------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot eases spasms that harder drugs didn't touch (The Business Journal, in Portland, describes the painful difficulty John Crause has encountered in obtaining medical marijuana. Although the quadriplegic living at the Oregon Veterans Home in The Dalles complies with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, he can't easily access the herb. He says he's called pharmacies and no one wants anything to do with it.) From: "sburbank" (email@example.com) To: "DPFOR" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPFOR: Article in the Business Journal Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 13:01:59 -0700 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Special To The Business Journal March 22, 1999 Pot eases spasms that harder drugs didn't touch by Josh Feit Marijuana is supposed to be a gateway drug. For John Crause, however, it worked the other way around. The hard stuff - daily injections of Demerol, Valium and morphine - drove him to pot. Crause, a 48-year-old Vietnam veteran, is a quadriplegic. He has been confined to an electric wheelchair since breaking his neck in a diving accident in 1982. To combat his back spasms, which he describes as "being fully conscious during an epileptic seizure," Crause moved into the Oregon Veterans Home in The Dalles in November 1997. The need for professional nursing care became necessary because Crause began having too many dangerous emergencies in the middle of the night. However, the spasms worsened and treatment became intolerable at the veterans home, too. Crause had to be held down by nurses and shot with drugs every four hours to stop the body-wracking spasms. The drugs and elaborate care were expensive and he was "out of it" most of the time. Last October, Crause followed the recommendation of other quadriplegics and tried smoking pot to control the spasms. "I'll be damned. I couldn't believe the difference," he said. "I could drive my (powered) wheelchair without jumping out. It was remarkable." Now, about three times a day, Crause drives his wheelchair outside and discreetly smokes a little pot. He said he needs about three tokes each time and the effect is no stronger than a few beers. The change in his condition, however, is a blessing. Crause said he no longer needs the drug injections, and the spasms are under control. Crause actually has no reason to be discreet about smoking pot since his daily tokes are legal under new Oregon law. In fact, a week after Oregon voters passed the medical marijuana law last November, Crause asked his physician, Dr. Robert Hartog, a member of The Dalles Family Practices, to write a note giving him the A-OK under Oregon law. "I asked him straight out after it passed," Crause said. "And he said, `I guess I don't see why not.'" Crause said Hartog wrote a note stating that he could smoke marijuana to control the spasms and relieve pain from a pinched nerve. Crause carries the note in his backpack. Hartog told The Business Journal he is aware of the Oregon Medical Association's concerns, but in this particular case, he condones the use of medical marijuana. He said Crause is the only patient he has authorized to use medical marijuana. "It's within the laws of the state," Hartog said. "It's helping this patient. The facility he is in agrees that he can use it. It's not the OMA's place to tell me how to run my practice." John Hutchison, executive officer for the state-owned veterans home in The Dalles, said he helped Crause get the note. "We don't follow him around and watch him, but Crause is free to do what he wants under Oregon law and revised statutes. We absolutely support patients' rights 110 percent." Despite Hartog's approval, however, Crause can't easily access the drug. He says he's called pharmacies and no one wants anything to do with it. "Everybody's just sticking their head in the sand," the Vietnam War veteran said. The fact is, pharmacists are wise to keep Crause at bay. While the new law makes it legal for him to possess the drug, buying and selling pot is still illegal. "If you're selling marijuana (to anyone)," said Dr. Grant Higginson, deputy administrator for the Oregon Health Division, "you're in trouble." Crause is relying on friends and family to bring him about an eighth (of an ounce) a week, which costs $40. "We voted for this," Crause said. "Why does the state of Oregon make me go out onto the street to buy it? I might not be getting clean grade. It's risky and it's expensive." Higginson said it would make sense to set up a distribution system for marijuana in Oregon, but the new state statute doesn't deal with distribution and procurement of marijuana. That is a federal issue, he said. "In this situation, where the people of Oregon have said marijuana has medical value, is it logical to set up a system where quality is maintained and there are no harmful chemicals? Yes, that is logical," Higginson said. "Whether or not that is going to happen depends on the federal government. Right now, it would not be legal for the state to set up a system. The (federal government says) marijuana has no medical value and Oregon says it does. There's a real conflict there." Maybe so, but not in John Crause's mind. *** Sandee Burbank 2255 State Road, Mosier, OR 97040 phone or fax 541-298-1031 email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prevent, treat drug abuse (A staff editorial in the Oregonian shows editors are too uninformed to recognize the patent duplicity in the 1999 National Drug Control Strategy, outlined by the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, in his visit to Portland last week.)Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Mon, Mar 22 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Editorial: Prevent, treat drug abuse * If you're going to put an emphasis on incarceration, you've also got to have prison treatment for drug offenders The most dangerous drug scene in America, hands down, is "a 12-year-old smoking pot on weekends and drinking beer," White House drug-war czar Barry McCaffrey says, and he intends to do something about it. Not by himself, of course, but with the help of parents, teachers, coaches, ministers, social workers, political leaders and, yes, police, prosecutors, judges and jailers. Alcohol is by far the primary drug abused, but McCaffrey also cites tobacco in the same breath as illegal drugs. The 1999 National Drug Control Strategy, which McCaffrey outlined in his visit to Portland last week, stresses prevention and treatment, without moving away from enforcement, incarceration and interdiction of drugs coming into the country. It's a welcome emphasis, building as it has been over the last 10 years of reshaping national anti-drug strategy. Prevention and treatment are less expensive -- and more effective -- than locking up users after they've broken laws, only to see them eventually released to commit new crimes. Numerous studies confirm that the vast majority of prisoners started using drugs early and committed their crimes to buy drugs or while under the influence of drugs. In Multnomah County, for example, about 70 percent of the prisoners at any time in county jails admit drug use. The county is building up its investment in treatment, and wisely so. McCaffrey deplored the fact that jails and prisons provide so little treatment for drug abuse. And just as bad, no follow-up when inmates are released. Both work, experience shows, if not the first time or even a second and additional times, but eventually. "And when they work, society regains a constructive citizen and saves money." Oregonians can see the value of his words in their tax bills for new prisons, new county jails and more police, prosecutors and judges. The toughest nut, however, probably is prevention. "You can't unload all this on the schools," McCaffrey correctly insisted. He called on families, friends, employers and community youth leaders to step up, to talk to youngsters about tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs and the problems they bring to lives. Parents often struggle to talk to their children about things they're doing or have done, but McCaffrey advises them to recognize that they're not talking about their own pasts, but about their children's future. His is a call that parents and others concerned about kids and crime need to answer, clearly defining the tragedies of drug abuse and supporting efforts for more effective and cheaper programs -- prevention and treatment -- in jail, and in the community.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Barbers get more training than police, law enforcement officials complain (The Associated Press says police in Washington state get 440 hours of training, far less than barbers, cosmetologists or even embalmers. Law enforcement officials and some lawmakers are asking the legislature for $1.5 million a year to increase training to 720 hours.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "HempTalkNW" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: HT: Barbers get more training than police, law enforcement officials complain Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 19:59:36 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Barbers get more training than police, law enforcement officials complain By HAL SPENCER The Associated Press 03/22/99 5:34 PM Eastern OLYMPIA (AP) -- Cops in Washington get far less training than barbers, cosmetologists or even embalmers -- a situation law enforcement officials and some lawmakers call dangerous and inexcusable. They are lobbying legislative budget writers for at least part of the nearly $1.5 million a year required to increase the level of police training from the current 440 hours to 720 hours, a level they consider adequate. Backers of more training note that the 440 hours now required of rookie policemen and women hasn't changed since 1975 to keep up with the changing nature of crime and the rising expectations of the community. "It's not the same street I knew when I was a police officer. We've got mobile meth labs out there now. We've got more mentally ill, tougher drunk driving laws and just many more complicated laws to enforce than we had 25 years ago," said Mike Patrick, a former Seattle police officer now lobbying for the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs. "My hairdresser gets 1,600 hours of training, and the policeman on the streets gets 440 hours. I know my hair's important, but my life is more important," House Criminal Justice and Corrections Co-Chairwoman Ida Ballasiotes, R-Mercer Island, said Monday. Budget writers, squeezed by voter-imposed spending limits and rising demands for more spending on education and salmon-protection, want the police to find new funding sources for the training -- perhaps through increases in fines and forfeitures. But Ballasiotes and Patrick worry that this well has already been pumped dry, and argue that at least part of the funding should come out of