------------------------------------------------------------------- NewsBuzz: What Are They Smoking In Those Newsrooms? (Willamette Week, in Portland, says the Oregonian and other local media sensationalized the results of the 1998 Oregon Public School Drug Use Survey last week, suggesting the results meant "bad news on teen substance abuse." In fact, however, marijuana use among eighth- and 11th-graders was down from the previous survey in 1996, and only tobacco use among 11th-graders showed a significant increase.) Willamette Week 822 SW 10th Ave. Portland, OR 97205 Tel. (503) 243-2122 Fax (503) 243-1115 Letters to the Editor: Mark Zusman - firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.wweek.com/ Note: Willamette Week welcomes letters to the editor via mail, e-mail or fax. Letters must be signed by the author and include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Preference will be given to letters of 250 words or less. NewsBuzz: What Are They Smoking In Those Newsrooms? originally published February 3, 1999 Is Oregon really overrun with booze-guzzling, bong-hitting, glue-sniffing teenagers? You might think so based on how the local media treated the release of the 1998 Oregon Public School Drug Use Survey last week. The coverage is typified by The Oregonian's Jan. 27 headline on page D1: "Data give bad news on teen substance abuse." A reading of the survey, which polled eighth-graders and 11th-graders from across the state, showed a far less alarming story. For example: * Marijuana use among eighth- and 11th-graders was down from the previous survey in 1996. * Alcohol use was down among eighth-graders. It was unchanged for 11th-graders. * The Illicit Drug Index, which measures students' use of one or more substances excluding alcohol or tobacco, was also down for eighth-graders and unchanged for 11th-graders. In fact, of all the categories surveyed, only tobacco use among 11th-graders showed a significant increase--a worrisome sign to be sure but hardly the whole story. Barbara Cimaglio, who directs the state Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, commissioned the survey. Although she was interviewed for The Oregonian's story, Cimaglio was surprised at the tenor of most of the coverage. Charts that accompanied the article graphically displayed the improved results in some categories, but the text focused on the absolute numbers of kids using controlled substances. Although Cimaglio is quick to add that drug and alcohol use is still far too high among students, she notes that in every major category eighth-graders--presumably more receptive to anti-substance abuse messages than 11th-graders--showed improvement over the 1996 survey. "We're interpreting it as good news that we've stemmed the tide," Cimaglio says. "The media obviously want to make things more dramatic." - Nigel Jaquiss
------------------------------------------------------------------- Man commits suicide during police car chase (The Associated Press says an unnamed 18-year-old Portland man wanted on "drug" charges and being chased by police committed suicide Wednesday, sending his car through a fence and slamming into a parked vehicle.) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): email@example.com Man commits suicide during police car chase The Associated Press 2/3/99 5:20 PM PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- An 18-year-old man being chased by police committed suicide Wednesday, sending his car through a fence and slamming into a parked vehicle. Police said they found the man dead in the vehicle and a .357 Magnum pistol on the floor. His name was not released, but police said he was wanted on drug charges. He fled police in north Portland in the predawn hours after an officer tried to pull him over for an expired license plate. The gun had been reported stolen and the car was not registered to him, police spokesman Henry Groepper said. (c)1999 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1999 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Man gets 27 years in prison for killing (The Oregonian says Multnomah County Circuit Judge Joseph Ceniceros sentenced Bryant Wayne Howard to life in prison Tuesday with a minimum of nearly 27 years for murdering a rival gang member. "There is more to life than tattooing yourself, selling drugs and killing people," said the judge.) 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/ Wednesday February 3, 1999 Man gets 27 years in prison for killing * A judge sentences Bryant Wayne Howard to life with a minimum of nearly 27 years for murdering a fellow gang member By David R. Anderson of The Oregonian staff Bryant Wayne Howard should stand as a warning to young men thinking about joining a gang. That was the closest to a positive message a judge could find Tuesday as he sentenced Howard to a minimum of nearly 27 years in prison for the murder of fellow gang member Kevin Jerome Powell. "There is more to life than tattooing yourself, selling drugs and killing people," said Multnomah County Circuit Judge Joseph Ceniceros. Ceniceros challenged Howard to prove him wrong, but the judge lamented that Howard, who has a tattoo on the back of his neck that reads "Evil Minded," might be a lost cause. "From everything I've seen of Mr. Howard and everything I've seen in the courtroom, I have very little hope of him being rehabilitated," Ceniceros said. Ceniceros sentenced Howard, 23, to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years for murder, three months for being a felon in possession of a firearm and 11/2 years for violating probation on two previous convictions for felon in possession of a firearm. Ceniceros also ordered Howard to pay $2,000 toward Powell's funeral expenses and $3,000 to Powell's family for his lost wages. Howard's attorney had urged Ceniceros to sentence Howard to no more than the 25-year minimum under Measure 11 and not impose restitution. "He will be released into the community with no skills or contacts and maybe no family," said Corinne Lai. "I would suggest that is punishment enough." A jury convicted Howard on Jan. 26. Howard threw himself a going-to-prison party on Aug. 23, 1997, at his mother's house in the 7400 block of North Fenwick Avenue. A flier advertised it as a "gangsta party." Powell, who also was a Crips gang member, showed up at the barbecue. Howard, also known by his gang nickname of "Stitches Loc," considered Powell a snitch for testifying at a 1995 gang murder trial. The two men got into a fistfight. As Howard was losing, he got his 9mm semiautomatic handgun and shot Powell in the chest. While Powell was on his hands and knees, Howard shot him three more times. Ella Powell, Kevin Jerome Powell's grandmother, said Tuesday that nothing will bring back her grandson, but it was difficult for some of her family to fight the urge for revenge against Howard. "May God have mercy on him, because if it was up to some of us, we might act like he did," Powell said in court. "We hope he won't have the opportunity to do to another family what he's done to us." Howard declined Ceniceros' offer to speak. That typified Howard's attitude, said Tom Edmonds, a senior deputy district attorney. "There has been a complete and utter lack of remorse on the part of the defendant in this case," Edmonds told Ceniceros, citing an obscene comment he heard Howard make to Powell's mother during the trial.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Kubbys Prepared For Marijuana Arrests (The Auburn Journal, in California, describes the prosecution of medical marijuana patients Steve & Michele Kubby on cultivation-related charges, in spite of Proposition 215. The North Tahoe Task Force launched its investigation based on an anonymous letter claiming the 1998 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate was financing his campaign by selling marijuana.) Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Newshawk: Patrick McCartney Pubdate: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 Source: Auburn Journal (CA) Copyright: 1999 Auburn Journal Author: Patrick McCartney, Auburn Journal City Editor Contact: ElPatricio@aol.com Mail: 1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603 Note: Our newshawk tells us that this story may be on the AP wire Sat, 6 Feb. Also, "The latest news, just learned today, is that the DA is now going to refer the Kubby arrest to the county's grand jury, which by my reading may be a search for a face-saving way to get rid of this case. Stay tuned. Pat McCartney" KUBBYS PREPARED FOR MARIJUANA ARRESTS OLYMPIC VALLEY -- For six months drug investigators and Steve and Michele Kubby engaged in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. As investigators of the North Tahoe Task Force pored over details of the couple's lives for evidence of marijuana violations, the Kubbys -- tipped off about the investigation -- tidied up the loose ends of their growing operation. Launched by an anonymous letter claiming the former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate was financing his campaign by selling marijuana, the investigation climaxed Jan. 19 with the arrest of Steve and Michele Kubby on various marijuana charges. Now, the Kubbys face charges of cultivating marijuana in their Olympic Valley home, conspiracy and possession with intent to sell. A preliminary conference is set for Feb. 22 in Tahoe Superior Court. The case promises to become the highest-profile test to date of California's Proposition 215, the initiative voters approved in 1996 authorizing the use of marijuana with a physician's approval. Steve Kubby, who has adrenal cancer and was instrumental in qualifying Proposition 215 for the ballot, openly espoused the use of medicinal marijuana in the governor's race last year. Kubby finished fourth, receiving 1 percent of the vote. According to court documents filed by the multiagency North Tahoe Task Force, the investigation included interviews of Kubby associates, surveillance of the couple's home, checking their household trash and an analysis of their utility bills. But, no sooner than the anonymous letter from Marina del Rey piqued the interest of the drug task force, then the Kubbys were tipped off an investigation had begun. "They underestimated our political contacts, our influence and our friends in the medicinal marijuana movement," said Michele Kubby during an interview at the couple's Olympic Valley home. Producing evidence of the Kubbys' marijuana garden was easy for members of the task force, which includes law-enforcement officials from Placer County, the state of Nevada and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Intercepting the Kubbys' household trash, investigators found stems, seeds, leafy marijuana residue, partially smoked marijuana cigarettes and packaging for such cultivation supplies as powerful sodium light bulbs, plant vitamins and diagrams of lighting systems. Also found in the household trash were flyers addressed to law-enforcement personnel, advising them of Steve Kubby's use of medicinal marijuana, maintenance of a garden, possession of no more than 3.5 pounds of pot and his cancer condition. Christopher Cattran, a Placer County deputy district attorney assigned to the Lake Tahoe office, said he was not impressed by the Kubbys' reliance on Proposition 215. "My review of 215 is that (they had) more marijuana than necessitated by a medical condition," Cattran said Tuesday. "And there is some evidence that they furnished it to another individual observed during the surveillance." Cattran said he visited the Kubbys' house while the task force searched the residence to get a feel for the growing operation. Investigators seized 256 plants, about half of which were seedlings, in four different rooms. When officers knocked on their door on a Tuesday morning, the Kubbys were ready. As the task force searched the house, seizing plants, lights, their computer, passports and other items, the Kubbys provided letters from a physician, attorney and the president of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, who had inspected their garden. In the wake of their arrest, the Kubbys insist they are the perfect defendants to overcome police and prosecutor opposition to Proposition 215. They deny selling any of the marijuana they harvested, and point to their modest financial circumstance - $4,800 in savings and a 10-year-old car - as proof their only income is derived from Steve Kubby's online magazine, Alpine World. "We think this will be the 'Scopes Monkey Trial' of medical marijuana," said Steve Kubby. "This entire clash of cultures and ideology will be on the table." Placer County Undersheriff Steve D'Arcy said he interprets the Proposition 215 guidelines issued by former Attorney General Dan Lungren differently. "I don't think so," D'Arcy said about the Kubbys becoming a high- visibility test case. "There have been other cases before where marijuana growers were selling it and used Proposition 215 as a defense." Cattran was less certain. "We want to see justice done," Cattran said. "If it turns out ... a jury decides that 265 plants are all right, then that's justice. But if the jury decides it's just too much, justice is done then, too." *** Also: Please consider sending a Letter to the Editor of the Tahoe World, which has yet to provide the balanced, in-depth, coverage found in the above item. See their last story at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n133.a04.html Website: http://www.tahoe.com/world/ Forum: http://www.tahoe.com/community/forum/ Contact: email@example.com FAX: (530) 583-7109 Mail: P.O. Box 138, Tahoe City, CA 96145 *** Note: Additional information on this story, to include defense fund information, may be found at: http://www.levellers.org/ammo.htm *** Also: Some readers who visited the MAP's popular interactive, web browser based, chat room last weekend had an opportunity to chat with Steve about this case. You never know who will drop by to chat. For more details, just press the CHAT ROOMS button at the bottom of the MAP home page at http://www.mapinc.org/ *** The Kubbys write: Dear Friends, Your efforts are paying off. The prosecution has become so nervous over this case that they have decided to call a Grand Jury on February 16th to indict us, instead of indicting us themselves. This tactic is intended to make us look worse to the public and to shield the D.A. from being blamed directly for our indictment. All this does is show how weak their case is. Please continue in your efforts. Our attorney believes it could result in the Grand Jury refusing to indict us, forcing the D.A. to negotiate with us. Our goal is to force the D.A. and Sheriff to adopt the standards of the Oakland ordinance and to free the other 8 medical marijuana patients currently under indictment in Placer county, as well as Pete Brady, who is just an innocent bystander. The lines have been drawn--What we do in Placer County will be watched by D.A.s and Sheriffs across the country. Michele and I are grateful for your continued support. Together we will put an end to this war on sick people. Warmest regards, Steve & Michele *** KUBBY LEGAL DEFENSE FUND c/o Dale Wood Attorney at Law 10833 Donner Pass Road Truckee, CA 96161 (530) 587-3450 Alternately credit card contributions can be made on line at http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm Be sure to note KUBBY LEGAL DEFENSE FUND in the message box. DrugSense will act as the intermediary and forward your donation
