------------------------------------------------------------------- The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release (Pair of Lawsuits Challenge New Louisiana Drug Testing Requirements; Man Held In Oklahoma Jail For Possessing Legal Weed Still Faces Court Battle; Senate Mulls Whether To Prohibit Possession Of Large Amounts Of Cash By Travelers; New Roadside Test Can Detect Drug Impairment, Police Claim; Federal Officials Say No To Montana Hemp Beer Maker) From: NATLNORML@aol.com Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 18:32:13 EDT Subject: NORML WPR 10/1/98 (II) The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org email@example.com October 1, 1998 *** Pair of Lawsuits Challenge New Louisiana Drug Testing Requirements October 1, 1998, Baton Rouge, LA: A suit filed today by NORML Legal Committee member William Rittenberg argues that a new law requiring elected officials to undergo random drug testing is unconstitutional. State Rep. Arthur Morrell, a fourteen-year Democrat from Orleans Parish, is the plaintiff in the suit. "I don't like to be overly optimistic, but it looks like an easy lawsuit [to win,]" said Rittenberg, who seeks to enjoin the state statute. Rittenberg's complaint says the drug testing law violates protections against unreasonable searches and seizures guaranteed by the U.S. and state constitutions. The suit also maintains that the statute is in violation of his plaintiff's rights to due process and his rights against self incrimination. Rittenberg's challenge follows a class action suit filed last week by the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of state judge Philip O'Neill. "All we are doing is ... slowly ... chipping away at our constitutional rights," O'Neill said. "If allowed to continue, we will still have the drug problem but no constitutional freedoms." Rittenberg said that the state will automatically consolidate both cases. Backers of the court challenge are confident that a 1997 Supreme Court ruling striking down a similar Georgia drug testing law will apply to the Louisiana statute. In that case, the high court found that drug testing political candidates without individualized suspicion and absent "special needs" was unconstitutional. Rittenberg argues that officials enacted the Louisiana statute "merely for symbolic reasons" and not in response to any special governmental need justifying an "arbitrary governmental intrusion." NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. agrees. "The desire to set a good example is insufficient to justify an exemption to the Fourth Amendment," he said. Rittenberg added that a separate state statute mandating drug testing for virtually all residents receiving moneys from the state -- including welfare recipients, state employees, state university students, and those holding state contracts -- is also vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or William Rittenberg of The NORML Legal Committee @ (504) 524-5555. *** Man Held In Oklahoma Jail For Possessing Legal Weed Still Faces Court Battle October 1, 1998, Montpelier, VT: A Vermont man who spent 25 days in an Oklahoma jail for possessing legal herbs still faces prosecution by unrelenting state officials. "He's not guilty of anything but being black and having ... dreadlocks and driving in Oklahoma," said attorney Jim Hadley, who is handling the case. Police jailed defendant George Singleton earlier this year on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance after seizing a bag of what they presumed was marijuana during a traffic stop. Blood tests later found Singleton to be drug and alcohol free, and identified the herbs in question to be rosemary and mullein. Shockingly, police continued to hold Singleton in custody under a little known state law prohibiting an individual from possessing any substance that looks similar to an illegal drug. Singleton made bail after 25 days, but must return to Oklahoma next Thursday to face charges of driving under the influence, The Associated Press reported. State officials admitted the charge is unusual considering blood tests determined Singleton was drug free at the time of his arrest. "It is an unusual case because of the fact that we don't have proof of any illegal substance," Oklahoma District Attorney Gene Hayes said. The state will not go forward with charges that Singleton possessed a "look-alike" substance, the AP reported. "The absurdity of this prosecution illustrates how far our laws have run amok because of our nation's misguided war on marijuana smokers," said attorney Tanya Kangas, director of litigation for The NORML Foundation. For more information, please contact Tanya Kangas of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** Senate Mulls Whether To Prohibit Possession Of Large Amounts Of Cash By Travelers October 1, 1998, Washington, D.C.: Legislation introduced in the Senate recently seeks to allow law enforcement to confiscate the money of individuals traveling with more than $10,000 cash. "This legislation predetermines that anyone possessing large amounts of cash must be a criminal," charged NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup, Esq. "It places a presumption of guilt on the defendant and forces owners to go to court and prove their innocence if they wish to reclaim their money. Essentially, this bill seeks to give the government a license to steal under the guise of fighting the war on drugs." The Drug Currency Forfeitures Act, sponsored by Sens. Max Cleland (D-Ga) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), states that police may seize cash from individuals traveling through defined "drug transit areas." The bill broadly defines such areas to mean any port-of-entry, airport, or highway. "The idea that any American should have to explain to the police where their money came from is offensive, and the idea that the police can pocket your money if they don't like your answers is downright criminal," said Libertarian Party National Director Steve Dasbach. The bill currently awaits action by the Senate Judiciary Committee. For more information, please contact either NORML Foundation Litigation Director Tanya Kangas, Esq. @ (202) 483-8751 or George Getz of The Libertarian Party @ (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222. *** New Roadside Test Can Detect Drug Impairment, Police Claim October 1, 1998, Chicago, IL: New technology unveiled by Illinois state police can allegedly determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana and other drugs by gauging an eye's response to light. Police said that the device, known as EYECHECK, will be tested in four locations across the state, but failed to estimate when or if the technology will become a standard part of police equipment. EYECHECK resembles a pair of binoculars. Police will ask drivers suspected of being under the influence to peer into the equipment. Three flashes of light dilate the pupils, and the device then measures the response to the stimuli. Proponents of the technology claim that EYECHECK works faster and more efficiently than blood and Breathalyzer tests. Presently, urinalysis is the most common type of test used to determine marijuana consumption; however, the test can not detect impairment or how recently the drug was consumed. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** Federal Officials Say No To Montana Hemp Beer Maker October 1, 1998, Missoula, MT: A state microbrewery seeking to unveil a new line of hemp beer for commercial distribution found federal officials less than enthusiastic. Representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms recently told the brewery to stop making the beer because the agency was "concerned about the image it presents to young people." Tim O'Leary, who heads the Kettlehouse microbrewery, criticized the BATF's decision to ban his product. "They're trying to keep something (hemp seeds) that has no effect on people out of a product that can really have an effect on people if they use it unwisely," he said. "That seems just a bit absurd." O'Leary wished to join at least half a dozen breweries nationwide that already manufacturing hemp beer. The beers substitute sterile hemp seeds for barley and hops at different parts of the brewing process. Hemp proponents maintain that the seeds give beer a creamier head and herbal flavoring. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or NORML board member Don Wirtshafter of The Ohio Hempery @ (740) 662-4367. - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- Scientists Closer To Knowing How Marijuana Kills Pain ('The Associated Press' Interviews A Cancer Patient In Baker City, Oregon, Who Confirms Recent Research Reported By Ian Meng And Associates At The University Of California At San Francisco, Demonstrating The Analgesic Qualities Of Cannabinoids) Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 08:17:50 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Scientists Closer To Knowing How Marijuana Kills Pain 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) Pubdate: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 Source: (AP) SCIENTISTS CLOSER TO KNOWING HOW MARIJUANA KILLS PAIN UNDATED -- Maria Welch, a 52-year-old Baker City, Ore., resident who underwent surgery in July to remove most of her cancerous right lung, was in misery after doctors sent her home with some potent pain-killers. The drugs deadened some of the pain, but left her nauseous, hallucinatory and suffering from sleepless nights. Then a friend gave Welch two marijuana brownies. "When I ate them I couldn't believe it. It was like a miracle. It took the pain away and it gave me an appetite," said Welch, a food industry researcher. Now research has confirmed what some patients, like Welch, have been claiming all along: Marijuana does indeed kill pain.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tougher Pot Penalty - No - Measure 57 Invites Selective Enforcement (A Staff Editorial In The Eugene, Oregon, 'Register-Guard' Opposes The Initiative That Would Recriminalize Less Than One Ounce Of Marijuana, Saying If Tough Laws And Tough Rhetoric Were The Answer To America's Drug Problem, The Problem Would Have Been Solved Long Ago) Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 22:33:05 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US OR: Editorial: Tougher pot penalty: No Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar Pubdate: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 Source: Register-Guard, The (OR) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.registerguard.com/ TOUGHER POT PENALTY: NO -- Measure 57 Invites Selective Enforcement If tough laws and tough rhetoric were the answer to America's drug problem, the problem would have been solved long ago. Supporters of Measure 57, which would stiffen the penalty in Oregon for possession of small amounts of marijuana, have both legal and rhetorical purposes in mind: They want state law to send a stronger anti-drug message. The actual result, however, would be to weaken the already shaky credibility of Oregon's drug laws. Voters should reject Measure 57. For 25 years, Oregon has treated possession of small amounts of marijuana as a violation, a noncriminal act in the same league as a traffic offense. Such a mild penalty, members of the 1997 Legislature felt, makes Oregon seem tolerant of drugs. Lawmakers passed a bill making possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor, and Gov. John Kitzhaber signed it. Opponents gathered enough petition signatures to refer the bill to the Nov. 3 ballot. A no vote would keep Oregon law as it is, with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana punishable by a fine of $500 to $1,000. A yes vote would allow the Legislature's bill to take effect: Possession of any amount of marijuana would then become punishable by up to 30 days in jail, plus the $500 to $1,000 fine. Measure 57 also imposes tighter conditions on the diversion programs through which some have marijuana possession charges dropped in exchange for an agreement to obtain drug treatment. Oregon's current policy came about partly because the state's political leaders at the time, including Gov. Tom McCall, believed jail time and a criminal record were disproportionate punishments for most people arrested with small quantities of marijuana. They were right. The penalties for possessing other drugs, selling marijuana and possessing amounts of marijuana greater than one ounce have remained heavy. This sensible ordering of priorities has permitted the criminal justice system to devote its attention to hard drugs and distributors. If Measure 57 is approved, as a practical matter few people arrested in small-time pot busts will spend any time in jail. Prosecutors would still have the option of charging offenders with a violation, and according to legislative testimony they would choose that option in an estimated 40 percent of cases. Most other cases would end with plea bargains. For most casual marijuana smokers, the penalty for possession would be serious on paper but minor in practice, thereby eroding the credibility of all drug laws. And the cases of the few people who did end up behind bars on charges of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana would raise issues of selective enforcement while taking up jail space needed to hold other, more serious criminals, including drug offenders. The Legislature allocated $600,000 to cover the costs associated with marijuana recriminalization during the first biennium, but that would not be nearly enough. The state's fiscal impact statement places the biennial cost at $2.4 million. Cost, however, is a secondary matter. The key question is whether Measure 57 would contribute to an effective anti-drug effort in Oregon. A generally empty threat of jail time for people at the bottom of the marijuana distribution pyramid would do nothing to combat the state's biggest drug problems, which involve methamphetamine and heroin. The current law is in line with current practice, and the voters should keep it that way by defeating Measure 57.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Arrested Activist Asks For Computers ('The Statesman Journal' In Salem, Oregon, Notes Bill Conde Of Harrisburg And His Lawyer Are Trying To Get Back Computers That Police Took During A 50-Cop Raid Two Weeks Ago Which Allegedly Netted Just Over One Ounce Of Marijuana, A Raid Precipitated By Conde's Sponsorship Of The 'Cannabis Carnival' And Similar Events) Date: Fri, 02 Oct 1998 03:18:44 -0700 From: Paul Freedom (firstname.lastname@example.org) Organization: Oregon Libertarian Patriots To: "email@example.com" (firstname.lastname@example.org), Cannabis Patriots (Cannabis-Patriots-L@teleport.com) Subject: CanPat - ARRESTED ACTIVIST ASKS FOR COMPUTERS Sender: email@example.com Statesman Journal [Salem, OR] 10-1-98 ARRESTED ACTIVIST ASKS FOR COMPUTERS ALBANY-- An embattled marijuana activist has gone to court to try to get back computers police took during a drug raid two weeks ago, seizures his lawyer said violate privacy rights and constitutional freedoms of speech and association. Bill Conde, 55, was charged with a felony count of marijuana possession when Linn County sheriff's deputies found slightly more than an ounce of marijuana at his property near Harrisburg on Sept. 15. Searching for drug records, authorities took computers that Conde said he uses to run his redwood lumber business. One computer was used to operate a reader board visible from Interstate 5 that displayed messages about marijuana initiatives on November's ballot. Conde's attorney, Brian Michaels, argued Tuesday that authorities are going after Conde because of his outspoken political views.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Rally October 5 In Seattle (A List Subscriber Publicizes The 'Marijuana Is Medicine' Rally 6 PM Monday At Harborview Hospital - Speakers Who Will Lobby For Initiative 692 Include Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl And Tim Killian, Campaign Manager For The Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure)Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 10:00:26 -0700 (PDT) From: turmoil (firstname.lastname@example.org) Reply-To: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: PRESS RELEASE - Medical Marijuana Rally - Oct 5th - Seattle, WA PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE What: Marijuana is Medicine Rally Where: Harborview Hospital (gather at park in back of hospital) When: Monday Oct. 5th at 6:00 pm Contact: Tim Crowley - 206/442-9404 - email@example.com Preventing sick people from having medicine is cruel beyond belief. Marijuana has been used as a safe and effective medicine for thousands of years. We support Initiative 692 and other efforts to allow patients full access to effective medicine. Speakers include: State Senator Jeanne Kohl Tim Killian (Campaign Manager I-692) Dr. Francis Podrebarac Dale Rogers (Green Cross Patient Coordinator) Joanna McKee (Green Cross founder) Dr. Dave Edwards (Washington Hemp Education Network) Magic Black-Ferguson (Washington Hemp Education Network) Guerry Hoddersen (Freedom Socialist Party) Additional Information and posters are available at: http://seattlemusicweb.com/protest/ The official I-692 Website is at http://www.eventure.com/i692/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prescription Potheads ('Mademoiselle' Magazine Gives A Sympathetic Look At Medical Marijuana And The Plight Of Some Of The Patients At The Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative In California) Newshawk: A friend of the Media Awareness Project Pubdate: October, 1998 Source: Mademoiselle Author: Mary Ann Marshall Contact: MilleMag@aol.com Mail: Mademoiselle, Letters to the Editor, 350 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017 FAX: (212) 880-5LTR Voicemail: (800) 644-MLLE (U.S. only) Website: http://www.mademoiselle.com/ Note: Cover Headline: THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA WARS - "Pot is the only thing that stops the pain." PRESCRIPTION POTHEADS WHAT'S A NICE GIRL LIKE YOU DOING WITH A JOINT LIKE THIS? TAKING HER MEDICINE - AND RISKING A JAIL TERM. NOW THAT MARIJUANA IS USED TO TREAT EVERYTHING FROM AIDS TO ANOREXIA, MORE AND MORE YOUNG WOMEN ARE BECOMING CASUALTIES OF THE WAR ON DRUGS. One late night last June, Lee, 22 and two of her friends pulled their car over to a curb in crime-ridden downtown Oakland. They wanted to buy marijuana, which Lee smoked every day. She was completely out, and couldn't get in touch with her regular contact, a dealer-slash-friend. So there she was, on a dark, desolate corner where she'd heard she could score some weed. A man rode up on a bicycle. "You want a twenty-dollar bag.?" he asked. Lee, who was in the driver's seat, sensed danger as she put the bill in his hand. Sure enough, he whipped out a knife. "Give me all your jewelry and money," he ordered. When he leaned into the car, Lee noticed a gun peeking out of his jacket. She pulled three rings off her left hand. On was a cherished friendship band her god-sister had give her seven years ago, when Lee tested positive for the HIV virus. Lee has AIDS wasting syndrome, a mysterious and often fatal effect of HIV that causes drastic weight loss. Smoking marijuana is the only thing that allows her to keep food down, a prerequisite for taking her AIDS medication. ATZ, a highly toxic drug, has to be ingested on a full stomach. At 5'3" and 95 pounds, Lee couldn't afford to lose another ounce. That late night in June, she couldn't stop throwing up. "I felt like all my insides had flooded out, and I realized my last dose of ATZ for the day was way past due," she says. At that moment, Lee felt she was living the domino effect: She had to smoke to eat. She had to eat to take her medicine. She had to take her medicine to stay alive. But as miserable as she was without marijuana, scoring some could have landed her in jail. It's against federal law to buy the drug - even if you're a patient using it as medicine. And the law is not above incarcerating the very sick: An estimated 350 terminally or chronically ill patients are serving terms for growing or smoking marijuana. Six thousand or more are arrested each year. Lee could have been one of them. "The government approach is inhumane," says Chuck Thomas of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., an advocacy group that wants to legalize medical marijuana. "They bust ill patients' doors down, drag them downtown, take their mug shot and throw them in jail like common criminals." The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) admits Lee could do time if she were caught with as little as one joint. "We're not out looking for AIDS patients, but people who use marijuana are breaking the law," says DEA spokesperson Rogene Waite. "And we follow the law on this." Meanwhile, some members of Congress are trying to make sure the law stays restrictive. The House of Representatives is expected to vote this fall on the first-ever antimedical marijuana legislation, Resolution 372, introduced by Rep. Bill McCollum (R.