------------------------------------------------------------------- Volunteer with Portland police linked to bank heist (The Oregonian says Louie Lira Jr., a gang outreach worker and volunteer with the Portland Police Bureau, served as a lookout during the Nov. 4 holdup at a Southeast Portland Wells Fargo bank. Lira was deported in 1985 after being convicted of robbery and drug charges in California. Police say their background check didn't include running Lira's fingerprints, begging the question, how many other criminals have been recruited by the Portland police force?) The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Volunteer with Portland police linked to bank heist * Federal records show that Louie Lira Jr., a gang outreach worker, was on the lookout for police during the Nov. 4 holdup at a Southeast Portland Wells Fargo branch Monday, January 25 1999 By Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian staff Federal authorities have linked Louie Lira Jr., a gang outreach worker and a volunteer with the Portland Police Bureau, to an armed bank robbery that involved his brother. Lira acted as a police watchdog for his brother and several other suspects who have been indicted in the Nov. 4 heist at a Wells Fargo bank branch in Southeast Portland, federal court records show. A federal investigation charges that Lira talked with the suspects moments before the holdup and immediately afterward by cellular phone as he monitored police movements on a Portland police radio from the bathroom of the Youth Gangs Program office where he was employed. The calls Lira made to the suspects were billed to the Youth Gangs Program, a federal affidavit says. The radio was one Portland police provided to the program to help its staff monitor gang violence. Investigators say Lira, 40, who was indicted this month for illegally re-entering the United States after being deported in 1985, admitted that he knew a week in advance of his friends' plans to rob a bank. Lira, who also uses the name Gerardo Morales Alejo, has denied involvement. Yet others aware of the scheme informed agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Lira's role as the "lookout." The FBI subpoenaed Lira's phone records, which confirmed he made several calls to the suspects as they staked out the bank and again as they fled to a home to divvy up $122, 923. Lira's brother, Marcos A. Morales, 34, has confessed and is scheduled to plead guilty to armed bank robbery today in U.S. District Court. He told authorities he used his share of the cash to take his family to Disneyland. Although federal records detail Lira's role as an accomplice to the robbery, he has not been indicted. Because Lira is in federal custody on an indictment accusing him of re-entering the country illegally, authorities say there is no need to rush with a robbery indictment until the investigation is complete and the stolen money can be traced. "Until those charges are filed, we can't really comment," FBI spokesman Gordon Compton said. "His involvement is still being investigated." A thick file at U.S. District Court weaves the tale of how a teller at the Wells Fargo branch on Southeast Taylor Street helped her boyfriend and others plan the heist and later took a cut of the proceeds. It also reveals how Lira used his work cell phone and connections to Portland police to help his brother, as well as a former anti-gang co-worker, pull off the heist. "Louie monitored transmissions from a police radio which helped the robbers escape after the robbery," one woman told FBI agents, according to the federal affidavit. Lira's brother has admitted to the FBI that he was one of the masked men who pointed a handgun at a bank teller and demanded that customers raise their hands over their heads as others cleaned out cash from a bank vault and tellers' drawers. The FBI has indicted four others on armed bank robbery charges, including Robert E. Boyd Jr., 27, whom Lira met when Boyd was on the youth gang program's graffiti-cleaning task force in the mid-1990s. Three of those four are awaiting trial, and a warrant is out for the arrest of 21-year-old Aida Ramos, the suspected driver of the getaway van. Federal affidavits provide the following account of the robbery, based on witness statements, searches of suspects' cars and homes, phone records and statements from the accused. The strong-arm holdup was the work of several cash-strapped people -- one of whom was fired a month earlier from her security-guard job at Fred Meyer after she stole merchandise, and another who was behind several months in child-support payments. About one week before the holdup, Lira said one of the suspects told him he planned to rob a bank where his girlfriend worked as a teller, and asked Lira whether he could help supply guns. Lira has told federal authorities he refused the request, but he admitted that he never reported his friend's plans to law enforcement. On Nov. 2, five of the suspects met with the teller, who described the bank's layout and told them where the surveillance cameras were and the number of employees. Lira was not at that meeting, but the others were informed that he was to notify the robbers if the bank alarm was activated and if Portland police were on their way. About 8:30 a.m. Nov. 4, the five suspects parked across the street from the bank in a van and watched customers enter and leave for about two hours. During the stakeout, they placed five calls to Lira's cell phone: at 8:30 a.m., 8:41, 