Portland NORML News - Tuesday, March 10, 1998

NORML Special Legislative Alert - Contact Congress Today! -
House Of Representatives To Debate The Medical Use Of Marijuana
(Vote On Sense Of The House Resolution Expected March 17 -
How To Contact US Representatives, Sample Letter)

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 19:32:33 EST
Subject: Special Legislative Alert from NORML (II)

T 202-483-5500 o F 202-483-0057
Internet: www.norml.org


House Of Representatives To Debate The Medical Use Of Marijuana

March 10, 1998, Washington, D.C.: The House of Representatives will
likely vote Tuesday, March 17, on a "sense of the House Resolution"
stating that "marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug and should not
be legalized for medical use." House Resolution 372 -- spearheaded by
Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.), chair of the Crime Subcommittee of the House
Judiciary Committee -- further declares that "the United States House of
Representatives is unequivocally opposed to legalizing marijuana for
medicinal use, and urges the defeat of state initiatives which would seek
to legalize marijuana [as a medicine.]". The Crime Subcommittee and full
Judiciary Committee previously voted to adopt the resolution on February
24 and March 2.

Ironically, the resolution's chief sponsor -- Rep. McCollum --
introduced legislation in Congress to permit the legal use of medical
marijuana in 1981 and 1983. At that time, the issue of granting legal
access to medical marijuana was a cause advanced primarily by Republican
members of Congress. Unfortunately, Republicans now treat this issue as
if it were part of the "War on Drugs" rather than a public health issue,
and are willing to deny an effective medication to the sick and dying to
advance their political agenda.

Subcommittee Action

On February 24, House Resolution 372 won the approval of all seven
Republicans present at the subcommittee mark-up, while being opposed by
the two Democrats in attendance, Reps. John Conyers (Mich.) and Sheila
Jackson Lee (Texas).

Before passing the resolution, the Republicans rejected an amendment
offered by Rep. Conyers, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary
Committee, stating that the "States have the primary responsibility for
protecting the health and safety of their citizens, and the Federal
Government should not interfere with any state's policy (as expressed in
a legislative enactment or referendum) which authorizes persons with AIDS
or cancer to pursue, upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, a
course of treatment for such illness that includes the use of marijuana."

Republicans argued that any lifting of the legal ban prohibiting
marijuana, even for medical purposes, would send mixed and potentially
dangerous messages to the American public about drug use. Conyers said
that the federal government has no right to interfere in the relationship
between a doctor and a patient.

"We are talking about patients with the most serious illnesses a person
can have -- people who may very well die," Conyers said. "And for these
patients, there is substantial medical literature suggesting that
marijuana can reduce their suffering. ... It is unconscionable to deny
them an effective medicine."

Conyers later called the resolution "the height of Washington centered

Ironically, the subcommittee's action came just one day after the
National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) held its third
and final symposium on the merits of marijuana therapy. The IOM
organized the conferences as part of a federally funded 18-month review
of the scientific evidence demonstrating marijuana's therapeutic value.

Judiciary Committee Action

On March 2, 1998, the full Judiciary Committee debated and approved
Resolution 372 by a voice vote despite efforts by several Democrats to
kill or amend the measure. Representative McCollum led the Republican
position, and Reps. John Conyers, William Delahunt (D-Mass.), Barney
Frank (D-Mass.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), Jerold
Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Melvin Watt (D-N.C.) argued against the measure.

"Medical marijuana is a public health issue," said Rep. Nadler, who
vigorously opposed the bill. "[It] is not part of the 'War on Drugs.'"
Nadler later displayed an enlarged version of a former bill introduced by
McCollum to legalize marijuana for medical purposes and scolded
Republicans, stating "The politics have changed; the facts have not.
...[Legalizing the medical use of marijuana] was the right thing to do
then and it's the right thing to do now."

Three members of the committee, Reps. James Rogan (R-Calif.), Lofgren,
and Watt surprised those in attendance by relating moving accounts of
family members or close friends who had suffered from a terminal illness,
two of whom had used marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering.
Nonetheless, Rogan voted with all other Republicans in support of the

Before passing the resolution, Republicans again rejected Conyers'
"states' rights" amendment. Republicans also rejected an amendment
proposed by Rep. Meehan calling on the House of Representatives to
"consider this issue ... deserving of further study."

McCollum argued that it would be "counterproductive" for Congress to
encourage medical marijuana research or request the Food and Drug
Administration to review the drug's prohibitive status.

"[I] do not want to go on record supporting another study [on medical
marijuana,]" McCollum said. "[Congress] must send a clear message [that]
... marijuana is a highly addictive Schedule I drug ... with no
likelihood of FDA approval." Rep. McCollum also said that he no longer
supports the stance he took in the 1980s when he urged the federal
government to make marijuana legal as a medicine.

Vote on the House Floor

The full House will likely take this resolution up for consideration
next Tuesday, March 17. Please contact your member of Congress today and
urge them to oppose this misguided effort.

For help in identifying the name of your member of Congress, please
visit the NORML web site at: www.norml.org. Interested parties may send
a free fax to Congress from the NORML site. To call the House of
Representatives directly, please contact the Congressional switchboard
operator at: (202) 224-3121 or address mail to: Rep. _______, House of
Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

Although this proposed resolution has no legal significance, it should
be aggressively opposed. We must remind Congress that a significant body
of science supports the medical use of marijuana, and even more
importantly, that basic compassion requires we permit seriously ill and
dying patients legal access to any drug that will alleviate their pain
and suffering. Polls consistently show that the American public
overwhelmingly support the medical use of marijuana.

There will be many additional Congressional votes on marijuana policy
over the coming years as America begins to seriously question the "War
on Drugs" and examine alternative policies. However, this vote is
important because it defines the beginning of the end of marijuana
prohibition in Congress. This will mark the first debate and vote on
marijuana policy on the floor of Congress in many years. It is the
low-water mark against which we will measure future gains.

Please contact your member of Congress now and urge them to oppose House
Resolution 372, and to support H.R. 1782, a bill introduced by Rep. Frank
to reschedule marijuana to under federal law to allow the legal use of
marijuana as a medicine. House Bill 1782 is currently pending in the
House Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health and Environment.

For more information, please contact either NORML Executive Director R.
Keith Stroup, Esq. or Paul Armentano @ (202) 483-5500.



Harassment Of Methadone Patients Escalates (News Release
From American Antiprohibition League In Portland Notes Increasing Numbers
Of People Impeding Others' Access To Medical Care)

Link to earlier story
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 22:19:48 EST Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org From: Anti-Prohibition Lg (aal@inetarena.com) To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Methadone Patients Under Siege The AMERICAN ANTIPROHIBITION LEAGUE Sponsors of the OREGON DRUGS CONTROL AMENDMENT http://ns2.calyx.net/~odca Drug War, or Drug Peace? 3125 SE BELMONT STREET PORTLAND OREGON 97214 503-235-4524 fax:503-234-1330 Email:AAL@InetArena.com As of Tuesday, March 10, 1998 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE HARASSMENT OF METHADONE PATIENTS ESCALATES Belmont clinic is again under siege by hysterical residents League solicits help and advice from police, community groups Portland, Oregon -- After a short lull in which protesters and supporters pulled back and took up an unspoken truce over a clinic that provides addiction recovery services, including methadone maintenance, angry residents have unleashed yet another attack against the clinic's hapless patients and staff. "It appears the situation is getting out of control," noted League director Floyd Landrath after reading a report from an observer sent to monitor the SE 26th Ave. and Belmont Street facility on Saturday, March 7. The report reads: "On Saturday, March 7th, I arrived at the clinic around 9:30 a.m. There were at least 25 picket signs from neighbors opposing the clinic when I arrived and there were about 30 people. By 11a.m. there were about 50 protesters. As there were no allies there, my daughter and I began meeting buses. As I met with groups coming off the buses, I explained to them that I was there to support them and I would help them contact legal assistance if necessary in order to enforce their right to access medical care. Many patients felt uneasy about the numbers of neighbors (protesters). They stated they were afraid of risking their jobs and housing as a result of discrimination if their employers or landlords found out that they were receiving methadone maintenance. I explained to them the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act with protects them against employment discrimination. I also supplied them with my number and offered to assist them in obtaining legal assistance to stop the neighbors from calling them names. Two people reported harassment during the week as well. The two incidents they described involved the blocking of their entry into the clinic while being subjected to verbal abuse. Several people expressed fear of the blocked sidewalk and I casually walked with people into the clinic. The most compelling incident, however, was a woman who arrived at the clinic before I did. About 10 a.m. a woman exited the clinic and crossed Belmont to go to the bus stop. The woman was staggering and shaking and could barely walk. Upon first glance, the woman appeared drunk. I helped her across and to a seat at the bus shelter. There was no alcohol on her breath and her eyes were clear. As we talked, she explained that she had a broken back and a body cast. She then lifted up her shirt to indeed reveal a bright purple body cast. This woman was not high at all!!! She was in an ENORMOUS amount of pain." -- Emilie Boyles for the AAL The League has no desire to make a bad situation worse, we are very concerned the actions of these protesters will result in some patients relapse. We are also concerned, given the above report, for the potential of violence between protesters and patients. We call on the local police, Buckman and Sunnyside neighborhood associations along with the Belmont Business Association to try and talk some sense to our misguided neighbors. "It's critical that the leaders of this community make it known they support patient rights and acknowledge the clinic's legal right to function at its present location," Mr. Landrath said. Meanwhile the League plans to again deploy observers this week. We will hold back from any confrontations but if necessary we will act as escorts, for any patient who request our help getting into or out of the clinic. We will immediate report to the police anyone who illegally obstructs the sidewalk or initiates violence. We have also secured pledges of legal assistance to help patients press charges. We hope of course none of this will be necessary. The League also stands ready to help facilitate a resolution but it seems the only thing protesters want is to close down this valuable treatment facility and turn 300 recovering addicts back over to the streets and the drugs black-market. Hence, unwittingly, they are promoting even more drug abuse, crime and violence in their own community. It's time for cooler heads to prevail. Silence is complicity.

House Panel Kills Needle Exchange Bill ('Rocky Mountain News'
Says Despite The Testimony Of Doctors, State Health Officials, AIDS Patients
And Others, Republicans On The Colorado House Of Representatives'
Health, Environment, Welfare And Institutions Committee Killed The Measure
On A 7-4 Party-Line Vote)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 01:11:22 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US CO: House Panel Kills Needle Exchange Bill
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: PERSDEN@aol.com
Source: Rocky Mountain News (CO)
Author: Dan Luzadder Rocky Mountain New Capitol Bureau
Contact: letters@denver-rmn.com
Website: http://insidedenver.com/news/
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998


Losers accuse Republicans of politicizing health issue; Denver was awaiting

A bill to allow heroin and cocaine addicts to exchange dirty drug needles
for clean ones was killed Monday after an emotional hearing that led to
accusation of playing politics with people's lives.

Doctors, state health officials, AIDS victims and others testified that
needle-exchange programs in other states have helped reduce the number of
HIV and hepatitis C infections among sexual partners and children of
illegal drug users.

But Republicans on the House Health, Environment, Welfare and Institutions
Committee killed the measure on a 7-4 party-line vote.

Matthew Hines, a doctor from Colorado Springs, spoke bluntly near the end
of the hearing when it became clear where the committee was headed.

"Seven to four!" he said. "This issue is all about politics. Which of these
representatives are going to vote for public health. And which are going to
vote against women and children, who will die..."

His testimony produced immediate and angry responses from Rep. Joyce
Lawrence, R-Pueblo, and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Fort Morgan, who opposed
the bill. Both attacked Hines.

"You don't have any right to make those kinds of remarks," Musgrave shot
back. "I don't want you to lay false guilt on me because I don't support
this bill."

But Rep. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, defended Hines.

"You're being brutally honest, and some of use here do respect your
honesty," Hagedorn said. "If someone shoots up an overdose of heroin and
dies, frankly I don't care. But I do care if (women and children) who are
innocent, are given HIV and hepatitis. This is a public health issue, it is
_not_ a moral issue."

