Portland NORML News - Tuesday, June 2, 1998

Shooting Spurs Debate On Prozac's Use By Kids ('The Oregonian,'
Which Believes Not Enough Research Has Been Done To Justify
Rescheduling Marijuana, A Natural Antidepressant For Some People
With Mood Disorders, Grapples With The Discovery That Much Less Research
Has Been Done On Prozac And Other Potentially Toxic Antidepressants,
And None On The Children For Whom Such Pharmaceutical Drugs
Are Increasingly Being Prescribed)

Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 22:45:05 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US OR: Shooting Spurs Debate On Prozac's Use By Kids
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Phil Smith (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org)
Source: Oregonian, The
Pubdate: Tue, 2 Jun 1998
Contact: letters@news.oregonian.com
Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Author: Katy Muldoon of The Oregonian staff


* Although some experts say the medication is the best hope for
depressed children, others think this use is inadequately studied

A boy walks into a school and opens fire. The news stories that follow
reveal a thousand facts. One fact raises a thousand questions: Prozac.

Kipland P. Kinkel, suspected of gunning down his parents and then his
schoolmates at Thurston High in Springfield, had reportedly taken the
antidepressant medication fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac.
According to a family friend, the boy's parents took him off the
medicine last fall because it had worked so well for him.

But include the word "Prozac" in the same sentence with "children" or
"violence," and the result is a prescription for controversy and

Parents ask, is it safe to treat children with medicine approved only
for adult use?

Psychiatrists ask, why don't more parents come to them for

Schoolteachers ask, how many students take antidepressants?

And despite evidence to the contrary, one human rights group contends
that the medicine makes patients more angry and violent than they
already are.

Answers to questions about Prozac and other antidepressants are not

The medications alternately are painted as the best possible hope for
the estimated 4 million U.S. children who suffer some form of
depression or as a potentially dangerous experiment that has not been
studied enough to ensure children's safety.

Prozac and other medications in its class -- known as selective
serotonin re uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs -- have not been fully tested
in children. But because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has
approved them for adult use, doctors can prescribe them for children
and adolescents.

They do, in burgeoning numbers.

Last year, doctors prescribed these medications to 207,000 children
ages 6 to 12, and to 702,000 patients ages 13 to 18, according to IMS
America, a health information company in Pennsylvania.

Eli Lilly, the Indiana company that manufactures Prozac, reports that
in the 11 years since the medicine hit pharmacy shelves, 31 million
people worldwide -- 22 million in the United States -- have taken the

Most studies show it to be effective and safe for adults, which has
boosted physicians' confidence in prescribing it for children. The
American Medical Association says antidepressants can help nine of 10
patients for whom they are appropriate.

Still, many think more research is needed.

Prozac is thought to work by increasing serotonin in the brain;
serotonin, a chemical naturally present in the body, is associated
with mood changes.

Some wonder what the long-term effects of antidepressants are on
children and adolescents, whose brains are still developing. And some
have suggested that use of fluoxetine might be related to increased
thoughts about suicide in a small number of patients.

One often-quoted study, paid for by the National Institute of Mental
Health, showed Prozac works as well for children and teen-agers as it
does for adults. Another, published last December in the Archives of
General Psychiatry, concluded that study subjects who took fluoxetine
were less aggressive and irritable than those taking a placebo.

No fast fixes

But psychiatrists are quick to warn that antidepressants should not be
considered an easy fix for a sad, angry or listless child.

They should be prescribed only as part of a comprehensive evaluation
and treatment plan that includes individual psychotherapy and family
counseling, said Dr. David G. Fassler.

"Medication can be extremely helpful," he said. "But medication alone
is never the appropriate treatment."

Fassler, chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's Council on
Children, Adolescents and Their Families, is a child and adolescent
psychiatrist who practices in Burlington, Vt. He is co-author with Lynne
Dumas of "Help Me, I'm Sad: Recognizing, Treating and Preventing Childhood
and Adolescent Depression" (Viking, 1997).

The book is timely. Depression in young people is either at an
all-time high or is simply diagnosed more often as parents and
physicians learn about the complex disorder, and as the stigma
traditionally attached to seeking treatment for mental illnesses eases.

Until the early 1980s, depression was not recognized as a diagnosable
illness in children and teen-agers; many mental health professionals
thought children lacked the emotional maturity to become depressed.

Now it's considered a common and serious childhood illness, affecting
as many as one in four youngsters by the time they finish high school.

Left untreated, depression's effects can be devastating: Children and
teens might hurt themselves or others in the worst cases. Others fall
behind socially and academically. And those who have depressive
episodes early on are more likely to have recurring episodes later in

"The experience of depression is extremely painful for a child,"
Fassler said.

The sooner depression is discovered and treated, the sooner a child
can return to feeling like a kid again.

But Fassler said depression, which he considers highly treatable,
still is often missed or misdiagnosed.

Some depressed children look a lot like depressed adults: They appear
sad, withdrawn or tearful. They have insomnia or trouble with appetite.

Others, though, are hyperactive or aggressive. They get into fights at
school, act out sexually or steal things.

"Some kids act in and other kids act out, so it's sometimes hard to
sort out," he said. "Is this depression, or is this the normal
moodiness of adolescence?"

Correctly diagnosing depression in children is critical -- and no
small task. It requires a thorough physical examination, a detailed
history of the child's development, school history, family history,
and individual interviews with the child, parents and often the entire

"It's not something you can do in a typical six-minute office visit"
with a child's pediatrician, Fassler said.

Paying close attention

Alert parents, teachers, school nurses, counselors and doctors can
help spot the signs early and get children treatment.

In order to do that, school nurses in the Multnomah Education Service
District took part in three training sessions in the past year to
boost their knowledge about mental health issues.

Dee Kathryn Bauer, a registered nurse who is director of the
department of school health services for the district, said school
nurses are "seeing an increase in children who present with mental
health problems -- and they're not all under medical care." In
particular, she said, they're seeing more children who are angry and

No one knows how many Oregon schoolchildren take antidepressants,
though the picture might grow clearer in the next school year. By July
1, schools have to adopt a policy to keep better track of
antidepressants and other prescription drugs that affect children's
cognitive abilities.

The change emerged from the 1997 legislative session, in which
lawmakers updated a 1973 law outlining schools' responsibilities with
regard to students' medications.

Fassler said more study is needed to determine which children are most
likely to respond well to antidepressants. In his experience, they
have worked best for children who have a family history of depression,
or if the symptoms seem more biologically than psychologically based.

He said doctors certainly should consider antidepressant treatment for
children who have not responded to other types of treatment, or if a
child's safety is at risk.

Children and adolescents who take the medications often are on them
for six to 12 months; doses might be similar to doses given adults,
depending on how patients react to the medicine.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group financed by the
Church of Scientology, is a vocal critic of psychiatric drugs such as
Prozac and says the medicines are too dangerous to use on children.
The group says the drugs are linked to violent and suicidal episodes.

But in the early 1990s, the FDA debunked those allegations, saying
violent actions and suicidal thoughts are common among depressed
people; it found no link among the medication, violence or suicidal

From Fassler's perspective, Prozac and similar medications have gone a
long way toward helping children and teens with mental and emotional
problems. He agrees it's appropriate to keep an eye on the rate at
which they're being prescribed, and to make sure those prescribing
antidepressants are trained in the appropriate and safe use of the
medicines, as well as their potential side effects.

"But I don't agree with the sense that we're rushing to put all kids
on medication as the answer to all kinds of society's problems," he
said. "I see the opposite problem: There are still millions of kids
with clinical depression who are not getting the treatment they need.

"There's no question in my mind that these medications are saving
lives," he said. "I actually believe that in many instances, they are
probably preventing or helping to prevent violent episodes."

Contact staff writer Katy Muldoon at 221-8526; by mail at The
Oregonian, 1320 S.W. Broadway, Portland, Ore. 97201; or by e-mail at

Patient May Sue Police For Pot Arrest (According To 'The Los Angeles Times,'
Dean Jones, 62, A Military Veteran In Simi Valley With A Valid
Physician's Recommendation For Cannabis, Says He Will Sue Police
For Violating His Rights As A Patient After He Was Arrested Last Month
For Cultivating More Than A Dozen Pot Plants - Police Say The Law
Doesn't Apply)

Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 02:35:47 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Patient May Sue Police For Pot Arrest
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: James Hammett 
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Section: Ventura County
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Author: Coll Metcalfe, Times Staff Writer


Law: Military veteran with doctor's prescription for medical marijuana says
he was within his Prop. 215 rights in growing cannabis plants for own use.

SIMI VALLEY--The latest test of California's medical marijuana law is
shaping up in Simi Valley, where a man arrested last month for cultivating
more than a dozen pot plants said he will sue police for violating his
rights as a patient.

Dean Jones, 62, made the announcement Monday at his lawyer's office in
Thousand Oaks, saying he will file suit against the department and one of
the arresting officers for violating the protections of Proposition 215, a
1996 initiative approved by 56% of voters statewide.

"I'm just a patient trying to get medication," Jones said. "I believe that I
did everything right according to the law."

Police, however, say officers conducted themselves properly and are
confident that if the case is filed and goes to court, they will be vindicated.

"We don't, by any stretch of the imagination, believe that we violated Mr.
Jones' rights," said Lt. Neal Rein of the Simi Valley Police Department. "I
think that the fact that he was even arrested says a lot about the case."

Jones, a military veteran who said he incurred leg, back and head injuries
during a training exercise, said he suffers from constant migraine
headaches, diabetes, high blood pressure and periodic foot inflammation.