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hawaiian Medical Cannabis (A press release from the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i provides background information about public hearings on the medical use of marijuana, scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 8. Senator Inouye and Governor Cayetano are advocating for patients, and the DPFH is seeking patients, physicians, and others who will testify to the positive medical benefits of smoked marijuana.) From: CLaw7MAn@webtv.net (Mike Steindel) Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 17:00:00 -0800 (PST) Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: [cp] Hawaiian Med CANNABIS List-Unsubscribe: (mailto:leave-cp-27149A@telelists.com) Wednesday, February 3, 1999 PLEASE FORWARD TO INTERESTED PARTIES *** Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i P.O. Box 61233 o Honolulu, Hawai'i o 96839 email@example.com Website: www.drugsense.org/dpfhi *** CONTACT: PAM LICHTY OR DR. DONALD TOPPING @ 808-637-9822 *** CALL FOR TESTIMONY SUPPORTING MEDICAL MARIJUANA Senator Inouye, Governor Cayetano Advocating: Hearings Begin Week of February 8 *** HONOLULU - The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i (DPFH) is seeking patients, physicians, and others who will either write and submit or write and personally present testimony on the positive medical benefits of smoked marijuana. Testimony is public and many who use or recommend marijuana for its medical benefits may be reluctant to participate. Recognizing this, the Committees are being asked to consider anonymous testimony; e.g. "Hawai'i resident, Joan L." House Hearing: date not final, but likely on Feb. 11 at 8:30 a.m. HB 1341, (Rep. Alex Santiago's Bill) & HB 1157 (Governor's Administration Bill). Senate Hearing: Feb. 17, 2:00 p.m. SB 862 (Senator Chun-Oakland's bill) & SB 1038, (Governor's Administration Bill). Complete bills may be read and printed at www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session1999/bills. Support for the use of medical marijuana in Hawai'i is gaining momentum, with Senator Daniel Inouye and Governor Benjamin Cayetano on record in favor. If Hawai'i should pass medical marijuana legislation, our state would join Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in permitting patients to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. In the District of Columbia, voters approved a 1998 medical marijuana measure according to exit polls - but Congress blocked the ballots from being counted. Between 1978 and 1998, 35 states and the District of Columbia passed legislation recognizing marijuana's medicinal value; AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, IO, LA, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, and WI. In recent years, dozens of professional medical organizations have now either joined the reform effort or have drastically modified their once-negative public medical-marijuana positions. The American Medical Association "believes that effective patient care requires the free and unfettered exchange of information on treatment alternatives and that discussion of these alternatives between physicians and patients should not subject either party to criminal sanctions." Further, the AMA is now advocating "controlled studies" and "recommends personal possession of insignificant amounts of that substance [marijuana] be considered a misdemeanor with commensurate penalties applied...". NOVEMBER, 1998 - The National Association for Public Health Policy became the sixty-fourth organization to officially call on the federal government to reconsider their opposition to the medicinal use of marijuana. Over half of the organizations on the following list are professional health care organizations, the very groups that our citizens depend upon for counsel in the care of the sick and dying. Their advice is clear - end the prohibition of medical marijuana and end it now: AIDS Action Council 1996 Alaska Nurses Association 1998 Alaska voters 1998 Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics 1981 American Academy of Family Physicians 1977 American Bar Association American Civil Liberties Union American Medical Students Association 1993 American Preventive Medical Association 1997 American Public Health Association 1995 American Society of Addiction Medicine 1997 Arizona voters 1996 & 1998 Breckenridge, Colorado 1994 British Medical Association 1997 Burlington, VT 1994 California Legislative Council for Older Americans 1993 California Democratic Party 1993 California Medical Association 1994 California Nurses Association 1995 California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church 1996 California Pharmacists Association 1997 California Society of Addiction Medicine 1997 California voters 1996 City of San Diego 1994 Colorado Nurses Association 1995 Contigo-Conmigo 1997 Cure AIDS Now 1991 Episcopal Church of the U.S. 1982 Federation of American Scientists 1994 Florida Governor's Red Ribbon Panel on AIDS 1993 Florida Medical Association 1997 Frisco, Colorado 1994 International Cannabis Alliance of Researchers and Educators (I-CARE) 1992 Iowa Civil Liberties Union Iowa Democratic Party - 1994 Life Extension Foundation 1997 Lymphoma Foundation of America Marin County Council, CA 1993 Minnesota Democratic Farm-Labor Party 1992 Mississippi Nurses Association 1995 Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse 1992 MS California Action Network 1996 National Ass. for Public Health Policy 1998 National Association of Attorneys General 1983 National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers National Association of People with AIDS National Nurses Society on Addictions 1995 Nevada voters 1998 New England Journal of Medicine 1997 New Mexico Nurses Association 1997 New York State Nurses Association 1995 North Carolina Nurses Association 1996 Northern New England Psychiatric Society Oakland City Council, California 1998 Oregon voters 1998 Patients Out of Time 1995 Physicians Association for AIDS Care Preventive Medical Center, Netherlands 1993 San Francisco City Council, CA 1992 Santa Cruz County Council, CA 1993 Stichting Institute of Medical Marijuana, The Netherlands 1993 Virginia Nurses Association 1994 Virginia Nurses Society on Addictions 1993 Washington voters 1998 A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. - James Madison - Shelby Scott Foster & Associates COMMUNICATION & MARKETING CONSULTANT The Haleiwa High-Tech Industrial Trailer Park 66-125 E. Awai Lane Haleiwa, Hawai'i 96712 VOICE 808. 637-9822 * FAX 808.637-1236 firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Don't Send The Cops (A letter to the editor of the Arizona Daily Star applauds the recent demise of Pima County's DARE program, citing several possible reasons why at least one national study has shown the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program doesn't work.) Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 17:59:09 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AZ: PUB LTE: Don't Send The Cops 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) Pubdate: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ DON'T SEND THE COPS I am not sorry to see the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program go (``DARE scrapped'' - Jan. 29). At least one national study has shown it doesn't work. Why? The answer is open to conjecture. Here are some possible reasons: * Because a lot of the information put out by the program is hyped-up, scare propaganda. * Equating marijuana with harder drugs just doesn't wash anymore, and kids know it. * Because insisting drugs will automatically ruin your life simply isn't true. The vast majority of people who use drugs do not become addicted or ruin their lives, and kids know it. * Because the average, hormone-impaired young person who thinks he or she has the savvy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the physical skills of Jackie Chan is inclined to greet inflated threats and intimidation from police officers with suspicion, if not outright rebellion. It is, after all, cool to stand up to authority. * Because in some neighborhoods, where kids have watched cops blow away a few of their friends (whether justified or not), the credibility of police officers, regardless of their sincerity, truthfulness or respectful demeanor, is automatically questioned. The problem is, drugs are dangerous and kids do need straight information from credible sources if they're to make the right choices. Give it to them through their peers, health professionals and parents, but don't try to make the choice for them by sending in the cops. It won't work. Randy Serraglio
------------------------------------------------------------------- INS agents in Nogales indicted (UPI says four current and former Immigration and Naturalization Service agents were arrested Tuesday. Three were charged with waving 20 tons of cocaine across the border in exchange for more than $135,000.) Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 11:31:29 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AZ: WIRE: INS agents in Nogales indicted Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Tue, 03 Feb 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International INS AGENTS IN NOGALES INDICTED TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 3 (UPI) - U.S. immigration officials hope the indictments of four current and former agents for allegedly waving cocaine across the Nogales, Ariz., border in exchange for cash sends a strong message. U.S. Attorney for Arizona Jose de Jesus Rivera told the Tucson Citizen today, ``Corruption will not be tolerated, and violators will be punished.'' The four inspectors will be arraigned Thursday on drug and bribery charges. Authorities arrested the agents Tuesday. They were each released on a $50,000 bond following an initial appearance in U.S. District court in Tucson. Three of the inspectors are suspected of allowing 20 tons of cocaine to cross the Nogales border in exchange for more than $135,000. The fourth suspect was arrested for illegally approving immigration documents. Authorities have declined to say how the inspectors allegedly were corrupted, or whether more arrests will be made in Nogales or other Arizona ports of entry. Stephen Fickett, INS deputy district director in Arizona, says the investigation is ongoing. Sixty-seven immigration inspectors work in Nogales. He says the INS will use this experience to learn how to prevent employees from ``turning'' in the future. Arrested for allegedly accepting bribes to smuggle cocaine were inspectors Rafael Landa, 50, Robert Ronquillo, 33, and former inspector Jesus Corella, 41. Corella and inspector Maria de Los Angeles Albado, 37, face only bribery charges.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Border Inspectors Held In Drug Case (The Arizona Republic version) Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 14:22:52 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AZ: Border Inspectors Held In Drug Case 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) Pubdate: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 Source: Arizona Republic (AZ) Copyright: 1999, The Arizona Republic. Contact: Opinions@pni.com Website: http://www.azcentral.com/news/ Forum: http://www.azcentral.com/pni-bin/WebX?azc Author: Dennis Wagner, The Arizona Republic BORDER INSPECTORS HELD IN DRUG CASE Accused of ignoring cocaine hauls into U.S. TUCSON - Mexican drug lords paid huge bribes to U.S. border inspectors in Nogales to help smuggle an estimated 20 tons of cocaine into Arizona before the operation was shut down this week, according to federal investigators. Three inspectors from the Immigration and Naturalization Service were led into the U.S. District Court here in shackles, hours after their arrests on bribery and drug charges. Investigators also arrested a former INS inspector, along with five people reputedly tied to major narcotics cartels. "The integrity of the justice system depends on rooting out corruption at all levels," said Jose de Jesus Rivera, U.S. Attorney for Arizona. "When people see law enforcement that's corrupt, it affects the whole nation." Stephen Fickett, district director for the INS, said there are more than 3,000 inspectors in Arizona, "and it is a shame that the actions of a few will tarnish so many." Fickett said Border Patrol agents and inspectors are under tremendous pressure because of the danger inherent to their jobs, but also because of cash temptation held out by narcotics smugglers. "There is constant pressure on our employees to take those bribes," Fickett added. "We will cut out the corruption. We will cut out the rot." Authorities said the border inspectors operated independently and apparently were unaware of each others' activities. They said the indictments, after more than a year of investigations, prove that drug-enforcement efforts are working, and set an example for other law officers who may be tempted. Rivera said he believes the case, dubbed "Operation Ghost Boat," puts a crimp in the cocaine pipeline across Arizona's border. But officials acknowledged that although 2,500 pounds of cocaine were impounded in a pair of seizures, an additional 37,500 pounds made it into Arizona. They also conceded that they have no idea how many other law officers may be on the take. The indictments were handed up Jan. 27, but kept sealed until Tuesday. All nine suspects live in the Nogales area. The INS inspectors who were arrested are: Robert Ronquillo-Rojas, 33, accused of taking more than $32,000 in bribes to allow drug-laden vehicles through a Nogales checkpoint last year. Ronquillo, who had worked at the border 12 years, is also charged with attempting to distribute cocaine. Rafael Landa, 50, faces charges that he collected $30,000 for allowing vehicles into the country with cocaine in June and September of last year. But investigators believe his total take was more than $300,000. Landa, who worked on the Nogales border 21 years, also is accused of attempting to import and distribute cocaine. Maria de Los Angeles Alabado, 37, is accused of taking bribes in return for issuing entry permits to immigrants. Jesus Corrella, 41, a former INS employee at the Nogales port of entry, reputedly accepted $75,000 in return for allowing a 1,289-pound shipment of cocaine through the border in June of 1996. Although vehicle inspections are the domain of U.S. Customs agents, law officers along the border are routinely cross-trained. Officials said it was routine for INS inspectors to check automobiles. A bribery conviction carries maximum penalties of up to 15 years in prison plus fines of $250,000. The drug charges could bring maximum penalties of 40 years in prison and $2 million in fines. In addition to the law enforcement officials, indictments were handed up against Jose Quiroz-Gonzalez, 48, and Fernando Suarez, 36, for conspiracy to import and possess 1,200 pounds of cocaine; Theresa Estrada-Portillo, 35, for conspiracy to possess cocaine; and Roberto Terrazas-Aviles, 40, and Victoria Perez Abreu Sepulveda, 34, for conspiracy to possess marijuana and the importation of 275 pounds of marijuana in 1998. Investigators said those suspects have ties to the Rafael Caro Quintero and Amado Carillo Fuentes cartels, two of Mexico's narcotics syndicates.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Border Inspectors Face Constant Temptation (The Arizona Daily Star says agents for the federal Office of the Inspector General have arrested 18 employees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service on drug-related corruption charges in the past five years, apparently including four Nogales inspectors indicted yesterday. But 27 other INS workers have been arrested for alleged corruption related to immigration documents.) Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 23:16:56 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US AZ: Border Inspectors Face Constant Temptation Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Wednesday, 3 February 1999 Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ Author: Tim Steller, The Arizona Daily Star BORDER INSPECTORS FACE CONSTANT TEMPTATION The inspectors in the booths at Nogales aren't tense just because of traffic jams. Temptation also troubles them, Immigration and Naturalization Service official Stephen Fickett said. ``There is constant pressure on our employees to take bribes. They are always being subjected to the possibility of being blackmailed,'' said Fickett, deputy director of the INS' Phoenix office. While Fickett insists the vast majority of INS employees are law-abiding, he and others acknowledge the temptation is great. One drug trafficker on the California border offered an INS employee $45,000 for a permanent residency card last year, said T.J. Bondurant, the assistant inspector general for investigations. For an inspector who makes a base salary of $23,000 the first year, that's a huge temptation. A retired Drug Enforcement Administration official, Phil Jordan, said corruption is a ``necessary ingredient'' for smuggling drugs across the Mexican border. ``It's part of the master plan that the cartels have,'' said Jordan, former director of the DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center. The Office of the Inspector General, which investigates wrongdoing within the Justice Department, investigates many corruption allegations each year along the Mexican border, Bondurant said. In the past five years, OIG agents along the border have arrested 18 INS employees charged with drug-related corruption. Twenty-seven more were arrested for alleged corruption related to immigration documents. In a task-force effort along the California border, federal prosecutors indicted seven allegedly corrupt agents in 1995 and 1996. Bondurant said his office is concerned about the increasing number of Justice Department hires along the border. ``You have a large influx of inexperienced people assuming very responsible positions along the border,'' he said. ``That makes them more vulnerable.'' That is more true of the Border Patrol, which is increasing by 1,000 agents per year nationally, than of the INS. The number of immigration inspectors along the Arizona border more than doubled in 1996, from 102 to 208. But in the two years since, their number has grown only by eight to 216. New inspectors earn about $23,000 per year but often make $10,000 or more in overtime pay, said INS spokesman Bill Strassberger. The base salary may increase by $5,000 the next year. To get the job, applicants must either have a bachelor's degree or a high school diploma and three years' work experience. They must take an aptitude test, then, if selected, go through a background investigation. The investigator talks to neighbors, checks fingerprints, and reviews credit histories and work experiences. Then, after a medical exam, the applicant attends an 18-week training course in Glynco, Ga. Fickett is confident the INS' hiring practices root out potentially corrupt inspectors, partly because hiring was centralized in one office four years ago. ``In the recent hiring push that we've made, I don't think we've cut any corners. In fact, if anything, in the last four years the integrity of the hiring process has improved,'' Fickett said. All four Nogales inspectors indicted yesterday have at least five years' experience, and one has about 19. That inspector, Maria de los Angeles Alabado, is paid a salary of $47,951 per year. Colleague Rafael Landa, with five years' experience, makes $35,228 per year. Inspector Robert Ronquillo, with eight years' experience, is paid $36,329 per year. No salary information was available for Jesus A. Corella, who resigned in October 1996, about four months after allegedly receiving a $75,000 cash payment from drug traffickers. [SIDEBAR:] CORRUPTION ON THE BORDER * Gary P. Callahan, a Border Patrol agent based in Bisbee, was convicted of skimming cocaine from loads he helped seize, then reselling it, beginning in 1988. After fleeing to New Zealand, he was extradited, tried and sentenced to 27 1/2 years in prison in May 1993. Rodolfo ``Rudy'' Molina Jr. conspired to import 1,100 pounds of cocaine in 1990 and 1991, while working as an Immigration and Naturalization Service inspector. He was sentenced to 30 years, five months in prison, in February 1992. * Donald L. Simpson took part in the same 1990-91 cocaine conspiracy with Molina while working as a U.S. Customs Service inspector in Douglas. He was sentenced to life in prison, also in February 1992. * Ronald M. Backues, a Border Patrol agent based in Douglas, admitted trafficking marijuana in 1990 and 1991 but was acquitted of cocaine-related charges. He was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison in October 1992. * Jesus B. Pacheco, a U.S. Customs Service inspector in Douglas, allowed a marijuana-laden pickup truck to pass through his inspection station in July 1992 in return for a promised payment of $4,000. He was sentenced to 5 2/3 years in prison in July 1993. * Jesus B. Teran, an INS inspector at Douglas, conspired to distribute narcotics in 1992. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1995. * Jorge L. Mancha, a Border Patrol agent based in Douglas, conspired to import cocaine and marijuana from 1992 to 1995. He was also convicted of money laundering. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. * Francisco G. Haro, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department deputy, transported cocaine in his patrol car in 1996 and 1997. He was convicted of drug and corruption charges and was sentenced to 11 years in prison in September 1997.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Gov. Bush 'Very Interested' In White House Run (Reuters says Texas Governor George W. Bush, son of the former U.S. president, told CNN in an interview broadcast Tuesday that there was nothing in his background to disqualify him from running for president, but dodged a question about whether he had ever used "drugs." The elder Bush told the French daily newspaper, Le Figaro, in an interview published Wednesday, that "There was a time when he drank a lot, but for the past 11 years, he hasn't touched a drop. He was never an alcoholic, it's just he knows he can't hold his liquor," Bush said.) Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 17:58:04 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Gov Bush 'Very Interested' In White House Run Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: David Hadorn (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. GOV. BUSH 'VERY INTERESTED' IN WHITE HOUSE RUN WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Texas Gov. George W. Bush said in an interview aired Tuesday that there was nothing in his background to disqualify from running for president, but dodged a question about whether he had ever used drugs. Bush has not announced whether he will seek the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, although he said in an interview with CNN: ``I'm very interested.'' Polls indicate that the eldest son of former president George Bush is the early front runner in the race for the Republican nomination among politicians who have said they are running or are considering running. During the CNN interview, Bush acknowledged that he had quit drinking because ``alcohol began to compete with my energies.'' Asked whether he had ever used drugs, Bush said, ``I'm not going to talk about what I did as a child. It is irrelevant what I did 20 to 30 years ago. What is relevant is that I have learned from any mistakes I made. I do not want to send signals to anybody that what Governor Bush did 30 years ago is cool to try.'' The elder Bush, who served in the White House from 1989-93, told French daily Le Figaro in an interview published Wednesday that his son would probably run for president, but it would be understandable if he declined over worries about how his candidacy would affect his family. The former president said journalists already were trying to dig up damaging revelations from his son's past. ``So my son could tell himself, 'I run the second-biggest state in the country and I do a good job. Why inflict the pain of a run for the White House on my family?' and I would understand that he give it up,'' Bush said. ``But he is honest and strong. I think there is a good chance he will run,'' he added. The younger Bush, who has job approval ratings of 87 percent in Texas, has admitted to youthful indiscretions, saying he used to drink alcohol heavily. ``He's 53, so he's had time to pull himself together. There was a time when he drank a lot, but for the past 11 years, he hasn't touched a drop,'' the former president was quoted as saying. ``He was never an alcoholic, it's just he knows he can't hold his liquor,'' Bush said. Asked in the CNN interview about any problems with alcohol, the Texas governor said, ``Probably no more so than others that you know.'' But he noted that he had quit drinking ``because I was drinking too much ... Alcohol began to compete with my energies.'' Noting President Clinton's impeachment trial in Washington and the departure from politics of others who had admitted marital infidelity, CNN asked Bush if there was a ``lapse in judgement'' in his past. ``No,'' Bush answered. ``I have said many times that there's nothing in my background that would disqualify me from being governor of Texas, much less president.'' Bush noted his strong appeal to Hispanic voters and said that could help him if he decided to mount a campaign for the presidency. ``I think I understand how to talk about the future so that people feel the future belongs to them,'' he said, adding, ''I've got a pretty good handle on Hispanic culture.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rates For Cirrhosis, Drinking Don't Add Up (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says a report in today's issue of the Wisconsin Medical Journal paradoxically shows that Wisconsin has the highest rate of alcohol consumption in the nation - 69 percent - but one of the lowest death rates from cirrhosis of the liver. Wisconsin also has the nation's fourth-largest per-capita alcohol consumption rate, at 3.4 gallons for every man, woman and child every year. Nationwide 51 percent of Americans consume alcohol, at a per capita rate of 2.5 gallons per person.) Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 23:16:54 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WI: Rates For Cirrhosis, Drinking Don't Add Up 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) Pubdate: February 03, 1999 Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ Fax: 414-224-8280 Forum: http://www.jsonline.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimate.cgi Copyright: 1999, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Author: Neil D. Rosenberg of the Journal Sentinel staff RATES FOR CIRRHOSIS, DRINKING DON'T ADD UP Seemingly contradictory measures in state surprise and puzzle researchers If drinking were a game of craps, Wisconsinites would be beating the house. Much to the chagrin of local researchers, a study has found that while Wisconsin leads the nation in percentage of drinkers and is among the leaders in total consumption, the state has one of the lowest death rates for cirrhosis of the liver. "Surprised?" said Patrick Remington, one of two authors of the report in today's Wisconsin Medical Journal. "Yes, we were surprised." Wisconsin ranked the highest among the 50 states in the overall percentage of drinkers -- 69%. Nationwide, half the states had an overall drinking percentage of 51% or higher. The state's per capita consumption -- the amount of alcohol consumed, then divided among every man, woman and child -- ranked it fourth in the country at 3.4 gallons a person. That compares with the national per capita consumption of about 2.5 gallons a person, or 26% less than Wisconsin. Yet liver cirrhosis causes about 350 deaths a year in Wisconsin, ranking the state 43rd in the nation for cirrhosis mortality rates from 1990 to 1994. Cirrhosis of the liver is directly linked to drinking -- albeit excessive drinking. Call it the Wisconsin Paradox. It is reminiscent of the so-called French Paradox, a nation whose diet is among the highest in fat in the world, yet whose residents have among the lower rates of heart disease. Part of the answer may lie in France's wine consumption. Moderate amounts of alcohol consumption, and specifically red wine, have been linked to lower risk of heart disease. But the Wisconsin Paradox, as it relates to drinking and cirrhosis, has left researchers groping for an explanation. One possibility: Even though in raw numbers the amount of alcohol consumed here is high, the high percentage of drinkers means that what each Wisconsin drinker actually consumes is less than drinkers in other states. "If you have two states with the same level of drinking but in one state you have more drinkers, in that state each drinker is not consuming as much," said Remington. The risk of cirrhosis increases with chronic heavy drinking, estimated to be six to 12 drinks daily for men, and four to eight drinks daily for women, over a period of 15 to 20 years for men and 10 to 15 years for women, according to the research report. "The fact that in the U.S. as a whole, 50% of alcohol is consumed by the 10% of heaviest drinkers, probably does not apply to Wisconsin," according to the researchers, Remington and Mari Gasiorowicz. Remington is an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. Gasiorowicz is a senior outreach specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's department of professional development and applied studies. That assumption is offered despite the fact that Wisconsin also is No. 1 in the country in the rate of binge drinking and chronic drinking. But the chronic drinking rate was based on a survey that defined it as two or more drinks daily. The takes the report to its final conclusion: "Given the large body of research indicating that chronic heavy drinking is the primary risk factor for cirrhosis, finding that chronic heavy drinking as measured (in Wisconsin) . . . is minimally correlated with cirrhosis mortality merits further study."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Boogie's Logic (A letter to the editor of the Little Rock Free Press, in Arkansas, from one Bob "Boogie" Oliver, says "Every issue of the Free Press that addresses the war on drugs has been right on in their analysis," but then paradoxically comes out against the war, saying "the law against drugs is the main problem.") Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 13:06:36 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AR: PUB LTE: Boogie's Logic Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: James Markes Pubdate: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 Source: Little Rock Free Press (AR) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.aristotle.net/FREEP Author: Bob "Boogie" Oliver BOOGIE'S LOGIC: I am 60 years old. I have traveled the USA for 22 years with a major corporation. I worked my way through high school picking cotton, mowing yards, etc. I started working on computers in 1969. That caused me to change the way I analyse things. I take the input to my brain and come out with the most logical answer in much the same way as a computer. I have always called Little Rock home. Every issue of the Free Press that addresses the war on drugs has been right on in their analysis. In the war on drugs (or war against the people) there have been many casualities. I'm sure we all have a friend or relative that has either been killed or had his or her life ruined in this war. Now let's apply logic to this situation. Have all these people including police officers been killed because of drugs or because of the law against drugs. The only logical answer is the law against drugs is the main problem. Without the law against drugs, most of these people would be alive today. The laws have ruined more lives than drugs ever could. When a lawmaker tells you the laws are to protect you, that is an absolute lie. The only purpose for these laws is to give certain people the power to kill, persecute, prosecute and rob the people. These people can stop you at any time to search and humiliate you. If any drug substance is found or planted on you, they have the power to take your car, home and money. They don't even have to find drugs to take your money. If you have more cash than they think you should, they can take and keep it. Drug laws have turned friend against friend and family against family. The laws have undermined the entire American way of life.They take the scum of the earth and use them as snitches to put hard working people in prison. Where is the logic of putting a 20 year old in prison for one joint? The only logical answer to this problem is to eradicate the laws on drugs and take the fate of your children out of the hands of the police and courts and put them back in the hands of family and friends who care. No wonder the young people in this country don't vote. Bob "Boogie" Oliver Little Rock
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tobacco, Crack Raise Miscarriage Risk (According to UPI, a study in tomorrow's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Agency on Health Care Policy Research, found cigarettes to be deadlier than crack cocaine to unborn babies. Marijuana and alcohol did not have a similar effect, said Roberta B. Ness, who led the research on 970 pregnant women and who is the director of the Women's Health Program at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. She points out, however, that a mother's drinking can harm babies in other ways.) Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 23:33:58 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: Tobacco, Crack Raise Miscarriage Risk Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International Feedback: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_forms/sn_ctact.htm TOBACCO, CRACK RAISE MISCARRIAGE RISK BOSTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) - Cigarettes deadlier than crack to unborn babies, but both substances raise the risk that a woman will suffer a miscarriage, says a new study. Roberta B. Ness, who led the research on 970 pregnant women, says those who smoked had 80 percent more miscarriages. Women who had evidence of cocaine use, identified through hair analysis, had a 40 percent higher risk of losing their babies. Ness says her work ``is the first study to show that cocaine use is linked with subsequent risk of miscarriage.'' There were 400 miscarriages among the women, she says. She says, ``Tobacco smoking is a bad thing to do at any juncture, but it is extremely bad during pregnancy.'' This is particularly troubling, she says, because young women are the fastest growing segment of the population taking up smoking. Although researchers don't know why these substances appear to kill fetuses, Ness speculates they might be restricting the flow of oxygen, essentially choking the baby in its womb. But other mechanisms may also be at work. She says, ``We do know that tobacco smoke is comprised of many toxic substances.'' Marijuana and alcohol did not have a similar effect, says Ness, director of the Women's Health Program at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. She points out, however, that a mother's drinking can harm babies in other ways. The study appears in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. It was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Agency on Health Care Policy Research. Tobacco and cocaine use were measured by women's own reporting and by urine and hair analysis. Future research will look at the impact of genetics and domestic violence on miscarriage, she says. Ness says national studies show that about 20 percent to 25 percent of women smoke while pregnant, and in some communities, the rates are higher. In the low-income group she studied, about one third of the women were smoking throughout pregnancy. Cocaine use is harder to pin down, but some scientists estimate that about 5 percent of women of childbearing age have used the drug. In the new study, about 30 percent of the women had evidence of cocaine use. Ness says the extremely high rate reflects the study population, which was poor, young, unmarried women. Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse says, ``This research emphasizes that virtually any exposure to illicit drugs is dangerous for a pregnant woman and her fetus.'' But other scientists are not so sure of the results. In an editorial accompanying the study, James L. Mills, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development calls the research ``impressive,'' and says that it ``adds weight to the view that cigarette smoking increases the risk of spontaneous abortion.'' But he says the findings on cocaine ``do not make an impressive case'' for the drug's role in fetal death. He says there was no evidence of cocaine in the urine of women who had miscarriages, only signs of it in hair analysis, which weakens the conclusion. Mills says, ``a positive association with both hair and urine tests would have been more convincing.