-Florida). It would be a major step toward derailing efforts by five states and the District of Columbia to legalize medical marijuana. Eight members of the House have cosponsored the legislation, apparently eager to score antidrug points with voters in November. But their strategy may backfire, since popular sentiment seems to be on the side of the states - 79 percent of the 1,001 voters polled by the American Civil Liberties Union are in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical use. If the resolution fails and the federal government ultimately revises its stance, Lee may one day pick up her pot at the local pharmacy. The Criminally Ill? Marijuana is illegal, but it's also good medicine. Ninety human studies indicate that cannabis sativa (the species name for marijuana) relieves many of the symptoms that accompany AIDS, multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy and chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Unfortunately, most of the studies have not met strict Food and Drug Administration guidelines, and the FDA has not approved further research. So marijuana remains classified with LSD and heroin as a Schedule 1 drug (that means it's highly addictive, has no therapeutic value and can't be prescribed by a physician). There are three main medical uses for marijuana; as an antinauseant and an appetite stimulant (for AIDS and chemo patients); as an antispasmodic, or muscle relaxant (for spasms that accompany MS, epilepsy and paraplegia). Most of the medical establishment - including the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Public Health Association and many state nurses' organizations - support research into therapeutic use of this versatile drug. There's also plenty of anecdotal evidence indicating that marijuana provides relief from migraine, PMS and anorexia nervosa. Centuries ago, woman used cannabis to ease labor: In 1994, a 1,600-year-old tomb was unearthed near Jerusalem, revealing remnants of marijuana in the abdominal cavity of a teenage girl who apparently died in childbirth. Still, physicians are forbidden by federal law to prescribe it, and even in states where they can (Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin), doctors are warned by the federal government that they risk prosecution, and patients can't legally obtain it. "Marijuana has never been recorded to have caused a single death in thousands of years," says Lester Grinspoon, M.D., a Harvard psychiatric professor and author of Marijuana, the Forbidden Medicine (Yale University Press, 1997). "Nor has THC" - the active chemical in marijuana - "been demonstrated to harm any organ system or tissue, even after millions spent by the government to find toxicity." Recently, the White House spent a million more: In February 1996, it commissioned the Institute of Medicine, a D.C.-based arm of the National Institutes of Health, to study the research on smoked marijuana's medicinal properties. Results should be announced before the end of 1998. At the moment, the White House argues that legalizing marijuana - even for patients - would send the wrong message to children. "Marijuana is dangerous," says Brian Morton, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Policy, which reports directly to the President. "Walk into any drug-abuse treatment center and a teenager will tell you that marijuana is addictive and has ruined her life." Opponents of legalization believe that advocates are using the medical issue as a Trojan horse. "Many people out there are wishing as hard as they can for a back door to open so that they can smoke pot and say, Oh, cool, this is medicine," says Morton. Advocates who believe that marijuana should be used strictly as medicine are lobbying the FDA to test and approve therapeutic cannabis. Considering the FDA's labyrinthine process, approval is millions of dollars and many years away. What will Lee - and the tens of thousand of other patients smoking marijuana - do in the meantime? A Different Kind Of Health Club I met Lee at the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, a club in Oakland, California, that sells marijuana to patients who have a doctor's recommendation. The only daughter of divorced parents, Lee grew up with her mom and step-dad in a tough San Francisco neighborhood, where, at age 15, Lee was raped by an acquaintance. "I thought he was trying to get me pregnant, so I told him I'd be down at the clinic in a minute to abort it," Lee says. "He told me, 'I'm giving you something the clinic can't cure'" - HIV. Ever since Lee was robbed, she has been replenishing her supply at the club. There are nearly two dozen cannabis clubs in California. During the '80s, they operated underground. Then in November 1996,California became the first state to pass an initiative - Proposition 215 - allowing doctors to recommend marijuana, and patients to possess and grow it for their own use. But because Proposition 215 does not mention clubs specifically, the question of their legality is still up in the air, causing members constant anxiety over the possibility of raids (three clubs have been raided in recent years), jail time and being forced to by marijuana on the streets. Although state officials have accused clubs of promoting a let's-party atmosphere (and, truth be told, some of San Francisco's clubs have a reputation for being lax in their controls, casting suspicion on all the rest), Oakland's Cooperative has a distinctly unfestive atmosphere. With its sparse rooms and fluorescent overhead lights, the club resembles a rundown office. Members must show photo IDs to two security guards posted at the entrance to every room, and again when they purchase the cannabis. They're restricted to buying a quarter-ounce a day; if they buy more they get a verbal warning. If they ignore it, they can be banned from the club for life. The club sells a variety of strains, from "Sativa," which quiets nausea, to the ironically named "Government's Choice," which relieves pain. Also sold on the premises; pipes and rolling papers; tinctures to drink in tea; and marijuana-laced brownies and banana nut muffins prepared by the club's baker. But none of these goodies tempt Lee. "I used to love food," she says. "I loved anything fattening. My favorite foods used to be french fries, cashews and pistachios." Her appetite vanished after she contracted HIV. During the summer following her high school graduation, Lee went from 130 pounds to 105 pounds. By February, her weight dropped to 90 pounds. She couldn't eat or sleep; had sever pains from neuropathy, an ATZ-related disorder; and was, understandably, depressed. At that time, the FDA had approved only two medications for AIDS wasting syndrome: Megace, a hormone that promotes weight gain, but which nauseated Lee; and Marinol, synthetic THC. But researchers haven't yet figured out how to separate the therapeutic elements in THC from the narcotic ones. And since THC's rate of absorption is highly variable - even for the same patient at different times of the day - and Marinol's effects take an hour to be felt, patients are unable to regulate the amount of the drug they take in. "Marinol made me so high, all I could do was sit and stare at the wall," says Lee. And at $300 a month, it was prohibitively expensive: Lee receives $475 monthly from Social Security (because of her unpredictable health, she hasn't been able to hold down a job) and her rent is $425. Frustrated, her doctor finally told her, "Your biggest problems are that you can't eat or sleep. Since he Marinol didn't work, you should smoke a joint." So Lee did - and gained 30 pounds in three months. Smoking pot is the only way to keep weight on," Lee says. It also lets her sleep and soothes her anxiety: I hadn't gotten a good night's sleep since I was raped," she says, "Now, I don't wake up screaming." For the next two years, Lee smoked marijuana and maintained a weight of about 120. But then she began to feel guilty: "I started to think I was a drug addict. And I didn't like getting high because I felt like I was out of control." The way social-service workers treated her reinforced those fears: "I told them what I was using medically: AZT, Delaverdine - a protease inhibitor - and marijuana. They said, 'No, marijuana is a drug,' and marked me down as a substance abuser." Lee began to hate the smell of pot. The taste stuck in her throat like cough medicine. So she stopped smoking. "I dropped down to 95 pounds and landed in the hospital. I told myself, Whether you feel like a drug abuser or not, you have to smoke. It's not an option, just as my AIDS medications aren't an option," she says. "I would love to throw marijuana out the window, along with AZT. But until the FDA approves something that works, it's the only choice I have." The Fight For Tokers' Rights Traci, 25, is another member of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. She suffers from an eating disorder, which began when she was 11, shortly after her parents divorced. "Not eating makes you sick, makes you feel weak," says Traci. "I had to take a nap the second I got home from school." Last November, she caught pneumonia because her immune system was weak. She was throwing up uncontrollably, and lost 20 pounds. "I had to go to the emergency room, where they put me on fluids for 11 days." When she got out, a friend who's heard that marijuana can help eating disorders offered her a joint. "After we smoked, I was like, Gee, I'm hungry. I wanted to eat for the first time in my life," Traci says, still marveling at the effect marijuana has had on her. Her doctor, relieved, recommended it so she could buy it at the Oakland club. Soon, Traci was growing her own cannabis in her bedroom closet, and she gained 22 pounds in five months. "I buy clones, which are small plants, at the club," says Traci. "It takes nine weeks to yield a half-ounce, enough to last for two weeks." That's a massive savings - each plant costs $8, while the street value for a half-ounce is $150-$200. "If marijuana were legal, the street price would drop, and more patients could afford to buy it," she points out. When her plans aren't mature enough for use, Traci buys from the club. She pulls a bag out of her purse, marked "not for resale." See this? This is dirt weed, called Bammer. It was only $16. I mix it with this" - she whips out another bag, containing the Bomb, which costs $55 - "which averages out to a cost of about $30 a week. It lasts longer and still helps me eat." What if the club were shut down? "I have some seeds put away," she says. "Worst case" I'd go to the streets." The dangers of street purchases aside, Traci doesn't relish certain aspects of marijuana. "It messes with my equilibrium. I bump into stuff more," she says. "Ill knock into the side of a table, and my dad will look at me like, 'Hello - you're stoned.'" Lee describes her side effects in terms of mental incapacity: "My short-term memory is shot," she says flatly. "I recommend that anyone who smokes medicinally keep a daily record of their medications. Sometimes when I'm high, I don't remember if I'm on my first or second AZT dosage." Many doctors believe cannabis is too untested to justify use by anyone not suffering from a terminal illness. This reasoning leaves Traci out in the cold. Three weeks after meeting her, I call to ask for her response to those who believe that her disorder isn't serious enough to merit marijuana use. She has just eaten dinner and seems slightly fuzzy, but when her answer comes, it's sharp and focused. "I would tell these people hat they're wrong," she says. "I don't use marijuana lightly. A healthy person shouldn't smoke it just because they are stressed out. But look at me - I just ate dinner. This medicine has changed my life." "I Don't Use Marijuana Lightly" On her honeymoon in November Nita noticed that her pants didn't fit quite right. One month later, she felt a mass in her abdomen. "The doctors did a sonogram and, at first thought it was a cyst," says Nita, 32, a nurse in Washington, D.C. "They did surgery two months later and discovered it was ovarian cancer." Her doctors decided to kill any vestiges of the cancer with chemotherapy. Even with Nita's nursing experience, chemo was more than she was prepared for: "I didn't know my bones could ache. I felt like I was eighty years old, and disintegrating from the inside out." The treatment was more than her new husband could handle, too. "I was getting sicker and sicker," Nita explains. They divorced a year later. During her first round with chemotherapy, she took Compazine for the nausea. "It caused restlessness - I could not sit or lie still, and had to walk constantly to get any relief, she says. Then her doctor prescribed Tigan, another antinauseant, which had the same side effect. After that came Ativan, which helped her eat, but "I was becoming addicted, and it was distressing to have to take five Ativans to not be nauseous. So finally, I gave up." That's when Nita started using marijuana. She had smoked it recreationally after college and found that it worked on her insomnia. "This time, it helped me with my eating, nausea and depression." She continued smoking it for a year after chemo to counter the deep funk she had sunk into. "I found that marijuana made me face the things in my life that kept me depressed," she says. She liked the therapeutic effect so much, she kept right on smoking even after she fully recovered - and discovered a disquieting effect. "When I became well, marijuana gave me auditory hallucinations," Nita says. "I heard voices, people talking to me who weren't around." She hasn't smoked since. Nita still thinks the benefits of cannabis outweigh its risks: "It seems cruel to withhold such a powerful medicine." Besides, there are ways to take cannabis without smoking it. Nita talks enthusiastically about scientists who are developing other THC-delivery systems like inhalants and liquids that offer patients the therapeutic benefits of medicinal marijuana at the precise dosage needed without the most devastating side effect - lung damage (See "How Weed Works...[sidebar below]). Researchers are also working to isolate the ingredient or mechanism that causes the high, which will make marijuana less threatening, both politically and physically. I call Lee to tell her about these new developments. She's not herself, speaking in a monotone rather than her usual ebullient way. She says that she'd like take a trip next week, but sounds unconvinced that she'll be able to. Her legs are sore, she can't stand for very long, and she doesn't want to risk traveling with pot. She's too nauseated to eat, and her weight is dropping rapidly. We discuss the possibility that marijuana may be eligible for FDA submission under a new drug exemption, which would speed up the process. Medicinal marijuana could theoretically be approved within five years. "Five years?" Lee asks. "I could be dead by then." *** [SIDEBAR] HOW DOES WEED WORK? THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, acts primarily in two parts of the brain: the hippocampus - the seat of feelings, memory, action - and the cerebellum, which controls movement. No surprise, then, that smoking pot results in a temporary impairment of short-term memory and motor coordination and a distorted sense of time, according to Dennis Petro, M.D., a neurologist and drug researcher in Arlington, Virginia. Cannabis also mimics a neurotransmitter called anadamide (anada means bliss in Sanskrit), which researchers theorize is the brain's natural defense against stress, pain and nausea. The euphoria that marijuana users experience - and the increased appetite, a.k.a. "munchies" - may be a result of "marijuana over-doing it: People may already have just the right amount of anandamide," explains Billy Martin, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Apparently, pot has another, surprisingly protective effect on the brain. In July, researchers at the National Institutes of Health announced the discovery that cannabidiol - a non-high-inducing substance in the marijuana plant - is a potent antioxidant that, in lab tests on fetal rats, prevents death of brain cells. Eventually, cannabidiol might be used to stem brain damage from stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Pot has one major pitfall: Its smoke exposes the longs to three times more tars and five times more carbon monoxide than tobacco. "If marijuana were legalized," says Mary Lynn Mathre, R.N., president of Patients Out of Time, a nonprofit group that educates doctors about medical marijuana, "we could regulate what's in it, diminishing these effects." Copyright 1998 by the Conde Nast Publications Inc.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Shot ('The Richmond Times-Dispatch' Version Of Last Week's News About Ian Meng And Colleagues At The University Of California At San Francisco Demonstrating The Analgesic Efficacy Of Cannabis) Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 18:15:59 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Pot Shot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Thursday, October 1, 1998 Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) Contact: FAX:(804) 775-8072 Website: http://www.orcoastnews.com/headlight/ POT SHOT California researchers have shown in rats that a synthetic drug that mimics the principal active ingredient in marijuana acts like morphine on an area of the brain that modulates pain. Cannabinoids are a promising model for new drugs because unlike morphine, which can cause nausea and gastrointestinal problems, they stimulate the appetite. Such drugs would be useful for chronic pain sufferers who have trouble maintaining their weight. For more information, http://www.ucsf.edu/pressrel/index.htm