He has also been diagnosed with skin cancer and, as recently as last week,
underwent surgery to have lesions removed from his face and neck.

In addition to a card identifying him as a patient eligible to receive the
drug, he has a prescription from his longtime doctor for marijuana to aid
his treatment regimen.

Jones, a marijuana user for more than 20 years, said he began growing the
drug about four months ago after the Cannabis Club in Thousand Oaks was
closed by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

Worried that people could spot his potted marijuana plants in his backyard
and get the wrong impression, Jones and his 82-year-old wife went to the
police station May 26 and informed officers what he was doing.

"I thought it was the right thing to do, telling them that I was growing
cannabis at my home as medication," he said. "But since I did that, it's all
gone downhill."

The next day, two officers went to his home. After Jones invited them in to
see his plants, the officers arrested Jones and took him to Ventura County
Jail, where he was booked on suspicion of felony marijuana cultivation.

He was released about 12 hours later on his own recognizance and will be
arraigned Wednesday at the Ventura County Courthouse.

Although the practicalities of Proposition 215 are still being interpreted
by the courts, the initiative's wording states that criminal statutes "shall
not apply to a patient, or to patient's primary caregiver, who possesses or
cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon
the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician."

Despite Jones' prescription and official card that identifies him a user of
medicinal marijuana, authorities maintain that in this instance he does not
qualify for the exemption.

"There are a lot of questionable issues involved with this particular case
and one of those deals with quantity," Rein said. "The law allows for
personal use and we understand that, but, again, there are some questions in
that regard."

Jones' attorney, Stanley Arky, also represents Andrea Nagy, who opened the
county's first cannabis buyers' club in Thousand Oaks last year. He accused
police of flouting the law.

"If you can't grow your own and you can't purchase it, how is law
enforcement enforcing Prop. 215?" Arky asked rhetorically.

If the case is brought to court, it may provide another test of a law that
already has proved to be particularly prickly.

Authorities, for instance, are caught between conflicting state and federal
laws regarding possession, use and cultivation of marijuana.

Stating that under carefully prescribed circumstances marijuana is legal,
Proposition 215 contrasts sharply with federal laws that classify the drug
as dangerous and prescribe stiff penalties for possession, use and cultivation.

"Some laws are pretty cut and dried, but this one is open for interpretation
and that has led to some of the confusion and cloudiness," said Rein, of the
Simi Valley police. "All of these cases now fall into that gray area, so we
have to take them one at a time."

Most recently, the issue of medicinal use of marijuana has focused on
buyers' clubs like the ones in San Francisco and the one that operated in
Thousand Oaks until authorities closed it in February.

The issues in those cases revolved around the legality of selling a
controlled substance to qualified patients publicly out of storefronts.

Unlike these disputes, the Jones case goes to the very heart of Proposition
215: What protections do qualified patients have to grow their own marijuana?

For Arky, the answer is clear.

"What we have here is a patient who was arrested after he went to the police
to inform them in an effort to comply with the law. . . . What we need to
keep in perspective is that he is a patient who has been denied treatment."

City Shake-Up ('The Daily Times' In Maryland Says Two Weeks
After Taking Office, Salisbury Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman
Put Longtime Police Chief Coulbourn Dykes On Unpaid Administrative Leave
Amid Allegations Dykes May Have Pulled The City Out Of A Countywide
Undercover Drug Team In An Attempt To 'Prevent The Detection
Of Mismanagement Of Public Property By The City And Its Agents')

Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 00:58:05 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US MD: City Shake-Up
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Rob Ryan
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: Daily Times, The (MD)
Contact: newsroom@shore.intercom.net
Author: Bryn Mickle


SALISBURY - The city of Salisbury experienced a major shakeup Monday with
the removal of the city's police chief and the resignation of the city's

Two weeks after taking office, Salisbury Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman
placed longtime Police Chief Coulbourn Dykes on unpaid administrative leave
amid allegations Dykes may have acted to impede an investigation into
charges of mismanagement.

"I believe this is the most serious thing the city has ever faced," Tilghman
said. "These are troubled waters we are navigating."

Tilghman elevated Salisbury police Col. Ed Guthrie to interim police chief.

Tilghman would not discuss City Solicitor Robert Eaton's decision to resign,
but a city memo handed out to the press said she has hired the legal firm of
her longtime friend and former City Council President Robin Cockey to
represent the city in an investigation into the charges against Dykes.

Neither Dykes nor Eaton could be reached for comment.

The charges against Dykes were presented to the City Council Monday and one
council member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the council
tried to dissuade Tilghman from placing Dykes on leave and suspending his
$69,000 yearly salary.

Tilghman said in a prepared statement she was concerned Dykes may have
pulled the city out of a countywide undercover drug team in an attempt to
"prevent the detection of mismanagement of public property by the City and
its agents."

The statement referred to allegations that vehicles seized by the Wicomico
County Narcotics Task Force and money from their sales were mismanaged, and
that "the supporting documentation was at best inadequate and at worst

The statement assigned accountability to Dykes as the city's representative
on the task force.

The city of Salisbury had handled drug forfeitures for the Wicomico County
Narcotics Task Force for about seven years until concerns arose with the
operation's records.

An audit was initiated by the task force last October and was still ongoing
when Salisbury apparently pulled out of the task force on April 3. A final
audit report has not been released, but WINTF officials have said the audit
did not uncover any evidence of illegal activity.

Tilghman's discovery of the city's withdrawal from the task force and her
subsequent inquiries into the matter led to the actions taken Monday.

Tilghman has charged Dykes with three violations of the city charter:

* Neglect of duty, * Inefficiency, * Conduct tending to prejudice good
government or tending to bring the city and/or an agency of the city into
public disrepute.

Tilghman would not comment on the sources for her allegations.

Tilghman will present her charges at a City Council hearing to determine if
Dykes will be fired.

The city charter stipulates a majority of the five-member council must vote
to terminate the chief. Tilghman could override a decision, forcing the
council to get a 4-1 majority to counter her veto.

Coast Guard - 'We Need More Money For Drug War' ('The Washington Post'
Covers A Speech By Admiral Robert E. Kramek, Stepping Down
From His US Coast Guard Position As Coordinator For Interdiction Efforts)

Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 11:56:24 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: WP: Coast Guard "We Need More Money For Drug War"
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: kevzeese@laser.net (kevin b. zeese)
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: Washington Post
Page: A11
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Author: William Branigin Washington Post Staff Writer


Drug War Leader Is Frustrated Kramek Says Politics Hamper Coast Guard

As commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard for the last four years, Adm. Robert
E. Kramek played a key role in the war on drugs, serving as coordinator for
U.S. interdiction efforts.

But in leaving the post last week after 41 years in the service, the
58-year-old admiral could not hide a sense of frustration and dismay about
what he described as partisan bickering and pork-barrel politics that have
hamstrung the United States in its fight against illegal narcotics.

"If we want to win the war on drugs, we've got to have the will to win,"
Kramek said in an interview before turning over his command Friday to Adm.
James M. Loy. "I don't think we have the will yet. We don't have the will,
between the administration and Congress, to win this thing."

While politicians have described the war on drugs as a high priority and a
matter of national security, he said, they have failed to fund it
adequately, preferring instead to pour billions of dollars into pork-barrel
projects such as those in a $217 billion highway bill that was passed last

He said he was "astonished" that budget constraints, which earlier forced
him to pare down the Coast Guard, seemed to be thrown by the wayside in
crafting the highway bill.

Kramek said that a strategy drawn up by retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey,
the White House drug policy coordinator, could win the war on drugs by
attacking both the supply and demand sides of the problem, but that not
enough resources are being devoted to the effort.

"As a result, we're not going to do any better this year than we did last
year," Kramek said. He said funds spent on interdiction represent about 10
percent of the total $17 billion now budgeted for counter-narcotics efforts
but "used to be much greater" in 1991 and 1992.

"Today I have two-thirds of the money, half of the ship time and half of
the aircraft flight hours I need," Kramek said, "and you can't get there
from here. . . . You can't make a 50 percent reduction in demand and the
flow of drugs into this country over the next 10 years," as called for in
McCaffrey's plan.

McCaffrey's office stressed that there is much more to fighting drugs than
interdiction and pointed to recent successes in crop-eradication efforts in
Peru and the Andes region.

"You always can have a better-case scenario, but there's been some enormous
progress this year," said Bob Weiner, a spokesman for McCaffrey. He said
the drug-fighting budget for fiscal 1999 contains a $1 billion increase
over this year's level.

Another McCaffrey aide said interdiction budgets in the early 1990s
contained special funding for equipment purchases. He said next year's
spending level for interdiction represents a 9.3 percent increase from this
year. Included in that drug interdiction allotment are funds for such items
as 1,000 new Border Patrol agents.

Kramek estimated that about $500 million to $600 million more a year is
needed for the next couple of years to finance the anti-drug fight,
particularly the interdiction of narcotics.

"One or two of those hundreds and hundreds of demo projects would pay for
everything we need," he said, referring to pork-barrel transportation
projects earmarked for specific jurisdictions as part of the highway bill.

Although it is considered part of the armed forces, the Coast Guard falls
under the Transportation Department and has domestic law enforcement
authority. With fewer than 35,000 uniformed members, the service today is
smaller than at any time since 1963. But unlike the other branches of the
armed forces, which have faced a diminished threat since the end of the
Cold War, the Coast Guard has downsized even though its responsibilities
are sharply increasing, Kramek said.

The Coast Guard is "probably 15 to 20 percent short of the ability to do
all that it is asked to do," he said. I feel we're just barely doing an
adequate job."

