------------------------------------------------------------------- Critics launch ad campaign opposing Rockefeller drug laws (The Associated Press says a bipartisan coalition opposing New York state's mandatory-minimum drug laws is launching radio advertisements calling for an overhaul of the rigid 25-year-old sentencing guidelines. Among those on the coalition are one of the original sponsors, former state Sen. H. Douglas Barclay, and Warren Anderson, who was state Senate Majority Leader when the laws were enacted in 1973.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Critics launch ad campaign opposing Rockefeller drug laws Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998 20:05:55 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Critics launch ad campaign opposing Rockefeller drug laws By Shannon Mccaffrey Associated Press 12/26/98 20:57 ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A bipartisan coalition opposing New York's Rockefeller drug laws is launching radio advertisements calling for an overhaul of the rigid 25-year-old sentencing guidelines. The 60-second radio spots tell the true stories of people unable to be with their families over the holidays because they are serving lengthy prison sentences for relatively low-level drug offenses under the New York laws, which are among the harshest in the nation. The ads will run in Buffalo, Rochester and on Long Island through the end of the year. ``Lucy Brady wished she too could be with her family. But she can't. Not this year. Maybe not for many years to come,'' one of the ads said. ``Her crime? She was just there, young, in an apartment where drugs were sold. Her sentence? Fifteen years to life.'' Lobbying against the Rockefeller drug laws, which mandate 15-years-to-life for possessing 4 ounces of a drug or selling 2 ounces, is nothing new. But the radio ad campaign turns up the pressure at a time when the Pataki administration is said to be seriously weighing giving the laws a second look. Patrick McCarthy, a spokesman for Gov. George Pataki, would say only that the governor was considering a host of crime-related issues for the coming legislative session. But some sources say high-level talks are taking place on reforming the Rockefeller drug laws. Many say Pataki has the tough-on-crime credentials to make changes to the laws. ``It is widely recognized that this is the political moment to do it,'' said Robert Gangi, executive director of the Correctional Association of New York State. He said that polls and editorial boards showed widespread support for the changes. The fact that it is a non-election year is also helpful, he added. ``No political figure will defend them,'' Gangi said. ``The political climate is ready.'' Indeed, among those on the coalition calling for changes to the laws are one of their original sponsors, former state Sen. H. Douglas Barclay, of Syracuse. Also on board is Warren Anderson, who was state Senate Majority Leader when the laws were enacted in 1973. Also involved in the campaign is John Dunne, a former state senator and a former assistant U.S. attorney general, and the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former New York City congressman. All are on the Campaign For Effective Criminal Justice, which comprises conservative criminal justice experts, religious leaders, former judges as well as activists in minority and women's issues. The ads are also sponsored by Reconsider, a not-for-profit group concerned with the national drug policies. The ads come after Pataki for the first time announced that he would not be granting any clemencies this year. Of the 13 prison sentences Pataki has commuted since taking office in 1994, 11 have been for convictions under the Rockefeller drug laws. Some, disappointed with his failure to do so again this year, were hopeful he might instead be prepared to make changes to the law itself. ``It is my hope that something good will come of this,'' said Deborah Small, of Research and Policy Reform Inc. ``It is long past time to move in a new direction.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Grandparents enlisted in war on drugs (The Associated Press says the White House drug czar's Office of National Drug Control Policy has launched an ad campaign to coax grandparents into "talking to their grandchildren about the dangers of drugs" - since at least one of every nine school-age children has at least one parent incarcerated on a drug-related offense, apparently the government feels parents are no longer supporting the war on some drug users.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Grandparents enlisted in war on drugs Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998 19:58:12 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Grandparents enlisted in war on drugs By DAVE HOWLAND The Associated Press 12/26/98 12:35 PM Eastern BOSTON (AP) -- In its war against drugs, the government has enlisted drug-sniffing dogs, SWAT teams and the military. Now it's calling on even more powerful weapons: grandma and grandpa. The Office of National Drug Control Policy has launched an ad campaign to coax grandparents into talking to their grandchildren about the dangers of drugs. It's part of a larger effort to get adult role models of all sorts to teach kids about addiction, AIDS and violence. "There is an air of honesty that comes through in a relationship between a child and their grandparents," said Leigh Leventhal, spokeswoman for the New York-based Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which is co-sponsoring the campaign. A nearly full-page advertisement ran this month in The Boston Globe featuring a photo of a young boy looking attentively at an elderly woman, his hand on her shoulder. "Grandparents are cool. Relaxed," the ad states. "They're not on the firing line every day. Some days a kid hates his folks. He never hates his grandparents." Leventhal said talk between children and grandchildren about drugs should be part of an ongoing dialogue about everything in their lives -- hobbies, schoolwork, friends. Ruth Blackman, a grandmother of six from Boston who directs a program that provides children with foster grandparents, said the