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judging Marijuana Policy (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Orange County Register' Responds To Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust's Assertion That Medicine Should Be Based On Science, Not Ideology, Saying Science Should Also Be Based On Facts, Not Some Pharmaceutical Company's Bottom Line) From: John W.Black Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 08:10:09 -0700 Size: 34 lines 1340 bytes File: v98.n855.a06 URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n855.a06.html Pubdate: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Author: Anthony Patton JUDGING MARIJUANA POLICY I must respond to the letter written by Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust regarding medicinal marijuana [Talk Show, Sept. 29]. I agree with Armbrust's assertion that medicine should be based on science, not ideology; however, I also think that science should be based on facts, not the bottom line. Marijuana is a plant and, therefore, cannot be patented. Pharmaceutical companies are opposed to marijuana's medical use because less-effective anti-nausea drugs would be less profitable if it were allowed. So we should scrutinize Armbrust's quote of the president's Office of National Drug Policy. As a survivor of a three-year battle with cancer, I'm painfully aware that pills are of no use to someone who is too ill to keep them down. I'm skeptical of any "study" that my be underwritten, lobbied by or otherwise financially connected to drug companies and conducted under the auspices of the president, who is a notorious liar. I will reserve my judgment of any study until I find out who conducted it, how it was conducted and, most important, who paid for it. Anthony Patton Anaheim Hills
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Chavez Case Delay (A Staff Editorial In 'The Orange County Register' Says The Case Against Marvin Chavez Has Been Delayed Again, This Time Until October 19 - James Silva, The Latest Lawyer For The Founder Of The Orange County Patient, Doctor, Nurse Support Group, Said He Had Not Received Hundreds Of Pages Of Documents From The Previous Attorneys Until A Few Days Before - One Of The First Issues To Be Raised Will Be A Defense Request For Orange County Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel To Revisit His Ruling That Proposition 215 Could Not Be Used As Part Of The Defense)Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 15:23:48 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: New Chavez Case Delay Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Thur, 01 Oct 1998 NEW CHAVEZ CASE DELAY The case against Marvin Chavez on charges of selling marijuana has been delayed again, this time until October 19. Mr Chavez is founder of the Orange County Patient, Doctor, Nurse Support Group, which tries to provide education and cannabis to patients who have a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana for medical purposes. Orange County Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel expressed displeasure Monday when he granted the continuance. But Mr. Chavez's new defense attorney, James Silva, explained that he had not received hundreds of pages of documents from the previous attorneys until a few days before. One of the first issues to be raised will be a defense request for Judge Fasel to revisit his ruling that Proposition 215 (now Section 11362.5 of the California Health and Safety Code) could not be used as part of the defense. That initiative provides a defense for patients with recommendations from physicians against some marijuana-related charges. Judge Fasel had requested more evidence from Mr. Chavez's previous attorneys that Mr. Chavez qualified as a "primary caregiver" under the law. Mr. Silva says he is ready to furnish it. Part of the reason for the confusion is that neither the state government nor any local government in Orange County has developed written guidelines for the orderly implementation of Prop. 215, leaving prosecutors and those trying to supply marijuana to patients unable to grow it themselves to contest the issue in court. In a previous hearing in this case Judge Fasel expressed reluctance to have a court perform the essentially legislative function of developing guidelines. But in our system it is not inappropriate for juries, drawn from the people, the decide how a law they voted for should be implemented or applied to a particular situation. The Chavez case could be useful in the process of developing guidelines - even if a conviction shows how not to do it properly - but only if all the relevant issues are discussed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 150 Inmates Riot At Corcoran Prison's Substance Abuse Facility ('The Fresno Bee' Says About 300 To 400 Inmates Were In The Exercise Yard When Something Or Someone Triggered About Half The Crowd Into Fist Fights Wednesday Morning) Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 19:25:22 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: 150 Inmates Riot At Corcoran Prison's Substance Abuse Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.fresnobee.com/ Pubdate: 1 October 1998 150 INMATES RIOT AT CORCORAN PRISON'S SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT FACILITY (Headline by Newshawk) San Joaquin Valley news briefs CORCORAN, Calif. (AP) -- A riot involving about 150 inmates erupted at Corcoran State Prison's Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, prison officials said. About 300 to 400 inmates were in the exercise yard when something or someone triggered about half the crowd into fist fights Wednesday morning, said Manuel Porras, the prison's community resources manager. No one was seriously hurt. Most of the injuries were minor cuts and scrapes, he said. A correctional officer fired one warning shotgun blast and it took the prison staff about five minutes to quell the conflict, Porras said. Those inmates involved in the fight will be subject to a routine disciplinary process, spokeswoman Margot Bach said. The warning shot by a guard also will be investigated. The facility, also known as Corcoran II, opened last year to provide counseling and prevention services to inmates with chronic drug and alcohol abuse problems. It houses about 1,000 low-to high-level security inmates.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prison Guards - The Union Throws Its Weight To The Democrat, Sending Lungren Scrambling (A 'San Jose Mercury News' Analysis Of Wednesday's News That The California Prison Guards' Union Has Decided To Endorse Gray Davis For Governor Rather Than Attorney General Dan Lungren, Nemesis Of Proposition 215) Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 12:05:56 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Prison Guards: The Union Throws Its Weight To The Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (email@example.com) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 Author: MARY ANNE OSTROM, Mercury News Sacramento Bureau PRISON GUARDS: THE UNION THROWS ITS WEIGHT TO THE DEMOCRAT, SENDING LUNGREN SCRAMBLING. SACRAMENTO -- For the first time in 16 years, the state's powerful prison-guard union on Tuesday chose to support the Democrat in the race for governor, prompting an immediate escalation in the battle between Lt. Gov. Gray Davis and Atty. General Dan Lungren over who can claim the mantle of crime-fighter. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association endorsed Davis at its Reno convention with a large rally, giving a boost to the Democratic nominee, who has come under attack from Lungren for not supporting the current ``three strikes, you're out'' law. The Davis campaign Tuesday night began running a crime ad of its own that campaign manager Garry South described as ``a response to Lungren's claim that Gray is soft on crime.'' Tuesday's plum endorsement comes from one of the state capital's most politically active unions. The 28,000-member CCPOA has given $1.5 million to Republican Gov. Pete Wilson over a decade, and played a key role in Wilson's capture of the governor's office in 1990. ``We've watched Gray Davis grow in office. We think he's also matured in the field of crime. He's a capable administrator,'' said Don Novey, president of the CCPOA, which has endorsed Davis in four previous statewide elections. Novey said Davis' status as a Vietnam veteran also figured into the endorsement, as did the group's belief that Davis will fight privatization of state prisons. Novey said Lungren, who enjoyed CCPOA support in his 1994 election to a second term as attorney general, had made some blunders with the union's rank-and-file members. Those include Lungren's support of Proposition 226, the failed June ballot measure that would have stymied CCPOA and other unions' abilities to raise money for political activities, and his decision to take a 5 percent pay raise during recession-ravaged 1991 while the correctional officers and other state employees took a 5 percent pay cut. Novey also criticized Lungren for using Golden State Warrior Latrell Sprewell, whose contract was reinstated by an arbitrator after Sprewell choked his coach, to explain his opposition to binding arbitration for law enforcement, something the CCPOA supports. ``I disagree with Pete Wilson on binding arbitration, but Pete Wilson would not go out and slam peace officers,'' Novey said. Choosing between Davis and Lungren was ``a tough decision personally,'' he said, and noted Lungren's strong support of both the ``three strikes'' law and the death penalty. He did not say how much money the union would give to Davis, who supported a milder version of the ``three strikes'' law. During a Tuesday press conference to highlight his support from the California Narcotics' Officers Association and Sacramento's district attorney, Lungren called himself the state's ``top cop'' and reiterated his attacks on Davis for lying about his fighting for the ``three strikes'' law that eventually passed and his lukewarm support for the death penalty. ``Where has Gray Davis been on the death penalty? He's been hiding behind trees,'' said Lungren. `` `Three strikes,' he's never been around for `three strikes.You ought not to take credit for something you didn't do.'' Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully continued the theme, telling reporters that in the area of fighting against drugs, Davis is ``a phantom.'' Both candidates have a long list of law enforcement endorsers. But because Lungren is attorney general and polls indicate voters have more confidence in Republicans to handle crime, the CCPOA endorsement is significant for Davis. ``Davis has an advantage of getting police-union endorsements because unions generally like Democrats,'' said Jack Pitney, professor of political science at Claremont McKenna College. ``It's a smart tactic on Davis' part to undercut his opponent's strength. . . . You have police-union endorsements, you can make a plausible case.'' 1997 - 1998 Mercury Center. *** Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 11:33:46 -0700 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: R Givens (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Re: PRISON GUARD UNION BACKS DAVIS Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org >Gee, I wonder if they were swayed to support Davis by his talk of turning >California into Singapore. > >Gregory Daurer >Denver, CO Singapore had nothing to do with it. Lungren is so braindead that he didn't hesitate to doublecross the prison guards by backing Proposition 226 and for his ventilation in an election year opposing arbitration for unions. With one ill-chosen anti-union remark Lungren lost vital support. Losing the prison guards means that Lungren has no support from any state employees or unions. Making his feelings known about unions burned all of those bridges permanently. Losing the prison guards union is the kiss of death for Lungren whether he admits it or not. The prison guards already have HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars earmarked for a massive anti-Lungren advertising campaign in the last few weeks of the race when it will be impossible for Danny boy to respond to their accusations. Lungren is sunk! It's amazing that someone so stupid could get so far in politics. But what do I know? R Givens
------------------------------------------------------------------- Kubby Makes His Case (A staff editorial in The Orange County Register illuminates the political views of Steve Kubby, a medical marijuana patient/activist and the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of California.) Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 05:44:31 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Kubby Makes His Case Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com http://www.kubby.com Source: Orange County Register (CA) Section: Editorial Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 KUBBY MAKES HIS CASE Libertarian candidate Steve Kubby's presence certainly would have livened up the stuffy first three gubernatorial debates between Republican Dan Lungren and Democrat Gray Davis. Mr. Kubby is hopeful that he might be included in the next debate, scheduled for Oct. 15. In an editorial board meeting with us this week, he charged that two major candidates "basically agree on everything" and that debate organizers are "driving people away" by not opening up to third-party candidates. Mr. Kubby also differs from the other candidates in being an entrepreneur, not a politician. He publishes Alpine World Magazine. Here are Mr. Kubby's responses to the six "values" questions we have been asking candidates this year: 1. What is the role of government in an individual's life? "I don't believe the government works," Mr. Kubby said. "I believe in the free market and local control instead of regulation and bureaucracies. Government has created more problems than it solves." He promised to be a governor who "will stand up" to the federal government and, if elected, might advocate suing the federal government over its handling of Social Security. "Either they put up hard assets or California opts out," he asserted. That's the kind of idea that would light a debate. While we'd have to look such a crusade more closely, we agree that government should be reduced. 2. How did you vote on Prop. 209, the initiative calling for an end to affirmative action, or preferences? Mr. Kubby wasn't clear on his position. He opposes preferences and said "affirmative action shouldn't be mandated by government." But on Prop. 209 he said, "I don't vote on anything I don't understand." He called Prop. 209 "complex" and said there should be fewer and simpler laws - little more than the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. We would favor fewer regulations, but we see two concerns with his response. Well-written law might appear to be complex when it is, in fact, precisely crafted. And, in this case, Prop. 209 was one of the clearer propositions we've seen. We supported it. 3. Do you support targeted vouchers or scholarships for students in the poorest performing school districts? He favors vouchers. "I'm just for anything that puts choices and alternatives in front of parents," he said. "I would form a program on an interim basis that puts parents in control." We favor vouchers, with certain cautions, because they likely will improve education quality though competition and offer better opportunity for individual students. 4. Would you favor daytime curfew laws whereby police could stop and question people under the age of 18? Mr. Kubby completely opposed such laws, which he said are part of a bad trend in which young people are being "taught disrespect for our laws instead of teaching them the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and what it means to live in a free society. Spend a day as a kid and you'll see the constant harassment by police, the Highway Patrol and others - the pressure put on the guilty and innocent alike." We have also opposed daytime curfews because they assume a child is guilty until proven innocent. 5. Would you vote for an across-the-board income tax reduction? He favors cutting the state income tax in half over four years, which would drop the top rate to 4.6 percent from 9.2 percent. "My first goal is to get government off people's backs, to show people a government that's leaner," he said. We favor an absolute minimum amount of taxes. 6. Should marijuana for medical purposes be available legally? Mr. Kubby made his political reputation as a major sponsor of and fund-raiser for Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California, with a doctor's recommendation. He recounted how marijuana has helped him overcome pheochromocytoma, a cancer of the adrenal glands. He had been told by doctors he might live from six months to three years, but has survived 23 years since then. We backed Prop. 215. Mr. Kubby realistically doesn't expect to win in November, but he aims to "exceed expectations" of voters and party members. Though not as well known as the major-party candidates, Mr. Kubby believes this election could springboard him to another candidacy within his own party, or, perhaps the better-funded Democratic Party in years ahead
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Found In Dead Activist's Blood (The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California, says preliminary drug tests show Earth First! activist David Chain had smoked marijuana sometime before he was killed by a falling tree while protesting logging operations by Pacific Lumber Company. Steven Schectman, an attorney representing Chain's family, said "It's just another attempt to smear environmental activists.") Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 02:32:49 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Pot Found In Dead Activist's Blood Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: d9 Source: Press Democrat, The (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.pressdemo.com/ Pubdate: Thur, 1 Oct 1998 Author: Mike Geniella POT FOUND IN DEAD ACTIVIST'S BLOOD EUREKA -- Humboldt County authorities said Wednesday preliminary drug tests show Earth First! activist David Chain had smoked marijuana sometime before he was killed by a falling tree while protesting logging operations by Pacific Lumber Co. Traces of marijuana linger in the body for 30 days or more, said Coroner Frank Jager, so it's possible that Chain hadn't smoked pot for several days or even weeks before the Sept. 17 accident. Despite the positive test, Jager said that he isn't yet able to determine whether the Austin, Texas, man smoked marijuana on the day of his death. "We plan to conduct further tests which should allow us to determine that,'' Jager said. "But the results could take up to six weeks." Steven Schectman, an attorney representing Chain's family, criticized authorities for releasing results of the preliminary drug tests. "It doesn't mean anything,'' Schectman said. "He could have smoked a little pot a month ago. It's just another attempt to smear environmental activists." Schectman also complained drug tests weren't performed on the logger, whom activists believe deliberately cut a tree to fall toward Chain and other activists, who were protesting timber cutting by Pacific Lumber Co. at a site near Grizzly Creek State Park. "Why not?'' Schectman asked. "Because they assumed from the beginning that Chain was responsible for his own death." Chain, 24, died from severe head injuries after being struck by a falling redwood, according to autopsy results disclosed Wednesday by Jager.