Aside from resources to fight illegal drugs, Kramek said, the service needs
to be "recapitalized" with modern systems, because some of its ships are 50
years old. In addition, he said, the country's ports are falling behind the
modern facilities developed by other countries, particularly in the ability
to handle a new generation of "mega-ships."

In the years ahead, the 207-year-old Coast Guard faces daunting challenges
in such other responsibilities as fisheries enforcement in the United
States' 9 million square miles of exclusive economic zone, the inspection
of vessels and the training of personnel in foreign countries, including
states of the former Soviet Union.

By volume, about 95 percent of U.S. imports and exports come and go by sea,
and that tonnage is expected to double or triple within the next 20 years,
said Kramek.

In terms of budget-cutting, Kramek said, "I think we're at our limit now."
A streamlining program he began in 1994 to cut the ranks by 4,000 people
and close Coast Guard bases had saved $400 million a year in expenses, he
said. But as a result, some personnel at search and rescue stations are now
putting in 80-hour work weeks.

Over the years, the Coast Guard has not only helped the Navy in times of
war and played major roles in stopping illegal migrants and contraband, but
also has performed as a "humanitarian service" in saving thousands of lives
at sea, Kramek said.

"All that makes us a distinct instrument of national security," he said.

Now that he has turned over his command to Adm. Loy at Fort McNair, Kramek,
who is originally from New York, plans to look for work in the private
sector. A 1961 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, he later earned
advanced degrees in naval architecture and marine engineering.

Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Department Of Defense Involvement In The Counterdrug Effort -
Contributions And Limitations (The Air Command And Staff College
Of The US Air Force Posts An Abstract - And URL For The Full
55-Page Adobe Acrobat Document - Of A Research Paper
Claiming Clinton's Reduction Of Interdiction Funding From 1993 To The Present
'Reduced The Success Of The DOD Interdiction Effort')

Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 08:07:02 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: Abstract: DOD Involvement in the Counterdrug
Effort--Contributions and Limitations
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David)
Source: The Air Command and Staff College, U.S. Air Force

Note: The following is an abstract of a 55 page Adobe Acrobat 3.0 document
(138,609 bytes) research paper which is on line at the following URL. While
we are not going to attempt to repost the entire document, it may be of
interest to our readers who have an interest in the military involvement in
the War on Drugs. Thank you for letting us know about this, David! -
Richard Lake, Sr. Editor, DrugSense News Service


Title: DOD Involvement in the Counterdrug Effort--Contributions and

Subject: DoD Contributions to the Counterdrug Effort and the Limitations to
that Effort

Author(s): Kimberly J. Corcoran; F. Mitchell Alexander (Faculty Advisor)

Abstract: One of the major social issues facing the United States is the
flow of illegal narcotics into our country. The costs of this illegal
activity are significant. Costs can be measured in the lost health and
productivity of individual users, as well as the costs required to fight
the criminal activity perpetrated both by individual users and the large
criminal organizations attracted by the profitability of the drug trade.
These costs caused the U.S. Government to declare a "War on Drugs" in 1989
and to greatly increase the budget allocated to the interdiction of the
drug supply. Since the DOD possessed numerous assets that were perfectly
suited to interdiction operations, the DOD became heavily involved in the
War on Drugs. This involvement was extensive from 1989 to 1993 and was
instrumental in the successful capture of tons of illegal drugs. In 1993,
the Clinton administration decided to shift the emphasis away from
interdiction to other areas, and decreased the interdiction portion of the
budget for FY94. This decrease has continued to the present and, according
to some observers, has reduced the success of the DOD interdiction effort.

This paper briefly examines the extent of the overall drug problem in the
United States, describes the DOD's contribution to America's drug control
strategy and its challenges to success, and finally addresses why that
effort, though useful, does not need to be increased to previous levels.

Lott Says Senate Anti-Smoking Bill `Teetering' (According To A 'Newsday'
Article In 'The Seattle Times,' US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott
Said Yesterday That Attempts To Make The So-Called 'Anti-Teen-Smoking Bill'
Tougher On The Tobacco Industry Could Lead To Its Defeat)

Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 22:29:59 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Lott Says Senate Anti-Smoking Bill `Teetering'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John Smith
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Contact: opinion@seatimes.com
Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/
Pubdate: Tuesday 02 June 1998
Author: Harry Berkowitz, Newsday


The Senate anti-teen-smoking bill is "teetering" because of attempts to
make it tougher on the tobacco industry, Majority Leader Trent Lott,
R-Miss., warned yesterday as lawmakers returned from a one-week recess.

A vote on the bill, which was already delayed through filibusters by the
measure's opponents, faces a further setback as the Senate in effect
recesses tomorrow for the funeral of former Sen. Barry Goldwater. Also,
political primaries today will prevent votes on amendments to the bill,
Lott said.

But insiders said the key to whether the Senate acts by next week centers
on Lott's willingness to turn back efforts to delay action by members of
the leadership who fiercely oppose the bill.

Those opponents include Republican Sens. Don Nickles of Oklahoma, the
assistant majority leader; Paul Coverdell of Georgia; and Larry Craig of
Idaho. They argue that it is a big-government, big-spending measure whose
steep price increases would foster a black market.

Lott criticized a series of tough amendments, including one that drew a
majority of support before the recess to remove an $8 billion annual cap on
tobacco lawsuit payments, as well as a proposal to strengthen the penalties
tobacco companies would pay if cuts in teen smoking don't meet specified
goals. Lott said that amendment could be the "death knell." The bill,
sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would raise cigarette prices by
$1.10 per pack, restrict marketing and cost the industry $516 billion over
25 years.

"The bill is teetering - teetering in the balance here - as to whether or
not it's just going to collapse of its own weight," Lott said. He said it
is still "possible" to work out some of these remaining "sticky issues."

Lott said he wants to alternate the tobacco debate with other issues. But
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota has said Democrats will
not allow the Senate to move to any other issues until tobacco is resolved.

Opponents of the bill are proposing amendments to tie it to tax cuts,
including a change in the so-called marriage penalty, and to anti-drug
measures, including a $3 billion-per-year plan sponsored by Coverdell and
Craig. Also, two groups of senators are working on substitute bills that
would scale back provisions of the McCain measure.

Potent Heroin From Mexico Now Second In US Trade ('Washington Post'
Article In 'The Seattle Times' Says Mexican And US Law-Enforcement Officials
Agree That The Mexican Share Of The US Illegal Drug Market
Has Expanded Rapidly - Mexican Heroin Has Increased In Purity Six-Fold
In The Past Two Years - According To Prohibition Agents, Colombian And Mexican
Drug Cartels Have Largely Taken Over Heroin Distribution In The United States
From Asian Organizations, Whose Share Of The American Market
Has Plunged From 90 Percent To 28 Percent Since 1992)

Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 22:25:54 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: Potent Heroin From Mexico Now Second In U.S. Trade
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John Smith
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Contact: opinion@seatimes.com
Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/
Pubdate: Tuesday 02 June 1998
Author: Molly Moore and Douglas Farah, The Washington Post


Mexican drug cartels, long regarded as peddlers of cheap, low-grade heroin
that accounted for only a tiny portion of the U.S. market, now are
producing some of the world's most potent heroin and are seizing control of
a rapidly growing share of the U.S. heroin business, according to Mexican
and U.S. law-enforcement officials.

Mexico has become the second-largest source of heroin used in the United
States, and the purity of the Mexican-produced drug has increased sixfold
in the past two years in what U.S. law-enforcement and health authorities
describe as alarming trends.

Colombian and U.S. officials said the changes are tied to an emerging
alliance between the Colombian heroin-trafficking organization of Ivan
Urdinola and Mexican drug-smuggling organizations that are learning how to
produce more potent heroin.

In a dramatic shift in global heroin-trafficking patterns, Colombian and
Mexican drug cartels largely have taken over heroin distribution in the
United States from Asian organizations, whose share of the American market
- based on seizures by law-enforcement authorities - has plunged from 90
percent to 28 percent since 1992.

U.S. officials say the shift in the heroin supply coincides with a
disturbing trend in drug consumption in the United States.

While the number of cocaine users has dropped significantly in recent
years, the number of heroin users has risen from 500,000 to 600,000 over
the past two years.

Part of the surge in heroin use, experts say, is driven by the new purity
of the drug. Instead of having to be injected directly into the
bloodstream, as the low-purity heroin traditionally produced in Mexico
required, today's more potent drug can be smoked or inhaled like cocaine.

The ability to use heroin without injection and the corresponding fear of
HIV infection from dirty needles has made heroin more popular, narcotics
experts say.

The Colombians, who began trafficking in heroin six years ago, learned how
to refine opium "latex" into heroin from Thai and Cambodian experts.

Through the years, Colombians have refined the process to make their heroin
up to 90 percent pure, and some are passing on their skills to Mexican
heroin traffickers.

Until two years ago, U.S. authorities say, Mexican cartels produced only a
low grade of heroin called "black tar," which was about 7 percent to 20
percent pure.

But the purity of Mexican heroin has since climbed to an average of 50
percent to 60 percent, with some seizures recorded at 76 percent purity,
according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) figures.

Mexican drug mafias, which already have taken over many U.S.
cocaine-distribution routes once dominated by Colombian cartels, have
expanded their reach and now control virtually all heroin sales west of the
Mississippi River, according to the U.S. anti-drug officials.

