Portland NORML News - Friday, August 21, 1998

Not Proper Image (A Bulletin From Oregonians For Personal Privacy In Eugene
Says Lane County Fair Officials Ordered The Group To Take Down
Its 'Jail Booth' Yesterday, Quashing Attempts To Bring Attention
To The Plight Of Drug War Prisoners, To Collect Signatures
For A Political Initiative, And To Promote A 'No' Vote In November
For Ballot Measure 57, The Recrim Bill)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 11:19:36 -0700
From: Oregonians for Personal Privacy (opp@efn.org)
Reply-To: opp@efn.org
To: cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com
Subject: CanPat - Not proper image
Sender: owner-cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Not image for Fair

The "Jail Booth" that we use to bring attention to The November
Coalition and the plight of drug offensed Prisoners and their families
while collecting signatures for our initiative, and promoting a "No"
vote on Ballot Measure 57 in November, was ordered taken down yesterday
at the Lane County Fair in Eugene, Oregon.

It was set up at the front entrance to the right of the ticket sales
booths. The 'booth' (frame structure with signs) was up for two days
with no problem. Yesterday, several hours after the sides were placed on
the 'frame,' Fair Officials ordered (rather rudely) the sister tabling
to dismantle the exhibit in ten minutes. "It looks like a jail, I mean
it is a "booth" and you can only have a table, chairs, and umbrella."

Prisoners and Homeless out of sight please!

The sides were removed at that time and our attorney is now in
discussion with Fair Director and we are contemplating our options.

Having fun at the fair


Bill Would Allow DEA To Block Assisted Suicide (A Staff Editorial
In 'The Orange County Register' Opposes Congressional Legislation
That Would Nullify Oregon's Unique Law)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 14:59:44 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Bill Would Allow DEA To Block Assisted Suicide
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998


A bill that would penalize doctors and pharmacists who give lethal doses of
narcotics to suicidal patients will increase the suffering of millions of
Americans who are suffering from severe pain,a number of national medical
groups say.

The bill, which could come to a vote in Congress early next month, is a bid
to use the power of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to block
assisted suicide.

Specifically, the Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act would authorize the DEA
to suspend or revoke the license to prescribe federally controlled drugs of
any doctor or pharmacy "who intentionally dispensed or distributed a
controlled substance with a purpose of causing or assisting in causing, (a)

While foes of the legislation don't advocate suicide, they're fearful that
the threat of DEA investigation will deter doctors from adequately

Atascadero Eyes Ban On Pot Clubs ('The San Luis Obispo County
Telegram-Tribune' Says The City Council In Atascadero, California,
Will Consider Temporarily Banning Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Tuesday)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 10:58:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jo-D (jo-d@norml.org)
To: DPFCA (DPFCA@drugsense.org)
Subject: DPFCA: go ellen :)
Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org
Reply-To: dpfca@drugsense.org
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/
Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison
Source: SLO County Telegram-Tribune
Section: SLO COUNTY, page B-1
Contact: slott@slnt01.sanluisobispo.com
(c) San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune
E-mail: slott@slnt01.sanluisobispo.com
Pubdate: Friday, August 21, 1998

Atascadero eyes ban on pot clubs

By Melanie Reyes

ATASCADERO -- Seeking to prevent the opening of unwanted businesses in
Atascadero, City Council Tuesday will consider temporarily banning medical
marijuana clubs.

City Manager Wade McKinney said the ordinance would ban the clubs for up to
nine months, giving Atascadero enough time to study how other cities have
dealt with the controversial establishments.

McKinney said the ordinance was prompted by events that took place in 1996,
when the city was caught off guard by the opening of an adult bookstore.

He said the city couldn't prevent the bookstore from opening because
Atascadero didn't have any laws at the time regulating adult businesses.

McKinney said the city wants to prevent a similar occurrence with medical
marijuana clubs, which were allowed under Proposition 215 approved by voters
in 1996.

"We're trying not to have (medical) dispensaries until we know what the
community wants to do," he said.

If approved, City Attorney Roy Hanley said the ordinance would go into
effect immediately.

Hanley said the ban would give the city time to develop a plan on how to
regulate a cannabis club in Atascadero. Currently, there are no laws
regarding marijuana clubs in the city.

Police chief Dennis Hegwood said there need to be controls on the clubs to
ensure the public's safety.

"It's an issue that needs to be addressed and we need to be proactive,"
Hegwood said.

There are no marijuana clubs currently operating in San Luis Obispo County.

But Ellen Komp, board member of the California chapter of National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said she's glad the Central
Coast is addressing the issue of medical marijuana because patients are
having difficulty understanding their rights and obtaining their medicine.

But Komp believes the city can streamline the process by simply enacting
zoning regulations.

"The problem with the ordinance is while it protects Atascadero against
commercial operations that might not be acting in the best interests of
patients and the community, it doesn't offer patients a means of exercising
their rights," she said.

She would like to see the county health department, law enforcement,
patients and caregivers get together to meet the need of marijuana patients.

Atascadero is examining laws in Oakland, Palo Alto and San Jose to see how
those cities have regulated cannabis clubs.

The San Jose Police Department adopted a policy last year regarding the
implementation of Proposition 215, and Atascadero's ordinance may mirror San
Jose's law.

San Jose's regulations include zoning restrictions as well as rules adopted
by the police chief which address record keeping, identification of patients
and storage of the marijuana.

State voters approved the medical marijuana initiative two years ago. It
allows patients the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes
when deemed appropriate by a physician, without fear of prosecution.

The focus of the initiative was for marijuana to provide relief for patients
who have cancer, anorexia, AIDS, glaucoma, arthritis and other painful

Recently, the state Supreme Court upheld a ruling that cannabis clubs could
not be defined as a patient's "primary caregiver" because a primary
caregiver is defined as a nurse or spouse that has assumed responsibility
for the health and safety of the patient.

Deputy District Attorney Dennis Schloss said the appeal courts were very
clear that Proposition 215 did not allow for cultivation, sale or
transportation of marijuana -- only possession.

Palo Alto's Marijuana Agent? (The Bay Area 'Palo Alto Weekly'
Says Mark Steinkamp, An Insurance Broker And Medical Marijuana Patient,
Wants Palo Alto To Designate Him As An Officer Of The City,
Citing The Strategy Used By Oakland, California, To Protect
The Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative)

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 21:46:31 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Palo Alto's Marijuana Agent?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
Source: Palo Alto Weekly (California)
Contact: paweekly@netcom.com
Website: http://www.service.com/PAW/


A Palo Alto man who uses marijuana for medical purposes hopes to
persuade Palo Alto officials to follow the lead of the city of Oakland
by appointing him a city agent, so he can legally distribute the drug to
other medical marijuana users.

Mark Steinkamp, 41, an insurance broker, said he hopes to get the City
Council to discuss the issue when it returns from vacation in
September. Steinkamp, who uses marijuana "first and foremost" to
treat depression but also to ease pain from several back injuries,
said he has a meeting scheduled with Mayor Dick Rosenbaum. "It's a
precarious position for a city to take, obviously, but it's not
without precedent," Steinkamp said. "The city of San Francisco is
looking at taking the same action that Oakland has, if the federal
government doesn't back off its threats to cannabis clubs." Last week
the Oakland City Council caused a legal stir by voting to name members
of its local cannabis club as city agents, essentially peace officers,
in an effort to protect them from threats of federal officials. "Peace
officers" can legally distribute marijuana under state and federal
law, Oakland officials maintain.

Despite California voters' approval last year of Proposition 215,
which allows patients with a doctor's recommendation to use the drug
for medical purposes, federal officials say marijuana use for any
purpose is illegal. "It's the law under the (state) Health and Safety
Code, and local and state officials have a duty to uphold the law
whether they like it or not," Steinkamp said. "It's an outrage (that
it's not being enforced) and that the people who are suffering don't
get any kind of relief from the system. ... The federal government has
threatened the doctors and threatened the confidentiality of the
doctor-patient relationship. My idea is to hopefully reconcile the
bizarreness, the ugliness and the suffering."

$13 Million Of Pot Seized In Shasta County ('The Sacramento Bee'
Says Prohibition Agents In Shasta County, California, Seized 5,000 Marijuana
Plants They Valued At $13 Million - $2,600 Each, And Arrested Three Mexican
Nationals In The County's Largest Bust Of The Year)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 19:22:04 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: $13 Million Of Pot Seized In Shasta County
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/
Pubdate: 21 Aug 1998


WHITMORE, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities seized 5,000 marijuana plants valued
at $13 million and arrested three men in the largest bust of the year in
Shasta County.

Authorities were searching Friday for two men and a woman who were
suspected of running the operation.

Investigators said a home was searched Thursday in nearby Humboldt County
belonging to the owner of the Shasta County pot farm. Processed marijuana,
$12,000 and 17 weapons were seized, according to the Shasta County
sheriff's department.

Three immigrant workers from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico were taken
into custody on felony drug and weapons charges: Fernando Cano Castillo,
29; Jose Aguilar Martinez, 46; and Jorge Antonio Juchin, 23.