The bill would not have created needle exchange programs, but allowed local
communities to operate them by eliminating a state law that makes
possession of needles a violation of drug paraphernalia laws. The city of
Boulder already operates such a program, and Denver has approved the idea
but was awaiting a go-ahead from the legislature before starting up.

The hearing produced more than 50 witnesses, who were evenly split on the

Members of the Colorado Chiefs of Police and one district attorney, Stu Van
Meveren of Larimer County, testified that SB 99 would undermine drug law
enforcement and send the message that Colorado condones drug use.

"It seems to me that giving someone a clean needle is a disincentive to
stopping addiction, " Van Meveren said. "One of the deterrents is the fear
of spread of disease. If you have clean needles, that fear is gone."

Others, including 18-year-old Josh Gones, who was infected at age 2 with
HIV from a blood transfusion, insisted the issue was not one of law
enforcement or encouraging drug use, but of protecting public health.

"Seven percent of needles exchanged in a California program tested positive
for HIV," testified Steve Lowenstein of the Colorado Department of Health
and Environment. "Those are needles that could have been left in a

Bill Ritter, Denver district attorney, testified in favor of the bill, but
wound up defending himself against questioning by Mark Paschall, R-Arvada.

Paschall insisted that creating needle-exchange programs would also create
"police free zones" and undermine drug enforcement.

"We are not doing anything here to dilute our ability to prosecute those
who use or sell drugs," Ritter said. "The reasons you have this bill before
you...is there is a chance to save lives."

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve Curtis, in a speech last month,
accused Republican lawmakers who supported the needle-exchange bill of
being "un-Republican." He threatened to encourage primaries against
Republicans who voted for the bill.

That did not deter the Senate from approving it before sending it to the
House, nor did it dissuade Rep. Steve Tool, R-Fort Collins, a Republican
moderate and Vietnam combat veteran, who carried the bill in the House.

Tool said he "came close" to convincing the more moderate Republicans --
Rep. Marcy Morrison, R-Manitou Springs, and Rep. Martha Kreutz, R-Littleton
-- to back the bill as a public health issue. He became emotional at the
end of the four-hour hearing, fighting back tears in his summation.

"I think information on (success of) needle-exchange programs is
incomplete," he said after the vote. "It's a difficult thing to present a
needle-exchange bill...It was really down to one vote, and that's where the
politics came in."

Voting to kill the bill: Morrison, Kreutz, Musgrave, Lawrence, Paschall,
Kay Alexander, R-Montrose, and Mary Ellen Epps, R-Colorado Springs,
committee chair.

Voting for the bill: Hagedorn, Nolbert Chavez, D-Denver, Ben Clarke,
D-Denver, and Gloria Leyba, D-Denver.

Needle Exchange Bill Dies ('Denver Post' Version)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 01:11:22 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US CO: Needle Exchange Bill Dies
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: PERSDEN@aol.com
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Author: Michelle Dally Johnston Denver Post Capitol Bureau
Contact: letters@denverpost.com
Website: http://www.denverpost.com
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998


A bill that would have allowed local communities to offer needle-exchange
programs to prevent the spread of AIDS died late Monday evening on a
straight party-line vote in the state's House Education, Welfare, and
Institutions committee.

Seven Republicans voted to kill SB 99, and four Democrats voted to save it,
after more than 30 witnesses testified for several hours on the
controversial issue. The party unity was notable, as the bill last week
became a lightning rod for a split between the moderate and conservative
factions of the state Republican Party.

Under the bill, cities that opted to offer needle-exchange programs would
have been exempt from state paraphernalia laws -- but not from laws banning
drug possession or sale.

Bill advocates said the issue boiled down to public health: stopping the
spread of AIDS by allowing a dirty needle to be exchanged for a clean one.

"There is no downside here," Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter said.

Ritter, who testified he had doubled drug prosecutions in Denver in just
three or four years, said he had watched a needle-exchange program operate
in Cook County, Ill., and found that it had reduced the number of discarded
needles lying in the street and increased the contact drug users had with
drug counselors offering treatment.

"And you have the opportunity to save a life," Ritter said.

*The wrong message*

But opponents, including Rep. Mark Paschall, R-Arvada, argued that the bill
sent the wrong message and promoted an immoral lifestyle.

"This is an open door to police-free zones," Paschall said.

Both the Senate and the House sponsors of the bill are Republicans: Sen.
Dottie Wham of Denver and Rep. Steve Tool of Fort Collins. But the chairman
of the state Republican Party, Steve Curtis, strongly opposes the program.
Curtis was criticized roundly by a number of Republicans for having weighed
in with his opposition at a recent campaign training session.

In response, Curtis circulated a letter over the weekend, arguing that his
comments were made in a private meeting and were not for public consumption.

He urged party members to stop airing their differences in public.

"Running to the press with...grievances will only exacerbate the appearance
of a fracture in the party," Curtis warned. He also said he was ignoring
attempts by some party members to recall him.

Monday morning, just hours before the committee hearing, Paschall held a
news conference in which he said that while the bill's goal was laudable,
it would fail to save lives and instead "condone destructive and suicidal

"We should be promoting high ethical and moral standards, insisting on
virtuous lifestyles which foster the respect of life, liberty and
property," Paschall said, reading from a prepared statement.

Carl Raschke, who said he was representing the free-market Independence
Institute, agreed with Paschall, saying this was just the first step toward
legalizing heroin.

"We should not sacrifice our (drug polciy) on the slimy altar of political
expedience," he said.

Similar arguments were made during the hearing on the bill . HEWI
Chairwoman Mary Ellen Epps asked witnesses if they thought the bill would
make Denver more like Amsterdam, a place where needles are exchanged and
shelter for addicts provided.

It was a suggestion that incensed Rep. Nolbert Chavez, D-Denver.

"Saying that that's going to come next is just an inappropriate scare
tactic," Chavez told Epps.

Epps did not agree, and said so.

Tempers ran hot as it became clear that the bill was going to die.

"Seven to four, huh," said Dr. Matthew Hine of Colorado Springs.

"Which of you representatives will vote to support public health and which
are going to vote against innocent women and children?

"What will happen next week and next month if persons contract a deadly
disease because of your failure to act?"

Majority Whip Joyce Lawrence was quick to respond.

"I resent that comment being made," she said.

"Don't lay false guilt on me," agreed Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Fort Morgan.

*'A public health issue'*

But Rep. Bob Hagedorn, D-Denver, told the doctor his testimony was simply
honest. "There are probably some people here who resent that honesty..."
Hagedorn said. "But this is indeed a public health issue, not a moral

Rep. Gloria Leyba, D-Denver, said in her urban district there are already
needles lying around, posing a health hazard in parks and on streets.

"A needle exchange program won't cause this," she said. "The problem is
already there. It's real."

Tonight, March 10 - Miss Montana In Hemp At Miss USA Pageant
(Director Of Miss Montana USA Pageant Invites You To See The Competition
Tonight On CBS - Miss Montana Will Wear Hemp And Silk Gown
Designed By Victor Stapleberg Of Hong Kong)

Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 22:45:46 -0700 (MST)
From: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" 
To: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" 
Subject: TONITE (3/10): Miss Montana in Hemp @ Ms USA

---- Forwarded message ---
From: "ERIC E. SKIDMORE" <104413.3573@compuserve.com>
Subject: Miss Montana in Hemp @ Ms USA

"My name is Carol Hirata. I am the director of the Miss Montana USA
pageant. Our delegate this year, Reno Wittman, from Missoula, will compete
for the title of Miss USA on March 10 live on CBS. Watch the broadcast and
look for her-- her gown was designed by Victor Stapleberg of Hong Kong
(Hempmasters) and was made by Jeany Graff of Belgium. It is made from
Industrial hemp and silk, courtesy of Victor Stapleberg. Pass on the news,
and watch for it!"

America Is Losing The War On Drugs ('The Oklahoma Observer'
Gives A Belated But Excellent Critique
Of The 1997 National Drug Control Strategy)

Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 08:20:53 -0500
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: US OK: OPED: America Is Losing The War On Drugs
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: OK NORML 
Source: The Oklahoma Observer Vol. 30, No. 5
Author: Clare Regan
Pubdate: March 10, 1998
Contact: The Oklahoma Observer, P.O. Box 53371, Oklahoma City, OK


"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the
first and only legitimate object of good government." - Thomas Jefferson.

So starts the 1997 National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS). It continues,
"Drug abuse and its consequences destroy personal liberty and the well-being
of communities...illegal drugs foster crime and violence in our inner
cities, suburbs, and rural areas."

It would be more accurate if the work "Prohibition" was substituted for
"abuse" in the statement. d It is the sale of illegal drugs and the huge
profits that can be made because of the illegality that foster crime and

This has been known since 1988 when Paul Goldstein, et al, studied murders
committed in three months n New York City. More than half of all murders
were drug related and of these 74 percent were related to the illegality of
the drugs - disputes over territory, the quality of the drug sold or
suspected cooperation with the police.

Less than 15 percent of drug-related murders were due to the effect of the
intoxicant on the brain. Of the 31 murders in this category, 211 were due to
alcohol alone and another three were committed by people who had used
alcohol and cocaine. In two other cases, the victim, high on crack and
obnoxious, was killed by a sober person. A young father high on crack
killed his baby.

One must continue to ask whether some drugs are illegal because they are bad
or they are bad because they are illegal.


The 1997 NDCS claims that the number of drug-related deaths was
approximately 14,000 a year. In 1993, there were 8,541 drug-related deaths.
Of these, 40 percent were in combination with alcohol and 20 percent were

`In 1995, 531,000 emergency room visits were attributed to drug use. use of
actaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen was mentioned in 75,000 of them. And 38
percent were due to suicide attempts. Many of the drug-related deaths were
from overdoses of pharmaceutical drugs.

If the government was really concerned about protecting people from the
adverse effects of drugs, they would prohibit the sale of alcohol and
tobacco which together are responsible for a half million deaths each year.
Of course, crime would rise dramatically, as was found when alcohol was

Tobacco and alcohol use by pregnant women has adverse effects on the fetus.
Tobacco use causes an increase in SIDS and miscarriages. It is estimated
that 3700 children die by the age of one month because of complications from
the mother's smoking during pregnancy.

A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey of 1313 pregnant
women found that 3.5 percent admitted to having seven or more drinks a week
or bingeing on five or more drinks at one setting within the previous month.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a leading cause of mental retardation.

The lack of governmental concern for its citizens is seen by the response to
the medical marijuana propositions passed in Arizona and California.
Ignoring the will of the people, the government says it will block the use
of Marijuana even for suffering people.


The DEA recently raided Flower Therapy in San Francisco. It had a business
license, a million dollar insurance policy and had worked with the city
health and police departments in order to be above reproach. Neither the
mayor nor the chief of police had prior knowledge of the raid and were
opposed to it. (Where were the State's Rights proponents when we needed

The NDCS claims that the metaphor of a "war on drugs" is misleading because
"the United States does not wage war on its citizens." This will be news to
the people who had $1.5 billion in assets seized in 1994 alone, often
without being convicted of a crime.

In 1996, the U.S. paid informers over $100 million. Informers are rewarded
with up to 25 percent of the value of assets seized. The percentage of
federal search warrants which relied on unidentified informants climbed from
24 percent in 1980 to 71 percent in 1993.

Long mandatory prison sentences for small amounts of drugs are common.
Families are split up with detrimental effects to the children. Children who
have had an incarcerated parent are five times more likely to serve prison
sentences themselves.

In 1995, 582,000 people were arrested on marijuana charges, the majority for
possession of small amounts. Newt Gingrich introduced legislation which
garnered 26 co- sponsors that would have resulted in either a death sentence
or one of life imprisonment for a second offender caught bringing as little
as two ounces of marijuana into the country. Fortunately, it was never voted

As been said, there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics." On page 13 of
the 1997 NDCS it states, "According to a study conducted by Columbia
University's Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, children who smoke
marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than peers who never tried


On page 23 of the 1995 NDCS are findings by the Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse at Columbia University:

--Eighty nine percent of those who tried cocaine had fist used alcohol,
tobacco, or marijuana.

