------------------------------------------------------------------- Study Targets Stalemate Over Medicinal Use Of Marijuana ('The San Jose Mercury News' Describes What It Erroneously Calls 'The First And Only Government-Sanctioned Marijuana-Therapy Research Project In The United States,' Being Carried Out With AIDS Patients At San Francisco General Hospital Under The Direction Of Dr. Donald Abrams, Neglecting To Note The Low-Cannabinoid, High-Tar Ditchweed Cigarettes Provided By The Government Have Had The Flowering Buds Favored By Other Medical Marijuana Patients Removed So The Government's Rolling Machines Can Process Them)Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 01:09:32 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Study Targets Stalemate Over Medicinal Use of Marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 Author: Lisa M. Krieger STUDY TARGETS STALEMATE OVER MEDICINAL USE OF MARIJUANA Three times a day, a neatly machine-rolled marijuana joint is delivered from a locked cabinet at San Francisco General Hospital to Patient No. 9. He closes the door to his small white room, stuffs a towel under the door and lights a match. A nurse watches through a window. Following strict research protocol, he inhales for five seconds, holds for 10, then releases. He waits 45 seconds. The exercise is repeated 10 times. Patient No. 9, a 34-year-old former Navy man with HIV, is a volunteer in a new $1 million, two-year research experiment that hopes to help resolve a long-running and emotional debate in federal drug policy: Does marijuana, the country's most widely used illegal drug, have medicinal value? The study -- the first and only government-sanctioned marijuana-therapy research project in the United States -- pays volunteers $1,000 to undergo more than three weeks of isolation and rigorous medical testing. They smoke pot, ingest a tablet form of the drug or take a placebo. ``It is a really intense study,'' said Patient No. 9, who has experience in pot smoking and much patience -- both necessary criteria for the study. ``I knew that coming in.'' The patient, a muscular 34-year-old man with tattoos and a gold chain, relaxes by reading Stephen King and watching ``Jurassic Park'' and Disney videos including ``The Little Mermaid,'' ``The Lion King'' and ``Hercules.'' His earnings from the study will help finance an autumn trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida. Critical to the research are the blood tests that measure immune function, hormones, the AIDS virus and marijuana's active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). There are also tests of Patient No. 9's body composition to see if marijuana has any effect on weight gain or appetite. A large plastic bubble is pulled over his head for 30 minutes each morning to monitor his carbon dioxide levels. The results of the experiment ultimately could influence the debate over the medicinal use of marijuana, which won public support in the 1996 approval of California's Proposition 215. The courts have since been shooting down the law. The study's lead investigator insists that the experiment is motivated by medicine, not politics. ``It was the need to find answers so that patients could be best advised concerning marijuana,'' said Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco, a renowned Stanford-educated AIDS expert. Pot used through ages But scientific documentation lacking Marijuana has been used as a recreational, ceremonial and therapeutic substance throughout history. But neither risks nor benefits have been scientifically documented. ``The policy cart has tended to pull the scientific horse with respect to marijuana,'' said Dr. David Smith, founder and medical director of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics Inc. Marijuana once was more readily available through the federal government. In 1978, it was distributed to a limited number of patients under an Investigational New Drug procedure. But when requests burgeoned in 1991, the program was suspended, though seven patients continue to receive pot under this program. Since then, the federal government has denied there is any legitimate use for marijuana. The agency formally classifies it as a Schedule I ``controlled substance,'' the same as heroin and LSD. That means it has no recognized medicinal purpose and may not be prescribed. A band of dissident doctors and pro-marijuana activists have sought to reverse the government's stance, contending the illicit weed already is being used by tens of thousands of patients suffering from muscle diseases, glaucoma and the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. The AIDS epidemic brought new urgency to the issue, as many people turned to marijuana as a medicinal treatment for HIV-associated anorexia and weight loss. An estimated 11,000 Bay Area residents with HIV obtained marijuana for medicinal use from local marijuana buyers clubs before most were shut in a post-Proposition 215 crackdown. Without solid research, doctors have been unable to advise their patients on the effect of the drug on appetite, lung and immune function. Nor did they understand the interaction, if any, between marijuana and anti-viral protease inhibitors. Because both drugs are metabolized by the same liver enzyme system, there is reason to fear that pot smoking can concentrate the AIDS drugs, causing toxicity -or alternatively, reduce levels of AIDS drugs, rendering them useless. Sympathy for sick people who could benefit from marijuana led to the passage of Proposition 215. It allowed seriously ill patients and their primary caregivers, with the oral or written recommendation of a doctor, to possess and cultivate marijuana for patients' personal use. The government's response to Proposition 215 was swift and dramatic. It warned that physicians who recommended medicinal marijuana would be punished under federal law, including criminal prosecution. The government cautioned that marijuana had as many as 400 components, some of them cancer-causing. And it said that modern medicines, such as the THC-based drug Marinol, are superior to marijuana. Technically, marijuana -- like any other Schedule I drug -- is available for research. But every proposal had failed to pass muster with the federal government. Five years ago, Abrams first tried to win permission to scientifically study the drug. He found a supplier of pot in the Netherlands, but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) refused to let it be imported. Nor would the DEA donate pot confiscated in arrests. The National Institutes of Drug Abuse would give him government-grown pot only if the National Institutes of Health approved the study. But his proposal was turned down by NIH, which criticized its design and expressed concerns about the risks of smoking. Abrams went back to the drawing board, redesigned the study -- and finally, last October, got the federal approval and funding to proceed. Moderate potency Only legal pot farm in United States As pot goes, the 1,400 joints used in the study are nothing special: Only moderately potent, they're a little too dry, although free of seeds and stems. Since the cigarettes arrive freeze-dried, San Francisco General Hospital nurses say they have to humidify them in a special chamber. As a connection, Uncle Sam grows his own. It takes place on a seven-acre marijuana farm on the outskirts of the campus of the University of Mississippi, originally created to provide pot through the 1978 program. Located in the northeast corner of a state known for its long growing season, the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences is the only legal marijuana plantation in the United States. Long-awaited results could help break the emotional stalemate over medicinal marijuana, said Abrams. If the drug is found to be dangerous, doctors will know to warn their patients. But if it works, the push will increase for the drug to be approved for medicinal use. ``It is clear that the real hard work is just about to begin,'' said Abrams. ``We are delighted with the way the study is going so far. Answers to important questions will be answered by the trial. We are really pleased that after a long time, the study is launched and going smoothly.'' ``Five years of persistence has clearly paid off,'' said Abrams. ``Despite