general government revenue. Patrick also rejects another idea -- that the would-be cops themselves pay the cost much as a college student pays tuition. "We're already having a hard time recruiting qualified police officers. This would just make it worse," he said. "The integrity of our law enforcement system is vital to the public's safety and security. Is there no issue more important than public safety?" Patrick asked. Ballasiotes noted that barbers need 1,000 hours of training before they can snip hair for a living, cosmetologists need 1,400 hours and embalmers require 3,600 hours. "We are asking the police to go into our communities and deal with the things they have to face these days, and we're not giving them the training they need," she said. The level of knowledge needed by the average street cop is far higher than it was 25 years ago, she and Patrick said. "Take dealing with mentally ill offenders," Ballasiotes said. "There are so many more of them on the street now than there used to be, and with them, you never know what's going to happen. You need training and knowledge to deal with them." Backers of more funding for training are proposing that Washington's Basic Law Enforcement Academy be provided more money for staff and that it also be given $550,000 for a "Mobile Training Van" to take the classroom to the rookies, a move that would save money. Patrick observed that the state already recognizes the importance of police training, best evidenced by the fact it pays for 22 weeks of training for Washington State Patrol troopers. "For the police in this state, it's past time for more training," Patrick said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Smoke Clears (A staff editorial in the Fresno Bee about the Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana says it remains unclear whether the government is willing to fund studies to isolate marijuana's medicinal components. Even if the government did, would a drug company be willing to gamble on investing in a product that may prove less popular than its illegal counterpart? In the meantime, the case becomes more compelling for Congress to let states experiment with various ways to regulate marijuana while researchers work on finding a better, safer and less controversial alternative.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 12:06:20 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: The Smoke Clears Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Dunbar Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Fresno Bee Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.fresnobee.com/ THE SMOKE CLEARS A new report on marijuana by the Institutes of Medicine offers a rational approach to one of the nation's most controversial substances. In the most comprehensive review to date by a panel of distinguished medical experts, the IOM has concluded that chemicals in marijuana known as THC and cannabinoids are, indeed, medicine. The medical challenge now is to isolate all of marijuana's helpful ingredients from the harmful ones in some new form, such as a pill or vapor that is inhaled. The IOM's first conclusion undoubtedly will please the marijuana advocates: "Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting and appetite stimulation." This caveat, however, will please marijuana's foes: "Smoked marijuana, however, is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances." Neither conclusion is shocking or unexpected. What is important is that it comes from the nation's medical establishment, which for years avoided the marijuana controversy until voters in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington sought to make the drug available for certain medical conditions. The report doesn't resolve the ongoing legal deadlock. Although a growing number of states seek to legalize the drug for certain patients, federal law bans the drug and designates marijuana as one of the nation's most controlled substances. The IOM does, however, provide considerable ammunition for relaxing federal law to allow states, which now regulate the practice of medicine, to decide medicinal uses of marijuana as well. The IOM, for example, found "no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are casually linked to the subsequent use of other illicit drugs." Neither did it buy the argument that medicinal use of marijuana would increase its use in the general population. It remains unclear whether the government is willing to fund studies to isolate marijuana's medicinal components. Even if the government did, would a drug company be willing to gamble on investing in such a product that may prove less popular than the joint? In the meantime, the case becomes more compelling for Congress to let states experiment with various ways to regulate marijuana while researchers work on finding a better, safer and less controversial alternative.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical-Pot Activist More Hopeful (The Orange County Register says local medical-marijuana activist Anna Boyce is optimistic that the new sheriff, Mike Carona, "will be listening to all sides" after she met Thursday with his right-hand man, Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo. Carona, who campaigned on a promise to find a way to enforce Proposition 215, was elected to replace Brad Gates, who campaigned against the initiative.