Mexican Heroin On Rise In US (The Original 'Washington Post' Version,
With More Details)

Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 11:56:24 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Mexico: Mexican Heroin on Rise in U.S.
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: kevzeese@laser.net (kevin b. zeese)
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: Washington Post
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Authors: Molly Moore and Douglas Farah Washington Post Foreign Service


Mexican drug cartels, long regarded as peddlers of cheap, low-grade heroin
that accounted for only a tiny portion of the U.S. market, are now
producing some of the world's most potent heroin and are seizing control of
a rapidly growing share of the U.S. heroin business, according to Mexican
and U.S. law enforcement officials.

Mexico has become the second-largest source of heroin used in the United
States, and the purity of the Mexican-produced drug has increased sixfold
in the past two years in what U.S. law enforcement and health authorities
describe as alarming trends.

Colombian and U.S. officials said the changes are tied to an emerging
alliance between a Colombian heroin trafficking organization led by Ivan
Urdinola and Mexican drug smuggling groups that are learning how to produce
more potent heroin. In a dramatic shift in global heroin trafficking
patterns, Colombian and Mexican drug cartels largely have taken over
distribution in the United States from Asian organizations, whose share of
the American market -- based on seizures by law enforcement authorities --
has plunged from 90 percent to 28 percent since 1992.

U.S. officials say the shift in the heroin supply coincides with a
disturbing trend in drug consumption in the United States. While the number
of cocaine users has dropped significantly in recent years, the number of
heroin users has risen from 500,000 to 600,000 over the past two years.

Part of the surge in heroin use, experts say, is driven by the purity of
the new supply. Instead of having to be injected directly into the
bloodstream, as the low-purity heroin traditionally produced in Mexico
required, today's more potent drug can be smoked or inhaled like cocaine.
The ability to use heroin without injection and the corresponding fear of
HIV infection from dirty needles has made heroin more popular, narcotics
experts say.

The Colombians, who began trafficking in heroin six years ago, learned how
to refine opium latex into heroin from Thai and Cambodian experts. Through
the years, Colombians have refined the process to make their heroin up to
90 percent pure, and some are passing on their skills to Mexican

Until two years ago, U.S. authorities say, Mexican cartels produced only a
low grade of heroin called "black tar," which was about 7 to 20 percent
pure. But the purity of Mexican heroin has since climbed to an average of
50 to 60 percent, with some seizures recorded at 76 percent purity,
according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration figures.

Mexican drug syndicates, which already have taken over many U.S. cocaine
distribution routes once dominated by Colombian cartels, have substantially
expanded their reach and now control virtually all heroin sales west of the
Mississippi River, according to the U.S. anti-drug officials. DEA officials
estimate that 42 percent of all the heroin smuggled into the United States
is produced in Mexico -- 4.5 tons a year, compared to the six tons of
Colombian heroin that reach the United States annually.

Seizures of Mexican heroin by U.S. authorities in 1995 and 1996 quadrupled
to 20 percent of all the heroin confiscated in the country -- one of the
first signs of the Mexican cartels' increasing role, according to anti-drug
agencies. Mexican heroin seizures have continued to rise, authorities said.

"International organized crime groups from Mexico are directly supplying
American communities with high-purity heroin," DEA Administrator Thomas A.
Constantine told a congressional hearing in March. "With the drug's low
cost and deadly levels of purity, this is clearly cause for concern."

U.S. authorities discovered the dramatic rise in purity levels of Mexican
heroin when 14 teenagers and young adults in one Dallas suburb died in 1996
after using "uncut" Mexican heroin so pure that it exploded in their
systems like a bomb.

Colombian officials said it is not clear why the Colombians are sharing
their expertise with the Mexicans, who in some cases have become rivals in
the cocaine trade. "What we know is that the heroin trade is proliferating
as a business and that groups in Colombia, based in Pereira, are making the
contacts with the Mexicans," a senior Colombian intelligence official said.
"It is a growing alliance, but we don't yet know what is driving it."

The hardest evidence of the new alliance emerged in October, when Mexican
officials arrested two Colombians and a Mexican near the north Mexican town
of Durango. Authorities discovered a heroin lab and confiscated 352 pounds
of opium gum, used to make heroin, and just over two pounds of morphine.

Durango is in the heart of an area controlled by one of Mexico's oldest
drug trafficking organizations, the Herrera family. The Colombians told law
enforcement officials they worked for the Urdinola organization, which
controls heroin distribution in the New York City area.

The increase in Mexican heroin sales in the United States comes as Mexican
authorities have made slight increases in the amount of opium fields
destroyed there. U.S. authorities also estimate that the total area under
opium poppy cultivation in Mexico has decreased from 32,000 acres in 1996
to 29,600 acres last year.

The amount of heroin seized in the United States has increased steadily in
recent years, according to DEA officials. Seizures by all federal U.S. law
enforcement agents grew from 2,569 pounds in 1995 to 3,381 pounds in 1996.
Incomplete figures from 1997 record seizures totaling 3,003 pounds.

Moore reported from Mexico City, Farah from Bogota, Colombia, and Washington.

Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Mexican Heroin On The Rise In US - Report (AFP Version)

Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 08:48:43 -0700 (PDT)
From: turmoil (turmoil@hemp.net)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Mexican heroin on the rise in US: report (fwd)
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net
WASHINTON, June 2 (AFP) - Mexico has become the second-largest
source of heroin in the United States, and Colombian and Mexican
drug cartels are taking over heroin distribution here from Asian
groups, The Washington Post said Tuesday.

Mexican drug cartels which have learned how to make some of the
world's most potent heroin have teamed up with a Colombian heroin
trafficking organization headed by Ivan Urdinola, Colombian and US
officials told the daily.

Together they have reduced Asia's share of the US heroin market
from 90 percent to 28 percent since 1992, the sources said.

Coinciding with this change in distributors, the US officials
said, is a disturbing trend among drug users in the United States:
while cocaine addiction has been decreasing in recent years, heroin
users have risen from 500,000 to 600,000 in the past two years.

Part of the reason is the purity of the heroin smuggled in from
Mexico, experts said.

Colombians have learned how to make their heroin up to 90
percent pure and have passed on their expertise to the Mexicans, who
have improved the quality of their heroin from seven to 20 percent
pure two years ago, to 50 to 60 percent pure today.

At such a level of purity, heroin can be smoked or inhaled like
cocaine, instead of having to be injected into the blood stream with
its corresponding fear of HIV infection, making it more popular than

The experts do not know why the Colombians are passing on their
knowledge to the Mexicans.

"What we know is that the heroin trade is proliferating as a
business, and that groups in Colombia, based in Pereira, are making
the contacts with the Mexicans," a senior Colombian intelligence
official told the daily.

"It is a growing alliance, but we don't yet know what is driving
it," he added.

Albright Says Anti-Drug Sting Needed Better Coordination ('Associated Press'
Article In 'Tampa Bay Online' Says Secretary Of State Madeleine Albright
Admitted The US Should Have Informed Mexican Officials
About 'Operation Casablanca,' Speaking Tuesday At The Three-Day
Annual Meeting Of The Organization Of American States In Venezuela)

Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 00:57:59 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Venezuela: Albright Says Anti-Drug Sting
Needed Better Coordination
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Patrick Henry
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: Tampa Bay Online
Contact: tribletters@tampatrib.com
Website: http://www.tampabayonline.net/news/


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - A U.S. sting operation against money launderers in
Mexico suffered from a lack of coordination, Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright said Tuesday.

``Obviously there needs to be better coordination in terms of our joint
efforts dealing with money laundering and narco-trafficking,'' Albright told
a press conference at the three-day annual meeting of the Organization of
American States.

Mexico's foreign secretary, Rosario Green, earlier criticized the United
States for not keeping Mexican authorities informed of the three-year
operation, dubbed ``Operation Casablanca.''

``It was an undercover operation that Mexico never knew about,'' she said.

Albright and Green met Monday night to discuss the tensions. ``The basic
relationship between the United States and Mexico is very good,'' Albright said.

Some 160 Mexicans were charged in one of the largest money-laundering probes
in history. Five Venezuelan bankers also were indicted.

Albright also rejected suggestions by some countries that Cuba be readmitted
to the OAS. It was expelled in 1962 after the United States accused Cuba
President Fidel Castro of supporting leftist rebels in the region.

The OAS is made up of countries with democratic governments, Albright said,
``and Cuba does not meet those credentials.''

Her one-day visit to Caracas was to end Tuesday when she departs for
Washington and then Geneva for talks on nuclear testing in India and
Pakistan. She urged OAS delegates to strongly condemn the testing.

Drugged Son, 4, Was Like 'Zombie' ('Toronto Sun' Says An Ontario Mom
Is Accused Of Giving Her Child Ritalin And Crack Cocaine
To Quell His Hyperactivity, After Doctors Refused To Do So,
Leaving The Child In A State Where He Would Sit For 90 Minutes
Without Moving - She Is Accused Of Using Crack Herself,
With Some Moderation)

Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 22:31:09 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Canada: Drugged Son, 4, Was Like 'Zombie'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Toronto Sun (Canada)
Pubdate: Tuesday, 2 June 1998
Contact: editor@sunpub.com
Website: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoSun/
Author: Gretchen Drummie, Toronto Sun


Mom on trial for giving boy high doses of 'street' Ritalin

Accused crack mom Joyce Hayman allegedly put her four-year-old son
into a "zombie" state, feeding him high doses of the prescription drug
Ritalin which she bought off the street, a judge was told yesterday.

Although she admits to giving her boy Ritalin after getting the idea
from TV, the then-drug addicted mom never fed him crack, said his dad
David Winn.

Prosecutor Paul Normandeau contends that Hayman force-fed the drug and
crack cocaine to her son, whom it's alleged had four times the
prescribed amount of Ritalin in his system when the Children's Aid
Society removed him on June 6, Hayman, 30, pleaded not guilty to two
counts each of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and
administering a noxious substance.