--Ninety percent of youth (ages 12 to 17) and adults who used marijuana had
first smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol.

--Youth who used the gateway drugs (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana) were
266 times more likely to use cocaine than were youth who had never used a
gateway drug.

One wonders why only marijuana was highlighted as the gateway drug to
cocaine use in the 1997 NDCS. Did the Arizona and California propositions
play a part?

the 1997 NDCS did state that alcohol is the drug most used by young people.
Nearly 25 percent of high school sophomores and 33 percent of seniors
reported having five or more drinks on a single occasion within the two
weeks previous to being queried. In 1996, 7738 drunk drivers between the
ages of 16 and 20 were fatally injured.

Even though AIDS is listed as the fastest growing cause of all illegal
drug-related deaths, the federal government refuses to fund or promote
needle exchange programs (NEPs).

In late 1993, the CDC, after consulting with four federal agencies, reviewed
a 700-page report of lead researcher Peter Lurie and concluded, "Several
findings strongly support the conclusion that NEPs reduce HIV transmission,"
and that "No data exists indicating increases related to NEPs in either drug
use or in the number of discarded syringes." CDC asked for the ban on
federal funding of NEPs be lifted but to no avail.

It would profit us all if the government would take seriously the words of
Thomas Jefferson quoted at the beginning of the 1977 National Drug Control

Inmates As Organ Forms (Syndicated Columnist Ellen Goodman
Ponders A Bill Proposed In Missouri That Would Commute The Sentences
Of Death Row Prisoners To Life Without Parole If They Give Up A Kidney
Or Bone Marrow)

Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 12:20:10 -0500
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: US: OPED: Inmates As Organ Forms
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Author: Ellen Goodman
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998


Boston - AT LEAST it isn't China. In that benighted country, prisoners are
subject to both the worst of the old totalitarian ways and the crudest of
capitalism. On the one hand, you can still get executed in China for your
political beliefs. On the other hand, you can then have your organs sold in
the marketplace to the highest bidders.

In China, prison authorities prep pre-executed bodies to save the parts and
doctors stand by to reap the remains. It's even reported that prisoners with
prime organs and ready customers get bumped to the front of the execution

But in Missouri, they aren't talking about postmortem sales figures. They
are however, considering a proposal to make death row prisoners an offer
they can't refuse. Under a bill just filed in the state legislature, an
inmate sentenced to death would be offered the option Of giving up his
kidney or bone marrow. For the price of a body part, he could have capital
punishment commuted to life without parole.

The use of prisoners as spare body-part factories, or organ farms if you
prefer, is the latest attempt to deal with what economists call drily a
problem of supply and demand.

In the United States there are 57,690 people on organ waiting lists. In
1996, one person died every three hours for want of a transplant. This gap
between the number of donors and the number of patients has enticed all
sorts of organ entrepreneurship. In the mid-1980s, a Virginia businessman
first came up with the idea of importing poor Third World people and paying
them for a kidney. This led then-Senator AI Gore to push through a law that
banned the sale of human organs and tissue.

While this law hasn't entirely blocked the market, it has blackened it. A
couple of weeks ago, two Chinese were arrested in an FBI sting in New York
for trying to sell the corneas, kidneys, livers and lungs of executed

Nevertheless, new schemes are being proposed. These include setting up a
futures market" - paying people now who agree to have their organs used
after death - and giving money to those who agree to part with their
relatives' postmortem parts.

We have been quite properly queasy about the free-market approach to the
human body. There are some things that aren't and shouldn't be for sale -
among them an "extra" cornea or "spare" kidney. We should be even more
uneasy about getting lifesaving surgery mixed up with the death penalty.
When you can make a dollar from a liver or lung, it becomes a grisly
incentive for capital punishment.

Missouri has just 87 prisoners on death row and this bill offers commutation
through transplantation. But do we really want justice determined by the
medical marketplace? While we're talking about equity, under this bill, a
murderer with a nice clean kidney could live. A murderer who wasn't as
healthy would get the lethal injection.

It's been a long, slow, hard sell to convince people to donate their own
organs and those of the people they loved. We have old and complex attitudes
toward death and the human body.

Every scheme that offers dollars for "donations " every incentive plan that
is tinged with coercion, is likely to undermine the whole system.

This is one area in which the much-lauded free market doesn't work and
doesn't belong. Kidneys aren't commodities and livers aren't objects. We
need more donors - not deal-makers.

Clinton Pushes Tobacco Settlement ('Associated Press' Says That,
Before Setting Off For A Democratic Fund-Raising Dinner At The Home
Of A Lawyer Friend Who Represents Smokers, The Over-Eating Cigar Smoker
Requested Anew That Congress Act Soon On A Tobacco Settlement
That Would Cost Tobacco Consumers $368 Billion
While Legally Limiting Cigarette Advertising And Marketing)

Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 08:36:14 -0500
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: US: Wire: Clinton Pushes Tobacco Settlement
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- President Clinton pressed his case for
tobacco-settlement legislation Tuesday, then set off for a Democratic
fund-raising dinner at the home of a lawyer friend who represents smokers.

Clinton renewed his call on Congress to act soon on a tobacco settlement
that would cost the industry $368 billion in exchange for legal limits on
cigarette advertising and marketing.

``There is no need to wait,'' the president said. ``There is no excuse for

In a speech focused mainly on child care, Clinton said part of the tobacco
settlement money could be used to finance his plan to make child care safer
and more accessible for needy families. He announced that he was ordering
federal agencies to ensure proper background checks on child care workers
and to ensure that 100 percent of federal child care centers be
independently accredited by the year 2000.

After his appearance at Housatonic Community Technical College in downtown
Bridgeport, Clinton was attending two fund-raisers with the Democratic
National Committee's business council. They were expected to raise a
combined $850,000.

At a fund-raising luncheon at the 125-year-old Inn at National Hall in
nearby Westport, Conn., Clinton said the Democratic Party must stay focused
on ways to spread the benefit of this decade's economic boom to a wider
circle of Americans.

``There are still neighborhoods and people who haven't participated in it,''
he said.

Later, the president flew to Cincinnati for a $10,000-per-couple dinner at
the home of Stanley Chesley, a trial lawyer who is among a group of
attorneys representing individual smokers. Last week, Chesley testified
before Congress in favor of a settlement.

Chesley did not mention the tobacco issue Tuesday in introducing Clinton,
but in brief remarks to the group he mocked the news media's attention to
the event. He gave Clinton a souvenir T-shirt and said, ``To the media: the
total cost was less than $12.''

On Monday, Public Citizen's Congress Watch, which opposes giving the tobacco
industry protection from future lawsuits as part of a settlement, criticized
Clinton's attendance at the Cincinnati dinner as a conflict of interest.

Among the sticking points in the tobacco debate in Congress are the issues
of tobacco company protection from lawsuits and the distribution of fees to
lawyers like Chesley.

In a brief encounter with reporters in Bridgeport on Tuesday, Clinton
ignored a reporter who shouted a question about the propriety of appearing
at the Cincinnati dinner.

Barry Toiv, a White House spokesman who was traveling with the president,
said there was no conflict of interest. ``We're not playing an active role''
in the debate over how to calculate fees for the lawyers involved in the
case, Toiv said.

``It's not a problem,'' Toiv said of criticism from consumer advocate Ralph
Nader and others. He said Chesley was a longtime supporter of Clinton and
had hosted numerous other fund-raising events for the Demcratic National

Toiv said Clinton did not favor giving the tobacco industry protection from
lawsuits but would accept it if that issue threatened to block a final

Evoking images of teen smokers puffing their way to early deaths, Clinton
said time was beginning to run out on Congress to enact legislation that
could save lives by deterring young people from starting smoking. He said
that every day in America 3,000 young people start smoking and that 1,000 of
them would die early because of it.

``Think about it. Every single day,'' Clinton said. ``The time to act is

On his arrival in Bridgeport, Clinton spent about 15 minutes mingling with a
dozen boys and girls at a child care center. He quizzed them, playfully, on
their building-block projects, paintings, drawings and computer games.

``Great car!'' he exclaimed to a girl in pigtails who had erected a 6-inch
high stack of blocks atop a plastic car.

In his speech later, Clinton said child care is one of his top policy
concerns. ``What I see here today is what I believe every child in America
needs,'' Clinton said. ``There is a crying unmet need ... all over the
country for the kind of high-quality child care that you offer here.''

WHO Denies Suppressing Secondhand Smoke Study ('Associated Press' Article
In Lexington, Kentucky, 'Herald-Leader' Notes World Health Organization
Officials In Geneva Have Denied Allegations In London's 'Sunday Telegraph'
And Yesterday's 'Times Of London' That WHO Suppressed A Seven-Year Study
Showing That Secondhand Cigarette Smoke Doesn't Cause Lung Cancer)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 01:11:22 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: UN: WHO Denies Suppressing Secondhand Smoke Study
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Kevin and Melodi 
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Author: Associated Press
Contact: hledit@lex.infi.net
Website: http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998


GENEVA - The World Health Organization has angrily denied reports in the
British press that it had suppressed a study showing that secondhand smoke
doesn't cause lung cancer.

Articles in the London's Sunday Telegraph and yesterday's Times of London
said the seven-year study was an embarrassment to the agency.

Industry giant British-American Tobacco Co. said the study casts "further
doubt" on the health effects of passive smoking. WHO countered in a
statement yesterday, saying the study had not been withheld and that its
design was the reason it could not conclusively link cancer with secondhand

"Passive smoking does cause cancer. Do not let them fool you," WHO said.

WHO examined the effects of environmental tobacco smoke in seven European
countries, seeking to test results of earlier studies that found increased
risks of lung cancer for nonsmokers exposed to smoke.

The agency said it found about a 16 percent increased cancer risk in
passive smokers. However, WHO acknowledged that this increase was not
considered to be meaningful, because too few people were studied.

This study compared 650 lung cancer patients with 1,542 healthy people.
Studies intended to pinpoint small increases in risk often must study many
thousands of people in order to rule out the possibility that the results
were a matter of chance.

"If this study cannot find any statistically valid risk, you have to ask
whether there can be any risk at all," said British Tobacco's Head of
Science Chris Proctor.

Even in conjunction with previous studies over the past 17 years, the
company said the study doesn't show any "meaningful" increase in cancer
risk from passive smoking.

But WHO tobacco unit chief Neil Collishaw said the findings were consistent
with earlier studies - including three last year by Australia, California
and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - that add up to a "clear
global scientific consensus" that passive smoking causes lung cancer.

WHO also said a paper containing the study's main results was sent last
month to a "reputable scientific journal" for review following normal
pre-publication procedures.

Woman Waits For Support For Medicinal Pot ('Calgary Herald' Update
On Multiple Sclerosis Patient Lynn Harichy, Who Is Planning To Open
A Civilly Disobedient Medical Marijuana Dispensary In London, Ontario,
And Who Will Appear In Court On Cannabis Possession Charges April 27)

Date: Mon, 09 Mar 1998 22:58:26 -0700
Subject: Lynn Harichy
From: "Debbie Harper3" (cozmi@shaw.wave.ca)
To: mattalk 

Calgary Herald online Mar.10 1998


Woman waits for support for medicinal pot

LONDON, Ont. (CP) ­ A place where medicinal users of
marijuana can go get their drugs should be open within a few weeks. Lynn
Harichy, 36, who plans to open the buyers' club for pot, says she's just
holding off a little while in order to line up some more public support.

"I just want to make sure these patients, when they come in ­ I don't want
them to get busted."

Harichy, who smokes up to five marijuana joints a day to subdue the
pain from her multiple sclerosis, knows what that's like. The mother of two
is scheduled to appear in court April 27 on a pot possession charge.

Harichy wrote to every MP last year looking for support and recently sent
messages to London Mayor Dianne Haskett and to all members of city council.
Some MPs wrote back in support, Harichy said, but she hasn't heard from
city council members.

The mayor said she'll discuss the matter later this week with the city's
police chief.