8:50, 9:17 and 10:25. Two minutes later, the four burst into the bank and held two tellers at gunpoint. As the suspects fled in a stolen van, Lira phoned them twice within five minutes and again at a Southeast Portland home where they went to split the cash. In an interview with FBI agents, Lira said he learned of the robbery while monitoring his police radio in his office but said he did not suspect his friends. He said his cell phone conversations with the people indicted in the robbery were "small talk." Lira had worked as a Hispanic Outreach Specialist with the city's Youth Gangs Program since 1991. At least four years ago, he became an unpaid volunteer with the Portland Police Bureau's Crisis Response Team, helping defuse gang violence. Police said they did a background check on Lira before his volunteer work began and knew of his former gang activity but decided to give him a chance. "We knew he had contacts with police, but we were not aware he was illegally in the country," Northeast Cmdr. Derrick Foxworth said. "But just because he had contact with police is not going to preclude someone from being involved with police. "At what point do you give a person an opportunity and let them demonstrate to you that they have changed? Whenever he did get called out, he acted appropriately." A complete background check would have shown that Lira was a convicted felon working in the United States illegally. Police did not run Lira's fingerprints, which would have shown he was deported in 1985 under the name Morales Alejo after robbery and drug convictions in California. Portland records also show Lira was arrested several times by city police. In 1990, he was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and in 1993 with disorderly conduct, but he was not convicted. Between 1990 and 1993, he was cited several times for driving uninsured, driving while suspended and for ripping up a traffic citation. Now, Portland police are re-examining whether they need to do more extensive background checks on civilians they entrust to work closely with them. "We're asking ourselves, 'Is there anything we could have done to have avoided this?' " Foxworth said. "Something we're recommending is running fingerprint checks as part of the background investigation. If fingerprint checks were done, we would have found he was here illegally." John Canda, director of the Youth Gangs Program, said he was unaware Lira was an illegal immigrant. "I had no idea. It was very disturbing," Canda said. But Canda said he is standing by Lira, whom he praised for his diligence on the street trying to steer youth from gang violence. As to Lira's suspected involvement in a bank heist, Canda said he is reserving judgment. "I know Louie for his hard work on the street and tireless hours he's put into his job," Canda said. "We're very interested in the outcome and will be watching this closely."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Doctors prescribe more antidepressants than any other drug, records show (According to the Associated Press, an investigation of Oregon Health Plan records by the Statesman Journal, in Salem, Oregon, shows that doctors prescribe more antidepressants for poor children in Oregon than any other drug, although such drugs have not been tested or approved for children by the Food and Drug Administration. The use of such drugs is increasing. Administrators of the Oregon Health Plan, which covers poor Oregonians, say doctors supplied nearly 10,000 Oregon children with psychotherapeutic drugs last year.)Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): firstname.lastname@example.org Doctors prescribe more antidepressants than any other drug, records show The Associated Press 1/25/99 10:50 AM SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Doctors prescribe more antidepressants for poor children in Oregon than any other drug despite the fact that some of the medicine has not been thoroughly tested or approved for children by the Food and Drug Administration, the Statesman Journal reports. The newspaper said Oregon Health Plan records show that even very young children -- those still in elementary school -- are commonly dispensed antidepressants, including anti-psychotics. And the numbers are increasing. In 1997, doctors signed 839 more prescription slips for Prozac and related antidepressants than the previous year. While most of the patients were adolescents, one-third of the prescriptions were for children ages 12 or younger, records showed. Administrators of the plan, which covers poor Oregonians, say doctors supplied nearly 10,000 Oregon children with psychotherapeutic drugs last year. While the category includes anti-psychotic drugs, most prescription were for antidepressants, such as Prozac. Some private plans also reflect growth in the numbers of children being prescribed antidepressants. Regence/Blue Cross officials report a 16 percent increase in antidepressant prescriptions written for teen-agers between 1996 and 1997, and a striking 29 percent jump for children under the age of 13, all at a time when children's memberships in the company's plans were on the decline. Across the country in 1997, about three-quarters of a million kids were popping Prozac and its sister pharmaceuticals -- 130,000 more than the year before, according to IMS America, a pharmaceutical research company. But most pediatricians aren't shocked by the numbers, which they regard as a positive indication that children suffering from clinical