------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Use Of Marijuana Ignites Debate (The Register-Guard in Eugene, Oregon, says Dr. Rick Bayer is campaigning for Ballot Measure 67, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, because he has seen how marijuana can benefit chemotherapy patients, chronic pain victims, and people suffering from muscle spasms and other afflictions. But Mike Cahill, president of Oregon Police Chiefs for Safer Communities, says "You can pretty much bet that it will basically eliminate the ability to enforce laws against the illegal use, delivery and cultivation of marijuana," ignoring the experience in California. A critique by Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk similarly claims "These exceptions cancel out the rules and limits, thereby making enforcement of any marijuana laws not only impractical but virtually impossible.") Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 01:55:47 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OR: Medical Use Of Marijuana Ignites Debate Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 Source: Register-Guard, The (OR) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.registerguard.com/ Author: JOE ROJAS-BURKE MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA IGNITES DEBATE While working as a hospital resident in 1978, a young doctor named Rick Bayer detected the pungent smell of marijuana smoke wafting from a patient's room. The sick man in the hospital bed confided to Bayer that marijuana eased the nausea and vomiting brought on by cancer chemotherapy. Intrigued, Bayer kept an eye open for other instances of marijuana "self-medicating" among the combat veterans he treated at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. One patient swore by marijuana as a treatment for the severe muscle spasms and pain arising from a crippling spinal cord injury. A former soldier recovering from a land mine explosion and leg amputation said he found marijuana easier to tolerate than the morphine painkillers prescribed by a doctor, which left him groggy and constipated. Bayer wondered if this notorious plant might be the wellspring of new pharmaceuticals. Twenty years later, he says, "We as scientists have not really tapped all the potential." The 43-year-old Portland doctor is now leading a campaign to legalize the medical use of marijuana in Oregon. Measure 67, he says, would allow people with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other conditions to smoke marijuana without fear of going to jail or losing their homes. And doctors could talk with patients about the possible benefits of marijuana without risking their licenses to prescribe controlled substances. But can the law allow compassionate use without worsening the problem of abuse? Some legal experts and law enforcement associations say absolutely not. "The loopholes are there for everybody to get through if you want to smoke dope," says Mike Cahill, president of Oregon Police Chiefs for Safer Communities. "You can pretty much bet that it will basically eliminate the ability to enforce laws against the illegal use, delivery and cultivation of marijuana." Under Measure 67, patients with written permission from a licensed physician can obtain a registry card from the state Health Division to grow marijuana for treating "debilitating" medical conditions. Registered users could grow up to three mature marijuana plants and four immature plants. They could carry an ounce of marijuana with them and keep one ounce per mature plant at home. Carrying out the measure would cost the state an estimated $140,000 to $295,000 per year, depending on the level of oversight. The estimates assume that about 500 people at any given time will be registered. Bayer drafted the measure with backing from Americans for Medical Rights, the group that persuaded Californians to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Billionaire financier George Soros of New York, Cleveland insurance executive Peter Lewis and University of Phoenix founder John Sperling are all contributors to the national organization, based in Santa Monica, Calif., which is pouring money into medical marijuana campaigns in Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and Maine. Unlike California, the Oregon proposal explicitly forbids medical users to smoke in public, and it prohibits the selling of marijuana under any circumstances. Cahill says the measure still poses a threat. "You could count on a major increase in marijuana use by our youth if it passes," he says. "What's to prevent someone's 9-year-old daughter or son going to the family plant, taking off a bud, and smoking a little before they go to school? It's nicely available, and if Mom or Dad uses it then it must be OK." A critique by Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk points out several possible loopholes. Schrunk objects that the requirement for having a "debilitating medical condition" would allow almost anyone who can find a willing doctor to gain access to medical pot. Users could get around the limits on quantity by arguing in court that a greater amount was "medically necessary" for their medical condition. Similarly, the law gives those without permits a legal foundation for arguing a medical use defense. Measure 67 also prohibits police from destroying seized property, presumably including live marijuana plants. Schrunk argues that this means that law enforcement agencies would have to maintain live plants in greenhouses until court cases are resolved. "These exceptions cancel out the rules and limits, thereby making enforcement of any marijuana laws not only impractical but virtually impossible," Schrunk wrote. Backers of the law disagree with this interpretation. They insist that it does not loosen or change any other laws against the recreational use of marijuana. "We all know that useful drugs can be abused," Bayer says. "We recognize there is a difference between drug abuse and appropriate drug use. We don't think patients should be penalized because some people abuse marijuana. I really think that's inhumane." Cahill and other critics suspect that medical use initiatives are really just Trojan Horses to advance the cause of complete legalization. "I am referring to the move by NORML and other pro-marijuana groups to find a long-term nationwide way to drug legalization," Cahill says. Bayer says he opposes complete legalization, saying his long-term goal is to persuade the Drug Enforcement Agency to reclassify marijuana so that it could be prescribed as a controlled substance like morphine. The DEA considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug - addictive but having no medical use. Schedule 2 drugs such as cocaine and morphine are considered addictive but with some medical use. "I can tell you that if marijuana was changed to Schedule 2 by the federal government and became available on pharmacy shelves, we could call this campaign off," Bayer says. Critics are correct when they say the medical usefulness of marijuana has not been firmly established. But the possibility is not just a fantasy. Experts convened by the National Institutes of Health last February pointed out that smoking marijuana has significantly different effects on the body than when the active ingredient delta-9-THC is taken in the pill form called Marinol. Inhaled marijuana smoke delivers drugs more quickly, for instance, and contains substances other than delta-9-THC that might have pharmaceutical value. Still, while it's not possible to die from an overdose - like it is with aspirin, for example - the drug is not risk-free. Smoking it may damage the lungs, and evidence suggests that long-term use weakens the immune system, according to the NIH panel. Bayer doesn't disagree but says current laws have to be changed, or the potential benefits of medical marijuana will never be known. He believes that the benefits will outweigh the risks for selected patients. "I look at the class of cannabinoid drugs as an area that needs to be explored so we can have more tools for caring for patients," he says. "I think there should be one standard: what helps the patient." Cahill emphasizes a different risk-benefit equation. He believes that the potential harm to society, particularly young people who become abusers, outweighs the potential benefit to individual patients. "That's the crux," he says. MEASURE 67: PROS & CONS The measure would legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana for treating debilitating medical conditions. Requires written permission from a licensed physician to obtain a registry card from the state Health Division. Registered users could legally carry an ounce of marijuana and grow no more than three mature marijuana plants and four immature plants. THE PROS Patients with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other conditions who have found relief using marijuana would not have to fear prosecution. Doctors would be allowed to talk with patients about possible benefits of marijuana. The measure does not allow medical users to smoke in public, drive under the influence or sell marijuana under any circumstances. Contact: Oregonians for Medical Rights, 189 N.E. Liberty St., Suite 205, Salem, OR 97301, (503) 371-4711; Internet: www.teleport.com/~OMR THE CONS Marijuana may have long-term adverse effects and it can be addictive, while its medical benefits remain poorly documented. Legalization for medical uses could make it harder to enforce laws against recreational users and dealers. The measure risks sending a message to youths that society considers marijuana use acceptable. Contact:Oregonians Against Dangerous Drugs, 5285 S.W. Meadows Road, Suite 340, Lake Oswego, OR 97035, (503) 598-7343 FACTS ABOUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA Although marijuana may be no better than available drugs for certain conditions, not all patients respond to or can tolerate standard drugs. Experts convened by the National Institutes of Health last year concluded that inhaled marijuana looks promising enough to merit full-scale clinical trials for these indications: Pain: Marijuana's active ingredient, THC, works by a different mechanism than available pain medications, making it potentially useful for people who don't respond well to morphine-type drugs. Marinol, a synthetic THC in pill form, eases pain but has a narrow margin between useful doses and those producing unacceptable side effects. Nerve and movement disorders: Anecdotal reports suggest marijuana can relieve the severe muscle spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Preliminary findings suggest a possible role for marijuana in treating epileptic seizure disorders. Nausea and vomiting: Inhaled marijuana has the potential to improve chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. Glaucoma: Smoked marijuana can lower pressure within the eyeball for three to four hours. The mechanism is unknown, but if it's unique to marijuana, it could prove a useful alternative treatment. Wasting syndromes: Smoking marijuana has been shown to increase frequency and amount of eating. Smoking the drug increases the risk of pneumonia in HIV patients, while Marinol may be less effective. - Source: NIH Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana, Feb. 19-20, 1997 Copyright (c) 1998 The Register-Guard *** [Now would the Register-Guard please explain why all these law enforcement officials are getting away with violating Oregon state laws ORS 260.432 (1) & (2), which prohibit public employees from trying to influence a state election? - ed.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Initiative Would Raise Marijuana Penalties (The Register-Guard in Eugene, Oregon, presents the pros and cons of Measure 57, the initiative that would recriminalize less than one ounce of marijuana. The newspaper claims the Republican-controlled legislature's 1997 attempt to repeal the 1972 decriminalization law without a popular vote was inspired by increased marijuana use by kids, even though the latest survey shows a decrease in kids' use, and current rates are half those of 1979.) Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 01:55:58 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OR: Initiative Would Raise Marijuana Penalties Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 Source: Register-Guard, The (OR) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.registerguard.com/ Author: BILL BISHOP INITIATIVE WOULD RAISE MARIJUANA PENALTIES Marijuana. Just say the word and the debate ignites. Is it a gateway to harder drug use? Are its negative social and health effects exaggerated? Should users face harsh punishment, or a small fine? Do tough pot laws make economic and social sense? What message should society send to children? The questions go on. The debate rages. Ever since Oregon eased up on marijuana penalties 24 years ago, becoming the first state to decriminalize possession of a small amount, political forces have been at work to reverse that decision. After drug use surveys showed increasing use among youths, marijuana opponents found the issue they needed to get the Oregon Legislature to approve a law making marijuana possession a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. To give the prohibition more teeth for juveniles, the law imposes a six-month driver's license suspension for first-time offenders who fail to complete a court-ordered diversion program aimed at halting use of the drug. Even more quickly than the Legislature passed the law, activists for marijuana law reform collected twice the number of signatures needed to put the new law on hold until voters have their say on the Nov. 3 ballot. If approved, Ballot Measure 57 would make possession of less than an ounce a misdemeanor. If it's defeated, possession would remain a violation - carrying a fine of $500 to $1,000 and no possibility of a jail sentence. While no formal polling has been completed, Measure 57 opponents believe one-third of voters support the measure, one-third don't and one-third haven't decided. "The only thing I have heard is that it is close," said Terry Miller, director of [Portland] NORML, a branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Reflecting the state's ambivalence, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber expressed "a good deal of reluctance" when he signed the bill July 3. He said his chief concern is the "delicate balance" between public safety and civil liberties of individuals. Kitzhaber noted that elevating the possession of marijuana to criminal status affords police more power to search and seize potential evidence. Opponents envision more property forfeitures. "(I)f it is used for such purposes as harassment rather than for legitimate law enforcement objectives, then it should be repealed and we should return to the current law," Kitzhaber said in July. "In the long run, we cannot be successful unless we are willing to put our resources behind efforts to resolve the conditions that lead to drug use in the first place." For the record, Measure 57 opponents say they are not "pro-marijuana." Instead, they say they are anti-marijuana prohibition and want drug laws that protect children, respect adults and reduce harm done by drug use and abuse. The semantics of the debate don't interest Molalla Police Chief Rob Elkins, the 34-year-old co-chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police. The hard reality of drug abuse is Elkins' bottom line. Elkins said he grew up in "a dysfunctional family" and watched his seven brothers get into drugs. Four of them went to prison, a couple more than once. Reducing drug use will greatly reduce the property thefts that so many addicts use to support their habit, he said. As Elkins sees it, Oregon sends mixed messages to children. Anti-drug education programs discourage use of marijuana, but state law makes possession less of a crime than speeding in some cases, he said. "The focus of this bill truly was youth-oriented," Elkins said. "Kids' belief about whether a drug is harmful has a direct correlation with whether they use." Elkins acknowledges one of the complaints about recriminalizing marijuana: The tougher new law won't be enforced evenly around the state. The state Elections Division estimates that the law will produce 6,000 additional arrests, half of which will be charged as misdemeanors. Half of all arrests will result in one day of county jail time, according to the estimate. "This law is not going to lock people up," Elkins said. "It's going to allow us to have a deterrent." To people such as Floyd Landrath, Elkins' thinking is just more of the same old prohibition mentality that hasn't reduced drug use, only respect for the law. "I'm not getting the feeling that most people think what we're doing right now is really working," said Landrath, who works for a coalition of groups fighting Measure 57. All the money spent on enforcement and punishment would be better directed toward treatment for users who want to stop but who face a lack of affordable programs, Landrath said. "We've been on a drug law binge now for 20 years, adding more prisons. Look what we have to show for it," Landrath said. "Prohibition does nothing to control these drugs. If it stops 10 percent, we're lucky. We're pushing these people into a criminal environment. It costs way less for treatment than to incarcerate." Classifying marijuana on the same scale as harder drugs puts marijuana users, including youths, in contact with sellers of hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, he said. "The best thing we could do for our kids and ourselves is to separate marijuana from the hard drugs," Landrath said. "We don't need to get tougher on drugs, we need to get smarter on drugs." MEASURE 57 Elevates possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor. Under current statute, possession is a violation. Estimated cost for the biennium: $2.4 million. THE PROS Tougher law would send a message to youths not to use marijuana. Reducing drug use reduces other crimes. Tougher law will reduce drug use among youths. THE CONS Current prohibition does not reduce drug availability. Money would be better spent for treatment, not enforcement. Tough pot laws put youths in contact with hard-drug pushers. Other stories related to the November 1998 election Copyright (c) 1998 The Register-Guard
------------------------------------------------------------------- How Does Marijuana Kill Pain? (The Associated Press talks to a cancer patient in Oregon who does understand, and several government marijuana scientists who don't understand the significance of recent news about Ian Meng and associates at the University of California at San Francisco showing how cannabinoids work to kill pain.) From: LawBerger@aol.com Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 12:49:06 EDT To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: How Does Marijuana Kill Pain? Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ From: AOLNews@aol.com Return-path: (AOLNews@aol.com) Subject: How Does Marijuana Kill Pain? Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 12:10:10 EDT How Does Marijuana Kill Pain? The Associated Press By RICK CALLAHAN 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. ``I felt like my body was asleep but my mind was awake. I just had to stop taking them because they didn't agree with me.'' Then a friend gave Welch two marijuana brownies. Though she had never tried illegal drugs, she was desperate for relief. ``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. ``I slept like a log that night.'' Scientists once scoffed at the claims of cancer patients like Welch that they enjoyed relief from pain by puffing on a joint of marijuana or gobbling a plate of pot-laced brownies. But research during the past decade has buoyed the case for marijuana as medicine. Scientists have made progress untangling pot's chemical makeup and gained insight into how its ingredients act on the brain to produce the anecdotal benefits claimed by cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis patients. Now research has confirmed what some of those patients have been claiming all along: Marijuana does indeed kill pain. Scientists at the University of California at San Francisco found that a marijuana-like drug deadens pain in rats by interacting with the same pain- modulating area of the brain activated by morphine. The findings prove that cannabinoids -- which include marijuana's active ingredient, THC -- are potent analgesics that deliver true pain relief, said Ian Meng, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF's Department of Neurology. In findings reported in the Sept. 24 issue of the journal Nature, the UCSF researchers describe how they injected rats with a synthetic cannabinoid to test how quickly the rodents reacted when a heat source was applied to their tails. The drugged rats reacted more slowly to the heat than those not given the drug WIN55,212-2, and when a region of brain called the rostral ventromedial medulla that acts like a volume dial for pain was switched off, the drug's analgesic attributes ended, the team found. A second set of tests demonstrated that it was the cannabinoid's pain-killing abilities -- not the loss of motor coordination it also induces - that caused the rats to react slowly to their heated tails. Meng said that given the findings, scientists should now push ahead and test cannabinoids on humans. ``People are smoking marijuana and giving anecdotal accounts. I think the time is here for real, controlled clinical trials,'' he said. Proponents of the medical use of marijuana have claimed for decades that pot stifles chronic pain without the nausea, weight loss and addiction associated with morphine and other opiates. The finding that cannabinoids target the same area of the brain as opiates, albeit through a different mechanism, raises the prospect that marijuana and opiates might be used together to exploit their combined analgesic qualities. Using the drugs together in smaller amounts might also reduce the nausea caused by morphine and the euphoria sparked by cannabinoids that are undesirable in chronically ill patients, said Dr. Gavril Pasternak, who studies the biology of pain at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. ``I would say that it sounds reasonable that if used together the combination could work quite good,'' he said. ``We know now that the brain circuitry can be activated by more than just morphine. So there's not a single key to make it work, there's two and maybe more keys.'' Dr. Billy Martin, a professor of pharmacology at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond who has studied cannabinoids for 25 years, said the UCSF team's findings are illuminating, but offer no magic bullet. ``This study is a little tiny piece of this whole big puzzle,'' Martin said. ``...It opens up the possibility of developing new ways of treating and controlling pain and understanding pain, but it doesn't get us any closer to a cannabinoid pill tomorrow that's going to be useful.'' Martin is one of several researchers who discovered that the human brain has a naturally occurring system that processes cannabinoids. He said while scientists have made strides in understanding how marijuana's hundreds of compounds act on the brain to deliver the laundry list of benefits users claim to enjoy, the hardest work lies ahead. Supporters of the medical use of marijuana who campaigned successfully for ballot measures legalizing its medical use in California and Arizona complain that the federal government has made advanced marijuana studies more difficult by erecting roadblocks to researchers. The reason, they say, is that exposing marijuana's good side would undermine the government's war on drugs. ``The government has decided to wage a war against marijuana and they don't want any kinks in the armor. They don't want people knowing that marijuana, like morphine, has a medical use,'' said Bill Zimmerman, director of the Los Angeles-based group Americans for Medical Rights. The nonprofit group is campaigning for medical marijuana measures that are on the ballot in five other states -- including Oregon, where Welch must now travel to Canada to buy her marijuana brownies -- and the District of Columbia this November. The group's criticisms are unfair, said Dr. Frank Vocci, director of the medication development division of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which co-funded the UCFS study. He said the reality is that the government has received very few proposals for research into marijuana and its components. ``Until there's more interest in this you can't really say there's a conspiracy because there's a dearth of applications,'' Vocci said. The only human clinical trial under way involving medical marijuana is one that seeks to determine whether cannabinoids have any adverse effect on drugs being used to treat AIDS patients. Meanwhile, the Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, is evaluating medical literature about the therapeutic value of marijuana and its chemical components. It is expected to state whether medical evidence supports marijuana as medicine late this year or early in 1999. AP-NY-10-04-98 1203EDT Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without prior written authority of The Associated Press.