------------------------------------------------------------------- Patient Who Was Denied Liver Transplant For Using Medical Marijuana Dies (A press release from California NORML notes medical malfeasance has caused the death of Ed Plotner, who was removed from a liver transplant list for using medical marijuana. Plotner suffered from multiple hepatitis infections, and had used marijuana to combat severe appetite and weight loss. Unlike alcohol and other drugs such as cocaine and heroin, marijuana is not a risk factor for hepatitis, nor does it cause liver damage.) Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 22:02:23 -0800 To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Medical MJ Patient Dies Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ - California NORML Press Release Dec. 15, 1998 - Patient Who Was Denied Liver Transplant For Using Medical Marijuana Dies California NORML is sorry to note the death of Ed Plotner, who was removed from a liver transplant list for using medical marijuana. Plotner, who suffered multiple hepatitis infections, had used marijuana to combat severe appetite and weight loss. He was accepted, but then dropped by a liver transplant program which demanded that he pass a drug test for marijuana. Unlike other drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and alcohol, marijuana is not a risk factor for hepatitis. Even though many patients find medical marijuana is useful - not only for weight gain, but also for helping to avoid drugs that are toxic to the liver - it is banned in most transplant programs. California NORML attorney Eric Shevin attempted to get Plotner restored to the transplant list, but his efforts proved too late. After being kept off the list a year, Ed expired on November 21. "Ed was a tragic victim of drug testing abuse," says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, "He was killed by the anti-marijuana bigotry and ignorance of medical 'experts' who should have known better." Ironically, Plotner, who was from Redding, Cal., had sought treatment in San Francisco, where voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana by 80%-20%. *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // firstname.lastname@example.org 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- We Kill Them With Kindness (An op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle says "compassionate" programs such as welfare are only making life worse for street people, who just spend their checks on alcohol and other drugs. The author says in the last decade, San Francisco has spent well more than $1 billion trying to "solve" the homeless problem, yet it is worse today, despite the healthy economy.)Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 18:18:40 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: We Kill Them With Kindness 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: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Forum: http://www.sfgate.com/conferences/ Copyright: 1998 San Francisco Chronicle Author: Earl Rynerson Pubdate: 15 Dec 1998 Section: Page 29 WE KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS San Francisco's welfare checks pay for drug abuse AFTER SERVING four years on the Human Services Commission, I am amazed at how much we spend on ``compassionate'' programs that are making the situation worse for street people. In the last decade, the city has spent easily over $1 billion trying to solve the homeless street people problem, yet it is worse today, despite our healthy economy. Among the homeless -- a diverse population composed of different groups with different needs -- there are many more young runaways, anti-social drop-outs and substance abusers. The city is, in large part, to blame. Here's why: we are subsidizing substance abuse. We provide free basic services and then give substance-abusing homeless street people welfare payments they can spend on drugs and alcohol. In effect, San Francisco is ``co-dependent'' with its homeless substance abusers. We are paying for it dearly. A significant portion of each city department's budget goes to fund multiple programs for homeless street people. These include counseling, shelters, food banks, emergency hospital medical treatment, paramedic and ambulance calls, job training, drug and alcohol treatment and police calls, as well as restoring city parks and cleaning sidewalks of excrement and urine. In addition to city agencies, hundreds of nonprofit agencies and corporate and charitable organizations donate money, time and assistance to homeless street people. (The United Way reports that more than 75 San Francisco agencies provide food assistance; dozens of others provide housing and shelter assistance.) At the same time, San Francisco spends almost $62 million annually on General Assistance for homeless street people, issued in checks on the first and the 15th of the month. These funds are not federal or state but rather local money paid out in sums of between $287 and $345 per month for those who don't qualify for any of the other assistance the city provides. A large percentage of homeless GA re cipients are addicts or alcoholics. San Francisco General Hospital reports that a majority of overdose cases occur after the first and the 15th of the month. The largest sales of pint-size hard liquor in the Tenderloin occurs around the first and the 15th. Homeless street people who are substance abusers often use food banks, shelters and other