roadblocks, the scientific questions prevailed.'' Saying thanks Patient No. 9 wants to aid science Not long ago, Patient No. 9 -- the anonymity is a condition for media access -- was so sick with AIDS he signed ``do-not-resuscitate papers'' in preparation for death. His weight dropped from 240 to 163 pounds. He was fighting Pneumocystis pneumonia, Kaposi's sarcoma and internal parasites. Experimental treatments turned his life around. The pneumonia and parasites were cured; his KS receded. AIDS virus levels, once sky-high, became ``undetectable'' in tests. He wants to give something back to science, as a way of saying thanks, he said. In preparation of the pot study, he paid his bills and rent in advance. He got ahead on his work; mail is being handled by his roommate. Not wanting to become the focus of attention, he's not telling many people about his role in the experiment. ``I told them I'm on vacation, visiting my mother.'' He doesn't mind the confinement: The 12-by-17-foot hospital room is neat and clean, with a pink blanket and a picturesque view of the terra-cotta shingles of the hospital roof below. A fan pulls the thick sweet smoke out into the cool San Francisco air. He selects his meals from a special menu, rather than the usual hospital fare. A refrigerator in his room is stocked with cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, crackers, soda, juice, three kinds of ice cream and five types of cookies. Although not allowed visitors, he can talk on the phone and take an occasional stroll with a nurse chaperon. The restrictions don't bother him. ``I volunteered because I am a strong believer in research,'' he said. ``It has to be done well, because the feds will scrutinize this up and down, every facet of it.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Alliance Between Government, Media A Bad Move (Everett, Washington 'Herald' Columnist James McCusker Is Suspicious Of The Government's New $2 Billion Drug-War Advertising Blitz, Suggesting The Real Question Is Whether We Want Our Government To Get VIP Treatment By Media Moguls, Noting Some Years Ago, At The Forming Of The US Information Agency, Congress Expressed Concern About Using Taxpayer Money For Domestic Propaganda) Date: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 23:01:31 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US WA: Column: Alliance Between Government, Media A Bad Move Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 Source: The Herald, Everett (WA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.heraldnet.com/ Author: James McCusker, Your Business ALLIANCE BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, MEDIA A BAD MOVE Christina Simmons of the San Diego Zoo assures us that a camel's breath will faithfully reflect his most recent meal. So, if you and your tentmates are about to doze off and suddenly notice a distinctive odor, you should quickly establish who ate what at dinner. if no one admits to the alfalfa and red fescue combo plate, grab a flashlight and check around. There's a camel's nose inside the tent. If you consider mass marketing the tent, the nose in this instance belongs to a camel named Uncle Sam. On July 9, President Clinton announced a $2 billion, five year media blitz to convince young people not to take drugs. Half the money will come from the taxpayers; the rest, it is hoped, will be donated by various media organizations. Much of the discussion following the announcement focused on whether the ads will have any effect. Any marketing expert will tell you that changing deeply embedded behavior patterns through advertising isn't easy. And other analysts point out hat over the past decade or so television networks have donated more than $3 billion worth of air time to the anti-drug messages, with underwhelming results. Still, it might work. The old advertising program was dependent on public service announcements that television stations tended to air during the "insomniac hours." It was also dependent on the public spirit and generosity of the networks. Whatever one thinks of the current state of those virtues at the networks, the hard fact is that at-risk young people don't watch much network TV. The new anti-drug effort, with its $200 million annual budget, will purchase time on television including cable TV, in specific time slots and on specific programs that the target market -- young people of middle-school age -- actually watch. There will also be advertisements placed in print media, on billboards, and on the Internet. The new anti-drug program is "for the children," and is therefore, presumably, beyond criticism. That is why what little fire it has drawn has been focused on the technical issues of advertising effectiveness. The potential effectiveness of the new anti-drug program, though, is not the real issue. What is far more important is that the fundamental structure of the anti-drug campaign is changing, and government's relationships to the media industry, and to the public, are changing with it. The feds have suddenly become a player in the media industry, a "client" with a $200 million a year budget. Even with today's bloated media budgets, that will earn VIP treatment by the media moguls. The real question is whether we want our government to get VIP treatment by the media moguls. And if it does get this treatment, how will that change things? To start with, a client relationship is different from a regulatory relationship. It is shaped by the needs and the character of the client. Big advertising clients are legendary for being capricious, demanding and difficult to please. (Just think of the clients Darren and Samantha had to deal with in "Bewitched."} A regulatory relationship, by contrast is shaped by the law that creates it. For many years, the federal government's relationship with the broadcast media was directly influenced by the laws that spelled out how radio and TBV licenses would be granted and how, generally, the public interest in broadcasting would be represented. Over the past two decades, thought, the federal government has become less interested in regulating broadcasting, and has increasingly viewed it as something that the market should and would take care of. Whether or not that was a good idea is a matter of opinion. Starting a new relationship, that of "client," however, is another matter. Money buys influence. Newspapers and broadcasters frequently wrestle with this problem when it comes to their own advertisers. Particularly when dealing with bad news of any sort, it is a natural instinct to treat a client differently from a stranger. Still, it's one thing for the local weekly to give its major advertiser, "Vlads House of Garlic," the benefit of the doubt with its health inspection results, and quite another for the national news media to give a positive spin to its "client's" latest tax plan or foreign policy adventure. The relationship between politics and the media is already something of an unholy alliance, and the introduction of a billion-dollar cash flow isn't likely to improve its character. Worse, though, is that the government will quickly become accustomed to treating the public as a "target market." When the anti-drug campaign peters out, another program, to promote something else that is good for us, will follow. Some years ago, at the forming of the U.S. Information Agency, the Congress expressed its concern about using taxpayer money for domestic propaganda. Maybe they weren't wrong.