Marijuana possession and trafficking are against the law, but an Ontario
court recently ruled the government couldn't deny medicinal marijuana to a
Toronto epileptic. The case is now under appeal.

"It's a narcotic with a lot of deleterious health effects and I'd be
surprised if it were supported by the legal system," said Haskett.

The Toronto-based Medical Marijuana Resource Centre announced plans last
month to open a non-profit "marijuana club" there, affiliated with clubs to
open in London and other southern Ontario centres.

Members would have to provide a doctors' letters confirming they have
serious or terminal diseases including AIDS and cancer in order to be
allowed to buy marijuana in small amounts from the club.

(c) Calgary Herald New Media 1998

Re - Woman Waits For Support For Medicinal Pot (Letter Sent To Editor
Of 'Calgary Herald' Rebuts Ignorant Assertion Of Ontario's Mayor
That Cannabis Is A 'Narcotic With A Lot Of Deleterious Health Effects')

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Sent: Woman waits for support for medicinal pot
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 00:16:38 -0800
Lines: 26

To the editor,

In your article of Mar. 10, (Woman waits for support for medicinal pot),
London Ontario Mayor Diane Haskett is quoted as saying "It's a narcotic
with a lot of deleterious health effects and I'd be surprised if it were
supported by the legal system."

Cannabis is not a narcotic. A narcotic is a drug derived from opium or
opium-like compounds, such as codeine. According to DEA Administrative Law
Judge Francis L. Young, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the
safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

The support of the legal system is not usually sought by people suffering
from multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, HIV or cancer. They more typically seek
the support of their friends, families and physicians.

How absurd that Mrs. Harichy is forced to seek and wait for the support of
a mayor who knows so little about medicine and less about compassion.
Neither Haskett nor the legal system belong in Mrs. Harichy's life, much
less her medicine cabinet. Lynn Harichy does not have to wait for my

Matthew M. Elrod
4493 [No Thru] Rd.
Victoria, B.C.
Phone: 250-[867-5309]
Email: creator@islandnet.com

Medical Pot Club Awaits Support (Version From 'London Free Press' In Ontario)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Medical pot club awaits support
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 08:33:27 -0800
Lines: 63
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: London Free Press
Contact: letters@lfpress.com
Pubdate: March 10, 1998
Author: Greg Van Moorsel, Free Press Reporter


A pot-smoking London mom says she still plans to open a marijuana buyers'
club in London for medicinal users of the narcotic, but wants to line up
more public support first.

Lynn Harichy said Monday the proposed outlet should open within a few
weeks, but she wants to make sure its members won't be arrested.

Harichy said she wrote to every MP in Canada last year looking for support
and recently fired off e-mail messages to London Mayor Dianne Haskett and
to all other members of city council.

Some MPs wrote back in support, Harichy said, notably from the Bloc
Quebecois, but she hasn't heard from city council members.

"I just want to make sure these patients, when they come in -- I don't
want them to get busted."

Harichy got no such assurance from Haskett on Monday.

Haskett said the operation of the club would violate the Criminal Code, a
matter she'll discuss this week with police Chief Julian Fantino. "It's a
narcotic with a lot of deleterious health effects and I'd be surprised if
it were supported by the legal system," she said.


Harichy, 36, who has multiple sclerosis, said she smokes up to five
marijuana joints a day to subdue her pain. She believes others in pain
should also be able to get marijuana cheaply and hassle-free to relieve
their suffering.

The Toronto-based Medical Marijuana Resource Centre announced plans last
month to open a "marijuana club" there, affiliated with similar non-profit
clubs to open in London and other southern Ontario centres.

Club members would be allowed to buy marijuana in small amounts. Members
would be restricted to those with doctors' letters confirming they have
serious or terminal diseases including AIDS or HIV, cancer, muscular
dystrophy or multiple sclerosis.

Harichy said the likely location for the London club would be the same
building as the Organic Traveller, a downtown hemp shop on Richmond Street.

Marijuana possession and trafficking are against the law, but an Ontario
court recently ruled the government couldn't deny medicinal marijuana to a
Toronto epileptic. The case is under appeal.

Harichy, a mother of two, faces a pot possession charge with a scheduled
April 27 court date.

With files from Free Press reporter Jonathan Sher

Copyright (c) 1998 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media

Small Towns Not All Model Communities ('Toronto Star' Account
Of Small-Town Glue Addict Serves As A Reminder Of What To Expect
If 'Dangerous Drugs' Ever Disappear)

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 11:59:43 -0500
From: Carey Ker 
Subject: Canada: OPED: Small towns not all model communities
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
Delivery-Receipt-To: Carey Ker 
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Toronto Star, Page F1
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.com
Website: http://www.thestar.com/
Pubdate: March 10, 1998

Youth Beat

Small towns not all model communities
By Scott Higgins Toronto Star Young People's Press

I consider myself fairly streetwise, at least by Northern
Ontario standards.

I grew up in a small farming community 15 minutes from North
Bay, the conservative and ``not-very-happening'' home town
of Premier Mike Harris.

It is a quiet place with a population of around 1,200 quiet
people who choose to keep their lives traditional and
slow-paced. Unemployment is high, jobs are scarce
and small-scale farming isn't what it used to be.

Incidences of alcoholism and domestic unrest are quite
common, although they are kept quiet and are taboo in
everyday conversation.

After being away studying, I visited my home town recently.
While I was there, my mother asked me to walk down to the
local pharmacy to buy wrapping paper and Scotch tape.
I gladly obliged. It allowed me a brief reprieve from the
freak-out that is my parents' house.

The main street, where the pharmacy is located (along with
every other business in the town), was bustling with eight
or 10 frazzled shoppers.

As I approached the I.D.A., I noticed a woman standing on
the far side of the entrance. I did not hesitate to smile
and make eye contact with her. After all, we were both
residents of a small town and probably had some kind of
vague connection somewhere along the line.

She appeared to be in her mid- to late-40s. Her blonde hair
was streaked with gray and she was dressed casually in a
manner befitting her age and mannerisms. In a small-town
sort of way, she seemed motherly.

Turning into the drugstore, I heard the lady call out in my
direction. I paused and looked at her, thinking maybe she
was an elementary school teacher who remembered me
but whom I could not immediately recall.

Smiling, she said, ``Mister, do you mind doing me a

I nodded back an ``okay'' in her direction.

``Do you think that you could go into the I.D.A. for me and
pick me up some modelling glue?'' she said, smiling. ``I
bought these model airplanes for my children at Stedmans.''

As she said this, she gestured to the white, plastic bag in
her left hand. I couldn't see what it actually contained.

``Anyway,'' she continued, ``Stedmans didn't have any glue
left in stock and I owe money on my tab at the pharmacy, so
I can't very well go in and buy it myself.''

Her story seemed legitimate.

In small towns, everyone knows everyone else, so local
businesses tend to give out credit without much concern. And
I could see how she might be a little self-conscious about
buying something at the pharmacy while still having an
outstanding account there.

She gave me $5 and I entered the I.D.A. to complete my
errand and help this poor soul out. Upon my exit from the
drugstore things got weird. She pounced at me like a
starving lioness.

``Did you get it? Did you get it?'' Her voice seemed
different and strained.

``Yeah, I . . .'' I started to say, holding out the little
plastic bag that contained the modelling adhesive. She
grabbed it out of my hand, sputtered what I hope was
a ``thank you'' and quickly left.

My stomach rose up inside me and my heart began to pound
hard and fast. I realized what I had done, what I had
unwittingly become - I was a glue-pusher.

I had made $1.25 off her because she was so anxious to stick
the tube up her nose that she had forgotten to ask for her
change back.

I was appalled. Solvent sniffing, be it glue, gasoline, or
nail polish, is a dangerous addiction that damages the liver
and kidneys. It can also cause permanent damage to the
nervous system and brain, while triggering violent

I guessed she was poor and probably unemployed. And like
many people in small towns, she probably watched as
corporate Canada made her way of life obsolete.

Instead of turning to the bottle, the crutch she chose to
help her escape and forget was glue.

Few people expect a white, middle-aged, small-town mother to
have a glue problem. And I suspect few people will even try
to help her with her problem.

Scott Higgins, 23, is a student at Laurentian University.

Hells Angels, Police Try To Use Media For Own Ends ('Vancouver Sun'
Says Vancouver Police Are Trying To Drum Up Fear Of Motorcycle Organization
In Order To Increase Their Budget, Despite The Fact That None
Of The More Than 90 Hells Angels In British Columbia
Are Currently In Prison - A Number Of Them, Including Associates And Members
Of So-Called 'Puppet' Clubs Are Facing A Variety Of Charges,
But The Club's Spokesman Has A Point When He Asks, 'Where Are The Arrests?')

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Hells angels, police try to use media for own ends
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 10:16:03 -0800
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Vancouver Sun
Contact: sunletters@pacpress.southam.ca
Pubdate: Tuesday 10 March 1998
Author: Lindsay Kines, Vancouver Sun


By itself, the police raid on a house on West 16th a few weeks ago
might have seemed insignificant.

It was, after all, just one more bust of one more marijuana grow
operation -- albeit one allegedly run by associates of the Hells

Over the past year, the special projects unit of the Vancouver city
police has conducted more than 50 such raids, and, by conservative
estimate, seized more than $10 million in drugs.

More compelling, however, was the way police announced the bust, and
how clearly it illustrates the growing public relations battle between
police and Hells Angels. It is a fight increasingly being fought in
the media, with each side holding news conferences, issuing
statements, and openly catering to reporters.

On the occasion of the marijuana bust, for example, Vancouver police
media liaison officer Constable Anne Drennan, who usually handles the
morning press conference alone, provided basic details of the raid
before introducing Detective Constable Al Dalstrom, a member of the
special projects unit.

Dalstrom, now in his sixth year of investigating outlaw motorcycle
gangs, proceeded to talk for 45 minutes about the Hells Angels
Motorcycle Club. He described in detail members' involvement in drug
running, witness intimidation, car bombings, and organized crime.

He then issued a passionate plea for more police resources to deal
with the problem.

"I can tell you right now that, as a police community, we fear that
the problem has grown to the point in this country, and in this
province, and in this city, where it may no longer be combatable,"
Dalstrom said. "In other words, I don't think we're ever going to end
the Hells Angels in Canada. We're long beyond that.

"I think now what we have to do is contain the damage, and reduce the
damage, and for us as a police community to be successful in that, we
have to say to you, our employers [the public], we can no longer do
this with the resources that we've got. The problem has outstripped

By the time he was finished, reporters were on the telephone to their
newsrooms. One television anchor even made a personal visit to the
station to interview Dalstrom for the six o'clock news.

As surprising as it was, Dalstrom's cry for help was only the latest
episode in a police media blitz that began last fall. The publicity
campaign has included a cover story in Reader's Digest entitled Biker
Gangs: Getting Away With Murder, and a series of interviews by
Jean-Pierre Levesque, national coordinator on outlaw motorcycle gangs
for the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada.

In January, around the time Dalstrom made his plea for help, police in
Halifax took a busload of journalists along on a pre-dawn raid of
homes and businesses -- including a small clubhouse -- allegedly run
by members of the Hells Angels.

The new, reporter-friendly policy is key to an over-all national
police strategy for generating public support in the fight against
biker gangs.

"It's no longer acceptable for police agencies to operate in silence
-- in secrecy -- as we've done for years," Dalstrom said. "It's time
to go to the public, and it's time to go to our political leaders, be
honest about the extent of the problem, be honest that we are not
properly resourced to fight this problem, and be straight up about
what we need to combat this."

The Hells Angels, meanwhile, continue to counter with toy runs for
kids and the ubiquitous Rick Ciarniello, a Vancouver Hells Angel, who
has become the de facto public relations arm of the club. Ciarniello
gives reporters his pager number, and responds promptly to any attacks
against the club or its members.

Last fall, Ciarniello even wrote an opinion column in the Georgia
Straight newspaper, in which he described the police strategy as
"propaganda" and compared attacks on Hells Angels to the persecution
of Jews, Communists and trade unionists in Nazi Germany.