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Will Lead To Doped Up Docs (The Bulletin in Bend, Oregon, reprints an opinion piece from The Los Angeles Times - ably rebutted in yesterday's Times - that claims physicians who like to smoke recreational marijuana themselves are the ones supporting marijuana use by patients.) Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 21:50:33 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Medical Marijuana Will Lead To Doped Up Docs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (email@example.com) Source: Bulletin, The (OR) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.bendbulletin.com Pubdate: Sun, 04 Oct 1998 Author: Scott Gottlieb For the Los Angeles Times Note: Apparently reprinted from the LAT. See http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n842.a04.html MEDICAL MARIJUANA WILL LEAD TO DOPED UP DOCS New York- Imagine walking into your doctors office and finding a lit bong. Would that scare you? As a fouth year medical student, I have been taught how to prescribe medications. Appreciating a drugs pharmacological benefits, however, is often a tempting inducement for some of my fellow medical students to give it a try. Students cleverly argue that their motives for self prescribing medications are purely educational. After all, they say, how can they prescribe a drug they have not taken themselves? As the medical establishment advocates a therapeutic role for marijuana, don't be surprised if more U.S. medical students begin smoking pot. Once a drug makes it onto the list of therapeutic medications it becomes fair game for the surprising number of students willing to self-prescribe medication. This was seen most recently in Britain, where efforts to legalize marijuana became fashionable decades before Americans seized on the same idea. British citizens were surprised to learn the number of British medical students who smoke dope reqularly has doubled in the last decade. The findings, first reported in the British Medical Journal, found that 46 percent of medical students in England have tried marijuana at least ounce, while 10 percent claimed to smoke one joint or more per week. The study found that despite greater knowledge of pharmacology, there was no evidence that medical students were any more selective about the legal or illegal drugs they consumed than students in general. The study pointed out that students overwhemingly disapproved of cigarette smoking, indicating that health concerns were on their minds. The implication of this finding was that smoking pot was not seen as similarly dangerous. These dismal findings stand out against a backdrop of increasing liberalization in Britain when it comes to drug use. The British Medical Association recently urged the government to allow marijuana to be prescribed in a range of medical conditions and asked health officials to set up clinical trials to assess marijuana's therapeutic benefits. These efforts have the full support of many doctors, including the president of the Royal Pharaceutical Society and the previous president of the Royal College of Physicians. Doctors in the United States are erroneously following the British lead. Last year the American Medical Association recommended a review of its policies on marijuana as a "medical remedy." A report issued in December by the association's Council on Scientific Affairs recommended renewed research efforts to see if the "potential benefits from smoking marijuana" outweigh the known risks. The image of smoking marijuana, even for supposed medical purposes, is exticably linked to images in our culture of illicit drug abuse. Whether intended or not, permitting the "medicinal" use of marijuana sends a powerful message that pot is OK. Those who cannot see a connection between the efforts of British doctors to legalize marijuana and the surge in drug use among their medical students do not take their cues from doctors. Morever, once a drug is deemed therapeutic it becomes fashionable in some medical circles to give it a try. Indeed, a 1986 study published in the New England Medical Journal of Medicine found that a quarter of American doctors and medical students surveyed had self-prescribed mood-altering drugs, most often tranquilizers and opiates. Think for a moment about how many medicines doctors prescribe. None involve smoking leaves or chewing plants. What doctors do instead is look for a specific chemical and prescribe it in a known quantity. The idea of medical marijuana merely substitutes the concept of medicinal use for recreational drug use. That's the reason people don't like Marinol, the widely available but rarely prescribed synthetic analoque to marijuana. In short, people want to smoke dope. If doctors are worried that HMO's have diminished the quality of medicine in the United States, perhaps they're missing their own role in the decline. With 10 percent of their medical students reqularly abusing marijuana, British doctors are realizing the trouble they are in. In the British press, doctors are openly fretting that students on dope "might not be able to remember the volumes of information being thrown at them," as one doctor recently told a London newspaper: That's where things are headed. That's what happens when doctors argue for legalizing pot. In Britain, the results are now in, and doctors find themselves hoisted by their own petards. Stay tuned for the U.S. version. A new age of medicine is dawning - the stoned age. Editors note: Gottlieb, a medical student at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has recently completed a fellowship at the British Medical Journal.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Supporters of pot initiative will stop citing Governor Kitzhaber (The Oregonian notes a brochure that has previously been distributed by Oregonians for Medical Rights, proponents of Ballot Measure 67, lists Kitzhaber as one of the "supporters of the medical use of marijuana," which is true - he just doesn't support Measure 67. Geoff Sugerman, spokesman for OMR, said information for the pamphlet was compiled before Kitzhaber took a public stand against the ballot measure. "We are not distributing the brochure any more," Sugerman said. Considering how Kitzhaber has flip-flopped on Measure 57, is anyone really paying attention?) The Oregonian letters to editor: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Oct. 4, 1998 Supporters of pot initiative will stop citing Gov. Kitzhaber * Proponents of Ballot Measure 67 misrepresent the governor's position on medical use of marijuana, his spokesman says Friday, October 2 1998 By Patrick O'Neill of The Oregonian staff Supporters of Oregon's medical marijuana initiative say they will stop using Gov. John Kitzhaber's name in their campaign materials. One brochure distributed by Oregonians for Medical Rights, proponents of Ballot Measure 67, lists Kitzhaber as one of the "supporters of the medical use of marijuana." Bob Applegate, a Kitzhaber spokesman, said the governor, a former emergency room physician, does believe marijuana has some legitimate medical uses, including the alleviation of nausea due to chemotherapy and in the treatment of glaucoma, an eye disease. But he said the governor also believes there are synthetic substitutes for marijuana that are just as effective as the plant itself. Applegate said Kitzhaber "will not support the bill and will not vote for it." The governor, he said, sees too many problems with implementation of the measure, which would permit ill Oregonians to grow and smoke marijuana. One question, Applegate said, is where they could obtain marijuana seeds without breaking the law. He compared marijuana with morphine. "Everybody supports the use of morphine in pain relief," he said. "But we're not suggesting that people grow their own opium poppies." Morphine, one of the most powerful painkilling drugs, is derived from the sap of opium poppies. Geoff Sugerman, spokesman for the pro-medical marijuana measure, said information for the pamphlet was compiled before Kitzhaber had taken a public stand against the ballot measure. Sugerman said the campaign staff relied on earlier statements of Kitzhaber's about the likely therapeutic value of medical marijuana. "Since we have received further information on the governor's stand, we are not distributing the brochure any more," Sugerman said. Opponents of the measure strongly objected to the use of Kitzhaber's name in the brochure. Dan Noelle, Multnomah County sheriff and a principal opponent of the measure, said he was astounded to see Kitzhaber's name associated with the pro-medical marijuana campaign. "Having the governor also be a doctor gives him kind of a double-whammy on this issue," Noelle said. "People generally like and respect him. People would look to him on this important issue."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Depression takes its toll among the young, too (An Oregonian article about the estimated 3 million to 6 million American children and teen-agers stricken by clinical depression centers on the case of one 12-year-old patient whose illness was precipitated by her father's death when he "overdosed on drugs." Now she's better, thanks to a pharmaceutical antidepressant, though the newspaper doesn't mention such drugs may eventually poison her and leave her a drooling, brain-damaged idiot with impaired liver function.) The Oregonian letters to editor: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Depression takes its toll among the young, too * An estimated 3 million to 6 million children and teen-agers know the loneliness and despair of the condition Sunday, October 4 1998 By Crystal Carreon of The Oregonian staff On the morning of Meghan's 12th birthday, her father overdosed on drugs and died. Days later, the nightmares began. Meghan was haunted by the image of her father alone in the motel room where they found him. She blamed herself, thinking that if she'd spent her birthday with him, he might still be alive. Through the weeks, she started to lose weight, skip school and fight constantly with her mother. Inside the walls of her bedroom with the door shut, the curtains closed, she tried to be invisible. She wondered what it would be like to die, whether anyone would come to her funeral. Meghan's mother understood her daughter's grief. But when the weeks turned into months, and the tensions intensified, she didn't know what to do. "I probably cried as hard as she did. As a mother, I didn't know what was wrong with her, or if I did something wrong," she said. "She hurt, so I hurt." One evening as Meghan flipped through a book about illnesses, she found a paragraph that matched her experience. "Mom, I think I have depression," she said. Meghan was right, as a doctor confirmed. She was among a growing number of children and teen-agers in the country who feel tangled in a labyrinth of solitude and sadness. An estimated 3 million to 6 million children suffer from depression, an illness that often eludes recognition, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Meghan experienced an extreme form of depression triggered by her father's death. But depression can take many forms, mild to major, and all forms should be regarded seriously, mental health experts say. Although the causes of depression in children remain largely a mystery -- everything from chemical imbalances in the brain to genetics and family history to environment -- researchers know that early treatment can stop the cycle. Until the 1980s, depression wasn't viewed as a childhood illness; childhood presumably was a time of being carefree. But the mental health community gradually recognized the same signs and patterns of depression in children as in adults. Everyone at some point feels sad and lonely, said Dr. Kirk Wolfe, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Northeast Portland. But if those feelings amplify and last longer than two weeks, cause noticeable changes in personality and interfere with everyday life, those feelings are no longer healthy but harmful, he said. "When a child is depressed, there is a sense of loss. They're not their normal selves," Wolfe said. If left untreated, there is a 40 percent chance that depression will recur within two years and a 70 percent chance it will come back within five years, said Dr. David Fassler, author of "Help Me, I'm Sad" ($12.95, Penguin Books, 1998), a book about the signs, treatment and prevention of childhood and adolescent depression. More than half of the 17 million adults with depression experienced the illness during childhood, he said. "If we can learn to recognize and identify the signs, we can prevent a tremendous amount of pain and suffering," said Fassler, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Burlington, Vt. Symptoms of depression vary, and they mimic and might be linked with attention deficit disorder, conduct disorders and anxiety, Fassler said, so the underlying depression often is overlooked. Teachers might send a troublesome child to the principal's office. Parents might think a son or daughter is going through a phase or having a tough time growing up. "The 8- or 9-year-old boy acting out in class may get labeled as the troublemaker, but people may not realize for a long time that maybe the core of his problems is recurrent depression," Fassler said. To help identify signs of depression, the American Psychiatric Association provides the following guidelines. Depression could be the cause if at least five of these symptoms persist for two weeks: * Sad or irritable mood most of the day, every day. * Diminished interest or pleasure in most activities. * Significant weight loss or weight gain. * Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or oversleeping. * Fatigue or loss of energy most of the time. * Intense feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach or guilt. * Inability to concentrate, which leads to a drop in grades. * Thoughts of suicide and death. Fassler said children with depression might worry excessively and have frequent physical complaints. Symptoms of depression in young children, such as preschoolers, can be different than those found in older children and adolescents, Fassler said. Symptoms include: * Frequent and unexplained stomachaches, headaches and fatigue. * Overactivity or excessive restlessness. * Frequent sadness. * Irritability. * Loss of pleasure in previously enjoyable activities. For example, a child who loves to draw refuses to participate in art projects. It is important for parents to recognize signs of depression because treatment is available, Fassler and Wolfe emphasize. They recommend that concerned individuals consult with a physician and/or mental health professional. Treatment always should be individualized, based on a comprehensive evaluation of the child and family, Fassler said. It often includes individual therapy with the child, counseling sessions with the family or a form of group therapy in which the child or adolescent meets with age-appropriate peers. Some children might benefit from treatment with antidepressant medication, the psychiatrists said. If depression is left untreated, consequences can be severe. Wolfe, who served on the Governor's Task Force on Youth Suicide Prevention, pointed out that children and adolescents who experience mood disorders, such as severe depression, are five times more likely to attempt suicide. Most completed suicides occurred while the young person was clinically depressed, he said. "It's not just the blues but thoughts affecting sleep, concentration, how the body functions. The blues will not cause suicide, but depression can," Wolfe said. Three months after her father died, Meghan, now 13, went to the Dougy Center for Grieving Children, a support program in Southeast Portland for children and teen-agers. In January, under a doctor's care, she started taking an antidepressant. Last month, she began eighth grade and hasn't missed a day of class. "I'm really proud of myself," she said smiling, showing off her braces. "I'm happy." She's already looking forward to high school. Her past no longer haunts her. Depression feels like a trap, like you're stuck, she said. She says she has grown from her experiences and, with professional help, has gained strength and support. "You just take it minute-by-minute, one day at a time," she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Doctors won't back marijuana as medicine (The Seattle Times version of yesterday's news about the Washington State Medical Association's voice vote Saturday opposing Initiative 692.) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (email@example.com) To: "-Hemp Talk" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: HT: WA Doctors won't back marijuana as medicine Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 17:49:10 -0700 Sender: email@example.com Copyright (c) 1998 The Seattle Times Company Posted at 11:18 p.m. PDT; Sunday, October 4, 1998 Health - Doctors won't back marijuana as medicine by Carol M. Ostrom Seattle Times staff reporter Despite an impassioned plea by a former president of the organization, the Washington State Medical Association voted yesterday not to endorse a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana use by terminally ill and chronically debilitated patients. The association, which represents 8,000 physicians around the state, did go on record to urge completion of studies of marijuana's effectiveness as a medicine. The association's annual meeting, which began Thursday in Bellevue, adjourned yesterday. The resolution supporting the initiative was sponsored by Dr. William Robertson, who said this year's Initiative 692 is "far more limited" than last year's initiative, which the association voted not to support. The initiative has "stringent requirements" that would limit its use to a small number of terminally ill and debilitated patients. Some patients believe it helps them, said Robertson, a medical director of the Washington Poison Center. Some cancer and AIDS patients say smoking marijuana is the only thing that helps quell their nausea, vomiting or lack of appetite. Although the active ingredient in marijuana is available in pill form, some patients say they vomit up the pill, that it takes too long to work or makes them high for too long, or that the dose is not easily regulated. Dr. Sandra Counts, who specializes in addictions and in chronic pain, urged the group to send a message to Congress "to not treat a drug as a moral thing." "I don't see any difference, personally, between marijuana, Valium or Percocet," she said. Plenty of patients abuse the last two, she said, and yet those drugs are not made unavailable to everyone. Dr. Peter Marsh, the organization's outgoing president, argued that no scientific data shows marijuana is an effective treatment. "We have no problem with saying we're in favor of any drug that shows pharmacologic effectiveness," he told the group's study committee Friday. "If there is good data and good evidence to support that smoked marijuana does something that's not available with any other medication, we'd have no problem endorsing this at all." But, he added, "in actual fact, there is no data, to our knowledge at least, that supports that - that there is an effective use of smoked marijuana that cannot be achieved any other way."