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study links miscarriages to cocaine, tobacco use (The Reuters version) Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 14:05:47 -0800 (PST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Darral Good) To: email@example.com Subject: HT: study finds tobacco worse for babies than crack Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Wednesday February 3, 10:41 pm Eastern Time Study links miscarriages to cocaine, tobacco use By Leslie Gevirtz BOSTON, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Smoking tobacco and crack cocaine may account for one-quarter of spontaneous abortions experienced by poor black inner-city women, researchers report in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. The link between tobacco and miscarriage has been known for years and the new study confirms it, showing 80 percent more spontaneous abortions among women whose urine had evidence of cigarette use. The connection between cocaine use and miscarriage has been more controversial and is likely to remain so, even though the new study, led by Dr. Roberta B. Ness of the University of Pittsburgh, showed a 40 percent increase in the miscarriage risk when cocaine was used during pregnancy. However, an accompanying editorial by Dr. James L. Mills of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development wrote that technical questions about the Ness study remain and therefore the results ``do not make an impressive case for cocaine as a cause of spontaneous abortion.'' About 15 percent of clinically recognized pregnancies end in spontaneous abortions, making it the most common adverse outcome, Ness said in a telephone interview. She and her colleagues used hair analysis and urine tests to compare the drug use of 400 black women who had a miscarriage to the drug use of 570 who had not. The study ``is really a reflection of women who use the inner-city emergency department as their primary source of care,'' Ness said in a telephone interview. The hair analysis showed 29 percent of the women who miscarried had used cocaine; urine testing showed 35 percent smoked tobacco. Among women who did not miscarry, 21 percent had used cocaine and 22 percent smoked tobacco. Those who used cocaine ``usually smoked it. It was crack use, not snorting,'' Ness said. The results suggest that cocaine was responsible for 8 percent of the miscarriages and smoking caused 16 percent, so researchers said the two substances ``together would account for 24 percent of the spontaneous abortions among these inner-city adolescents and women.'' The researchers found no link between miscarriage and marijuana use.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Nation - Reprising Zero Tolerance (The New York Times, noting the plan announced this month by New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir to seize the vehicles of drunk drivers, interviews Dick Weart, who, a decade ago, was the ombudsman for the federal government's zero-tolerance drug crackdown. From his desk in Washington, he fielded frantic telephone calls from customs inspectors all over the country who had just turned up a few marijuana seeds or a roach in a car or boat. Within 18 months, the program had been revised three times, evolving into a relatively lenient approach in which people were cited and released without any confiscation of their property.) Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 16:43:25 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: Reprising Zero Tolerance Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Darral Good) Pubdate: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ THE NATION - REPRISING ZERO TOLERANCE WHEN New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir announced a tough new plan this month to seize the vehicles of drunk drivers, he might have had a talk first with Dick Weart. A decade ago, Mr. Weart was the ombudsman for the Federal Government's zero-tolerance drug crackdown. From his desk in Washington, he fielded frantic telephone calls from customs inspectors all over the country who had just turned up a few marijuana seeds or the end of a marijuana cigarette in a car or boat. ''I was on the phone from seven in the morning to seven at night,'' he recalled. ''There were times when I was pulling my hair out.'' Every case, it seemed, had extenuating circumstances. Such crackdowns have been highly popular with politicians and law-enforcement officials, but after the the klieg-light hype, the programs are usually quietly dumped or throttled back. The Federal Government's drug program, a model of the genre, was announced in 1988 by the Customs Service Commissioner, William von Raab. ''There will be no mercy,'' he vowed. And for a while, that seemed to be true. His inspectors, sometimes with the help of the Coast Guard, confiscated thousands of cars and boats from people caught with small amounts of drugs, regardless of whether they were the owners. But within 18 months, the program had been revised three times, evolving into a relatively lenient approach in which people were cited and released without any confiscation of their property. (Federal agents still use forfeiture laws, but mostly against large-scale drug dealers and money launderers.) It was a chaotic time, Mr. Weart recalled. ''The simplest incident could evolve into something very serious,'' he said. One incident involved a college student who had driven his father's Ferrari to a party in Mexico, he recalled. Trying to reenter the United States, the student realized that the small amount of marijuana in the car might be enough to get it seized. So he tried to evade inspectors by roaring through the Customs entry lanes. ''It matured into something very serious,'' Mr. Weart said, including charges of marijuana possession and endangering a Federal agent. When applied to boats, the policy seemed to exaggerate the disparity between the seriousness of the crime and the severity of the punishment. Within weeks of the introduction of the policy, authorities had seized the Ark Royal, a $2.5 million yacht, after finding less than one-tenth of an ounce of marijuana on board. NOT long afterward, Federal agents confiscated the country's premier research vessel, the Atlantis II, owned by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, because a tiny amount of marijuana had been found in a crew member's shaving kit. The boat was not formally returned to Woods Hole for two months. And a multi-million-dollar vessel owned by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California was seized after dogs found a small amount of marijuana hidden in the berth of a low-ranking crew member. Those and other high-profile seizures brought as much attention to zero tolerance as criticism. But notwithstanding the problems, Mr. Weart said, the program sent a strong message. It pleased criminal justice conservatives, but enraged scores of motorists and boat owners -- not to mention civil libertarians -- who made the same criticisms that are now being raised about New York's drunk-driver policy. They complained that such Draconian steps entangle law-enforcement and court personnel in time-consuming wrangles when they could be better deployed elsewhere. Since the nation's earliest years, Federal authorities have used forfeiture laws to seize the property of people who violated Customs and tax laws, said Sandra Guerra, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center. Later, they were used against people who made liquor during prohibition, she added. But in applying the law to drunk drivers, she said, officials may be imposing a punishment disproportionate to the crime. Other experts said the crackdown might never make it through the New York courts. ''I think people who drive drunk and hurt people should be punished,'' said Steven L. Kessler, a New York lawyer and an expert on asset forfeiture in the state. ''Unfortunately, the Administrative Code as written doesn't permit it.'' Mr. Safir defended the program, saying that seizing the vehicles of drunk drivers means taking a weapon out of the hands of potential criminals. ''I can't tell you how many times I've been to the scene where somebody was killed, and the drunk driver had been arrested three or four times before,'' he said. ''Nothing is perfect, nothing is going to solve the problem totally, but we believe this is a very good start.'' The policy would be administered ''reasonably,'' he said, and exceptions will be made when drunk drivers are operating someone else's car. ''I think there are lots of people who will think twice about drinking and driving if they think they are going to lose their car,'' he said. ''I really do.'' Captioned as: The border crossing at San Ysidro, Calif., was one of the main targets of the zero tolerance push a decade ago.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prison Drug Program Draws Suit (The Philadelphia Inquirer says an inmate at a New Jersey state prison who was convicted of "drug" use and "drug" possession has sued the Department of Corrections, saying that when he asked to be removed from the religion-based Nu Way drug-treatment program, he was told he would lose his eligibility for a community-release program. Staff frequently led group meetings in prayer and invoked God's name, but the inmate was told that if he quit Nu Way, he would be punished with a "failure to comply" charge.) Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 16:43:09 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NJ: Prison Drug Program Draws Suit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 Source: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Copyright: 1999 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Contact: Inquirer.Opinion@phillynews.com Website: http://www.phillynews.com/ Forum: http://interactive.phillynews.com/talk-show/ Author: Angela Couloumbis PRISON DRUG PROGRAM DRAWS SUIT An Inmate In Bridgeton Says The Inpatient Program Offended His Religious Sensibilities CAMDEN -- An inmate of a New Jersey state prison has sued the Department of Corrections, saying that when he asked to be removed from a drug-treatment program that he asserts is religion-based, he was told he would lose his eligibility for a community-release program. In the lawsuit, Walter Corker, who was convicted in May of drug-use and drug-possession charges, contends that the Department of Corrections placed him in an inpatient drug-abuse program called Nu Way whose staff frequently led group meetings in prayer and invoked God's name. Corker, a prisoner at the South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, writes that his "religious sensibilities [were] shocked" by the mention of God's name during group sessions, and that he felt the program was "using the Lord's name in vain by connecting 'HIM' to the ilk of addiction." Corker said he wrote numerous letters to the program administrator, the prison administration, and officials at the Department of Corrections, stating his objections, but received either no response or "the runaround." He also said that Nu Way staff first became "angry" and then refused his request for transfer out of the program. Corker said he was told that if he quit Nu Way, he would be punished with a "failure to comply" charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 days detention and 90 days of segregation; and that the charge would be forwarded to the state Parole Board and become part of his permanent record. In the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Corker said he was "scared to sign out because of the adverse effects that signing out would have . . . on his future chances of ever being able to benefit from a community-release program." Julia Campbell, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, could not say yesterday whether Nu Way was prayer-based, or what the penalties were for withdrawing from the drug-treatment program. But Campbell did say that Nu Way was part of the state prison system's "therapeutic communities" -- intensive substance-abuse programs that place inmates outside the mainstream prison population. She said that 1,267 inmates out of the state's total inmate population of 24,132 participate in such communities. Campbell said that on average, inmates stay in those communities for nine months, but no longer than 12 months. When they complete the program, inmates are placed in a preparole program and eventually released to specially trained parole officers. According to information provided by the Department of Corrections, Nu Way was launched in September as part of an initiative by Gov. Whitman to increase the number of treatment programs for addicted offenders. The $1.3 million program was developed by the state Department of Corrections' Office of Drug Operations, and is funded through the federal government. According to Campbell, housing a prisoner in a therapeutic community costs $81 a day, $8 more than it costs to keep an inmate behind bars.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rolling Stone Magazine Being Sued (The Associated Press says the private corporation in Culver City, California, that administers DARE, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, wants $50 million, alleging it was libeled in a March 1998 article by freelance writer Stephen Glass, who said the program tries to "silence critics, suppress scientific research and punish nonbelievers." Glass later admitted making up an unspecified portion of the story. The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that Rolling Stone sought a derogatory article about DARE to further editor-publisher Jann Wenner's "ongoing efforts to discredit anti-drug organizations.")Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 16:42:45 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Wire: Rolling Stone Magazine Being Sued Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE BEING SUED LOS ANGELES - D.A.R.E, an anti-drug program used in schools across the country, has sued Rolling Stone magazine for $50 million, alleging it was libeled in an article written by a journalist who admitted making up part of the story. The March 1998 article by freelance writer Stephen Glass said the Culver City-based program tried to "silence critics, suppress scientific research and punish nonbelievers." D.A.R.E. has a separate $10 million libel complaint against Glass. The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that Rolling Stone managing editor Robert Love requested a derogatory article about D.A.R.E. to further editor-publisher Jann Wenner's "ongoing efforts to discredit anti-drug organizations." Love and Wenner also are named as defendants. "We are taking action against Rolling Stone to defend our reputation and recoup the damages incurred by these libels," said D.A.R.E president Glenn Levant. Love countered that his magazine acted responsibly. "We are confident that the magazine will be vindicated," he said. "We view this libel action as little more than an attempt to intimidate and discourage legitimate debate on the viability of the D.A.R.E program," Love said. Glass was a writer for the New Republic when he confessed to making up stories for that magazine and others where he freelanced, including Rolling Stone. He was fired from the New Republic and is now a law student at Georgetown University. D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, was founded by the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1980s during the tenure of former police chief Daryl F. Gates. Under the program, police officers visit elementary school classrooms to explain the dangers of drugs. In recent years, D.A.R.E. has expanded to include lessons on such topics as violence, cigarette smoking and date rape.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Immigration Inspectors Indicted (The Associated Press says three current and one former inspector for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service have been indicted on bribery charges in Phoenix, Arizona. The three current INS agents are accused of allowing suspected cocaine traffickers to pass through the Nogales port of entry in exchange for cash. The fourth is alleged to have taken money to approve immigration documents.) Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 08:28:53 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US AZ: Immigration Inspectors Indicted Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press IMMIGRATION INSPECTORS INDICTED PHOENIX (AP) - Three current inspectors and one former inspector for the Immigration and Naturalization Service have been indicted on bribery charges, federal officials announced Tuesday. Three of the indicted are accused of allowing vehicles believed to have been transporting cocaine to pass through the Nogales port of entry in exchange for cash. The fourth is alleged to have taken money to approve immigration documents. The indictments, along with five others of alleged drug smugglers, were the result of a special investigation of public corruption by the Southwest Border Task Force of the Nogales port of entry. "Corruption will not be tolerated and this case is an example of the success that cooperative law enforcement can have," said U.S. Attorney Jose de Jesus Rivera said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- First Do No Harm - An Overview Of Dutch Tolerance (The Little Rock Free Press, in Arkansas, travels to the Netherlands to study Dutch drug policy. Tolerance seems to be the official party line, taught in school and church. The Dutch make it hard not to be ashamed of the United States. "The normal American citizen has such an idiotic picture of drugs," says Herman-Louis Matser of Adviesburo Drugs. America's influence on Dutch drug use has been profound. Oregon and California marijuana growers originally developed the strains of high-potency pot the Dutch have been perfecting.) From: Phillip Coffin (PCoffin@sorosny.org) To: TLC_ACTIVIST (TLCACT@sorosny.org) Subject: FW: An Overview Of Dutch Tolerance Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 11:51:26 -0500 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Wed, 3 Feb 1999 Little Rock Free Press (AR) http://www.aristotle.net/FREEP mailto:email@example.com Note: The Little Rock Free Press is a bi-weekly 'Newspaper for the Rest of Us' FIRST DO NO HARM: AN OVERVIEW OF DUTCH TOLERANCE by Will Swagel A baggy pants Vaudeville comic greets his funny-faced friend. "Just back from Paris, Pal? How was it?" "Great!" says the friend. "Eiffel Tower. Left Bank. But what got me the most was the kids. So smart! Four, five years old and already speaking French!" It helps to remember this joke when talking to youngsters in the Netherlands - a place where tolerance seems to be the official party line, taught in school and church. Some version of harm reduction - the philosophy of accepting some of society's blemishes so as not to do more damage trying to stamp them out - is pretty universally accepted in this northern European country of 15 million. Remembering the punchline may even be more important when talking to Amsterdam police officers or Dutch government ministers. Hearing a detective express sympathy and acceptance of the hard drug addicts in his midst - you have to remember it's part him, of course, but partly the way he was raised. The same when you hear a Dutch member of the European Parliament state proudly that she helped establish cannabis coffeeshops earlier in her political career. They make it hard not to be ashamed of the United States, where the percentage of citizens in prison (approaching 2 million) is the highest in the developed world - nearly that of Russia, according to figures compiled by the Sentencing Project. Where politicians advocate draconian Prohibitions of increasing numbers of behaviors to win elections. And where, despite these policies (or because of them) rates of youth drug use and abortions soar. Back in the Cafe Ebeling, I am telling Amsterdam sociologist Bart van Heerikhuizen that in Alaska, a man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for growing marijuana in commercial quantities. I tell van Heerikhuizen - the father of a 17-year-old and a 13-year-old - that in my home town, a teenager was charged with a felony for having residue in a marijuana pipe on the school grounds - making him have to - at the very least - answer "yes" to that question on job applications and submit to drug testing for the rest of his life. "Shouldn't you include this in your article, too?" van Heerikhuizen all but cries out. "It is so strange for a Dutch person to hear this kind of thing!" Later van Heerikhuizen tells me the Dutch have an expression for U.S.