Winn, who occasionally lived with Hayman, testified that their child
was "hyper ... he was always running around." He said the boy fought
other kids, was "abusive" with Hayman and "hit a lot." He said Hayman
was addicted to crack, but would never "do her thing" until the child
was put to bed. Winn added that he never saw stray pieces of the drug

Winn testified they saw doctors about the boy, but no physician would
prescribe Ritalin. He said she started giving it to him herself, about
four months before he was removed, with his blessing: "When he was on
Ritalin, he was a normal child."

In May 1996, the boy had a mild overdose while with a babysitter, and
though not hospitalized, he was referred to Sick Kids' hospital where
further tests were done. Court heard the CAS stepped in when high
levels of both crack and Ritalin were found.

In the time between the overdose and the child's removal, CAS worker
Kerry Milligan testified she met Hayman and the boy. Milligan said
Hayman "confirmed she had been buying (Ritalin) off the streets in
20-mg tablets" before the overdose.

"She felt (the boy) was hyperactive and she had watched a TV show that
addressed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and she decided
that was his problem," Milligan said.

"She felt strongly he needed the medication to control his

After the overdose, a Sick Kids' doctor did prescribe Ritalin but only
in 5-mg tablets. During their May 30 meeting, Hayman admitted she'd
doubled up the dosage.

She said the child sat for 90 minutes without moving. The boy was
"just flat ... He was like a zombie."

"She said this is how he should be," Milligan said.

Copyright (c) 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership.

Pot Is Not Almost Decriminalized (Three Letters To The Editor
Of 'The Calgary Sun' Take Issue With The Editor's Parenthetical Comment
To A Letter From Lynn Harichy)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: PUB LTE: Pot is not almost decriminalized.
Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 09:51:03 -0700
Lines: 52
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Calgary Sun
Contact: callet@sunpub.com
Pubdate: June 2, 1998
Related: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n404.a01.html

POT IS not almost decriminalized.

POT IS not almost decriminalized. (Letters, May 31) That's like
almost pregnant and almost only counts in horseshoes and cannon shots.
Statements like that make people think there is no problem and keep a
valuable medicine out of the hands of the ill. It seems your comments
are meant to incite a response to further demonstrate your lack of
compassion and ignorance on this matter. Do a little research, instead
of spouting off your line of drivel. You betray trust placed in the
press to present the facts to the people.

Mark Chenier

(We feel great compassion for sick people; we just don't think pot
should be legalized outright.)


YOUR REMARKS to MS sufferer and medical marijuana activist Lynn
Harichy's May 31 letter was "Pot is already virtually decriminalized
for personal use." I suppose "virtually" is one of those weasel words
editors and politicians like to invoke from time to time to defend the
indefensible. The last time I looked at the criminal code, can-nabis
possession was included. I didn't see any qualifiers, excluding sick
people from prosecution. Can you think of another medicine which must
be acquired through a court of law, rather than a pharmacy? In any
event, you've missed the larger point. How are bedridden or disabled
patients supposed to aquire a supply of medicinal marijuana without
risking prosecution for more serious crimes like cultivation and

Kelly T. Conlon

(Marijuana should be legalized for medicinal use.)


As long as some people are still being arrested for it, pot is not
"virtually decriminalized." Why not "literally decriminalize" it?

Kirk Nechamkin

(Too many reasons to list here.)

Samper Defends Record - Colombian Leader Says Peace Is Closer
(In The Wake Of The First Round Of Elections For Colombia's New President,
'The Washington Post' Reviews The Four-Year Term Of Ernesto Samper,
Whose Term Expires August 7)

Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 00:58:02 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Columbia: Samper Defends Record Colombian
Leader Says Peace Is Closer
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: kevzeese@laser.net (kevin b. zeese)
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: Washington Post
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Author: Serge F. Kovaleski, Washington Post Foreign Service


BOGOTA, Colombia, June 1--The presidency of Ernesto Samper, now in its
waning months, will go down as one of the most tumultuous and controversial
national stewardships in the history of this South American country.

From day one, Samper's four-year tenure was marred by allegations that his
1994 presidential campaign was bankrolled with millions of dollars from the
Cali drug cartel, prompting critics, including the United States, to charge
that he had allowed the country to become a "narco-state."

Colombia's traditionally robust economy hit double-digit inflation and
record unemployment under his administration, while violence and insecurity
at the hands of leftist rebels, right-wing paramilitary groups and, at
times, the military worsened.

But in an interview last week at the Casa de Nari-F1o presidential palace,
the outgoing president offered an evaluation of his time in office that
differed radically from the analysis provided by his critics.

"Colombia is closer to peace. . . . All elements are now on the table for
peace," Samper said. "The guerrillas are now delegitimized politically. They
are economically weakened in that we have continued to fight against their
sources of income," which include money earned from drug traffickers,
kidnappings and extortion.

While acknowledging that he has experienced disappointments and
frustrations, he added: "Colombia is certainly not a country that is
dissolving, as some think. It is a country with firm institutions. . . . The
armed forces are in control of public order."

During Samper's presidency, however, the ranks of Colombia's two largest
guerrilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the
National Liberation Army (ELN), have swelled to about 20,000 members. They
have launched attacks at will over the last year, handing the military some
of the most deadly defeats it has ever suffered. Furthermore, a growing
number of paramilitary groups have massacred countless numbers of civilians
whom they believe to be guerrilla sympathizers.

Unlike the ELN, FARC, the biggest rebel force here, has steadfastly refused
to hold peace negotiations with Samper, saying that his presidency is
"illegitimate" because his campaign supposedly received at least $6 million
from drug barons. But two weeks ago, in anticipation of Sunday's first round
of presidential elections, FARC said it would be willing to conduct peace
talks with a new chief executive in an effort to end Colombia's 34-year-old
rebel war.

On the issue of the cartel-contribution scandal, Samper said, "Undoubtedly,
the so-called political crisis, I accept, polarized the country and created
some difficult circumstances to manage the country." But he stressed that
Colombia has regained "its governability" since the Colombian Congress
declared him innocent of any wrongdoing in 1996.

Samper, 47, who belongs to the Liberal Party, was somewhat vindicated Sunday
when his hand-picked successor, Horacio Serpa, squeaked by Conservative
challenger Andres Pastrana in the first round of the presidential election.
The two men will meet in a runoff on June 21, though few analysts believe
that Serpa can prevail. Samper, who steps down Aug. 7, could not by law seek
a second term.

As for a string of reported abuses committed by Colombia's military under
his administration, some of them in collusion with paramilitary groups,
Samper said, "We established a clear policy to accent the commitment of the
army to human rights." He said courses on the subject are now being given in
military schools and that his government has been working on a new penal
code to hold military personnel more accountable for human rights violations.

But he added, "I sincerely believe that the problems of Colombia are not
related in such a direct way to the restructuring of the army. It is more
related to drug trafficking.

"If you want to make peace and end corruption and fully recapture
governability, you must continue to fight against drug trafficking," Samper

US To Increase Support For Colombian Army ('The New York Times'
Says The Clinton Administration Is Expanding Its Support
For Colombian Government Forces, Concerned About The Growing Power
Of Rebels It Deems 'Leftist' And The Flow Of Illegal Drugs)

Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 14:14:46 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: NYT: U.S. To Increase Support For Colombian Army
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: kevzeese@laser.net (kevin b. zeese)
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: New York Times
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Authors: Diana Jean Schemo And Tim Golden


Related Articles Colombia to Disband Powerful Intelligence Brigade (May 25)
U.S. Plans Wider Drug Fight in Colombia (April 1) U.S. Expected to Waive
Drug Sanctions Against Colombia (Feb. 26) U.S. To Send Arms to Fight Drugs
in Colombia but Skeptics Abound (Oct. 25, 1997)

WASHINGTON -- Concerned about the growing power of leftist rebels in
Colombia, the Clinton administration is expanding its support for
government forces fighting in the hemisphere's longest-running guerrilla

U.S. officials say the aid is aimed at stanching the flow of illegal drugs
from Colombia, and will target the insurgents only where they protect the
production of heroin and cocaine. The officials say they have no intention
of getting mired in Colombia's internal conflict.

But government documents and interviews with dozens of officials here
indicate that the separation Washington has tried to make between those two
campaigns -- one against drug trafficking, the other against the guerrillas
-- is increasingly breaking down.

Officials say more U.S. training and equipment are going to shore up basic
deficiencies in the tactics, mobility and firepower of the Colombian
military, rather than for operations directed at the drug trade. Faced with
a string of rebel victories, including a devastating ambush of Colombian
troops in March, U.S. generals have embarked on an ambitious effort to help
reorganize the Colombian army.

According to senior U.S. officials, the Clinton administration has also
been considering options that officials said include additional military
training, provision of more sophisticated helicopters and materiel, and
creation of a high-tech intelligence center that would be run by U.S.
officials on Colombian soil.

The limits of U.S. involvement in Colombia are still largely set by the
constraints on military, intelligence and foreign-aid spending in the
aftermath of the Cold War. Compared with the billions of dollars poured
into Central America during the 1980s, the hundred million or so that the
United States now spends annually on Colombia remains relatively modest.

Yet administration officials have begun to describe Colombia as another
grave strategic risk. If the rebels and the drug traffickers bond more
closely, the officials warn, both could become greater threats to the
region. Colombia's troubles could spill across its borders toward the
Venezuelan oil fields, the United States' chief source of imported
petroleum, or into Panama, home to the vital Panama Canal.

Colombia's stability, they contend, is a responsibility from which the
United States cannot run.