The men, who spoke no English and had never left the farm, had been hired
to tend the 900-acre marijuana farm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada,
said Lt. Harry Bishop of the Shasta County Sheriff's department.

Sheriff's deputies tore up the budding, well-tended plants -- some as tall
as a basketball hoop -- weighing more than two tons.

The isolated farm was well-concealed by a thick canopy of trees and bushes,
making it difficult to detect from the air, Bishop said.

DEA Seeks Informants On Drug Trafficking ('The San Diego Union Tribune'
Says To Call 619-671-4622 To Inform On Your Friends And Neighbors -
You Know What To Do)

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 10:07:45 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: CA: DEA Seeks Informants On Drug Trafficking
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Tom Murlowski (tomm@biospherical.com)
Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/


SAN DIEGO -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and San Diego police
are seeking people who will provide information about drug trafficking
organizations in the region.

They have established a tip line -- (619) 671-4622 -- for anonymous calls.
Tipsters may qualify for cash rewards.

No New Trial For DEA Agent Killer ('The Associated Press'
Says Ruben Zuno Arce, The Brother-In-Law Of Former Mexican President
Luis Echeverria Who Was Convicted In The 1985 Torture-Murder
Of Enrique Camarena, Was Denied A Request For A New Trial Wednesday
By Judge Edward Rafeedie, Even Though The Judge Admitted A Witness
Had Changed His Story Three Times And That His New Statements
Were Obtained Under Dubious Circumstances)
Link to earlier story
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 17:13:55 -0700 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: No New Trial For Dea Agent Killer Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David) Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 Source: Associated Press NO NEW TRIAL FOR DEA AGENT KILLER LOS ANGELES - The Associated Press via NewsEdge Corporation : A man convicted in the 1985 torture-murder of a U.S. drug agent was denied a request for a new trial. Ruben Zuno Arce, brother-in-law of former Mexican President Luis Echeverria, sought a new trial on grounds that a government witness recanted testimony. Judge Edward Rafeedie denied Zuno's motion in a ruling released Wednesday. The judge said the witness, Hector Cervantes Santos, has since changed his story three times and that his new statements were obtained under dubious circumstances. Enrique Camarena, a 37-year-old U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, was kidnapped Feb. 7, 1985, in Guadalajara, Mexico, and brought to a drug lord's home where he was tortured, beaten and killed. The investigation produced multiple defendants and several trials. Zuno's conviction in a 1990 trial in Los Angeles was overturned. He was convicted again in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment on two kidnapping charges and 10 years each on two racketeering charges.

A Test Of Wills Over Drug Legislation ('The New York Times'
Recounts The Struggle Between Arizona Voters And Legislators
Over Drug Policy Reform Leading Up To November's Vote
On Proposition 300)

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 10:13:45 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: AZ: A Test Of Wills Over Drug Legislation
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Author: B. Drummond Ayres Jr.


It was called Proposition 200 and it seemed straight-forward enough when it
appeared on Arizona ballots in the fall of 1996. Backed by a well-financed
grass-roots organization that called itself Arizonans for Drug Policy
Reform, it proposed allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana and other
illegal drugs for medical use by grievously ill and dying patients.

Voters approved it.

The Arizona Legislature, one of the most conservative in the country and in
no mood to have the Grand Canyon State in the forefront of the much-debated
national push to legalize illegal drugs for medical use, saw the proposition
as a legislative end run by a special interest group that had considerably
more in mind than just compassion for the sick. Legislative leaders said
that while marijuana was the drug most talked about for medical use by
Proposition 200's proponents, the measure, if allowed to stand as written,
would also permit doctors to prescribe other illegal drugs like heroin, LSD
and PCP.

The legislature then amended the measure, as Arizona law permits, adding a
rider that said Arizona doctors could not, under any circumstances,
prescribe a drug not on the Federal Government's list of approved drugs.
That amendment effectively gutted the measure.

But the fight did not end there.

Arizonans for Drug Policy Reform, having renamed itself The People Have
Spoken, now has another drug proposal for voters to consider. Labeled
Proposition 300 and scheduled to be on this fall's election ballot, it would
restore Proposition 200 to its original form and instruct the legislature
not to modify it again.

The People Have Spoken group has drawn much of its support from George
Soros, the international investor who also is active in a number of
contentious social causes, including efforts to legalize illegal drugs for
medical purposes. Another of the group's major supporters is John Sperling,
president of the Apollo Group, an organization that runs nonprofit
universities, including the University of Phoenix.

Fighting back, state lawmakers are making sure that this time around, the
official ballot description of the proposition is worded so voters will
understand that they are deciding not whether to legalize not only the use
of marijuana for medical purposes but also many other illegal drugs, some
much more potent and dangerous.

Two weeks ago, The People Have Spoken asked a judge to throw out the
lawmakers' description of the measure, arguing that it was unfair for the
legislature to be in a fight in which it alone wrote the rules of
engagement. The court refused and the pamphlets now are being readied for
statewide distribution.

Besides Arizona, there have been major fights over drug legalization in
California and Washington State, among others.

Prosecutor Says Federal Informant Policies Being Reviewed
(According To 'The Associated Press,' The US Attorney In Boston,
Donald K. Stern, Says It's Time To Take A Second Look At Informant Policies -
'Personally, I Am Going To Argue That Some Changes Will Have To Be Made,'
He Commented At A News Conference Thursday After A Former Reputed Mob Leader,
Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi, Testified About His 25 Years
As An FBI Informant)

From: "Bob Owen" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: Prosecutor says federal informant policies being reviewed
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 20:14:12 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

Prosecutor says federal informant policies being reviewed
Associated Press, 08/21/98 17:24

BOSTON (AP) - Now that several FBI informants have gone public with their
shady dealings with the government, the U.S. attorney in Boston says its
time to take a second look at informant policies.

``Personally, I am going to argue that some changes will have to be made,''
said U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern.

He commented at a news conference Thursday after a former reputed mob
leader, Stephen ``The Rifleman'' Flemmi testified about his 25 years as an
FBI informant.

Flemmi said he had been recruited by the FBI, and given verbal guarantees
against being prosecuted.

Flemmi said FBI agents protected him from arrest several times, and that he
and James J. ``Whitey'' Bulger were tipped off by one agent before they were
to be arrested in 1995 on federal racketeering charges.

Bulger went into hiding and remains a fugitive. Flemmi was arrested, and has
been testifying in a pretrial hearing into the FBI's relations with

Stern said lawyers at the Justice Department and FBI headquarters are
looking at making charges in separate informant guidelines issued by the FBI
and the attorney general's office.

``The guidelines need to be tightened,'' said Barry Mawn, special agent in
charge of the FBI's Boston office.

Stern said special attention is being given to the review of the FBI's Top
Echelon Informant Program, which reportedly included Flemmi.

US Government Survey Shows Youth Drug Use On Rise ('Reuters' Breaks The News
About The Annual Release Of The National Household Survey On Drug Abuse,
Conducted By The Department Of Health And Human Services,
Which Based Its Conclusions On A Poll Of 24,505 Individuals -
Rates Were Up Slightly, Except Among Those Most Heavily Targeted
With Anti-Drug Propaganda, Ages 12 To 17, Whose Illicit Drug Use Rose
To 11.4 Percent In 1997 From 9 Percent In 1996 - Cigarette Use,
Though Not Included In The 'Illicit' Category, Despite Being Illegal
For Minors, Also Increased, And 'Reuters' Leaves Out The Rate Of Underage
Alcohol Consumption - Overall, An Estimated 13.9 Million Americans,
About 6.4 Percent Of The US Population 12 And Older, Were Current Users
Of Illicit Drugs Last Year, Up Slightly From The 13 Million Estimate In 1996)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 16:14:18 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Wire: U.S. Government Survey Shows Youth Drug Use On Rise
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Eric Kennedy (tresor@uswest.net)
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: 21 Aug 1998
Author: Joanne Morrison


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Drug abuse among America's children is increasing,
fueled by a continued rise in marijuana use, according to a government
survey released Friday.

Illicit drug use among those from 12 to 17 years old rose to 11.4 percent
in 1997 from 9 percent in 1996.

During the same period, marijuana use in that age group increased to 9.4
percent from 7.1 percent, according to the National Household Survey on
Drug Abuse conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Officials surveyed 24,505 individuals.

``We have a serious marijuana problem among our young people,'' said Health
and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. ``This survey shows that our
work in combating drug use must be focused on our young people.''

Shalala said the 1997 gain is part of a trend showing a ''persistent
increase'' in marijuana use among youth from 1992 to 1997.

``Today we're not declaring defeat -- or giving up hope. But what we are
declaring is the need for a renewed focus on marijuana,'' she said.

More children, she said, are using marijuana because they don't believe
it's dangerous, citing a shift in young people's perception of the dangers
of marijuana that began in 1990.

``Our children are wrong. Marijuana is not safe,'' Shalala warned.
``Marijuana impairs learning. Marijuana impairs memory.''