------------------------------------------------------------------- California Cooperative Gives, Sells Marijuana To Suffering (A feature article in The Las Vegas Review-Journal looks at the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, the largest of four remaining medical marijuana dispensaries in California, while discussing the Nevada ballot initiative that would allow some use of cannabis by authorized patients.) Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 06:37:44 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: California Cooperative Gives, Sells Marijuana To 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: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ Fax: 702-383-4676 Pubdate: 4 October 1998 Author: Ed Vogel Donrey Capital Bureau CALIFORNIA COOPERATIVE GIVES, SELLS MARIJUANA TO SUFFERING Nevada to vote on illegal drug for medical use OAKLAND, Calif. -- Step up to the counter at the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. Today you'll find baggies of Big Bud and Humboldt Octane sell for $55 per one-eighth ounce. African Sativa fetches $50, AA Sativa goes for $20 and RX Sativa, just $15. For the real connoisseur, hash oil can be purchased, along with powdered keef, small vials of cannabis blended with alcohol and larger baggies of ordinary cooking pot. Cookie recipes are available on the counter at no charge. A smell similar to new-mown hay wafts in from the adjacent room. There, under growing lights are dozens of green, symmetrical plants that have reached a 4-foot height. Give them another couple of months and they end up in someone's pipe. "It smells like marijuana," employee Stacy Traylor quickly corrects with a chuckle. Whether you call it by the botanical name of cannabis sativa or one of the cute slang terms concocted by growers, the substance for sale behind the counter is still marijuana. One-eighth ounce makes about a dozen joints. Like most employees at the Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, Traylor, 25, also is a patient. She said she suffers from a pancreatic disorder that prevents her from digesting food properly and having normal bowel movements. "I smoke all day long," said Traylor, who laughs and smiles a lot, but as the public information officer for the cooperative, manages to answer a lot of questions. "What kind of people would not want people they love to have pain relief?" Before marijuana, Traylor said she took large dosages of prescription morphine each day. "If I didn't have marijuana, I wouldn't be here now," she said. The Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative is the model of the marijuana dispensing operations that opened in California after 56 percent of its voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996. About 2,200 people, presumably all with appropriate recommendations from doctors, acquire their marijuana here. For users who cannot afford the specialty prices, the cooperative gives them a "compassionate use" baggie with enough marijuana for about three joints. In August, the Oakland City Council designated the staff of the cooperative as officers of the city, a step that presumably makes them immune from federal and state prosecution. "Right now, you are talking to a city officer," quipped Jeff Jones, the short-haired, 24-year-old executive director. "We are sending a message to the rest of America that this can be done properly in places that are committed." The California law was designed to let AIDS and cancer patients and other sick people with doctors' recommendations use and grow marijuana without fear of state legal reprisal. The Oakland cooperative is the largest of four remaining marijuana dispensaries in California. Nevada voters on Nov. 3 could approve a similar proposition in Question 9 on their election ballots. More than 73,000 residents signed petitions in the spring to put the medical marijuana proposal on the ballot. Voters in five other states, including Oregon and Washington, also have medical marijuana questions on their ballots. The impetus and money for the petition drives came from the California-based Americans for Medical Rights. The group is bankrolled by billionaire global financier George Soros; John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix; and Peter Lewis, chief executive officer of Progressive Insurance Co. Critics have claimed the agenda of Soros, in particular, goes far beyond medical marijuana. Soros has donated millions to reform marijuana laws. But Dave Fratello, spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights, insists his organization only wants to legalize marijuana for medical uses. Unlike California residents, Silver State voters also must approve the question again in 2000 before marijuana dispensaries open along the Las Vegas Strip. Under the Nevada initiative, the Legislature in 2001 would set up a system that would permit doctors to recommend marijuana for patients with cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, epilepsy, nausea, multiple sclerosis and other medical conditions. The Nevada proposal goes further than the California initiative to ensure marijuana use would be restricted to medical patients. It calls for creation of a registry of patients that law enforcement officers may use to verify whether people are approved users. The state proposition also prohibits the use of marijuana in public, even by permitted users. "We have gone out of our way in the new initiative states so use is more carefully limited and controlled," Fratello said. Except for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jan Jones, a cancer survivor, most top state officials oppose the medical marijuana question. Nevada's two congressmen, Republicans John Ensign and Jim Gibbons, sided with the majority on Sept. 15 as the House of Representatives voted 310-93 for a resolution that declares members are "unequivocally opposed" to allowing sick people to use marijuana. Their votes dismayed leaders of the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana. "This resolution shows that the House is completely out of touch with American people," said Robert Kampia, executive director of the policy project. "Eighty percent of the American people support medical marijuana, so it is clear the vast majority also oppose this mean-spirited resolution." While the medical marijuana initiatives today are controversial, there was scarcely any attention directed to Nevada in 1979 when the Legislature and Gov. Robert List backed a medical marijuana law. Until its repeal in 1987, state law allowed doctors to prescribe marijuana for cancer patients and people with glaucoma, although there is no evidence that any ever was prescribed or that the federal government made it available to legal users. But neither Gov. Bob Miller nor Republican gubernatorial candidate Kenny Guinn would be as bold today as List was in his time. "Federal law prohibits the use of marijuana," Miller said. "As long as that is the case, state law isn't going to change it." Miller fears passage of the ballot question could lead to drug abuse, as has occurred in some marijuana cooperatives in California. Earlier this year as many as 20 marijuana dispensaries were operating in California, most notably the San Francisco club operated by Dennis Peron, a flamboyant man who openly smoked marijuana and made an abortive run for governor. Most were shut down by the U.S. Department of Justice and the California attorney general's office after undercover agents made buys of marijuana. "I don't accept the idea that only sick people go to these clubs," said John Gordanier, the California deputy attorney general who closed Peron's club. At the height of the San Francisco club trend in the spring, as many as 20,000 people were purchasing marijuana. "Some of them were terminally ill people, but I don't believe the majority had medical problems," Gordanier said. "The rest were there to party." He said one of his agents bought a pound of marijuana from Peron and that even a 16-year-old made a purchase. As a former Clark County district attorney, Miller has a particular interest in stopping the recreational use of drugs. Nevada law makes possession of even a small amount of marijuana a felony. An amended law approved in 1995, however, allows minor users to clear their records if they complete an anti-drug course. "I haven't seen evidence that marijuana is more effective than other kinds of drugs," Miller added. "I will try to keep an open mind, but the potential for abuse is great. But I have sympathy for people who need these kinds of drugs." Like Miller, Guinn opposes medical uses of marijuana as long as the drug's use remains against federal law. He also wants the American Medical Association to conduct tests on the efficacy of medical marijuana before he backs use of the drug by sick people. "I believe in alternative medicine," Guinn said, "but only if the AMA approves it." Las Vegas Mayor Jones, however, said she supports the use of marijuana as medicine, as long as physicians prescribe the drug to patients and the Nevada State Medical Association oversees the distribution. The Nevada State Medical Association takes no position on the medical marijuana question. Larry Matheis, executive director of the association, said members want the federal government first to allow the medical industry to conduct rigorous studies to determine whether marijuana can help sick people. "There is anecdotal information that patients prefer it," Matheis said. "It should be studied. The federal government should not discourage controlled studies." But Chuck Thomas, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, contends the Clinton administration has been blocking marijuana studies. The National Institute on Drug Abuse controls the only legal supply of marijuana in the United States, and Thomas said the agency thwarted studies to prove the value of medical marijuana. The agency did not return telephone calls. "The goal of the government is to keep marijuana illegal at any cost," Thomas said. "They say we need more research but they won't allow more research." Matheis essentially agrees. He said there is a schizophrenia on the part of the federal government over anything that deals with drugs. While he expects Nevada voters to have a "great deal of sympathy" for the marijuana question, Matheis warns them not to put the cart before the horse. "Anecdotes that it helps patients are not science," Matheis said. "There still is a question on whether there are medical benefits to marijuana use." Six days a week in Oakland, Jeff Jones and Traylor make sure the people who come in their office receive their preferred medicine. "The government has put doctors in a horrible situation," Traylor said. "They are taking away our rights as patients to choose the type of medicine we want to take." Jones calls marijuana an "herbal remedy." He also consistently refers to the substance as cannabis, its scientific name, rather than marijuana, partly because of his desire to reduce the negative stigma of the word. Just finding the Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative is difficult. There are no signs for the cooperative along Broadway Avenue in downtown Oakland. Visitors must push a buzzer in the lobby of a nondescript office building before a guard permits them to take an elevator to the cooperative office. Once at the cooperative, another guard checks identification cards before anyone can purchase marijuana. Smoking is not permitted in the building. Jones said his staff call to verify a physician has recommended a patient use marijuana. Despite the precautions, the Oakland cooperative faces a future hearing in federal court on why an undercover officer was sold marijuana. Jones insists the agent came with a fake recommendation from a doctor, along with other phony documents. A conservative young man with white shirt and tie, Jones said he welcomes regulations to ensure only sick people receive marijuana. He became interested in marijuana as a remedy to relieve pain after his father died of cancer in his native South Dakota when Jones was a teen-ager. Six months after his father's death, Jones read that marijuana could have helped alleviate his father's pain. "It has side effects," Jones said. "It makes people lose short-term memories and causes people to be hungry, but for many people cannabis is the best alternative. I don't want other people to go through what my father went through." San Leandro, Calif., user Steve Wilson has diabetes and AIDS. But he looks as healthy as he did during his days as a fitness trainer. "Marijuana is a blessing, really," Wilson said. "There were days when I couldn't walk or eat. I almost died. This is the best I've felt in four years. It's awesome."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cocaine Theft From Police Raises Security Concerns (The Orange County Register says in July 1997, someone broke into the Riverside office of the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and stole $3.2 million worth of cocaine. It was believed to be the largest heist of illegal drugs in police custody in state history. One gathers the theft was carried out by an insider, particularly someone on the force, who knew where the cocaine was and how to get around lax security measures.) Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 16:07:33 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Cocaine Theft From Police Raises Security Concerns Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Orange County Register Author:Mark Katches and Stuart Pfeifer COCAINE THEFT FROM POLICE RAISES SECURITY CONCERNS The Drug Had Been Held In Riverside To Be Used In A Reverse Sting Operation. The drugs, about $3.2 million worth of cocaine, first came into police custody in Anaheim four years ago. Where the drugs are now is anybody's guess. In July 1997, someone broke into the Riverside office of the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and stole the cocaine. It was believed to be the largest heist of illegal drugs in police custody in state history. The cocaine had been moved from Anaheim to be used in a reverse sting operation - bait to catch larger drug dealers. But security at the Riverside office was poor, according to interviews with law-enforcement investigators, state administrators and state reports that provide details about the heist. * There were no surveillance cameras or 24-hour security guards at a location where millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs are kept. * A card key system, designed to track the movements of personnel from room to room, was not working at the time of the break-in. * The special agent in charge, Edward Synicky, had no idea how many people had keys to the evidence room. * Security guards were hired after the theft and a surveillance camera was installed. Three months later, however, the camera was stolen and not reported missing to the agency's Sacramento headquarters. * Chief George J. Doane said the state narcotics enforcement agency he has run since 1986 is upgrading its security at all its offices. "We used this incident in Riverside as a wake-up call to re-examine our security level at all of our regional offices," Doane said. "We're hoping the incident we had there will be a teaching process." But Anaheim police officials say they are disheartened that the drugs ended up back on the street after the department seized the cocaine in a 1994 sting operation that spanned three counties. "If we had any idea that the drugs would not have been taken care of, they wouldn't have been sent out that way," Sgt. Joe Vargas said. In Anaheim, the drugs were much more secure. The city police keeps its evidence vault under surveillance 24 hours a day, Vargas said. Access to the vault is limited to four people.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Trouble Seizes State Drug Bureau (The Orange County Register says after seven years of California Attorney General Dan Lungren, the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement has been hit by costly sexual harassment lawsuits, reduced its hiring standards, and faced accusations of mismanagement, contributing to low moral and unfilled positions at the agency. Lungren attributes the problems to "some bad apples.") Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 06:21:56 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Trouble Seizes State Drug Bureau Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Orange County Register Pubdate: Sun, 04 Oct 1998 Author:Stuart Pfeifer and Mark Katches-OCR TROUBLE SEIZES STATE DRUG BUREAU Law Enforcement: Low pay, lawsuits and managerial tactics contribute to low moral and unfilled positions at the agency. California's drug enforcement agency has been hit by costly sexual harassment lawsuits, reduced its hiring standards and faced accusations of mismanagement during the seven-year administration of Attorney General Dan Lungren. The Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement also has sought criminal charges against workers who complain about their supervisors, a Register review shows. Bureau agents have gone years without a raise and now rank among the lowest-paid law-enforcement officers in the state. With recruitment a problem, the agency - which manages dozens of anti-drug task forces statewide - has lowered its previous education and law-enforcement experience requirements. Lungren attributes the problems to "some bad apples." "But if you look overall at the people at the BNE, we have a very good record for the quality of people we have," he said. California is the center of the nation's methamphetamine trade. And consequently, methamphetamine is a target of bureau agents, particularly in recent years. Lungren says his agents have seized more than $7 billion in narcotics, closed 4,300 drug labs and made more than 60,000 arrests since he took over in 1991. "Our BNE agents are involved in taking down more, or about the same number, of clandestine labs in California as the DEA takes down in the entire country outside of California," said Lungren, who is running for governor. Internally, Lungren's agency has been doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to deal with complaints of sexual harassment - including one against bureau Chief George J. Doane. The state has paid $521,000 to settle three lawsuits accusing the bureau of harassment and retaliation in the past four years, according to records obtained under the California Public Records Act. An analysis of those cases found that: The male-dominated drug agency-25 of its 336 agents are female - has been labeled a hostile workplace in lawsuits. The agency has countered two complaints by asking local prosecutors to file criminal charges against the workers. Both times, prosecutors declined. Doane said none of the male employees named in sexual harassment cases, including himself, were disciplined. Two of the men later retired. Michelle Reinglass, a Laguna Hills lawyer who has extensive experience in sexual-harassment cases, said the drug agency's handling of cases seems to represent "pretty outrageous" examples of retaliation. "It makes the cases far more egregious," said Reinglass, who has no connection with any past or pending suits against the agency. "More often than not, the sexual harassment was not the most devastating aspect of a situation. It's the repercussions that follow." Doane disputed in an interview that the agency has retaliated against employees who complained. "I know what it looks like, but you can't allow process to be governed by what things look like," Doane said. "If in the course of investigating your complaint, we find out you, too, did wrong things, we're going to do what the situation mandates." The drug agency's 336 sworn agents would make it the fourth-largest agency in Orange County. No comparably sized police agency in Orange County has had as much legal trouble with sexual harassment as Lungren's drug-enforcement agency. The Anaheim police, with 389 sworn police officers, and Santa Ana police, with 406 officers, have paid no sexual harassment damages in the past five years, officials in those cities said. The Orange County Sheriff's Department, whose 1,459 deputies make it more than four times the size of the state anti-drug agency, has been sued seven times for sexual harassment in the past five years and paid one settlement. Special Agent Richard Wayne Parker of San Juan Capistrano is awaiting trial at the federal court in Los Angeles for allegedly trafficking cocaine. Perhaps even more embarrassing, the Lungren administration also has had to deal with the disappearance of 650 pounds of cocaine from a poorly guarded Riverside office - a theft Lungren described as a "gut punch." The state agency also has been questioned for some of its tactics in the war on drugs. It has given known drug dealers a key ingredient in the making of methamphetamine. The dealers are then followed and arrested in these "reverse stings." In one case, 57 pounds of methamphetamine was sold to the public and went unrecovered, according to court documents filed in a criminal case. State officials say they stand by their reverse stings, noting that agents have recovered far larger quantities of methamphetamine in these operations. The agency also has dealt with less