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Grand Jury To Probe Shooting Of Mexican (United Press International Says Mexican Consul General Manuel Perez Cardenas Was Told By Houston, Texas Police That By August 17 A Grand Jury Would Hear The Case Of Mexican National Pedro Oregon Navarro, An Innocent Man Killed By Houston Prohibition Agents Who Shot Him 12 Times, Nine Times In The Back, After Breaking Down His Door Without A Warrant) Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 01:08:20 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US TX: Grand Jury to Probe Shooting of Mexican Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Walter Latham (email@example.com) Source: UPI Wire Report Pubdate: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 GRAND JURY TO PROBE SHOOTING OF MEXICAN HOUSTON, July 19 (UPI) Officials of the Houston Police Department met with Mexican Consul General Manuel Perez Cardenas to discuss the fatal shooting of Mexican national Pedro Oregon in a drug raid on July 12, which resulted in suspension of the six officers involved. Cardenas says today that the assistant police chief promised him a grand jury will hear the case by Aug. 17. The meeting comes as funeral services are being held for Oregon at Iglasius Julio Episcopal San Mateo, a church in Houston. More than 30 rounds were fired in the raid. One officer suffered a bullet bruise when a slug fired by another officer struck him in the shoulder. The wounded officer, L.E. Tillery, a member of a police anti-gang unit, was also suspended. The investigation into the officers' use of deadly force seeks to determine whether the officers violated department policy and possibly broke the law in their handling of the raid. The raid was reportedly set up with the aid of an informant who was not registered with the police department. Also, the officers allegedly had no warrant before they entered the apartment where Oregon was shot.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Any Questions? ('The Minneapolis Star Tribune' Interviews The Minneapolis Actress, Rachael Leigh Cook, Your Tax Dollars Paid To Swing A Frying Pan In The Ubiquitous New Anti-Heroin Television Advertisement Produced By The Partnership For A Drug-Free America) Reply-To: (mc.kiclark@WORLDNET.ATT.NET) From: "MICHAEL C. CLARK" (mc.kiclark@WORLDNET.ATT.NET) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Any questions? Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 10:49:20 -0700 The following article was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Entertainment section 7-19-98: This is local actress Rachael Leigh Cook. This is local actress Rachael Leigh Cook in an anti-drug ad: Any Questions? Television - Noel Holston Rachael Leigh Cook doesn't shake and bake in the kitchen. She doesn't slice and dice. She smashes and trashes. The 18-year-old Minneapolis actress is the tough-talking, tank-topped grrrl in what has quickly become the most talked about public-service announcement (PSA) in the federal government's new five-year campaign to discourage children and teens from using drugs. Surely you've seen it by now. It's running everywhere from local stations to MTV. In a twist on an older "This is your brain on drugs" spot, Cook's character stands in a kitchen holding an egg and a large frying pan. "This is your brain," she says, carefully placing the egg on the counter. "This is heroin," she says, abolishing the egg with a ferocious whack. She holds up the pan. Yolk drips sickly from its underside. "This is what happens to your brain after snorting heroin." But that's not the end of it. Cook proceeds to do the sort of damage one associates with Steven Seagal, demolishing a rack of dinner plates, a clock and assorted household items ("This is what your family goes through! Your friends!") before assuming a take-no- prisoners stare and asking, "Any questions?" In a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where she's about to start work on a new film, Cook said the 30-second spot was shot at someone's house, not on a set. "We didn't break any of their stuff, thanks goodness," she said. "The dishes were real, though, not breakaway props. They were hard to break. It took about four takes just to get the dishes because they wouldn't break. The director would go, `Rachael, you only got through the first three plates. We've got to get all five.' And they'd set them up again Nice by nature Acting like a raging bull didn't come easy to Cook. "I'm not a very destructive person by nature," she said. "I don't think I've ever broken anything on purpose. I never had temper tantrums as a kid." Still, she jumped at the chance to do the spot - which is actually titled "Frying Pan" - because she believes in the message and because it allowed her to display her range. Who Knows? For an actress whose early credits include "Tom and Huck" and "The Baby-Sitter's Club," "Frying Pan" could be the ticket to Tarantinoville. There are dozens of anti-drug PSAs in the campaign, which began 10 days ago. Their tone and approach vary widely. One spot shows a mother and father assuming the roles of DJ and rapper, respectively, in an effort to communicate with their son about drugs. The folks are so ludicrous, they're almost touching. Of course, the youths of America have a long history of rolling their eyes in annoyance upon encountering adult attempts to sneak a message past their radar, let alone pound them over the head. So it seemed only proper to ask Cook, a teen herself, what she thought of the campaign's potential. Her best guess is that the variety of approaches increases the odds of one anti-drug spot or another making a lasting impression. She said she prefers the "gritty" spots, such as hers, and she considers some of the others pretty cheesy. "But I think we need to educate people as to the dangers of drugs however we have to," she said. "People have to realize that most kids do drugs in some form. I saw this really funny spot about educating your children to the dangers of sniffing and, like, keeping them away from cleaning products. It was really serious. You might kind of laugh a little bit, but it's true." Public(-service) access Surprisingly, it has been almost a year since Cook taped her kitchen rampage. Like many of the spots in the campaign's initial phase, hers was finished but went largely unseen because TV stations weren't running a lot of anti-drug PSAs. "I'm not saying that television stations don't do public service," said Alan Levitt of the White House Office of Drug Policy, which crafted the campaign in conjunction with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. "But it's different kinds of public service, and the drug issue in the last five or six years has declined precipitously." There's a simple explanation for the sudden ubiquity of the PSAs. The government is buying TV time, just like the makers of Pringles and Mountain Dew. More than two-thirds of the $195 million that Congress allocated for the campaign's first year will go to TV spots. Levitt said that buying the time ensures not only the frequency of the spots but also better placement than PSAs often get. But TV isn't totally profiteering from this new tactic in the war on drugs. "When we buy time on a station or anywhere, we ask for 100-percent match in the form of public service time or space or in the form of programming," Levitt said. "In the first six months of this campaign, which was a test phase in 12 cities, we got almost 100-percent match [of free air time]." Now that the campaign has been taken national, Levitt said, the plan is to turn the donated time over to local organizations: "Starting in September, that will be handled by the American Advertising Federation and the state alcohol-and drug-abuse agencies. They'll meet and basically divvy up these pro bono contributions from the stations."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Addicts Avoid AIDS Drugs, Fearing They Affect Methadone (According To 'The New York Times,' Medical Experts And Advocates For AIDS Patients Say Many Drug Addicts Infected With HIV Are Missing The Benefits Of Powerful New AIDS Drugs Because Of Widespread Suspicion On The Street That The Drugs Reduce The Calming Effect Of Methadone) From: Holly Catania (email@example.com) To: TLC_ACTIVIST (TLCACT@snake-eyes.soros.org) Subject: Methadone Patients and AIDS Drugs Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 09:43:31 -0400 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org All, This story appeared in the Sunday, July 19 New York Times and was picked up by UPI. To respond, address a short letter (no more than 150 words) to the Editor at: email@example.com. -----Original Message----- Addicts Avoid AIDS Drugs, Fearing They Affect Methadone By LYNDA RICHARDSON NEW YORK -- Many drug addicts infected with HIV are missing the benefits of powerful new AIDS drugs because of widespread suspicion on the street that the drugs reduce the calming effect of methadone, medical experts and advocates for AIDS patients say. Nationwide, intravenous-drug use has directly or indirectly accounted for 36 percent of the AIDS cases since the epidemic began nearly two decades ago. The