Cigarette use among the nation's youth also increased in 1997. Among those
age 12 to 13, cigarette use increased to 9.7 percent in 1997 from 7.3

Alcohol use among children has remained relatively stable since 1992,
according to the survey. However, drug use among youths was higher with
those who were currently using cigarettes and alcohol.

Overall, an estimated 13.9 million Americans, about 6.4 percent of the U.S.
population 12 and older, were current users of illicit drugs last year, up
slightly from the 13 million estimate in 1996.

Of that total, an estimated 11.1 million Americans in 1997 were current
marijuana users, representing 5.1 percent of the nation's population age 12
and older.

While there was a slight gain in 1997 of the total number of drug users,
the level remains about half its peak -- reached in 1979 -- when there were
25 million current users.

Use of hallucinogens, inhalants, cocaine and heroin remained relatively
flat, even among young people, according to the study.

Shalala said the Clinton Administration would continue its push for
adequate funding to prevent drug abuse in the nation. Last month, the
president launched a five-year, $2 billion media campaign, including
television ads designed to encourage parent-child discussions.

U.S. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey said the initial response from that effort
has been overwhelming. ``Phone calls from parents and children seeking
information and help from national and local hot lines have increased 121
percent,'' McCaffrey said.

Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, applauded the Administration's
efforts to curb drug abuse, but expressed concerns that lawmakers would
approve adequate funding for the effort.

``Unfortunately, while the President has requested more than $17 billion
for drug-control efforts in the next fiscal year, many Republicans in
Congress aren't joining in the national effort to fully eradicate drug use
in America,'' the lawmaker said.


Survey Shows Teen Drug Use Rose ('The Associated Press' Version)

From: "Bob Owen" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: Drug War completely ineffectual
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 19:41:01 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

Survey Shows Teen Drug Use Rose
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP)--Drug use by young people increased last year, led by rising
marijuana smoking among teen-agers who view it as a low-risk ``soft drug,''
according to a government survey Friday.

Among those ages 12 to 17, 11.4 percent reported using some illicit drug
within the past month when they were surveyed last year, compared with 9
percent in 1996. The drug of choice among the group was marijuana, with 9.4
percent using it last year. In 1996, 7.1 percent had reported using

The annual National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reported that the number
of teens using heroin held steady last year. Among 12- to 17-year-olds, only
0.2 percent said they had used heroin within the past month of being
surveyed, the same number as in 1996.

The number of first-time heroin users, however, was at an all-time high in
the last year for which numbers were available, 1996. Preliminary numbers
indicate 171,000 teens used heroin for the first time in 1996, up from the
117,000 who tried it in 1995.

The number of first-time users of marijuana was estimated at 2.54 million in
1996, up from 2.41 million in 1995.

Marijuana is popular because many teens don't see it as dangerous, said
Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.

Shalala traced the relaxed attitude to parents.

``How many have known parents who actually are relieved when they find out
that their children are using marijuana as opposed to heroin or cocaine?''
Shalala said. ``The perception of this country is that marijuana is safe,
that it's a soft drug.''

Parents need to inform their children that marijuana is dangerous--that it
can impair learning and memory, she said. They must also be more aware of
the attitude they send to their kids about drugs.

``How can we expect young people in this country to resist the lure of
marijuana if the parent is transmitting messages that marijuana is OK?'' she

The survey, an annual snapshot of illegal drug use in the nation, was
conducted throughout last year by interviews with 24,500 people in their

Despite the increase in teen drug use, the overall use of illegal drugs in
the country remained steady last year. An estimated 14 million people--or
6.4 percent of the population age 12 and older--used drugs last year. The
overall drug use rate in 1996 was 6.1 percent.

Drug use among adults has been stable for years, and last year's figure is
slightly more than half the peak year in 1979, when there were 25 million

Other findings from the survey:

* Teens are more likely to use illegal drugs if they already use cigarettes
and alcohol.

* About 4.5 million young people ages 12 to 17 had used cigarettes within the
past month. There was a significant increase among 12- to 13-year-olds,
growing from 7.3 percent in 1996 to 9.7 percent last year.

* The number of teens who currently consume alcohol has remained stable since
the 21 percent reported in 1992. In 1979, the rate was 50 percent.

* Marijuana continues to be the most frequently used illegal drug in the
country, with an estimated 11.1 million people, or 5.1 percent of the
population age 12 and older, using it in the past month. The figure was
about the same in 1996.

* Overall heroin use continues to increase. In 1997, there were 325,000
people who used it in the past month, or 0.2 percent of the population. In
1996, the number of heroin first-time users reached a record high of

* The average age for first-time use of marijuana in 1996 was 16.4 years; for
cocaine, 18.7 years; and for heroin, 18.1 years.

Survey Data On Arizona And California (A News Release
From The Drug Policy Foundation Notes The 1997 National Household Survey
On Drug Abuse Includes A New Section With Data From Arizona And California
Designed To 'Measure The Potential Impact Of Voter Intiatives' On Drug Use
In Those States - Rates Were Higher Than The National Average,
But The Government Doesn't Mention That's Nothing New)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 15:08:33 -0700 (MST)
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Rob Stewart (stewart@dpf.org)
Subject: Survey data on AZ and CA
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

The 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which was released today,
includes a new section of data from Arizona and California designed to
"measure the potential impact of [the] voter intiatives" on drug use in
those states. This is the first time that the Household survey has provided
data about specific states.

Overall drug use in both states by residents age 12 and older was higher
than the national average. Past-month use of any illicit drug was reported

6.1% of the U.S. population except for AZ and CA,
8.4% of Arizonans, and
8.3% of Californians.

More important, past-month marijuana use was:

5.0% for U.S. excluding AZ and CA,
6.1% for Arizonans, and
6.0% for Californians.

Among youth age 12-17, the results are mixed. Teens in Arizona report more
drug use than the national average, whereas California teens report less.
For marijuana, the numbers on past-month marijuana use are:

9.9% for U.S. excluding AZ and CA,
13.1% for Arizona, and
6.6% for California.

The survey is available online from the Department of Health and Human
Services' site at:


Rob Stewart
Communications Director
Creating reasoned and compassionate policies

4455 Connecticut Ave. NW
Suite B-500
Washington, DC 20008-2328
(202) 537-5005 * fax: (202) 537-3007

DPF Release On Household Survey (A Different News Release
From The Drug Policy Foundation Cautions That Increased Use Of Marijuana
By Young People Should Not Be Taken By Policy Makers In Washington
As Reason To Forge Ahead With The Current Drug Strategy)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 11:12:16 -0700 (MST)
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Rob Stewart (stewart@dpf.org)
Subject: DPF release on Household Survey
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

Here is DPF's one-page press release/statement on the National Household
Survey on Drug Abuse, released this morning.

Rob Stewart
Communications Director

DPF News Release

Annual Survey Reports Increase in Teen Drug Use
Foundation questions current policy's effectiveness in protecting youth

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Health and Human Services released the
"National Household Survey on Drug Abuse" today, which found that overall
illegal drug use remained flat in 1997, but that teenagers (12-17 year
olds) reported an increase in use after a slight decrease in 1996. Youth
marijuana use made up the bulk of the increase.

The Drug Policy Foundation cautioned that the increase among youth should
not be used by policy-makers in Washington as reason to forge ahead with
the current drug strategy.

"Today's teenagers have received the most intensive anti-drug programming
of any in America's history," DPF Communications Director Rob Stewart said,
"yet youth drug use continues to climb. Furthermore, young people have
consistently reported that illegal drugs like marijuana are readily
available. The Household Survey shows us that the current 'war on drugs' is
failing young people even as it tries to save them."

Stewart continued, "Current drug policies have failed all Americans. Since
1981, federal, state, and local governments have spent record amounts to
arrest, imprison, and even treat record numbers of people. Yet, illegal
drugs have become purer and cheaper and the hard-core user population has
remained stable or increased. Clearly, the seek-arrest-imprison strategy
fails on its own terms."

"Despite the insistence by Clinton administration officials to the
contrary, the latest increase among youth is a reason to investigate
alternative policies that can more effectively control drug use while
reducing crime, corruption, and disease. Reform begins with an open
dialogue, but Washington must lead the way by ending its partisan bickering
over the 'drug war' and its zero tolerance for new ideas."

Creating reasoned and compassionate policies

4455 Connecticut Ave. NW
Suite B-500
Washington, DC 20008-2328
(202) 537-5005 * fax: (202) 537-3007

The Marijuana Policy Project Offers An Opposing Viewpoint
To The Government's Spin Of The Annual Household Survey Data
(The Washington, DC, Lobbying Group Says Its New Report, 'Marijuana
Prohibition Has Not Curtailed Marijuana Use By Adolescents,' Shows That
The Government's Prohibitionist Strategy Has Failed To Achieve
Its Stated Goals - Annual Surveys Since 1975 Have Consistently Found
That About 85 Percent Of The Nation's High School Seniors Consider Marijuana
Easy To Obtain)

Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 17:17:09 -0400
From: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP@MPP.ORG)
Organization: Marijuana Policy Project
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: Opposing Viewpoint on Annual Household Survey Data
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

AUGUST 21, 1998

MPP Offers an Opposing Viewpoint to the
Government's Spin of the Annual Household Survey Data

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Citing the Household Survey's perennial finding that
adolescent marijuana use is exceedingly high, the Marijuana Policy
Project (MPP), a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, accused
the government's prohibitionist marijuana strategy of failing to achieve
its stated goals.