"Is it possible that someone, in the future, will be saying: 'When
they came for the Hells Angels, I wasn't a Hells Angel, so I didn't
speak up?' "Ciarniello wrote. "Think about it."

More frustrating for police, however, is Ciarniello's ability to point
out that none of the more than 90 Hells Angels in B.C. are currently
in prison. A number of them, including associates and members of
so-called "puppet" clubs such as the Regulators, are currently facing
a variety of charges. But Ciarniello has a point when he asks: Where
are the arrests?

Police officers, themselves, admit privately that years of neglect
have given Hells Angels an easy out when it comes to defending
themselves in public -- especially in B.C.

Unhindered by police, the five Hells Angels chapters in this province
are now among the richest in the world, investigators say.

Yves Lavigne, journalist and author of several books on the Hells
Angels, blames senior police managers for failing to stop the club's
rapid growth across Canada and internationally. The Hells Angels had
67 chapters world-wide when Lavigne wrote his first book more than 10
years ago; they now have more than 120.

"The fault of policing has not been with the ground-level
investigators, but with police administrations which have lacked the
will to tackle the biker problem," Lavigne said in a telephone
interview from Toronto.

Police managers, who always thought themselves better or smarter than
bikers, consistently underestimated the strength and intelligence of
the Hells Angels, Lavigne said.

"I believe this strategy -- to be more outspoken -- was prompted by a
certain feeling of impotence that traditional police tactics,
encouraged by police administrators across the country, were failing."

Lavigne views the new tactics as a last-ditch attempt by front-line
investigators. But he remains unconvinced it will work.

"The public still romanticizes the Hells Angels, and the Angels have
spent a lot of money on public relations efforts," he said. "They've
got their lines down pat. They've been saying the same things since
1964: 'We're not a bunch of criminals. We're misunderstood, and we're
being attacked by the police.' "

The lines become particularly hard to swallow in Quebec, where a turf
war between the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine for control of the
drug trade has resulted in dozens of deaths. The victims included an
11-year-old boy killed by shrapnel from a car bomb in 1995. His death
prompted police to form a special anti-gang unit.

Then, last December, a high-ranking member of the Nomads chapter in
Montreal was charged with the first-degree murders of two prison
guards. A preliminary hearing is slated for this month.

And the RCMP says another member of the Nomads is wanted in the 1993
slaying of a witness in a drug case.

"Really, when you see a bunch of these guys on stage saying, 'We're
not criminals,' and you flash back to Quebec and the slaughtering of
the North Chapter, and the bombings and shootings and the firebombings
in the bars -- it's ridiculous," Lavigne said. "How can the people
really believe this?"

Lavigne said he suspects the Hells Angels' greatest worry is that the
police media blitz will actually work.

"They fear that people will answer the call, and that the politicians
will answer the call, and that the police will be more effective."

Last week, the Hells Angels denied any involvement in a suspected
death threat against a CBC Radio reporter in Vancouver. The reporter,
whose series of stories on the Hells Angels began airing March 2,
returned home that night to find his stereo receiver wrapped in
plastic and dumped in a tub full of water.

But if it was a threat, it raises questions about whether club members
and their associates are becoming unnerved by the intense scrutiny of
their activities by police and the media.

Asked about the stereo in the tub, Ciarniello responded: "Why would
anybody do such a thing?"

Mexico Declares War On Drug Cartel ('Los Angeles Times'
Says Mexico's Anti-Drug Czar, Mariano Herran Salvatti, On Monday
Announced An Offensive To Dismantle One Of The Country's
Main Drug-Trafficking Groups, The Juarez Cartel,
Including Dozens Of Arrest Warrants And Big Rewards For Ringleaders -
Authorities Invoke New Organized-Crime Law)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 01:11:22 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Mexico: Mexico Declares War on Drug Cartel
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Author: Mary Beth Sheridan, Times Staff Writer


Narcotics: Authorities announce use of warrants, big rewards in drive to
break up Juarez group.

MEXICO CITY--Officials on Monday announced an offensive to dismantle one of
Mexico's main drug-trafficking groups--the Juarez cartel--including dozens
of arrest warrants and an offer of big rewards for information leading to
the capture of its alleged ringleaders.

Authorities said they were using the powers of a new organized-crime law to
take on the group, which was headed by Amado Carrillo Fuentes until his
death last summer after plastic surgery.

The announcement came as some members of the U.S. Congress are trying to
strip Mexico of its annual "certification" as a partner in the anti-drug
fight. Critics such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) complain that
Mexico has made little progress in fighting the groups that transport the
majority of the cocaine entering the United States.

A "decertification" would poison relations between the neighbors and could
result in economic sanctions against Mexico.

Mexico's anti-drug czar, Mariano Herran Salvatti, declared to reporters
Monday that authorities are ready to "do whatever it takes to totally
dismantle the Juarez cartel."

As part of an investigation into the group, he said, 76 arrest warrants
have been issued against alleged cartel members since mid-January. However,
he said, seven of the warrants were against people already in jail on other
charges. Only four of the other suspects have been arrested so far.

In addition, Herran Salvatti announced rewards of 4 million pesos (about
$465,000) for information leading to the capture of six alleged cartel
leaders. They include Amado Carrillo Fuentes' brother, Vicente, and two of
the late kingpin's alleged top lieutenants--Eduardo Gonzalez Quirarte and
Juan Jose "El Azul" Esparragoza.

The Juarez cartel, based in the Mexican border city across from El Paso,
remains important despite the death of its leader in July, U.S. and Mexican
authorities say.

However, the group has been consumed in recent months by a bloody fight for
power that has left more than 60 people dead.

Whether Monday's announcement will mark a turning point for the Juarez
cartel is unclear. Mexican authorities have had little success in recent
years in finding and arresting leading drug traffickers.

And it's not yet apparent how much success the government will have
offering rewards for information, a policy allowed only after the passage
of the new organized-crime law. In December, authorities announced
$1-million rewards for information on the three Arellano Felix brothers,
who are alleged to run the country's other major drug-trafficking
organization, in Tijuana. In response, about 200 tips have come in, Herran
Salvatti said. But there have been no arrests.

Still, authorities were optimistic, saying the new law had made it easier
to build a case against a cartel, rather than just against individuals.

Authorities said the case against the Juarez group stems from the
investigation into the country's former anti-drug czar, Gen. Jose de Jesus
Gutierrez Rebollo. He was jailed last year on accusations that he helped
Carrillo Fuentes. The arrest stunned Mexicans and raised fears that
corruption was spreading among military officers who have been increasingly
drafted into the anti-drug fight.

In a new sign of that possibility, about a dozen current or former military
officers were among those named in the latest arrest warrants, according to
Herran Salvatti.

He declined to identify them. But two captains who worked for Gutierrez
were among the seven jailed suspects who were charged with additional
crimes in Monday's announcement.

Copyright Los Angeles Times

Elections Different In World's Narco-Democracy ('Toronto Star'
Notes The Only South American Country Never To Have Defaulted
On Its Debt Has Been Run By Civilian Presidents Since 1957,
Making It One Of The Longest Uninterrupted Democracies In Latin America -
But When It Comes To Democracy, Is Colombia's Glass Half Full Or Half Empty?)

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 14:58:13 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Colombia: Elections Different In World's Narco-Democracy
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998
Source: Toronto Star (Canada)
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com
Website: http://www.thestar.com/


NEW YORK - A TV ACTRESS and a former guerrilla leader will soon join
Colombia's House of Representatives.

So will some friends of drug lords.

The congressional elections held Sunday in Latin America's fourth largest
country recall the old question about a glass of water.

When it comes to democracy, is Colombia half-full or half-empty?

Some people might find it amazing that elections were held at all. There
were guerrilla attacks in nearly half the country's 32 provinces before the
vote, and 10 mayors were kidnapped.

According to a report from Belen de Los Andaquies, a town of 12,000 people
in the southern jungles where government forces recently suffered their
worst defeat in over 35 years at the hands of rebels, only 10 voters came
to the polls in a typical one-hour period.

Yet El Tiempo, the country's leading newspaper, pointed out that ``90 per
cent of the country was calm.''

``People abroad should notice the maturity of Colombian politics,'' the
newspaper said.

Colombia deserves to be noticed, even praised, for making the best of a bad
situation. But the weekend elections were also a troubling portrait of a
country at war with itself.

Colombia has earned the dubious title of the world's first narco-democracy.
If the drug cartels don't actually run the country, they pay for it.

At last count, President Ernesto Samper's Liberal Party seemed assured of
keeping its congressional majority, partly thanks to campaign treasure
chests funded by drug dollars and massive vote-buying.

Re-elected government MPs include Carlos Alonso Lucio, a friend of the Cali
drug bosses.

Samper was absolved of charges that he received millions from narco-barons
for his presidential campaign, but most Colombians, as well as the U.S.
government, which froze relations with him as a result, believe the
investigation was flawed.

Then there are the guerrillas, who have little hope of overthrowing the
country but have helped make large parts of it ungovernable. In the
ultimate irony, the rebels are now paying their way by becoming drug
merchants themselves.

Following this month's stunning defeat of the government's elite
counter-insurgency forces in the jungle, Rafael Pardo, an ex-defence
minister, wondered aloud where all the military spending increases had gone.

``While the guerrillas are strengthening their own military apparatus, the
state is losing the capacity to act,'' he wrote in an editorial for El

Others argue that capacity has been tragically misused. Colombia's bad
human rights record is getting worse.

Last month, gunmen murdered Jesus Maria Valle Jaramillo, a 53-year-old
activist in Medellin who had accused the army and leading politicians of
sponsoring right-wing terrorist groups which assassinate civilians.

Colombian officials believe they can no longer handle their problems alone.
``For the first time, Colombia has admitted we need international
co-operation to deal with our internal conflict,'' said Foreign Minister
Maria Mejia.

The situation seems untenable and yet Colombia remains, paradoxically, a
model for the hemisphere.

The country has been run by civilian presidents since 1957, making it one
of the longest uninterrupted democracies in Latin America. It is also the
only Latin American nation never to have defaulted on its debt.

And the elections show Colombians have not been cowed by adversity. Antonio
Navarro Wolff, who once led the guerrilla group M-19, boasted his victory
was a ``vote of protest against corruption and cronyism.''

Other new congressional winners, such as the actress Nelly Moreno and
Ingrid Betancourt, a former Samper ally, have been openly critical of drug

For sympathetic outsiders, Colombia is a conundrum. Democracy has left the
country in a perpetual state of vulnerability to its worst impulses, but it
is better than the alternative.

Presidential elections are scheduled this May, and one potential successor
to Samper, who is constitutionally banned from a second term, is a former
military general Harold Bedoya.

His approval ratings are going up.

Bedoya, like his military counterparts around the hemisphere, argues the
country needs a strong hand.

What happens if frustrated Colombians agree with him?

Colombia needs all the help it can get from its friends. This is a
democracy worth keeping alive.

Stephen Handelman writes Tuesday and Sunday on world affairs.

Contents copyright (c) 1996-1998, The Toronto Star.

Comrie Wins Support For Drug Cautions ('Australian Associated Press'
Says Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Neil Comrie Today Won Strong Support
For A System Of Cautions To Illegal Drug Users,
After Conceding That The Hardline Approach Had Not Worked)

Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 23:58:15 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Australia: Wire: Comrie Wins Support For Drug Cautions
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Ken Russell
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998
Source: Australian Associated Press


VICTORIA police Chief Commissioner Neil Comrie today won strong support for
a system of cautions to illegal drug users, after conceding that the
hardline approach had not worked.

Mr Comrie said he was very likely to order police to caution rather than
charge people found with small amounts of marijuana in a move to
concentrate resources where they were most needed.

He also said he was not totally opposed to extending the plan to harder drugs.

Mr Comrie told The Age newspaper the usual hardline police approach had not
worked and new ways had to be found to deal with the problem.

His proposal drew praise from the State Opposition and from the Australian
Drug Foundation.