serious disciplinary issues and abuses of state equipment. Special Agent Rolando Garcia resigned in 1996 after he was caught running license plates through the Department of Motor Vehicles database to find addresses of women he considered attractive. Supervising Special Agent Don Rominger, who manages the bureau's aviation unit, was reprimanded in the same year for flying his daughter from Los Angeles to Sacramento in a narcotics-surveillance plane, Doane said. In the past four years, task forces run by the agency have paid $812,000 in civil damages and settlements for bad search warrants, civil-rights violations and property damage. These task forces typically involve several police agencies, under the state bureau's supervision. The state's share has been $212,000 in these cases. Claims filed against the agency have increased in each of the last three years, rising from five in 1996 to 14 so far this year. Union officials representing the agents say they believe the rise in claims is related to the low pay. That, in turn, has made it difficult to hire quality agents. The agents are paid less than patrol officers in many police agencies in the state. "We're having a terrible time getting anybody with good backgrounds," said Christy McCampbell, the special agent in charge of the agency's San Jose office. "Some agencies are making about double what our agents are making." The highest special-agent salary - $4,695 a month or $56,340 annually - is less than the amount the Los Angeles Police Department pays a rookie detective. Small departments such as the Palo Alto, Mountain View and Berkeley police pay as much as $800 more a month. A Santa Ana detective can earn $1,000 a month more than a special agent with the same experience level, agency records show. Doane said 27 special agents have resigned this year - most taking higher-paying jobs at the Department of Corrections. All told, the agency now has about 90 jobs vacant, Doane said. As recently as five years ago, the agency lost only a handful of agents each year, mostly to retirement, Doane said. Because the agency has had trouble recruiting, the state lowered its hiring standards last year. Before October 1997, the agency hired only peace officers with investigative experience and a four-year college degree. Now, it has dropped the education level to two years of college with prior law-enforcement experience, and eliminated investigative experience as a requirement for new recruits. "This used to be the leading, exemplary agency," said Sam McCall, chief legal counsel for the California Union of Safety Employees, which represents the special agents at the bargaining table. "Law enforcement officers were champing at the bit to move to it. It was the leader. Now they're having trouble recruiting competent, qualified people." McCall said Gov. Pete Wilson's negotiators have been largely to blame for denying pay raises to special agents. But he also blamed Lungren. "I have not seen any attempt on his part to do anything for the agents to keep them as a premier law-enforcement agency," McCall said. Lungren, who is trying to succeed fellow Republican Wilson as governor, said he has tried to persuade Wilson to increase the pay of the state's special agents at a critical time in California's war on drugs. But Wilson, who negotiates collective bargaining agreements with state workers, hasn't budged. Doane acknowledged having trouble hiring top-quality agents, but he attributed the rising number of claims and lawsuits to "an increasingly litigious society." "A lot more people used to want this job," Doane said. "Not only was it a respected job in law enforcement, the cream of the crop, but the pay was good. The pay package has diminished, but I don't believe the esteem of the agency has gone down." The agency recently mailed out 2,500 examinations to job candidates who had expressed interest in becoming special agents. Just half of the tests were returned, Doane said. Lungren said he considers the problems at the agency to be "isolated" cases. "I would never say they're minor," Lungren said. "If we have a problem, I wouldn't consider it minor. If you look at the work we do overall, we're recognized around the country." But the low pay, the lawsuits, the embarrassing scandals and the alleged retaliation have led to morale problems, says Special Agent Jesse Reyes of the Sacramento office. "I want to feel like I work for a credible law-enforcement agency," said Reyes, a 24-year law-enforcement veteran. "Right now I don't."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Jail Stays Grow With The Backlog (The San Jose Mercury News says the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice is almost empty on Fridays as judges run errands or play golf, while the courts are burdened with one of the biggest backlogs of felony cases awaiting trial in the county's history. A recent audit found Santa Clara County to have the least efficient criminal trial system of the 17 largest counties in California. Inmates are languishing longer than ever waiting for trial in the overcrowded county jail, at taxpayers' expense.) Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 07:28:02 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Jail Stays Grow With The Backlog Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: 4 Oct 1998 JAIL STAYS GROW WITH THE BACKLOG Length of time defendants are held has more than doubled in 6 years On a typical Friday, Santa Clara County's Hall of Justice looks like it is going out of business. Some judges are toiling away in their chambers, but, with the exception of a few clerks and bailiffs, courtroom after courtroom has been abandoned. Despite a crushing criminal caseload, a five-month Mercury News investigation documented that by lunch time on most Fridays, a cadre of veteran judges, the men who hear the most notorious and heinous cases, have left for home, are off running errands or are on their way to play golf. ``You could set a bomb off in the Hall of Justice on most Fridays and not kill any judges or many lawyers,'' says a veteran prosecutor who has worked in the building for years. These judges say they are free to leave because there is not enough work to keep them in the courthouse on Fridays, and claim they are taking vacation time to which they are entitled. ``If I have nothing assigned to me . . . and I have no cases under submission, there is no requirement to the electorate to be here to look at that wall,'' says Superior Court Judge Thomas Hastings, a 19-year veteran who regularly plays golf on Fridays. ``In fact, I think the electorate would be better served knowing that for my emotional stability and physical stability, I'm getting exercise.'' But a hard look at the county's criminal courts suggests that judges should not have to search far for work. The courts are burdened with one of the biggest backlogs of felony cases awaiting trial in the county's history. A recent audit found Santa Clara County to have the least efficient criminal trial system of the 17 largest counties in California, and that includes Los Angeles, the state's criminal-justice jungle. Inmates are languishing longer than ever waiting for trial in the overcrowded county jail, at taxpayers' expense. The judges who leave early say they get all of their work done, and they blame the backlog on a lack of resources. They consistently have argued for more prosecutors, public defenders and judges. But interviews with approximately 75 prosecutors, defense lawyers, court officials and other judges reveal a system that often operates for the personal convenience of a handful of powerful judges. ``Work is not valued; efficiency is not valued,'' says one Superior Court judge who has presided over criminal cases in the past. Like most people interviewed for this investigation, the judge insisted on anonymity. Judges feared alienating their colleagues while lawyers feared offending the judges in whose courts they must appear. ``These folks have set the tone,'' the judge continued, ``and it ripples through the whole system.'' An open secret Criminal courts close early on Fridays Indeed, it has been an open secret in the local judiciary for at least a decade that the criminal courts close early on Fridays, no matter how many cases are awaiting trial. Fridays are known as ``kick-back'' days, a day court insiders say some judges plan for all week. ``It's a bunch of boys, a fraternity engaged in that kind of stuff,'' one veteran defense attorney says of the golfing judges, who frequently arrive at the Hall on Fridays sporting slacks and golf shirts. ``In the back hallways, they brag about their games, [and] someone will have a driver or putter and show it off.'' No one has been able to change this culture because, as one prominent San Jose jurist puts it, ``We'd have to go to war (with some of the Hall's judges) to deal with this.'' To document its findings, the Mercury News focused on 14 of 15 Superior Court judges who work in the Hall of Justice, the glass-modern six-story structure adjacent to the county jail on Hedding Street in San Jose. In their 14 courtrooms, those judges hear the most serious criminal cases. The 15th judge is the supervising judge who mostly has an administrative role. From mid-April to mid-August, reporters checked those courtrooms twice every day to see if they were open or closed. The judges' parking lot was monitored to determine if cars were gone at the same time a courtroom was locked, and judges were followed when they left early on Fridays. Among the findings: On Fridays, several judges began leaving the Hall before noon. By 2:30 p.m., on average half of the 14 courtrooms in the Hall were closed. On many of these days, nearly all the courtrooms were shut. Four judges played golf or went home nearly every Friday afternoon, and occasionally some of them played on other weekdays: Thomas Hastings, Daniel Creed, Hugh Mullin III and Robert Foley. A fifth, Rene Navarro, joined them on occasion and sometimes left for home after working Friday mornings. Another judge, John Ball, says that he may have golfed on Fridays in the past but has not made it a practice this year. On some afternoons, he left the Hall early to attend to his wife, who is ill. Judge Robert Ahern occasionally went home, ran errands or attended to personal business on Fridays, while Judge Ronald Lisk was gone some Friday afternoons. The remaining six judges generally put in full days on Fridays. A group of criminal judges took the same days off for vacation several times during the year. Eight judges took off the entire first week of June, seven for an annual golfing retreat at a resort near Donner Pass. Judges, who earn $110,612 a year, came and went as they pleased under a vacation policy that by all accounts is an honor system. ``Superior Court's vacation policy has always been to have no policy,'' says one veteran Superior Court judge. Fuzzy vacation time Record-keeping appears unreliable While many other court systems around the state record judges' vacation time in detail, record-keeping for Superior Court judges in Santa Clara County is unreliable at best. Judges Mullin and Foley, for example, produced documents indicating that they put in for vacation time for some weekdays that they played golf, but the dates were not reflected in the court's vacation records. Under this largely unregulated system, judges can for all practical purposes take as much vacation each year as they want, although there is a statewide guideline of 21 days annually. Those guidelines call for the presiding judge to be notified ``reasonably'' in advance of a judge's intention to take off a half day or more. Most of the court's judges are diligent about putting in for vacation in advance, based on a review of Superior Court's 1997 and 1998 vacation logs. But some of the Hall judges, such as Hastings and Mullin, take spur-of-the-moment vacation days for their Friday golf outings. They say they do not need to apply for them in advance. ``The only person who tracks a judge's vacation in the Superior Court is the judge,'' Hastings says. ``Some years, a judge might take 10 days; next year, they might take 40 days. That's up to the individual judge.'' Other Hall of Justice judges who play golf regularly say they are taking legitimate vacation time when they head out early on Fridays. Navarro declined to comment, saying Hastings spoke for him. Foley, who handles mostly non-trial drug cases, says he takes off a half day on Fridays to golf. He says he compensates for that by reviewing legal documents on many Saturdays and Sundays. ``There have been years in the past where I have not taken any vacation,'' Foley says. ``You can't believe how relaxing golf is. I get to see some green grass, breathe some fresh air, watch the little animals run around, and just forget about this legal stuff, because it's all going to be there on Saturday morning.'' Members of the legal community credit Foley with an extraordinary work ethic and characterize Hastings as one of the county's best criminal-trial judges. But many judges and lawyers are outraged that these judges abandon the Hall of Justice early on Fridays for a round of golf, regardless of the justification. A majority of those interviewed are convinced that the largest court system in the Bay Area cannot afford to lose a weekday's work. ``When the judges leave, that means there is a bailiff, clerk and court reporter doing nothing,'' says one prosecutor. ``Meanwhile, our jails are overcrowded with people who should be sentenced and on their way to prison. It is cheating the taxpayers. It's not the way things were set up to be -- for a group of judges to predictably take Fridays off to pursue their sport.'' Adds former Superior Court Judge Peter Stone, a respected leader in the legal community who retired last year: ``The obligation of every judge is to devote every moment of professional time to serving the public. To the extent the facts turn out to be otherwise, corrective action needs to be taken by each of these individuals.'' Weekend work Judges say they compensate for Fridays The Hall judges who leave early on Fridays insist they are fulfilling those obligations. Although courts are not in session nights or weekends, the judges say they take work associated with their ongoing trials home or come in on weekends to do it. Judges such as Hastings, Creed and Mullin tend to run their complex murder trials four days a week, giving defense attorneys and prosecutors a chance to keep up with their other cases on Fridays. Ahern sometimes runs trials on Fridays. According to the Hall judges, everyone needs a break in grueling trials that stretch for months, from court reporters warding off repetitive strain injuries to jurors who welcome a chance to attend to personal business. Indeed, many attorneys welcome the opportunity to catch up on work outside the courtroom. Jack Marshall, chief trial deputy district attorney, says he doesn't care what judges do ``as long as they do good work. I judge a judge by how he conducts himself when he's working. I think that's why a bunch of us aren't particularly offended. Fridays, particularly Friday afternoons, have generally been a slow day around the courthouse. It's been that way for 35 years.'' The judges say the Friday breaks are important for them, too. ``The accusation we play golf on Friday is true, but quite frankly for my mental health, I've got to do something to relieve the stress,'' says Creed. ``I suppose I could be doing on Friday afternoon what I do on Sunday morning, but this is not a 9 to 5 job where you're getting paid by the hour. And if you'll check, you'll find I've never turned down work.'' Adds Mullin: It [golf] is for relaxation. We do become isolated because of the contact you can't have. If nothing else, we vent frustration out there.'' To-do list Plenty of work, other judges say Many in the legal community say the judges who leave early on Fridays have maneuvered the system so that they do little or no work other than handling their ongoing trials. And there is plenty of other work Hall jurists could do on Fridays, say many judges, lawyers and court administrators, to help alleviate the overload in the court system. Judges could be settling other cases, sentencing defendants, hearing legal motions or pitching in to help on mundane court business, like signing search warrants or improving court administration. Many judges handle such work, but court officials say the judges who leave early on Fridays usually are not sent such matters because it is wellknown that they won't be there to do it. These judges also have successfully resisted being rotated out of long-trial duty to other assignments. Paul Teilh, a retired judge who hears cases on special assignment, runs trials five days a week whenever possible. Known by some lawyers as ``The General'' for his hard-nosed approach, Teilh tries more cases per year than just about any judge in the county. Last year, Teilh handled 36 of the 308 felony jury trials completed by the courts. ``I don't agree a judge should leave if there is nothing to do,'' says Teilh, who is 82. ``He could take up other cases.'' Other Hall of Justice judges say they find ample work on Fridays. ``There's always plenty of work for me to do,'' says Judge Alden Danner. ``Come and see my chambers. I've got piles of work to do.'' The judges who leave early also argue that they have the most legally and psychologically demanding job in the judiciary -- trying and sentencing murderers such as Richard Allen Davis. And they say their job is more strenuous than the work done by their colleagues in Juvenile or Family Court, or in the civil courts, where the major Silicon Valley lawsuits are heard. ``All judges are not equal,'' says Ball, a criminal court judge. ``We don't do the same job. The judges that you are picking on are the equivalent of our brain surgeons. The criminal division is immensely harder than the civil division.'' Other judges couldn't disagree more. They point out that in most cases, there is little extra legal work associated with running a long criminal trial. ``Once I pick juries, I just sit back on the bench and call balls and strikes,'' says a San Francisco Superior Court judge who handles long criminal trials. ``It's the easiest thing to do once the trial starts.'' And many Santa Clara County judges take pride in a civil court system that sorts out multimillion-dollar disputes between the valley's high-tech companies, as well as thousands of citizen lawsuits each year, ranging from product defect complaints to challenges to local government. The civil-court system is ranked as one of the most efficient in California, a sharp contrast to its Hall of Justice counterpart. These judges resent attitudes like Ball's, and take a dim view of what one Superior Court judge labeled ``the culture that is entrenched'' in the criminal division. ``There has been flagrant abuse for years, and there is a certain resentment by judges who don't take off every Friday,'' says another Superior Court judge. ``Even if they're taking vacation, that's a lot of judges to be missing at once.'' Presiding Judge Leslie Nichols defends the performance of the criminal courts, saying criminal cases ``are attended to with all reasonable dispatch.'' Catherine Gallagher, the supervising judge in the criminal courts, insists there is no connection between a backlog and a judge like Hastings or Creed taking off on a Friday. During her one-year tenure, Gallagher says, she has never had to search in vain for a judge if she had work for them on a Friday. ``Could I fill everybody up on Fridays? I don't think I can,'' she says. Adds Judge Jack Komar, who supervised the criminal courts in 1995-96 and who will become presiding judge next year: ``Was the business of the courts hurt by judges not being there on Fridays? Not one bit in the two years I was there. I never had a case where both sides were ready when I couldn't find a judge. I couldn't find cases to send out because the DA was tied up or a defense attorney was not ready. If we had more public attorneys, deputy DAs and public defenders, more cases would be processed.'' But the district attorney says his office is ready to go to trial in the vast majority of cases. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Donald Shearer, who is in charge of the felony calendar in the criminal courts, says, ``We are generally ready for trial 80 percent of the time.'' One public defender, who asked not to be identified, bristled at the suggestion that the troubles in the criminal courts stem from a shortage of lawyers. ``Everybody knows the Hall of Justice is pretty much shut down on Friday,'' this attorney said. ``For them to shift the responsibility for that to government attorneys is outrageous.'' David Mann, who is Shearer's counterpart in the public defender's office, says his office is ready to discuss or try 50 percent to 60 percent of pending cases at any time. Defense lawyers typically are not prepared to go to trial as fast as prosecutors, in part because it takes time to respond to the government's case and in part because delay often is central to defense strategy. ``It's true that we're not ready as often as the district attorney. But there are plenty of cases on any calendar for discussion that could happen any day of the week. So many more cases end up settling than going to trial,'' Mann says. The audit commissioned by the county stressed that despite the backlog in the criminal courts, local judges are not burdened with heavy workloads compared with other state courts. Statewide figures back this up: Santa Clara County last year ranked only 43rd among the state's 58 counties in the number of civil and criminal cases filed per judge, 34th in cases set for trial per judge, and 27th in jury trials per judge. A growing backlog Inmates wait longer to go to trial Meanwhile, the criminal backlog is taking its toll. When cases aren't processed, the jails crowd up. In the past six years, the average length of time inmates stay in county jails has increased 111 percent. It costs the county $23,600 to incarcerate an inmate for a year. As of Sept. 2, county jails housed 4,568 inmates, 121 percent of maximum capacity, according to county jail figures. This September, 2,433 jail inmates, or 53 percent, were awaiting trial, in trial or awaiting sentencing. And the time they are waiting is getting longer. According to the county audit, the average length of stay in the county jail for non-sentenced prisoners increased from 67 days in May 1991 to 142 days in May 1997. ``The biggest concern we have is that the ratio has reversed itself,'' says Rick Kitson, a county jail spokesman. ``Ten years ago, most inmates were sentenced and serving time locally. Now, most are in the court or judicial process.'' In a fuming letter to the board of supervisors responding to the audit, the judges pinned the blame for the state of the criminal docket squarely on a lack of resources. In addition to arguing that the county needs more public defenders and prosecutors available for cases, the court suggested that it might need more judges as well. ``If jail overcrowding is, in part, a consequence of cases being processed through the system as fast as possible, that would appear to be the consequence of inadequate numbers of public lawyers and judges, not the processes themselves,'' wrote Court Executive Steve Love in a letter speaking for the entire court. Regardless of what would solve the system's problems, some judges and legal experts worry about how the image of the courts is affected by judges playing golf on Fridays. The state Commission on Judicial Performance, the disciplinary arm of the state judiciary, has punished judges in the past for improperly leaving their jobs. Public confidence Some judges worry about court integrity ``The first ethical duty of a judge is to maintain public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary,'' says San Jose federal Judge Jeremy Fogel, a longtime Superior Court judge and one of the leading judicial ethics experts in the state. ``The court needs to look at its institutional structure in a way that maintains public confidence in the institution.'' Adds Edward Davila, president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and a veteran criminal defense attorney: ``These types of things may allow the public to lose confidence in our system of justice. It opens everybody in the legal community, perhaps unfairly, to criticism. It would be a pity if the good work by the collective bench is diminished in any way by this.'' The Hall judges who leave early say public image is not in their control. ``I can't affect that perception,'' says Hastings. ``That's where you (the media) come in. You can be very positive. You can talk about the fine work the criminal justice (system) is doing in Santa Clara County, and you can talk about the fine work the criminal division of this court is doing.'' As with all things in the criminal justice system, the debate over the Friday workload comes back to the judges. The state Judicial Council, which sets policy for all California judges, makes it clear in its rules that ``the court, not the lawyers or litigants, should control the pace of litigation. A strong judicial commitment is essential to reducing delay and maintaining a current docket.'' A majority of the county's judges are hopeful that the current culture of casual Fridays at the Hall will go the way of the valley's fruit orchards. Like courts throughout the state, the county is struggling with the impact of the 4-year-old ``three strikes, you're out'' law, which results in more defendants going to trial because they have nothing to gain by settling a third conviction through plea bargaining. The district attorney's office also is projecting a steady increase in felony cases over the next 10 years. The problem is now landing on the desk of Komar, the incoming presiding judge. The court system is already beginning to overhaul its traditional structure by merging the 79 judges of Municipal and Superior Courts into one mega-court. The task of being a presiding judge is often likened to ``herding cats.'' But Komar, while defending the actions of the Hall judges, plans to make some changes. ``In the new unified courts,'' Komar says, ``there will be plenty of work to do on Fridays.'' 1997 - 1998 Mercury Center. The information you receive online from Mercury Center is protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing, retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Take Back the Constitution - the Fourth Amendment (Some unsolicited but welcome spam advertises a bumper sticker that reads, "I do not consent to a search of my vehicle, my person or my residence. So, don't ask. This individual is protected by the 4th Amendment.") Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 01:06:41 -0700 (PDT) From: ElectPD@earthlink.net To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Take Back the Constitution - the 4th Amendment Take back the Constitution! Proclaim your freedoms! Elect Our Public Defender? ** Eye-catching Fourth Amendment bumper sticker available. Bold and daring (as are your constitutional rights). It reads, "I do not consent to a search of my vehicle, my person or my residence. So, don't ask. This individual is protected by the 4th Amendment." Http://home.earthlink.net/~electpd Link shows you photo of bumper sticker. It was created and produced by three Santa Clara County (California) deputy public defenders. It measures 15 inches by 31/2 inches (very large). Top quality materials and paints. $2 each or 6 for $10. +$4 for shipping via U.S. mail. Citizens to Elect Our Public Defender (in Santa Clara County, California). P. O. Box 71, San Jose, CA 95103. (408) 996-8473. Bumper stickers mailed out same day order received., via first class mail and in protective envelopes ($1.50 to $3 for postage + $1 for the envelope - our cost). ** The concept of an elected public defender has been endorsed by the Green Party and the Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County and many, many veterans. Where do you stand?
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Issue In Air (The Las Vegas Review-Journal says a new poll on the Nevada medical marijuana ballot measure, commissioned for the Review-Journal and KTNV-TV, found 47 percent of the respondents supported Question 9, while 44 percent opposed the proposition.) Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 10:10:47 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NV: Marijuana Issue In Air 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: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 702-383-4676 Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ Pubdate: Sun, 04 Oct 1998 Author: Ed Vogel, Donrey Capital Bureau MARIJUANA ISSUE IN AIR Americans for Medical Rights is confident voters will take the first steps to legalize the drug for medical reasons. SIDEBAR: Link to Poll Results at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/1998/Oct-04-Sun-1998/photos/poll-pot.jpg CARSON CITY -- A new poll shows the Nevada ballot question to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes is a tossup, with the margin of support just less than the poll's margin of error. A statewide poll commissioned for the Review-Journal and KTNV-TV, Channel 13, found 47 percent of the respondents support Question 9, while 44 percent oppose the proposition. Nine percent were undecided. "It is absolutely too close to call," said Del Ali, the pollster for the Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research Inc. The margin for error is 3.5 percentage points. Ali said the results are similar to what his survey found in California a month before voters there passed a similar proposition in 1996. In the election that fall, 56 percent of California's voters approved Proposition 215. Passage of that question spawned initiative petition efforts by Americans for Medical Rights that resulted in medical marijuana questions being placed before voters in Nevada and five other states on Nov. 3. "When we get our message out we will be ahead by even more," said Dan Hart, the Nevada leader of Americans for Medical Rights. Hart said the organization is reviewing various advertising campaigns, including television ads and direct mailers, to put its message before voters. "The compassionate use of marijuana for patients with catastrophic illnesses should be allowed in Nevada," Hart said. Unlike other states, Nevada voters must pass the question in November and again in 2000 to amend the state constitution to allow use of marijuana for medical reasons. Under the question, doctors could recommend marijuana for patients with cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and other illnesses. The proposal calls for the Legislature to pass laws to set up a distribution system and for the creation of a registry through which law enforcement officers could determine that people are authorized to use marijuana. Hart sees the poll results favorably because he doubts there will be an organized movement to stop passage of Question 9. The state's chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, said she doesn't support the marijuana questions because the drug remains illegal under federal laws. "There are a lot of legal questions that need to be worked out if this passes," she said. "I see some challenges to overcome." Col. Michael Hood, chief of the Nevada Highway Patrol, fears passage of the question would lead to greater drug abuse. "In my 22 years of law enforcement work we have been fighting against these kinds of drugs," he said. "I don't want to keep people with legitimate needs out, but right now I think the law needs a lot of work."
------------------------------------------------------------------- House Resolution Defies Evidence On Marijuana (A letter to the editor of The State Journal Register in Illinois says that members of the US House of Representatives who voted for House Joint Resolution 117, opposing medical marijuana, ignored the government's own evidence that cannabis is a valuable medicine. The resolution was a lie that is causing needless suffering and even death, and politicians who voted for it should be held accountable.) Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 23:48:33 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US IL: PUB LTE: House Resolution Defies Evidence On Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Larry & Mindy Stevens) Source: The State Journal Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sj-r.com Pubdate: Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 Author: Larry Stevens HOUSE RESOLUTION DEFIES EVIDENCE ON MARIJUANA The Associated Press wire story you printed about the cannabis research being conducted at the University of California at San Francisco is interesting in light of the US House of Representatives' recent resolution stating that "marijuana is a dangerous drug and should not be legalized for medical use." Scientists are telling us that the rich cocktail of compounds found in marijuana, the cannabinoids, are uniquely suited for a wide variety of medical uses. U.S. Army scientists are using a synthetic cannaboid to prevent seizures and strokes in rats exposed to nerve gas. The July 7 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences trumpets THC and other cannaboids as antioxidants more powerful than vitamin C or vitamin E and potentially useful in preventing brain damage caused by strokes. Yet the House will have none of this. In response to medical marijuana ballot initiatives springing up in Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Nevada and Washington, the House of Representatives passed HJ Resolution 117 expressing their sense that marijuana has no medicinal value. Here is an example of a lie that matters. It is a lie that is causing needless suffering and even death. It is a lie for which politicians who voted for the resolution should be held accountable.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Rally Draws 45,000 For Legalization (A Boston Globe account of the the ninth annual Freedom Rally, or Hempday, at Boston Common, organized by MassCann, notes those attending included John Sinclair, a longtime political activist sentenced in 1969 to 10 years in prison for two marijuana cigarettes. Later he founded the first organization dedicated to ending punitive marijuana policies.)Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 05:50:11 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MA: Boston Globe: Marijuana Rally Draws 45,000 For Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Source: The Boston Globe Page: B1 - Front Page, Second Section Pubdate: Sunday, 04 Oct 1998 Authors: Ellen O'Brien, Globe Staff and Pat Flaherty Globe Correspondent, Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Note: I have added the lyrics to Lennon's song (not in the Globe article) 'John Sinclair' at the end of this item. One of my earliest memories (68-69 SY) of my drug reform activities is assisting with finding dorm rooms for John's family when they came to visit him in the state prison just miles from Northern Michigan University. - Richard Lake, Sr. Editor MARIJUANA RALLY DRAWS 45,000 FOR LEGALIZATION Police Report 60 Arrests At Otherwise Peaceful Event Most of them were not yet born when John Lennon wrote a song about a man named John Sinclair and his legendary marijuana bust, but nearly 30 years later, thousands of people rallied in Boston yesterday for the legalization of a drug that remains extraordinarily popular - and controversial. On the surface, the ninth annual Freedom Rally, or Hempday, looked like a gathering of mostly white, and obviously young Americans who wanted to rebel in the shadow of the State House. Many cruised the crowd in search of a little help from their friends who might have a joint - an illegal marijuana cigarette. But a closer look, and listen, revealed a slightly more diverse crowd, with some well-lined faces smiling in the sunshine, graduate students discussing the dangers of drinking versus smoking marijuana, and two investment bankers expounding on how the decriminalization of marijuana use would help taxpayers who finance the "War on Drugs." The Boston Common event, organized by MassCann, the local chapter of the national marijuana-legalization lobby, drew about 40,000 people, Boston police spokesman Kevin Jones said. John Sinclair was there, too. A longtime political activist, Sinclair was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being arrested with two marijuana cigarettes in 1969 and was one of the day's featured speakers. Sinclair was released in 1971 and founded the first organization to legalize marijuana. He is the subject of Lennon's song, "John Sinclair." For the most part, police and participants agreed that all went well, with about 62 arrests at day's end, nearly all for possession of marijuana. That's less than half the arrests made last year, with a crowd that organizers say was smaller by about 10,000 people. "This is pretty impressive," said Adam Calihman, who spent much of yesterday sitting beneath a tree, watching the collage of humanity on the Common. "It's just a big, peaceful group," said Calihman, a 22-year-old college student visiting from New York. "I hope marijuana will be decriminalized," said Calihman, explaining his attendance. "I feel it's just ridiculous that for over 40 years, that the government refuses to recognize what people want," he said. "You wouldn't see all these people rallying around heroin. This is something that people agree on." The only real complaint about the rally, which was blessed by crisp, clear autumn weather, was from repeat visitors who said marijuana - weed, hemp, or bud, depending on who you ask - was harder to locate than in years past. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, through a spokesman, declined to comment on the rally yesterday, which occurred in the aftermath of the city's attempt to reject the permit application. MassCann president Bill Downing, wearing a pig nose, was detained by a plainclothes officer whom Downing was trailing while making farm animal noises. It was not appreciated by police, and neither was the one rallying cry from an organizer encouraging people to "Light Up!" late in the day, although there had been a request from city officials for the crowd not to be encouraged to smoke. Police said they otherwise had an easy day, with a friendly crowd. One young person, a male teen, was carried away on a stretcher after passing out, said Jones. It was unclear last night how the teen became ill, police said. Organizer Michael Cutler, who is the national director of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers, said he was pleased to see older faces in the crowd, ones who he said have become legitimate voices in criticizing the use of federal and state funds to arrest and incarcerate young people who use marijuana. "It is wrong for young people to smoke, yes," said Cutler. "It interrupts adolesence, as does drinking. But you don't arrest them by the thousands. " Elvy Musickka, who is one of eight people who are legally certified by the federal government to receive marijuana for medical purposes, addressed the crowd, and later said that her prescription marijuana cigarettes had prevented her eyesight from deteriorating as a result of severe glaucoma. She smokes about 10 of the cigarettes a day. "My message is that we must take responsibility for all the people who are putting themselves at risk to get the treatment they need," she said, recalling her search for drugs on the street before she was prescribed marijuana. Much of the day's education efforts came in the form of literature, comparing the effects of alcohol and its role in violent incidents to the effects of marijuana as a calming drug with medicinal purposes. Many of those who wandered through the nation's oldest park, purchasing incense, T-shirts, and candles, said they could not be interviewed for fear of being ostracized at work, by their clients or pupils, or at home, by their landlords. Pam Thomure, a 54-year-old attorney, said the message of the rally was an important one. "We need to legalize," Thomure said. "There's a great underground economy in which the least able in our society are being used," she said, referring to young children targeted by sellers. "Most people have their head in the sand about this issue." Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company. * * * * John Sinclair By John Lennon It ain't fair, John Sinclair In the stir for breathing air Won't you care for John Sinclair? In the stir for breathing air Let him be, set him free Let him be like you and me They gave him ten for two What else can the judges do? Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta set him free If he'd been a soldier man Shooting gooks in Vietnam If he was the CIA Selling dope and making hay He'd be free, they'd let him be Breathing air, like you and me They gave him ten for two What else can the judges do? Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta set him free They gave him ten for two They got Ali Otis too. Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta set him free Was he jailed for what he done? Or representing everyone Free John now, if we can From the clutches of the man Let him be, lift the lid Bring him to his wife and kids They gave him ten for two What else can the bastards do? Gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta set him free