Today MPP released its new report, "Marijuana Prohibition Has
Not Curtailed Marijuana Use by Adolescents," which examines the
government's data and concludes that criminal penalties have no
net effect on adolescent marijuana usage rates. (Please see

"Simply put, arresting adults does not prevent kids from smoking
pot," said Chuck Thomas, director of communications for the Marijuana
Policy Project. MPP's report found:

* "Annual surveys since 1975 have consistently found that
about 85% of the nation's high school seniors consider
marijuana easy to obtain.[1] Fluctuations in the severity of
penalties and the number of arrests during this time period
have had no effect on availability."

* "The removal of criminal penalties for marijuana possession
in several states `has had virtually no effect either on the
marijuana use or on related attitudes' among young people,
according to government-funded researchers."[2]

"Marijuana prohibition is a fraud," said MPP's Chuck Thomas. "The
drug czar's claim that criminal penalties are necessary to prevent
adolescent marijuana use is about as believable as President Clinton
claiming that he stayed late at the office to get some extra work done."

"Prohibition exists to fund prisons and drug enforcement
bureaucrats -- period," said Thomas. "Teens are the victims, because the
government spends valuable resources on the criminal justice system
instead of on effective education."

"When teen marijuana use is down, the drug warriors say, `Our
policies are working, so let's stay the course.' When use is up, they
say, `We blame the legalizers! We must stay the course'," said Thomas.
"They can't have it both ways. It's time for the drug warriors to take
full responsibility and admit that prohibition is a useless, wasteful,
cruel strategy."

There have been more than 10 million marijuana arrests in the
United States since 1970, with a record-breaking 641,642 arrests in
1996. About 85% of all marijuana arrests are for possession -- not
manufacture or distribution.[3] (See http://www.mpp.org/arrests.html.)

[1] National Survey Results on Drug Use from the Monitoring the Future
Study, 1975-1995, L. Johnston, J. Bachman, and P. O'Malley; U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug
Abuse; Washington, D.C.: USGPO, 1996.

[2] "Marijuana Decriminalization: The Impact on Youth, 1975-1980,"
Monitoring the Future Occasional Paper 13, L. Johnston, J. Bachman, and
P. O'Malley; Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, 1981;
Pp. 27-29.

[3] FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States: 1996,
published in October 1997.

				- END -

Re - Grant Krieger (A List Subscriber Says The Saskatchewan
Multiple Sclerosis Patient Convicted Of Trafficking Marijuana In June
Won't Be Sentenced Until October 15 - The Judge Asked For More Information
On Marijuana Versus Marinol - The Defendant Could Use
Your Financial Contribution)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 22:44:25 -0700
Subject: Re: Grant Krieger
From: "Debra Harper" (daystar@shaw.wave.ca)
To: mattalk (mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com)

Hi all:

long time, no write.

Grant's sentencing was put off until October 14. I was unable to attend
myself, but I spoke to Grant this evening and his lawyer is telling him to
be optimistic. At Monday's sentencing the judge asked for information on
marijuana vs. Marinol.

Grant also mentioned that like most drug reformers he is in desperate need (
I know he is not kidding) of funds and most fund-raising events are being
planned at the local level. But, FYI a trust fund has been set up at the
Toronto-Dominion Bank (Chinook Centre branch) Transit: 8072 Acct:
3161759. Please pass it on.


Police Sweep Massive Grow Operation ('The Vancouver Province'
Says Prohibition Agents Seized About 10,000 Marijuana Plants
During The Biggest-Ever Drug Raid In Langley, British Columbia)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Police sweep massive grow op
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 15:24:32 -0700
Lines: 57
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Vancouver Province
Contact: provedpg@pacpress.southam.ca
Pubdate: 21 Aug 1998
Author: Beth Haysom, Staff Reporter The Province

Police sweep massive grow op

Police took to the high seas in Steveston last night to try to arrest the
mastermind of a million-dollar cross-border drug trade and some of his

The suspects were out fishing, unaware their high-stakes commercial grow
operation had been busted earlier in Langley's biggest-ever drug raid.

Using a helicopter, tracker dogs and an armed drug team, police swooped in
on three separate Langley locations. A man and a woman were arrested.

Some 10,000 marijuana plants growing in fields tucked behind trees at a
rented four-hectare farm in the Willoughby area were also seized.

In Aldergrove, police raided a pot-plant nursery hidden in a rented barn
on 16th Avenue.

Shocked neighbors on 231st Street in Aldergrove watched as police took
possession of a turreted mega-mansion that police claim was built with drug
money. They also seized a convertible, a dump truck and a motorcycle.

It was all part of a highly sophisticated grow operation in which, police
say, marijuana was being traded south of the border for cocaine, itself
intended for sale on the streets of Vancouver.

"We're not talking about people growing soft drugs for their own use. This
was a case of a sophisticated organized crime," said RCMP spokesman Sgt.
Russ Grabb. "This stuff ends up in the veins of vulnerable people in the
downtown east side and being snorted by schoolkids around the Lower

Yesterday's raid was the result of three months of intense surveillance
prompted when a Langley resident tipped off police.

Police were also prompted when neighbors were verbally threatened by
people working in the fields with machetes.

Safety was a major concern throughout the operation, said Langley RCMP
Const. Pierre Lemaitre.

The helicopter and tracker dogs were used because the drug team had
expected to confront several suspects, including two Mexicans who may have
been illegal immigrants.

Instead, most of the suspects had gone fishing: "So it couldn't have gone
better. We're very happy," said Lemaitre.

There were no details available at press time last night on the results of
a police marine search for the suspects.

Peasant Coca Growers Suspicious Of Bogota's 'Marshall Plan'
('The New York Times' Explains Why Colombia's Coca Cultivators
See American-Inspired Talk About 'Crop Substitution' As A Joke)

Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 07:04:04 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Columbia: Peasant Coca Growers Suspicious of Bogota's
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Peter Webster
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Pubdate: 21 August 1998
Author: Diana Jean Schemo, NYTimes Service


SAN JOSE DEL GUAVIARE, Columbia---The optimism of a fresh start. The sweet
talk of reconciliation. The promise of a respectable way to make a living
instead of growing coca. Dagoberto P. has heard it all before. And this
year, he is not buying.

Dagoberto, who owns 40 hectares (100 acres) planted with coca, remembers
"crop substitution " proposals that went by the names of "alternative
development" and "crop substitution." They never materialized. And now the
new president of Colombia, Andres Pastrana, is calling for a "Marshall
Plan" to bring the coca-growing hinterlands of Colombia into the present.

"It wasn't crop substitution at all," Dagoberto recalled of an earlier
administration's pledge. "It was forced fumigation."

There is still no highway from here to Bogota, a 440-kilometer (275-mile)
journey that takes a truck eight days, so vegetables are rotten by the time
they reach market.

Mr. Pastrana's modernization plan is part of an ambitious array of ideas he
has formulated to curtail drug trafficking and reclaim a nation reeling
from decades of war.

With government coffers empty, the new administration would like to raise
money by selling a new kind of bond. The money would bring electricity,
water, roads and technical expertise to forgotten rural areas where poverty
and government indifference have allowed coca-growing and rebel movements
to thrive.

Here in the coca-growing heartland, where the U.S.-backed war on drugs is
fought with herbicides and helicopter gunships, coca growers remain
skeptical. Any plan's first obstacle might well lie with the growers
themselves, embittered by years of fumigation and confrontation with
government authorities.

"In one way or another, they've been saying that for years, and we've been
asking for it," said Antonio R., another coca grower and father of five.
"But all we've ever had are expectations." Like other growers interviewed,
he asked that his full name not be published out of fear for his safety.

The Pastrana administration is asking for international help, and U.S.
administration officials appear willing to listen. Peter Romero, acting
assistant secretary of state for interAmerican affairs, said Washington had
"several hundred million dollars on the table for Colombia," some of which
could be available for alternative development.

"What Colombia has to do is put together a strategy," Mr. Romero said on a
recent visit here. "We're just waiting to see that strategy, to evaluate it."

Mr. Pastrana has also made a priority of negotiating with rebels who
protect coca growers. He acceded to their demands that government security
forces temporarily withdraw from five municipalities in an area twice the
size of El Salvador as a condition for beginning peace talks by early
November. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is believed to number
15,000 combatants. Ten times as many quiet supporters provide logistic help.

The president vows that he will personally lead the talks with the insurgents.

The rebels are suggesting they would be willing to abandon their drug
revenues, which some analysts estimate at $100 million a year, as part of a
peace agreement that would provide other ways for coca-growing peasants to
make a livmg.

U.S. officials are skeptical about whether the rebels will actually give up
the coca revenues.