------------------------------------------------------------------- TSU Officer Charged In Theft, Sale Of Drug ('The Houston Chronicle' Says Russell Lovell Simpson, A Texas Southern University Police Officer, Was Charged Friday With Stealing Two Kilos Of Cocaine From An Undercover Officer, Then Selling It To Another Undercover Officer) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "-News" (email@example.com) Subject: TSU officer charged in theft, sale of drug Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 20:50:11 -0700 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org 10:07 PM 10/1/1998 TSU officer charged in theft, sale of drug Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle A Texas Southern University police officer was charged Friday with stealing two kilos of cocaine from an undercover officer, then selling it to another undercover officer. Russell Lovell Simpson, 28, of the 17100 block of Imperial Valley, was on duty, in uniform and driving his marked TSU patrol car when he delivered the cocaine in exchange for $30,000, police said. He was charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, and has been freed on $100,000 bail. Simpson was arrested without incident by Houston SWAT officers after the transaction in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in the 3700 block of Scott about 2 a.m. Sept. 25. Simpson, who had worked for TSU since Aug. 1, had been the subject of an undercover investigation for about three weeks, said HPD spokesman John Cannon. TSU Police Chief Cordell Lindsey said Simpson, who came to TSU from the Fort Bend County Precinct 2 Constable's Office, was fired immediately after his arrest.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pouring Billions Into Bottomless Dungeons (An excellent op-ed in the Shepherd Express ponders the soaring cost of prisons in Wisconsin - and other states - in the face of declining crime rates. If citizens are so willing to pay any price for more prisons, why are politicians so reluctant to say right out loud how absurdly expensive the price will be?) Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1998 05:24:23 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WI: OPED: Pouring Billions Into Bottomless Dungeons Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: Shepherd Express (WI) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.shepherd-express.com/ Pubdate: Wed, 1 Oct 1998 Author: Joel McNally, editor of Shepherd Express. Address e-mail to email@example.com POURING BILLIONS INTO BOTTOMLESS DUNGEONS One of the biggest political myths around is that voters in these fiscally conservative times will not tolerate wasteful spending on huge government programs that don't work. On the contrary, whenever politicians want to spend more money to lock up human beings, too much is not enough. All a candidate has to do to "go negative" on the issue is accuse his opponent of voting against excessive government spending on prisons. The state Department of Corrections has just proudly announced a 50% increase in the number of prisoners it expects to put behind bars over the next three years. In a clear demonstration of our priorities, the projected 22.5% budget increase for prisons is more than double the budget increase proposed for the other statewide effort to get people's minds right--the University of Wisconsin System. There are two other things you should know about a government spending increase of such enormous magnitude: 1. This is not taking place against a backdrop of burgeoning crime. Crime in Wisconsin is in decline, just as it has been around the nation. The state crime rate dropped 10% over the last decade. 2. That mind-boggling 50% increase in the number of people to be incarcerated is grossly underestimated. The Department of Corrections admits its figures do not include a single additional prisoner as a result of the so-called "truth in sentencing" law. There never has been a more dishonestly named law. Gov. Tommy Thompson and the Department of Corrections adamantly refuse to tell the truth about "truth in sentencing." If the law isn't going to keep a whole lot more people in prison longer, what was the point? The biggest "lies in sentencing" are being told right now by the governor and corrections officials. They keep saying there is no way of knowing how many additional prison cells, if any, will be needed under "truth in sentencing." Well, let's try to help them out with the math. Under the previous law, a prisoner was eligible for mandatory release after he or she had served two-thirds of the sentence. Now, all prisoners will serve 100% of their sentences. The difference between two-thirds and 100% is one-third. So, let's see. We're going to have 50% more prisoners in the system and they'll be serving sentences that are 33% longer. Multiply the whole thing by pi or something, and we'll need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to build new prisons from here to kingdom come. Give or take a couple dozen Supermaxes. The response from "lock 'em up" politicians in both parties is that the public doesn't care how much it costs. Law-abiding citizens are willing to pay whatever it costs to lock up those monstrous, subhuman, senior-citizen-raping, blood-feasting animals who are lurking in the shadows ready to pounce on innocent voters on their way to the polls. Since there are nowhere near 25,000 such murderous fiends in Wisconsin, politicians have to keep cranking up the inflamed rhetoric to keep the voter support for building new prisons at an all-time high. If citizens are willing to pay any price for more prisons, why are politicians so reluctant to say right out loud how absurdly expensive the price will be? In order to keep expanding prisons at the present rate, all politicians have to do is raise taxes for corrections 50% every three years. Also, when "truth in sentencing" kicks in, they may have to discontinue a few of the less important government services such as education, public health, parks and highways. We have seen the future of corrections in Wisconsin and it is a geriatric prison in Chippewa Falls. When most people think about crime in the simple-minded stereotypes politicians encourage, they probably picture scary, soulless teenagers or professional thugs in their 20s. But when you lock up people and throw away the key, time does not stand still. So now we are actually talking about spending millions of dollars to operate a geriatric prison to protect us all from sickly and aged offenders. We wouldn't want those vicious old codgers shuffling out the revolving door of some prison after 60 or 70 years to resume their lawless ways. Of course, the biggest danger at that point might be that they would bore us all to death with stories about how much better crime used to be in the old days. It's easy to understand the temptation to keep offenders locked up until they become frail old geezers pushing their walkers and croaking, "Hand over your pocket book, by cracky!" That's because those who come out of prison earlier are almost certain to be more dangerous than when they went in. Prisons no longer make any pretense of attempting rehabilitation. Many, many offenders have drug and alcohol problems. One thing that's very hard to get in prison is drug treatment. What's easy to get is drugs. Not only do prisons do very little to change those in their custody for the better. The current political philosophy is to make prisons into even more destructive institutions. Politicians are systematically removing all positive amenities from prisons that recognize inmates as human beings. As prisons become colder, harder and meaner, so do their human byproducts. Combined with conservative political efforts to deny legitimate employment to anyone convicted of a crime, a very strong argument can be made that our prison system increases crime and reduces public safety in Wisconsin. But at least it is a huge government program that is exorbitantly expensive.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 10-Year-Old Boy Accused Of Having Marijuana At Waukesha School ('The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' Notes Cannabis Prohibition Continues To Exacerbate The Problem It Was Supposed To Resolve - Officials Said The Boy Also Had More Than $100 And Is The First Student Caught With Drugs At A Waukesha Public Elementary School) Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 09:48:35 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WI: 10-Year-Old Boy Accused of Having Marijuana at Waukesha School Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Contact: email@example.com Fax: (414) 224-8280 Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 Author: Mike Johnson of the Journal Sentinel staff 10-YEAR-OLD BOY ACCUSED OF HAVING MARIJUANA AT WAUKESHA SCHOOL He's first elementary pupil in district to be caught with drugs, officials say Waukesha -- A 10-year-old student is accused of having marijuana and more than $100 in cash at school in what officials said is the first case of a student being caught with drugs at a Waukesha public elementary school. The boy faces an expulsion hearing before the School Board on Tuesday night, a school official said. School officials found the drugs and cash on him Sept. 23. After school officials said they found the marijuana, a rolling paper and cash in the boy's pants, he told them everything -- including the pants -- belonged to an older brother, who is in high school. "The kid has a story to tell. The story, unfortunately, has changed," said Gilbert Wilkins, the executive director of administrative services for the Waukesha School District. The fifth-grader at Prairie Elementary School is believed to be the youngest pupil in Waukesha County to be accused of having marijuana on school grounds. "This would be the youngest that I know of," said District Attorney Paul Bucher, who is deeply involved in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in the schools. The student was turned in by fellow students who told administrators they saw him handling the marijuana on the playground. The boy was searched and officials found a small amount of marijuana, a single rolling paper and "a large amount of money," Wilkins said. Wilkins said the cash was "over $100 but less than $200." He refused to say exactly how much money the child had. Bucher said, "Even if I wasn't involved in DARE, I'd be concerned about a 10-year-old allegedly possessing marijuana and having $100 to $200 in cash. Any right-thinking individual would be concerned. Nobody in my office carries that amount of cash in their pockets." Wilkins said there was no evidence the 10-year-old was selling marijuana to other students. "He's not a person suspected of being a drug dealer or a gang-banger," Wilkins said. "He's a good kid from a good family. . . . He's 10. That's the really sad part about it. "We'll have to deal with it and get on with life." Superintendent David Schmidt said even if the marijuana belonged to the boy's brother, the fifth-grader was aware of school rules that prohibit drugs. "Our policy is to take kids to expulsion when drugs and alcohol are involved," Schmidt said. "He knew the rules. School districts have to draw the line somewhere. "I've watched this whole drug and alcohol thing, and it starts getting younger and younger, and that concerns me deeply." Asked what the normal penalty for being caught with marijuana was, Wilkins replied: "There is no normal in this situation. We've not had an elementary school child with possession of marijuana before." If the child is expelled, he would be the fifth student expelled for possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia this school year. The other four, all high school students, were expelled for the rest of the semester. Said School Board member Kathleen Briggs: "I've been a board member for eight years, and I don't recall any drug incidents with an elementary school kid. "To think that's (marijuana) filtering down to elementary schools, that's pretty scary." Waukesha police Lt. Hal Kump said the case remains under investigation. "Of course it's concerning," Kump said. "It's concerning when it's a 16-year-old. It's concerning when it's a 35-year-old. It indicates how the younger people are being exposed to controlled substances. It's very disturbing." It's not the first time in the Milwaukee area that a fifth-grader has been caught with marijuana. In May 1997, an 11-year-old Milwaukee Public Schools fifth-grader was turned in to police by his parents who suspected he was selling drugs. Police searched the youth and found 30 grams of marijuana and a pager. While the officers were holding the pager, it beeped and displayed a number. Police dialed the number, and a man answered and said he wanted to buy marijuana from the boy. Linda Spice of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Reflections On The Prison Industrial Complex (An op-ed in Connecticut's Fairfield County Weekly by Angela Davis, a former political prisoner, longtime activist, educator and author, elaborates on a recent piece of hers in The San Jose Mercury News about the social costs of the war on some drug users. "Prisons do not make problems disappear, they make human beings disappear.") Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 15:30:21 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CT: OPED: Reflections On The Prison Industrial Complex Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 1 Oct 1998 Source: Fairfield County Weekly (CT) Copyright: 1998 New Mass. Media, Inc. Contact: email@example.com Author: Angela Y. Davis Note: Angela Davis is a former political prisoner, longtime activist, educator and author who has devoted her life to struggles for social justice. REFLECTIONS ON THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Imprisonment has become the response of first resort to far too many of the social problems that burden people who are mired in poverty. These problems often are veiled by being conveniently grouped together under the category "crime" and by the automatic attribution of criminal behavior to people of color. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages. Prisons thus perform a feat of magic. Or rather the people who continually vote in new prison bonds and tacitly assent to a proliferating network of prisons and jails have been tricked into believing in the magic of imprisonment. But prisons do not make problems disappear, they make human beings disappear. And the practice of disappearing vast numbers of people from poor, immigrant and racially marginalized communities has literally become big business. The seeming effortlessness of magic always conceals an enormous amount of behind-the-scenes work. When prisons make human beings disappear in order to convey the illusion of solving social problems, penal infrastructures must be created to accommodate a rapidly swelling population of caged people. Goods and services must be provided to keep imprisoned populations alive. Sometimes these populations must be kept busy and at other times -- particularly in repressive super-maximum prisons and in INS detention centers -- they must be deprived of virtually all meaningful activity. Vast numbers of handcuffed and shackled people are moved across state borders as they are transferred from one state or federal prison to another. All this work, which used to be the primary province of government, is now also performed by private corporations, whose links to government in the field of what is euphemistically called "corrections" resonate dangerously with the military industrial complex. The dividends that accrue from investment in the punishment industry, like those that accrue from investment in weapons production, only amount to social destruction. Taking into account the structural similarities and profitability of business-government linkages in the realms of military production and public punishment, the expanding penal system can now be characterized as a "prison industrial complex." The Color of Imprisonment Almost 2 million people are currently locked up in the immense network of U.S. prisons and jails. More than 70 percent of the imprisoned population are people of color. It is rarely acknowledged that the fastest-growing group of prisoners are black women and that Native American prisoners are the largest group per capita. Approximately 5 million people -- including those on probation and parole -- are directly under the surveillance of the criminal justice system. Three decades ago, the imprisoned population was approximately one-eighth its current size. While women still constitute a relatively small percentage of people behind bars, today the number of incarcerated women in California alone is almost twice what the nationwide women's prison population was in 1970. According to Elliott Currie, "The prison has become a looming presence in our society to an extent unparalleled in our history -- or that of any other industrial democracy. Short of major wars, mass incarceration has been the most thoroughly implemented government social program of our time." To deliver up bodies destined for profitable punishment, the political economy of prisons relies on racial assumptions of criminality -- such as images of black welfare mothers reproducing criminal children -- and on racist practices in arrest, conviction and sentencing patterns. Colored bodies constitute the main human raw material in this vast experiment to make the major social problems of our time disappear. Once the aura of magic is stripped away from the imprisonment solution, what is revealed is racism, class bias and the parasitic seduction of capitalist profit. The prison industrial system materially and morally impoverishes its inhabitants and devours the social wealth needed to address the very problems that have led to spiraling numbers of prisoners. As prisons take up more and more space on the social landscape, other government programs that have previously sought to respond to social needs -- such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families -- are being squeezed out of existence. The deterioration of public education, including prioritizing discipline and security over learning in public schools located in poor communities, is directly related to the prison "solution." Profiting from Prisoners As prisons proliferate in U.S. society, private capital has become enmeshed in the punishment industry. And precisely because of their profit potential, prisons are becoming increasingly important to the U.S. economy. If the notion of punishment as a source of potentially stupendous profits is disturbing by itself, then the strategic dependence on racist structures and ideologies to render mass punishment palatable and profitable is even more troubling. Prison privatization is the most obvious instance of capital's current movement toward the prison industry. While government-run prisons are often in gross violation of international human rights standards, private prisons are even less accountable. In March of this year, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest U.S. private prison company, claimed 54,944 beds in 68 facilities under contract or development in the United States, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and Australia. Following the global trend of subjecting more women to public punishment, CCA recently opened a women's prison outside Melbourne. The company recently identified California as its "new frontier." Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (WCC), the second largest U.S. prison company, claimed contracts and awards to manage 46 facilities in North America, U.K., and Australia. It boasts a total of 30,424 beds as well as contracts for prisoner health-care services, transportation and security. Currently, the stocks of both CCA and WCC are doing extremely well. Between 1996 and 1997, CCA's revenues increased by 58 percent, from $293 million to $462 million. Its net profit grew from $30.9 million to $53.9 million. WCC raised its revenues from $138 million in 1996 to $210 million in 1997. Unlike public correctional facilities, the vast profits of these private facilities rely on the employment of non-union labor. The Prison Industrial Complex But private prison companies are only the most visible component of the increasing corporatization of punishment. Government contracts to build prisons have bolstered the construction industry. The architectural community has identified prison design as a major new niche. Technology developed for the military by companies like Westinghouse are being marketed for use in law enforcement and punishment. Moreover, corporations that appear to be far removed from the business of punishment are intimately involved in the expansion of the prison industrial complex. Prison construction bonds are one of the many sources of profitable investment for leading financiers such as Merrill Lynch. MCI charges prisoners and their families outrageous prices for the precious telephone calls, which are often the only contact prisoners have with the free world. Many corporations whose products we consume on a daily basis have learned that prison labor power can be as profitable as third world labor power exploited by U.S.