------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US OR: Shooting Spurs Debate On Prozac's Use By Kids Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Phil Smith (email@example.com) Source: Oregonian, The Pubdate: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Author: Katy Muldoon of The Oregonian staff SHOOTING SPURS DEBATE ON PROZAC'S USE BY KIDS * 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 misunderstanding. 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 help? 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 simple. 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 drug. 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 life. "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 family. "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 afraid. 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 thoughts. 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 email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Patient May Sue Police For Pot Arrest Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: James Hammett
Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Section: Ventura County Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Author: Coll Metcalfe, Times Staff Writer PATIENT MAY SUE POLICE FOR POT ARREST 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US MD: City Shake-Up Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Rob Ryan Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 Source: Daily Times, The (MD) Contact: email@example.com Author: Bryn Mickle CITY SHAKE-UP 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 solicitor. 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 misleading." 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: WP: Coast Guard "We Need More Money For Drug War" Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 COAST GUARD "WE NEED MORE MONEY FOR DRUG WAR" 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 month. 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: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Abstract: DOD Involvement in the Counterdrug Effort--Contributions and Limitations Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com 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 http://www.au.af.mil/au/database/research/ay1997/acsc/97-0077.htm Title: DOD Involvement in the Counterdrug Effort--Contributions and Limitations 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Lott Says Senate Anti-Smoking Bill `Teetering' Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John Smith Source: Seattle Times (WA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Pubdate: Tuesday 02 June 1998 Author: Harry Berkowitz, Newsday LOTT SAYS SENATE ANTI-SMOKING BILL `TEETERING' 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Potent Heroin From Mexico Now Second In U.S. Trade Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John Smith Source: Seattle Times (WA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Pubdate: Tuesday 02 June 1998 Author: Molly Moore and Douglas Farah, The Washington Post POTENT HEROIN FROM MEXICO NOW SECOND IN U.S. TRADE 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Mexico: Mexican Heroin on Rise in U.S. Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 HEROIN ON RISE IN U.S. 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 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 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 (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: Mexican heroin on the rise in US: report (fwd) Sender: email@example.com 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 cocaine. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Venezuela: Albright Says Anti-Drug Sting Needed Better Coordination Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Patrick Henry Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 Source: Tampa Bay Online Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.tampabayonline.net/news/ ALBRIGHT SAYS ANTI-DRUG STING NEEDED BETTER COORDINATION 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Drugged Son, 4, Was Like 'Zombie' Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Toronto Sun (Canada) Pubdate: Tuesday, 2 June 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoSun/ Author: Gretchen Drummie, Toronto Sun DRUGGED SON, 4, WAS LIKE 'ZOMBIE' 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 around. 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 behavior." 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: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: PUB LTE: Pot is not almost decriminalized. Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 09:51:03 -0700 Lines: 52 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Calgary Sun Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 trafficking? 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Columbia: Samper Defends Record Colombian Leader Says Peace Is Closer Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com (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 SAMPER DEFENDS RECORD COLOMBIAN LEADER SAYS PEACE IS CLOSER 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 said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: NYT: U.S. To Increase Support For Colombian Army Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (kevin b. zeese) Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 Source: New York Times Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Authors: Diana Jean Schemo And Tim Golden U.S. TO INCREASE SUPPORT FOR COLOMBIAN ARMY 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 war. 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 country." 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 government. 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 airstrips. 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 region. 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 army. 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 hearing. 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 forces. 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 Peru. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: WP: Drug Trafficker Sent To US For Trial Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 DRUG TRAFFICKER SENT TO US FOR TRIAL 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 co-defendants. 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 profits. 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 politics. "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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Venezuela: Wire: Prisoners Kill For Clothes To Buy Drugs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Patrick Henry (email@example.com) Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 Source: Reuters PRISONERS KILL FOR CLOTHES TO BUY DRUGS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Press Release by ADLRF Date: Tue, 02 Jun 98 09:27:25 +1000 From: email@example.com (Peter Watney) Organization: P.I.C. PRESS RELEASE 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 ADLRF. 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 secure. 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 BACKGROUND MATERIAL 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, Thailand)." World Drug Report, United Nations International Drug Control Programme, page 18. The drug trade and its effect in Pakistan and neighbouring countries. "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. 14-18) 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 price. ANNUAL COSTS Turnover of Australian illegal drug trade $7 billion Tangible and intangible costs of misuse of illegal drugs made up of: $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 1997). 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 Squad: "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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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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