free services first, enabling them to spend their GA money on their addiction. In short, we spend tens of millions of dollars annually on what amounts to a drug and alcohol allowance. Result? Of all U.S. cities, San Francisco ranks first in heroin and methamphetamine use and second in cocaine use, according local news reports. Solution? We must get those homeless street people who are receiving General Assistance clean and sober. We need to end cash payments to addicts and instead use that money to fund drug and alcohol treatment. Drug and alcohol treatment must come first for substance abusers -- before talking about job training, housing or other programs. The city needs to take the courageous step to drug test each street person. This should be a pen and paper test, such as the widely used SASSI, rather than a more invasive blood or urine test. Those who refuse would lose their GA benefit. Those who test positive would be en rolled in a 12-step program specifically for street people, run by ex-addicts. To build self-esteem and personal responsibility, the city could foster street-people ``family units'' or ``tribes'' to help provide the necessary group support. Finally, we must recognize that many homeless advocates have their own political agendas. These may not include getting people off the street. Instead, too many homeless advocates in San Francisco are primarily concerned about growing their political power bases and maintaining the revenue streams that sustain their organizations. Other than suggesting that the city give a shopping cart to each street person, they haven't generated any new ideas. They're not receptive to new ideas; what they want is more money. In my opinion, this kind of advocacy does more harm than good to the person on the street. We are spending more and more on programs that foster dependency. We should think about this when we see someone on the street with an obvious drug or alcohol problem. We are contributing to that person's illness. Our money is keeping them where they are.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Heroin Big Killer In San Francisco (The Associated Press says a health department study released Tuesday says that out of 86 drug-related deaths among the homeless last year, 40 were connected to heroin. Neither AP nor, apparently, the health department, mentions the number of homeless who died from hunger, exposure, lack of medical care, or prohibition, since apparently those are not considered public health issues.) Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 18:53:19 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Wire: Heroin Big Killer In San Francisco Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1998 Associated Press. Pubdate: 15 Dec 1998 Author: Kim Curtis Associated Press Writer HEROIN BIG KILLER IN SAN FRANCISCO SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Heroin's popularity is growing among San Francisco's homeless and it's killing them. Of 86 drug-related deaths among the homeless last year, 40 were connected to heroin, according to a health department study released Tuesday. "Cocaine is a drug of celebration and heroin is a drug of desperation," said Evelyn James, spokesman for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in San Francisco. "When people are on the street and they want to feel out of it ... heroin will do that for them." One-hundred-fifty-seven homeless people died in San Francisco between Dec. 1, 1997 and Nov. 30, 1998 the highest number since the city started keeping track in 1987. "The majority of people you see on the street have a substance abuse problem. That problem is what caused them to be homeless," said Earl Rynerson, a former member of San Francisco's Human Services Commission, which decides how to allocate public money. Increasingly pure heroin is readily available on the streets and can be had at a relatively low cost. A single dose, about a quarter gram, costs about $20. Critics say much of the $287 monthly assistance payments many homeless receive doesn't go toward food or housing. "The first and 15th are like pay days," Puccinelli said. "They get it and they don't use the money for living expenses ... the money goes into narcotics and alcohol." The 157 deaths far exceeded both the 104 recorded the previous year and the average of 118 deaths each year on city streets since 1987. Authorities estimate as many as 14,000 people live on San Francisco's streets. *** Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 09:11:29 -0500 From: Tim Sheridan (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DEA official celebrates cocaine Sender: email@example.com >SAN FRANCISCO (AP)... Of 86 drug-related deaths among >the homeless last year, 40 were connected to heroin, >according to a health department study released Tuesday. >"Cocaine is a drug of celebration and heroin is a drug >of desperation," said a spokesman for the DEA.... See > http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2557630887-8a9 I believe what the official intended to say was that heroin is a pain reliever and cocaine is a stimulant. Sometimes you have to translate. Heroin is used by the political machine as proof that some drugs need to be prohibited. What they do not say is that prohibition (and subsequent lack of any regulation) is the only reason people die from overdoses. Story should read: "Drug War - Leading Cause of Death Among Homeless" Tim Sheridan