greatest problem is among minority groups, with 38 percent of all AIDS cases related to drug injection among blacks and 37 percent among Hispanic people, compared with 22 percent of all cases among whites. The numbers for women are also striking. Since 1981, at least 61 percent of all AIDS cases among women have been attributed to intravenous-drug use or sex with partners who inject drugs, compared with 31 percent of cases among men, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. There is no concrete scientific evidence that the AIDS drugs, known as protease inhibitors, interfere with methadone. But the perception that they do adds yet another obstacle to treatment for a group that is difficult to track and has historically been underrepresented in clinical trials to test new drugs. Among doctors, researchers, patient advocates and even some drug users, there is much dispute over how much protease inhibitors affect methadone. Some treatment specialists suggest that addicts' multiple health problems play a more dominant role than the interaction of the drugs. But few deny that many people on methadone believe otherwise. Howard Josepher, executive director of Exponents, a nonprofit group in Manhattan that provides counseling and support for drug users who have AIDS, said suspicion of AIDS drugs was widespread on the street. "We hear a good deal of trepidation and discomfort that some methadone patients are experiencing," he said. "These are things we just don't know much about. But we find a lot of people are really skeptical about the medications." In New York City, half of the estimated 200,000 intravenous-drug users are HIV positive. Roughly 10 percent to 15 percent of the city's drug users are enrolled in the 34,000 methadone treatment slots in the city. There are 40,000 slots statewide. Statistics vary on the number of drug users taking protease inhibitors. Some estimates put the number at one-quarter to one-third of all intravenous-drug users in the city. The number of addicts who shun protease inhibitors altogether, or avoid them for brief periods, is equally difficult to determine. "The reality is that it's a hard group to pull together," said Dr. Diana Williamson, the medical director of Harlem United, a nonprofit advocacy group for people with AIDS, and also a clinical research fellow at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan. "Fears are generated and perpetuated by word-of-mouth and on the street corners. Some are true. Some are not true. Some get validated. Some don't. It doesn't matter. It's a world unto itself and they don't get respected the way they should." James Turner, 40, an addict with HIV, takes a dose of methadone each morning to ease his heroin cravings. He also has a complex pill-popping schedule that includes protease inhibitors. But he is convinced that the protease inhibitors "eat up the methadone," as he puts it. He said he had endured many sleepless nights in his cluttered room, the size of a prison cell, in a Bronx hotel, because the methadone wore off too quickly. To reverse the effect, Turner said, he stopped taking the AIDS drugs for three months this year. During that time, he said, he continued taking methadone but was never sick. But when he decided to resume the AIDS drugs in May because the amount of HIV in his blood shot up, he felt sick again. Addicts who inject drugs have made up the greatest number of AIDS cases in New York City since 1988, outpacing gay men every year, sometimes at more than double the number, according to the State Health Department. Drug users account for 44.6 percent of all AIDS cases in the state, but their circle of infection spreads much further. They are linked to most heterosexual cases and virtually all pediatric AIDS cases, state health officials said. AIDS cases among drug users are more concentrated in Northeastern states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, than on the West Coast. In California, about 20 percent of the cases are related to intravenous-drug use, while nearly 60 percent of AIDS patients are gay men, according to California health officials. Turner, the addict who has had trouble with his AIDS drug regimen, said he had persuaded a Park Avenue psychiatrist to prescribe him the tranquilizer Xanax to calm his body when the methadone wears off around 8 each night. But other drug users, like Balil Haneef of Manhattan, have not found such a creative way to compensate for their needs. Haneef, 40, a peer drug counselor who tested positive for HIV 14 years ago, said he quit both the AIDS drugs and methadone therapy two months ago. He said the combination of drugs made him unbearably sick. The other day, Haneef was preparing to lead a support group meeting in a dingy patient lounge on the medical detoxification floor at St. Clare's Hospital and Health Center in midtown Manhattan. But he seemed a bit slow and hesitant in his speech. His doctor said he shows signs of dementia related to advanced AIDS. Haneef, who works for a nonprofit agency that helps drug users, leads the support group meetings twice a day. With his experiences -- he overdosed four times and has an extensive prison record -- Haneef said drug addicts can relate to him and he is comfortable around them. In an interview, he said he uses "medical ebonics" -- his own street patois -- to break down all the intimidating medical AIDS jargon. "I don't have it prewritten," he said. "It comes natural." He described the combination of protease inhibitors and methadone as a bad mix, like milk and lemon juice. "I was feeling really bad," Haneef said. "I just felt like I wasn't getting the full effect" of the methadone. Haneef, who said he has not used illegal drugs in seven years, knows of other drug users who seem to be doing well on protease inhibitors. He concedes that he took the AIDS drugs on and off for 18 months before stopping cold two months ago. At his doctor's urging, he has agreed to start fresh on protease inhibitors soon because he is worried about his deteriorating health. However, Haneef plans to stay off methadone. He said the rigidly structured program was too controlling. Yet the methadone programs, which involve daily trips to a clinic, are an efficient way to monitor the health of infected people -- and to prevent them from spreading the virus on the streets, many treatment specialists say. Research shows that the longer drug users are in methadone programs, the less likely they are to contract HIV. If the epidemic is ever to be stemmed, experts say, it is critical to collect more precise scientific information on the interaction between protease inhibitors and other drugs, including methadone, heroin and other street drugs. "Until we have the answers, it's going to be difficult to convince people to take the medications because of the anxiety," said Dr. John Jacobs, medical director of the clinical AIDS care programs at New York Hospital. "Anxiety is an obstacle for this population to get what may be life-sustaining therapy." Doctors have found that the rumor mill among drug users is extraordinarily extensive and detailed in the methadone clinics run by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. When clinics there introduced a new form of methadone that lasts as long as three days instead of 24 hours, patients were immediately suspicious. "It's a population that wants things the way they are; they don't want to be experimented with," said Dr. Peter Tenore, associate medical director in the college's division of substance abuse. "When something new comes around, they are reluctant to try it." One-third of the 4,000 methadone patients in the 10 clinics are HIV positive and the majority take protease inhibitors of different types. Tenore said clinical observations have revealed no major problems in taking the combination of drugs, though no specific studies have been conducted to test patients' blood before and after being treated with the AIDS drugs. Last year, a drug interaction study was conducted by Abbott Laboratories in Illinois, which manufactures a protease inhibitor called ritonavir. The study found that methadone levels were reduced by ritonavir, which could lead to withdrawal symptoms, the opposite of what the study's investigators had predicted. But many scientists say the monthlong study has serious flaws because it used