------------------------------------------------------------------- US Drug Policy is Sound, Despite What Molly Ivins Might Think (A factually challenged and intellectually tortured op-ed in The Oregonian by a shill from the White House drug czar's office responds to the syndicated columnist's recent apostasy on the drug war.) Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 07:28:25 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: OPED: U.S. Drug Policy is Sound, Despite What Molly Ivins Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DrugSense Source: The Oregonian Copyright: 1998 The Oregonian Pubdate: 25 Nov 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org FAX: 503-294-4193 Mail: 1320 S.W. Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Author: Lynda Bayer Note: Linda Bayer, a Harvard-trained psychologist who has worked with youngsters suffering from substance abuse, is senior writer and stategic analyst at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Also note: This is in response to columnist Molly Ivins column which appeared in a number of newspapers. Newshawks, if you spot either the column or this response in another newspaper, please send it to email@example.com The column, as it appeared in two newspapers, is at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1059.a04.html and http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n1060.a06.html U.S. DRUG POLICY IS SOUND, DESPITE WHAT MOLLY IVINS MIGHT THINK The language of Molly Ivins' column, "Politicians lag behind the people on drug issues," in the Oregonian on Nov. 18 rings nostalgically from the mid-1960's. She speaks of the "poor frozen political establishment" and a misbegotten "war we're losing." The times are changing, says Ivins, and the proverbial "emperor is wearing no clothes." Ivins calls for an end to the disparity in the sentencing between crack and powder cocaine. Although the claim that these two forms equal "the same drug" misses the enormous addictive potential of crack compared to powdered cocaine, the point is still well taken. In fact, Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Attorney General Janet Reno have called on Congress to reduce this disparity. Likewise, the column criticizes "the establishment" for advocating more prisons and longer sentences. The fact is, McCaffrey helped double the number of drug courts that offer treatment rather than imprisonment for first-time non-violent offenders. Likewise, McCaffrey is calling for expansion of drug treatment in prisons so that every inmate who seeks help - and even those who don't but need it - can be cured from the addiction that fuels the cycle of drugs and crime. For more than two years, McCaffrey has been repeating that the effort to reduce drug abuse in America is not a "war." This man knows war, having nearly lost an arm in combat and having led the famed " left hook" that won the Persian Gulf War. Instead of fighting, McCaffrey speaks of prevention and treatment in medical terms akin to the search for a cancer cure. As much as we'd like to think otherwise, 30 years have passed and this is not Vietnam. We need to open our eyes and see what's going on. The medical marijuana referenda that have passed in several states, including Oregon, are something of a hoax because Marinol, --- the real "medical marijuana" --- has been available for 15 years. The active form of cannabis, THC, can be prescribed legally by physicians and taken in measured doses as well as guaranteed purity. It isn't prescribed often because new and better medications --- such as ondansetron and denisetron, which have fewer side effects --- have been invented, but that's beside the point. No one argues that patients should have the right to bypass pure forms of penicillin so they can grow it on moldy bread at home. We don't need to endanger our pure food and drug system, which has made American medicine among the safest in world, for a drug that is already available. Mike Gray's book might be "lively"...polemic," as Ivins put it, but it's short on science and facts. Prohibition worked in terms of reducing rates of alcohol consumption and alcoholism; it wasn't repealed because it was a flop but because the country wanted liquor to be legal. When substances are sanctioned and available, use goes up --- including abuse by children. The hard truth here is that legalizing a psychoactive substance would increase abuse among young people, and the age of initiation has dropped steadily, so we're talking about teens and preteens. The overwhelming majority of America don't want to pay that price, so they oppose legalizing pot. Two good books on this subject are Dr. Avrum Goldstein's "Addiction: From Biology to Drug Policy" and Jill Jonnes's Hepcats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of America's Romance with Illegal Drugs." These authors are a medical doctor and professor of pharmacology at Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University, respectively --- not a Hollywood movie maker. The National Drug Control Strategy elaborates on the country's sound, balanced, long range plan. Read it, you'll like it.