"This is not a one-night stand," said the commander of U.S. military forces
in Latin America and the Caribbean, Gen. Charles Wilhelm. "This is a
marriage for life."

Such admonitions come at an especially delicate political moment in
Colombia, where a new president will be chosen in a run-off election on
June 21.

While Washington's concerns about the country have risen over the last
year, Colombian leaders were cutting their military spending and suggesting
a new willingness to negotiate with the insurgents. Business groups are
pressing for peace talks with the rebels, and last month thousands of
Colombians rallied against the violence. Both the candidates who emerged
from the first round of presidential elections on Sunday have said they
would make new efforts to reach a settlement.

The evolving U.S. policy is also the subject of a growing debate, one
almost as sharp in the administration as outside it.

At one end are officials who cannot consider the Colombia plans without
seeing Central American ghosts. They point to cases in which more than a
dozen Colombian army units given anti-drug training by the United States
were later linked to serious human-rights violations in the fight against
the rebels.

At the other end are officials who believe that even the most ambitious
policy proposals are inadequate, and that whatever the final administration
plan, political sensitivities will ensure that it falls well short of
Colombia's needs.

"We're afraid to use the 'I' word," said an official who is influential in
the Colombia policy's design. "We should be able to say with a straight
face, and without feeling like we have to go to confession, that there is
an insurgency problem in Colombia that threatens the stability of the

More quietly, other voices in the government are challenging important
arguments at the source of Washington's alarm.

For instance, administration officials have argued that a boom in the
cultivation of coca in southern Colombia has brought the guerrillas a
dangerous windfall. They say the rebels, by in effect renting their forces
to protect those who grow coca and refine cocaine, have been able to pay
for new recruits, better weapons and more aggressive strikes against the

But intelligence officials have said that there is scant evidence of a
major change in the insurgents' relationship with the traffickers, and that
the impact of Colombia's coca boom on the availability of drugs in the
United States is probably not great.

Background: From 1990, Aid Rose to Highest in Region

Since the end of the Cold War and the waning of civil conflicts elsewhere,
Colombia has emerged as the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance
in the Western hemisphere.

The aid began to rise in 1990, with the Bush administration's "Andean
strategy," a five-year, $2.2 billion plan to try to stop the cocaine plague
at its source.

U.S. officials believed that with global security threats shifting after
the Soviet Union's demise, soldiers and intelligence agents could find a
worthy new adversary in the bosses of Colombia's cocaine trade. And as such
efforts gathered momentum in the early 1990s, they focused largely on the
bosses themselves.

The expanding U.S. role also coincided with a turn in the region's oldest
guerrilla war.

Starting in 1990, several guerrilla groups agreed finally to lay down their
arms. Some 7,000 more, mostly of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(known by its initials in Spanish as the FARC) and the National Liberation
Army, rejected the peace.

Cesar Gaviria, then Colombia's president, attacked the holdouts as
"deranged fanatics who have not read in the newspapers the sorry story of
the end of communist totalitarianism." Confident that history was on his
side, he doubled military spending and increased the size and authority of
the armed forces.

The guerrillas and their supporters also came under new assault by
right-wing paramilitary forces that often worked with government troops. In
many cases, drug traffickers have also armed the paramilitaries against the
insurgents; victims of the squads have included thousands of peasants and
unionists, and hundreds of the rebels who gave up their guns.

By the mid-1990s, the remaining insurgents had dug in militarily and begun
shoring up their finances. They stepped up ransom kidnappings, extortion
and the protection of coca fields, jungle laboratories and clandestine

The collaboration of some guerrilla fronts with the drug trade became the
central plank of government propaganda campaigns against them. It also
began to emerge as a justification for the difficulty that officials had in
keeping U.S. aid from going to Colombian units that fought mainly against
the insurgents.

"They're guarding drugs, they're moving drugs, they're growing drugs," the
White House drug-policy director, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, said in 1996,
adding that he was "uneasy" with U.S. efforts to restrict Colombia's use of
advanced UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters that it was then buying from the
United States. "They're a narco-guerrilla force, period."

Beginning in 1994, Congress required the Clinton administration to verify
that U.S. military aid would go only to troops that "primarily" carried out
anti-drug operations. In March 1996, the administration reacted to evidence
that President Ernesto Samper had taken money from Cali traffickers, by
cutting off almost all U.S. aid to Colombia except what was designated to
fight drugs, a step known as decertification.

Yet according to many officials, the Pentagon quietly distinguished itself
by finding creative ways around the restrictions. "We refused to
disengage," said a Defense official who spoke on the condition that he not
be identified.

Over all, U.S. anti-drug aid granted to the Colombian military and police
rose from $28.8 million in 1995 to at least $95.9 million in 1997,
according to State Department figures. Military sales to Colombia jumped
from $21.9 million to $75 million over the same period, largely on the
Colombian army's purchase of the six Blackhawks.

Unlike the early stages of the civil war in El Salvador, when whole
battalions were flown to U.S. bases for training, the Pentagon's efforts to
overhaul Colombian forces have been conducted mainly in Colombia by small
teams of special-forces trainers.

Administration officials describe the curriculum as heavy doses of
anti-drug tactics with some counterterrorism, hostage rescue and medical
training thrown in. But military officials familiar with the programs said
they concentrate less on weak links in the cocaine trade than on
shortcomings of the Colombian army.

One instance of the vague definition of "counter drug" preparation are the
courses that U.S. Army trainers, drawn largely from the 7th Special Forces
Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., often lead in the Pentagon's Joint Combined
Exchange Training, or J-Cet program.

Working with Colombian units, Defense Department officials said, the teams
teach skills as basic as marksmanship and jungle maneuvers. At the end of a
course, the trainers will typically plan a "graduation" attack on the
guerrillas and then wait at their base while the students carry it out.

Another program, Joint Planning Assistance and Training, often involves the
preparation of psychological operations against guerrillas and drug
traffickers. Still other teams analyze military intelligence information to
help the Colombian army to plan its operations.

U.S. officials do not deny that many of the Colombian units they train go
back into battle against the rebels. The Colombian army has no forces
dedicated entirely to fighting drugs, and the use of U.S.-trained troops is
left up to Colombian commanders.

By 1994, both the General Accounting Office and the Defense Department had
found that the light-infantry skills taught in anti-drug training were
easily adapted to fighting the rebels. When the U.S. Embassy in Bogota
reviewed the matter in 1994, officials said they discovered that anti-drug
aid had gone to seven Colombian brigades and seven battalions that had been
implicated in abuses or linked to right-wing paramilitary groups that had
killed civilians.

Conditions subsequently imposed by Congress sought to cut off aid to any
Colombian units involved in human-rights violations. But some U.S.-trained
forces have continued to be accused of abuses, and Colombian prosecutors
are investigating reports that a massacre of suspected rebel sympathizers
last year around the southern village of Mapiripan was carried out by a
paramilitary squad flown into the nearby military air field at San Jose de
Guaviare, the staging base for U.S.-supported anti-drug operations in the

Guerrillas: Rebels and Traffickers in a 'Coca Republic'

Administration officials say there is no sure way to keep the anti-drug
battle from running into the guerrillas, given what has taken place over
the last couple of years.

In response to an aggressive government campaign against coca cultivation
and transportation in neighboring Peru, the officials say, the traffickers
have joined some major rebel fronts to create a virtual coca republic.
Peasants who support the insurgents are planting more coca, FARC units are
protecting more drug crops and labs, and government authority has eroded
across the region.

Military officials including Wilhelm, the commander in chief of the U.S.
Southern Command, said drug profits and other income are financing the
guerrillas' purchase of more and perhaps more sophisticated communications
equipment and weaponry.

Intelligence officials said there was now some guerrilla activity in
perhaps 700 of the country's 1,071 municipalities. And they estimate the
insurgents' strength at as many as 18,000 combatants -- 10,000 or 11,000 in
the FARC, 7,000 in the National Liberation Army -- up from as few as 8,000
fighters six years ago.

"The threat is intensifying," Wilhelm said in an interview. "We are seeing,
basically, an undermining of governance at the grass-roots level. In a
sense, I see a nation divided."

More vivid than the CIA's estimates of rising coca cultivation, however,
have been U.S. intelligence reports on the decrepitude of the Colombian

In March, a force of 400 to 600 FARC guerrillas crushed an army unit near
the southern village of Billar, killing 67 soldiers and capturing about 30
more, according to Pentagon figures. Officials said it was probably the
most serious defeat of government forces since the guerrillas took up arms
in the mid-1960s, but only one of a series of battles they have lost in the
last 18 months.

And military analysts said the Colombian army was probably weaker than it
looked. As many as half of its 121,000 soldiers are deployed to protect
cities, oil pipelines and other fixed targets. A classified Defense
Intelligence Agency assessment first reported by The Washington Post
speculated that if current trends continued unchanged, the armed forces
could be defeated within five years.

Congressional Republicans cast the situation in even direr terms.

"The frightening possibilities of a narco-state just three hours by plane
from Miami can no longer be dismissed," Rep. Benjamin Gilman of New York,
chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said at a recent

Prodded insistently by Gilman and a small group of other powerful
Republican lawmakers, the administration recently announced what the acting
State Department anti-narcotics chief, Rand Beers, called "an ambitious new
strategy to attack narcotics trafficking in Colombia on all fronts."

Beers, who helped draft the Andean strategy 10 years ago, said the State
Department would start by adding at least $21 million to its anti-drug aid
program to Colombia this year. In part, the money is to finance an expanded
campaign to eradicate drug crops and destroy laboratories in the southern
Colombian departments of Putumayo and Caqueta.