"There'd have to be some powerful reward and punishment algorithm to make
that happen," General Barry McCaffrey, the White House anti-drug chief,
said just before Mr. Pastrana's inauguration.

But Mr. Pastrana, who eluded his security guards to meet secretly with the
guerrillas' top commander last month, seems willing to take the rebels at
their word.

The potentially fatal stumbling block lies in the price for signing a peace
accord and pledging to control the drug trade. This would be a demand by
the rebels for local autonomy and control over the government budget in
their regions.

Although U.S. officials publicly contend they are interested in Colombia's
civil conflict solely because of the drug trade, privately they admit they
are also concerned about the conflict spilling over Colombia's borders and
causing regional instability. Officials in Bogota and Washington also balk
at the notion of funding a rebel state within Colombia.

"In the past, there hasn't been sincerity on the part of either side," said
Alejandro Ovalles, a restaurant owner who runs a local business association.

"War is a business in any part of the world," he said. "There's lots of
mistrust on all sides."

Nevertheless people here say that the insurgents are the only actors with
the necessary presence, muscle and local respect to put a rapid end to coca
growing. They say that at one time the rebels banned commercial fishing at
a local river that was being rapidly depleted, and fishermen obeyed.
Another time, the insurgents forbade coca growers to cut down trees in a
part of the rain forest, and again nobody dared to defy them.

"It's about educating people," the local Roman Catholic parish priest, the
Reverend Jorge Vargas, said. "But it's based in fear."

Though their lives are intimately affected by U.S. policies, the growers
complained of feeling invisible to decisionmakers in Washington.

When General McCaffrey visited the antinarcotics base here recently, they
said, the town became "militarized" and people stayed shut in their homes.

"We're not the kind of people you like to deal with, but we're human
beings," Antonio said.

And though Washington this year doubled the pace of chemical fumigation to
kill coca crops, the governor of Guaviare, Hernando Gonzalez Villamizar,
does not expect results.

"After seven years of fumigating, there's more coca than ever," he said.

Growers say they would be eager to give up coca growing if they could earn
a livelihood elsewhere.

Since many of them started growing and processing coca 1 S years ago, the
cost of processing coca has soared, while the prices paid for cocaine have
stayed the same.

It takes 220 liters (55 gallons) of gasoline to process 1 kilogram (2.2
pounds) of cocaine, which Dagoberto said earns a grower $1,000.

Upon hearing that a gram of cocaine sells for $100 by the time it reaches
New York, he looked at the flocr and shook his head.

The state secretary of culture, Pedro Arenas, said that the rain forest
could not sustain the estimated 20,000 growers living in it.

The growers, many of whom came here to escape violence and hopelessness in
other parts of Colombia, should be sent back home and given land, he said.

"The Marshall Plan here would be called agrarian reform," Mr. Arenas said.

The jungle is scarred, burned and polluted with the astonishing quantities
of gasoline and other materials involved in the 240,000 kilograms of coca
paste produced in Guaviare each year.

"The white man," Dagoberto said, "doesn't know how to live in the jungle."

US Officials Deny Direct Colombia Aid ('The Dallas Morning News'
Says The US State And Defense Departments Yesterday Denied
The Newspaper's Allegation Wednesday That The Clinton Administration
Had Launched A Multimillion-Dollar Covert Program To Help Bolster
The Colombian Armed Forces After A Series Of Devastating Defeats
By Guerrillas)

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 10:11:56 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Colombia: U.S. officials Deny Direct Colombia Aid
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Paul Lewin
Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Author: Tod Robberson


BOGOTA -- The U.S. State and Defense departments said Thursday that they do
not provide direct support for counterinsurgency operations in Colombia and
that neither employs mercenaries here.

Their remarks followed a Dallas Morning News report Wednesday that discussed
the damage done by repeated Colombian guerrilla offensives to government
anti-drug efforts. The report, based on interviews with intelligence and
anti-drug operatives in Colombia, said the Clinton administration had
launched a multimillion-dollar covert program to help bolster the Colombian
armed forces after a series of devastating defeats by the guerrillas.

The story said that the covert program employs active-duty U.S. military
personnel, mercenaries and private contractors, and that some U.S. personnel
are involved in live-combat training, among other activities.

State Department officials did not return phone calls before the article was
published, and U.S. Ambassador Curtis Kamman declined an interview request.

A State Department spokeswoman said Thursday that neither the State
Department nor its contractors in Colombia are involved in activities such
as those mentioned in the Morning News article.

"These contractors are not mercenaries," she said. "They are not engaged in
counterinsurgency operations or any other activity not fully sanctioned by
the U.S. Congress and the executive branch."

The Defense Department said in a statement that it has "no covert
counterinsurgency program in Colombia" and that the Pentagon "employs no
ex-military personnel, private contractors or mercenaries to conduct any
covert counterinsurgency program in Colombia."

The Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment.

"We don't discuss covert actions or activities," a spokeswoman said.

Copyright 1998 The Dallas Morning News

Cannabis Trade Out Of Control (A Translation Of An Article
In The Finnish Newspaper, 'Hufvudstadsbladet,' Says Hans Haahr,
Chief Of Greenland's Drug Squad, Made A Statement To Radio Greenland
That It Is Impossible To Fight The Massive Cannabis Trade
Because It Involves The Whole Of Society - The Drug Squad Estimates
The Trade In Cannabis Is Worth Nearly 10 Per Cent Of The Annual
Gross National Product And Is Greenland's Third Largest Industry)

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 17:18:51 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Greenland: Cannabis Trade Out Of Control
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John Yates (john.yates@bobo.pp.fi)
Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
Source: Hufvudstadsbladet (Finland)
Address: Mannerheimvgen 18, 00100 Helsingfors, Finland
Contact: brev.debatt@mail.hbl.fi
Website: http://www.hbl.fi
Translation: John Yates


It is impossible to fight the massive cannabis trade in Greenland as it
involves the whole of society according to Hans Haahr, chief of Greenland's
Drug Squad, in a statement to Radio Greenland.

The Drug Squad estimates that the trade in cannabis is worth 75 million
US dollars, which is equivalent to nearly 10 per cent of the annual gross
national product, including the economic assistence from Denmark. This
makes the cannabis trade Greenland's third largest industry measured in
annual turnover.

Businessmen are involved, according to the police, as they accept drug
money and launder it in trading with snowscooters, boats and stereo

Large segments of the population smoke cannabis regularly, while businesses
earn millions through money laundering, says Hans Haahr. He adds that all
social groups smoke cannabis and that there are school teachers who sell
cannabis to pupils.

According to Hans Haahr politicians are responsible for the out of
control cannabis trade.

General Practitioners Give Prozac To Teenagers For Exam Nerves
(Britain's 'Times' Says That, According To Psychiatrists And Mental Health
Groups, Family Doctors Are Increasingly Prescribing Antidepressants
Such As Prozac To Teenagers To Help Them To Cope With Anxiety
During School Examinations)

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 14:55:14 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: GPs Give Prozac To Teenagers For Exam Nerves
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
Source: Times, The (UK)
Contact: letters@the-times.co.uk
Website: http://www.the-times.co.uk/
Author: Joanna Bale


FAMILY doctors are increasingly prescribing antidepressants such as Prozac
to teenagers to help them to cope with anxiety during school examinations,
according to psychiatrists and mental health groups.

Helen Kay of the Mental Health Foundation said: "There is a great increase
in anxiety among young people generally, and exam time is a particularly
stressful period. We are aware that doctors are now prescribing
antidepressants like Prozac to teenagers to help them to cope.

"There is a much greater amount of pressure on young people nowadays to
succeed at school and in their careers. They are very aware that the job
market is now extremely competitive. But instead of drugs we would prefer
to see more schools providing proper counselling and pastoral care for
teenagers who suffer from this."

Cosmo Hallstrom, medical director of the Charter Clinic in Chelsea, West
London, said: "It is becoming more widely accepted that anti-depressants
like Prozac are suitable for under-18s.

"Anxiety and depression do not suddenly begin when you become an adult, but
for various reasons in the past there has been a tradition against using
medication in under-18s. If the symptoms are severe and persistent then,
providing it is used carefully and appropriately, it is probably a good
thing. There is a myth that depression is a minor condition that will go
away with a few sessions of counselling."

According to a recent survey of nearly 17,000 young people, published by
the Samaritans, anxiety problems are on the increase. Some 17 per cent of
girls and 8 per cent of boys aged between 13 and 25 said that they had made
a suicide attempt. Just under half had once felt that there was no point in

Suicide is Britain's second biggest killer of young people after road
accidents. In 1995, 19 per cent of deaths in the 15-to-24 age group were
suicides, with 738 young people killing themselves.

Jackie Lang, head of Walthamstow Hall, an independent girls' school in
Sevenoaks, Kent, and vice-president of the Girls' Schools Association,
said: "It's a great pity that a personality altering drug is being given to
a young person before a personality is formed properly. Youngsters should
be given the chance to find out if they can cope with anxiety on their own.