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cigarette Price Hikes May Ignite Inflation Surge (According to The San Jose Mercury News, an economist at the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday's 45-cent-per-pack increase in the price of cigarettes probably will push up consumer inflation about 0.2 percentage points in December.) Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 14:19:09 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Cigarette Price Hikes May Ignite Inflation Surge 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) Pubdate: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ CIGARETTE PRICE HIKES MAY IGNITE INFLATION SURGE The tobacco industry's $206 billion health care settlement -- to be financed through higher cigarette prices -- probably will push up consumer inflation about 0.2 percentage points in December, according to an economist at the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Philip Morris Cos. and RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp., the nation's two largest tobacco companies, increased wholesale cigarette prices Tuesday by 45 cents a pack to raise money for their share of the record-setting settlement. Compiled from reports by Mercury News staff, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones and the New York Times.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Viagra Gets Expanded Health Warnings (The San Jose Mercury News says the Food and Drug Administration is adding new labels warning that men with heart problems and very high or very low blood pressure should be carefully examined before getting a prescription for Pfizer's new anti-impotence drug. Since it was approved in April, 130 deaths have been linked to Viagra out of 3 million men who have used it. The FDA said Tuesday it still considers Viagra "safe" - the problem is the sexual activity it facilitates.) Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 07:16:02 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US DC: Viagra Gets Expanded Health Warnings 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) Pubdate: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center VIAGRA GETS EXPANDED HEALTH WARNINGS Caution: FDA considers popular anti-impotence drug safe, but acts in wake of 130 deaths linked to medicine. WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration is adding serious new health warnings to the label on bottles of Viagra, the wildly popular anti-impotence drug that has been prescribed for 3 million men since it was approved for general use in April. In expanded labels, the government warns doctors and patients that men with heart problems and very high or very low blood pressure should be carefully examined before getting a prescription for Viagra. Patients with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease, also are at risk. And the new description warns about the rare occurrence of priapism, a dangerous condition involving painful, prolonged erections that can last more than four hours. The government still considers Viagra safe and effective, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday. But it is sending a letter to doctors as well as expanding the information printed on the labels by Pfizer, the drug manufacturer. The problem is not Viagra itself but the sexual activity it facilitates. Of the 130 deaths reported to the FDA among men taking the drug, none has been directly blamed on the drug. Instead, the FDA believes that many of those who died -- whose average age was 64 -- had serious health problems that were aggravated by sexual activity, resulting in heart attacks or strokes. ``The people who died had underlying cardiovascular problems,'' said Dr. Lisa Rarick, director of the FDA division of reproductive and urologic drug products. She said the FDA is advising patients with serious heart problems to discuss with their doctors whether sexual activity would be wise. Many men with heart disease may be impotent because of their medical condition. And the FDA is now emphasizing that sex for these patients ``carries a potential cardiac risk.'' If sex itself might be risky because of a patient's health problems, then impotence treatments such as Viagra should be avoided, the FDA said in its three-page announcement of the expanded warnings. Viagra is prescribed for men who are unable to have erections. More than 6 million prescriptions have been written for 3 million men. Currently, the Viagra label warns that the drug should not be used by people taking heart medicine containing nitrates. The combination of nitrates and Viagra can cause a dangerous, sometimes life-threatening drop in blood pressure. The new label will advise that Viagra be prescribed with caution in patients who: Had a heart attack, stroke, or a ``life-threatening arrhythmia'' (irregular heartbeat) in the past six months. Have a ``history of cardiac failure or coronary artery disease causing unstable angina.'' Had ``significant'' low blood pressure or hypertension (high blood pressure above 170/110). Warning label and notifications are added as a drug increases in popularity and more is learned about reactions. The changes are coming much faster because of Viagra's explosive popularity. Usually, it would take a new drug three to five years to reach Viagra's sales level, the FDA said. One of Viagra's rare side effects, occurring in 3 percent of the men tested, is visual disturbance. Its use is now suspected as a possible cause of a plane crash Saturday that killed an actor, William Gardner Knight, who died when his light plane crashed in Edgewater, Md. The Federal Aviation Administration said the state medical examiner was asked to determine whether Knight had been using Viagra.