ad campaign makes sense. "It used to be a grandparent's role was to teach grandkids how to cook and pass on cultural and religious tradition," Blackman said. "Now there's a new responsibility. If you open avenues of communication, you can talk about some very touchy, touchy issues." The ad campaign, launched by the government over the summer, targets children up to high school age, as well as parents and other influential adults. "We're trying to get the message to the grandparents just as we're trying to get the message to the parents: Just start talking," said Tom Delaney, director of Boston Alcohol & Substance Abuse Programs Inc. "It's better than passing up the opportunity or just saying nothing." *** When away, you can STOP and RESTART W.H.E.N.'s news clippings by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ignore the Subject: line. In the body put "unsubscribe when" to STOP. To RESTART, put "subscribe when" in the e-mail instead (No quotation marks.)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Sea urchins and human sexuality (The Toronto Star's ombudsman apologizes for the newspaper running a piece of junk science propaganda from the United States alleging marijuana use reduces male fertility. The story should have said the study involved sea urchins, not humans; that it was funded by the U.S. ministry of propaganda known as the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and that there have been no epidemiological studies showing increased infertility in marijuana-using humans.) Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998 09:21:17 -0500 To: email@example.com From: Dave Haans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: TorStar: Sea urchins and human sexuality Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star (Canada) Pubdate: Saturday, December 26, 1998 Page: B2 Section: Editorials and Opinion Website: http://www.thestar.com Contact: email@example.com Author: Don Sellar, The Star's Ombud Sea urchins and human sexuality DISCREETLY placed on Page A34, it was the kind of news story that could inspire animated discussions at the office water cooler. The headline alone - Marijuana can affect fertility, damaging sperm, U.S. study says - might have prompted a few readers to reconsider certain recreational activities, if it already wasn't too late for the human race. But the 200-word Reuters article, as printed Dec. 17, delivered less biting and, indeed, more indigestible news than the headline had so starkly promised. To the science-challenged occupant of this chair, the story proved incomprehensible, if not mildly confusing. It all began nicely enough, with a breathless revelation that Dr. Herbert Schuel and some colleagues from the University at Buffalo have shown how ``active ingredients in marijuana can affect fertility by damaging sperm function.'' But in the second paragraph, scientific jargon reared its ugly head. The wire service reported that ``natural body compounds'' known as anandamides, which are ``similar to compounds found in marijuana, may be important for helping sperm get to and fertilize an egg. And cannabinoids in marijuana are similar enough to anandamides to confuse the body.'' Anandamides are especially elusive critters. The word anandamide isn't in the new Canadian Oxford Dictionary, or in six medical dictionaries that The Star's library keeps in stock for just such emergencies. So much for the doctrine of plain language in journalism. Regardless, determined readers could soldier on to the next revelation in this story: ``Human sperm contain receptors, a kind of chemical doorway, that the active ingredients in cannabis can use.'' With this image deeply planted in readers' heads of cannabis ingredients passing dangerously through a chemical doorway in human sperm, Dr. Schuel himself made an appearance in the story. He was quoted as saying that scientists have 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 that anandamides and THC in marijuana smoke may also affect sperm functions required for fertilization in the female reproductive tract.'' Then, before a frightened reader could say, ``What great stuff - tell me more!'' the story came to a screeching halt, after some more tortured prose about the complex interactions of cannabinoids, anandamides, sperms and receptors. So what was Schuel studying? The ombud asked several Star staffers in an informal, non-scientific survey. All four said they thought Schuel was studying humans. Wrong. He was studying the effects of marijuana-like substances on the sperm of sea urchins. Sea urchins. As Dave Haans, a graduate student at U of T with an interest in drugs and drugs policy, pointed out in an e-mail, the story in The Star had several omissions. ``It does not say whether this was an animal or human study. It does not say what the sample size was. It does not say whether these results are even applicable to humans.'' Good points all three. Nor did the story explain that the study had been funded by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse and published last Aug. 2 - more than four months ago - in Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Haans said the ``bold'' scientific claims in the story are unfounded and misleading - particularly the researcher's statement that science has known for 30 years that heavy marijuana use has a drastic effect on sperm production that can lead to higher rates of infertility. ``In fact there have been no epidemiological studies which have shown increased infertility in marijuana-using humans, and studies of overall reproductive rates have found no reduction in reproductive rates in countries where a higher rate of marijuana use is found.'' To Haans, the skimpy news story ``doesn't give even a minimum of information needed to determine whether what the article says is true, or another case of U.S. drug war propaganda.'' The ombud is in no position to judge Schuel's intensive work with sea urchins, and won't try. But readers of medical science news deserved better than the shallow, jargon-encrusted story that was dished up on this occasion. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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