-based global corporations. Both relegate formerly unionized workers to joblessness and many of those workers even wind up in prison. Some of the companies that use prison labor are IBM, Motorola, Compaq, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Microsoft and Boeing. But it is not only the high-tech industries that reap the profits of prison labor. Nordstrom department stores sell jeans that are marketed as "Prison Blues," as well as T-shirts and jackets made in Oregon prisons. The advertising slogan for these clothes is "made on the inside to be worn on the outside." Maryland prisoners inspect glass bottles and jars used by Revlon and Pierre Cardin, and schools throughout the world buy graduation caps and gowns made by South Carolina prisoners. "For private business," writes Eve Goldberg and Linda Evans (a political prisoner inside the Federal Correctional Institution at Dublin, Calif.) "prison labor is like a pot of gold. No strikes. No union organizing. No health benefits, unemployment insurance, or workers' compensation to pay. No language barriers, as in foreign countries. New leviathan prisons are being built on thousands of eerie acres of factories inside the walls. Prisoners do data entry for Chevron, make telephone reservations for TWA, raise hogs, shovel manure, make circuit boards, limousines, waterbeds and lingerie for Victoria's Secret -- all at a fraction of the cost of 'free labor.' " Devouring the Social Wealth Although prison labor -- which ultimately is compensated at a rate far below the minimum wage -- is hugely profitable for the private companies that use it, the penal system as a whole does not produce wealth. It devours the social wealth that could be used to subsidize housing for the homeless, to ameliorate public education for poor and racially marginalized communities, to open free drug rehabilitation programs for people who wish to kick their habits, to create a national health-care system, to expand programs to combat HIV, to eradicate domestic abuse -- and, in the process, to create well-paying jobs for the unemployed. Since 1984 more than 20 new prisons have opened in California, while only one new campus was added to the California State University system and none to the University of California system. In 1996-97, higher education received only 8.7 percent of the state's General Fund while corrections received 9.6 percent. Now that affirmative action has been declared illegal in California, it is obvious that education is increasingly reserved for certain people, while prisons are reserved for others. Five times as many black men are presently in prison as in four-year colleges and universities. This new segregation has dangerous implications for the entire country. By segregating people labeled as criminals, prison simultaneously fortifies and conceals the structural racism of the U.S. economy. Claims of low unemployment rates -- even in black communities -- make sense only if one assumes that the vast numbers of people in prison have really disappeared and thus have no legitimate claims to jobs. The numbers of black and Latino men currently incarcerated amount to 2 percent of the male labor force. According to criminologist David Downes, "Treating incarceration as a type of hidden unemployment may raise the jobless rate for men by about one-third, to 8 percent. The effect on the black labor force is greater still, raising the [black] male unemployment rate from 11 percent to 19 percent." Hidden Agenda Mass incarceration is not a solution to unemployment, nor is it a solution to the vast array of social problems that are hidden away in a rapidly growing network of prisons and jails. However, the great majority of people have been tricked into believing in the efficacy of imprisonment, even though the historical record clearly demonstrates that prisons do not work. Racism has undermined our ability to create a popular critical discourse to contest the ideological trickery that posits imprisonment as key to public safety. The focus of state policy is rapidly shifting from social welfare to social control. Black, Latino, Native American and many Asian youth are portrayed as the purveyors of violence, traffickers of drugs and as envious of commodities that they have no right to possess. Young black and Latina women are represented as sexually promiscuous and as indiscriminately propagating babies and poverty. Criminality and deviance are racialized. Surveillance is thus focused on communities of color, immigrants, the unemployed, the undereducated, the homeless, and in general on those who have a diminishing claim to social resources. Their claim to social resources continues to diminish in large part because law enforcement and penal measures increasingly devour these resources. The prison industrial complex has thus created a vicious cycle of punishment which only further impoverishes those whose impoverishment is supposedly "solved" by imprisonment. Therefore, as the emphasis of government policy shifts from social welfare to crime control, racism sinks more deeply into the economic and ideological structures of U.S. society. Meanwhile, conservative crusaders against affirmative action and bilingual education proclaim the end of racism, while their opponents suggest that racism's remnants can be dispelled through dialogue and conversation. But conversations about "race relations" will hardly dismantle a prison industrial complex that thrives on and nourishes the racism hidden within the deep structures of our society. The emergence of a U.S. prison industrial complex within a context of cascading conservatism marks a new historical moment with unprecedented dangers. But so are its opportunities. Considering the impressive number of grassroots projects that continue to resist the expansion of the punishment industry, it ought to be possible to bring these efforts together to create radical and nationally visible movements that can legitimize anti-capitalist critiques of the prison industrial complex. It ought to be possible to build movements in defense of prisoners' human rights and movements that persuasively argue that what we need is not new prisons, but new health care, housing, education, drug programs, jobs and education. To safeguard a democratic future, it is possible and necessary to weave together the many strands of resistance to the prison industrial complex into a powerful movement for social transformation.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Thou Shalt Not (The October issue of The Washingtonian features an intellectual portrait of Joe Califano, a former heavyweight Washington lawyer and adviser to two presidents, now reborn as the scourge of illegal drugs - and of anyone who dares to disagree with him. Califano's drug-research center, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, started five years ago at Columbia University, has become the loudest voice in drug policy debate.) From: Ty Trippet (TTrippet@sorosny.org) To: TLC_ACTIVIST (TLCACT@sorosny.org) Subject: Oct. Washingtonian: Joe Califano Thundering Against Drugs... Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 14:44:56 -0500 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The following article is from the October edition of Washingtonian Magazine. Washingtonian Work: 202-296-3600 Other: http://www.infi.net:80-Washmag/ E-Mail: email@example.com LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Letters to the editor should be mailed to: Ms. Landis Neal Washingtonian Magazine 1828 L St., N.W., Ste. 200 Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: 202-296-3600 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: http://www.infi.net:80-Washmag/ EDITOR: Pub. Eleanor Merrill; Ed. John A. Limpert Ty Trippet Director of Communications The Lindesmith Center 400 West 59th Street New York, NY 10019 212-548-0604 212-548-4670-fax mailto: email@example.com http://www.lindesmith.org *** Thou Shalt Not. Once a presidential adviser and legal heavyweight, Joe Califano now is thundering against drugs. And woe be to those who doubt his data or get in his way. By Christopher Shea; Christopher Shea is a senior writer at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Even by Washington standards, the drug debate is uncompromising and partisan. President Clinton claims that the number of Americans using drugs has declined by 50 percent since 1979, and earlier this year he laid out plans to cut drug use in half again over the next ten years. House Speaker Newt Gingrich scoffed at the Clinton proposals, which he called a "hodge-podge of half steps and half truths." He wanted all drug use eliminated in four years. Amid all the posturing and confusion, one voice suffers no doubt. When politicians or journalists need information about drugs, they often turn to a university-based "expert" who is certain where others are cautious and who compares drug policies he dislikes to "playing Russian roulette with our children." The expert is Joe Califano, former heavyweight Washington lawyer and adviser to two presidents, now reborn as the scourge of drugs -- and of anyone who dares to disagree with him. Started five years ago, Califano's drug-research center, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, has become the loudest voice in the drug debates. If you've heard that marijuana is a "gateway drug" that opens the door to cocaine and heroin, that's CASA and Califano. If you've read that marijuana is far more harmful now than it was when Al Gore, Newt Gingrich, and other politicians dabbled with it -- so deadly that it should now be considered a "hard drug" -- that's probably because of Califano. Every few months, Califano sends a fresh series of statistics coursing through the press. Examples include the claim that the proportion of female college students who get drunk on weekends has tripled over the past few decades. But it's on the Washington Post op-ed page that Califano gets his biggest play -- and achieves something close to Old Testament thunder. When the billionaire philanthropist George Soros contributed $ 650,000 to the campaigns to make medical marijuana legal in California and Arizona, Califano crowned him "the Daddy Warbucks of drug legalization." He accused Soros of manipulating compassion for the terminally ill as part of a scheme to make marijuana, cocaine, and heroin as available as tobacco and beer. When parents told pollsters that they thought their kids might try marijuana at some point in college, Califano responded with a Post column that called the parents' attitude "infuriating," adding, "Instead of chorusing 'We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore,' too many boomer parents utter a sigh of resignation that is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy for their children." So deep is Califano's loathing of tobacco that he rejects any deal between state attorneys general and the tobacco industry as the devil's work. The resulting compromises, he writes, represent a "sordid piece of money-changing in the temple of the American bar." "Big Tobacco knows that the way to the hearts of Washington and plaintiff's lawyers," he said, "is through their pocketbooks." Joe Califano now lives in New York, but he's still very much a Washington operator. Until the late 1980s, Califano was a fixture here. A Harvard Law graduate, he did a Defense Department stint under Robert McNamara during the Kennedy years and then became Lyndon Johnson's chief domestic-policy adviser and a co-architect of the Great Society. He would later write one of the sharpest memoirs of the period, The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson. After Richard Nixon's election, Califano settled in at the powerhouse Williams & Connolly law firm, where he replaced a lockstep compensation system with an "eat what you kill" approach that rewarded the partners who brought in the most business -- notably himself. Eventually he would become known as the "half-million-dollar man" -- a reference to his then-stratospheric salary. It was as Jimmy Carter's Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare that Califano made his biggest splash, especially for his opposition to tobacco, which he deemed "slow-motion suicide" and "Public Health Enemy No. 1." Charlie Rose, a former Democratic congressman from the tobacco-growing state of North Carolina, responded by saying, "We need to educate Mr. Califano with a two-by-four." President Carter fired Califano in 1979, mostly because even when he was right on the issues, Califano's blunt, high-profile, self-promoting approach cost Carter too many political allies. Califano returned to the law, first at his own firm, then at Dewey & Ballantine, which was dusty when he arrived but grew to be one of the most profitable firms in Washington. In 1992 he left to found CASA. "I'm not made to practice commercial law, really," he said at the time. "I've made money at it, but now I wake up every morning ready to roar." Drug research is an unglamorous field that doesn't usually attract the kind of donations that go to cancer treatments or AIDS work, but Califano's CASA hums along on a $ 8-million annual budget. Unlike white-coated researchers and scholars in elbow patches, Califano can pick up the phone and call buddies like Michael Eisner, chairman of the Disney company, to help underwrite a fundraiser featuring Liza Minnelli, the pop star Brandy, and a keynote speech by President Clinton. CBS, Chrysler, and Mobil have contributed heavily to CASA, and the board of directors sparkles with such names as Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford. "For decades I have followed the field of substance-abuse research, and I have never seen a phenomenon like the rise of CASA," said David Hamburg, president emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation and a Califano supporter. "In a few years it has become one of the most respected and significant sources of information and policy advice. There is nothing like it." Last spring, Califano may have pulled off his biggest policy coup. According to the Post, just as President Clinton was preparing to place the government behind efforts to slow the spread of AIDS by distributing clean needles to addicts -- a plan long urged by health officials and backed by the Department of Health and Human Services -- Califano sent Clinton a letter pleading with him not to. That letter, together with the opposition of Califano's like-minded ally, drug czar Barry McCaffrey, sunk the plan and led to a backpedaling press conference by Donna Shalala, secretary of HHS. Califano's political clout, the forum that the Washington Post has given him, and the luster lent by his Columbia University title sit uneasily with many scholars who have spent their careers studying the drug issue. "I view his work with the utmost amusement," says Joseph D. McNamara, who served as a New York City cop before becoming police chief of Kansas City, Missouri, and then San Jose, and who now studies drug policy at Stanford University's conservative Hoover Institution. "What CASA does is present information in a kind of hysterical-crisis mode, which is very similar to what the government does." McNamara got a typical Califano scolding after he argued, on the Post's op-ed page, for shifting the front of the war on drugs from prisons and border interdiction to prevention and health care. McNamara said the United States could benefit by looking at Europe, where drug use is viewed more as an endemic health problem than as pure crime. A week later, Califano weighed in with a blistering defense of the status quo in a Post op-ed. "The first casualty of most pro-legalization arguments is reality," he wrote. "If these ideas ever became policy, the next would be America's children." McNamara's views went beyond playing Russian roulette with children, he wrote. They were the equivalent of "slipping a couple of extra bullets in the chamber." McNamara calls the response "pharmacological McCarthyism." "It's as rotten and dangerous as the original McCarthyism," he says. "What he is trying to do is cut out any kind of objective debate by labeling people who are critical of current drug policies as 'legalizers.' . . . It's hard to call a guy who's been a cop for 25 years a pothead." Califano "has so much corporate money that he bought himself a place at Columbia, but he's not playing by the same rules that all other faculty and research centers have to play by," says Craig Reinarman, a sociologist at the University of California at San Cruz. "It seems to me that he wants to have it both ways. He wants to be the anti-drug ideologue, to go out there and make impassioned speeches, and to some degree be a star, but he gets his money and his connection to Columbia on an entirely different basis. "If he wants to do that, fine; but don't pretend you're a Columbia University scholar when you're not -- you're Ralph Reed." Other researchers complain that Califano's take-no-prisoners approach to the drug debate has created a climate in which raising questions about zero-tolerance arguments, or the likelihood of a drug-free America, are seen as little short of treason. I had a chance to talk with Califano last fall at CASA's headquarters. He's now ensconced in the Carnegie Towers, a postmodern edifice on 57th Street in Manhattan, on the same block as Carnegie Hall and 50 blocks south of Columbia's campus. Califano's office is decorated with emblems of past glories. A THIS IS A NON-SMOKING WORKPLACE sign sits on his desk. On the wall to his left is a framed letter from President Johnson, commemorating the day he left public service for the law: "You were the captain I wanted, and you steered the ship well." At 67, Califano still looks fit and powerful, with a demeanor that carries a hint of the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, where, before he went off to college at Holy Cross, he and his friends used to brawl with gangs from rival neighborhoods. He is sharp, with a gruff voice and a no-bull tone. "I don't think there's any right or left in the drug war, or if drug war is even the right term," he says. "Basically, I think substance abuse and addiction is one of the greatest threats to this country. You know, Toynbee said of the great civilizations -- he studied 16 civilizations -- he said that the only thing that ever happened from an enemy without is that they gave the coup de grace to an expiring suicide. "This is a really internal problem for the United States, and it's an enormous threat to our young people, and it's also an enormous threat to our political system because of the corruption issues." He brushes off the idea that his center's work is colored by ideology or personal predisposition -- or anything but research. "The first step here is to get the facts out and to get people to understand the facts, and where they lead, they lead," he says. "I have absolute conviction that if we can get the facts out, and if we can get enough bright people interested in this subject, we can deal very successfully with it. "The field is full of very dedicated people, counselors and others, but it's not full of the kind of brilliant people who are working on cancer and heart disease, or the kind of brilliant people who are selling automobiles or cereals or what have you. I think we have here at CASA the brightest group of people that have been ever put under one roof on this planet to deal with this problem." Califano's Columbia drug center has 55 staff members, but only one is a tenured member of the Columbia University faculty -- Herbert Kleber, a psychiatrist with a top research record, who served as a drug-policy adviser under William Bennett. Other university professors and administrators sometimes advise on projects. The official line at the center is that editorializing and policy advice amount to only a fraction of what CASA does. CASA sponsors a program called "Opportunity to Succeed" that brings together parole officers and social workers to help prisoners with drug problems in four cities. It is undertaking a nationwide evaluation of 200 treatment programs, from intense residential regimens like Phoenix House to outpatient centers that offer a few hours of counseling weekly. It is also exploring nontraditional alternatives, such as acupuncture, which has a large following among