-style Prohibition: "Mopping the floor when the faucet is running." "The normal American citizen has such an idiotic picture of drugs," says Herman-Louis Matser, who works with recreational drug users for an Amsterdam drug policy and service organization, Adviesburo Drugs. "Such a prejudice has nothing to do with the truth. Because people are told lies, now you have to act as though the lies are true?" The Dutch get angry when you question their tolerance - an important part of a national identity they sometimes claim not to have. Question their beliefs and you run the risk of hearing criticisms of such "Americanisms" such as the "24-hour economy"(the Dutch close shops at 6:00 pm and aren't open on Sundays), welfare "reform" and employee downsizing. The Dutch themselves say their tolerance and willingness to accept new, and often disquieting developments, stem from being a small nation, dependent on trade with often more powerful partners. "When you have to make a deal with someone, you don't talk about your political preference or your religious preference," van Heerikhuizen explains. "The Dutch government is more pragmatic than most governments, they look at things in a very real way," says Susan LaPolice, a former U.S. Midwesterner who has spent five years in Holland working with cannabis coffeeshop and seed companies and is now importing and distributing hemp products in Europe and the U.S. "They look at harm reduction - what is the least harm to society and they control things from that. Not from a Puritan attitude. As realists." I've caught Hedy D'Ancona on a good day, A former Dutch minister of health and now a Netherlands representative to the European parliament, D'Ancona's Social Democrats and the liberal Left in general gained substantial ground in Holland's multi-party election just days before I spoke with her. "All over Europe, things are liberalizing," D'Ancona says. "Ireland, Greece and Portugal - traditionally among the most repressive countries in Europe toward abortion and other moral issues - have loosened their grip. Even hyper-critical France seems to be coming over to a Dutch-style tolerance in questions of soft drug use. Now, only Sweden stands out as a bulwark of Prohibitionist policies." "In Ireland, homosexuality was forbidden," D'Ancona notes, "and now it is forbidden also to discriminate." "(Marijuana decriminalization), you can say they made that more formal in Belgium and Italy and they are busy doing that in Spain and Portugal," she says. "You can smoke marijuana and you are not in court. Except Sweden." D'Ancona has always supported the cannabis coffeeshops, but shares the view of many other Netherlanders that there was not enough regulation of the establishments at the beginning and too many opened in too short a time - a number of them in Amsterdam, catering largely to drug tourists from the United States and England. But this doesn't make D'Ancona back off from her long-held beliefs. "I am in favor of the coffeeshops for harm reduction," she says. "Because on the street corner today, no marijuana. Only heroin and cocaine. Our deepest purpose was to separate (hard and soft drugs) and we succeeded in that." Western societies that wish to follow the Dutch lead may have problems, says Amsterdam clinical psychologist Andre Tuinier, who could represent the leading edge of tolerance for drug use. The editor of the psychiatry and sociology journal, the Deviant, this former member of the 1960's protest group the Provos, now teaches and works with drug user organizations. "There is very limited room for the idea that using drugs can be an expression of curiosity or can be a very legitimate defense against the invasion of our mind by the dominant culture," he says. "Together with a number of advanced control mechanisms, the dominant culture that has taken root in the West includes the idea that you should only have one consciousness." "The counterculture is no longer a starting point for unity," Tuinier rues. "The defense of people who want to use (drugs) is very weak. I always hear some arguments in terms of harm reduction - that marijuana or heroin is not harmful. I want to see arguments showing that it can be clearly beneficial. And the same goes for (psychoactive) mushrooms and tea. We have to defend the right to (do it) and not just be reactive." America's influence on Dutch drug use has been profound. Oregon and California marijuana growers originally developed the strains of high-potency pot the Dutch have been perfecting. American hard drug users popularized IV heroin use in a population that had been smoking the drug. Defending U.S, policies is an easy way to pick a fight with Susan LaPolice. "Separating hard and soft drugs is the first step," she says. "Bless your dying day that American youth are smoking marijuana and not taking the harder stuff." LaPolice's fear is that the police pressure targeted on marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms and other soft drugs - along with disinformation campaigns - make it harder for experimental-minded youth to make wise choices. Hard drug users and their advocates say the more difficult and expensive hard drugs are to obtain, the greater the problems with associated crime, overdoses and increased rates of use. The equation works beyond just drugs. Arrests of prostitutes, say advocates of "sex workers", only drives the problem into dark corners where both prostitutes and clients may be harmed. "It's always a game of cat and mouse," says Joep de Groot, a veteran police officer, who's seen it all in his three-plus decades patrolling Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District. "The police can't win. You don't want them to win." "That's the problem I think with the American police," he says. "They think they can win. But if you win, you lose. Because if you win, you are causing more problems." "Better to have a few drug victims than an intolerant society," says Adviesburo's Matser. I tell him in the U.S. we're told we need to sacrifice the few addicts to protect the whole of society from drugs. "You think you sacrifice the few," Matser counters. "But you sacrifice it all. Because the whole society gets the sickness."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bitter Pills: Inside The Hazardous World Of Legal Drugs (The Journal of the American Medical Association reviews the new book by Stephen Fried, a medical investigative reporter from Philadelphia who begins by describing his wife's misfortune with prescription drugs. Over several years he grew aware that severe complications from use of a medication are widespread. Initially the book seems a vendetta against drug companies and the US Food and Drug Administration. Much of the book describes in detail drug research, drug approval, market forces on drug companies and the medical industrial complex, and the FDA regulatory process. Criticisms aside, the book is overall informative and engaging. It serves as an excellent primer and source of information for consumers of medication and professionals alike.) Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999 00:34:25 +0000 From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject:  JAMA -- Bitter Pills: Inside The Hazardous World Of Legal Drugs Pubdate: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA. 1999;281:469) Copyright: 1999 American Medical Association. Contact: JAMAemail@example.com Website: http://www.ama-assn.org/public/journals/jama/ Reviewer: Robert G. Gillio, MD, Lancaster, Pa Section: Books, Journals, New Media, Drugs BITTER PILLS: INSIDE THE HAZARDOUS WORLD OF LEGAL DRUGS, by Stephen Fried, 432 pp, $24.95, ISBN 0-533-10383-0, New York, NY, Bantam Books, 1998. Bitter Pills is three books in one. The author, a medical investigative reporter from Philadelphia, describes his wife's misfortune when samples of a quinolone antibiotic led to neurologic and psychiatric sequelae and his own reactions and interactions. Over several years he grew aware that his wife not the only one who had suffered--severe complications from use of a medication are widespread. These complications included neurological and neuromuscular problems such as confusion, disorientation, seizures, and weakness. Initially, dozens and then more than 100 patients were identified with such problems. Fried intertwines his wife's story with what initially seems a vendetta against drug companies and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Much of the book describes in detail drug research, drug approval, market forces on drug companies and the medical industrial complex, and the FDA regulatory process. In the course of the descriptions, which are narrative and anecdotal rather than analytical, the reader learns about the pharmaceutical industry and the authors' investigative findings. The third portion of the book is meant as an aid for the lay reader. It features a glossary of drug terms, a useful interpretation of the package insert, and a directory of Web sites for more information. Included are suggestions for how to make your physician aware of appropriate drug history information. An example of a personal-medication portion of a medical history is included for the reader's use. Bitter Pills is not kind to any of the major players. The public is portrayed as naive, physicians as defensive, ignorant, or greedy. Drug detail staff are seen as manipulative salespeople pushing products from unethical manufacturers, and the FDA is "understaffed, overwhelmed and unduly bureaucratic." Yet, positive aspects of each are also highlighted. Readers will be educated as to the history of the FDA, the drug regulatory process, and recent behind-the-scenes activities in drug withdrawals. Readers may be chagrined to realize that they have consumed or prescribed pharmaceuticals with a much higher level of ignorance than they had imagined. The book does a good job of explaining such terms as "drug detail person," "FDA approval," "black box warning," "indication," "adverse reaction," "formulary," and "post-market surveillance." The author recounts the adventures and misadventures of FDA involvements with thalidomide, Halcion, Omniflox, Seldane, and Primatene Mist. I had a lot to learn, despite an unusual level of awareness regarding medication problems (I am a physician and inventor who has devoted part of his career to solving drug compliance problems by developing medication dispensing systems, MedSelect Systems). Nevertheless, I learned a great deal about the package insert and problems with postmarketing surveillance for drug complications. With limited time for reading, I found myself annoyed by the book's format. It could be considerably shorter had it not been written in the first person, intertwining the wife's experiences and the investigation into FDA pharmaceutical issues. I would have made better use of a concise treatise on the pharmacological industry and its regulation, while the personal story could stand alone and the guide for consumers be reduced to a pamphlet for widespread distribution. Criticisms aside, the book is overall informative and engaging. It serves as an excellent primer and source of information for consumers of medication and professionals alike and is well indexed and readable. I would recommend Bitter Pills to anyone who uses or prescribes pharmaceuticals.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bitter Pills, by Stephen Fried, Prologue (A list subscriber posts the prologue to the new book about how and why the pharmaceutical industry developed into such a deadly but unrecognized disaster.) Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 09:18:09 -0600 From: davewest
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Bitter Pills by Stephen Fried, Prologue Good book. Recommended. Here's the Prologue. davewest *** BITTER PILLS BY STEPHEN FRIED C. 1998 BANTAM BOOKS PROLOGUE It began with a pill. One pill. My wife's gynecologist gave her samples of a new antibiotic to treat a urinary tract infection so minor, she didn't even know she had it. The doctor told her to take this new wonder drug twice a day for three days. Your doctor gives you a pill, you take it. When I left for work the next morning, 1 said good-bye to Diane as she swallowed the first pale yellow oval tablet with breakfast. Six hours later I was bringing her, delirious, to the emergency room. Our lives haven't been the same since. Diane called me at work several hours after she took that pill and said she felt strange. I knew something was really not right, because my wife comes from a long line of "it's just a flesh wound" stoics who underreact to all physical discomfort. She said she was disoriented and hallucinating. Her mouth was dry, and she felt tingling in her left arm and hand. She was having trouble talking. After we spoke, she found herself wandering around in her small home office, and when she located her desk, she couldn't figure out how to turn off the computer she writes on every day. When she went to lie down, she started shaking uncontrollably and then saw white. She was sure she was dying. Then she heard the phone ring. It was me, calling to see if she was feeling any better. Luckily, she was able to reach over, pick up the receiver and mumble to me about what was going on. I called her gynecologist, who told me to take her to the hospital. When the cab got me home from the office, I found Diane lost in her closet. She stammered that she wanted to get dressed to go out but couldn't find her white shirt. I looked down and saw that it was an inch from her hand. Married people can afford to panic only one at a time, so I pretended I was not scared as I helped her on with the shirt and took her to the hospital closest to where we live in Philadelphia, which happens to be Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest hospital in America and one of the very best. As Diane spoke--haltingly, elliptically--to the ER doctors, more symptoms emerged. Her jaw was terribly sore from clenching against what we assumed had been a seizure. Her pupils were fixed and dilated, like blobs of black ink. She said she felt as though something were "melting" just behind her green eyes. It was late Friday afternoon at the ER, just before the weekend rush, so we got a good, slightly private, curtained-off area. An emergency medicine specialist and several neurology residents tag-teamed in and out of our space. Each one asked a slightly different version of the same questions. I worried that we weren't being clear because there didn't seem to be any accumulation of knowledge taking place. They all had tests they wanted Diane to perform. "Spell the word 'world' backwards," one asked. She did it and was then asked to name the U.S. presidents in reverse chronological order. "Can you spell 'world' backwards?" the next one asked. Then he requested that she touch her finger to her nose. "I'd like you to try to spell--" the next one began. "--yeah, yeah," Diane said, "'world' backwards." But she was bobbing in and out of full lucidity. Only seconds after cracking a joke, her mind would be sluggish again, and she would barely respond when I stroked her cheek or her shoulder-length brown hair. After nearly five years of marriage, this was the first medical emergency we ever had to face. The only thing that kept me from really losing it was a woman in the next cubicle who already had lost it. Dragged in by the police in the middle of a major psychotic episode, she screamed continually in English and Chinese about everything from her husband's homosexuality to her close personal friendship with the president of the United States. Her screams pierced the crackly trauma calls from ambulances all over the area, which were being broadcast on a loudspeaker system for the ER staff to monitor. The combined noise was oddly stabilizing, a constant reminder that things could be considerably worse. After several hours of neurological exams, the word came back-from a place called the Poison Control Center--that all of Diane's symptoms had been previously reported as reactions to the antibiotic she took. The drug is called Floxin. She had, as we now say, been "Floxed." My wife took a pill. It made her sicker than she was before. World backwards. Tell me