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Court Awards Smuggler $50,000 (The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal says a New Brunswick court has awarded a convicted cocaine smuggler nearly $50,000 because of injuries he suffered when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police cruiser carrying him to court smashed into another police car four years ago.) Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 14:18:59 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Court Awards Smuggler $50,000 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 Source: New Brunswick Telegraph Journal (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.telegraphjournal.com/ Author: Andrew Veniot - The Telegraph Journal COURT AWARDS SMUGGLER $50,000 Man Injured When RCMP Cruiser Crashed MONCTON - A New Brunswick court has awarded a convicted drug smuggler nearly $50,000 because of injuries he suffered when the RCMP cruiser carrying him to court smashed into another police car four years ago. Pierre Duguay of Lamque never made any money from trying to smuggle $1.2-billion worth of cocaine into Canada. In fact, he got caught and eventually received a lengthy prison sentence. But his law-breaking has padded his bank account, thanks to some bad RCMP driving. Mr. Duguay, along with four others, tried to smuggle 710 kilograms of cocaine into the country but were caught near Sheet Harbour, N.S. in February, 1994. As he was being driven to court from Renous Penitentiary on Feb. 24 that year, the RCMP car carrying him smashed into the rear of another RCMP vehicle. "This case has very strange circumstances surrounding it. The RCMP are all roaring to the courthouse because of the biggest drug bust in Canadian history. What happens is like the Keystone Kops," said Michael Murphy, Mr. Duguay's lawyer. "The RCMP guy in front slammed on his brakes - there was snow and ice involved and they were going very fast toward the court house for this big media event - and the RCMP car with my client smashed into him," said Mr. Murphy. Mr. Duguay was taken to hospital before his court appearance. "He had blood on him and his arm was in a sling," said his lawyer. Three doctors, including two orthopedic surgeons, examined Mr. Duguay and testified at his civil trial that he suffered whiplash. While on bail pending trial and later when he was an inmate at both Dorchester and Springhill penitentiaries, the failed smuggler underwent more than 50 sessions of physiotherapy. And once he was released, Mr. Duguay's injury prevented him from earning any money as a fisherman for 21 months. "Lobster fishing is heavy work as it involves the daily lifting of 350 lobster traps weighing approximately 80 pounds each," said Mr. Justice Alfred Landry in his judgement. Sylvie Goguen, Mr. Duguay's common-law wife, testified that after the accident he complained of pain every day and "that he had to sell his boat as he could no longer fish, that he had to take medication every night before going to bed, but despite that his sleep was very agitated," wrote Judge Landry. The judge ruled the accident was "a substantial cause of the injury [and] that the defendant is liable for the full loss." The defendants were the two RCMP officers, Daniel Quirion, Gerald Moffett and the Attorney General of Canada. Mr. Duguay's average income as a lobster fisherman for the two years prior to his ill-fated smuggling career was $19,500. Mr. Murphy claimed for pain and suffering and for the loss of Mr. Duguay's wages while he was on bail for the year and a half awaiting the final outcome of Mr. Duguay's trial. In all, Judge Landry awarded Mr. Duguay $48,792.04. Mr. Duguay is now in a halfway house and the judgement has been sent to him. "I don't have the cheque in hand but I expect it in a couple of weeks and then give it to him," said Mr. Murphy. The lawyer doesn't expect the RCMP to appeal since they've already admitted liability and the trial dealt solely with the assessment of damages. "Mr. Duguay made money by getting into that van, and I'm saying to myself, just maybe the RCMP is a little sore about this one. It adds a little salt to the wounds and probably doesn't help the RCMP image," said Mr. Murphy.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Blitz Fails To Halt Drug Flow (According to The Herald Sun, Mick Palmer, the Australian federal police commissioner, admitted yesterday that the country's biggest-ever heroin haul last month had not dented local supply of the drug, or increased its price.) Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 08:14:57 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Blitz Fails To Halt Drug Flow Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Russell) Source: Herald Sun (Australia) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ Copyright: News Limited 1998 Pubdate: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 Page: 22 Author: Kelly Ryan BLITZ FAILS TO HALT DRUG FLOW AUSTRALIA'S biggest ever heroin haul had not dented local supply of the drug, Australian Federal police Commissioner Mick Palmer admitted yesterday. The seizure last month of 400kg of heroin with a street value of $400 million led to the arrests of 18 people and was among the largest heroin hauls in the world, Mr Palmer said. But despite the size of the seizure, heroin prices had not risen and there did not appear to be shortage of the drug in Australia, he said. Mr Palmer said it would have been optimistic to have expected the seizure to have impacted in Australia. "But to give up because you don't see in the first instance an impact would be stupidity," Mr Palmer said. Mr Palmer discussed the issue of drugs after giving the keynote speech on the third and final day of the International Conference on Drugs and Young People held in Melbourne. The nation's police chief could not say if the heroin seized from a NSW beach on October 14 had already been replaced in Australia. "Certainly, the indications are we haven't made much dent on the market," he said. "I don't think there is much sign of stockpiling in this country, but there is a sign it is pretty easy to replace lost stock and that's a challenge for us." Mr Palmer said he was confident law enforcement efforts would impact on Australia's drug problem. "This is a real market with real suppliers and real users," he said. "Like any other market, if you keep cutting away at supply, particularly in regard to heroin, you obviously have to make a difference, just as if you cut supply of any other commodity."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Melbourne Mayors Call For ACT Heroin Trial (The Canberra Times says mayors from 10 inner Melbourne communities called yesterday for the Australian Capital Territory's proposed heroin maintenance trial to proceed as part of a plan to minimise the harm caused by illegal drugs. The plan signed by the mayors also sought the "gradual spread" of the caution system, under which small-time cannabis users receive warnings rather than criminal charges.) Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 03:26:44 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Melbourne Mayors Call For ACT Heroin Trial Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ken Russell (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 Source: Canberra Times (Australia) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/ MELBOURNE MAYORS CALL FOR ACT HEROIN TRIAL MELBOURNE: Mayors from 10 inner Melbourne communities called yesterday for the ACT's proposed heroin trial to proceed as part of a plan to minimise the harm caused by illegal drugs. Melbourne Lord Mayor Ivan Deveson said the plan, signed by the mayors, also sought the "gradual spread" of the discretionary caution system, under which small-time cannabis users received warnings rather than immediate criminal charges. "We are calling on Australia and the Prime Minister [John Howard] to reconsider the ACT heroin trial early next year," Councillor Deveson said. The ACT trial, in which addicts would be given heroin in a strictly controlled rehabilitative environment, has been supported by Victoria and South Australia but is likely to proceed only if backed by all states and the Federal Government. Earlier, Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer refused to comment on the heroin trial specifically, but expressed his support for new initiatives against drugs. "If something sounds like it might make sense and it's something we can afford to do, why not give it a go?" Mr Palmer said. Councillor Deveson said while the councils still supported tough penalties for drug traffickers, radical efforts were required to reduce the harm done to Melbourne communities by illegal drugs. By signing the "anti-drug accord" yesterday, the mayors had committed their communities to sharing information, communicating regularly and experimenting with new initiatives. -------------------------------------------------------------------
The articles posted here are generally copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here for educational purposes under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107). NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and/or source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. The articles and information included here are not for sale or resale.
Comments, questions and suggestions.Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/
Next day's news
Previous day's news
to the 1998 Daily News index for November 19-25
to the Portland NORML news archive directory
to 1998 Daily News index (long)
This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/981125.html