------------------------------------------------------------------- Underage drinking cases clogging Vermont courts (The Associated Press says Vermont's crackdown on underage drinking is clogging the state's courts and forcing court officials to stop offering diversion programs to some offenders.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Underage drinking cases clogging VT courts Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 18:25:11 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Underage drinking cases clogging Vermont courts Associated Press, 12/15/98 15:49 BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Vermont's crackdown on underage drinking is clogging the state's courts and forcing court officials to stop offering diversion programs to some offenders. The problem is particularly acute in Chittenden County, where the number of cases is the largest. As a result, diversion programs for first-time felony convictions and some other offenses are no longer available. The Vermont District Court in Burlington is handling 600 percent more charges involving illegal possession of malt beverages. The number rose from 81 cases in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 1997 to 543 cases the following year. Statewide, the courts' misdemeanor caseload is up 6 percent. Officials say increased enforcement of alcohol violations is a major reason for the increase. A number of high-profile drunken driving fatalities involving underage drinkers prompted the crackdown by the Legislature. The heaviest impact has fallen on court diversion programs. Diversion offers first-time offenders way to repay society and in exchange have their records cleared of any wrongdoing. More than 75 percent of the court diversion cases in Chittenden County since July 1 have involved alcohol. Chittenden County diversion director Chris Monahan said he and his four employees were overwhelmed by the caseload. ``I have no idea how we are going to make it,'' he said. Caseworkers can't spend as much time with their clients and Monahan said that would cause more people to fail the program. The program began limiting referrals from district court. It will no longer accept first-time offenders charged with a felony. And Monahan said he would soon discontinue two programs. One helps first-time offenders who have had their licenses suspended. The other helps second-time offenders. Another Chittenden County diversion service will also be cut. Monahan said he would no longer send a caseworker from his office to help out with the Grand Isle County diversion program. Instead those offenders will have to drive to Burlington or Franklin County to participate.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Committee Endorses Call for Hemp Study (The Associated Press says a Virginia House of Delegates committee endorsed a measure Monday calling for a study of industrial hemp. The resolution, sponsored by Mitchell Van Yahres, a Democrat from Albemarle, asks federal officials to let the state's universities experiment with cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial use. The General Assembly will consider the measure during the session that begins Jan. 13.) Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 10:07:15 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US VA: Wire: Committee Endorses Call for Hemp Study Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Michael (Miguet@NOVEMBER.ORG) Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1998 Associated Press Pubdate: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 COMMITTEE ENDORSES CALL FOR HEMP STUDY RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A House of Delegates committee has endorsed a measure calling for the study of industrial hemp, a relative of marijuana that lacks the kick of the street drug. The resolution approved Monday, sponsored by Del. Mitchell Van Yahres, D-Albemarle, asks federal officials to let the state's universities experiment with cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial use. Hemp was outlawed in the United States in 1937 because of its association with marijuana. But it has a very low content of THC, the chemical that makes marijuana an intoxicant, and it was grown legally in the United States during World War II when the government used it to make rope. Some agriculture officials say hemp should be legalized again because it is a strong fiber useful in clothes, plastics and other commercial products. Van Yahres suggested Monday that hemp could come in handy for struggling tobacco farmers in need of a new cash crop. "The farmer, I think, is going to be the low man on the totem pole'' in the wake of the national tobacco settlement, Van Yahres told the House Rules Committee. "I think we need to talk about ways to help the farmer.'' Several other delegates questioned Van Yahres about hemp's commercial usefulness and whether the plant can be smoked. After a brief debate, the committee voted 9-2 to endorse the resolution. The General Assembly will consider the measure during the session that begins Jan. 13.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Must State Become A Criminal to Fight Drugs? (A letter to the editor of The Richmond Times-Dispatch, in Virginia, responds to the recent article about Customs Service agents violating airline passengers while engaging in drug-seeking behavior.) Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 17:07:51 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US VA: PUB LTE: Must State Become A Criminal to Fight Drugs? Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Michael (Miguet@November.org) Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) Website: http://www.gateway-va.com/ Copyright: 1998, Richmond Newspapers Inc. Pubdate: 15 Dec 1998 Contact: email@example.com Fax: (804) 775-8072 Author: Charles W. Peraino MUST STATE BECOME A CRIMINAL TO FIGHT DRUGS? Editor, Times-Dispatch: To incarcerate a U.S. citizen, to enter that person's private body parts, and to X-ray her on the slight pretext that she may be smuggling drugs, as the government did to Gwendolyn Richards [December 3 news story, "Customs' Drug Searches Prompt Suits"] is state-enforced rape in the same category with such human rights violations as torture and political imprisonment. It is state gangsterism. In order to fight against drugs, the state becomes the criminal. Some acts are so immoral that they never can be justified on public policy reasons alone and should not be used except under the most extreme circumstances. What Ms. Richards went through is one of those acts. Such searches are anti-American. Conservatives should be outraged by this practically unlimited use of state power. These searches are discriminatory in racial, social, and other ways. Our judges, politicians, and policy-makers need to ask themselves two questions: Would they support such barbaric behavior if the Customs Handbook cited three-piece suits as reasonable suspicion instead of baggy clothing and sunglasses? Does the seizure of 850 pounds of cocaine and 803 pounds of heroin a year justify behavior so heinous and criminal that it would leave an innocent person mentally scarred for life? As for me, as an American believer in democratic principles, it scares me to death that the power to abuse me in the most inhuman, undignified, and immoral way is in the hands of our government. Charles W. Peraino Richmond
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot-Like Agents May Affect Fertility (UPI says investigators from the University at Buffalo in New York told the annual meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology in San Francisco that they had discovered that sperm contain receptors for cannabinoids such as THC, the most prevalent of the dozens of psychoactive substances found only in cannabis. Unfortunately, the researchers then ignored the epidemiological evidence and engaged in speculation that led them to revive the drug-warrior myth that heavy pot use may reduce fertility.) Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 18:47:35 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: Pot-Like Agents May Affect Fertility Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1998 United Press International Author: Lidia Wasowicz - UPI Science Writer POT-LIKE AGENTS MAY AFFECT FERTILITY SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15 (UPI) - In news every wanna-be father should hear, scientists today announced finding evidence that marijuana-like agents may regulate the functions of sperm and affect their ability to fertilize eggs. The investigators from the University at Buffalo in New York have been focusing on compounds called anandamides, which are normally found in the testis, uterus and oviduct. Specifically, they have found sperm contain receptors for cannabinoids, which are such chemical compounds as THC, the active substance in pot. Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology in San Francisco, the researchers described their study as the first to show that such chemicals can affect fertilization in three major ways: -They can inhibit the so-called acrosome reaction. That's the normal release of the enzymes, which enables sperm to penetrate the egg. -They regulate very active sperm swimming patterns, called hyperactivation. -They prevent sperm from binding to the egg cover, or zona. ``The findings could have significant implications for the diagnosis of infertility and understanding basic human biology and molecular control, '' said Herbert Schuel, professor of anatomy and cell biology at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. ``We've known for 30 years that very heavy marijuana smoking has a drastic effect on sperm production within the testis, which can lead to higher rates of infertility. Our new findings suggest anandamides and THC in marijuana smoke may also affect sperm functions required for fertilization in the female reproductive tract.'' In heavy pot smokers, the extra load of cannabinoids floods the receptors, possibly leading to infertility. Schuel and his team previously showed that sea urchin sperm have a receptor for cannabinoids, that cannabinoids and anandamides can prevent the sperm from fertilizing eggs and that elimination of the cannabinoids reversed these effects. Two other study co-authors in the latest investigation - Lani Burkman, director of the Andrology Section at Buffalo and Alex Makriyannis, professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Connecticut - said human sperm contain functional cannabinoid receptors. These receptors, or recognition sites, allow the THC from pot and natural cannabinoids (anandamides) to bind to sperm. In 30 tests, the researchers mimicked the normal reproduction process. In the process, fluids within the female reproductive tract prepare the sperm to fertilize the egg. The egg swims like mad. It undergoes the acrosome reaction when the sperm arrive at the egg's zona. The finding