Mr Comrie said they would decide within the next two months whether to
implement the caution plan, which has been tried out successfully in
north-west suburban Broadmeadows.

"We will then start turning our minds to whether or not we ought to include
other drugs in that program," Mr Comrie said.

"My position on that is that I have a totally open mind on it."

He said police were trying to direct resources "into areas of most concern
where they will have the most impact".

Under the trial, people can receive no more than two cautions, must have no
convictions for drug offences, must admit the offence and agree to being

A state government spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the issue was a
police matter under Mr Comrie's discretionary powers.

Last year, the government amended the Sentencing Act so first-offenders
coming before the courts charged with possession of small amounts of the
five most commonly used drugs would be given an adjourned bond or an
education and treatment order.

Australian Drug Foundation chief executive officer Bill Stronach welcomed
the proposals, saying nothing was achieved by jailing drug users.

Mr Stronach also backed the possibility of extending the caution plan to
harder drugs such as heroin.

"I think it's very sound because it's just a choice of drugs," Mr Stronach

"Why would you do it for people using marijuana, which is also illegal, and
not for heroin or cocaine?"

Mr Stronach said the community would not like such a move, but he believed
they would consider it a step forward in fighting the drug war.

The 1996 report by the Premiers' Drug Advisory Council recommended police
caution first-time offenders found in possession of heroin, cocaine,
amphetamines, ectasy and marijuana, and refer them to a drug treatment

Second offenders should get an adjourned bond, the council said.

Opposition police spokesman Andre Haermeyer applauded Mr Comrie for his
plan, saying the one dimensional, hard line law enforcement approach had

"More police, more police powers and tougher sentences will, of themselves,
not arrest the increase in illicit drug use," he said in a statement.

Drugs Expert Backs Marijuana Policy Change ('The Melbourne Age' In Australia
Says The Man Who Headed The State Government's Drug Taskforce,
Professor David Penington, Backs Plans By Victoria's Police Commissioner
To Soften The Police Stand Against Marijuana Use)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 01:18:41 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Australia: Drugs Expert Backs Marijuana Policy Change
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998
Source: The Melbourne Age (Australia)
Author: Rachel Gibson and Gareth Boreham
Contact: editorial@theage.com.au
Website: http://www.theage.com.au/


The man who headed the State Government's drug taskforce, Professor
David Penington, has backed plans by Victoria's police commissioner to
soften the police stand against marijuana use.

Professor Penington yesterday praised remarks by Mr Neil Comrie, who
said at the weekend that he was likely to order that people caught
with small amounts of marijuana be cautioned.

Professor Penington, who headed the Premier's Drugs Advisory Council,
said the taskforce believed there was a need to educate people about
the dangers of excessive use of marijuana.

But in the meantime, young people "regard it as somewhat hypocritical
when they are declared criminals for using marijuana when we know that
alcohol abuse causes far more deaths".

Mr Comrie's remarks about cautioning marijuana users followed a
seven-month trial of the policy in Broadmeadows.

He also said he maintained an open mind about extending the policy to
users of harder drugs, including heroin. In South Australia,
first-time heroin users can avoid conviction if they agree to enter a
rehabilitation program. South Australia, the Northern Territory and
the ACT have also decriminalised the possession of small amounts of
cannabis for personal use.

According to a report on illicit drugs by the Australian Bureau of
Criminal Intelligence, 81 per cent of drug arrests last financial year
were related to cannabis use and possession. This amounted to 69,136
arrests - almost 10 times the number for the more serious offences
related to heroin use and possession.

It is estimated that a third of Australian adults have tried cannabis,
which can be bought on the street for as little as $15 a gram.

Professor Penington said Mr Comrie's proposal was a step in the right
direction. "A war on drugs, which is in effect a war on drug users,
can never succeed, as the traffickers just have too many ways in which
they can bring the drugs into the country or manufacture them here,"
he said.

The director of the Turning Point drug and alcohol centre, Associate
Professor Margaret Hamilton, agreed it was time to consider
legalisation, as long as there were treatment options for people with
cannabis-related problems and the drug's effect on driving were understood.

The State Opposition Leader, Mr John Brumby, said Mr Comrie's comments
showed that the Premier, Mr Jeff Kennett, had failed in providing
leadership on the drug issue.

Mr Brumby said the State Government had failed to respond adequately
to the recommendations of the 1996 drug taskforce.

"It is an abject failure of leadership on Premier Kennett's behalf
that we have to have the chief commissioner of police in this state
making that decision because the Premier lacked the courage to do it."

But a spokeswoman for the Attorney-General, Mrs Jan Wade, said the
Government had enabled courts to allow first-time offenders with small
amounts of drugs to undergo education programs.

After a long parliamentary debate in 1996, the Government accepted
some of the recommendations of the Penington report but baulked at
decriminalising the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Mrs Wade's spokeswoman said the Government had no plans to decriminalise
cannabis, but that did not mean it would not be considered later.

Police Chief's New Realism On Drugs (Editorial In 'The Age'
Backs Proposal By Victoria's Chief Commissioner Of Police, Neil Comrie,
To Caution Rather Than Prosecute People Caught For The First Time
With Small Quantities Of Marijuana ForTtheir Own Use)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 01:11:22 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Australia: OPED: Police Chief's New Realism On Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Ken Russell
Pubdate: Tue, 10th Mar 1998
Source: The Age
Contact: letters@theage.fairfax.com.au
Website: http://www.theage.com.au


Fresh Strategies Required To Deal With Drug Users

VICTORIA'S chief commissioner of police, Mr Neil Comrie, has become a
realist on illicit drugs. He concedes that prohibition has not worked, law
enforcement cannot cope and heavy penalties do not deter. New strategies
are needed to contain the supply and diminish the demand. There is a still
a role for police intervention in the fight against drug producers and
traffickers, and the professionals who protect them. But he sees the need
for a change in priorities.

Mr Comrie makes sensible distinctions between dealing and using and between
hard and soft drugs. He favors the idea of cautions rather than
prosecutions of people caught for the first time with small quantities of
marijuana for their own use. This would be a worthwhile step towards
decriminalisation of what is mainly a social and health problem.

Understandably, he is not so sure about heroin. Heroin users often also
deal, or resort to crime, to pay for their drug dependency. They require a
more complex response. It is regrettable that nervous governments aborted
the proposed trial of prescribing heroin to established addicts under
strict medical supervision to break the criminal nexus. But attitudes are
changing. Mr Comrie remains cautious, but he has shown more insight and
courage than have many of our politicians.

Drug Dogs Muzzled ('The Advertiser' Says South Australian Police
Have Suspended Random Drug Searches Using Sniffer Dogs
After A District Court Judge Ruled That One Such Search Of Luggage
On An Interstate Bus Travelling From Adelaide To Sydney Was Unlawful)

Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 23:58:15 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Australia: Drug Dogs Muzzled
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Ken Russell
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Mar 1998
Source: The Advertiser (Australia)
Author: Jeremy Pudney
Contact: advedit@ozemail.com.au


SOUTH Australian police have suspended random drug searches by sniffer dogs
amid concerns they are illegal.

A District Court judge has ruled that one random sniffer dog search - of
luggage on an interstate bus - was unlawful.

The bus, travelling from Adelaide to Sydney, was searched by SA Police
sniffer dogs during a stop at a Riverland weighbridge last year.

Cannabis was seized during the search, resulting in the arrest of a male
passenger who is now facing trial in the District Court for possession of
cannabis for sale.

Late last month, Judge Allan ruled the search was illegal because police
had no reasonable suspicion that the man's luggage contained drugs and had
not asked his permission before the search.

In his written ruling, Judge Allan says the permission of the bus driver
was not enough.

"I have no doubt that the bus driver was able to consent to police
searching the bus, but whether he could consent to a search of the
passengers' luggage is another matter," the ruling states.

"Clearly, he could not."

Judge Allan ruled that the dog sniffing around the closed bag constituted a
search of the bag.

"In my view, the search of the accused's luggage began when the dog
commenced sniffing around it," his ruling says.

The Director of Public Prosecutions confirmed yesterday it had sought an
order from the Full Court which could see the ruling reviewed.

The matter will go before the Full Court next week.

It was unclear last night whether the ruling affected Customs, the
Australian Quarantine Inspection Service or federal police.

SA Police Assistant Commissioner (Operations Support) Jim Litster also
confirmed yesterday that random sniffer dog searches had been suspended "as
a result of this ruling".

"Until the legal guidelines are clarified, sniffer dogs will not be used
for random searches," he said.

"This affects all random searches with sniffer dogs."

Police will continue to conduct searches in cases where police have
"reasonable suspicion" a person is carrying drugs.

SA Police use sniffer dogs to randomly check interstate bus, train and
sometimes air luggage.

The dogs also have been used to randomly search schools and, more commonly,

Last August a public outcry followed the use of sniffer dogs to check cars
pulled over during a random breath testing blitz on Anzac Hwy.

At the time, legal experts claimed the searches were illegal.

Mr Litster said random sniffer dog checks were "invaluable" in fighting
drug trafficking.

"Our intelligence indicates illicit drugs move through transport systems,"
he said.

Former Drugs Squad Chief Wants All Drugs Legalized (Op-Ed By Edward Ellison,
Former Head Of Scotland Yard's Anti-Drugs Squad, In Britain's 'Daily Mail')

Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 08:52:06 -0500
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: UK: Former Drugs Squad Chief Wants All Drugs Legalized
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: webbooks@paston.co.uk (CLCIA)
Source: Daily Mail
Pubdate: March 10 1998
Author: Edward Ellison, Former Head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Drugs Squad
Contact: letters@dailymail.co.uk


As a former drugs squad chief I've seen too may youngsters die. I'm
determined my children don't get hooked - which is why I want all drugs

Seven years of my life was spent in Scotland Yard anti-drugs squad, four as
its head. I saw the misery that drug abuse can cause. I saw at first hand
the squalor, the wrecked lives, the deaths.

And I saw, and arrested when I could, the people who do so well out of
drugs; the dealers, the importers, the organisers. I saw the immense
profits they were making out of human misery, the money laundering, the
crime syndicates they financed.

They were running a business - a hugely profitable business where mark-ups
were immense, where they had a captive market, and where they paid no taxes
on their profits.

Later, in the murder squad, I saw the drugs-related killings. And as 'crime
manager' of London police stations, I saw the knock-on crime: the muggings,
break-ins and burglaries to which addicts resort to pay for their drugs. I
had a professional interest in stopping all this.

Now I am retired, I have the strongest of personal vested interests in
reducing drug use. I have two children at a vulnerable age and I will do
anything in my power to keep them from the clutches of the drug barons, and
to keep them from abusing drugs.

So when I now say "let us legalise drugs", I hope I will not be accused of
being tolerant of the evils that drugs cause, or soft on the thugs and
violent criminals who push drugs, wreck lives, and are imperilling our


I say legalise drugs because I want to see less drug abuse, not more. And I
say legalise drugs because I want to see the criminals put out of business.

I learned one thing in those years: we all pay for drugs. The true cost of
every drug deal falls on the public. Muggings, cars broken into, houses
burgled - if you have suffered, the odds are that the goods you lost were
used to pay for drugs. The money they fetched went into the hands of the
drug barons.

More than half the victims of theft are victims of drug crime. The huge
profits the drug-pushers make come from your pocket and mine. Everyone who
pays increased insurance premiums is doing so, indirectly, for that same

We have attempted prohibition. Police forces used to target the end-user.
All that happened was that courts and laboratories became clogged with
thousands of cases of small, individual users, and a generation of young
people came to think of the police as their enemies. There were no
resources left to fight other crime.

In sheer self-defence, senior police then concentrated on the supply chain -
the pushsers - and tolerated possession. End-users were let off with a
caution. It saved court and laboratory time, reduced friction between
police and young people, but gave us the worst of both worlds: a high crime
rate and high profits for the criminals.

If prohibition is the right policy, why hasn't it worked? drug use is now
part of the social life of around half of our children. From cannabis to
registered heroin addiction, drug use is growing.

Police and Customs have had their successes but each large seizure they make
merely drives up the price on the street, guarenteeing even higher profits
for the criminals.