ex-addicts. A site director for the acupuncture study, a doctor at the University of California at San Fransciso, calls it "as good as anything funded by the National Institutes of Health." The research process is a slow one, often with ambiguous results -- which makes it unsuited to Califano's style. CASA's big splashes in the press usually come from research reports that cobble together the most alarming data on drugs, which Califano then goes on the road to promote: High school students say marijuana is easier to buy than alcohol. Forty percent of 13-year-olds know someone who uses acid, heroin, or cocaine. Forty-five percent of college students go on drinking "binges." In many cases, the findings aren't new, but drawn by Califano's star power, newspapers report them -- even though, in almost every case, they ignored the more-nuanced scholarly articles from which they are drawn. Only the New York Times occasionally ignores the CASA reports, frustrating CASA's PR people. "Their usefulness has been that they have the capacity to take hundreds of studies and condense them," says one public-health professor at Columbia, who confesses some awe and envy of Califano's influence with the press. "But their condensing process has the tendency to throw out at least half of the baby with the bathwater." As he did with McNamara, the ex-cop, Califano often slams his critics as "legalizers," suggesting that they would like to see marijuana and cocaine sold from Good Humor trucks parked outside schools. But the debate, most protest, isn't really between those who want to protect children and those who don't care about them -- everybody's "for" children. The real debate is between two different ways of looking at the war on drugs. From 1980 to 1997, the federal drug-control budget rose from $ 1 billion to $16 billion, and the number of people imprisoned for drug violations rose from 50,000 to 400,000. The chief indication that we're on the right path, Califano says, is that the number of people who use illegal drugs regularly has dropped by half since 1979, from 25 million to 13 million. Marijuana accounts for almost all of the drop. Over the same period, the number of hard-core cocaine addicts has stayed steady at about 2 million, and drug use has become far deadlier. "In 1980 . . . no one had ever heard of the cheap, smokable form of cocaine called crack, or drug-related HIV infection or AIDS," writes Ethan Nadelmann, the director of the Lindesmith Center, a drug-policy research institute in New York, in a recent issue of Foreign Affairs. "By the 1990s, both had reached epidemic proportions in American cities." Half of all cases of AIDS -- the second highest cause of death in the United States for people ages 25 to 44 -- stem from injected-drug users sharing needles. Most researchers think that's a devastating problem, at least as important as the number of people who occasionally smoke marijuana. The American Medical Association, the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and President Bush's National AIDS Commission have all endorsed needle-exchange programs to attack it. The message they are trying to get across is that drug abuse is bad, but dying of AIDS is worse. Califano helped undermine the chance to put their proposals into action. "The tragedy of Joe Califano," says Nadelmann, "is that his anti-drug fanaticism has made him indifferent both to the scientific evidence and to the broader consequences of demonizing drug users." As a leader of the war on drugs, Califano sets himself apart from other experts who seem willing to step back from their political passions to point out where policies don't square with the research. In 1972, for example, Richard Nixon brought together a commission of experts to examine the US approach to the problem. Headed by Raymond Shafer, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, the commission was far from leftwing, yet it advocated pretty much what Califano now calls Russian roulette: acknowledging that drugs cannot be eliminated from society, treating drug use as a social problem as much as a crime, and recognizing that law enforcement sometimes has high financial and moral costs that bring few returns. In the case of marijuana, the Shafer commission argued, the millions spent on law enforcement, the time diverted from investigating violent crimes, and the ruining of people's careers through prosecution outweighed the harm of using marijuana. In the late 1970s, President Carter was still able to endorse that view, and in 1982, a National Academy of Sciences commission echoed it. Today, almost no politician on the national level would dare concede the validity of such views, and for that, Califano deserves a large share of credit. After Califano wrote a damning book about the Carter administration, Governing America, Jody Powell, Carter's press secretary, called Califano's book the ultimate example of the "if only they'd listened to me" memoir: "His criticisms of others might have been taken more seriously if he had been somewhat more willing to acknowledge that somewhere along the way he, JoeCalifano, might have made a mistake, a misstep, or even a judgment that could be reasonably questioned with the benefit of hindsight." Califano hasn't been immune to mistakes and missteps. Take his proposals to curb health-care costs -- a topic, like drugs, that has been a long-standing interest. In the 1960s, he hit upon the idea of driving down health costs by radically increasing the number of students graduating from medical school in the United States: from some 8,000 to 16,000. The more doctors, the more competition, his argument went. The move had the opposite from intended result. Since all those new doctors were getting reimbursed by insurance companies for whatever they did, the "reform" only increased the number of doctors doing expensive procedures. Don't look for any apologies from Califano. His writing on health care, which he continued through the 1980s and '90s, has the same tone of confidence and scorn for enemies as his talk on drugs. He calls doctors "the medicine men" and blames high costs on their greed. Formulating drug policy is at least as complex as combating health-care costs. Often, the problem is oversimplification. Much of Califano's polemical fury is directed at marijuana because it is the most popular illegal drug and also the one that people tend to shrug their shoulders at. There's also the fact that most of the people fighting the war on drugs or commenting on it -- Al Gore, Newt Gingrich, Dan Quayle, CASA's Dr. Kleber - have tried it. Teenagers who smoke marijuana, Califano argues, are 85 times more likely to try cocaine than those who haven't. Until a few years ago, he would note that this relationship is "only statistical," but then note that we used to think the connection between smoking and lung cancer was statistical, too. Lately, he has dropped all equivocation. In a press conference last fall and in a Post column titled "Marijuana: It's a Hard Drug," he said that CASA's research had, at last, weeded out any confounding factors -- poverty, depression, single parents, grades -- and proved that marijuana leads people to crave other drugs. Some 80 million Americans -- about a quarter of the population - have used marijuana, and yet not many baby boomers moved on to mainlining. "The Great Pot Experiment" produced millions of conventional, productive, upstanding citizens, plus a few journalists," Michael Kinsley once wrote. If that's an exaggeration, it's no more so than Califano's thesis that marijuana sends people down the road to cocaine addiction. Califano also claims that cigarettes and alcohol are gateway drugs, but he doesn't take the step that should follow, given his logic: that smoking and drinking cause marijuana use. "What's disturbing about his center is that there are certainly people who know better, who are experts, who will consistently lump correlation together with causation and lump all drug users together," says McNamara, the former police chief. "I don't know if Califano knows better or not, but the things they say and do are very hard to justify on a professional level. It's a propaganda war, and the motivation, I think, is that the ends justify the means." A striking example of Califano rhetoric came in a 1995 paper on drug legalization, where CASA confronted the arguments made by libertarians such as William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman that government should take minimal actions against drug use, except where children are concerned. Reasonable people can disagree about how far the government can go to protect people from themselves and from the harm that some drug users cause, and Buckley and Friedman represent one extreme. But CASA's dismissal of civil-liberties arguments was harsh. It pointed out that philosophers have said that freedom does not include the right to choose to place oneself into slavery. "Clearly," the report adds, "drug addiction is a form of enslavement." When I asked Califano about civil liberties, he stressed his commitment to them but said drug laws were not an issue. "There are civil-liberty problems in every aspect of law enforcement, and I spent a lot of time when I was in government on those issues," he said. "In the Johnson years, we passed the first bail-reform acts. We did all that stuff. There are plenty of abuses, but it's not a question of this law or that law. It's a question of what kind of cops you have." His overriding goal, he said, was to protect children, and every law, and in fact all of CASA's work, has to be evaluated by that measure. I asked him to set kids aside for a minute. Should a 45-year-old, I asked, have the right to light up a joint on his back porch with no one around? He cut me off before I could get it out. "Should a 45-year-old have the right to shoot heroin in his backyard?" he barked. "Should a 45-year-old have the right to, you know, snort cocaine in his backyard? Should a 45-year-old have the right to put a bullet through his head? Okay?" In some ways, Califano's style distracts from his genuine accomplishments in combating the abuse of alcohol and tobacco. He deserves credit for launching the anti-smoking revolution, and for pushing for steep taxes on cigarettes and alcohol long before it was trendy. Last fall, a group of prominent drug-policy experts and law-enforcement officials sent representatives to Washington to call for a truce in the debate on drugs. The discussions, they said, had degenerated into shouting between two groups stereotyped as "drug warriors" and "legalizers." The 36 signers of the statement said that they, like most people who have studied the problem, fit in neither description. "In this climate," said the group, "every idea, research finding, or proposal put forth is scrutinized to determine which agenda it advances." They decried the "symbolic" laws that get passed in place of policies based on scientific research and called for a period of calm in which reason could be heard. Who could oppose this manifesto for common sense? "It's hard for me to imagine anyone at CASA signing our principles," said one of the researchers. "I think Califano's views are sufficiently wedded to the absolute commitment to the status quo that I suspect he would have found our statement to be more radical than it is." Neither Joe Califano nor anyone else at CASA signed on to the truce. Picture: Califano is rarely without a popular cause. Here he attacks student-loan defaulters while serving as HEW secretary; Photos 1 and 2, Whether he's discussing women and substance abuse with Betty Ford or appearing with Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Concert of Hope, Califano brings a formidable Rolodex to his fight against drugs. AP/WIDE WORLD
------------------------------------------------------------------- Addiction Is a Brain Disease - and It Matters (An article in The National Institute of Justice Journal by Alan Leshner, the director of NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, selectively emphasizes the fundamental elements of addiction to argue that there is no distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs.) Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 09:44:20 -0900 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Ed Glick (email@example.com) Subject: DPFOR: NIJ Journal-Alan Leshner Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Hi All: I recieved NIJ Journal yesterday with a cover story on addiction. Alan Leshner uses scientific "research" to reinterpret addiction as a physiological disease - which it is - and then selectively emphasizes the fundamental elements of addiction, like inability to control usage, to throw mj into the same class as cocaine. He argues there is no distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs. Of course there is. Meth-amphetamine rapidly and permanently burns out the neural circuits. Pot doesn't. Cause and effect has no place in his logic. Sorry if it is too long- Attachments don't seem to work for me. I am a computer neandathol. Ed Glick Text version is posted below. PDF can be downloaded at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/new.htm#journal237 *** Title: National Institute of Justice Journal 237. Series: N/A Author: NIJ Published: October 1998 Subject: drug treatment, gun violence, technology in law enforcement, international issues, community policing 91 pages 157,000 bytes *** Figures, charts, forms, and tables are not included in this ASCII plain-text file. To view this document in its entirety, download the Adobe Acrobat graphic file available from this Web site or order a print copy from NCJRS at 800-851-3420. *** U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs National Institute of Justice National Institute of Justice Journal October 1998 Addiction Is a Brain Disease--and It Matters Director's Message The content of this fall edition of the National Institute of Justice Journal is indicative of the broad spectrum of NIJ's research and development activities and interests. For example, the lead article, "Addiction Is a Brain Disease--and It Matters," summarizes a message delivered by Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, at one of NIJ's annual research and evaluation conferences. The scientific insights reported by Dr. Leshner have important implications for NIJ's Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program and the joint NIJ- ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy) treatment-oriented efforts to help break the link between drugs and crime (see "Breaking the Cycle of Drug Abuse in Birmingham" in the July 1998 issue). The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), a centralized national clearinghouse of criminal justice information, is sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs agencies and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Registered users of NCJRS receive the National Institute of Justice Journal and NCJRS Catalog free. To become a registered user, write NCJRS User Services, Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000, call 800-851-3420, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. *** Contents Issue No. 237 Features Addiction Is a Brain Disease--and It Matters Alan I. Leshner Addiction Is a Brain Disease--and It Matters by Alan I. Leshner* *Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D., is Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This article is based primarily on what Dr. Leshner wrote in Science (October 3, 1997) and reflects his presentation at the July 1997 Research and Evaluation Conference, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and other components of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Dramatic advances over the past two decades in both the neurosciences and the behavioral sciences have revolutionized our understanding of drug abuse and addiction. Scientists have identified neural circuits that are involved in the actions of every known drug of abuse, and they have specified common pathways that are affected by almost all such drugs. Research has also begun to reveal major differences between the brains of addicted and nonaddicted individuals and to indicate some common elements of addiction, regardless of the substance. However, a dramatic lag or gap exists between these advances in science and their appreciation by the general public or their application in either practice or public policy settings. For example, many, perhaps most, people see drug abuse and addiction as social problems, to be handled only with social solutions, particularly through the criminal justice system. On the other hand, science has taught that drug abuse and addiction are as much health problems as they are social problems. The consequence of this perception gap is a significant delay in gaining control over the drug abuse problem. Part of the lag and resultant disconnect comes from the normal delay in transferring any scientific knowledge into practice and policy. However, other factors unique to the drug abuse arena compound the problem, such as: --The tremendous stigma attached to being a drug user or, worse, an addict. The most beneficent public view of drug addicts is as victims of their societal situation. However, the more common view is that drug addicts are weak or bad people, unwilling to lead moral lives and control their behavior and gratifications. To the contrary, addiction is actually a chronic, relapsing illness, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use. The gulf in implications between the "bad person" view and the "chronic illness sufferer" view is tremendous. As just one example, many people believe that addicted individuals do not even deserve treatment. This stigma, and the underlying moralistic tone, is a significant overlay on all decisions related to drug use and drug users. --Ingrained ideologies. Some who work in the drug abuse prevention and addiction treatment fields also hold ingrained ideologies that, although usually different in origin and form from the ideologies of the general public, can be just as problematic. For example, many drug abuse workers are themselves former drug users who have had successful treatment experiences with a particular treatment method. They therefore may zealously defend a single approach, even in the face of contradictory scientific evidence. In fact, many drug abuse treatments have been shown to be effective through clinical trials. These difficulties notwithstanding, we can and must bridge this informational disconnect if we are to make real progress in controlling drug abuse and addiction. It is time to replace ideology with science. Drug abuse and addiction as public health problems What has the science shown and what are the implications? At the most general level, research has shown that drug abuse is a dual-edged health issue as well as a social issue. Drugs have well-known and severe negative consequences for abusers' health, both mental and physical. But drug abuse and addiction also have tremendous implications for the health of the public, since drug use, directly or indirectly, is now a major vector for the transmission of many serious infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and tuberculosis--and for the infliction of violence as well. Because addiction is such a complex and pervasive health issue, overall strategies must encompass a committed public health approach, including extensive education and prevention efforts, treatment, and research. Science is providing the basis for such public health approaches. For example, two large sets of multisite studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of well-delineated outreach strategies in modifying the HIV-risk behaviors of addicted individuals, even if they continue to use drugs and do not want to enter treatment. This runs counter to the broadly held view that addicts are so incapacitated by drugs that they are unable to modify any of their behaviors. It also suggests a base for improved strategies for reducing the negative health consequences of injection drug use for the individual and for society. What matters in addiction? Scientific research and clinical experience have taught us much about what really matters in addiction and where we need to concentrate our clinical and policy efforts. However, too often the focus is on the wrong aspects of addiction, and efforts to deal with this difficult issue can be badly misguided. Any discussion about psychoactive drugs inevitably turns to the question of whether a particular drug is physically or psychologically addicting. In essence, this issue revolves around whether dramatic physical withdrawal symptoms occur when an individual stops taking a drug--what is typically called physical dependence