"However, I do realise that there is more pressure on young people to
succeed in examinations because employment prospects are less secure than
they have ever been and competition to get into good universities is
increasing. It is not only A-level pupils who suffer, it now extends to
GCSE, because more universities are saying that GCSEs are crucial in the
selection of those they give offers to. Some medical schools will not look
at pupils unless they have straight As at GCSE.

"I am not aware of pupils being prescribed Prozac, but I am sure it is
usually something that is kept quiet." Her school does not provide specific
exam stress counselling, but gives general advice on how to cope and
support through tutors and school nurses.

A spokesman for Dista Products, the British company which makes Prozac,
said: "The drug is licensed for prescription to over-18s, but GPs are
allowed to prescribe it off-licence to under-18s if they wish. We do not
have any figures on how many teenagers are using it, but it is becoming
increasingly popular as a treatment for anxiety and depression."

As well as depression, Prozac is also used to treat eating disorders,
particularly bulimia, which is most common in teenage girls.

Peter Wilson, child psychotherapist and director of the mental health
charity Young Minds, said: "The problem about giving medication like Prozac
to children is that drug trials have only been conducted on adults. We
don't know what it is doing to a still-growing brain, so we must be
cautious and make sure that it is closely monitored by experienced medical

"We are living in a drug age, so it is really an issue of our times. Stress
such as that caused by exams is part of growing up and being able to
overcome it is part of a personality's development."

Claim That A Glass Of Wine Can Cause Infertility Leaves Drinkers Confused
(Britain's 'Independent' Describes A Study Published
In 'The British Medical Journal' In Which Moderate Drinkers
Who Consumed One Glass Of Wine Or Beer A Day Were Half As Likely
To Get Pregnant Within Six Months As Those Who Drank Nothing)

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 21:57:20 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Claim That A Glass Of Wine Can Cause Infertility
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Pubdate: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
Author: Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor


The more alcohol women drink the less likely they are to conceive.
Researchers have found that even moderate drinkers consuming one glass
of wine or beer a day were half as likely to get pregnant within six
months as those who drank nothing.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, is the first to
suggest that moderate drinking can affect women's fertility. It is
known that heavy drinking reduces a woman's chances of conceiving but,
until now, it was thought that the occasional glass of wine or beer
would do an intending mother no harm.

The finding will add to public confusion over whether drinking is good
or bad for health. A wealth of research on the effects of alcohol,
much of it conflicting, has left the average drinker bemused about the
number of drinks safely permitted and whether they will increase or
decrease the average lifespan (see panel).

In the latest investigation, Danish researchers, who studied 430
couples aged 20-35 who were trying to conceive for the first time,
found that those women drinking one to five units a week were a third
less likely to conceive within six months than those who drank
nothing. (A unit is a glass of wine, half a pint of beer or a single
measure of spirits.)

Those who drank six to ten units a week reduced their chances by
almost half, and those who drank more than 10 units cut their chances
by two thirds. Drinking appeared to have no effect on the fertility of
the men.

Dr Tina Jenson, of the National University Hospital in Copenhagen,
said: "I expected to find an effect of alcohol but not at these low
doses. That is what surprised me."

Dr Jenson said that buying a bottle of champagne and going out for a
meal could be an effective prelude to sexual intercourse, but all the
couples in the study were trying to start a family and did not have
problems with sex.

The drinkers had sexual intercourse slightly more often than the
non-drinkers, with more than a third of the drinkers reporting having
sex between seven and ten times each month compared with a quarter of
the non-drinkers. To correct for the effect of extra sex, the study
excluded couples who did not have intercourse between day 11 and day
20 of the woman's menstrual cycle, when the chances of conceiving are

Dr Jenson and her colleagues concluded: "This finding needs further
corroboration [by other studies] but it seems reasonable to encourage
women to reduce their intake of alcohol or not to drink at all when
they are trying to become pregnant."

It is not known how alcohol affects fertility, but animal studies have
shown that it can provoke spontaneous abortion.

One hypothesis is that alcohol may interfere with the process of
ovulation, the transport of the egg down the Fallopian tube and its
implantation in the womb after fertilisation.

Dr Jenson said: "It is fantastic that the egg can be implanted in this
way. It is a delicate process and it is not difficult to imagine why
women's fertility might be more susceptible to the effects of alcohol
than men's."

Among pregnant women, heavy drinking is linked with a higher incidence
of miscarriages, still births and premature births.

Dr Jenson said a possible reason the effects of moderate drinking on
conception had been missed in earlier studies was that personal
estimates of the amount drunk were notoriously unreliable. "Other
studies have asked women what they drank on average.

"We went back every month and asked them what they had drunk. Some
told me that they had had a hen night that month and drank 20 units.
So we got a more accurate picture."

The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 55 (The Drug Reform Coordination
Network's Original News Summary)

Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 13:11:40 -0400
To: drc-natl@drcnet.org
From: DRCNet (drcnet@drcnet.org)
Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 55
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1. Prison, Probation and Parole Populations Growing Rapidly

2. American Psychological Association Calls for Repeal of
Mandatory Minimums

3. Conference: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex,
Berkeley, CA, 9/25 - 9/27

4. Giuliani Carries out Methadone Threat

5. Methadone Conferences Coming Up -- In New York!

6. REPORT: Marijuana Prohibition Has Not Curtailed
Marijuana Use by Adolescents

7. West Australia Decriminalizes Marijuana On "Trial" Basis

8. Peter McWilliams Released on Bond

9. War on Drugs Blamed for Lapse in Ethical Standards of
Federal Prosecutors

10. Driving While Black: Legislative Alert from the
American Civil Liberties Union

11. Editorial: One in Thirty-Five


1. Prison, Probation and Parole Populations Growing Rapidly
- Kris Lotlikar and David Borden

Recent reports from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
reveal that the numbers of Americans in prison, as well as
those on probation or parole, have continued to grow rapidly
throughout the 1990's. "Prisoners in 1997," released on
August 2 (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/p97.htm on
the web), found that 61,186 men and women had been added to
the prison population during that year, bring the total to
1,244,554 state and federal inmates -- plus 567,079 men and
women held in local jails, either awaiting trial or serving
sentences of one year or less, bringing the total of
incarcerated adults in the United States to 1.7 million.
Throughout the 1990's, the number of incarcerates in US
prisons has been grown at a rate of roughly 64,000 inmates a
year -- more than the number of Americans who perished in
the Vietnam War.

An analysis by the Sentencing Project, a Washington, DC
think tank, found that two million people will be behind
bars in this country by the year 2000, if current trends
continue. (The Project's analysis is posted on their web
site at http://www.sentencingproject.org, News section.)

Compounding the prison population are the 3.9 million
Americans on probation or parole in the United States. At
the end of 1997, one out of every 35 adults in the United
States was either in prison, jail, or on probation or
parole, according to a BJS report released August 16,
"Nation's Probation and Parole Population Reached New High
Last Year," http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/papp97.pr
on the web.

Since the massive growth of the prison industry began to
take place in the 1980's, continuing this decade, the United
States has led the world in the percentage of its population
that it incarcerates, trading off for first place with
Russia. The question arises, why in the land of the free,
has the prison population risen to such a shocking level,
during such a short period of time?

One of the main factors, according to the Sentencing
Project, is mandatory minimum sentencing. "Mandatory
minimum sentencing policies that now exist in every state
have been used disproportionately for drug offenders", the
above-mentioned report states.

Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory
Minimums (FAMM), explains that mandatory minimum penalties,
along with so-called "truth in sentencing" laws, have
directly led to the rapid growth of U.S prison populations.
Truth in sentencing, under which defendants must serve
typically 85% of their sentences, has been driven by a 1994
financial incentive passed by congress for states which pass
such laws. "We are filling our prisons up and not letting
the prisoners out and it has shown no impact on crime",
Stewart told The Week Online. "Mandatory Minimums have
sparked this prison growth. It is an indictment of the
American judicial system."

(It is important to note that the sentencing schemes in
place prior to the truth in sentencing laws, were enacted as
part of a system that included probation and parole, through
which it was assumed that many if not most inmates would be
released early -- e.g., 20 years wasn't intended to be 20
years, except for those deemed to be truly incorrigible. By
enacting truth in sentencing laws, without modifying the
corresponding sentencing laws that they affect, Congress and
state legislatures have dramatically increased sentence
lengths based on a soundbite as opposed to a thoughtful
analysis. This is nothing new -- the 1986 mandatory minimum
laws, for example, were passed by Congress without so much
as a hearing.)

"Prisoners in 1997" reports that 25% of the growth of the
prison population since 1990 is accounted for by drug
offenders. But this figure may understate the magnitude of
the impact that the war on drugs has had on the prison
system. Marc Mauer, assistant director of The Sentencing
Project, explained to the Week Online: "It's true that the
proportion drug offenders comprise of new incarcerations has
leveled off during the 1990's. But that doesn't negate the
enormous climb in the number of drug offenders incarcerated
during the 1980's, many of whom are still in prison, serving
mandatory minimum sentences. In 1980, drug offenders
comprised a mere 6% of the incarcerated population.
Furthermore, the fact that violent offenders are being
incarcerated at greater rates than previously, doesn't
negate the fact that the number of drug offenders in prison
is growing rapidly in and of itself, and that many of
offenders are not true threats to society, and could be
dealt with in other ways."