depression are finally getting help they've been denied for years. "The big change is that 20 years ago people thought that if kids were a little down, it doesn't mean anything," said Glen Elliott, a psychiatrist with the San Francisco-based Langly Porter Psychiatric Association. "Now we know kids can have very serious depressions." Child psychiatrists say they're now better at identifying mental disorders in children. What they're finding is alarming, said Tim Murphy, program director for Salem Hospital's Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Medicine clinic. Depression and attention deficit disorder are becoming commonplace, along with some serious cases of bipolar disorder. Dee Kathryn Bauer, director of school health services for the Multnomah Education Service District, said psychiatric disease is the fastest-growing category of illness school nurses face. "Everyone thinks it's head lice, but truly, reports show us that children are beginning to have more fear, anger, anxiety and depression," Bauer said. Other experts agreed that mental illness in children has accelerated dramatically over the past five years. Cathy Jarman, an elementary school counselor for Salem-Keizer school district who retired last year, said she's seen children as young as six attempting suicide. Last year, there were three who were suicidal -- a little boy in first grade who attempted to take some aspirin, and a fourth grader and sixth grader who made serious suicide attempts. "We hear about kids who are jumping off of high bars, or running in front of cars," Jarman said. The growing problem has spurred many doctors to conclude that the use of antidepressants is a lesser evil -- even as they prescribe them "off-label," or without the FDA's approval. Still, some caution restraint because simple fatigue can be mistaken for symptoms. "Kids get over-stimulated," said Sandy Jordan, past president of the Oregon School Nurses Association. "They're doing sports and not eating until 7:30, and it's 10 or 11 before they go to bed." (c)1999 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1999 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Federal claims on tobacco settlement make Oregon's share uncertain (The Associated Press says the federal Health Care Finance Administration claims it is entitled to $109 billion of the $196 billion settlement that 46 states hope to receive over the next 25 years. That means Oregon's annual share of the extorted funds - originally estimated at $2.2 billion - will come out to $71.9 million during the coming budget cycle instead of $180.6 million.) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): email@example.com Federal claims on tobacco settlement make Oregon's share uncertain The Associated Press 1/25/99 7:25 PM SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- How much Oregon will get from its $2.2 billion settlement with the tobacco industry depends on a fight between the states who struck deals and the Clinton administration, which wants its own share. Oregon was among 46 states that arrived at settlement with four leading tobacco companies in November, ending lawsuits aimed at recouping Medicaid dollars spent treating smokers who were ill. The Clinton administration is basing its claim on a requirement that the government recoup its share of Medicaid dollars from any legal settlement. The federal Health Care Finance Administration claims it is entitled to $109 billion of the $196 billion the states will receive. For Oregon, which is being paid out over 25 years, that means getting just $71.9 million during the coming budget cycle instead of the $180.6 million it expected. U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., announced bipartisan legislation to block the administration from intervening, and states are threatening to sue if Gorton's plan fails. "The state would be unwise to budget money that they aren't certain of getting," said Mark Gibson, health policy adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber. The settlement leaves the Legislature free to spend its settlement money however it wants. But the Clinton administration has signaled that it's more likely to allow states to keep their tobacco money if they promise to spend it strictly on public health. "We want to work out something that would be acceptable to all," said Chris Peacock, a spokesman for the Health Care Finance Administration. He said the administration "has always said that tobacco funds should be spent on public health and to assist children." In Oregon, legislators want the money for the state health plan, but also for such needs as public transit, consumer fraud protection and a "rainy day" fund to smooth state finances in an economic recession. One way around the Clinton administration's bargaining position could be to label these other programs as health-related. "We consider ourselves part of health care," said Jacqueline Zimmer, a human services lobbyist pushing for $30 million in settlement money for senior and disabled transit. "I don't think we have any idea how much we're going to get or when we're going to get it," said Senate Majority Leader Gene Derfler, R-Salem. Jon Yunker, Kitzhaber's budget planner, said the uncertainties mean the money should maintain existing programs, not start new ones. Because the tobacco settlement led to higher prices, cigarette consumption is less than predicted. The state now predicts cigarette tax revenues will fall $30 million short of