Quite obviously, prohibition has failed.

Demand and supply are increasing. The pushes make profits that are quite
obscene. And as the stakes get higher, the violence more vicious. It means
attempts to corrupt the legal system, grievous personal injury and even

Why does drug gang violence occur? Because criminals fight to expand their
trade and make more money. They have a monopoly business and captive
market: so the only competition is among themselves.

Government of all hues credit 'market forces' with invincible power - yet
refuse to unlease that power, or deploy it in the drug fight. Let us use
market forces to drive them out of business.

We can take the criminal out of the supply chain, and reduce demand by
economic means and by education. We cannot do it by policing. Lord knows
we have been trying long enough.


Time and again politicians parrot one phrase: Legalising drugs is
'unthinkable'. Yet politicians are paid to think. Sadly, their leaders
forbid them licence to even discuss the matter.

The pushers earn my hatred: politicians who are too cowardly to think, or to
promote public debate, earn my contempt.

They forget, those who spout the word 'unthinkable', that drugs like heroin
were once legal, and fairly recently too. In the Sixties, clinics were
allowed to prescribe to heroin addicts, drugs from reputable, medical
sources at prices that were not inflated.

Today, drugs at cost equivalent of £1,000 pound on the street could be
produced for the NHS for just £1. That is £999 that would not have to be
found by the addicts - in other words, stolen from you. It is £999 that
would not go straight into the pockets of crime syndicates.

The benefit to the drug addict would be huge. Getting his drugs from a
legal source would access him to counselling, support, therapy - all the
things he or she needs to break dependency.

'Legalised cannabis' does not mean 'encourage cannabis'. It means the
reverse. I want to see the lowest level of drug abuse, with the least
detrimental effect on everyone else.

Legalised cannabis would mean that parents and teachers could discuss it
with young people openly, not confrontationally. It means those thinking of
using it will get education, not propaganda, and they will be less likely to
take it as a gesture of adolescent rebellion. The same applies to the
harder drugs.


If reputable companies, of the calibre of ICI, say, were allowed to make and
sell these drugs their would be education, knowledge and quality control.
The price would plummet.

The criminals would be hit where it hurts them most - in their pockets.
Their power-base would be cut from under their feet. They would have no
more clients. We would truly drive them out of business.

I abhor drug abuse and criminal activity. I condemn a policy that profits
criminals, and I am angered by the drug crimes that effect us all. I am
ashamed at the limited resources available to support victims and their
families, and I am angered most by politicians who claim to have no licence
even to discuss alternatives.

We now have a drug czar, with wide-ranging powers. Keith Hallawell is a man
of experience. He has a proper background and broad vision. Let us hope
that the politicians will allow him to use it.

Man 'Invested' Compensation In Dealing ('Irish Times' Says A Dublin
Cannabis Retailer In The Business For Just Six Weeks
Gets A Five-Year Suspended Sentence After A Judge Takes The Last
£5,000 Of His Compensation And Gives It To The St. Vincent De Paul Society)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 16:55:47 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Ireland: Man 'Invested' Compensation In Dealing
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Pubdate: Tuesday, March 10, 1998
Source: Irish Times
Contact: Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407


A man who "invested" part of his accident compensation award in becoming a
drug-dealer was given a five-year suspended sentence by Judge Frank
O'Donnell at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Frank Hughes had a "very active" but short drug-dealing career in the north
Dublin suburbs of Donneycarney and Kilbarrack when he was caught, the court
was told by Det Garda Ambrose Whitty.

Judge O'Donnell ordered almost £5,000 Hughes still had from his award
should be paid to the St Vincent de Paul Society. A further £1,080 which he
admitted was the proceeds of drug-dealing was confiscated by the State.

Hughes (21), a fitter, pleaded guilty to having cannabis resin for sale or
supply at his home on Tonlagee Road, Edenmore, on April 26th, 1997.

Det Garda Whitty told Ms Isobel Kennedy, prosecuting, surveillance was
placed on Hughes's home as a result of information. Hughes was seen leaving
his home in his car with his two-year-old son at about 7.10 p.m. on April
26th, 1997, and was stopped a short distance away.

Gardai found a small amount of cannabis under the dashboard and returned
with Hughes to search his house. He told gardai cannabis would be found in
a kitchen press. A scales was also found.

Gardai also found £5,485 in cash upstairs. A money box was buried in the
garden. Hughes made a statement in which he said he had been dealing drugs
for about six weeks.

Det Garda Whitty told Mr Michael O'Higgins, defending, his information
would suggest Hughes was dealing drugs for a little longer than six weeks.

He agreed £6,000 in Hughes's building society account represented his civil
award and some £1,080 of the money found in the house was from drug-dealing.

Det Garda Whitty further agreed with Mr O'Higgins Hughes had used some of
his civil award to buy cannabis.

Mr O'Higgins told Judge O'Donnell his client did not seek the return of any
of the money found by the gardai in his house. He admitted £1,080 was drugs
money but he was willing the balance could be paid out to some good cause
if the court directed.

Judge O'Donnell said he would deal with Hughes on the basis he had no
previous convictions and had a job. The probation report was also
favourable and Garda Whitty had said Hughes had ended his association with
people who led him into using cocaine.

"I want to make it clear, in case of any misunderstanding, that people
cannot come into court and buy their way out of prison for drug-dealing or
any other offence. I will review this case again on March 5th, 1999, and
his behaviour in the meantime will decide if he remains out of prison."

Cannabis User Says Drug Is Great For Relaxing ('Irish Times' Interview
With Unnamed Cannabis Consumer Begs The Question Why The Newspaper
Relentlessly Portrays 'Drugs' As A Public Health And Safety Menace)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 16:52:56 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Ireland: Cannabis User Says Drug Is Great For Relaxing
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Pubdate: Tuesday, March 10, 1998
Source: Irish Times
Contact: Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407


(In an interview with ALISON O'CONNOR)

It did nothing to me the first time I tried it. I was at a party and
someone was passing a joint around. I was about 18.

After that I would smoke it at parties. When I was 20 I managed to actually
give up smoking cigarettes for a few months but then I went to India. Dope
is legal in some states there and very easy to get.

Of course once I started smoking that I was back on the fags. It was the
thing to do there really. If you're around 20 and in India everyone is
smoking dope.

Now I smoke dope at home at night. I wouldn't do it during the day simply
because I'd be stoned at work. But it's great at night, particularly if
you're stressed. It is really good to help you think.

It's a very anti-social drug though. When I'm smoking I just want to be on
my own; you go into your own world. It is not like going out for a few
pints. I feel the effects fairly quickly. I start to relax. It doesn't
necessarily make you happy though.

People have different reactions. It helps me sleep at night, and to have
pleasant dreams. I also find it can be a good aphrodisiac! One of the
definite plusses is that it does not give you a hangover.

I have problems with my back and I smoke when it is really sore. I'd also
smoke at parties when there is a joint being passed around.

Dope is much cheaper than drink. A ten spot (£10) of dope would last me
about two weeks. I'd get around 10 joints out of it. For some people that
would only last a night.

I smoke it when I have it but if I don't, well that's fine. I wouldn't go
down Sheriff Street or anything to buy some. I get it off friends and
friends of friends. I know an awful lot of people who smoke it and they do
it because they enjoy it.

I am careful about whom I talk to about smoking dope. It is illegal. I
wouldn't talk at work about it or tell my mother, who would immediately
think I was on "hard" drugs or on my way to it.

I had cocaine once at a party. It didn't really do anything for me and I
have no desire to do it again. But I wouldn't risk taking anything else
like ecstasy or speed or heroin.

You just don't know what's in it. I'd be too scared because you don't know
where it comes from. I feel much safer with dope.

I've never felt worried about being busted and I don't know anyone who has
been. You're doing it in the privacy of your own home and the quantities
are so small they don't really warrant Garda resources.

I've had two bad experiences with dope - both abroad. The first time I was
in Kenya. It was not pleasant. Someone else rolled the joint and it was
really, really strong. I was out of my face and I got heart palpitations.

It was very scary, I actually though I was going to die. My friend brought
me to bed and stayed with me because I was so scared.

The second time was in Tunisia. Again, it was too strong and I could feel
the blood draining from my face.

I think compared to other people I know, I don't smoke too much of it and
only at night. You have to function during the day and I don't reckon you
would be able to do that if you were smoking it in the office.

From Asian Hills To Veins Of Addicts ('Irish Times' Marvels Law
Of Supply And Demand Is Stronger Than That Of Governments -
In Recent Years, Turkish Gangs Have Come To Account For 95 Per Cent
Of The Heroin Brought Into Northern Europe)
Link to response
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 07:41:40 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: Ireland: From Asian Hills To Veins Of Addicts Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" Pubdate: Tuesday, March 10, 1998 Source: Irish Times Contact: Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407 FROM ASIAN HILLS TO VEINS OF ADDICTS One of the residues of the past decade of strife in Central Asia is a massive increase in the production and export of heroin from the "Golden Crescent" along the "Opium River" to Europe, writes JIM CUSACK To the Dublin shopkeeper robbed at syringe point or the families destroyed by addiction, the dynamics of conflict in faraway places like Tajikistan and Nagorno-Karabakh, the rise of organised crime in Turkey and the ending of the conflict in former Yugoslavia may be distant, but these events have a very direct bearing on the Dublin drug problem. The street seller of heroin in Dublin buys his product from a local distributor who is supplied by one of the big dealers, like Tommy "The Boxer" Mullen who bought from a Turkish trafficker in England whose gang imported and distilled opium brought overland from the growing fields in faraway places like the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan. Turkish gangs account for 95 per cent of the heroin brought into northern Europe. Last year, the UK police and customs seized 1.5 tonnes of heroin and arrested members of 105 separate Turkish drug gangs. A similar scenario is being enacted in other EU states. Until a few years ago, the Turks had not played a significant role in the heroin trade into Europe. The heroin from the "Golden Crescent" region of Pakistan, Afghanistan and southern Iran had to make its way by sea or through the Middle East to reach the markets in the West. Most of the heroin was consumed in the local market: Pakistan has more than 1.5 million addicts. This area is distinct from the opium-producing region of Burma, Laos and Thailand known as the "Golden Triangle". The ending of Soviet control in Central Asia produced a much more direct route to Europe across the Caucasus to refineries in Turkey and then through the Balkans and into Europe. There are no effective barriers to stem the flow of heroin along what the Observatoir Geopolitique des Drogues in Paris has termed the "Opium River". The source of the river is found in places like Afghanistan and the Pamir Mountains and Chu Valley where tens of thousands of acres are used for growing Papaver Somniferum, the opium poppy. The Pamiri people, mainly Shia Muslims, are among the poorest of Central Asia. They harvest the milky white exudate from the unripe seed pods. This is dried to produce opium and they sell it cheaply to traders. It is then transported through Turkmanistan or its neighbours, across or around the Caspian Sea. The Transcaucasian routes are controlled by a mixture of organised criminals and nationalist groups, and corrupt military and political officials who have emerged from the chaos of the Soviet break-up. The heroin is produced in refineries mainly in Turkey but also in Kazakstan, Armenia and Kurdistan. In Turkey, a powerful Maffya with strong political links has emerged from the groups of feudal militias, the right-wing extremist network known as the Grey Wolves (the group which tried to assassinate the Pope) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PPK). Refineries are located mainly in south-east Turkey. Large amounts of acetic anhydride, the chemical needed to refine the opium into heroin, have been traced travelling from northern Europe via Macedonia or Bulgaria to refineries in Anatolia. Refineries are said to be selling the refined product at about $20,000 a kilo. Once in northern Europe a kilo of 43 per cent pure heroin is available for around $60,000. Turkish gangs use a variety of routes into Europe: through the Ukraine into Hungary; Belarus into Poland; and Slovenia into Italy. The gangs have their drug masterminds and organisers in Amsterdam and Germany. En route to Ireland, the heroin passes through England where a kilo is estimated to cost around Stg£80,000 (about £100,000 in Ireland). A direct link between the Irish market and the Turkish Maffya emerged last year when Mullen was arrested last March in Hampstead, in London, carrying a bag containing Stg£105,000 with which he intended to buy heroin from Turhan Mustafa. He and Mustafa were imprisoned last month for trafficking. Mullen, who is still only 26, had graduated from selling packets of heroin on the streets of the north inner city to become one of the Dublin's more important dealers in only two years. He had become sufficiently successful by 1996 to leave his local distribution networks to local dealers and move to London. When not enjoying the profits of his trade in expensive Spanish holiday resorts, Mullen was sending consignments, usually of less than a kilo, mainly through the ferry routes across the Irish Sea to Dublin, completing the drug's journey from the Pamiri mountains through all the middle-men into the veins and lungs of addicts on the streets of Dublin.