about it. The ER doctors, however, were not through with us. They still wanted to run more tests. Even though Diane's symptoms, such as "acute delirium," were consistent with a reaction to the Floxin, they could also be caused by a brain tumor, a stroke or a big horrible infection with larger neurological implications, like spinal meningitis. They wanted to do a CT scan. I got to sit in the CT control room and watch the machinery visually slice and dice. There is nothing quite so frightening as watching your loved one's brain being scanned for tumors, especially when you're not exactly sure what a normal brain looks like. But it is also very moving to peer directly into your wife's mind. What spouse hasn't at one time or another wished to be able to do that? Back in the ER after a clean scan, we were then told the prevailing wisdom about all adverse drug reactions: that the effects would subside when the medication left her system. And we were sent home--with a supply of the milder, cheaper antibiotic she probably should have taken in the first place for her urinary tract infection (UTI)--to wait for that to happen. On our way out, we walked past the main ER desk. On the wall behind it was a light box for reading X-rays, which was still illuminating pictures from the inside of Diane's brain. To the left of the viewer was a shiny metal towel dispenser. It was adorned with Floxin advertising magnets that had been left by some enterprising drug sales rep. At that moment I thought the Floxinalia would actually make a nice detail for our emergency room horror story, the recitation of which would commence as soon as Diane was fine, ostensibly in a couple of days. But her symptoms did not disappear as promised. Some waned, but new ones developed. Besides the "melting" and the fixed pupils, she had really aggressive, buzzy insomnia, visual distortions that made the world seem six-dimensional and aphasia: she would get halfway through a sentence and just couldn't get the rest of the words out. For a woman with a high school trophy for "best negative debater" sitting on a shelf behind her desk, this was probably the scariest symptom of all. Over the next two weeks, she endured an electroencephalogram (EEG), which tests electrical function in the brain; a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of her head, which offers more structural detail than the CT scan; and a spinal tap, to check the cerebrospinal fluid for infections, as well as some blood work. All these tests just to rule out any other possible explanation for her continuing symptoms than an adverse reaction to the drug--the same drug that was supposed to be long gone from her system. While the tests themselves were creepy, what they were testing for was absolutely horrifying. I found myself weighing which awful result would be most acceptable, watching the life we had planned to have pass before my eyes. The tests all came back on a Thursday, one of the most harrowing days of our lives. As we were read the results over the phone' by our internist, I found myself mentally checking off all the nightmares that had been eliminated by the process--"brain tumor, no; stroke, no; AIDS, no." But Diane still wasn't well. The doctors concluded that the drug reaction had triggered some genetic predisposition to neurological illness. Since her body hadn't been able to correct the situation naturally, she would need to take a combination of heavy-duty drugs, each with its own possible side effects, to do it. If, in fact, it could be done at all. But at least that urinary tract infection had cleared up. It has now been five years since Diane got Floxed. In that time, we have learned more than we thought we'd ever want to know about what has been called "the other drug problem." The one with legal drugs. Since that day in the emergency room, I have been on a quest. An investigative journalist and exasperated husband, I am trying to find out if my wife was the victim of a pharmacological foul-up or just a statistically acceptable casualty of "friendly fire" in the war on disease. I am also trying to find meaning in our experience, a married couple searching for each other through a medical emergency that never seems to end, the siren never completely quieted. Along the way, I have met the people behind the studies, the statistics, the press releases and the lawsuits: heroes, scoundrels, geniuses and idiots, victims and victimizers, the amorphous "less than one percent" of the population who have the adverse reactions you read about in the fine print on your drug labels and even the people who massage the numbers to get them under one percent. I have seen close up what happens at that moment when science officially becomes commerce, when exciting new drugs are handed over from the lab nerds to the marketing types. I have watched everyone in the pharmaceutical food chain describe everyone but themselves as unhealthy arrogant. I have seen the world's top drug cop, the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), excoriated as a "thug," a "bully" and even a "killer" by an industry-friendly legislator. And I have listened to the head of one of America's largest drugstore chains turn to me and growl, "These drug companies always hide under the cloak of 'We're these great research and development houses and without us there would be no medications. l think they're full of shit." The Europeans have a very elegant word for a certain type of drug safety research. The word is pharmacovigilance, and it refers to research that is supposed to be done after a drug has been approved and we're taking it. Because the people who do this work are the sole link between the pharmaceutical world and the real world and are often the bearers of unwelcome news, they sometimes seem like pharmacovigilantes. Over these years, I have been doing my own form of pharmacovigilantism. I use my press credentials to move effortlessly between the camps warring for control of your medicine cabinet. My quest began with tracking down everything I could find about Floxin. But I realized that the only way to understand what had happened to Diane was to see beyond one pill and journey to the heart of the legal-drug culture: the international pharmaceutical industry, the government drug police in countries large and small, the physicians, the researchers, the pharmacists, the nurses, the consumer advocates--and the patients who unwittingly place their blind faith in this system. In college there was a book we had to read for political science class called The Dance of Legislation, about how a bill becomes law. Since Diane's drug reaction, I have been investigating politicized science and watching "the dance of medication"--how a pill becomes law. Much to my surprise, I found that the world of legal drugs is actually far more fascinating than its illicit counterpart, where we journalists generally focus our attention. It can also be more dangerous. While pharmaceutical science has made some medical miracles almost routine, the sheer size of the legal-drug world means that its problem areas are bigger than the entire illegal-drug problem. For example, far more people die each year from adverse reactions to prescription and over-the-counter medications than succumb to all illegal drug use. Illicit drugs kill anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 Americans a year. The estimates for U.S. deaths from legal drugs range from 45,000 to over 200,000 per year, which represents roughly 2 to 9 percent of the 2.3 million Americans who die annually from all causes. Of course, many people take many medications without experiencing such problems. Asking questions about what government regulators were doing about the drug reaction problem also became my way of infiltrating the FDA, an agency so misunderstood that it is easy to overlook its omnipresence in our lives. The FDA is responsible for regulating 25 percent of America's entire gross national product and its policies are the benchmark for world regulation of drugs and medical devices. The work done by understaffed national agencies like the FDA has never been more important, because in all too many cases, the new economics of health care have transformed drugs from one possible treatment into the only possible treatment--or at least the only reimbursable treatment. In the past five years, drug sales in U.S. pharmacies and outpatient clinics have risen more than 50 percent and the total number of prescriptions dispensed, more than 2 billion a year, has risen over 25 percent. The vast majority of those increases are attributable to managed care's growing use of drugs to avoid hospitalization. Drugs have become not only the tail that wags the dog but the tail that feeds the dog, trains the dog and makes the dog do tricks. And the growing power of the pharmaceutical industry is being controlled by a shrinking base of owners. Not only are the huge "drug houses" merging with each other and streamlining, but they are buying the firms that decide which drugs will be made available to patients in HMOs and other managed health care organizations. The companies also control the flow of information about medicines. The drug industry now funds, directly or indirectly, almost all the research done on drug products and almost all the drug education doctors get after medical school. Most of the destigmatizing public-awareness advertising campaigns about illnesses are paid for by the companies whose drugs are used to treat or in some cases define those illnesses. And more than ever, drug companies are end-running physicians' authority by advertising directly to consumers, which is why your magazines and newspapers are overflowing with pharmaceutical ads, your favorite TV shows are interrupted by pleas to "ask your doctor" about drugs and your doctor is quietly wincing every time he or she is "asked." It's a situation that can easily turn unhealthy and too often does. Companies can't always be counted on to do "the right thing" when they're faced with. a tough choice between profit and public safety. Experts in the field are growing worried about where the in-house "conscience" of these companies will be found, especially when firms with sterling reputations merge with their less high-minded competitors. While drug therapies grow stronger and more profitable every day, the system that is supposed to assure the safety of those drugs is getting relatively weaker, an economic and bureaucratic liability easily targeted for downsizing. Even as computers and easier international communication make more drug safety efforts possible, the chasm between what ca, be done and what is being done to keep us safe grows constantly larger. Ten years ago, the bottom-line business practices of the pharmaceutical companies were considered by many to be the dark underside of health care. Today, all of health care is being run like a drug company. It's no wonder that, more than ever, patients and their doctors feel-well, pillaged. How unhealthy is the legal-drug culture? I put that question to two of the world's leading minds in drug research during a big clinical pharmacology cocktail party. The two disagreed on the extent of the risks to everyday medicine-takers: one thought patients were too scared, while the other thought we might not be scared enough. But they shared a general perspective on the state of the pharmaceutical art. "The amazing thing about this world," one said, sipping his drink, "is that everybody in it is really trying to do the right thing. If you look hard, you won't find many real villains. Yet the whole thing is still so messed up." This is a book about how it got so messed up. It is what I wish I had known about drugs before my wife took that one pill. In 1979 an international conference that some consider the Woodstock of drug safety was held in Kyoto, Japan. Its goal was to make some sense of a legal drug disaster that most people have never heard of, even though it affected as many patients as thalidomide. It was an outbreak of an irreversible neurological condition, sometimes leading to blindness and degeneration of the spinal cord, that was caused by an over-the counter medication for intestinal disorders and diarrhea so widely used that some people sprinkled it over their breakfast cereal as a preventive measure. There were some 10,000 cases in Japan, and smaller numbers in twenty-five other countries where the drug was sold. It took nearly fifteen years to finger the drug as the culprit. And even though the epidemic in Japan stopped almost immediately after the drug was banned, one of its three manufacturers continues to insist the condition was caused by a virus. During the course of this five-day conference, a call went out for a New International Pharmaceutical Order. Almost twenty years later, with all our advances in medical treatment, we are still waiting for that New Order. While pharmaceutical science has obviously made great strides since 1979, it is amazing and horrifying how many of the complaints about pharmacovigilance brought up at the conference are just as valid today. Some are actually more valid, because recent economic pressures have dramatically narrowed what was once a comfortably broad margin of error in all matters medical. Back then, fewer illnesses were treated only with drugs and fewer strong drugs were available over the counter, allowing people to haphazardly self-medicate. If something isn't done, the price we will pay could be far more than the health of the patients who get the drug reactions listed on the impenetrable, mind-numbing package inserts that come with our medicines. A growing number of experts are worried how the casual, often irrational use of antibiotics will affect our ability to treat infectious disease. They believe our refusal to take drugs seriously will eventually unleash untamable viruses that could kill huge numbers of people--perhaps the planet's entire population. Their fears were recently confirmed with the discovery of a new strain of staph, one of the first infections ever conquered by medicine, that is impervious to even our strongest intravenous anti-infectives. it was caused, researchers believe, by stupid, unwarranted use of antibiotics. That's how you spell world backwards, doctor.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Smoking Out The Hypocrites (Deborah Orr, a columnist for the Independent, in Britain, ponders the fall of Tom Spencer and hypocrisy's role in the drug war as she recounts the extremely relaxed Sunday she spent last summer with a prominent but unnamed British member of the European Parliament, sharing a couple of joints of "skunk" marijuana.) Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 18:02:13 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Column: Smoking Out The Hypocrites Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Herb Zachary Pubdate: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 Source: Independent, The (UK) Copyright: Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Author: Deborah Orr SMOKING OUT THE HYPOCRITES I spent an extremely relaxed Sunday with a prominent MEP, sharing a couple of joints of skunk There are 87 British MEPs, just 15 of them Conservative, and they all seem united in their lack of sympathy with Tom Spencer's fall. His crimes, the law enforcers have made it abundantly clear, do not amount to very much in their book - a spot fine and no further questions asked. The politicians, however, take a sterner view and need nothing less than the ruin of a solid and useful political career. It's an emerging pattern. The law no longer feels it useful to mete out serious punishment on some matters - particularly for crimes involving personal drug use - but employers take up the gauntlet instead, not just in high-profile cases such as this one, but routinely as workplace drug-testing becomes ever more prevalent. Why is it that employers can be judge and jury, while judges and juries are not considered to be necessary in resolving these matters? Surely there is something intrinsically unfair and undemocratic in the trend towards civil punishment. I for one find Tom Spencer's blanket civil punishment for a ragbag of crimes and misdemeanours confusing, especially when no guidelines beyond media speculation are given as to what the sacking offence was. Everyone's agreed that it's not because he's gay, while the legal action taken against him suggests that he's not considered to be a criminal, because he has not been charged. Even the gay videos seem to have been not porn as such but a memento from a lover who had been sanctioned by his wife. It must surely be the gram and a half of cocaine that he told customs he was also carrying which made his position untenable, but I think it's important that this should be precisely and publicly stated. We can't carry on lumping class A and class B drugs in together as equally heinous, because it's no longer making any sense at all, to either adults or children. I'd certainly welcome some clarity on the matter, because there's one thing I know for sure. Tom Spencer isn't the only MEP who has ever inhaled cannabis. Last summer I spent an extremely pleasant and notably relaxed Sunday afternoon with a prominent MEP, with whom the assembled company shared a couple of joints of skunk weed. He didn't appear to be a habitual user, nor did he seem to be an ingenu. Although he of course knew that smoking dope was illegal, his actions suggested that he was not remotely in agreement with the law on this matter (despite the fact that his publicly stated views on drugs have suggested a different view). Maybe he's forgotten the entire incident, for the drug did have a minor detrimental effect on his short-term memory. He telephoned us later in the day and explained jovially that after leaving the party he had treated himself to a post-prandial nap. Falling asleep to the sound of Radio 4 paying tribute to William