healthy, noninfected volunteers who took very low doses of methadone. Several other studies are now in the pipeline, including a federally sponsored study that will use HIV-positive patients already on methadone. It is expected to begin later this summer and should be completed in about a year. "This study will clarify whether we need to worry about this or not at all," said Dr. John Gerber, the study's principal investigator and a professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. Following the exacting regimen of drug cocktails that include protease inhibitors can tax even the most stable of patients. The cost of the drugs is not a issue in New York, unlike some states, because poor people can get them through Medicaid or a state drug assistance program. The cocktails generally combine a protease inhibitor with older antiviral drugs like AZT. The protease inhibitor blocks a key viral enzyme called protease, and the older drugs block a different enzyme. The multiple-drug assault suppresses the virus. When protease inhibitors were first being tested, the trials were dominated by gay white men who clamored for new treatment therapies. Addicts tended to be ignored. But that is slowly changing. The federal government has become more aggressive in enrolling addicts as well as women and members of minorities in the trials that it sponsors. And some pharmaceutical companies are looking more attentively at addicts as important consumers of their new drugs. Some medical experts and advocates for AIDS patients worry that a perception that drug addicts have difficulties with protease inhibitors will feed into the popular stereotype that addicts are notoriously bad at adhering to a strict medical regimen. But at Harlem Hospital Center, Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr said clinical trials of many new drugs there have included a substantial population of intravenous-drug users for 10 years and produced "excellent data and follow-up." "It tells you that the whole notion of people thinking that this population is not reliable is wrong. It's a generalization," she said. Subtle prejudices show up in what AIDS advocates demand from drug companies, said James Learned, deputy director of People with AIDS Health Group, which focuses on treatment education and counseling in New York. "There is a hierarchy, and certainly people who are using or even in recovery have been at the bottom of the barrel," he said. In his list of requests to drug companies, Learned said he has never placed the study of interactions among protease inhibitors and methadone or illegal drugs at the top. "It has ended up somewhere but never at the top," he said. "Maybe we should do it, since there is a real concern out there." Sunday, July 19, 1998 Copyright 1998 The New York Times David Mickenberg The Lindesmith Center (212) 548-0383 firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Former Mexican Assistant Attorney General Linked To Drug Trafficking (According To 'The Associated Press,' The Daily Newspaper 'El Universal' In Mexico City Said Sunday That Testimony By Members Of The Gulf And Juarez Drug Cartels Against Mario Ruiz Massieu May Help Win His Extradition From The United States, Where He Has Been Under House Arrest In New Jersey Since He Fled Mexico In 1995) Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 01:08:13 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Mexico: Wire: Former Mexican Assistant Attorney General Linked to Drug Trafficking Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (email@example.com) Source: Associated Press Pubdate: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 FORMER MEXICAN ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL LINKED TO DRUG TRAFFICKING MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexican prosecutors have received new testimony linking a former assistant attorney general to drug trafficking, local media reported Sunday. The testimony by members of the Gulf and Juarez drug cartels against Mario Ruiz Massieu may help win his extradition from the United States, where he has been under arrest since he fled Mexico in 1995. Ruiz Massieu allegedly received large payments from drug traffickers to provide protection for their cocaine shipments through Mexico, according to prosecutors quoted by the daily newspaper El Universal. A former Mexican police director testified before a Houston grand jury that he collected nearly $2 million in payoffs in 1993 and 1994 and turned the money over to Ruiz Massieu. Ruiz Massieu's lawyers have successfully fought four extradition requests. He is under house arrest in New Jersey. Ruiz Massieu, 46, who had served as Mexico's top anti-drug prosecutor, has said he is innocent and the victim of political persecution.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Ring Smuggles Kids To Vancouver ('The Vancouver Province' Says A Professional Drug Ring Has Lured As Many As 100 Underage Children From Honduras To British Columbia, Where They Have Being Turned Into Indentured Street-Corner Crack Dealers) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Drug Ring Smuggles Kids To Vancouver Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 10:27:40 -0700 Lines: 125 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Vancouver Province (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun 19 Jul 1998 Section: News A1 / Front Author: Adrienne Tanner, Staff Reporter Drug ring smuggles kids to Vancouver Up to 100 Honduran children have been lured to Canada to work as narcotics-dealing slaves: `It's like something Charles Dickens wrote' A professional drug ring is luring underage children from Honduras to Vancouver, where they are being turned into indentured street-corner crack dealers. As many as 100 Honduran children have been smuggled overland into Canada from the impoverished Central American country, said Vancouver police Staff-Sgt. Doug MacKay-Dunn. The Honduran smugglers pay their transportation costs and help them across the Canadian border, which even MacKay-Dunn admits is ``like a sieve.'' Once in Vancouver, the ring leaders set the children up in apartments, help them file refugee claims and sign up for welfare. In return, they are turned out on to the street to deal drugs. Some work the Cambie Street strip between Water Street and East Hastings, others sell along the SkyTrain routes in Burnaby and New Westminster, said John Turvey, director of the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Association. ``It's like something Charles Dickens wrote,'' Turvey said. The children feel indebted to their benefactors and see no other way to survive. Alcohol and drug outreach worker Ingrid Mendez said: ``Some of them are as young as 11 or 13 . . . and they have this huge debt.'' Most come from dust-poor families, are illiterate and cagily street-smart. They vanish at the sight of police and are reluctant to talk to the community youth workers. Police, immigration officials and provincial child-welfare workers have been looking for months for ways to get the children off the streets. But unless the kids are caught dealing drugs, there is little anyone can do. Children who make refugee claims are entitled to the same treatment as adults, said Immigration Canada spokesman Dale Akerstrom. They are given a date for an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing and are not detained unless they are determined to be a danger to the public or unlikely to show up. The provincial ministry of children and families will provide housing, food and clothing to children who seek help, said Elaine Murray, ``but to my knowledge, we haven't had one come forward.'' Murray said the ministry is aware of the Honduran street kids and is working with police and immigration officials to find some way to repatriate the children. Police are attacking the problem on many local fronts and also turning to their U.S. counterparts for advice. About 100 police officers and community workers met in Burnaby this week with Portland police officers who dealt with an identical problem in 1996-97. ``In our downtown area we had a very large group of folks selling Mexican-tar heroin and powdered cocaine,'' said Cmdr. Bob Kauffman of the Portland police bureau. Most were Honduran and Mexican nationals who enticed children to the United States to deal drugs, he said. ``They think that if kids get arrested, not much will happen to them,'' Kauffman said. Police cracked the ring by staging 3,400 ``hand-to-hand'' buys, and for a time arrested as many as 35 people a day. The city now has a reputation for taking a hard line on foreign drug-dealers, a victory Vancouver police suspect contributed to the northern migration. RCMP Staff-Sgt. Rocky Rockwell said his officers do what they can to stop the Honduran children from walking, hitching, swimming and hopping trains into Canada. But with only four officers covering the entire B.C.