expectations. Kitzhaber would like to cover that shortfall with the tobacco settlement, Yunker said. Also, Kitzhaber would consider the tobacco money for a rainy day fund so if the settlement falls short, the budget wouldn't have to be cut, Yunker said. (c)1999 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1999 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Spending tobacco money proves tricky for lawmakers (The Oregonian version) The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Spending tobacco money proves tricky for lawmakers * With the Clinton administration seeking a 56 percent share, the Legislature considers how to budget settlement money it might not get Monday, January 25 1999 By Steve Suo of The Oregonian staff SALEM -- With an array of interests lining up before the Oregon Legislature to tap the state's multibillion-dollar legal settlement with cigarette-makers, an emerging legal battle could hamper lawmakers' ability to spend the money for public transit, consumer fraud protection and other programs. The state expects to receive about $2.2 billion in the next 25 years, $180.6 million of which is due during the coming 1999-2001 budget cycle. That cash infusion, equal to almost 2 percent of the $10.7 billion state budget, is comparable to the cost of the proposed women's prison in Wilsonville or a tax cut Republicans in the Senate are proposing. But how much money Oregon receives, how soon legislators can spend it and on what now depends on the outcome of a fight between the 46 states in the settlement and the Clinton administration, which is now trying to get its own cut of the money. The administration is basing its claim on a law that requires the government to recoup its share of Medicaid dollars from any legal settlement. The federal Health Care Finance Administration wants to take $109 billion, or 56 percent, of the $196 billion in payments states will receive through the deal reached last year. For Oregon, that means the state would receive just $71.9 million during the coming budget cycle, a loss of $108.7 million. U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., announced bipartisan legislation this week to block the administration from intervening, and state attorneys general are threatening to sue the government if Gorton's plan falls through. But getting a bill passed could take a long time, potentially leaving Oregon's settlement payment in legal limbo until after lawmakers finish the budget this summer. "The state would be unwise to budget money that they aren't certain of getting," said Mark Gibson, health policy adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber. Oregon and 45 other states arrived at the settlement with four leading tobacco companies in November, ending state lawsuits claiming that the industry violated unlawful trade and other statutes. The suits were aimed at recouping Medicaid dollars the states spent treating smokers who were ill. Particularly galling to the state attorneys general who negotiated the agreement is that Congress had the opportunity to sign off on an earlier tobacco settlement last summer and "The states fought the battle, they won the war, and it's their money. Liz Mendizabal, spokeswoman for Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire " balked. Now, even if the states succeed in getting their money, it could come with significant strings attached. The terms of the settlement leave the Oregon Legislature free to spend its settlement money however it wants. But the Clinton administration has signaled that it's more likely to allow states to keep their tobacco money if they promise to spend it strictly on public health. "We want to work out something that would be acceptable to all," said Chris Peacock, a spokesman for the Health Care Finance Administration. He said the administration "has always said that tobacco funds should be spent on public health and to assist children." Squeaky tax wheel gets grease That could prove a big disappointment to lawmakers in states such as Missouri, where Republicans already have set out to apply the tobacco settlement toward a tax cut. In Oregon, in addition to the Oregon Health Plan, legislators and lobbyists have suggested earmarking the money for elderly and disabled people who rely on public transit, for consumer fraud protection or for a "rainy day" reserve account to smooth state finances in an economic recession. One way around the Clinton administration's bargaining position could be to label these other programs as health-related expenditures. "We consider ourselves part of health care," said Jacqueline Zimmer, a human services lobbyist pushing for $30 million in tobacco settlement money for senior and disabled transit. "We're not taking them to the movies; we're taking them to the doctors." But both Kitzhaber and legislative leaders are reluctant to lock up the money too quickly. "I don't think we have any idea how much we're going to get or when we're going to get it," said Senate Majority Leader Gene Derfler, R-Salem. Jon Yunker, Kitzhaber's budget planner, said uncertainties surrounding the settlement mean the money should be targeted toward maintaining existing programs, not starting new ones. First, because the tobacco settlement led manufacturers to increase prices, cigarette consumption is less than predicted. The state now forecasts that cigarette tax revenues will fall $30 million short of what the governor projected in his December budget proposal. Kitzhaber would