indicates anandamides may prevent premature acrosome reactions within the female reproductive tract. And it suggests fluctuations in anandamide levels in the oviduct may regulate sperm swimming patterns and affect the optimal timing for the sperm to meet the egg. ``The study provided the first evidence that anandamides and cannabinoids can directly affect the fertilizing capacity of human sperm,'' Burkman said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Teens, Depression & Drugs (According to Washington Post columnist Abigail Trafford, Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, divides teenage "drug abusers" into two categories: the Sensation Seekers, who are the majority, and the depressive Self-Medicators, supposedly a minority, even though an estimated 8 million to 10 million children have an untreated mental illness. Traditional drug-prevention strategies aren't designed for depressives and aren't effective with them - but Trafford and Leshner still want to lock them all up. Both fail to acknowledge, or just flat-out lie about the fact that society isn't about to provide universal psychiatric care on demand; that pharmaceutical antidepressants don't work for some people, and can cause severe, permanent, debilitating side effects, unlike cannabis; that a large body of historical and medical research documents the utility for many people of treating mood disorders with cannabis; that cannabis is not a drug of abuse, and to the extent it may raise dopamine levels like drugs of abuse, it does so in the same manner as some pharmaceutical antidepressants; and that it is cruel as well as counterproductive to treat depressive teens who self-medicate with cannabis as "drug abusers," when self-medication with cannabis may allow them to function more productively, happily, and normally than otherwise.) Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 17:40:42 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WP: Teens, Depression & Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Kendra Wright http://www.familywatch.org/ Pubdate: Tues, 15 Dec 1998 Source: Washington Post (DC) Copyright: 1998 The Washington Post Company Page: Z06 Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Author: Abigail Trafford TEENS, DEPRESSION & DRUGS During my awkward adolescence, my grandmother used to take me to lunch at the Wenham Tea House, a combination gift shop, lending library and ladies restaurant in our small Massachusetts town. Gran with her liquid eyes, red hair and deep bassoon voice would grill me about my life. How were my classes? (So-so.) Did I play sports? (Oh, sure.) Was I looking forward to all the holiday parties? (Sort of.) Finally after one lunch, Gran leaned over and took my hand. Being young, she said in dulcet, Dubonnet-laced tones, is not the best time of your life. Her words were a comfort then and they're a comfort now. Indeed, the teenage years are a national challenge for both parents and children. It's the period when each generation gets forged into adulthood. It's also a high-risk time of experimentation--which often includes taking illegal drugs as well as drinking too much and smoking. Until recently the general anti-drug message to kids was simple and focused: Don't do it. Drug abuse will fry your brains and you'll end up a failure. But this one-size-fits-all strategy to prevent drug abuse has missed a whole subgroup of teenagers at risk. Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, divides teenage drug abusers into two general categories: the Sensation Seekers, who are the majority, and the Self-Medicators, who make up a minority. The second group is finally getting attention from the medical community. For these adolescents, the teenage years are not just a period of normal hell. They are the time when mental disorders such as depression emerge. Taking drugs is a way to control the symptoms of their depression, explains Leshner. In developing anti-drug programs for teenagers, "we may not be looking at kids who are just miserable," says Leshner. "Saying your brain is going to fall out in a month means nothing to the kid who's depressed." A generation ago, many people didn't think children could get depressed. Now that view has changed, and physicians are diagnosing and treating a small but significant group of children and adolescents with major mental disorders. Earlier this year, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and Yale University School of Medicine explored the link between depression and drug abuse. In an article in Neuropsychopharmacology, the scientific journal of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Scripps researcher Athina Markou and her colleagues reviewed the science of drug dependence and depression and noted alterations in the same part of the brain, involving some of the same brain chemicals. "Depression and drug dependence are likely to be linked disorders with shared neurobiolobical mechanisms," the authors conclude. "Further, self-medication of depressive symptomatology with drugs of abuse may be an important explanatory concept." This means a very different prevention strategy has to be designed for these kids. For starters, their mental disorder has to be identified and treated. Leshner points out that an estimated 8 million to 10 million children have an untreated mental illness. In his eyes, many are at risk of self-medicating with drugs. And while drug use may temporarily alleviate some of the pain of