties and from their

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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Art Smart 
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Author: Christy Hawkins / The Dallas Morning News


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

"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

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

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

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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Students popping Ritalin to stay alert
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 09:13:16 -0800
Lines: 162
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Montreal Gazette
Contact: letters@thegazette.southam.ca
Pubdate: Thu 22 Jan 1998
Section: A1 / FRONT
Author: Jeff Heinrich


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

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

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

``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

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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mapnews@mapinc.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: lettersed@irish-times.ie
Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998


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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Source: Nando.net
Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 1998


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

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

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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