Because the rebels have such a strong presence in the region, officials
say, those efforts will require greater army help. But while U.S. officials
have often announced such collaboration in the past, it has consistently
foundered on the rivalry that has long existed between the two services.

U.S. officials have already begun to work with the Colombian air force to
intercept drug flights, and will provide night-vision equipment for its
planes. Colombian military officials have also said they would like to buy
armored attack MH-1 Cobra helicopters, and a Defense Department official
predicted that the Pentagon would support such a request.

Wilhelm, the Southern Command chief, insisted that the United States was
not sending the sort of advisers that it once stationed with military units
in countries like El Salvador and Vietnam. But he also made it plain that
he himself has become a crucial adviser to the Colombian high command.

After the Colombian military commander, Gen. Manuel Jose Bonett, presented
his own strategy plan in January, Wilhelm and his aides began picking it
apart, highlighting a number of problems. Wilhelm has since worked with
Colombian commanders on a sweeping overhaul of the armed forces, and
ordered a "comprehensive" review of U.S. training.

Additionally, a small group of Southern Command analysts have embarked on a
side-by-side comparison of Colombia's experience with that of Peru, where
leftist guerrillas protected coca growers for years.

With the waiver of Colombia's decertification penalties this spring,
administration officials said their basic question was not whether they
would increase aid to Colombian forces, but how and by how much.

Policy: Will U.S. Be Drawn Into War on Rebels?

Administration officials have played down fears that the United States is
being drawn deeper into Colombia's guerrilla war. The Pentagon recently
said it would tighten safeguards meant to keep aid from going to forces
involved in human-rights abuses, and promised new scrutiny of the "joint
combined exchange training" in particular.

Under an agreement signed in August, Colombian military units can receive
U.S. support only after their rosters have been screened to determine that
they do not harbor troops known to have violated human rights with
impunity. Officials said only two battalions of the Colombian army have
qualified so far, and both of those have had to be assembled from other

Another key condition cited by U.S. Embassy officials is that U.S. aid can
only be used in a designated region of Colombia where the ties between drug
producers and the guerrillas are held to be so close that any rebel unit
could be fairly considered the traffickers' ally.

There was no question that the definition of the zone was broad: "the box,"
as it was described by U.S. diplomats, encompassed almost the southern half
of the country. Yet officials said the area was not big enough for the
Pentagon, which has quietly refused to acknowledge its limits.

"In terms of geography, the use of the resources, I'm personally not aware
of any restrictions," Wilhelm said.

So far, administration policies on Colombia have received nothing like the
scrutiny given U.S. policies for Central America in the 1980s, and aid
conditions have often been only loosely applied.

For instance, the Colombian military was required to pledge in writing that
it would use the six Blackhawk helicopters it bought in 1996 largely for
anti-drug operations with the national police. But U.S. officials said they
knew of no such operations since the helicopters arrived in early 1997. The
administration has since been fighting congressional demands that it give
three more Blackhawks directly to the police.

Some policy analysts question the new alarm about Colombia because they say
the drug threat itself is overblown. The quality of Colombian-grown coca is
so low, they argue, that it cannot offset the declines in cultivation in

Intelligence analysts also raise questions about the rebel-trafficker
alliance that has been at the core of policy-makers' concern.

According to a 1996 report by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies,
the rebels' ties to the drug trade are extensive. But a declassified
summary of the report says that while guerrilla fronts sell protection "in
virtually all departments where traffickers operate," only a few rebel
fronts "probably are involved more directly in localized, small-scale drug
cultivation and processing."

Officials said there was a consensus among the U.S. intelligence agencies
that the insurgents' role in the drug trade had not grown or changed
substantially since the report was issued.

A FARC spokesman who uses the alias Leonardo Garcia contended that the
rebels did not protect coca fields to make money so much as to defend
peasants with whom they are allied.

"The idea is simply to label us as delinquents, to reject us as people with
a political struggle," the spokesman said in an interview in New York.
"It's a way to legitimize a military intervention."

There is little question that the evolving U.S. policy has focused less on
the close relationship that Colombian traffickers have with many right-wing
paramilitary groups. The problem of such apparent partisanship, critics of
the policy argue, is that it may get in the way of the settlement that U.S.
officials say they would like to help bring about.

After the kidnappings of several U.S. citizens by the guerrillas,
Washington refused to deal with the insurgents at all. And while the rebels
recently announced their willingness to negotiate with a new president,
they have also threatened to attack U.S. military personnel.

Although Colombian history has demonstrated that it is easier to talk peace
than to produce it, political pressure for an end to the war clearly has
grown. "We're talking about land reform, about dealing with oil policy,
about constitutional reforms," said the head of the government's peace
commission, Daniel Garcia Pena. "Today, people understand that these social
and political questions the guerrillas raised have to be put on the table."

Drug Trafficker Sent To US For Trial ('The Washington Post'
Says Jose Castrillon Henao, Alleged To Be 'The Primary Maritime Transporter For
And A Member Of The Cali Cartel,' Has Been Unexpectedly Expelled From Panama,
Where He Was In Jail Since 1996, And Transported To The United States
To Stand Trial On Charges Of Illegally Importing More Than 15 Tons Of 'Drugs'
There And Laundering Millions Of Dollars In Illicit Proceeds)

Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 11:56:24 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: WP: Drug Trafficker Sent To US For Trial
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: kevzeese@laser.net (kevin b. zeese)
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: Washington Post
Page: A10
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Author: Douglas Farah Washington Post Foreign Service


Jailed Drug Cartel Leader Sent to U.S. to Stand Trial

An imprisoned former leader of the Cali cocaine cartel has been
unexpectedly expelled from Panama and sent to the United States to stand
trial on charges of bringing more than 15 tons of drugs to this country and
laundering millions of dollars in illicit proceeds from the sales.

Jose Castrillon Henao, arrested in Panama in April 1996 and held in a
maximum security cell since, was taken to Howard Air Base, west of Panama
City, "under extraordinary security" at about 7:55 p.m. Sunday, put on a
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration airplane and arrived at MacDill Air
Force Base in Florida at 1 a.m. yesterday, according to the Organized Crime
Drug Enforcement Task Force, which was responsible for the operation.

The statement charges that Castrillon was "the primary maritime transporter
for and a member of the Cali cartel," the Colombian trafficking
organization that until recently was the most sophisticated on Earth.

Castrillon's indictment was unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in
Tampa, Fla., when Castrillon appeared in court to hear the charges against
him. Along with Castrillon, the indictment names a U.S. citizen, five
Colombians, six Chileans, a Mexican, a Canadian and a Panamanian as

Officials familiar with the case said Castrillon was the leader of one of
the Cali cartel's most important and sophisticated maritime drug
trafficking operations. They allege Castrillon used the Colombian ports of
Cartagena and Buenaventura to operate a fleet of commercial fishing vessels
that were used to ship tons of cocaine to the United States.

Castrillon also is charged with masterminding elaborate schemes to launder
hundreds of millions of dollars in proceeds from the sales utilizing a maze
of maritime, real estate and investment companies in the United States,
Panama, Ecuador, Switzerland, Germany and France to hide the source of drug

The expulsion of Castrillon, a Colombian citizen, came just days after
Panama changed its laws to allow the expulsion of foreign nationals in
prison there. While the United States expressed interest in eventually
having Castrillon stand trial in the United States, U.S. officials said the
move was unexpectedly quick and caught them off-guard and not as prepared
as they had hoped to be.

In 1996, following Castrillon's arrest and the collapse of a bank where he
had accounts totaling several million dollars, Panamanian investigators
found Castrillon had given at least $51,000 to the 1994 campaign of
President Ernesto Perez Balladares. Perez Balladares acknowledged the money
went to his campaign but said he did not know Castrillon.

U.S. officials said the sudden move to expel Castrillon may have been the
result of fears the Colombian would make good on threats he had repeatedly
made from prison to go public with the names of those in the Panamanian
government who had protected him and his operation. Before his arrest,
Castrillon was a well-known businessman in Panama and dabbled in local

"That is what it looks like to us," said a U.S. official familiar with the
case. "Suddenly he is shipped out, we have to scramble to get the
indictments together, and the only thing that makes sense it that he was
just too hot for them to handle. They wanted to get rid of a problem."

Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Prisoners Kill For Clothes To Buy Drugs ('Reuters' Says Prison Authorities
In Venezuela Have Started Giving Uniforms To The Country's 25,000 Inmates
To Combat The Clothes-For-Drugs Trade)

Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 02:03:39 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Venezuela: Wire: Prisoners Kill For Clothes To Buy Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Patrick Henry (resist_tyranny@hotmail.com)
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998
Source: Reuters


CARACAS (Reuters) - Prisoners in Venezuela's overcrowded and anarchic jails
are killing each other for their clothes, which are then used to buy drugs,
a top prison official said on Tuesday.

"In our prisons the inmates kill each other for a pair of shoes," Prisons
Director Evelisse Alvarez told Reuters. "We're trying to put a stop to the
mafias, which are dealing in clothes -- renting, stealing and exchanging
them for drugs," she said.

Clashes with guards and fights among rival gangs happen almost daily in
Venezuela's jails, where weapons and drugs circulate freely. Venezuelan
prisons averaged about six inmate deaths a week last year.

To combat the clothes-for-drugs trade, prison authorities have started
giving uniforms to the country's 25,000 inmates for the first time.

Alvarez said authorities have run into strong resistance to the new outfits,
khaki shorts and shirts and black sports shoes.

Local newspapers reported Tuesday that inmates at the Los Teques prison,
about 15 miles west of Caracas, had set fire to their uniforms in protest.