depression or another mental disorder, drug dependence ends up exacerbating the underlying condition. The implications for treatment are also obvious: These kids need to be treated for both depression and drug dependence, he says. At the same time, most children going through adolescence do not suffer from a mental or conduct disorder, and a significant proportion of them try drugs. The average age at first use of marijuana is about 13 1/2. The problem with Sensation Seekers is that they are playing a game of Russian roulette. While 80 to 90 percent of the 70 million American adults who smoked marijuana got through the experimentation phase with no lasting effects, about 8 to 10 percent developed major problems. Leshner suspects this group is genetically vulnerable to becoming dependent on drugs. But at the start of adolescence, it's not clear who will fall into that vulnerable 10 percent. By the time a person ends up in a treatment center with a dual diagnosis of depression and drug addiction, it's not easy to determine which came first, the depression or the drug use. When you put together the drug-using population of teenagers with underlying disorders and the vulnerable group of Sensation Seekers, that's a lot of broken lives. For parents, the challenge is sorting out where your child fits into the spectrum of dependence on drugs, including alcohol and nicotine. Is your child a Self-Medicator or a Sensation Seeker? As Leshner says: "The more insight we have into Harry or Louie's motivation, the better shot we have at saving him from a lifetime of problems." There is no simple anti-drug strategy. The issue is much larger than watching what a child smokes or drinks. It means knowing your child and being alert to signs of depression or other problems. "It's not simply talking to kids about drugs," says Leshner. "It means getting involved in the life of your kids. It means asking how are you, who are your friends. You have to have an interaction." In other words, it means having lunch with Gran. I wish all kids could have such a loving watchful adult as my Gran. She made sure we both survived the teenage years--and flourished.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Errors, Sensationalism Hurt Papers' Credibility (According to The Associated Press, a nationwide survey released today by the American Society of Newspaper Editors found that about 80 percent of adults said newspapers sensationalize the news. Those who had firsthand experience with reporters and editors are some of their biggest critics. And the public thinks reporters are out of touch with their readers. Thirty-one percent said they had been the subject of a news story or had been interviewed by a reporter. Of that group, 24 percent said they were misquoted and 31 percent found errors in the story.) Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 16:54:43 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: Errors, Sensationalism Hurt Papers' Credibility Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Hadorn) Pubdate: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1998 Associated Press ERRORS, SENSATIONALISM HURT PAPERS' CREDIBILITY WASHINGTON - Sensationalism, garbled grammar and misquotes are chief reasons for the decline of credibility in newspapers and a disconnect between today's reporters and their audiences, a new report says. ``Americans say they're tired of having sensational stories crammed down their throats,'' says a study, released today by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. About 80 percent of adults surveyed for the study said newspapers overdramatize the news to sell papers, and that sensational stories get a lot of coverage because they're exciting -- not because they're important. The public thinks newspapers mishandle ``normal'' news stories too. Forty-eight percent said they find misleading headlines in their paper more than once a week. In addition, the study says readers see too many misspellings, mislabeled maps and grammatical mistakes -- lowering public trust of the media. It says those who have firsthand experience with reporters and editors are some of their biggest critics. And it says the public thinks reporters are out of touch with their readers. The study, part of the ASNE's three-year project to find out why the public has lost confidence in newspapers, is based on a national telephone survey of 3,000 U.S. adults in April and May, 16 focus groups and a 12-page questionnaire completed by newspaper journalists. The report was conducted and analyzed by Urban & Associates of Sharon, Mass. ``I guess the good news is that we recognize that we have problems and we're trying to do something about them,'' says ASNE President Edward Seaton, editor-in-chief of The Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury. ``It means that we've got to tighten up. We've got to cut down on errors, cut down on anonymous quotes and rein in the pundits.'' More than three-fourths of those surveyed expressed concern about the credibility of news stories that use anonymous sources, and 45 percent said the story shouldn't run at all if no one will go on the record. The study's findings come in a year when the press has had to give a number of mea culpas: CNN retracted a story presented jointly with Time magazine that alleged the U.S. military used a nerve agent in pursuing defectors during the Vietnam War. The Cincinnati Enquirer retracted a story because it was based in part on