-Washington border, it's almost impossible to stop the flow. Burnaby RCMP, fire, health and immigration officials recently co-ordinated a sweep of apartments along the 6600-block Dow Avenue in Burnaby, where some of the suspected ring leaders were living, said RCMP Staff-Sgt. Elton Deans. ``We were finding up to 30 people living in one apartment,'' he said. Some of the ring leaders were evicted, which helped ease the concerns of residents worried about the growing drug problem in their neighborhood. But it's not the whole solution. Vancouver cops say they're not going after the kids. ``They are young people being victimized. . . . We're focusing on the predators,'' said MacKay-Dunn. Meanwhile, youth workers like Mendez continue their efforts to reach out to the children. The key is to let them know there are other options, and they don't have to deal drugs, she says. It's a tough sell. ``Once they get here and start seeing the money, they don't want to get out of it,'' she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cops Eye New Pot Club ('The London Free Press' In Ontario Says Mike Harichy, Husband Of Multiple Sclerosis Patient Lynn Harichy, Is Managing The London Cannabis Compassion Centre, Which Has Opened To Provide Cut-Price Medical Marijuana To Qualified Patients - But Police Vow To Shut It Down) Date: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 17:44:38 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Cops Eye New Pot Club Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Lynn Harichy Source: London Free Press (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/LondonFreePress/home.html Pubdate: July 19, 1998 Author: Julie Carl, Free Press Reporter COPS EYE NEW POT CLUB MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUYERS' STORE QUIETLY OPENS DOORS Police are watching London's medical marijuana buyers' club, vowing to swoop in if laws are broken. The London Cannabis Compassion Centre has quietly opened the doors to its first commercial outlet. It is located at 199 Wellington St. Although there is no sign on the storefront, police indicated they know it's there and said they'll move in at the right time. "We enforce the laws of the land, however they are written, so I would like to suggest that, if laws are being broken, at the appropriate time the issue will be addressed," police Chief Julian Fantino said yesterday. Mike Harichy, who manages the pot outlet, said generally the centre's 40 or so clients don't come in to pick up their marijuana. "Most of our customers aren't well enough to come in. So I deliver to them," said Harichy, whose wife Lynn smokes marijuana to ease her multiple sclerosis symptoms. No marijuana is kept on the premises, Lynn Harichy said, "because we are trying to help those people and if we get busted we won't be any help." CHEAPER THAN STREET PRICE The centre only accepts cash and sells a quarter ounce of marijuana to clients for $65, about $10 cheaper than the street price, Mike Harichy said. Asked about the club, Fantino was tight-lipped about enforcement plans. "I suppose one has to remember that the police on certain occasions have to work in mysterious ways to, in the end, address the issues -- and we will." A centre information sheet outlines membership qualifications. It accepts: * Clients with HIV, AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, among other conditions. They must provide a doctor's letter of diagnosis. * Those with ailments not on the centre's list may qualify if their doctor writes a letter of support. * Both categories must sign a release so the centre can check with the client's doctor. * Anyone over 65 can join without a doctor's letter. London police Sgt. John O'Flaherty said if people are selling marijuana, they will be charged. Police do not differentiate between people who use and sell marijuana as a medicine and those who use and sell for profit and pleasure, he said. "The narcotics control (laws) don't differentiate -- yet. If that's changed, we'll take a look at it," O'Flaherty said. "It's up to Parliament. We're just the enforcers of the law." Lynn Harichy, a London mother, has said she smokes up to five joints a day to ease her symptoms. Last year, she was charged with possession of marijuana before she could light a joint on the steps of the London police station. Her case is expected to go to trial in November, Mike Harichy said. Last February, a Toronto buyers' club announced it was opening seven Ontario locations, including one in London to be owned by Lynn Harichy and managed by her husband, Mike. He said they had been running the centre from their home but were concerned about a police raid. They didn't want their children exposed to that experience, he said. Lynn Harichy met with federal Health Minister Allan Rock in March and told him of plans to open the buyers' club. Rock said later he hoped to have "a solid response" for Harichy within months on whether changes would be made to existing drug laws. -- with files from Roxanne Beaubien, Free Press Crime Reporter Copyright 1998 The London Free Press
------------------------------------------------------------------- Panama To Abandon Canal Anti-Drug Center (According To 'Reuters,' US And Panamanian Officials Are Locked In A Stalemate Over American Plans For An International Anti-Drug Center In The Panama Canal Zone, Meaning A Likely End To Any US Military Presence Beyond December 31, 1999, When Panama Assumes Full Control Of The Waterway) Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 01:08:06 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Wire: U.S., Panama To Abandon Canal Anti-Drug Center Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) and isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David) Source: Reuters Pubdate: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 U.S., PANAMA TO ABANDON CANAL ANTI-DRUG CENTER PANAMA CITY (Reuters) -- The United States and Panama most likely will abandon plans for an international anti-drug center in the Panama Canal Zone, ending more than 90 years of a U.S. military presence here, political analysts said Sunday. Their observations came a day after U.S. and Panamanian officials said they were locked in a stalemate on the deal, which would extend a role for U.S. troops beyond Dec. 31, 1999, when Panama assumes full control of the famous waterway. ``I believe they are just letting it down softly, trying to not make a major issue of it,'' analyst Roberto Eisenmann told Reuters. ``I believe it is finished because ... the MCC (Multilateral Counter-narcotics Center) can easily be established in Florida or Georgia and be as effective as it would be in another country,'' he added. Under the original proposal for the center, the United States would keep at least 2,000 U.S. troops stationed at Howard Air Force Base, gathering anti-narcotics information into the next century. Otherwise, a 1977 treaty stipulates that the United States must hand over control of the canal and vacate all bases and territory by the last day of 1999. But neither side has shown signs of compromising in talks to set up a regional drug-fighting center at Howard Air Force Base in the Panama Canal Zone, a 10-mile-wide strip encompassing the canal. The Americans are seeking at least a 12-year deal granting U.S. troops a role beyond drug fighting, while Panama is seeking a more restrictive agreement lasting three or four years, Panama's foreign minister said Saturday. Panama has long been a home for U.S. military power. The Canal Zone, controlled by the United States since 1903, was home to thousands of troops and at least 10 military bases at its peak. It also was the site of the U.S. Southern Command, military headquarters for operations in Latin America. The