like to cover that shortfall with the tobacco settlement, Yunker said. Second, Kitzhaber would consider the tobacco money for a rainy day fund. Putting the money there rather than in other programs would mean if the settlement money fell short, the budget wouldn't have to be cut, Yunker said. A question for next session If the amount of the payment remains unresolved through the end of the legislative session this summer, lawmakers might decide to do nothing. If the money then came in during the legislative interim, none of it could be spent without a special session of the Legislature. Instead, it would build up until the 2001 Legislature. Much depends on what happens in Washington, D.C. A federal law dating to the 1960s says that the government must recoup a pro-rated share of payments made by third parties to Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor that states administer. For example, in the case of Medicaid fraud, the government would be entitled to recoup what it lost in Medicaid payments. Nancy-Ann Min Deparle, the federal health care finance administrator, testified before Congress in 1997 that the law would apply to a state tobacco settlement. But states now are reacting angrily to the move. Fighting for the whole pot Leading the effort to block federal intervention is Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire. "The states fought the battle, they won the war, and it's their money," said Liz Mendizabal, a spokeswoman for Gregoire. She plans to lobby for Gorton's legislation, which would exempt the tobacco settlement from existing federal law. Further frustrating Oregon officials is the fact that President Clinton on Tuesday announced that the government would file a separate lawsuit against the tobacco industry to recoup federal Medicare dollars. Why, then, does the administration want to take the states' settlement money as well, asks Mark Gardner, special counsel to Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers. Gardner said the state is ready to sue the government to protect the settlement. Cigarette sales a factor Even if the dispute is resolved, the amount of money coming to Oregon could fluctuate. The tobacco settlement says companies will pay out less if their volume of cigarette sales goes down. Furthermore, smaller tobacco companies accounting for 1 percent of the market have not signed the legal settlement, allowing them to undercut companies that have signed and raised prices to pay for it. The settlement says legislatures in Oregon and other states must pass laws to prevent that from happening -- or lose a portion of their money. Bills to do so probably would increase prices for companies that haven't signed the settlement by making them pay into an escrow account that would cover their legal costs if sued. Steve Suo can be reached at 221-8234 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Court Date Set For Medical Marijuana Activists (MSNBC/KNBC, in Los Angeles, says the federal trial of Todd McCormick, Peter McWilliams and other defendants who thought they were protected by Proposition 215 will begin Sept. 7 in Los Angeles. McCormick is also due in court March 17 for a bail revocation hearing.) Subject: US CA: Court Date Set For Medical Marijuana Activists Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: MSNBC/KNBC (Los Angeles, CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nbc4la.com/ Pubdate: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 COURT DATE SET FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACTIVISTS LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 - Todd McCormick, Peter McWilliams and others accused of growing pot for medical marijuana clubs say they have the right to do so under Proposition 215. On Sept. 7, they'll have to defend that claim in federal court. U.S. District Judge George H. King will preside over the trial. McCormick was arrested in July 1997 after authorities discovered more than 4,000 marijuana plants growing in a rented Bel-Air mansion. McWilliams and four others were arrested nearly a year later, after authorities said they had evidence that he and McCormick were plotting to grow and sell thousands of pounds of pot to sell to buyers' clubs. McCormick, who suffers from complications brought on by several bouts with a rare form of cancer, and McWilliams, who has AIDS, claim they have the right to grow marijuana under Proposition 215, the state ballot initiative passed in 1996 that decriminalized pot for medical use in some cases. Both deny alleged plans to sell pot. McCormick is due in court on March 17 for a bail revocation hearing. Prosecutors say he tested positive for marijuana use several times while free on $500,000 bail, which actor Woody Harrelson posted.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pete Brady also busted in California (A list subscriber says the bust of Steve & Michelle Kubby has obscured the bust of a visitor to the Kubbys' house, a writer for High Times, Hemp Times and Cannabis Culture magazines and a bona fide medical marijuana user under Proposition 215. On probation for a 1994 marijuana cultivation charge, Brady faces much more trouble than the Kubbys.) Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 11:14:54 -0500 From: Don Wirtshafter (don@HEMPERY.COM) Organization: Ohio Hempery 1-800-BUY-HEMP To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Pete Brady also busted in California Sender: email@example.com With all the attention being directed at the raid on the home of Steve and Michelle Kubby, one companion bust has gone unnoticed. Pete Brady was caught in the same net, probably because he was observed visiting the Kubbys during the time they were under surveillance. Because Brady is on probation for simillar conduct, he seems to be in much more trouble than the Kubbys. ACTION ALERT ABOUT ARREST OF PETE BRADY, WRITER FOR HIGH TIMES, HEMP TIMES AND CANNABIS CULTURE MAGAZINES. BY LEN GOLDING On January 21, 1999, police in Butte County, California visited the home of noted cannabis activist and journalist Pete Brady. Brady is a medical marijuana user with a bona fide Proposition 215 prescription. He is on probation for a 1994 marijuana cultivation charge. Police told him that they were going to conduct a "probation search" of his home, but their actions and questions quickly indicated that the visit was not a probation search but instead was connected to the arrest of Libertarian politician Steve Kubby and his wife Michele, which took place earlier that week. Kubby, an outspoken author and activist who campaigned to be California's governor last year, was instrumental in ensuring the passage of Proposition 215, and is himself a cancer survivor and medical marijuana user. On January 19, the Kubbys were arrested in their Olympic Valley, California home by a multi-agency task force that charged them with serious marijuana crimes, including cultvation and cultivation for sale. According to sources, agents had been surveilling the Kubbys and recording license plate numbers of people who visited them. Brady had visited them three times in 1998 while working on an article and book about Kubby, and also while working on an article for Kubby's Alpine World magazine. They traced Brady's address, and apparently believed they could convince him to implicate himself or Kubby in some vast marijuana conspiracy. Instead, they found slightly more than ounce of dried marijuana, some marijuana food, and seven small cacti which police claim are peyote cacti. Brady was charged with felony possession of peyote, possession of marijuana, and probation violations on both a state and federal level. He faces several years in prison. Brady has written several signed articles in High Times that have been critical of Butte County authorities. Unlike more progressive California jurisdictions, Butte County and many Northern California counties routinely violate Prop. 215 guidelines, due process and civil liberties. During a three-hour interrogation, police revealed that they were aware of Brady's marijuana journalism and didn't approve of it. In 1998, law enforcement officials threatened Brady after he wrote in High Times about homophobic local police harassing a gay medical marijuana user. Thus, the case involves First Amendment issues, along with those raised by Prop. 215. Brady at present lacks the funds to hire a competent attorney. Contributions to his defense fund can be sent to L. Wilson, P.O. Box 5354, Chico, Ca. 95927. *** Don Wirtshafter, Ohio Hempery Inc. Products the Earth Can Afford Call or write for our free catalog: Order Line 1-800-BUY-HEMP 7002 S.R. 329, Guysville, OH 45735 (740) 662-4367 fax (740) 662-6446 shop on line: http://www.hempery.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Laws And Big Brother (A brief letter to the editor of the San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune says government in California needs prohibition in order to keep its 32 prisons full and correctional officers employed.) Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 05:54:33 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: Pot Laws And Big Brother Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Source: San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune Website: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Section: Letters to the editor Pubdate: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 Author: Bob Holmgren POT LAWS AND BIG BROTHER To the editor: Pot laws, right or wrong, are here to stay, but five western states demand medicinal marijuana now. So? So, in order to keep our 32 prisons full and correctional officers employed, this unjust prohibition will remain. Yes, Hitler would be proud of the U.S. Remember ... control is Big Brother's way of doing business. Bob Holmgren, Cayucos
------------------------------------------------------------------- Balto. County To Provide Drug Test Kits (The Baltimore Sun says the Baltimore County Bureau of Substance Abuse will begin a pilot urine-testing program this week that will let parents know within minutes if their child has taken "drugs" and, if so, provide immediate counseling. But the newspaper doesn't discuss the ramifications of its revelation that the test to be used is only 95 percent accurate. So unless more than 5 percent of those tested have actually used prohibited substances, more kids will yield false positives than true positives.) Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 20:59:08 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MD: Balto. County To Provide Drug Test Kits Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Rob Ryan Source: Baltimore Sun (MD) Copyright: 1999 by The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper. Website: http://www.sunspot.net/ Forum: http://www.sunspot.net/cgi-bin/ultbb/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: 25 Jan 1999 BALTO. COUNTY TO PROVIDE DRUG TEST KITS Results immediate for parents requesting exam for children; 1st such program in state; Product can identify 6 drug categories, says abuse agency Baltimore County is about to unveil its latest weapon in the war on drugs: instant drug testing for children. The Baltimore County Bureau of Substance Abuse will begin a pilot program this week that will let parents know within minutes if their child has taken drugs and, if so, provide immediate counseling. It is the first government program in Maryland to offer such a service, and it is being launched in a county where more than half of all high school seniors admit to having used an illegal drug at least once. And it might become a model for similar efforts statewide. "We intend to follow the program's progress and, if it's successful, to what extent it might be replicated in other areas of the state," said Thomas W. Davis, director of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's alcohol and drug abuse administration. Michael M. Gimbel, director of the county substance abuse bureau, said that most commercial drug test kits must be sent to a lab and that results generally aren't available for a week or 10 days. Results are often given over the telephone -- sometimes with counseling over the phone. Gimbel said telephone counseling is not as effective as having a therapist in the room to help deal with the problem. "By having a counselor there, you have someone in the room who knows how to deal with a positive result, how to handle a family in crisis," Gimbel said. "If a parent gets results and they're positive, they don't necessarily know what to do." The benefit of having a counselor was evident last week when a seventh-grader expelled from Pine Grove Middle School in Carney for possessing marijuana showed up with his mother at the bureau's drug counseling center in Timonium to be tested. The mother, who asked that her name not be used, said her 12-year-old son has admitted to experimenting with marijuana in the past. But she is convinced that her son was only holding a small amount of marijuana for another pupil who took it home and smoked it. `I told you so' The youth and his mother were interviewed by counselor Jacqueline Foreman, and the boy filled out an extensive questionnaire. He was then brought into Foreman's office, where he and his mother were presented with a plastic cup. "Here, I think you know what to do," Foreman said, handing the cup to the boy. When the youth came back a few minutes later, Foreman, wearing surgical gloves, twisted the cap onto the cup until it gave a few clicks, which started the testing process. The cup includes a tiny thermometer to prove that the urine is at body temperature and just provided. Within a few minutes, two bars began appearing next to the labels for each of six drug categories, showing that the boy was drug-free. The youth showed no signs of surprise as he turned to his mother. "I told you so," he said. FDA officials say there are at least a half-dozen such "rapid result drug test kits" being marketed for use by emergency rooms, personnel departments, parole boards, public safety officials, transit agencies and others. Most of them, including the one being used by Baltimore County, are restricted to use by doctors and counselors working under a doctor's supervision, said Sharon Snider, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration. Gimbel came up with the idea for the Baltimore County program about six months ago, when a sales representative for Point of Care Technologies of Rockville visited his office with the company's version of a urine-based drug test. As a drug counselor and administrator for 18 years, Gimbel had seen his share of such kits. He liked this one -- called the Genie Cup -- because it offered immediate results. "If someone has to wait five to seven days, anything could happen. The child could run away. There could be violence in the home or wherever people get their results," Gimbel said. Gimbel calls the program PASS, an acronym for Prompt Adolescent Substance-abuse Screening. It will be available to the public starting this week at the offices of the bureau's Northern Area Treatment Program, 2 W. Aylesbury Road in Timonium, and the Eastern Area Treatment Program, 9100 Franklin Square Drive in Rosedale. Drug counselors will be available at the centers during office hours and three nights a week, and appointments will be made within 24 hours of a parent's phone call, Gimbel said. Gimbel said no parents will be turned away for an inability to pay, but a $50 break-even fee helps pay for the staff time and for the cups, being supplied to the county at a discount by Point of Care Technologies, the Rockville manufacturer. "Every kid is vulnerable right now, and if this gives parents a way to feel comfortable that their kids are clean, then it will be well worth it," Gimbel said. Gimbel's office performs about 300 drug assessments a year on youths who must complete a mandatory drug counseling program because they have been expelled from school for drugs or ordered to drug treatment by juvenile courts. Gimbel said PASS is intended for parents who want to bring their children in voluntarily, whether they are in trouble or headed that way. Spokesmen for Point of Care Technologies say they probably will use the results of the Baltimore County program to help sell their product, but say the 3-year-old company is performing a public service. What makes the company's product unique, spokesmen say, is that it can test for six categories of drugs, that the counselor needs only to twist a tightly sealed cap for the results and that the sealed cup makes for a clean testing process. "Every other drug test you have additional steps, you either have to tilt the cup, or stick a card into the cup to get a reading. With this, all you do is seal the cap," said Michael R. Pratt, president and chief executive officer of Point of Care Technologies. 