information stolen from a company's telephone message system. At The New Republic magazine and The Boston Globe, writers made up quotes and people that appeared in stories. The study also follows three years of high-profile stories that have hogged the front page: The murder trial of football star O.J. Simpson, the deaths of Princess Diana and Colorado child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against President Clinton and his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Sensationalism aside, a newspaper's credibility often is undermined by little mistakes. More than one-third of respondents said they see spelling or grammatical mistakes in their paper more than once a week -- 21 percent said they see them nearly every day. Twenty-three percent said they find factual errors in the news stories of their daily paper at least once a week. While 73 percent of adults have become more skeptical about news accuracy, those who have firsthand knowledge of a news story are the most critical. Thirty-one percent said they had been the subject of a news story or had been interviewed by a reporter. Of that group, 24 percent said they were misquoted and 31 percent found errors in the story. Readers welcome corrections, though. Sixty-three percent said they ``felt better'' about the quality of the news coverage when they see corrections. Getting it right, however, is only part of the problem in reaching readers. More than half of those surveyed believe the press is ``out-of-touch with mainstream Americans,'' the study says. In many ways -- educational attainment, income, interests, circle of friends and working hours -- many journalists are in a different class than the average American, the study says. ``When newspaper readers see feature stories about ways to make an elegant presentation of artichoke hearts, many study the photograph to find out what, exactly, an artichoke looks like,'' the study says. ``When adjectives like `churchgoing' or `right-wing' or `suburban' or `radical' appear in print or broadcast news stories, they sense that judgments are being made by folks not very much like themselves.'' Some findings from the American Society of Newspaper Editors' study on why newspaper credibility has been dropping: --More than one-third of 3,000 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone say they see spelling or grammatical mistakes in their newspaper more than once a week. --23 percent say they find factual errors in the news stories of their daily paper at least once a week. --73 percent have become more skeptical about news accuracy. --78 percent agree with the assessment that there is bias in the news media. --58 percent believe the public's dissatisfaction with the media is justified (``that they're not just an easy target for deeper problems in our society''). --50 percent believe there are particular people or groups that get a ``special break'' in news coverage. --78 percent believe powerful people or organizations can influence a newspaper to kill or ``spin'' a story. --86 percent believe the names of suspects should not be published until formal charges are filed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- It's A Question Of Trust (A staff editorial in The Victoria Times-Colonist, in British Columbia, says the president of the University of Victoria is right to seek the dismissal of Jean Veevers, the sociology professor convicted of commercial marijuana cultivation charges.) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: It's A Question Of Trust Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 14:21:19 -0800 Lines: 43 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Alan Randell Pubdate: December 15, 1998 Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (Canada) Contact: email@example.com IT'S A QUESTION OF TRUST It's hard to muster much sympathy for Jean Veevers, the pot-growing prof of UVic. Veevers was busted in April 1997 with 122 marijuana plants and a 8.6 kilograms of dope in her house. But the sentence the $88,000-a-year sociology professor got this month was the usual slap on the wrist that excuses itself for punishment these days. (A one year conditional sentence and a $15,000 fine?) That's not a deterrent; it's a business licence. So for some, there is a certain amount of satisfaction in learning that UVic president David Strong has suspended Veevers and is recommending her dismissal. They see it as Strong doing what the legal system wouldn't. However, it does raise the issue of firing someone for a crime committed outside work. The Human Rights Code says an employer cannot axe someone for an offence unrelated to the job. In Veevers' case, the university argues there was a link, that the professor offered to pay tuition of a prospective partner in his continuing as her dope-growing partner. The more obvious question has to do with whether Veevers crime is job- related by its nature. Is it right for a convicted drug dealer to be teaching students on the cusp of adulthood? Would it be make a difference if she taught elementary school, high school, adult ed? What if the conviction was for simple possession or bootlegging booze or dealing heroin, or shoplifting, or spousal abuse? It's a question of where you draw the line, and society has shown itself to be anything but certain on the issue of marijuana - as reflected by the half-hearted sentences meted out by the courts. Still, we have long argued that people in positions of public trust - politicians, police, teachers, priests - should be held to a higher level of accountability. And that tips the scale against Veevers.