possible U.S. departure from Panama may signal a shift in American military policy in the region, Margaret Scranton, a political analyst at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, told Reuters. ``It certainly is a historical benchmark, the ultimate physical step out of the Monroe Doctrine and the whole concept of U.S. security identified with bases on foreign soil,'' she said. ``But whether it is the end of U.S. intervention is just too early to tell.'' Analysts said the negotiations have been held hostage by Panamanian politics and the controversial re-election bid of the country's president, Ernesto Perez Balladares. Constitutionally barred from running for a second consecutive term, Perez Balladares is campaigning for an Aug. 30 referendum that may allow him to be re-elected. But his shaky standings in the polls have paralyzed him from making any significant decisions, they said. The analysts also said the drug fighting center likely will be abandoned because of internal politics. ``This is one of a great many of things that have been disturbed by Perez Balladares' re-election ambitions,'' said Richard Koster, a political commentator and former U.S. Democratic Party activist now living in Panama. ``The main reason (for the breakdown in talks) is internal politics.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Third US Drug Helicopter Crashes In One Month (According To 'The Associated Press,' Colombian Police Said The Helicopter Was On An Anti-Narcotics Mission In Rebel Territory And Insisted The Guerrillas Had No Role In The Crash Late Saturday That Killed Seven Prohibition Agents) Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 01:07:07 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Columbia: Third U.S. Drug Helicopter Crashes in One Month Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Patrick Henry (email@example.com) Source: Associated Press Pubdate: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 Note: Headline by Newshawk THIRD U.S. DRUG HELICOPTER CRASHES IN ONE MONTH BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- A helicopter donated by the United States crashed in foul weather in a war-torn northern region of Colombia, killing seven police officers, authorities have reported. The wreckage of the UH-1H helicopter, part of a fleet of Vietnam-era "Hueys" supplied by the U.S. government to help fight drug trafficking, was found Sunday in Uraba province, about 290 miles northwest of Bogota. There were no survivors. The banana-growing region has been a major battleground in a decades-long war between leftist rebels and the state. But police said the helicopter was on an anti-narcotics mission and insisted the guerrillas had no role in the crash late Saturday.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Surprises In Drug Reports ('The Sunday Mail' In Adelaide, South Australia, Says A New Federal Health Department Study Has Found Alcohol And Tobacco Cause The Biggest Problems In The Community, Not Heroin And Marijuana As Most People Believe) Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 10:55:58 +1200 (NZST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org From: David.Hadorn@VUW.AC.NZ (David Hadorn) Subject: Another nail in prohibition's coffin Sender: email@example.com Adelaide, South Australia Sunday Mail, July 19, 1998 Page 41 'Surprises in drug reports' by Michael Owen Alcohol and tobacco cause the biggest problems in the community, and not heroin and marijuana as most people believe, a Federal Health Department study has found. Reports released by the Federal Health Minister, Dr Wooldridge, map patterns of drug use and public opinion towards drugs in Australia over the past decade. And they smash public perceptions that illicit drugs are the main ingredients of the "problem". Dr Wooldridge said the data would be used to develop drug policies and programs. More than $210 million would be spent over four years. The Public Opinion Towards Drug Policies in Australia report found education rather than price hikes was the best way to deal with Australia's abuse of alcohol. There was widespread community support for State governments maintaining their strong stance on tobacco, and "a large and stable majority support for stricter enforcement of the law on cigarette sales to minors," Dr Wooldridge said. "There is majority support for bans on workplace smoking in shopping centres and restaurants." The report said: "The most consistently mentioned drug issues causing problems for the community are excessive alcohol consumption followed by tobacco use . . . however, most see heroin and marijuana mainly comprising the drug problem." Meanwhile, the Patterns of Drug Use in Australia report found a startling 86 per cent of people taking heroin use it less than once a year. Researchers claim fewer than one in 10 heroin users take the drug once a week or more, and there is a larger than thought level of recreational heroin users in the community. About 4 per cent of people aged 12-29 have tried heroin at some stage. *** HEMP SA inc - Help End Marijuana Prohibition South Australia PO Box 1019 Kent Town, 5071 S.A., AUSTRALIA mailto:hempSA@va.com.au Internet: http://www.hemp.on.net.au Check out our on-line HEMP news service:- pot-news! Go to: http://www.va.com.au/services/hosting.html to subscribe and unsubscribe to potnews via a simple web interface. Alternatively mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with subject "subscribe" or subject "digest".
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis - Strangling Weed Of The Maori? (An Article In Singapore's Prohibitionist 'Sunday Times' Discusses The Social And Economic Aspects Of Cannabis In Northern New Zealand, Noting The Recent Study By Auckland University Suggesting The Weed Underpins Northland's Economy - Sir Graham Latimer, A Maori Leader, Has Asked That Cannabis Be Legalised, Since The Maori Jobless Rate Is 17 Per Cent Against A National Rate Of 7 Per Cent - The Crop, He Argued, Was Providing Better Returns Than Jobs In The Dairy And Forestry Sectors) Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 03:22:43 +0800 From: keith lim (email@example.com) Newsgroups: talk.politics.drugs Subject: Article: "Cannabis: Strangling weed of the Maori?" This article appeared in the Sunday Times (Singapore). The rest of the week, the newspaper is known as the Straits Times, and is the major English newspaper in Singapore. The article can also be found online at http://www.asia1.com/straitstimes/pages/cpe8_0719.html Comments: - The shock and horror of the correspondent matches the attitude of Singapore towards any drug policy other than the all-out WoD. - Does anyone have further info on the Maori leader, Sir Graham Latimer, who is mentioned in the article? Sounds like he's got his head screwed on right. Sounds also like he could use some support.[begin article] Cannabis: Strangling weed of the Maori? Letter From New Zealand By Chua Huck Cheng in Auckland THE upper third of the North Island, that part north of Auckland which is as close to equatorial conditions as visitors from Singapore would experience in New Zealand, has an understated charm. Adventure tourists who thrill to big-game fishing for marlin and shark, or a spin in the blue seas to view unusual rock formations, make for the Bay of Islands. Further up, at the northernmost tip of the country, are Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach, either of which would summon up the spiritualist or the hedonist in visitors. The cape has religious significance for Maori, in case you ask about the spiritualism. For history, there is Treaty House in Waitangi. The exchange of certain rights and obligations between Maori chiefs and representatives of Victorian England which took place in that village in 1840 has not had a happy resonance in modern terms. You can take the history or lump it. Better to absorb it, as you would not encounter much history elsewhere in the country. Golf is a natural proposition for those so inclined. Here in Northland, which is what this sub-tropical part of the country is called, single handicappers and hackers alike will delight in the choice of courses, some with ocean views. All that for NZ$15 (S$13.20) -- all day long and not a flight in sight to hurry your shots. Northland also produces an abundance of oranges