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Rally Had Hardly A Whiff Of The '60s (The Boston Herald version focuses on the participation of Elvy Musikka, one of eight patients who still receive medical marijuana from the US government under the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program discontinued by the Bush Administration in 1992.) Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 18:00:28 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US MA: Pot Rally Had Hardly A Whiff Of The '60s Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: MASS CAN/NORML http://www.masscann.org/ Source: Boston Herald (MA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.bostonherald.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 04 Oct 1998 Author: Peter Gelzinis Note: Talk back to Peter Gelzinis http://www.bostonherald.com/guestbook/pgelzinis/pgelzinis.html POT RALLY HAD HARDLY A WHIFF OF THE '60s In the beginning, like our chief toker, Bill Clinton, Elvy Musikka did not inhale. She ate -- homemade marijuana brownies. Though Elvy's spiked brownies seemed to do the trick for her glaucoma, there was this one problem. The more brownies she ate the fatter she got. So, this single mother of two from Hollywood, Fla., had her "prescription" changed. Now Elvy carries her daily supply of 10 government-sanctioned, "medicinal" joints in the grubbiest looking over-sized pill vial you ever saw. She says the glaucoma in her one good eye has stabilized. As for the short-term memory loss, Elvy's learned to compensate, undoubtedly, by talking a blue streak. Listening to her rave on about the wonders of "joint" therapy, and how "medical marijuana" should be part of any national health plan is a little like trying to sing along with Alvin & The Chipmunks. Under a gorgeous fall sky, Elvy Musikka -- billed as one of eight people in America legally certified to toke by the government -- made an appearance on Boston Common at yesterday's hemp fest, pro-pot, high-school hootenanny and slam dance. To be honest, the youngsters in their hip-huggers and skateboarding garb did not pay a whole lot of attention to Elvy up there on stage. They were far too pre-occupied by either raging hormones, or as one desperate sign put it: "Will do bleepy impersonations for free roaches." It was hardly like Eva Peron returning to Argentina. Still, Elvy Musikka is to the pro-cannabis movement what Elvira "Pixie" Palladino was to the anti-busing movement. Except, Elvy sings . . . really. As she tried to harmonize with a song off her CD, "Truth and Love Are One," I couldn't help but imagine Frank Sinatra grimmacing from some Jack Daniels-soaked lair in the sky and wondering: "What's with the old biker chick?" Elvy was proud to point out that from the tips of her green sneakers to the top of her black "High Times" cap, everything she wore was made of 100 percent hemp. Not a stitch of earth-polluting polyester on her. Now, if you happened to be a Boston cop, maybe there were easier ways to make $28 an hour. You could always do a detail over a manhole, or by the check-out register at Stop & Shop. But how much fun is that compared to, say, dressing up like a refugee out of Starsky & Hutch -- in frayed jeans, hooded sweatshirt and red bandanas, no less -- while Bill Downing, president of MassCann, follows you through the crowd, wearing a pig nose and blowing your cover by shouting "OINK! OINK!" everywhere you roam. With or without a pig nose, most kids spotted the cops. Amid teeny-bopper nation, they were the ones who looked like Gabby Hayes. At one point, half the old homicide department was following pig-nosed Bill Downing, as he shadowed a young undercover cop who looked like he just might jam the rubber nose down Downing's throat. Essentially, this was the tenor of the great First Amendment duel on the Common, yesterday. Bill Downing in a pig nose yelling "OINK! OINK!." Sad, truly. It makes this child of the '60s cringe to see how far down the civil-disobedience food chain we have dribbled. From "Stop The War" to "OINK! OINK!" But, hey, the two guys in green Coca-Cola T-shirts manning a sausage cart weren't complaining. Good position at a mass toke-in was a helluva lot better than no position outside Fenway Park. The dopers were infinitely better to the sausage guys than our heroes in Kenmore Square. "Nice crowd," observed the sausage guy No. 1, who made change from a wad of bills stuffed in his hand, thick enough to choke a horse. "It seems to take a while for some of these kids to come up with the dough for a sandwich," the sausage guy observed. "The bills are all crinkled and stuck together. They make ya wait. But they're nice about it. Nice kids, basically. I could use some different music, though." The Libertarian Party was there, of course, with a 10-question pop quiz to determine if you were actually a closet Libertarian. Problem was, after 4 in the afternoon, some folks were a little too zonked out to figure out where they lived, let alone what political party they belonged to. That short-term memory thing, man. Just like ol' Elvy was sayin', the "medicine, it fills your mind with all these distractions." Copyright 1998 Boston Herald, Inc.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Despite Warnings, Some Still Inhaled (A different Boston Herald account portrays Saturday's rally at Boston Common in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, sponsored by MassCann.) Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 18:00:38 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MA: Despite Warnings, Some Still Inhaled Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: MASS CAN/NORML http://www.masscann.org/ Source: Boston Herald (MA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.bostonherald.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 04 Oct 1998 Author: David Weber DESPITE WARNINGS, SOME STILL INHALED Earnest activists, political candidates and stoners just looking to "chill and smoke some weed" assembled on Boston Common yesterday around one common theme: Decriminalize marijuana. "It's just the pursuit of freedom," said Ronald Byers Jr., 26, of Billerica, who admitted smoking some pot yesterday. "It's time to legalize it. Many millions of Americans smoke it. Why hide it anymore?" One of the reasons to hide it was the Boston police. They had a large uniformed presence at the rally, and undercover officers roamed through the crowd, making arrests. Sixty-one people were arrested and taken to the Area A station near Government Center by the time the five-hour rally officially ended at 5 p.m. That number was less than half last year's count of 150. There were no violent confrontations between the police and the pro-pot crowd. Officers demonstrated restraint while being baited with "oink, oink" chants from rallyers, particularly Bill Downing, president of rally sponsor MassCann (short for cannabis). Downing donned a pig nose and shouted "oink, oink" while walking behind undercover officers, giving warning to his followers. At one point, a frustrated officer told Downing to "get the (expletive) away" and then hauled him in to the festive yellow-and-white police booking tent set up behind the stage. Police commanders acknowledged that Downing had not actually violated the law and turned him loose despite his vow to continue the "oink, oink" routine. However, just as Downing had pointedly followed the undercover officers, two uniformed officers shadowed Downing the rest of the day, making it impossible for him to partake in any illegal smoking. As with many aspects of the rally, it was difficult to get a straight answer to the question of how many people were there. Police said 35,000; a MassCann spokeswoman said 50,000; Downing said 100,000. Last year, approximately 60,000 turned out for the rally, and 150 were arrested. Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Margot Hill spent much of last week urging rallyers to forget about smoking pot because of this year's "zero tolerance" policy. "It's been very peaceful," said police spokesman Kevin Jones as the event wound down yesterday. "Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. People were warned about zero tolerance, and they do it (smoke) at their own peril." There was no shortage of people who took that risk. In pipes, joints, blunts (cigars) and a gas mask outfitted for smoking, hundreds broke the law while keeping a wary eye out for law-enforcement officials. One young man had draped around his shoulders a boa constrictor, whose head was wrapped around a cigar tube. The man said there was no pot in the tube. No one checked. Dressed in a red, white and blue top hat and a star-spangled blazer, Robert Robinson of New Paltz, N.Y., handed out fliers for his Harvest Fest '98 next weekend near Lake George. Robinson described himself as the founder and president of the New York State Cannabis Action Network, while his friend piped up, "He's not just the president. He's also a client." Dan the Bagel Man, a pushcart vendor and a Boston Common fixture for many years, turned up the heat in his campaign for Boston City Council. He strolled through the throng, handing out fliers proclaiming, "Dan the Bagel Man for City Council 1998" -- even though the election actually is in 1999. Dan's literature heralded his campaign platform succinctly: "I inhaled (and I will do it again). I have been arrested for my beliefs (and I will do it again). I have had sex with different partners (and I will do it again)." Copyright 1998 Boston Herald, Inc.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clear thinking on the drug warrior front (Today's chuckle from a list subscriber) From: "Peter McWilliams" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "Peter McWilliams" (email@example.com) Subject: Post to mmm as "Clear thinking on the drug warrior front" Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 00:30:34 +0100 The following is copied verbatim from the drug warrior web page: "Fact: Marijuana can mess you up. Your performance in school, sports and other activities will suffer if you're Copyright 1995, The Detroit News Copyright 1995, The Detroit News Copyright 1995, The Detroit News Copyright 1995, The Detroit News" Enjoy, Peter McWilliams
------------------------------------------------------------------- Amnesty puts US in the dock over human rights record (The Daily Telegraph in London says Amnesty International will release a 153-page report Tuesday that for the first time will make the United States the focus of its worldwide campaign, accusing it of double standards and creating a climate "in which human rights violations thrive." Federal and state authorities, police, immigration and prison officers are all criticised in the wide-ranging report that paints a picture of generalised gratuitous violence, sexual abuse and cruelty.) Date: Sun, 04 Oct 1998 23:42:44 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Subject: Newshawk Alert! RE: Amnesty puts US in the dock over human rights record *** Friends, So far I have not seen this story (below) come in from any newspapers. I am sure the tie between the US human rights record and the War on Drugs is clear to us all. In order for our excellent Letter to the Editor writers to take advantage of this story, we need it from the press. If you can us find the stories, the more the better, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org Please follow the basic newshawking tips (so we can get the articles out quickly) at: http://www.mapinc.org/hawk.htm Thanks for your assistance! Richard Lake Senior Editor; MAPnews, MAPnews-Digest and DrugNews-Digest email: rlake@DrugSense.org http://www.DrugSense.org/drugnews/ *** (London) Electronic Telegraph International News ISSUE 1227 Sunday 4 October 1998 Amnesty puts US in the dock over human rights record By Christina Lamb in London and James Langton in New York (The death penalty - North America Project -- Amnesty International) *** THE United States government is planning a furious rebuttal to a stinging denunciation of its human rights record by Amnesty International. For the first time, the London-based human rights agency has made the US the target of its worldwide campaign, accusing it of double standards and creating a climate "in which human rights violations thrive". The 153-page report, which is released on Tuesday, attacks the US for what it calls "a persistent and widespread pattern of human rights violations". Although Amnesty has often criticised the US in the past, and carried out investigations into specific issues, it is the first time it has made it the focus of its campaign for the year. Previous subjects in recent years have included Rwanda, Haiti, Afghanistan and Guatemala. US federal and state authorities, police, immigration and prison officers are all criticised in the wide-ranging report that paints a picture of generalised gratuitous violence, sexual abuse and cruelty. Shocked at being singled out for such ferocious criticism, the State Department is planning to issue a detailed repudiation tomorrow. The Clinton administration in particular has always been a supporter of Amnesty International, and there was a clear sense of betrayal over the report. The authors of the report said: "While successive US governments have used international human rights standards as a yardstick by which to judge other countries they have not consistently applied those same standards at home. Across the USA people have been beaten, kicked, punched, choked and shot by police officers even when they posed no threat." Aside from famous cases such as the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police, numerous instances of police brutality are cited. "Police officers have beaten and shot unresisting suspects; they have misused batons, chemical sprays and electro-shock weapons; they have injured or killed people by placing them in dangerous restraint holds." It claims that authorities pay out millions of dollars in damages rather than actually tackle the problem or institute any form of accountability. The report accuses the US of refusing to recognise the primacy of international law, reserving the right to use death penalty against juveniles, not paying its dues to the UN, to which it now owes over a billion dollars, and being one of only two countries (along with Somalia) that has failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Conditions in American prisons come in for particular criticism. The number of people in US jails has tripled since 1980 to more than 1.7 million, and chains and leg-irons are commonly used as restraints despite being prohibited by international law. The report says: "Women and men are subjected to sexual as well as physical abuse. Overcrowded and underfunded prisons control inmates by isolating them for long periods and by using methods of restraint that are cruel, degrading and sometimes life-threatening. Victims include pregnant women, the mentally ill and even children." According to the authors of the report, much of this abuse is linked to racism. They say: "The US has not succeeded in eradicating the discriminatory treatment of blacks, Latinos and other minority groups." They also point out that up to one third of all young black men are in jail or on parole or probation and that in 39 states, gays and lesbians can be legally dismissed from their jobs because of their sexual orientation. It contains graphic descriptions of asylum seekers held in shackles, placed behind bars and detained in "inhuman and degrading" conditions. It says: "The USA was built by immigrants and claims to stand against oppression. Yet the US authorities violate the human rights of people who have been forced by persecution to leave their countries and seek asylum." Amnesty has been involved in a long-standing battle with the US over its continued use of the death penalty. Executions are on the increase, more than 350 people put to death since 1990 and a further 3,300 people are on death row. According to Amnesty, the death penalty is "applied in an arbitrary and unfair manner and is prone to bias on grounds of race or economic status . . . it has become so highly politicised that virtually no politician is willing to speak out against it". It cites for example the case of Karla Faye Tucker who was executed in February despite her acknowledged reform while on death row when she admitted her guilt, became deeply religious and spoke of her desire to help others to learn from her experiences.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp Gaining Respectability (The Toronto Star says Canada's first industrial crop of cannabis sativa in 60 years has farmers abuzz. Focusing on Hempology, a new company dedicated to marketing hemp products, the article says hemp has the potential to become as important in the next century as plastics have been in this one.) Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 15:42:31 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Hemp Gaining Respectability Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dave Haans Pubdate: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 Source: Toronto Star (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thestar.com/ Author: Gil Kezwer, Special to The Star Section: D1, D3 HEMP GAINING RESPECTABILITY It Can't Get You High But The First Industrial Crop Of 'Cannabis Sativa' In 60 Years Has Farmers Abuzz PORT PERRY - Hemp has the potential to become as important in the next century as plastics have been in this one. The blossoming could have a huge economic impact on farmers, who this year are harvesting the province's first industrial hemp crop in 60 years. Laurie Scott, the 37-year-old president of Hempology, based in Port Perry, is touting the wonder weed as the consumer-savvy green product of the new millennium. Give an ear to Scott and you'll hear that hemp is an environmentally friendly miracle crop that's going to save our endangered planet and make her newly established company a bushel of money. ``The goal is to mainstream hemp across Canada. Our mandate is to sell to intelligent retailers,'' explains Scott of her one-woman company. She founded Hempology last June with $10,000 in start-up capital provided by a silent partner. Hempology wholesales Canadian-manufactured hemp products - bags, beauty products, foodstuffs and clothing - mostly in the GTA. ``Hemp is a premium natural product. I have to educate consumers about hemp's value - its durability, strength, and earth friendliness,'' she says. ``The percentage of environmentally conscious market share (today) is minuscule.'' Industrial hemp is a cousin of the cannabis sativa plant - marijuana - whose buds are well known for their popular - and illegal - mildly hallucinogenic qualities. Health Canada's new regulations, which went into effect March 13 after Ottawa passed the new Controlled Substance and Abuse Act in 1996, permit commercial cultivation of hemp by licence holders. The first 1,200 hectares of Ontario farmland are now being harvested. ``This is the beginning of an agricultural revolution,'' says Scott. ``I want to be a part of it.'' But so far she has found the anti-marijuana bias - coupled with the difficulty of getting any product line onto the crowded desk of a purchasing agent for a major store - has meant slower sales. After three months of 60-hour weeks, she has sold $30,000 worth of products. Her profit has been a meagre 10 per cent. There is no question that hemp has a plethora of industrial usages and offers many advantages over its equivalents. But, as students learn in Marketing 101, the superior Beta VCR technology lost out to the inferior parallel VHS system. Having a better mousetrap is no guarantee the world will beat a path to one's door. Scott is hoping that, over time, Canadian-grown hemp will replace imports from China, Romania and Hungary, and lead to the popularization of so-far uncommon hemp products. Her first multi-store contract was with Hikers Haven, a chain of six outfitters with stores in Toronto, Oakville, London, Kitchener, Guelph and Markham, which purchased a wide selection of Hempology's product lines. These include knapsacks and bags trimmed with recycled vegan material that looks and feels like leather manufactured in Halifax by Haversack; and a health and beauty line including skin moisturizers, massage oils, specialty soaps, lip balms, manufactured by Earth Scents of Simcoe, Ont., a five-year-old company that also private labels for several related businesses including Hempola in Mississauga. A third line is food products such as hemp seed protein bars, all naturally sweetened with honey and brown sugar in flavours including espresso chocolate, sun flower and ``hot, hot spicy seeds'' that has a bite comparable to a jalapeo pepper, manufactured by Mama Indica in Tofino, B.C. As well, Hikers Haven purchased a unisex clothing line of jeans, cargo shorts, cargo pants, shirts and skirts manufactured by Spirit Stream in Hamilton, Ont. ``Hemp is perceived as being hippie wear for 18 to 25 year olds, and really the price dictates a more sophisticated market,'' explains Scott. ``Hemp isn't just canvass. Hemp blends with silk or wool make it as versatile a fabric as any, including synthetics.'' Scott has been contracted to train Hikers Haven's staff about the benefits of hemp in advance of their Christmas promotion. Other key clients are the Big Carrot Natural Food Market on the Danforth and Bart Leather which has two outlets in Yorkville. Sporting Life is negotiating with Scott to add the Spirit Stream product line to their Spring '99 collection, as well as Earth Scents. Scott has found hemp socks knitted by Canadian Hemp Textiles in Campbellville, Ont. have proven popular with eco- and health food stores. The company imported nine tonnes of hemp from China last year. Due to government licensing, there still won't be enough Ontario-grown hemp this summer to meet their demand. Scott says the Hudson's Bay Company has given an outright no to her proposal to lease space at The Bay's flagship Queen Street department store. ``The irony here is that the Hudson's Bay Company had a hemp farm at their Red River settlement in 1833 to capture the booming market for hemp ropes, canvas and sails. The farm failed because of the rudimentary harvesting and processing technology,'' says Scott, who has been in professional sales for a decade after working with the developmentally challenged for 10 years. Other mainstream retailers have been similarly disinterested. ``Roots told me their consumer was not `intelligent enough' to buy eco-responsible goods,'' Scott continues. Scott has had more success selling to privately owned health food stores, organic markets, environmental stores like Grass Roots on Bloor Street West and Earthly Goods on the Danforth. Having had so many doors closed in her face, Scott has refined her market strategy. She is currently negotiating to sell hemp chips manufactured by Hempline in Delaware, Ont. to Windfield Farms north of Oshawa, one of in North America's most famous equestrian stables. The premium horse bedding alternative to straw, peat moss or wood chips is dust-free, thus eliminating the cause of allergies. Highly absorbent, it reduces stable odour of ammonia from equine urine. Hemp bedding is used by Queen Elizabeth for her royal stables, notes Scott. Another new niche market is gardening. Scott recently began selling hemp chips as garden mulch. She is negotiating for spring '99 sales with several major nurseries. ``All my hemp products are manufactured in Canada. It's important that we manufacture hemp goods here, and not just be a supplier of raw goods to mills elsewhere. I envision that in 10 years hemp clothing will be in every quality fashion outlet in Canada, and that hemp oil will be as prevalent as aloe vera is today in health and beauty products,'' she says. Competition to Hempology's sales is coming from The Body Shop, which is launching its own brand of five organic hemp oil products at a news conference tomorrow. The skincare moisturizers, which utilize Saskatchewan hemp provided by Toronto's R&D Hemp, were launched in the U.S. and UK in June. Scott's ultimate goal is to open a hemp specialty store in Toronto. She's even named it The House That Hemp Built. ``It is the only plant that can house, clothe and feed us.'' Apparently you can also drink hemp, after it has been used to make beer. On Oct. 16, as part of the New Brew Festival, Toronto's Say What Cafe will introduce a cream ale made from the plant. But farmers will have to resolve infrastructure problems in selling their raw hemp. At present, there is no central hemp marketing agency analogous to the Canadian Wheat Board. The crop's association with marijuana remains a problem. Is hemp just a backdoor approach for the legalization of marijuana? Definitely not, explains Scott. ``The more hemp is grown legally, the greater the likelihood of cross-pollination with illicit marijuana fields, thus lowering their THC level. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active mood-altering ingredient in marijuana. ``And since the hemp fields are carefully tested for their THC content by Health and Welfare Canada agents before harvesting, the chance of cross-pollination with illegal pot fields or farmers slipping in a few rows of the banned plants among their similar looking hemp sisters is slim.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Do These Three Simple Letters Go Too Far? (A lengthy account in The Toronto Star about CTO, or community treatment orders, a set of laws proposed in Ontario - and already established in Saskatchewan - that would require people diagnosed with "serious" mental disorders to take psychiatric medications, no matter how toxic to them.) Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 11:49:27 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Do These Three Simple Letters Go Too Far? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: Toronto Star (Canada) Page: F1, F4, F5 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.thestar.com/ Pubdate: Sunday, October 4, 1998 Author: Scott Simmie, Special to The Star DO THESE THREE SIMPLE LETTERS GO TOO FAR? Ontario Considers A Law That Forces The Mentally Ill To Take Medications GRENFELL, Sask. - ELROY AND MARDEL Schmidt believe they owe their lives to a few paragraphs of ink. Ink that allows them to get their son Earl immediately to hospital when he fails to take his medication. Which is often. The Schmidt family has lived what Ontario is now debating: the use of legislation known as the community treatment order - or CTO. It is one of the most divisive, ethically complex tools imaginable. And the Schmidts say it saved them. In a nutshell, community treatment orders are a legal way to encourage people with serious mental illnesses to take their medications. They're aimed solely at those people who have a chronic pattern of failing to take their medication and winding up back in hospital. The orders mean that if you refuse to take your pills (or accept your injection), you're breaking the law. The police have the right to take you immediately to hospital for examination. The theory is simple: people subject to the orders will prefer taking their medication to returning to hospital. In Saskatchewan, the only province with a community treatment order law, the reality is far more complex. Earl Schmidt is 40. As a young man, he was outgoing, a good student, a hard worker. His natural ability with tools and engines led him to become a journeyman mechanic, one with an excellent reputation for working on tractors and other heavy machinery. His illness began when he was 22. ``He was working at the garage and one day it just seemed to get too much for him all of a sudden,'' says his mother, Mardel. Soon, there were other behavioural, even physical, anomalies. Elroy Schmidt recalls entering his son's bedroom and seeing his eyes rolled upward, so high only the whites were visible. Earl was unable to respond, unable to shift his eyes back to a normal position. The family took him to see the local doctor. ``He said, `Your son has . . . '' Elroy pauses and furrows his brow, contemplating how foreign what he next heard sounded, ``schizophrenia? I'd never heard that word in my life. I said `What's this mean?' He said: `He'll likely never work again and there's no cure for it.' '' Earl Schmidt did not accept that he had an illness, but agreed - at least initially - to take anti-psychotic medication. His interest in helping with work, even small tasks, rapidly faded. His friends no longer called. He became withdrawn. ``He lost all of his school friends and women didn't want anything to do with him.'' Elroy stops, reflects. ``He lost all of his friends.'' Yet, for the first few years, the family - including Earl - managed to cope. The Schmidts built a house for their son at the farm, so he could have the independence he desired and the family's support. It was a good plan. But it didn't work out. Earl, who sometimes complained of side effects from his medication, would stop taking the drugs. And start hearing the voices. His delusions worsened and he came to believe his parents were involved in a conspiracy against him. ``The minute he was off his medication, we always had the problem of how to get him to go to see the doctor, or to a hospital or whatever,'' his mother says. At the time, there were no community treatment orders. There was no way, beyond gentle encouragement, to get Earl to take his drugs. He was strong-willed and strong physically. Too much for his father to handle. ``That kind of patient won't go,'' says Elroy. ``Over the years, many times, psychiatrists would tell me - and it would just irk me - `If he's misbehaving bring him in.' How do we bring him in? He's bigger than I am. I can't take him by the arm and say, `Sonny, let's take you to the doctor.' '' The Schmidts stress they sought treatment for Earl only when it became absolutely necessary. But those occasions were many. There is a pointed gouge in the kitchen counter Arborite - a reminder of when Earl demonstrated what he was capable of accomplishing with a butcher knife. There was the time Earl tried to run his father down with a pickup truck. And - most vivid in Elroy's mind - there was the time Earl nearly choked him to death. It is difficult for Schmidt to tell the story. His breathing gets heavier as he recalls how he tried to escape from a son who was trying to throttle him in the street. ``I got into my truck, locked the doors. He jumped into the back of the truck, my half-ton truck. ``I hadn't spotted that the back window was open because I was very scared and wondering how I could get help. And after driving about three blocks, all of a sudden I hear the back windows sliding open while I'm trying to drive and he got me around the neck.'' Elroy brings his own hands up and mimics the choke hold. He speaks of a frantic drive through the small town, honking the horn incessantly for help, as he came closer to unconsciousness. ``And I really leaned on the horn then. And just kept blowing and blowing (the horn), and I was just about out of air. There were several people outside, but they were too scared to know what to do. ``Luckily, he could see that this was attracting the attention of some people. He did, on his own, give up. That was just three blocks from our home.'' Eyes wide, Elroy slowly relaxes his hands from his throat. The family says the only time Earl was violent is when he had stopped taking his medication. But there were lots of those times. ``I don't think I'm exaggerating, when I say there were 50, maybe hundreds of incidents over the past 18 years,'' his father says. ``I know I had personally four times when I was very close to losing my life. On those occasions, Earl was clearly ill enough that he would have satisfied the Mental Health Services Act criteria for involuntary admission to hospital because he was posing a danger to himself or others. But that admission requires an examination by a physician - a virtual impossibility in a rural area without Earl's co-operation. (Once, when the local physician did write a certificate for examination and the police arrived to accompany Earl to hospital, he charged toward the doctor's house, screaming he would ``fix him.'' The officers caught him at the doctor's front door.) Before community treatment orders were introduced, police were powerless to take Earl to hospital unless he was causing a disturbance in a public place. They could have charged him with a criminal offence - but the family simply wanted treatment. Which meant the only option was for the Schmidts was to lay sworn information before a judge, who would issue a warrant for Earl to be picked up and examined. The judge sits just once a week in a neighbouring town down the Trans-Canada Highway. ``In other words, sometimes a week would go by before this court took place,'' Elroy says. ``And how did we feel, going in front of a judge and talking against our son? We love our son, and he's our son, but he needs help.'' Earl's pattern is typical of the most difficult cases. The individual goes into crisis, is admitted to hospital, stabilized, discharged. Once back in the community, however, some people continually slide into a pattern of non-compliance - forgetting, or refusing, to take their medication. They again become ill, triggering a perpetual cycle of readmissions to hospital - the revolving door. The community treatment order is aimed at breaking that cycle by imposing a powerful incentive for patients to take their medication. Likewise, it offers care-givers an instant remedy if they don't. The goal is to keep people like Earl as stable as possible - in their own community. * THE CASE FOR: Saskatchewan is the only province to implement and enforce treatment orders. (British Columbia, this fall, introduced a similar mechanism.) Saskatchewan began considering the controversial legislation in the early '90s, after the provincial Schizophrenia Society and some mental health agencies complained that the existing Mental Health Services Act was flawed because people could be quite ill but still not qualify for an involuntary admission. ``It was found that individuals were being left in the community far too long,'' says Aurelia Beach, program consultant with the mental health services branch of Saskatchewan Health. ``They were becoming far too ill, they were too much at risk for their own deteriorating health, for losses of function, for becoming a risk to their own safety and the safety of others.'' The problem involved only a small group of patients - the so-called ``chronic non-compliers.'' Community treatment orders, it was argued, could break their pattern by: Reducing readmissions to hospital, freeing resources for other patients. Preventing frequent relapses. This would not only ease the strain on the health system, it would also help prevent the long-term deterioration that can occur with repeated psychotic episodes. Promoting the person's liberty and independence by allowing life in the community rather than in an institution. Providing some leverage to ensure the person takes medication. Ensuring faster, easier access to hospital, should the person fail to comply with its provisions. Saskatchewan Health believed such orders would apply to less than 1 per cent of the estimated 20,000 people in the province who have serious mental health problems. People like Earl Schmidt, who has never - in 18 years - recognized that he has a mental health problem. * THE CASE AGAINST: In Ontario, there is significant opposition to community treatment orders. Critics argue that the province's Mental Health Act is strong enough and cite the right to equal protection and benefits under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under Ontario's Health Care Consent Act, any capable person - someone who can make a rational choice - has the legal right to choose treatment. That choice can include rejecting treatment. Opponents of the community treatment order scheme argue it could coerce capable people into accepting medication they don't want. Critics of the orders also point out that Ontario's Mental Health Act's ``leave of absence'' provision that can achieve the same result. Involuntary hospital patient can be released into the community on a ``leave of absence,'' providing they comply with any requirements the hospital sets - such as taking their medicine. It the requirements aren't met, the hospital can notify the police and have the patient returned to the facility. But leaves of absence are rarely used - partly owing to a lack of hospital beds. Which begs the question: where precisely would we put people who refuse to comply with their orders? And what about people who go into psychiatric crisis because of shoddy housing or income supports? What about people who choose not to take their medication because they can't stand the side-effects? Some consumers of mental health services find that - while the drugs may indeed calm the most overt symptoms of the illness - the over-all effect leaves the person feeling deadened, detached. ``People should always have the right to get the treatment they want,'' says David Reville, who is a former MPP. He is also a so-called psychiatric ``survivor'' - someone who has ``survived'' the mental health system - and spokesperson for the Care Not Cuffs Coalition, which opposes community treatment orders. ``I think you can be profoundly ill and still know that you like some things and you hate some things. ``I don't want to trivialize this by saying that you hate carrots and like peas. But you might know that you hate the way you feel after electro-convulsive therapy. And you might say, `Can't you try something else?' I think that's pretty legit.'' So critics, too, have compelling reasons why treatment orders are not needed, including: * Individuals have the fundamental right to choose treatment. * Medication can have profoundly negative side effects. * Trading compliance for freedom is coercive. * There aren't enough beds. * Scarce beds would be occupied by non-compliers at the expense of other, more urgent, cases. * Existing laws (Mental Health Act, Health Care Consent Act) are adequate. * People's mental health can deteriorate for reasons other than non-compliance (such as housing, poverty, isolation.) The case against treatment orders, like the case for them, is complex. Yet both arguments involve different interpretations of the same concept: liberty. ``We tend to think of negative liberty - the freedom from being apprehended and detained,'' says Dr. John Elias, consultant and former associate executive director for mental health services in Saskatchewan. ``The other concept is of positive liberty - the freedom to be able to function properly.'' Elias says psychosis robs people of their freedom. By making medication mandatory, he says, that freedom is restored. Selina Volpatti, president of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, puts it another way: The illness often blinds the affected individual to its presence. It's known in the field as ``lack of insight.'' ``Between 85 per cent and 90 per cent of persons with schizophrenia have absolutely no insight into the fact that they are ill,'' says Volpatti.``But they deserve to be well. They have the right to be well.'' The Mental Health Legal Committee - which represents nearly 70 lawyers and community legal workers who advocate on behalf of the legal rights of the mentally ill - finds this argument unsettling. ``If the proposal is to forcibly medicate individuals with mental illness against their current or prior capable wishes, or otherwise use the coercive threat of incarceration to effectively compel the recipient to accept treatment, the committee opposes any such recommendation,'' the organization told the health ministry this year. One could argue that crack addicts or chronic alcoholics also have the ``the right to be well'' - that their minds have been adversely affected by their addictions. Yet we put their ability to choose above society's right to intervene. So, do we have any greater right, any greater obligation, when the malady is a mental illness? * THE SASKATCHEWAN COMPROMISE: The Schizophrenia Society put community treatment orders on the public agenda in Saskatchewan, just as it has done in Ontario. It speaks for care-givers - families living with a member who has been diagnosed with the most serious of mental illnesses - who simply want the best treatment to help the individual best cope with a terrible illness. But that position clashed with those who opposed any tightening of the province's laws. And, says mental health consultant Beach, there were legitimate reasons for concern. Under Saskachewan's old Mental Health Services Act, she says, ``people in the 1940s and 1950s had the authority to just have police go out, pick somebody up in their farmyard because they were behaving strangely, haul them off miles to this big institution, and just drop them off at the door. And they were admitted. ``People remembered that, and they didn't want it again.'' And so the negotiations began. The province projected that between 60 and 70 people would be subject to treatment orders at any given time. But who would be affected? Under what criteria could an order be issued? How long would it last? How could civil libertarians ensure that human rights were being respected? How could groups like the Schizophrenia Society feel comfortable it was strong enough to be effective? In the end, the proposed legislation was less coercive than consumers initially feared. As well, anyone subject to an order would have the automatic right to appeal the decision to a review panel. ``It wasn't like you were going to be incarcerated and given compulsory electric shock treatments,'' says Eric Braun, president of the Canadian Mental Health Association's Saskatchewan division. ``It seemed more like a little bit of extra control for certain appropriate clients to still allow them to live in the community and take their medication so they don't go off the deep end.'' * THE FINE PRINT: Under the Saskatchewan Mental Health Services Act, individuals considered for a community treatment order must have been an inpatient for at least 60 days, or had three or more separate hospital stays, during the previous two years.A psychiatrist must have probable cause to believe they are suffering from a mental disorder for which they need treatment and supervision in the community, and must believe they or society will suffer harm if they don't get that care. The intent is to target only those people who repeatedly stop taking their medication on discharge from hospital. A treatment order lasts for three months and requires that the person take their medicine and keep medical appointments. Failure to comply gives the physician the power to contact police and have the person immediately brought in for examination. The law does not provide for automatic committal, nor for forced treatment on site. But the psychological leverage, the threat of a forced return to hospital, is always there. * HOW IT HAS WORKED: To know precisely how well this legislation has worked since it became law in July, 1995, one requires analysis. But there is none. Saskatchewan Health knows only the total number of orders that have been issued since their implementation - numbers that have been lower than initial predictions. There were 11 orders in the last six months of 1995, 26 in 1996, 56 in 1997. What the province doesn't know is how many of its orders went to different people and how many were renewals. The province also doesn't know whether treatment orders have helped lower readmission rates. There is, however, anecdotal evidence of how