Burroughs, who had died the previous evening, he awoke to hear some biographical details about Samuel Taylor Coleridge drifting from the radio. "Goodness," he thought. "This is a heavy weekend for druggie writers! They're dropping like flies!" A few moments later, he recalled that in fact Coleridge had been lost to the world some time before that weekend, and put his temporary lapse down to the heady substance he'd partaken of after lunch. His call to share this with us confirmed that he clearly considered the whole experience to have been an amusing adventure and nothing more. Now his memory appears to have failed him again, because he feels no need to stand up and be counted alongside Tom Spencer as a cannabis dabbler. Certainly, Spencer has broken the law in using cannabis, but this gentleman has too. I have no wish to name Pothead MEP number two, because, along with his penchant for a little blow, he has another thing in common with Tom Spencer. He is a good and diligent member of the European Parliament, committed both to Europe and to his British voters. We certainly can't afford to lose people of his calibre over a crime such as this one, any more than we can afford to lose Tom Spencer. Anyway, such a cull, if embarked on, would be massive. A fifth of new MPs who joined the Commons after the last election admit to having taken cannabis; Clare Short got herself into hot water for hinting that some of her ministerial colleagues had taken cannabis, and even MPs who themselves have never taken cannabis can be no more certain than Jack Straw that they speak for their nearest and dearest, too. This is the central reason why the Government's enthusiasm for zero tolerance for even class B drugs is ill-advised and, in broader terms, is why the law and and the police appear unwilling to enforce such a policy. Schools too, have sensibly declared themselves unwilling to exclude pupils who are caught with cannabis. And even the drugs tsar, Keith Hellawell, seems reluctant fully to embrace the mantra of his masters, as he advises that employees failing drug tests should be offered help and not their P45s. Unappointed guardians of the nation's moral welfare would be best advised not to apply zero tolerance to cannabis, either. In a recent survey 53 per cent of the population admitted to having tried it. They can't all be forced to resign from their jobs. And we can't operate sensibly as a society with a degree of hypocrisy as huge as this and so very plain to see. Just as I have to square the decent, intelligent MEP with a fat joint in his hand with the man who won't lift those same fingers to defend his fellow Europhile, children up and down the country have to square information demonising dope smokers with glimpses of their upstanding and otherwise law-abiding parents doing odd things to cigarettes after they're supposed to be in bed. I'm reminded of my dope-smoking friend who was asked whether she'd be taking her children on the legalise cannabis march organised by this paper's sister, The Independent on Sunday, under the editorship of Rosie "Rizla" Boycott. "God, no," she guffawed. "They'd be absolutely furious if they found out that that stuff their mother smokes was actually an illegal substance!" Like her, I don't particularly want to rock the boat. I don't think cannabis should be legalised immediately, but I do think that general attitudes to drugs, and particularly drugs education in schools, should fully reflect the tolerant attitudes displayed by the legal profession and the police towards cannabis offences. I don't even reject links between cannabis and harder drugs. As heavy drinkers are more likely to smoke, smokers are more likely to be cannabis users, and cannabis users are more likely to use hard drugs. We have as much chance of changing this pattern as we have of achieving prohibition of alcohol. Legality and illegality has little to do with it, beyond the fact that pushing people into the black market to obtain something as ubiquitous as cannabis may not be helpful in breaking the soft drugs-to-hard drugs chain. But I do think that we have to be absolutely honest if we are to bring up our children to understand the true dangers of drugs. Children don't like being lied to, and the use of cannabis is too widespread for them to know only what they are told about it at school. They ought to be told what the New Scientist has told us: alcohol use is more damaging than cannabis use. Then they'll have far more reason to believe their teachers when they are told about the very real dangers of far more dangerous drugs. All the withdrawal of Tom Spencer from public life has taught them is that we're as unsure about what's right, what's wrong and what's tolerable as they are. It's not much of a message. Edward McMillan-Scott, who led the delegation of Tory MEPs asking for Spencer's resignation, should now give a clear and unequivocal statement explaining just exactly why it was that his colleague had to go, and which of his crimes, if committed by other elected representatives, would lead inexorably to their own resignation.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dutch Lawmakers Vote to Lift 1912 Ban on Brothels (The Associated Press says an overwhelming majority in the Netherlands' lower house of parliament passed the bill Tuesday, saying officials could better control crime if sex clubs were legitimate businesses. The legislation still needs to be passed by the upper house before it can become law. The bill is an attempt to crack down on the use of underage girls and illegal immigrants, as well as to control trafficking in illegal drugs and weapons.) Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 19:27:20 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Wire: Dutch Lawmakers Vote to Lift 1912 Ban on Brothels Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (email@example.com) Pubdate: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press DUTCH LAWMAKERS VOTE TO LIFT 1912 BAN ON BROTHELS AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Dutch lawmakers have passed a bill to overturn a 1912 ban on brothels, saying officials could better control crime if sex clubs were legitimate businesses. The legislation sailed through the lower house of parliament Tuesday with the support of an overwhelming majority of lawmakers. It still needs to be passed by the upper house before it can become law. Although prostitution itself is legal in the Netherlands, running bordellos remains against the law. Still, they have long been allowed to operate in certain districts as long as they follow strict standards for health and fire safety. The bill is an attempt to crack down on the use of underage girls and illegal immigrants as prostitutes. There are an estimated 30,000 prostitutes in the Netherlands. Supporters of the bill say it will lead to tighter regulations that would help the government make sure only women 18 or older are employed by brothels, and stop the recruitment of foreign women for the sex industry. It also aims to control trafficking in drugs and weapons, which often occurs in the seedy neighborhoods where bordellos tend to flourish.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Weekly, No. 84 (The original summary of drug policy news from DrugSense opens with the weekly Feature Article - Protecting yourself against overzealous law enforcement, an essay inspired by the arrests of Steve & Michele Kubby, by Mark Greer. The Weekly News in Review features several articles about Drug War Policy, including - Pentagon changes policy on use of troops in war on drugs; Program pays students to snitch on classmates; ACLU questions aspects of drug search in schools; Balto. County to provide drug test kits; Senate backs bill to add drug prosecutors; Banks' big brother; and, From the hill, evidence of our decline. Several articles about Prisons include - Prison system grows fat from fear and greed; State's prisons not keeping up with increase in prisoners; and, Prisons aren't answer to drug problem. Articles about Marijuana include - Medicinal marijuana law leads needy to distribution impasse; Cannabis club founder gets six-year sentence; Marvin Chavez doesn't deserve jail time; and, Dope show! arresting Kubby may have been Prop. 215 opponents' worst mistake. International news articles include - Jails nearing crisis: report [Canada]; Colombia's internal security; Drug trafficking through Cuba on the rise, investigators say. The weekly Hot Off The 'Net alerts you to "Drug Crazy," reviewed in the Los Angeles Times. The Quote of the Week cites Jay Leno, from a story in the Washington Post. And a Special Notice proffers thanks to DrugNews Screeners Don Beck and Kevin Fansler.) Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 14:09:05 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: DrugSense Weekly February 3, 1999 #084 *** DRUGSENSE WEEKLY *** DrugSense Weekly, February 3, 1999, No. 84 A DrugSense publication This newsletter is available on-line at: http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/1999/ds99.n84.html TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, DONATE OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS NEWSLETTER NOTE: To better serve our subscribers we will be changing our publication day to Thursday for the next few weeks. We are also considering settling on Friday as our publication day. If you have a preference please let us know by replying to MGreer@mapinc.org *** TABLE OF CONTENTS: * Feature Article Protecting Yourself Against Overzealous Law Enforcement by Mark Greer * Weekly News in Review Drug War Policy- (1) Pentagon Changes Policy on Use of Troops in War on Drugs (2) Program Pays Students to Snitch on Classmates (3) ACLU Questions Aspects of Drug Search in Schools (4) Balto. County to Provide Drug Test Kits (5) Senate Backs Bill to Add Drug Prosecutors (6) Banks' Big Brother (7) From the Hill, Evidence of our Decline Prisons- (8) Prison System Grows Fat from Fear and Greed (9) State's Prisons Not Keeping Up With Increase in Prisoners (10) Prisons Aren't Answer to Drug Problem Marijuana- (11) Medicinal Marijuana Law Leads Needy to Distribution Impasse (12) Cannabis Club Founder Gets Six-year Sentence (13) Marvin Chavez Doesn't Deserve Jail Time (14) Dope Show! Arresting Kubby May Have Been Prop. 215 Opponents' Worst Mistake International- (15) Canada: Jails Nearing Crisis: Report (16) Colombia's Internal Security (17) Drug Trafficking Through Cuba on the Rise, Investigators Say * Hot Off The 'Net (18) Drug Crazy Reviewed in LA Times * Quote of the Week (19) Jay Leno - From a story in the Washington Post * Special Notice (20) Thanks to DrugNews Screeners - Don Beck and Kevin Fansler *** FEATURE ARTICLE *** Protecting Yourself Against Overzealous Law Enforcement by Mark Greer It saddens me to write this article. It is a profound example of how far our country has slipped away form our precious Bill of Rights and Constitutional liberties in our insane attempts to preclude drugs from even those who desperately need them for medicinal purposes and are legally entitled to them. I recently had the privilege of reviewing the actual text of the search warrant that lead to the arrest of high profile California medical marijuana patients Steve and Michele Kubby. Kubby was the Libertarian candidate for governor of California in the recent election. I found this to be a fascinating read and I gained a good deal of insight into the thinking of the Sheriff's department and narcotics officers from this document. This warrant is public record and can be obtained and read by any interested party. I learned a number of interesting and possibly useful facts from reviewing this document. One was that it appears that "No Trespassing" signs in and around your house can dissuade nosey investigators from being where they are not welcome. The warrant mentioned twice that because there were no such signs the investigators considered it all right to spy through windows and even into bedrooms. It was also interesting that this entire investigation resulted from an anonymous letter. The author made wild and inaccurate claims and to this day the author is unknown by the investigators. I would be very interested to know if a similar, obviously very expensive, investigation would ensue if an anonymous letter were received claiming that say Dan Lungren was raising marijuana and providing it to children. During the investigation the defendants' trash was routinely intercepted and meticulously examined. I believe that a supreme court ruling allows this (even though it's a blatant violation of one's assumption of a right to privacy). The value of pointing this out is to assure that those involved in drug policy issues consider taking precautions such as shredding sensitive documents and ensuring that any contraband be disposed of in other ways. If you think it can't happen to you then you are fair game for those who have a fairly loose affiliation with the Constitution and personal rights and freedoms. Of course the best protection is to refrain from being involved with illegal substances in any way and those of us who choose to remain "squeaky clean" probably have less risk of invasion. In these days of ever worsening erosion of personal freedoms and the Bill of Rights, however, no one can consider themselves completely immune from overzealous law enforcement agencies who have in essence been put on "commission" due to asset forfeiture laws. The Kubby's electrical bills were obtained, apparently without a warrant, and electrical usage comparisons were done on surrounding houses of similar size. This is a common tactic for discovering indoor grow operations. All cash in the home was confiscated. It didn't amount to much but this could have a negative impact on anyone (particularly those in low income households) and we should all be aware that such confiscated cash is difficult to redeem and often is kept by the agency that finds it. Whether or not it is "drug money" is of little consequence. In this case the money is guilty unless proven innocent. The final point of interest was that, upon service of the warrant and subsequent invasion of the defendants' home, a number of items were confiscated from the defendants that were clearly not covered by the search warrant. Items like printers, cameras and scanners contain no data and could not possibly provide information to the investigating officers. This raises two points that may have value to others. First would this confiscation render the warrant and any evidence obtained invalid? Second the discovery process for this case should force the officers to explain why these items were confiscated if not to specifically hamper the defendants ability to communicate. A final point that should be obvious is that off site back up for your data is a good precaution and some might even consider "poison pill" software (nukes your data with a single command) or encryption of the hard rive to be prudent. To sum up, anyone who is interested in protecting themselves to the extent possible should consider the following: Place numerous "No Trespassing" Signs around your property Be aware of what your trash contains. It could fall into the hands of others. Take steps to guard your computer and data against confiscation. All cash should be very well hidden as it will likely be confiscated by investigators KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Visit http://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal/bustcardtext.html http://www.norml.org/legal/rights.shtml http://www.ccon.com/lettalaw/arrested.htm These sites help insure that you know your rights, are prepared for any eventuality and to lower your risk of being investigated or indicted and to improve your chances should the worst happen and you are arrested. *** WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW *** Drug War Policy- *** COMMENT: Apparently restrained by the Marine Corps inquiry's harsh assessment of the Esequiel Hernandez shooting, the Pentagon has all but suspended domestic use combat troops in the drug war. (1) Not that this should be understood as a reduced commitment to the notion of a drug free utopia; last week's other headlines suggest that past failures are provoking an assortment of ever more desperate assaults on common sense and individual liberty. (2) thru (6) At odds with the political zealotry, a few notes of sanity were heard: Judy Mann's thoughtful op-ed in the Washington Post (7) and three separate warnings on prison excesses by local journalists. (8) (9) (10) *** (1) PENTAGON CHANGES POLICY ON USE OF TROOPS IN DRUG WAR ON BORDER SAN ANTONIO -- The Pentagon has all but ended the use of ground troops along the U.S.-Mexico border, issuing new rules that require special permission for armed anti-drug efforts there. Permission must come from the secretary of defense or his deputy, said Lt. Col. Mike Milord, a Defense Department spokesman. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Author: THADDEUS HERRICK URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n110.a01.html *** (2) PROGRAM PAYS STUDENTS TO SNITCH ON CLASSMATES PORTLAND (AP) A new school program will pay students up to $1,000 to snitch on classmates who tote weapons, drink alcohol or use drugs around school. Mayor Vera Katz unveiled the Campus Crime Stopper program Tuesday and said it will be launched in three school districts around Portland. [snip] Pubdate: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 Source: Columbian, The (WA) Copyright: 1999 The Columbian Publishing Co. Website: http://www.columbian.com/ Forum: http://www.webforums.com/forums/trace/host/msa70.html Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Associated Press URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n109.a06.html *** (3) ACLU QUESTIONS ASPECTS OF DRUG SEARCH IN SCHOOLS DEER LODGE - Students and parents in Deer Lodge thanked school officials Friday for bringing a drug-sniffing dog into the schools. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union said some aspects of Thursday's search violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. [snip] Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT) Copyright: 1999 The Billings Gazette Address: P.O. Box 36300, Billings, MT 59101-6300 Fax: 406-657-1208 Website: http://www.billingsgazette.com/ Contact: email@example.com Author: KIM SKORNOGOSKI The Montana Standard Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n100.a03.html *** (4) 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. [snip] Source: Baltimore Sun (MD) Copyright: 1999 by The Baltimore Sun Website: http://www.sunspot.net/ Forum: http://www.sunspot.net/cgi-bin/ultbb/Ultimate.cgi?actionintro Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 25 Jan 1999 URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n099.a07.html *** (5) SENATE BACKS BILL TO ADD DRUG PROSECUTORS ATLANTA -- The state Senate unanimously passed a bill yesterday to provide additional prosecutors across the state to go after drug peddlers. [snip] Pubdate: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 Source: Florida Times-Union (FL) Copyright: The Florida Times-Union 1999 Website: http://www.times-union.com/ Forum: http://cafe.jacksonville.com/cafesociety.html Contact: email@example.com URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n099.a12.html *** (6) BANKS' BIG BROTHER Feds make private institutions play snitch on public's financial affairs So this is what the drug war has come to: Nosing into the bank accounts of law-abiding people, even tracking the transaction histories of depositors and developing profiles on them, in search of behavior deemed suspicious. [snip] Pubdate: Tues, 26 Jan 1999 Source: Gazette, The (CO) Copyright: 1999, The Gazette Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.gazette.com/ URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n105.a04.html *** (7) FROM THE HILL, EVIDENCE OF OUR DECLINE Now that Billy Jeff has succeeded so handsomely in his scheme to bait the Republican Party into self-destructing, it's time to begin the inevitable, endless process of figuring out the Meaning of It All. It isn't all bad; there are collateral benefits to be found in the nation's long ordeal. (but) [snip] Proofs of our decline abound: [snip] Serious historians of the future, if they bother with us at all, will marvel at the naivete of a country that watched in helpless paralysis as its monstrous criminal justice system squandered billions of dollars on a cruel, vindictive and wholly futile "war on drugs," long after civilized nations had concluded that the only solution was to treat the scourge of chemical addiction as the socio-medical problem it is. Source: The Washington Post Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company Page: C11 Columnist: Judy Mann, Washington Post Columnist Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Note: See paragraph twelve below. URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n106.a05.html *** PRISONS *** COMMENT: Regular readers will recall that Wisconsin's large prison population has evoked frequent notice. Last week, Journal-Sentinel writer Eugene Kane highlighted Eric Schlosser's seminal article on prison growth; he also added some provocative local details. (8) His entire piece should be read; excerpts can't do it justice. Washington is another state where an exploding prison system is on a collision course with fiscal reality. Jim Lynch's report (9) from the state capitol provides convincing detail and discloses that Washington will join the growing list of states shipping prisoners out for incarceration. In Iowa, the drug of concern is different (methamphetamine, rather than heroin)- but the message is exactly the same: prison expansion as drug policy is not only ruinously expensive - it simply doesn't work (10). (8) PRISON SYSTEM GROWS FAT FROM FEAR AND GREED By Eugene Kane Journal Sentinel columnist [Call Eugene Kane at 223-5521 or e-mail him at email@example.com ] From time to time, I will get a call or a letter from someone behind bars. [snip] Surprisingly, many of the inmates who call or write these days don't want to profess their innocence as much as they want to complain about conditions inside what has come to be described as "the prison industrial complex." [snip] Doreatha Mbalia, chairwoman of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Department of Africology, took a look at the difference in money spent for prisons and education in Wisconsin for a recent community forum on the criminal justice system. She came away shocked at the disparity. The state of Wisconsin spends $241 million to incarcerate minorities, compared with $81.3 million in funding grants earmarked for minority students, according to her findings. [snip] Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Copyright: 1999, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Fax: 414-224-8280 Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ Forum: http://www.jsonline.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimate.cgi Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Eugene Kane Journal Sentinel columnist Pubdate: 26 Jan 1999 URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n098.a11.html *** (9) STATE'S PRISONS NOT KEEPING UP WITH INCREASE IN PRISONERS ABERDEEN - The fastest-growing chunk of the state budget is invisible to most taxpayers unless they see a massive new prison under construction, like the Stafford Correctional Center rising from the mud near this gritty Grays Harbor County city. Stafford will be finished a year from now and swiftly crammed with 1,936 convicts. Another $200 million prison for another 2,000 inmates will be needed three years later, and then another, as the state scrambles to keep pace with a prison population that has more than doubled since 1989. [snip] Every year, the state's prison system must make room for 700 more inmates. Prisons are now so swamped that corrections officials are preparing - for the first time - to pay other states to house the overflow. [snip] Source: The Seattle Times Friday, January 29, 1999 Author: Jim Lynch Seattle Times Olympia bureau URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n118.a07.html *** (10) PRISONS AREN'T ANSWER TO DRUG PROBLEM A front-page article in the Jan. 9 Register stated that "unless Iowa curtails the growth of its prison population, the state will need to build at least six news prisons by 2008. They would cost about $175 million to build and cost more than $285 million if the money were borrowed. The number of our prisoners in Iowa jails will go to more than 14,000 over the next decade, in which event Iowa will need to construct the equivalent of six 750-bed prisons simply to maintain a prison system operating at less than 140 percent of its designed capacity." [snip] Roughly 60 percent of the inmates in Iowa prisons are those arrested for drug offenses - about one-third of whom are there not for selling, but for simple drug possession. About another third are there for larceny, robbery and murder in order to get enough money to buy drugs. We have an obsession that drug use can be eliminated or curtailed by putting people in jail. And if this doesn't do it, we extend the jail terms with mandatory sentences. [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jan 99 Source: Des Moines Register (IA) Copyright: 1999, The Des Moines Register. Website: http://www.dmregister.com/ Contact: email@example.com Page: 9A Author: David M. Elderkin URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n097.a08.html *** MARIJUANA *** COMMENT: California's dirty little secret is that the state which passed the first medical marijuana initiative has become a place where patients toke up at their peril. That fact, and some reasons behind it, became better known last week. (11) California activists are still waiting for Lungren's successor to specify how the new administration will enforce 215, but with the new guv sounding like McCaffrey and his AG wishing 215 advocates were more "clinical" and less "cult-like, " things are off to poor start. In Orange County, a vindictive judge (12) ignored his local newspaper's plea for mercy (13) and sentenced the founder of the local buyers' club to six years in prison . In Lake Tahoe's Placer County, Steve Kubby, (14) entered a not guilty plea to "conspiracy" charges after a task force raided his home and discovered: plants. Ironically growing one's own had been touted as the safe way for patients to possess mj, ever since state courts narrowly interpreted 215 at Lungren's behest. *** (11) MEDICINAL MARIJUANA LAW LEADS NEEDY TO DISTRIBUTION IMPASSE MIDDLETOWN -- Ryan Landers didn't plan on being a farmer. Then again, he never planned on getting AIDS and needing marijuana to stay hungry enough to keep him from wasting away. He used to buy pot at the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. But that club, like many that opened after a 1996 medical marijuana initiative passed, has been shut down by federal court order. [snip] Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, hasn't said whether he'll support proposed legislation to authorize $1 million annually to study medical marijuana or a plan to specify or standardize the enforcement of Proposition 215. "I believe good science should resolve this issue," Davis has said. [snip] "Unless the federal government changes its policy or adopts a noninvasive role, the California statute scheme can never be legally implemented," Lockyer said. "If our law were tighter and there was more of a clinic -- not cult structure to the statute -- that might be partially persuasive to the federal government if they see there is a tight regulatory system." Pubdate: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 Source: The Oakland Tribune (CA) Copyright: 1999 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers Author: Associated Press Website: http://www.newschoice.com/newspapers/alameda/tribune/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: 66 Jack London Sq. Oakland, CA 94607 URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n113.a05.html *** (12) CANNABIS CLUB FOUNDER GETS SIX-YEAR SENTENCE WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) -- The founder of an Orange County medical cannabis club was sentenced today to six years in state prison for selling marijuana to undercover officers and mailing pot to a cancer patient. Marvin Chavez, who says he uses marijuana to ease the pain of an old back injury, was immediately remanded into custody by Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Borris. He winced as a bailiff cuffed his hands behind a back brace protruding under his sport coat [snip] Source: Sacramento Bee Copyright: 1999 Sacramento Bee Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Webform: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html Forum: http://www.sacbee.com/voices/voices_forum.html Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 Author: Larry Gerber, Associated Press Writer URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n107.a06.html *** (13) MARVIN CHAVEZ DOESN'T DESERVE JAIL TIME I understand that a number of people have written letters to Judge Thomas J. Borris of the West County Court in Westminster regarding today's sentencing of Marvin Chavez, who was found guilty on several marijuana-related counts last November. Here is mine: Dear Judge Borris: The jury found Marvin Chavez guilty on some counts. That was virtually inevitable given the conscientiousness with which the jurors took the instruction that Proposition 215 (Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code) was to play no part in their deliberations. But it would be a gross miscarriage of justice if Mr. Chavez were sentenced to prison time. [snip] Source: The Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 Section: The Orange Grove Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Alan W. Bock Note: Mr. Bock is the Register's senior editorial writer URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n106.a02.html *** (14) DOPE SHOW! ARRESTING KUBBY MAY HAVE BEEN PROP. 215 OPPONENTS' WORST MISTAKE Proposition 215, the medical-marijuana initiative that was passed into law more than two years ago, has already been beleaguered by active opposition from former state Attorney General Dan Lungren and haphazard recognition from police authorities statewide, but it underwent a serious buzz kill on Jan. 20 with the arrest of Steve Kubby, last year's Libertarian Party candidate for governor. [snip] Kubby is enthusiastic about getting his day in court. By his account, there are no sales whatsoever of the marijuana he has cultivated, and the total amount of "smokable" weed weighs in at about 3 1/2 pounds -roughly half of what the federal government provides their seven licensed medical-marijuana smokers for a year. [snip] Source: Orange County Weekly Copyright: 1999 Orange County Weekly, Inc. Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 Website: http://www.ocweekly.com/ Contact: email@example.com Author: Victor D. Infante URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n107.a01.html *** INTERNATIONAL NEWS *** COMMENT: As usual, overseas news is virtually unanimous in confirming the failure of American drug policy; the items were so numerous, it was difficult to pick only 3 or 4. This week, we didn't leave the Western Hemisphere; Canada (15) and Colombia (16) updated familiar stories; Cuba's mentions (17) will probably increase as Castro's influence declines and the Island's commerce and tourism grow. (15) CANADA: JAILS NEARING CRISIS: REPORT After a year-long study of Quebec prisons, ombudsman Daniel Jacoby finds dangerous overcrowding, rampant drug use and a tension-ridden system that must be fixed immediately. [snip] Pubdate: Tuesday 26 January 1999 Source: Montreal Gazette (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.montrealgazette.com/ Forum: http://forums.canada.com/~montreal Copyright: 1999 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc. Authors: Sean Gordon and Kate Swoger URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n102.a05.html *** (16) COLOMBIA'S INTERNAL SECURITY For more than 40 years, the Colombian government has been in conflict with left-wing guerrilla forces. While some of these groups have withered away. FARC, Colombia's largest rebel group, has become stronger and presents a serious threat to the government. The FARC's success has been attributed mainly to links with Colombian drug cartels and the money it receives from protecting cartel operations. [snip] Copyright: 1999 Jane's Information Group Limited Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 Source: Jane's Defence Weekly Author: Bryan Bender Website: http://www.janes.com/ Mail: 1340 Braddock Place, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314-1651 USA Email: email@example.com URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n113.a07.html *** (17) DRUG TRAFFICKING THROUGH CUBA ON THE RISE, INVESTIGATORS SAY HAVANA -- Cuba, once considered off-limits to drug trafficking, is confronting a noticeable narcotics problem amid signs that the island has become a conduit for multi-ton shipments of cocaine. Police in Colombia seized a 7.2-ton load of cocaine packed in shipping containers and bound for Cuba. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 Source: Miami Herald (FL) Copyright: 1999 The Miami Herald Website: http://www.herald.com/ Forum: http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?mherald Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Tim Johnson URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n112.a08.html *** HOT OFF THE 'NET *** (18) Drug Crazy Reviewed in LA Times One of the most perceptive reviews of Mike Gray's "Drug Crazy" to date was written by Robert Sabbag and appeared in the LA Times on January 24th. It compares Gray's book with others on the subject, including Michael Massing's "the Fix." The URL is: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n103.a02.html *** QUOTE OF THE WEEK *** (19) Jay Leno - From a story in the Washington Post: "We've reached the point where Congress does not affect anyone's life, so we look at it as entertainment. They can't fix health care, they can't fix Social Security, so we look at them to provide a few laughs on a daily basis." --- Jay Leno *** SPECIAL NOTICE *** (20) Thanks to DrugNews Screeners - Don Beck and Kevin Fansler As the scope and coverage of Drug News has expanded, screening the weekly submissions to DrugNews (which form the basis for the News & COMMENTS section of the newsletter) became too much for one person. We asked for volunteers and have received critical emergency help from Don Beck and Kevin Fansler under the capable guidance of Editor Richard Lake. Volunteer screening of new items will be an essential feature of the newsletter from now on. Additional volunteers are needed to provide coverage for vacations and unexpected emergencies. It is also expected that screeners will, if desired, have an opportunity to take over some writing and COMMENTing chores as the Newsletter grows. If you're interested, please contact Richard, email@example.com *** DS Weekly is one of the many free educational services DrugSense offers our members. Watch this feature to learn more about what DrugSense can do for you. TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS: Please utilize the following URLs http://www.drugsense.org/hurry.htm and http://www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm News/COMMENTS-Editor: Tom O'Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org) Senior-Editor: Mark Greer (email@example.com) We wish to thank all our contributors and Newshawks. NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. REMINDER: Please help us help reform. 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