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re: It's a question of trust (A letter sent to the editor of The Victoria Times-Colonist says that if politicians, police, teachers, and priests should be held to a higher level of accountability, then politicians should represent their constituents. A majority of Canadians believe that cannabis should be decriminalized, so why is cannabis still prohibited?) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Sent: It's a question of trust Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 11:20:00 -0800 Lines: 25 To the editor, In your editorial of December 15, (It's a question of trust), concerning the possible dismissal of the cannabis-growing UVic sociology professor Jean Veevers, you wrote that, "politicians, police, teachers, priests - should be held to a higher level of accountability." Politicians should represent their constituents. A majority of Canadians believe that cannabis should be decriminalized. Why is cannabis still prohibited? The police should enforce our laws or candidly let us know when our laws are misguided and unenforceable. Why are the police asking for more money to wage the failed war on drugs? When pondering the employment of a sociology professor, the last thing Uvic President David Strong should consider is what antiquated laws the professor has broken. Has Professor Veevers performed her job well and as required? It is a question of job performance. Matthew M. Elrod 4493 [No Thru] Rd. Victoria, B.C. V9C-3Y1 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colombian may be extradited to U.S. (An Associated Press article in The Dallas Morning News says Jaime "Jimmy" Orlando Lara, an alleged drug boss accused of shipping heroin to U.S. cities, could be the first person extradited to the United States under a December 1997 Colombian law that restored extradition of citizens for trial abroad.) Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 17:08:06 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Colombia: Colombian may be extradited to U.S. Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Dallas Morning News (TX) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com/ Forum: http://forums.dallasnews.com:81/webx Copyright: 1998 The Dallas Morning News Pubdate: 15 Dec 1998 Author: Associated Press COLOMBIAN MAY BE EXTRADITED TO U.S. BOGOTA, Colombia - An alleged drug boss accused of shipping heroin to U.S. cities could be the first Colombian extradited to the United States under a year-old law, police said Monday. The suspect, Jaime "Jimmy" Orlando Lara, was arrested in Bogota on Saturday. He is accused of heading a heroin distribution ring with outlets in Houston, Miami and New York. A December 1997 law restored extradition of Colombian citizens for trial abroad. The country's 1991 Constitution, enshrined during a bloody war with the Medellin drug cartel, had prohibited it. The new law is not retroactive, however, meaning Colombians can only be extradited for crimes committed after its enactment.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Acclaims Ability of Cannabis Grower (The Irish Times says a horticulturist who grew four-foot cannabis plants in his home was commended for his technical ability by Judge Kieran O'Connor at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court - who gave Wayne O'Connor a three-year suspended sentence and fined him £100 for possession of the herb.) Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 10:09:29 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Ireland: Judge Acclaims Ability of Cannabis Grower Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Source: Irish Times (Ireland) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.irish-times.ie/ Copyright: 1998 The Irish Times Pubdate: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 JUDGE ACCLAIMS ABILITY OF CANNABIS GROWER A horticulturist who grew four-foot cannabis plants in his home has been commended for his technical ability by Judge Kieran O'Connor at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. However, Judge O'Connor added that while Wayne O'Connor had shown considerable skill in growing the plants from seed, particularly in the Irish climate, he could have put his talents to better use. O'Connor, (32) of Lahaunestown Bungalow, Lahaunestown Lane, Carrickmines, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis plants at his home on June 22nd, 1997, and to possession of cannabis on the same date. He was given a three-year suspended sentence for cultivating the plants and fined IEP100 for possession of the drug. Det Garda Vincent Rock told the court he and a number of officers raided O'Connor's house after receiving confidential information. O'Connor was co-operative and later showed remorse. Defence counsel Mr Hugh Harnett SC said O'Connor had worked in his father's nursery business since he was 11 or 12 years old and worked six days a week all his adult life. He had grown the plants for his own medium-to long-term use. Judge O'Connor said the size of the plants was of concern to the court and noted that the defendant had managed to grow them to within two feet of their maximum height, normally achievable only under optimum conditions. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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