95 percent accurate The Genie Cup, approved by the FDA in July, is about 95 percent accurate, and positive test results should be confirmed with more thorough clinical laboratory tests, he said. Gimbel said it will be up to the parents to decide if they want a follow-up test at a lab to confirm a positive result. He said that one problem with all drug testing is that for the most part, the tests offer only a "snapshot" of what the person taking it recently consumed. Most narcotics will stay in the bloodstream for only 72 hours, he said, but marijuana remains detectable for up to three weeks. Gimbel has ordered 300 Genie Cups from Point of Care Technologies, at a discount price of about $3 a cup. He acknowledges that he has no idea how many parents will call for appointments. "We could get 300 in a week, we could get a lot less than that. We have no way of knowing if this thing will take off or not," he said. In a society where about half of all high school seniors acknowledge in surveys trying marijuana, sales of home drug test kits have been brisk. Another manufacturer of such tests, Phamatech, of San Diego, has sold about 1,000 of its QuickScreen at Home Drug Tests since the FDA approved the test for sale in October, according to Lorraine Cogan, a Phamatech spokeswoman. "It's the kind of product that generates a lot of interest," Cogan said. The number to call for appointments for Baltimore County's PASS adolescent drug testing program is 410-887-7671.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Magistrate Attacks Drug Testing Delays (The Daily Telegraph, in Australia, says Newcastle Local Court Magistrate Mick Morahan criticised the Division of Analytical Laboratories at Lidcombe for what he called an unacceptable 10 week delay in the testing of drug samples required for criminal court proceedings. Morahan expressed concern that the problem was contributing to long delays within the court system, and the newspaper says at least one murder investigation has been impeded by the backlog.) Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 19:26:54 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Magistrate Attacks Drug Testing Delays 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: Daily Telegraph (Australia) Copyright: News Limited 1999 Website: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/ Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 Author: Frances O'Shea MAGISTRATE ATTACKS DRUG TESTING DELAYS A MAGISTRATE has criticised what he claims is an unacceptable 10 week delay in the testing of drug samples required for criminal court proceedings. The drug analysis tests can be carried out in three days. Newcastle Local Court Magistrate Mick Morahan has criticised the delay at the Division of Analytical Laboratories at Lidcombe, suggesting that NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdrey be made aware of the problem. "It may be possible he could apply some pressure so something could be done about this situation," Mr Morahan said. "Last year when there was an eight week delay they were blaming the Sydney water problem. "Now we are told the delay is an unacceptable 10 weeks." Mr Morahan made his comments after being informed by a DPP solicitor that drug analysis required for a court case to proceed would take around 10 weeks. The Magistrate expressed concern that this problem was contributing to long delays within the court system. Solicitors believe the situation could lead to a person being wrongly held in custody over a lengthy period if the sample turned out to be a non-illegal substance. The Daily Telegraph has learned the delay has also been impacting on homicide investigations with the results of toxicology tests taking up to nine weeks. "These tests can be vital in determining if a person was murdered or died some other way," a senior murder squad detective said. "Critical investigation time can be lost if we have to wait more than two months for these tests to come back." A senior manager at the Lidcombe laboratory left his position last week and new work practices are now being implemented. Professor Cres Eastman, chief executive of the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research which incorporates the laboratory, agreed that a nine to 10 week delay was unacceptable. He confirmed talks had been held with the coroners office, who had expressed dissatisfaction with the current situation. "I acknowledge there have been some problems and some delays," Professor Eastman said. "There has been discussions with the coroners office about it and it is a fact that forensic toxicology has been now cut from an unacceptable nine weeks to four weeks. "While this is an improvement I regard it as still inadequate and we are implementing reforms now to get the wait down to between 10 and 14 days. "I anticipate this target will be reached in this calendar year." Professor Eastman said when the laboratory was told a person was in custody then the sample was treated as an urgent case. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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