Review Aimed At Tightening Money Laundering Net ('Irish Times'
Says Officials In The Irish Department Of Justice
Are Examining The 1994 Criminal Justice Act With A View
To Strengthening Its Powers - The Review Could Result In Solicitors,
Accountants And Estate Agents Being Obliged To Report Suspicious Transactions
To The Garda And Revenue Commissioners)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 07:45:56 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Ireland: Review Aimed At Tightening Money Laundering Net
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Pubdate: Tuesday, March 10, 1998
Source: Irish Times
Contact: Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407


The authorities have the powers to prosecute criminals for laundering
money, but it is widely seen as one of Drugs and Crime Correspondent the
most difficult crimes to prove, writes CATHERINE CLEARY, Drugs and Crime

Less than three years ago there were complaints that the then Garda Fraud
Squad did not have its own fax machine. Since then, the Garda Bureau of
Fraud Investigation has been established with the latest information
technology and no lack of fax machines.

Now, officials in the Department of Justice are examining the 1994 Criminal
Justice Act with a view to strengthening its powers. The review could
result in solicitors, accountants and estate agents being obliged to report
suspicious transactions to the Garda and Revenue Commissioners.

"Gardai would be anxious that solicitors, accountants and estate agents
would be designated as reporting bodies," a senior Garda source said.
"There is nothing to prevent a major criminal going into a solicitor or an
auctioneer with £500,000 in cash to buy a house."

Money laundering became a criminal offence under the 1994 Act, which came
into effect in May 1995. Financial institutions are obliged to report any
transaction over £10,000 they deem suspicious. However, solicitors,
accountants and estate agents are not obliged to make such reports. The
official line is that the law, generally, is under constant review in
consultation with those who are responsible for implementing it.

However, there is a particular focus on money laundering, which is also
being examined this year for the first time by the international Financial
Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), an OECD body. Up to £800
billion is estimated to be laundered every year.

A questionnaire has been sent to the Irish authorities by FATF and its
officials will visit Ireland next month to assess the laws. Irish officials
will travel to Paris to respond to questions about anti-money laundering
powers. Any changes recommended in the review could be in place before then.

More than 90 suspicious transactions have been reported by financial
institutions to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation this year. Since
May 1995, when the law came into effect, there have been more than 1,000
such reports involving some £75 million.

When a report is received it is put through the bureau's records and if it
is linked to a particular case, an asset trace can be run on the money.
Gardai must prove the money is the proceeds of crime.

Another aspect of the review involves the power to freeze bank accounts
once a suspicious transaction is reported. In Britain, the police have
powers to temporarily freeze any account where a report has been made until
an investigation is completed.

The bureau has carried out 400 investigations. Of the 10 cases prosecuted
it has had three convictions, the remaining seven are pending.

The Proceeds of Crime Act, which established the Criminal Assets Bureau,
allows a chief superintendent to apply to the High Court for the seizure of
assets. The burden of proof in a civil case is on the balance of
probability, rather than the criminal burden of beyond a reasonable doubt.
This measure is the "envy" of other police forces, according to gardai.

The Department review is also examining the requirement of instant
reporting, obliging financial institutions and other organisations to
report a suspicious transaction as soon as it happens. However, the speed
of electronic transactions mean the money can be transferred before the
report is made.

Another difficulty with the law has been the onus on the authorities to
prove that someone is hiding money in order to avoid prosecution. This can
mean that it is easier to prosecute the "bagmen" on a charge of handling
suspect funds, rather than the criminals themselves.

An average of three fraud-related inquiries are made to the Garda every
week by Interpol. The law on money laundering applies to proceeds of crimes
committed outside Ireland if the money is found in an Irish financial
institution. It also applies to money laundered before the Act was passed.

The bureau was set up in response to the increase in scale and complexity
of fraud investigation. An adequately-resourced bureau with the services of
full-time accountants had been recommended in an expert report published in
December 1992. Much of the concern at the time related to fraud in the
beef, food and finance sectors.

The publicity surrounding the earning power of some of the State's most
notorious criminals has put drug money firmly into the spotlight, where it
is likely to remain.

Banking Secrecy Highly Valued By The Launderers ('Irish Times'
Fails To Ask What Will Happen To Ireland's Banking Industry
As Capital Flees To Liechtenstein, Which Has No Agreement With Ireland
And Will Not Help With What It Sees As Revenue Offences)

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 16:50:38 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Ireland: Banking Secrecy Highly Valued By The Launderers
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Pubdate: Tuesday, March 10, 1998
Source: Irish Times
Author: Jane Suiter
Contact: Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407


The simplest way for a drug dealer to launder money is to walk into a bank
or other financial institution with a suitcase full of cash and lodge it.
However, this is also the easiest way to get caught, even if the dealer has
fake ID.

Banks are not allowed to take large sums of cash from anyone unknown to
them without at least two sets of identification being produced. They must
also report suspicious transactions to the relevant authorities, such as
the Garda and Revenue Commissioners.

Nevertheless, it is surprising how many people still try variations on this
theme. One high-profile Dublin criminal was arrested with £300,000 in a
suitcase at Heathrow Airport on his way to Amsterdam.

A slightly more sophisticated route is to buy property or other assets
using cash. Estate agents are not yet bound by the money-laundering
regulations and some large cash deals can still be done, but the Criminal
Assets Bureau has the powers to confiscate property.

Cash businesses such as bookmakers, pubs and clubs are other favourites,
and while some of this money will have to be declared to the tax man to
legitimise it, many feel this is a small price to pay.

At the other end of the money laundering scale is the professional.
According to Mr Nigel Morris Cotterill, a consultant with the UK
money-laundering avoidance consultancy Silkscreen Consultancy, the
professional may be a businessman, accountant, lawyer or banker who has
been bribed or blackmailed into helping the criminal.

The closer these people are to the entry point into the banking system the
more useful they are to the money launderer. However, there have been very
few cases of bankers being found to have deliberately helped criminals in
this way.

Once the money is in the system it will be sent on a global money go-round,
according to Mr Morris Cotterill. "Sometimes it will move as fast as an
electronic message, or sometimes sit in an out-of-the-way jurisdiction
until the money launderer returns it to the [paper] chase." The main point
here is to put in at least three or four steps to prevent the police from
following what is called the paper chase. The other is that there should be
no direct paper link between Ireland and the other jurisdictions.

The one thing money launderers value above all else is the availability of
banking or professional secrecy. For example, some money launderers get
their money into Liechtenstein which has no agreement with Ireland and will
not help with what it sees as revenue offences.

Celebrate Millennium By Tackling Drugs (Editorial In 'Irish Times'
Calls For All-Out War On Some Irish Drug Consumers,
Using An 'Integrated Approach Involving State Bodies,
Voluntary Agencies And The Community')

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 07:51:41 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Ireland: OPED: Celebrate Millennium By Tackling Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Pubdate: Tuesday, March 10, 1998
Source: Irish Times
Author: Tom King
Contact: Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407



An integrated approach involving State bodies, voluntary agencies and the
community is the only way to tackle the urban drugs problem, writes TOM KING

As we approach the millennium, there is much talk and action about various
projects to mark that moment in history as we pass from one millennium to
the next.

Quite properly, there is an excitement and energy evident in the media's
reporting of the millennium projects. The concentration appears to be on
creating and completing physical and infrastructural projects; creating
fine things to be admired and enjoyed by those who, in this society, have
the capacity and the means to absorb the cultural benefits of a fine
sculpture or architectural project.

But there is another culture in this society, particularly in the city and
suburbs of Dublin. There is a level of society which focuses daily on
survival and has neither the physical energy, the appropriate education nor
the means to revel in the ambience of millennium projects.

What exactly will the moment of the millennium mark for a huge majority of
people in the so-called "council" or "corporation" housing areas, many of
whom await the predictable arrival of the welfare cheque from some
Department of State?

That society, created by decades of poor urban planning, less than
enlightened social policy and practices, has, in effect, been created by
the State. It does not share, even now, in the advantages of a strong economy.

Sure, there is a tinkering about each Budget day with a few percent
increases, but this merely keeps them in line, if they are lucky, with

Members of the Garda, social workers, prison wardens, corporation and
council officials know this culture very well. Every day, they see the
deprivation and despair in these communities.

The drug problem is a spectacular outcome of this deprivation and despair.
In reality, there are two drug cultures in Ireland, mirrored in Europe and
the US.

There are people, usually with money and often employed, who take drugs as
a deliberate act, a conscious reasoned decision. They take these drugs in
private and as long as the problem remains controlled by these individuals,
then the public, including the Garda, may never become aware of the true
level of this type of abuse.

It is the second, open and more threatening drug abuse, which is the basis
for all action by the State and its organisations, as well as the
community. The current research shows that the drug problem has a very
definitive and significant impact on crime and, as a consequence, has a
direct impact on the quality of public life.

The term "quality of life" has a much greater significance for the haves of
this society. Who wants to be disturbed from a moment spent observing and
absorbing some architectural project or sculpture by a representative of
the sub-culture waving a syringe and desperate for his or her next fix?

This man or woman with the syringe has no time to "stand and stare", in the
words of the poet. The reality is that the drug problem, as manifested by
the syringe-wielding junkie, has as its basis the sub-culture of that part
of society which, for many years, has been neglected, abandoned and exposed
to drug abuse problems on a major scale.

There will be no solution to this problem without a radical reconstruction
of that sub-culture and its environment. Certainly, the institutions of the
State will continue to enforce more laws (zero tolerance has again been
mooted as a solution) and there will continue to be much good work done by
gardai on the supply side. My basic premise is that there has to be a very
deliberate effort made to reduce demand and to create circumstances and an
environment which will limit, if not eliminate, the rise of a fresh demand.

The arrival in 1996 of a new Dublin city manager, Mr John Fitzgerald, and a
new CEO for the Eastern Health Board, Mr P.J. Fitzpatrick, created a new
dynamic and pragmatic approach to the kind of social and environmental
reconstruction required.

Projects of the nature of the proposals for Ballymun and the north inner
city, coupled with the tremendous efforts of the Eastern Health Board to
provide local clinics to support efforts to assist in the recovery of those
addicted, will yield results. On the supply side, gardai are continuing to
achieve major successes.

The worthy and worthwhile efforts of these individual organisations must be
fused to the work of all State and voluntary organisations with a role in
that level of society directly affected by the drugs culture.

More particularly, all of these activities must be geared and directed to
supporting the community in taking responsibility for, and dealing with,
the problems of that community, of which the drug problem is an effect, and
not a cause.

There must be a very focused approach to this issue by Government and its
constituent organisations and agencies, allied to the voluntary bodies, and
all this effort combined with the required community engagement and

There must also be an involvement by the business community, particularly
small business interests operating in the area to provide worthwhile
opportunities for young people. If necessary, a single person could be
given an overall co-ordinating role.

The solution to the drugs problem does not lie in the direction of law
enforcement only - decades of committed Garda activity and good results
still leave the demand side intact. There has to be a three-point approach
to the resolution of the problem:

1. Treatment and rehabilitation of addicts.

2. The enforced co-ordination of State, voluntary bodies and community
efforts at local level.

3. The reconstruction of both the physical and the psychological
environment of people in the area affected.

All this is possible and could result in the creation of a single-tier
society in this State in the 21st century. I cannot think of a more worthy
millennium project.



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