in a place called Kerikeri, which are juicier than export-grade pulp from California and Queensland. When in season, they are NZ$10 for a 10-kilo bag. All that is the nice, touristy face of Northland. Sadly, it also has a certain reputation which is a lot less salubrious: it is the country's prime cannabis-growing region. A recent study by Auckland University made the astounding assertion that it is this weed which underpins Northland's economy. It said the illicit cultivation of cannabis was worth up to NZ$900 million a year, which would place it as the most important economic activity, as the dairy industry, the region's main money-earner, brings in under NZ$400 million a year. An ominous catalyst to the distortion of values came earlier this year when Sir Graham Latimer, a Maori leader, scandalised the nation in asking that cannabis be legalised. His justification was brutally utilitarian. Northland has a large number of Maori and the nation's highest unemployment. The Maori jobless rate nationally is 17 per cent against the overall national figure of 7 per cent. One in six Maori of working age is without a job. Using this as a departure point for a startling advocacy, Sir Graham challenged the government to create more jobs in the far north or decriminalise cannabis. The crop, he argued, was providing better returns than jobs in the dairy and forestry sectors. He told the local media: "Cannabis has become an issue that's more about making ends meet than about getting high. If you are not going to create jobs, the jobless will ultimately create their own." Sir Graham is a prominent community leader with long years of service in councils of state. Even with that cachet, however, and despite New Zealand's tolerance for liberal causes which can verge on the bizarre, this was beyond the pale. The Auckland University study strengthened his hand, however. After it appeared, he made this disarming observation: "If we can regulate and control cannabis now, we can get on top of the problem. Leave it much longer, and it will be too late." His rationale was that it was not feasible to stamp out the habit as it had become Kiwis' drug of choice. Later, he appeared to modify his position to draw the line at commercial growing. How correct is his assessment of Northland's social fabric? He would be right in saying that, without its tourist appeal, Northland would be a hollowed-out, economically depressed region. Manufacturing and wood products businesses have been fleeing or closing. New investments tend to go to the Auckland region. Northlanders' skills levels are low, and this has been exacerbated by the return to the area of men and women who had lost their jobs in the spreading slump. But law enforcement agencies and politicians are clear that Sir Graham's prescription will make a hash of whatever social upliftment programmes planned for the area. The federal government has ignored his call, to much relief. Cannabis cultivation and consumption have already turned Northland into possibly New Zealand's largest black economy, with its attendant social ills. The university study is peppered with anecdotes which show a disturbing trend: School counsellors report that children high on the drug have had to be sent to the sick bay for the effects to wear off before they could attend lessons. Consumption rates in Northland towns are as high as 70 to 90 per cent, according to health workers. Police say even children having teething problems are being given cannabis to pacify them. Farmers fallen on hard times have been known to lease their land to cannabis growers for a percentage of the sales revenue. Armed guards are posted to keep out intruders. Cannabis has been used as barter for goods and services. When there had been successful police raids on cannabis plots, the locals would know from the reduced patronage in bars and the profusion of store sales...It is an endless litany of blighted lives and down-at-heel communities. As most users are Maori, community elders have poured scorn on the Latimer suggestion, which they see as the slippery slope to identity oblivion. Drugs, they protest, are enfeebling Maori and undermining their will to strive. What emerges is a picture of a weed that has spread so fast it could end up strangling a culture and a people. But driving through the woods or by the scenic coastline, one could never tell. *** keith lim firstname.lastname@example.org http://pobox.com/~keithlim/ First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. --Gandhi
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Campaign - Chemicals Help Brain Damage After A Stroke (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday' Continues Its Weekly Push For Reform With The Two-Week Old News About American Researchers Confirming That Cannabinoids Prevent Brain-Cell Damage, Noting Also That Less Authoritative Research In The States Is Beginning To Indicate That Some Of The Properties Of Cannabis Might Be Used To Help People Withdraw From Addictions To Cocaine And Heroin) Date: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 10:59:49 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign - Chemicals Help Brain Damage After a Stroke Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (The Furnace Room) Source: Independent on Sunday Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England Editors note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm Pubdate: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 Author: Vanessa Thorpe CHEMICALS HELP BRAIN DAMAGE AFTER A STROKE Scientists at the United States National Institute of Mental Health released research results last week which show that taking cannabis could protect the brain from the damage inflicted by a stroke. The chemicals examined, known as cannabinoids, are believed to work independently of the more widely advertised euphoric effects of the cannabis plant. After experimenting in the laboratory on the brains of foetal rats, Aiden Hampson and his colleagues at the Washington-based federal institute found that some of the cannabinoids acted as a useful block to other more dangerous chemicals in the brain. These toxic neurochemicals are the ones which systematically kill cells if the oxygen supply is cut off, as, for example, the result of a blood clot leading to a stroke. Brain cells which are starved of oxygen release large amounts of glutamate, a neurotransmitter or message-carrying chemical. This overstimulates nerve cells and quickly kills them. It has already been medically established for some time that other chemicals in the group known as antioxidants can also counter this damaging activity in the brain, but Hampson's team is now suspecting that cannabinoids might prove just as, or even more, effective. The two cannabinoids which were tested on the brains of rats were cannabidiol and THC, the active ingredient in the drug that causes its psychoactive effects. It was the former, cannabidiol, which gave the scientists most cause for hope. Unlike THC, it does not cause a "high" in the patient. "This is a better candidate," said Mr Hampson, who suggests that, in the test tube at least, the substance seemed to be both potent and protective. The federal scientists' research was published in Tuesday's edition of the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences, and the article made it clear that it is still too early to tell to what extent cannabidiol will be able to help humans. The scientists involved were also unable to confirm the idea that simply taking the drug recreationally would afford some kind of protection against brain damage in the event of a stroke. Meanwhile, less authoritative research in the States is beginning to indicate that some of the properties of cannabis might be used to help people withdraw from addictions to cocaine and heroin. Veteran American pro-cannabis campaigner Dana Beal is calling for more research to clarify the positive uses of cannabis. "This is further proof that the government has been consistently wrong to connect cannabis use with those of harder drugs. Its effects are entirely different and it may actually be possible to use it as part of a recovery from addiction," he told the Independent on Sunday. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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