"We have to convince them that it makes them look more dignified, cleaner
and stops them selling their clothes for drugs," Alvarez said.

She added many inmates felt the uniforms made them look less manly. "One
prisoner asked me: 'What's my girlfriend going to say when she sees me in
this uniform?"'

Howard's Drug Policy Helps Finance The Nuclear Arms Race
(Press Release From The Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation
Documents The Connection Between Pakistan's Nuclear Tests
And The Australian Prime Minister's Zero Tolerance Policy On Drugs)

To: mattalk@islandnet.com
Subject: Press Release by ADLRF
Date: Tue, 02 Jun 98 09:27:25 +1000
From: petrew@pcug.org.au (Peter Watney)
Organization: P.I.C.


Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation

Howard's Drug Policy helps finance the nuclear arms race.

There are clear links between Pakistan's nuclear tests and the
Prime Minister's zero tolerance policy on drugs, according to the

Pakistan is one of the main sources of heroin flooding the
Australian streets under prohibition policies.

The heroin is both grown in Pakistan and transits Pakistan from
neighbouring countries with the connivance of local authorities.

The Howard prohibition has not just failed to protect our
children from drugs; it has created a huge, voracious criminal
industry that continually seeks to expand its market by
recruiting new users. It is driven by a profit margin of many
thousand percent.

If the Prime Minister won't:

* believe his law enforcement officers that the war against drugs
is unwinnable and has failed;

* recognise the fact that the overwhelming amount of misery,
sickness and death is caused not by the drugs themselves but
because we brand users as criminals;

* acknowledge that the millions of dollars spent on the fight
against drugs is a waste of money;

at least stop him endangering the security of our country by
putting high profits in the hands of terrorists and corrupt
government agencies.

Just as the Talibans have been financing their war effort in
Afghanistan by growing opium poppies, so is it likely that
Pakistan will circumvent international sanctions by profiting
from the heroin trade.

With the United Nations Special General Assembly on drugs coming
up on 8th to 10th June, it is not too late for the Prime Minister
to put Australia on the right road to solving many problems:
recognise that drug addiction of all types is a health and a
social problem, not a crime.

At the same time he will go a long way to making the world more

For further comment please contact
Peter Cleeland, 03 9401 1118
Vice President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation
Brian McConnell, 02 6254 2961 (hm) 02 6252 6770 (wk)
President of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

Background Material attached for general information


Source of Heroin on Australian Streets

80% of the heroin detected comes from South East Asia with the
balance from the "Golden Crescent" covering Pakistan, Afghanistan
and Iran
(Australian Illicit drug Report 1996-97, pp. 34 & 38)

"Almost 90% of the world's illicitly produced opiates originate
in the main production areas - the Golden Cresent (Afghanistan,
Iran, Pakistan) and the Golden Triangle (Lao PDR, Myanmar,

World Drug Report, United Nations International Drug Control
Programme, page 18.

The drug trade and its effect in Pakistan and neighbouring

"In situations of armed conflict, illicit drug revenues - or the
drugs themselves - are regularly exchanged for arms." World Drug
Report, United Nations International Drug Control Programme,
page 17.

"In the past year, the narcotics trade from the Afghanistan-
Pakistan-Central Asia region has exploded" (Far Eastern
Economic Review, 16 April 1998, p. 28 citing US Department of
State and UN Drug Control Program sources).

Before Pakistan tested its nuclear bomb "Washington . . .
complained that Islamabad has made 'no progress in crop
eradication', that poppy cultivation has climbed 21% and anti-
drug enforcement has deteriorated" Far Eastern Economic Review,
16 April 1998, p. 28

"In the 15 years since [Pakistan banned its cultivation in 1979]
cultivation of opium poppy continues on a large scale with no
clear long-term trend of production emerging" (Ralph Seccombe,
"Squeezing the balloon: international drugs policy" in Drug and
Alcohol Review, vol. 14, pp. 311-316 (1995) at p. 312.
Mr Seccombe is a former field advisor in Pakistan, of the United
Nation's International Drug Control Programme.)

"Corruption . . . appears to have increased dramatically as a
result of the establishment of a large-scale narcotics industry
in Pakistan in the 1980's" (Ralph Seccombe, "Squeezing the
balloon: international drugs policy" in Drug and Alcohol Review,
vol. 14, pp. 311-316 (1995) at p. 314).

In 1997 a Pakistani air force officer was caught in New York
trying to sell heroin (Far Eastern Economic Review, 16 April
1998, p. 28).

"The influence of 'drug barons' [is] such that it [is] difficult,
if not impossible for an honest man or woman to be elected to the
nation's Parliament. The highly lucrative drug trade inevitably
bred crime and corrupation, seriously compromising the
effectiveness and credibility of administration, with a
consequent lowering of the quality of life" (Ralph Seccombe,
"Squeezing the balloon: international drugs policy" in Drug and
Alcohol Review, vol. 14, pp. 311-316 (1995) at p. 314).

"In Afghanistan . . . in the past few years narcotic profits have
been poured into the war effort, as the battle for Afghanistan
intensifies. Since Afghanistan boasts virtually no economic
activity, the drugs industry is the only way to raise cash"
(Far Eastern Economic Review, 16 April 1998, p. 28)

The size of the illicit drugs industry.
(Source: Access Economics economics monitor, October 1997, pp.
World turnover of the illicit drug industry in 1994: $US400
billion representing 1.4% of total world economic output (citing
UN World Drug Report 1997)

Australian turnover $7 billion

Heroin mark up on retail sale - over 3000 times the farm gate


Turnover of Australian illegal drug trade $7 billion

Tangible and intangible costs of misuse of illegal drugs made up
$1.8 billion

Resources available for other uses if consumption of illegal
drugs ceased 50%
law enforcement costs 25%
loss of production due to death 24%

Drug related crime and welfare payments
$1.5 billion

Ineffectiveness of law enforcement effort.

According to prohibitionist theory, law enforcement both overseas
and in Australia is intended to make the illicit drugs less
available by reducing the quantity available, reducing the purity
level and raising the price. Experience continues to show this
policy is failing miserably.

"The NSW Police Drug Enforcement Agency believe only 10% of
available heroin is interdicted" (Australian Illicit drug Report
1995-96, p.62).

This is a barely higher proportion than the US Drug Enforcement
Agency believed it was interdicting in 1979: "Concentrating on
seizures of heroin seems . . . fruitless. Currently less than
10% of the estimated illicit heroin consumption is seized."
Mark H. Moore, "Limiting supplies of drugs to illicit markets" in
Journal of Drug Issues, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 291-308 (Spring 1979)
at p. 302.

". . . the continuing general availability of high-grade heroin
suggests that dealers are usually able to match user's demands
even after large seizures by authorities (Australian Illicit drug
Report 1996-97, p. 41).

"Few shortages [of heroin] were reported anywhere and law
enforcement activity did not appear to affect prices on the
street, which declined overall . . ." (Australian Illicit drug
Report 1996-97, p. 47)

"All jurisdictions [in Australia] reported that during 1996-97
the purity level of heroin on Australian streets was either
stable or increasing, after having increased in many areas in
recent years"
Australian Illicit drug Report 1996-97, p. 41).

"Despite annual fluctuations, world wide production of opium has
increased in recent years . . . There is little prospect of
significant decrease in heroin production and export to countries
such as Australia" (Australian Illicit drug Report 1996-97,
p. 34).

Statements on drugs by other Senior Police

Mr Neil Comrie, Commissioner of Police, Victoria: "Previously we
looked in amazement at what was happening in the United States
and the United Kingdom. Well it is now upon us and we really
haven't used our time wisely in dealing with this problem"
(Age, 9 March 1998)

Mr Mal Hyde, Commissioner of Police, South Australia: "'We need
to be looking to health experts as to what is the best way to
deal with the use of heroin,' he said. . . . Mr Hyde said that if
addiction could be successfully treated, it was 'a reasonable
expectation' that drug-related crime would fall.' . . .
Mr Hyde said he was disappointed by the Commonwealth's decision
[to scrap the heroin trial]" (Adelaide Advertiser, 22 November

Mr Mick Palmer, Commissioner of Federal Police: "I simply think
that the nature of the problem and the sheer growth of the
problem means that we must be prepared to try new ideas . . .
and I think initiatives such as the heroin trial promoted by the
ACT are very positive" (Canberra Times, 30 May 1997).

Mr Peter Ryan, Commissioner of Police, New South Wales: "I think
there's a need to look at the drug legislation. There is room
for reform."

"Whether or not decriminalising drugs would have a beneficial
effect is probably a guess. It's probably worth trying and seeing
what happened" (Saturday 22 February 1997 on ABC TV)

Mr Raymond Kendall, Secretary-General, Interpol: "I certainly
don't think we're winning and I'm not sure that we can win. And
I'm certainly not sure that we can win if we apply the present
policies that are being applied." (6 March 1996)

Mr Johnson, Commissioner of Police, Tasmania: "We're spending
half a billion dollars here in Australia; around the world
there's countless billions of dollars being spent and, if the
report of the conference in Vienna is something to go by, with
very little result. . . .My problem is that I don't think
[police work] is having any effect on the supply in Australia"
(4 March 1996)

Mr Edward Ellison, former head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Drugs

"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.'" (Daily
Telegraph, London, March 1998)


Peter Watney, Treasurer
Internet: petrew@pcug.org.au
Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation Inc
Fidonet: 3:620/243/71
PO Box 129
Voice: +61-2-6254-1914
Canberra Civic Square
fax: +61-2-6205-0431
ACT 2608



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