by professionals in the field. The assumption that often follows is that the more dramatic the physical withdrawal symptoms, the more serious or dangerous the drug must be. This thinking is outdated. From both clinical and policy perspectives, it does not matter much what physical withdrawal symptoms, if any, occur. First, even the florid withdrawal symptoms of heroin addiction can now be easily managed with appropriate medications. Second, and more important, many of the most addicting and dangerous drugs do not produce very severe physical symptoms upon withdrawal. Crack cocaine and methamphetamine are clear examples. Both are highly addicting, but cessation of their use produces very few physical withdrawal symptoms, certainly nothing like the physical symptoms accompanying alcohol or heroin withdrawal. What does matter tremendously is whether a drug causes what we now know to be the essence of addiction: compulsive drug seeking and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences. These are the characteristics that ultimately matter most to the patient and where treatment efforts should be directed. These elements also are responsible for the massive health and social problems that drug addiction brings in its wake. Addiction is a brain disease Although each drug that has been studied has some idiosyncratic mechanisms of action, virtually all drugs of abuse have common effects, either directly or indirectly, on a single pathway deep within the brain, the mesolimbic reward system. Activation of this system appears to be a common element in what keeps drug users taking drugs. This is not unique to any one drug; all addictive substances affect this circuit. Not only does acute drug use modify brain function in critical ways, but prolonged drug use causes pervasive changes in brain function that persist long after the individual stops taking the drug. Significant effects of chronic use have been identified for many drugs at all levels: molecular, cellular, structural, and functional. The addicted brain is distinctly different from the nonaddicted brain, as manifested by changes in brain metabolic activity, receptor availability, gene expression, and responsiveness to environmental cues. Some of these long-lasting brain changes are idiosyncratic to specific drugs, whereas others are common to many different drugs. We can actually see these changes through use of recently developed technologies, such as positron emission tomography. The common brain effects of addicting substances suggest common brain mechanisms underlying all addictions. That addiction is so clearly tied to changes in brain structure and function is what makes it, fundamentally, a brain disease. A metaphorical switch in the brain seems to be thrown following prolonged drug use. Initially, drug use is a voluntary behavior (see "When Does Drug Use Start? How Does It Proceed?"), but as that switch is thrown, the individual moves into the state of addiction, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use. Understanding that addiction is, at its core, a consequence of fundamental changes in brain function means that a major goal of treatment must be either to reverse or to compensate for those brain changes. This could be accomplished through either medications or behavioral treatments (behavioral treatments alter brain function in other psychobiological disorders). Elucidation of the biology underlying the metaphorical switch is key to the development of more effective treatments, particularly antiaddiction medications. Addiction is not just a brain disease Of course, addiction is not that simple. Addiction is not just a brain disease. It is a brain disease for which the social contexts in which it both has developed and is expressed are critically important. The case of the many thousands of returning Vietnam war veterans who were addicted to heroin illustrates this point clearly. In contrast to addicts on the streets of America, it was relatively easy to treat the returning veterans' addictions. This success was possible because they had become addicted while in an almost totally different setting from the one to which they returned. At home in the United States, they were exposed to very few of the conditioned environmental cues that had initially been associated with their drug use in Vietnam. Exposure to those conditioned cues can be a major factor in causing persistent or recurrent drug cravings and drug use relapses even after successful treatment. The implications are obvious. If we understand addiction as a prototypical psychobiological illness, with critical biological, behavioral, and social context components, our treatment strategies must include biological, behavioral, and social context elements. Not only must the underlying brain disease be treated, but the behavioral and social cue components must also be addressed, just as they are with many other brain diseases, including stroke, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder Addiction is rarely an acute illness. For most people, it is a chronic, relapsing disorder. Total abstinence for the rest of one's life is a relatively rare outcome from a single treatment episode. Relapses are more the norm. Thus, addiction must be approached more like other chronic illnesses--diabetes, chronic hypertension- -than like an acute illness, such as a bacterial infection or a broken bone. This has tremendous implications for how we evaluate treatment effectiveness and treatment outcomes. Viewing addiction as a chronic, relapsing disorder means that a good treatment outcome--and the most reasonable expectation--is a significant decrease in drug use and long periods of abstinence, with only occasional relapses. Thus, a reasonable standard for treatment success is not curing the illness but managing it, as is the case for other chronic illnesses. Conclusion Addiction as a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain is a totally new concept for much of the general public, for many policymakers, and, sadly, for many health care professionals. Many of the implications have been discussed above. But there are others. At the policy level, understanding the importance of drug use and addiction for the health of individuals and of the public affects many of our overall public health strategies. An accurate understanding of the nature of drug abuse and addiction also affects our criminal justice strategies. For example, if we know criminals are also drug addicted, it is no longer reasonable to simply incarcerate them. If they have a brain disease, imprisoning them without treatment will be futile. If they are left untreated, their crime and drug use recidivism rates are frighteningly high. However, if addicted criminals are treated while in prison, both types of recidivism can be reduced dramatically. It is therefore counterproductive not to treat addicts while they are in prison. At an even more general level, understanding addiction as a brain disease also affects how society approaches and deals with addicted individuals. We need to face the fact that even if the condition initially comes about because of a voluntary behavior (drug use), an addict's brain is different from a nonaddict's brain and the addicted individual must be dealt with as if he or she is in a different brain state. We have learned to deal with people in different brain states for schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. As recently as the beginning of this century, we were still putting individuals with schizophrenia in prison-like asylums, whereas now we know they require medical treatments. We now need to see the addict as someone whose mind (read: brain) has been altered fundamentally by drugs. Treatment is required to deal with the altered brain function and the concomitant behavioral and social functioning components of the illness. Understanding addiction as a brain disease explains in part why historic policy strategies focusing solely on the social or criminal justice aspects of drug use and addiction have been unsuccessful. They are missing at least half of the issue. If the brain is the core of the problem, attending to it needs to be a core part of the solution. *** Notes 1. O'Brien, C.P., and A.T. McLellan, Lancet 347 (1996): 237. 2. Ibid.; McLellan, A.T., et al., in Treating Drug Abusers Effectively, ed. J.A. Egertson et al., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1997. 3. Booth, R., et al., Drug Alcohol Depend. 42 (1996): 11; Colon, H.M., et al., AIDS Educ. Prev. 7 (1995): 195; Stephens, R.C., et al., in Handbook on Risk of AIDS, ed. B.S. Brown and G.M. Beschner, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993: 519-556; and Wiebel, W.W., et al., J. Acquired Immune Defic. Syndr. 12 (1996): 282. 4. American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association Press, 1994; and Institute of Medicine, Pathways of Addiction, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1996. 5. Koob, G.F., Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 13 (1992): 177; and Koob, G.F., et al., Semin. Neurosci 6 (1994): 221. 6. Hyman, S.E., Neuron 16 (1996): 901; Nestler, E.J., Neuron 16 (1996): 897; Melega, W.P., et al., Behav. Brain Res. 84 (1997): 259; Ortiz, J., et al., Synapse 21 (1995): 289; Volkow, N.D., et al., Am. J. Psychiat. 147 (1990): 719; Nestler, E.J., et al., Mol. Psychiat. 1 (1996): 190; and Self, D.W., and E.J. Nestler, Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 18 (1995): 463. 7. Nestler, E.J., J. Neurosci. 12 (1992): 2439; Robinson, T.E., and K.C. Berridge, Brain Res. Rev. 18 (1993): 247; Terwilliger, R.Z., et al., Brain Res. 548 (1991): 100; and Koob, G.F., Neuron 16 (1996): 893. See also notes 6 and 7. 8. Leshner, A.I., Hospital Practice: A Special Report, Minneapolis: McGraw-Hill, 1997; Koob, Trends in Pharmacol. Sci.; Koob et al., Semin. Neurosci; Koob, Neuron; Nestler et al., Mol. Psychiat.; and Self and Nestler, Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 9. The state of addiction--both the clinical condition and the brain state--are qualitatively different from the effects of large amounts of drugs. The individual, once addicted, has moved from a state where drug use is voluntary and controlled to one where drug craving, seeking, and use are no longer under the same kind of voluntary control, and these changes reflect changes in brain function. But the exact mechanisms involved are not known. For example, it is not clear whether that change in state reflects a relatively precipitous change in a single mechanism or multiple mechanisms acting in concert, or whether the shift to addiction represents the sum of more gradual neuroadaptations. Moreover, there are individual differences in both the vulnerability to becoming addicted and to the speed of becoming addicted. For some individuals the metaphorical switch moves quickly, whereas for others the changes occur quite gradually (see notes 6, 7, and 8). 10. Baxter, L.B., et al., Sem. Clin. Neuropsychiat. 1 (1996): 32. 11. Childress, A.R., et al., NIDA Res. Monographs 84 (1988): 25; Daley, D.C., and G.A. Marlatt, in Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, 3rd ed., ed. J.H. Lowinson et al., Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1997; O'Brien, C.P., Pharmacol. Rev. 27 (1975): 535; O'Brien, C.P., et al., Addictive Behav. 15 (1990): 355; and Grant, S., et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 93 (1996): 12040. 12. O'Brien and McLellan, Lancet. 13. See notes 1 and 2. 14. Inciardi, J.A., et al., J. Drug Issues 27 (1997): 261; and Wexler, H.K., and D.S. Lipton, in Drug Treatment and Criminal Justice, ed. J.A. Inciardi, Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 1993: 261-278. *** WHEN DOES DRUG USE START? HOW DOES IT PROCEED?* Studies indicate that children most often begin to use drugs at about age 12 or 13, and many researchers have observed that although some young teens move from the illicit use of legal substances (such as tobacco and alcohol) to the use of illegal drugs (marijuana is usually the first), the majority do not. This progression from tobacco and alcohol use to later use of illicit drugs has been observed in a number of studies. The precise order of drug use in this progression is variable and seems to parallel social attitudes and norms and the availability of drugs. But it cannot be said that smoking and drinking at young ages cause later drug use. Nor does this sequence imply that the progression is inevitable. It does say that for someone who ever smoked or drank, the risk of moving on to marijuana is 65 times higher than that for a person who never smoked or drank. The risk of moving on to cocaine is 104 times higher for someone who smoked marijuana at least once in his or her lifetime than for a person who never did.** Research suggests that this progression, if it does occur, depends on a number of complex biological, psychological, and social environmental factors, such as early involvement with antisocial, drug-using people. Indeed, all these possibilities could play a part. *Text for this sidebar was recently provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. **Figures are from an analysis of 1991-93 data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Just Say Maybe (A letter to the editor of Discover expresses disappointment that a review of the biography, "Man of Numbers," felt it necessary to sugarcoat mathematician Paul Erdos's lifelong use of amphetamines, prescribed to him as an antidepressant.)Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 15:06:15 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: PUB LTE: Just Say Maybe Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Allison Bigelow Pubdate: Oct, 1998 Source: Discover Magazine Copyright: 1998 The Walt Disney Company Section: Action and Reaction Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.discover.com/ JUST SAY MAYBE I was disappointed that Paul Hoffman felt it necessary to sugarcoat Paul Erdos's lifelong use of amphetamines by referring to them euphemistically as "other stimulants" ["Man of Numbers," July]. Erdos himself was certainly not the least bit apologetic about living on speed. He felt - apparently correctly - that speed helped him create mathematics. When Erdos's mother died, he became quite depressed, and his doctor prescribed amphetamines to improve his mood. Erdos took these for years, even though his friends advised him to quit. Finally a fellow mathematician bet Erdos that he couldn't stop taking the drug, so Erdos stopped, cold turkey, for about a month. When he collected the bet, he said that his output had been drastically reduced during that month and that that time was "lost to mathematics." He then resumed taking speed and his prodigious output returned. Does this mean that anyone who takes amphetamines will become a brilliant mathematician? Not at all. But it does mean that you can't believe every piece of Drug War propaganda that you hear, either. As a science magazine, you owe it to your readers to give them the facts, pc or not. Jason R. Schenk Joliet, Ill. THE EDITORS REPLY: A book excerpt is, after all, just an excerpt. Paul Hoffman's The Man Who Loved Only Numbers does indeed mention Erdos's monthlong abstinence from amphetamines and the unfortunate effect it had on his output. And the following passage, which describes Erdos's reaction to the magazine article in the Atlantic Monthly on which Hoffman's book was based, offers a touching assessment of Erdos's attitude toward his own drug use: "What do you think?" I finally asked. [Erdos] shook his head from side to side. "It's okay," he said. "Except for one thing. . . . You shouldn't have mentioned the stuff about Benzedrine," he said. "It's not that you got it wrong. It's just that I don't want kids who are thinking about going into mathematics to think that they have to take drugs to succeed."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Group Stops Needle Exchange After Leader Is Rearrested (The Bergen Record says the only AIDS organization openly distributing clean needles to drug users in New Jersey has decided to stop the practice after its director, Diana McCague, was arrested Tuesday for the second time.) Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 18:45:10 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NJ: Group Stops Needle Exchange After Leader Is Rearrested Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Bergen Record (NJ) Contact: email@example.com Webform: http://www.bergen.com/cgi-bin/feedback FAX: (201) 646-4749 Website: http://www.bergen.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 Author: Carol Ann Campbell, Staff Writer GROUP STOPS NEEDLE EXCHANGE AFTER LEADER IS REARRESTED The only AIDS organization openly distributing clean needles to drug users in New Jersey has decided to stop the practice after its director, Diana McCague, was arrested Tuesday for the second time. McCague, who flouted New Jersey's drug paraphernalia laws, said her organization will fight in the courts instead of continuing to hand out syringes, a practice the organization believes will slow the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Investigators from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office arrested McCague and a colleague, Derick Moore of Clifton, after McCague handed a packet of syringes to an undercover officer Tuesday night. McCague founded the Chai Project in 1994. Last year the organization, which operates out of a van, gave out 48,000 needles to 450 drug users. "More people in Middlesex County will be infected with AIDS as a result of this arrest," McCague said. "The government is completely uncompassionate and is happy to just let people get sick and die. More women and babies will be at risk because of this." McCague has been much admired by AIDS activists who believe needle exchange programs are needed in New Jersey, where the sharing of unclean needles is the single leading cause of HIV. Unclean needles especially contribute to the spread of HIV among women and children. But supporters of needle exchanges faced the formidable opposition of Governor Whitman, who has long said such programs send out the wrong message to children, and appear to condone drug use. Whitman has asked her own Advisory Council on AIDS, which came out in support of needle exchanges, to drop the issue. McCague has been open about her organization's continued distribution of syringes even after her first arrest in 1996. McCague has so far been unsuccessful in her court appeals to overturn that earlier conviction. She is now appealing to the New Jersey Supreme Court. There's been no decision about whether the high court will hear the case. Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Ron Kercado said his office received no directive from Whitman or Attorney General Peter Verneiro to make an arrest in this case. "It was a matter strictly done by Middlesex County prosecutors," Kercado said. "We have made it a point publicly in the past that if needles are being distributed it is a violation of the law, and we will take action." He said he could not comment on the charge that the incidence of AIDS will now rise in Middlesex County. "We have said all along that this is not a matter for the prosecutor, but for the Legislature, to determine," Kercado said. "The courts have said you cannot distribute needles, no matter how good your intentions." McCague could face a six-month jail term if convicted, plus a $1,000 fine and the loss of her driver's license. She has already forfeited her license, however, because of her first arrest, and that has cost her a job as a taxi driver. Supporters have donated money to help her pay her bills, and her attorney, Alan Silber of Weehawken, is defending her for free. The Senate Health Committee recently approved a bill that would allow for a three-year, private needle-exchange program, and another bill to allow the sale of syringes without a prescription. Both bills are awaiting a vote by the full Senate. Axel Torres Marrero, director of public policy for the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, called the arrest of the Chai workers "unfortunate. . . . In the face of this epidemic our laws are not responding. Diana believes in her cause and is trying to save lives." McCague said the organization will still hand out information about drug treatment to addicts, as well as condoms and bleach to clean syringes, which, McCague said, is "better than nothing." Copyright 1998 Bergen Record Corp.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp Out Of Fashion At Spring Valley High School (The State, a newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, says school administrators at Spring Valley High School have banned necklaces made out of hemp this fall, saying "sources" tie it to the marijuana drug culture.) Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 06:41:54 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US SC: Hemp Out Of Fashion At Spring Valley High School Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Thursday, 01 Oct 1998 Source: The State (Columbia, SC) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thestate.com/ Author: Lori D. Roberts, Staff Writer HEMP OUT OF FASHION AT SPRING VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL Necklaces made out of hemp twine are no longer welcome at Spring Valley High School. Administrators at the Richland 2 school banned the necklaces this fall, saying "sources" tie it to the marijuana drug culture. Hemp is made from the stalk of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is made from the plant's leaves and flowers. The hemp ban is part of Spring Valley's school's dress code. That code also bars students from wearing short-shorts or bag-and-sag jeans, and T-shirts with designs suggestive of drug, tobacco and alcohol use, violence or sex. The hemp necklace ban has raised the ire of some Spring Valley students. They say hemp articles are part of a harmless trend, a sign of creative self-expression, not drug use or endorsement. "I make my own (hemp necklaces and jewelry)," said Jennifer Treisch, a 15-year-old Spring Valley sophomore, who added she doesn't do drugs. "I like the look of natural things, and I see hemp as a strong and natural fiber. "The rule is really ... pointless. I just feel the administration is focusing more on enforcing rules than on our education." Steve Bates, executive director of the state American Civil Liberties Union, agrees. "It's silly. You could smoke it (hemp) all day long and not get high." While other Midlands schools ban offensive clothing, no other district surveyed Monday knew of a similar ban of hemp products. A Richland 2 spokesman said the hemp issue hasn't arisen at Richland Northeast or Ridge View, the district's two other high schools. Some see the ban as another indication of ever-tightening public school discipline. Various schools encourage uniforms, ban book bags and enforce zero-tolerance policies for weapons, violence and substance abuse. Most recently, a Dutch Fork High School student was expelled for bringing a Swiss Army knife on a JROTC field trip. "The authoritarian nature of schools is becoming ridiculous," said the ACLU's Bates. "There seems to be a phenomenon that if we can control every aspect of students' lives their grades will go up." `Related to drug activities.' Hemp does not contain the level of the mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannibol (THC) found in the marijuana plant's leaves and buds. Federal law does not allow hemp to be grown in the United States. But it is not against the law to use hemp in industrial products, such as hemp clothing, paper products, soap, rope and fuel. Manufacturers and retailers of those products rely on hemp imported from other countries. Hemp has been the subject of controversy across the country, pitting farmers who want to grow it as a cash crop against law-enforcement agencies. They argue the push to legalize hemp is really just a smoke screen to legalize marijuana. "Even though we know there are other legitimate uses for hemp, we don't think it is appropriate for school," said Genny White, Spring Valley's assistant principal. So far, the hemp ban applies only to necklaces. Students continue to wear hemp rings, belts and hemp tennis shoes, made by Adidas. Students also use lip balm made from hemp oil. White said the school has not banned other hemp products, in part, because officials can't identify a hemp-fiber shirt, for example. "The necklace is just pretty obvious," she said. "We don't go looking for it, but if it's right in front of you, we deal with it." Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said wearing hemp necklaces is not a criminal offense. However, school resource officers, deputies placed in many middle and high schools, are charged with assisting schools in enforcing dress codes. "It probably gives the impression that it is somehow related to drug activities or the drug culture," Lott said of the hemp necklace ban. That leaders feel that way offends Treisch. "I feel violated," she said. "I'm being stereotyped as a drug user since I wear hemp necklaces. I'm not a drug user." Student Emily Prytherch said the ban is raising an issue many students hadn't even thought about. "Everybody wears it, even those people who have never seen drugs," said Prytherch, also a 15-year-old sophomore. "They ask, 'What's wrong with it?' If they (the administration) left it alone, there wouldn't be any problem. They're causing problems by trying to ban it." `Really kind of refreshing?' White said two students appealed the ban to Spring Valley's administrators, presenting well-thought-out arguments. No other complaints have been heard. Treisch, one of the students who appealed, said she believes she took a risk, taking a stand against the policy. But, she said, young people need to speak up. "People these days just don't want to stand up for their rights," said Treisch. "It seems they (adults) think we're just kids who are ... just going to conform to their rules. "Well, hemp is an issue I really feel strongly about." Don McCallister, owner of Loose Lucy's in Five Points, said hemp products have proven popular at his store. Hemp twine, the most popular product, costs about $5 for an 80-yard roll, McCallister said. A finished hemp necklace with beads already on it is less than $10. "It's fairly fashionable," McCallister said. "It really does seem to be the hobby and crafts-making aspects of hemp that make it popular. "It's really kind of refreshing to see kids wanting to be creative rather than wanting to just play video games or watch TV." Copyright 1998 The State.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DARE And Programs Like It Don't Work - So Why Are They Still Around? (A Letter To The Editor Of 'Playboy' Recounts The Failures Of The Government's Favorite Drug-Education Boondoggle, And Why It Doesn't Work) Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 04:37:18 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: DARE and Programs Like It Don't Work Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Source: Playboy magazine Section: The Playboy Forum Pubdate: October, 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org FAX: (312) 951-2939 Mail: The Playboy Forum Reader Response, PLAYBOY, 680 North Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611 Author: Chip Rowe DARE AND PROGRAMS LIKE IT DON'T WORK - SO WHY ARE THEY STILL AROUND? JUST SAY NO The job of keeping kids ignorant is big business. Consider the popularity of "just say no" programs that claim to prevent students from taking drugs. Numerous studies have shown they don't work. That hasn't stopped the government from wasting billions of dollars to fund them. The federal government allocates about $2 billion annually to youth drug- and violence-prevention programs (the total cost, including state, local and private funding, has been estimated at $8 billion). This past July, the government launched a taxpayer-funded, $1 billion "just say no" advertising campaign. President Clinton announced the campaign at a United Nations special session that pushed the theme "A Drug-Free World: We Can Do It." Actually, we can't. The war against drugs has failed miserably, in large part because it is punitive, racist and overly broad. The imbalance is as obvious as it is tragic. Only a third of the $17 billion Clinton pledged for the war on drugs in his UN speech will be used to help addicts. The rest will be parceled out to law enforcement. Prohibition has become a mantra among those in power, to the exclusion of all other strategies. Yet studies have shown that abstinence programs aimed at youth, such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education, have no long-term effect. That hardly matters. Buoyed by the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986, which requires schools to launch zero-tolerance programs if they want federal funds, DARE has achieved incredible status. By its own accounting, the program reaches 26 million children in 75 percent of the nation's schools. It also has been exported to 44 countries. DARE began as a police action. In 1983, Daryl Gates, then chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, sought a way to prevent drug crimes in schools. DARE sent its first ten officers to 50 schools. Today, the group boasts that its instructors receive "special training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques and communication skills." How much training? About two weeks' worth, after which the police officer provides his services as a teacher, psychologist, counselor and drug expert. Armed with a teaching manual from DARE America (the nonprofit organization that administers the curriculum), the uniformed officer visits a school each week for four months to instruct fifth- or sixth-graders on personal safety, assertiveness, self-esteem, "managing stress" (a principal reason kids take drugs, according to DARE) and the dangers of mind-altering substances, including alcohol and tobacco. The students take time from their reading, writing and math lessons to organize skits, watch videos and complete assignments in their DARE workbooks. The officer also encourages students to submit written questions. Inquiries such as "Why do my parents smoke marijuana after I go to bed?" are forwarded to authorities at the cop's discretion. The problem with "just say no" education is the same one that has plagued drug propaganda since Congress approved the Harrison Narcotics Act in 1914: It doesn't survive a reality check. Abstinence education preaches that all drug use constitutes abuse, all drugs are equally dangerous, lifetime abstinence is a realistic goal and recreational drugs such as marijuana serve as gateways to narcotics. It claims to teach kids to make decisions, but dictates the correct decision and punishes those who make any other choice. If a student is caught experimenting, he or she is kicked out of school as part of a zero-tolerance sensibility. The kids who most need help making decisions about drugs, even the straight-A students, are ostracized. The most harmful effect of "just say no" may be the damage it does to the credibility of teachers and parents. When students first try "mind-altering" marijuana, they quickly discover it doesn't make them ill or lead them into a spiral of addiction (if they watch the news, they must wonder why some sick people smoke marijuana to feel better). Teenagers learn through experience that adults spout hyperbole and distort by omission on the topic of drugs. As a result, useful distinctions may not be made. In the introduction to Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs From Alcohol to Ecstasy, the psychologist and two pharmacologists who compiled the book offer this example: "Not too long ago, it was widely reported that a well-known basketball player, Len Bias, died after he used cocaine. This story has been used repeatedly to illustrate the dangers of cocaine. However, most people who use cocaine do not die as a result, and cocaine users and their friends certainly know it. If horror stories are the principal tools of drug education, it does not take long for people to recognize that such accounts do not represent the whole truth." Copyright (c)1998 Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug-Free Schools - Federal Failures Prove Case For Oversight (A staff editorial in The Sacramento Bee discusses the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which has cost $6 billion during the last decade. The US Department of Education only last July began requiring school districts to spend federal anti-drug money on programs backed by research. A task force of 18 national experts is now working to define for the Department of Education just what "research-based" and "effective" mean when it comes to anti-drug and anti-violence programs.) Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 15:23:47 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Drug-Free Schools: Federal Failures Prove Case For Oversight Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: Sacramento Bee (CA) Contact 1: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact 2: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 DRUG-FREE SCHOOLS: FEDERAL FAILURES PROVE CASE FOR OVERSIGHT More than a decade and $6 billion after Congress began funding the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, the U.S. Department of Education only last July began requiring school districts to spend federal anti-drug money on programs backed by research. A task force of 18 national experts is now working to define for the Department of Education just what "research-based" and "effective" mean when it comes to anti-drug and anti-violence programs. The long-overdue exercise comes only after a shocking waste of money on programs that have had little effect on either school safety or drug use. The programs, as described in Sunday's Forum section, range from purchase of metal detectors designed to keep guns off campus to anti-drug "edutainment" by free-lance puppeteers and motivational speakers, to fishing trips and drug-free party kits. In a well-meaning nod to local control, school districts were given free rein to spend the anti-drug money as they thought best. But few educators are equipped to examine the hundreds of anti-drug programs on the market, and few teachers are trained in effective delivery of the anti-drug message, let alone in counseling young substance abusers. Some districts qualified for as little as $200 of the federal funding -- hardly enough to justify the paperwork involved. And nobody was monitoring whether the programs local districts chose were useless, or even did more harm than good. Given how the federal program was structured, it's no wonder money was used in some questionable, if not ridiculous, ways. That the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Act has so far proved to be a national embarrassment should serve as a cautionary tale for other untested school programs now being pushed for their political appeal. Whether a policy is about social programs or social promotion, it should be judged on outcomes, not popular notions of what might seem to work. School districts should be given flexibility to pick programs that fit local needs, but then should be held accountable for results. The tale of the federal drug-free schools effort is also useful as a reminder that public money aimed at solving social problems should be targeted for use where problems are known to exist. Spreading money in a thin veneer over every school district in the land leaves not enough for those districts that need the most help. The challenge now is not to scrap the anti-drug program altogether because of its misguided past, but to target those federal dollars to the districts that most need it. Those districts should be given a choice only among a list of programs with a successful track record. Research so far shows the most effective programs teach kids how to skillfully handle all sorts of relationships with others -- those "life skills" that help us survive difficult situations and painful emotions without resorting to drugs, alcohol or violence. Those skills are tough to teach, especially to children who have few adults around to model them successfully. But surely dollars focused in that direction would do more to help kids than puppets that just say no.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Probes Agents Named By Mexican Drug Suspect (According To 'Reuters,' The US Justice Department Said Thursday It Had Begun An Investigation Into Why The Names And Telephone Numbers Of Three Of Its Agents - From The FBI, The Drug Enforcement Administration, And The Customs Service - Plus A Number Of Mexican Federal Law Enforcement Officers, Including Members Of An Elite Anti-Drug Unit, Were Listed In The Notebook Of A Suspected Mexican Drug Trafficker) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (email@example.com) To: "-News" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: U.S. Probes Agents Named By Mexican Drug Suspect Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 20:27:21 -0700 Sender: email@example.com Thursday, October 1, 1998 U.S. Probes Agents Named By Mexican Drug Suspect WASHINGTON--The United States has begun an investigation into why the names and telephone numbers of three of its agents were listed in the notebook of a suspected Mexican drug trafficker, the Justice Department said Thursday. "We are looking at those agents," Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference. The notebook contained the names of U.S. agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Customs Service, plus a number of Mexican federal law enforcement officers, including members of an elite anti-drug unit. The names were found on documents seized during a raid in June on the suspected drug trafficker's operation in the Mexican resort city of Cancun. Asked if the U.S. agents would have to take lie-detector tests like the Mexican agents did, Holder replied, "It is my expectation that we would treat them the same way we treat our Mexican partners." Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All Rights Reserved
------------------------------------------------------------------- Iran Says Drug Traffickers Face Death Sentence (Reuters says Iran, faced with widespread smuggling and abuse of drugs, reiterated on Wednesday it would execute traffickers under tough new laws that took effect recently. Iran has executed thousands of drug dealers and traffickers since the 1979 revolution, especially since 1989, yet the country of 60 million has an estimated 1.2 million addicts, according to official figures, and it said last year that about 58 percent of its 138,000 prisoners were convicted of drug charges.)Date: Sat, 3 Oct 1998 10:15:48 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Iran: Wire: Iran Says Drug Traffickers Face Death Sentence Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Reuters Pubdate: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 IRAN SAYS DRUG TRAFFICKERS FACE DEATH SENTENCE TEHRAN, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Iran, faced with widespread smuggling and abuse of drugs, reiterated on Wednesday it would execute traffickers under tough new laws. Prosecutor General Ayatollah Morteza Moqtadaei said armed smugglers, as well as traffickers caught in possession of five kg (11 lb) of opium, would face the death penalty, Iranian television reported. Smugglers held with 30 grams (1.1 ounce) of heroin or morphine would receive a death sentence on a second offence under the new laws which took effect recently, Moqtadaei was quoted as saying. Iran has executed thousands of drug dealers and traffickers since the 1979 revolution, especially since 1989 when it adopted tough laws with largely similar death penalty measures. Analysts said Iran, which has reduced the number of executions for possession of smaller amounts of drugs in recent years after international criticism of its laws, appeared to be signalling that the trend would be reversed. The new laws include heavier jail terms and fines and Moqtadaei said growers of hemp and opium poppy would face prison terms of up to five years, the televison reported. A death sentence could be imposed on the fourth offence. He said fines had been increased up to tenfold under the new laws which had been approved by the Expediency Council, a powerful body of about two dozen officials which can legislate on important matters above parliament. Drug use is also a crime in Iran, but Moqtadaei said under the new laws addicts who sought rehabilitation and stopped using drugs would not be prosecuted. Newspapers have welcomed the measure as a reform, saying many drug addicts had earlier avoided seeking treatment for fear of being denounced by health authorities. The country of 60 million has an estimated 1.2 million addicts, according to official figures. Iran is also a key transit route for drugs smuggled to Europe via Turkey from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the ``Golden Crescent.'' Iran said last year that about 58 percent of its 138,000 prisoners were convicted of drug charges. The Expediency Council, headed by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, had been reviewing the country's anti-drug laws since last year. The new laws took effect in the current Iranian month which started on September 23. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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