For further information, visit the web sites of The
Sentencing Project, http://www.sentencingproject.org, and
Families Against Mandatory Minimums, http://www.famm.org.


2. American Psychological Association Calls for Repeal of
Mandatory Minimums

A resolution calling for the phasing out of mandatory
minimum sentencing laws on the federal and state level was
passed by the American Psychological Association at a
Council of Representatives Meeting of its 50 divisions, in
San Francisco on August 16. The APA is the world's largest
association of psychologists, with a membership exceeding
155,000. The resolution was sponsored by Div. 32,
Humanistic Psychology, and co-sponsored by Div. 50,
Addictions, Div. 27, Community Research & Action, Div. 36,
Psychology of Religion, and Div. 28, Psychopharmacology and
Substance Abuse. APA is online at http://www.apa.org.


3. Conference: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex,
Berkeley, CA, 9/25 - 9/27

Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex,
a National Conference and Strategy Session. September 25 -
27, 1998, University of California, Berkeley. Building a
campaign to resist the expansion of the punishment industry.
For further information, contact: Critical Resistance, P.O.
Box 339, Berkeley, CA 94701, phone: (510) 643-2094, fax:
(510) 845-8816, mailto:critresist@aol.com,
http://www.igc.org/prisons/critical/ on the web. DRCNet is
attending, and we recommend this free conference to those of
you who reside in the Bay Area or can get there.


4. Giuliani Carries out Methadone Threat

Citing the "moral superiority" of abstinence over reliance
on methadone, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced
this week that the 2,000 patients who are currently enrolled
in city-funded methadone programs will have 90 days to wean
themselves from the medication after which it will no longer
be offered. Numerous drug treatment experts, including some
providers of methadone-to-abstinence programs, have
criticized the mayor's action, as flying in the face of
years of research showing that methadone is by far the most
effective path to a stable and productive life for the vast
majority of recovering addicts. Studies show that only a
small percentage of opiate addicts can successfully become
abstinent, while the majority will return to the street in
search of relief from their withdrawal in the form of black
market methadone or, more likely, heroin.

Ty Trippet, spokesman for The Lindesmith Center, a New York-
based drug policy think tank, told The Week Online, "The
shortsightedness of this decision is astounding. With
virtually every credible medical professional in the world
in support of greater access to methadone, Mayor Giuliani
has taken it upon himself to play doctor, or, more
disturbingly, to play god. Methadone is the single most
effective tool at our disposal to stabilize the lives of the
addicted. History shows that almost 90% of those who are
forced off of methadone will relapse into heroin use. It is
difficult to see the logic here."

Keith Cylar, Co-executive director of Housing Works, a full-
service harm reduction agency serving formerly homeless
people with AIDS told The Week Online, "This is simply
outrageous. Giuliani is sentencing these people to yet
another plunge back into heroin addiction. The majority of
them will wind up with a needle in their arm. Many of them
will wind up in jail, whereas with methadone, they could be
gainfully employed and rebuilding their lives." Cylar
continued, "the devious part of this, of course, boils down
to money. New York City pays twenty-five cents on every
federal dollar they receive for Medicaid. By pushing 2,000
people off of methadone, you are guaranteeing that their
lives will revert to chaos. Couple that with the fact that
public assistance in New York is very high-threshhold. In
other words, they make you jump through numerous hoops in
order to keep your status. Methadone clinics, for a lot of
these people, become case-management centers, helping
clients to do what they need to do to keep their Medicaid
cards valid. By disordering their lives in this manner,

Giuliani has found a back door to push these people off of
the public rolls, both in terms of Medicaid, and the city's
contribution to that, and for local assistance. These
people, back on the street, will no longer exist in that
system. There are legitimate ways to help people off of
public assistance. But cutting them off at the knees and
making it impossible for them to function at a high enough
level to claim their benefits is pure evil."

E-MAIL THE MAYOR! Don't be rude, but do let Giuliani know
that you've read the evidence on the Internet and that he is
clearly misinformed on the issue. Send e-mail to
giuliani@www.ci.nyc.ny.us, or click on

mailto:giuliani@www.ci.nyc.ny.us if your e-mail reader
recognizes URLs. Or, call the Mayor at (212) 788-9600 or
write to: Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, City Hall, New York,
NY 10007. As always, send us copies of your letters, or a
note letting us know what actions you've taken, to alert-
feedback@drcnet.org (mailto:alert-feedback@drcnet.org).

(A few weeks ago, during the midst of our technical
troubles, when many of you didn't receive The Week Online,
we published an interview with Dr. Robert Newman, one of the
world's leading authorities on methadone maintenance,
commenting on the Mayor's threat and what Dr. Newman views
as the self-inflicted wounds of the methadone establishment.
Check out this fascinating discussion on our web site at
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#newman. You can also
read our news coverage from that issue at
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/051.html#giuliani. For further
information on methadone maintenance, we recommend the
National Alliance of Methadone Advocates (NAMA), at
http://www.methadone.org, and The Lindesmith Center's
methadone focal point, online at


5. Methadone Conferences Coming Up -- In New York!

The First Methadone Advocacy Conference, Saturday, 9/26,
9:30am - 5:00pm, Roosevelt Hospital Auditorium, 1000 Tenth
Avenue, New York City.

"The voice of the methadone patient has been excluded from
methadone treatment for too long. This conference will
discuss the empowering of methadone patients, stigma and
important issues that impact the lives of methadone patients
such as physician prescribing."

This is a Methadone Patient Organized Conference for
Methadone Patients. To register, send NAMA a coupon with
your name, address, and phone number, with 1) a check or
money or order for $25.00; or 2) a photocopy of your patient
ID card and a donation of whatever you can afford. Mail it
to:	NAMA, 435 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

American Methadone Treatment Association Conference 1998,
9/26-29, Marriott Marquis, New York City, registration $360.
For more information and to register visit


6. REPORT: Marijuana Prohibition Has Not Curtailed Marijuana
Use by Adolescents

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has released a report
examining the government's data and concluding that criminal
penalties have had no net effect on adolescent marijuana
usage rates.

Key findings of the report are that:

* "Annual surveys since 1975 have consistently found that
about 85% of the nation's high school seniors consider
marijuana easy to obtain. Fluctuations in the severity of
penalties and the number of arrests during this time period
have had no effect on availability."

* "The removal of criminal penalties for marijuana
possession in several states 'has had virtually no effect
either on the marijuana use or on related attitudes' among
young people, according to government-funded researchers."

The MPP report, which can be read online at

http://www.mpp.org/adolescents.html (news release at

http://www.mpp.org/nr082198.html), is full of useful and
revealing graphs, including comparisons of marijuana use
rates in the U.S. vs. the Netherlands and in Australian
provinces that have decriminalized marijuana vs. provinces
that haven't; the increase in youth marijuana use since
before marijuana prohibition was enacted (negligible) to the
present time (more than half of all youth); availability of
marijuana to young people, by year and compared with the
availability of alcohol; relationship of penalty increases
to use; federal budget figures.

Taken as a whole, the sheer totality of the failure of the
government's vast effort to end marijuana use by force is
astounding. For further information, visit the MPP's web
site at http://www.mpp.org, e-mail mpp@mpp.org, or call
(202) 462-5747.


7. West Australia Decriminalizes Marijuana On "Trial" Basis

(reprinted from the NORML Weekly News, http://www.norml.org)

August 20, 1998, West Australia, Australia: Government
officials announced last week that first time marijuana
users will no longer face criminal charges for possessing
less than 50 grams of the drug. West Australia is the fifth
state to enact marijuana decriminalization in recent years.

Police Commissioner Bob Falconer said that the new policy
will take effect October 1 on a trial basis in the
Mirrabooka and Bunbury police districts. If the trial
proves successful, leaders will extend the measure

"Western Australia's experimental marijuana policy is
similar to the laws of ten U.S. states where marijuana users
face a civil 'violation' rather than criminal penalties for
possessing small amounts of the drug," NORML Executive
Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said. "It is encouraging to
see other regions around the globe adopt these reforms. It
is our hope that West Australian political leaders will
adopt this policy statewide and not just in select regions."

Under the new system, individuals will receive a warning for
possessing marijuana as long as they attend a lecture on the
potential misuse of the drug. "It's not synonymous with
being tough on drugs to crunch people for small quantities
of cannabis when it's essentially about an education issue,"
Falconer said. He and other law enforcement officials
lobbied the government for the policy change, arguing that
valuable police and judicial resources were being wasted
prosecuting marijuana smokers.

Other Australian states to recently adopt a marijuana
"caution" system are the Australian Capitol Territory (ACT),
the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Victoria. This
spring, the Drug and Alcohol Council of South Australia
concluded a two year national study finding that the
decriminalization of marijuana does not lead to increased

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano of
NORML, (202) 483-5500.