treatment orders have worked in the field. Glenn Rutherford, general manager of the Mental Health Services Care Group of Saskatoon District Health, says the orders don't always provide the leverage that was intended. ``We have a couple of clients who love to be admitted. So when you say: `We're going issue a CTO on you,' they say, `Warm, three square meals a day. Go ahead. Do me.' '' But Colleen Molnar, program manager for rehabilitation at a Regina community mental health centre, tells of three cases where treatment orders turned a situation around. ``In all three cases, after the first three-month time period, they (treatment orders) were not renewed because the clients had stabilized on medication.'' Eric Reschke, a community mental health nurse in Regina, some people in psychosis are grateful for treatment orders. ``You can have somebody who's acutely ill and is non-compliant, denies his illness, and get him into a hospital using a CTO. And when he's well he appreciates the fact that you did it for him.'' But Reschke says a treatment order poisoned the ties he'd built with a client. ``I was always the one that reminded him of the CTO and that I would have to enforce it and he would have to come in and get his injections. He always came and took his injections. But he was always miserable about it. ``And as time went on and he kept getting his injection against his will, he just got more resentful of me and would yell at me.'' Colleague Paul Hodson, who also works long term with clients with serious mental illness, has had similar experiences. ``You're the bad guy. You have the order and it's your job to ensure that it's carried out and if there's a refusal, to act on it.'' There is yet another side to the rights issue - the rights of the public. ``Some of these individuals can be worrisome in terms of putting the community at risk,'' Molnar says. ``Some of those situations do exist and with medication they can be settled down a fair amount.'' It's a point Ontario's Schizophrenia Society feels is worth emphasizing, says the society's president, Volpatti. ``If we do not do something to protect people with schizophrenia, to protect their families from the violence that occurs when they are psychotic, and to protect the general public - who have no idea who is standing next to them on the subway platform - then the pendulum, which is swinging so far to the right to refuse treatment, will swing very rapidly the other way. ``And then you will have results that none of us want: lock them up, throw away the key.'' Those who work with the mentally ill, whether they are nurses, case managers or psychiatrists, stress that treatment orders are used with caution. Used properly, these people agreed, they can be an effective tool. But not always. Some people will obey them, some won't. And some won't even understand them. For Ontario, there is perhaps an even greater concern - that treatment orders could be viewed as a potential substitute for other, desperately needed supports. Cleeve Briere, a community support worker with the Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Centre, says the danger is that community treatment orders could become tools for social control while the main culprit poverty - is ignored. ``Is this going to be the substitute for all claims of other care that might help rally this person back into a stream that's health-giving, life-giving, so they're taking responsibility for their lives and their illness?'' he asks. ``I couldn't say this is the best we can do, because I think there are other things we can do. I think that in this province if we looked at the great majority of the mentally ill - they are living in dire poverty. ``If you live on social services in this province you get $195 to buy your groceries, and if you get declared disabled you get another $40. So you come up with $235 to buy your clothes, your household supplies, your groceries, your cigarettes, all those things.'' Not only can living in those circumstances, for some, exacerbate mental illness. It can also make community treatment orders look like a pretty appealing alternative. ``Let's be honest,'' says Briere, ``if you live on $235 a month and your illness will give you a ticket into a $300 or $500 or $700 a-day establishment with personal care, well-balanced food brought to you hey! The mentally ill are ill. They're not stupid.'' * ONTARIO'S CHOICE: It's being recommended that five of the province's 10 psychiatric hospitals be closed. More people with serious mental illness will be living in the community. Would treatment orders help some of them? Yes. Would treatment orders harm some of them? Yes. Those are the only questions that are easy to answer. Would we have enough beds to accommodate those who violate their orders? Would violators wind up blocking beds from other, perhaps more acute cases? Would some people deliberately violate their treatment orders just for a short stay in hospital? Would others run long and hard in the opposite direction? Before answering those, there's a far more fundamental question Ontario must address: Does it have the political will to supply other, desperately needed supports beforerelying on a measure like community treatment orders? Will there be enough quality housing? Will there be improvements in income supports? Would nearly as many individuals be candidates for community treatment orders if the province allowed the newer, more expensive neuroleptics (with fewer side effects) to be used as first-line treatment? Should the province explore other, more holistic alternatives before bringing down yet another hammer on the mentally ill? In short, do we equate sound mental health solely with the injection or ingestion of drugs? These are questions Ontario must answer. Quickly. * THE SCHMIDTS: Earl Schmidt, 40, spends his time these days at Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford. He has good days - when he can talk to his folks and they get a sense of the son that illness hijacked. And he has bad days - when nothing seems to keep the voices at bay. Elroy and Mardel Schmidt miss their son. He's a five-hour drive away. Yes. Treatment orders helped the Schmidts. Not only did they protect the family when Earl was at his worst - on a couple of occasions, they even allowed Earl a fast admission where he was stabilized. That is quite a change from the old days. ``A few years ago, without the community treatment order, we'd phone the police and they wouldn't even come to help,'' says Elroy Schmidt. ``They had to have a doctor's certificate first. The police, when we call them (now), will act immediately.'' But on his last trip to the hospital, nothing seemed to help. Says his father: ``It was just as though he had antennae and he was picking up them voices. He couldn't hear us three feet away or five feet away, these other voices come in so strong. ``It's terrible for him. The voices were even coming through his shaver cord. So he smashed his shaver.'' Mother and father, like many parents, pray for a cure, make donations to schizophrenia research. In their case, treatment orders did not bring the stability they hoped for. ``I would say that it helps our safety more so than it helps the patient,'' says Elroy. ``I don't think it helps our son Earl much, really.'' Earl Schmidt recently took off, briefly, from Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford. He saw someone key in an electronic door code on his secure ward, entered the numbers himself, then headed downtown. He went straight to an auto dealership and tried to buy a vehicle. He wanted to drive back home. Sidebar: _OUT OF MIND_ Scott Simmie was this year's recipient of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, which allows a year of research into important social, economic and political issues. His exploration of mental health reform took him across Ontario, as well as to New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and the United Kingdom, going from hospitals to hostels, and an aboriginal sweat lodge. Simmie, a CBC employee, is the first broadcast journalist to win an Atkinson Fellowship. Sidebar: _Voices from the Internet_ My first contact with the psychiatric profession opened my eyes to the whole mental health problem. For example, my parents were visiting from out of the province. I was sitting next to my mother when she was informed that I was now receiving psychiatric treatment. I watched with astonished fascination as my mother slowly began moving along the sofa away from her youngest son. That meant to me that the stigma associated with mental illness exists because of a total lack of understanding. - Bernard Hey group, How's it going? I think I'm ``crashing.'' Needed to go look for jobs today. I got as far as scanning the paper and writing the places down. I kept putting it off. I don't understand though. I want a job! Why can't I just do it? I decided to go study. Promising myself that I would look for jobs at 2:00 p.m. Guess what? It's 2:27 p.m. And I haven't even taken a shower. For the past hour I have been lying on my bed like a blanket. Not moving my body. But my mind was racing! I was thinking about running away. Taking all the money I have - $65 - and leaving town. Then I was thinking about doing something illegal and going to jail. And not caring. And I was thinking about setting fires and getting in trouble so I could go to jail. I suck. Any ideas how I can get un-stuck? I'm desperate to get un-stuck! Sarah - From the Internet chat groups on mental health problems
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Drug War Corrupts Absolutely (An op-ed in The Los Angeles Times by Eva Bertram and Kenneth Sharpe, coauthors of "Drug War Politics - the Price of Denial," says the deeply corrupting influence of the war on some drugs on Mexico's political institutions and, ultimately, on US-Mexican interests, is glossed over, if mentioned at all in official statements.) Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 08:24:11 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: LAT OPED: MEXICO The Drug War Corrupts Absolutely Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: Sunday, 4 October1998 Author: Eva Bertram, Kenneth Sharpe Note: Eva Bertram, a Policy Analyst, and Kenneth Sharpe, Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College, are coauthors of "Drug War Politics: the Price of Denial." MEXICO - THE DRUG WAR CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY WASHINGTON-- "Progress" and "cooperation" are the official watchwords Washington likes to use to describe the U.S.-backed drug war in Mexico. The cheery rhetoric is essential to protecting relations with Mexico. When reality intrudes and the official drug-war story threatens to unravel, the story is revised. Just how deeply corrupting the drug war is on Mexico's political institutions and, ultimately, on U.S.-Mexican interests is glossed over, if mentioned at all. The most recent need for damage control came with news that top investigators in a new, U.S.-trained antidrug unit in the Mexican attorney general's office may have ties to powerful drug cartels. Some senior officials of the elite unit failed lie-detector tests, giving rise to concerns that high-level drug investigations, and sensitive intelligence shared by U.S. agents, may have been compromised. It's a too-familiar story. The unit was created, with great fanfare and talk about progress and cooperation, 18 months ago, after the chief of its predecessor, Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was arrested in February 1997 for selling protection to one of the country's most powerful drug lords. Ironically, Gutierrez had been packaged as a step forward. U.S. drug-policy director Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey called him a man of great "integrity . . . patriotic, honest, dedicated." Gutierrez had been brought in to rebuild the previous antidrug agency, which also had been created to replace a corrupted predecessor. Gutierrez's appointment was part of a much-trumpeted move by President Ernesto Zedillo to draft the military into antidrug enforcement, after the ineffectiveness and corruption of the civilian police force became overwhelming. Despite warnings from critics on both sides of the border about involving the military in a civilian law-enforcement mission, U.S. officials shamelessly pushed Zedillo to call in the troops. The military would get tough with the drug traffickers, and its more professional image would play well in the United States. But now the drug war is corrupting the military. Last year, information gleaned from Mexican defense-ministry files indicated that 10 generals and 22 other military officers were under investigation for alleged ties to traffickers. In early September, 40 soldiers, all trained by elite U.S. Special Forces, were removed from duty at the Mexico City airport after investigators alleged that the soldiers had helped smuggle cocaine-filled suitcases into the United States. Despite the shadow cast by all this negative news on the drug war, the United States and Mexico continue to spin stories about bilateral cooperation, because painting Mexico as an unreliable ally in our drug war threatens other U.S. interests. Good-neighbor relations with Mexico are essential to protect the commerce created by free trade and the steady flow of investments, loans, tourists, oil and immigrant labor between the two countries. These relations so deeply affect the economies, environment, labor and stock markets, banking systems and human rights in both countries, and demand such constant goodwill in negotiations, that neither government can allow Mexico to be branded a bad neighbor in drug control. So both sides repeatedly invent "bold new initiatives" in the drug war: new antidrug units, new screening mechanisms, new training programs. Both sides publicize arrests of corrupt officials and drug busts. The initiatives and announcements are then trumpeted as evidence of progress and cooperation. When reality blows the cover stories apart, U.S. officials wring their hands in dismay, shake their fingers at the Mexicans, then invent another bold new initiative to show that all is still cooperation and progress. But these official stories do more than mislead. They conceal a second, more dangerous myth: If only the Mexicans and other Latin governments would seriously fight the U.S.-sponsored drug war, we could ameliorate abuse and addiction in the United States. This reassuring fairy tale blinds us to the ways in which high profits and porous borders doom the war on drug traffickers from the outset. By driving up and sustaining prices, the drug war ensures the trade's high profits. For example, a gram of cocaine would probably fetch around $15 a gram in the absence of a drug war; it currently commands approximately $150. Yet, the war on supply will never drive the price high enough to lower addiction in the United States. Rather, it will maintain profits at levels sufficient to ensure a seemingly endless supply of traffickers and to generate the estimated $6 billion a year these traffickers spend on bribes in Mexico alone, bribes used to corrupt police and military officers, judges and politicians. Drugs also are so easy to smuggle that there are always new ways to elude border controls. McCaffrey reported that U.S. border inspectors searched more than 1 million railway cars and commercial trucks entering from Mexico last year. They found cocaine on six occasions. Growing border traffic, promoted by U.S. free-trade policies, makes the interdiction task even more daunting: In 1996, 75 million cars and 3.5 million trucks and railway cars entered the United States from Mexico. Even with the best cooperation and minimum corruption, interdiction as a strategy is not going to produce much progress on drug problems in the U.S. On another level, a dogged pursuit of the drug war tends to undermine many important interests we share with Mexico. U.S. pressure on Mexico to get its military involved in the drug war is at crosscurrents with the democratization of Mexico, a goal central to U.S. policy. The Mexican military is increasingly charged with abusing human rights, a problem that may worsen. As U.S. training and resources make soldiers better able to track and apprehend drug traffickers, they become more efficient at extracting higher payoffs for nonenforcement. The more we unwittingly encourage this corruption and turn a blind eye to human rights abuses, the more difficult it will be to build and sustain democratically accountable security forces in Mexico. The drug war already has poisoned U.S. relations with Mexico. When the United States conducted Operation Casablanca, an undercover sting on Mexican soil, earlier this year, it did not inform the Mexican government of the operation on the ground that Mexicans couldn't be trusted with the information. After 26 Mexican bankers were indicted for money laundering as a result of the sting, the Mexican government reacted angrily. Zedillo urged, "We must all respect the sovereignty of each nation so that no one can become the judge of others and no one feels entitled to violate other countries' laws for the sake of enforcing its own." U.S. officials claimed they had alerted Mexican authorities of the sting, but the operation left relations strained. Regrettably, stories to protect Mexico's image as a loyal drug-war ally will continue to be told and retold, and they will continue to be dashed by reality. But as debate focuses on how much progress we are making against the widening corruption in Mexico, we risk missing a deeper truth. Fighting drug abuse at home through a war on supply abroad is not good policy, and it will make us both bad neighbors. Copyright 1998 Los Angeles Times.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Three more detectives are suspended (The Daily Telegraph in Britain says three more Merseyside detectives were suspended this week after early morning raids on their homes by special anti-corruption squads. The latest suspensions follow the recent arrests of two other officers and last week's Telegraph revelations that corruption within Merseyside police is so deep-rooted that in 1995, phone records showed drug dealers and criminals ringing numbers inside the drugs and fraud squads.) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "-News" (email@example.com) Subject: Three more UK detectives are suspended Date: Sun, 4 Oct 1998 18:02:00 -0700 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Electronic Telegraph -UK Pubdate: Sunday 4 October 1998 Online: http://www.telegraph.co.uk Feedback: email@example.com Writer: Geoffrey Seed Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Three more detectives are suspended THREE more Merseyside detectives were suspended this week after early morning raids on their homes by special anti-corruption squads. Police refuse to give their ranks but it is believed that one might be a senior officer. More raids are planned, following months of surveillance, phone tapping and the examination of bank accounts. In the past three weeks, a senior officer has been arrested and charged with corruption and another officer has been suspended. These latest moves follow last week's Telegraph revelations that corruption within Merseyside police is so deep-rooted that in 1995, the Chief Constable, Sir James Sharples, had Customs investigators tap telephones inside two police stations - including police headquarters - because he could not trust many members of his own force. Phone records showed drug dealers and criminals ringing numbers inside the drugs and fraud squads. More than 30 additional Home Office wire-tap warrants were issued to cover domestic phones allegedly being used by criminals and their corrupt police contacts within the Merseyside force. Drug dealers have paid thousands of pounds in "holiday money" to Liverpool police officers for the tip-offs about impending police and Customs raids, to have rivals arrested or to tamper with prosecution evidence. As the sheer scale of corruption within Merseyside became clear, Sir James secretly created a Professional Standards Unit to either prosecute or fire suspect officers. Two weeks ago, the unit got its biggest scalp yet when Elmore Davies, one-time deputy head of Merseyside's drugs squad, was sentenced to five years for taking a £10,000 bribe from a major drugs dealer to wreck an attempted murder case. The Telegraph also revealed that a conference of high-ranking police officers and policy-makers in June concluded that police corruption in Britain was now so serious and widespread, it was "pervasive" and may have reached ". . . level two: the situation in some Third Worlds countries". The National Criminal Intelligence Service, working with MI5 and the Association of Chief Police Officers, was tasked to co-ordinate intelligence on corrupt officers, who were now operating in every force in the country, according to the minutes of the conference. But a month later, ACPO - who were required to develop a strategy to deal with adverse publicity from corruption cases - issued a formal statement claiming "the true level of corruption in the modern police service is extremely low". -------------------------------------------------------------------
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