8. Peter McWilliams Released on Bond

Best selling author and medical marijuana activist Peter
McWilliams, held for over a month on a nine-count federal
indictment will finally be released from custody tonight
(8/19) after posting a quarter of a million dollar bond.
McWilliam's attorneys and supporters had argued that the
bond was excessive, and McWilliams himself had previously
offered to turn in his passport to insure that he would
indeed appear for his court date, but these efforts were
unsuccessful in getting the bond reduced.

During his incarceration, McWilliams was forced to file an
appeal to the court in hopes of ordering his jailers to
provide him with his complex regimen of AIDS medication,
which he takes six times daily.

The charges against McWilliams stem from his involvement
with Todd McCormick, another medical marijuana user and
activist, to whom McWilliams had advanced money to write a
book on the medical uses of cannabis. McCormick was
arrested last year when police found over 4,000 plants in
his rented home. McCormick, already free on bond on state
charges, is now also under federal indictment for the same

"Peter McWilliams is a threat to no one," McCormick told The
Week Online. "His incarceration, and the deleterious impact
that it has had on his health, is exactly what California
voters wanted to avoid when they passed Proposition 215.
Peter is an outspoken advocate, and therefore an inviting
target. But he is also a man who suffers from both cancer
and AIDS. What kind of a government locks up its sick and
dying people over something like this? He's not accused of
diverting medical marijuana to the street. He's never hurt
a soul. The mistreatment of Peter McWilliams by the justice
system is the real crime here."

McWilliams distributed the following note to his supporters
on the Internet, late last night:


I am out,

I am home.

I am okay.

I am going to bed.

Take good care,


Peter McWilliams

Visit http://www.marijuanamagazine.com and

http://www.marijuananews.com for ongoing coverage of the
McWilliams case.


9. War on Drugs Blamed for Lapse in Ethical Standards of
Federal Prosecutors

(Reprinted from the Drug Policy Foundation's monthly Network
news. Subscribe online at http://www.dpf.org.)

Federal prosecutors will have to follow the same ethical
standards and rules that govern other attorneys in the state
in which they are practicing if new legislation gets signed
into law. The provision, the "Citizens Protection Act of
1998" (Title VIII), was authored by Reps. Joseph McDade (R-
PA) and John P. Murtha (D-PA), and passed by the House on

August 6 as part of the Justice Department appropriations
bill (H.R. 4276).

Until 1994, federal prosecutors were governed by state
ethics rules, but in that year the Justice Department issued
a regulation that exempted federal prosecutors from certain
provisions of the rules. At this time, according to the
American Bar Association, state disciplinary authorities are
prevented from taking action against a federal prosecutor
for violating a state ethics rule until the Attorney General
finds a prosecutor guilty of a willful violation.

In addition to requiring federal prosecutors to be subject
to state ethics rules, the McDade/Murtha bill establishes
punishable conduct for Justice Department employees,
penalties for violations, and a "Misconduct Review Board" to
investigate alleged prosecutorial misconduct. Such
misconduct includes, among others: seeking the indictment of
a person in the absence of probable cause; intentionally
misleading the court as to the guilt of a person; knowingly
misstating evidence; and offering sexual activities to a
government witness.

On August 6, the Washington Times published an op-ed
("Reclaiming Justice," p. A19) by syndicated columnist Paul
Craig Roberts praising the McDade/Murtha legislation.
Notedly, Roberts blamed the war on drugs for an increase in
unethical behavior among federal prosecutors. He wrote, "A
former U.S. Attorney confessed to me that the Justice
Department lost its prosecutorial integrity when the
conservatives' war on drugs resulted in an increase in the
number of assistant U.S. attorneys from 1,200 to more than
7,000 almost overnight. Swamped by new infusions, the old
guard was unable to moderate the career ambitions of the
newcomers by inculcating the respect for truth that
restrains prosecutorial power."


10. Driving While Black: Legislative Alert from the
American Civil Liberties Union

(The alert is reprinted from the ACLU's cyber network.
Though it doesn't specifically bring up the drug issue, the
"Driving While Black" problem is driven in substantial part
by the police mandate to find illegal drugs, that are
naturally hidden from view and can only be found through
intrusive searches. Feeding into this is the mistaken
belief that African Americans use or traffic in drugs at
higher rates than other Americans. You can subscribe to the
ACLU's alert list through their web site at

Among far too many measures aimed at curtailing civil
liberties that await consideration when the Senate returns
to Washington at the end of the month is HR 118, a positive
first step toward eliminating traffic stops based only on
the race and ethnicity of the driver.

Scores of African-American males - including prominent
athletes, Members of Congress, actors and business leaders -
have experienced the humiliation of being stopped on the
nation's roads for no other reason than the alleged traffic
offense derisively referred to as "Driving While Black."
Yet no agency has ever attempted to document how widespread
the problem is, even though 1995 Maryland survey found that

73 percent of the cars stopped and searched were driven by
African-Americans, although they make up only 14 percent of
the people driving along the interstate.

The "Traffic Stops Statistics Act of 1997" (HR 118),
sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), would encourage
police departments to keep detailed records of traffic
stops, including the race and ethnicity of the person
stopped. The Justice Department would be charged with
collecting the data and making a determination on the scope
of this problem nationwide.

While the House passed HR 118 last March, the Senate has yet
to take action on the bill. Urge your Senators to encourage
passage of this important legislation by sending a FREE FAX
from the ACLU website at:


(As always, please remember to let DRCNet know about what
actions you've taken in response to our bulletins. Please
send copies of your letters, or just a note letting us know
what actions you've taken, to alert-feedback@drcnet.org.
(If your e-mail reader recognized URLs, just click on


11. Editorial: One in Thirty-Five

A report released this week by XXXXX shows that one out of
every thirty-five American adults is either in prison or
jail, on probation or parole. After three decades of lock-
em-up drug policy, of street sweeps and the chipping away of
constitutional protections, of hard time for marijuana users
and jail rather than treatment for the addicted, we have
arrived at the point where fully one in thirty-five of us is
under the "supervision" of the criminal justice system. At
what point, exactly, does a society qualify as a police

In 1972, there were approximately 200,000 incarcerates in
the U.S. Today that number is fast approaching 2 million.
And the prison boom continues. Has any of this made drugs
less available to our kids? Has it forced up the price of
cocaine? Driven down the purity of the heroin that is sold
on our streets? No. In fact, by any of these indicators
drugs are far more available today than they have ever been.
In fact, we can't even keep them away from the people whom
we've locked up, as drugs run rampant throughout our

One in 35. And that doesn't even tell the whole story. If
that number were further broken down, we'd find that the
proportion of American males under supervision is more than
one in twenty, of African American men, more than one in
nine, and of young African American men, more than one in
three. And apparently, our esteemed leaders are not done

During the 1996 Presidential campaign, Republican nominee
Bob Dole took President Clinton to task for being "soft on
drugs." No matter that no president had ever spent so much
on enforcement, no matter that arrest rates were already at
their highest levels in history, no matter that prisons were
being built around the country at an astounding rate: "If
you elect Bob Dole, we'll have a real drug war in America."

Today, Dole's successors in the Republican leadership have
done him proud. They have a plan to "win" the drug war in
four years. They want to make it impossible for anyone with
a drug conviction, no matter how trivial, to receive
financial aid for college. They want to institute the death
penalty for increasing numbers of drug crimes, and they want
to imprison as many people, doctors and patients included,
as humanly possible in an effort to prove, once and for all,
that we can, in fact, arrest and terrorize our way out of
our drug problem. Oh, and the Democrats? Their platform
differs only in the details.

When is it enough? How many people do we have to imprison
to "win" the drug war? One in twenty-five Americans? One
in twenty? One in ten? In cities such as Washington, DC,
fully half of all young African American men are "in the
system." But Washington is not "drug free". Nowhere near.
Will two out of three do it? Three out of four? All of

Is there no other way for an ostensibly free society to deal
with the issues surrounding substance use and abuse? Is it,
as our leaders would have us believe, the responsible thing
to do: criminalizing personal choice and addiction, creating
black markets which are not only criminal in their own right
but which also drive up rates of property crime in service
to artificially inflated prices, teaching our children that
the way to a safer society is to continue to raise the
number of people in cages? Have we, as a society, decided
that gulags are preferable to the vagaries and pitfalls of

Today, in America, the land of the free, one in every
thirty-five adults is either in prison or jail, on probation
or parole. Our leaders scoff at the efforts of other
nations to find non-punitive ways to deal with their drug
problems, calling them "irresponsible" and "disastrous."
But what is the adjective to describe our own transformation
into a nation of jailers? Would the great leaders of our
past, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Frederick Douglas,
John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, believe that mass
incarceration was the appropriate response to our current
problems? To any problem of which they could conceive?
Would the leaders of today have the courage, the gall to
look any one of those great men in the eye and explain to
him why this is the course we have chosen for America? One
in thirty-five... and rising. Now tell us, mighty drug
warriors, where do we go from here?

Adam J. Smith
Associate Director


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