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 19:16:49 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: MMJ: Medical-Pot Activist More Hopeful Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Section: Metro Page: 3 Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Author: Teri Sforza MEDICAL-POT ACTIVIST MORE HOPEFUL Anna Boyce Gets Some Respect From The New Sheriff's Right Hand Man. Once, the squat concrete building was the lair of her nemesis. The bunker where he labored for her defeat. So it was with curiosity, and a little irony, that Anna Boyce breezed into the stark Sheriff's Department building Thursday to discuss something near and dear to her heart - how to implement California's medicinal marijuana law, which she helped write and labored to pass in 1996. "We're going to work very well together," Boyce said after her meeting with Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo, who is the new sheriff's right-hand man. It was a sweet victory in and of itself: The old sheriff, Brad Gates, spearheaded the statewide opposition to the initiative, and would not meet with activists after it passed. The new sheriff, Mike Carona, promised to find a way to enforce the law. "It was very eye-opening for all concerned," said Jaramillo. "These are important matters in people's lives, and we in law enforcement need to be responsive to them." Big problems remain, but Boyce is hopeful. "We left there smiling, feeling very secure that they will be listening to all sides," Boyce said. Boyce is not just another medicinal-marijuana activist. She's a grandmother and registered nurse who stumbled upon her cause in 1995, when husband J.J. was dying of cancer. She was told that marijuana would ease his pain and stimulate his appetite and finally persuaded him to try it - but felt like a criminal. Boyce hoped the new law would ensure that never happened again - but it hasn't worked out that way. California's law is in direct opposition with federal drug law; and while the initiative makes it legal for patients with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana, the question of how they actually get it is still a thorny one. "When we wrote this it never occurred to us that there would be distribution problems," she said. "We always assumed there would be centers where people would go for cannabis, because a few already existed. We assumed - that's the icky part." Orange County set up such a center - and now one director is in jail for six years for selling and transporting marijuana, and a co-director is heading to trial on similar charges. Boyce plans to work with the Legislature and federal officials to fine-tune the law.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ex-Candidate Kubby And Wife Plead Not Guilty In Drug Case (The Orange County Register notes medical-marijuana patient/activist Steve Kubby and his wife, Michele, were arraigned Friday on cultivation charges in Placer County, California.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 19:54:41 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: MMJ: Ex-Candidate Kubby And Wife Plead Not Guilty In Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: 22 March 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Section: Courts/State-Metro page 5 Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ EX-CANDIDATE KUBBY AND WIFE PLEAD NOT GUILTY IN DRUG CASE Aubern- Former Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby and his wife have entered not-guilty pleas to drug charges. Kubby, 52, and his wife, Michele, 32, entered the pleas Friday at their arraignment in Placer County Superior Court. The Olympic Valley residents were charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, and possession of an ingestion device. The couple say they were growing the 265 marijuana plants seized at their home in a Jan. 19 raid for their own medical use and not for sale.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Candidate Pleads Innocent To Drug Charges (The San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune version) Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 04:36:53 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: MMJ: Candidate Pleads Innocent To Drug Charges Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Gail Lightfoot http://www.kubby.com Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune Contact: email@example.com Address: P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-0112 Website: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/ CANDIDATE PLEADS INNOCENT TO DRUG CHARGES AUBURN - Former Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby and his wife have entered innocent pleas to drug charges against them. Kubby, 52, and his wife, Michele, 32, entered their pleas on Friday at their arraignment in Placer County Superior Court.' The Olympic Valley residents were charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana and possession of an ingestion device. The couple say that they were growing the 265 marijuana plants seized at their home for their own medical use and not for sale. The plants were taken in a raid on Jan 19. Steve Kubby, who was diagnosed with adrenal cancer about 15 years ago, has a Feb 4 letter from Dr. Vincent DeCuattro, a professor of medicine at the University of California stating that Kubby still has a malignancy, for which the marijuana "in some amazing fashion" ... has not only controlled the symptoms ... but in my view has arrested the growth." A trial date of May 18 was set in the same court.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Double Talk On Medicinal Pot (A letter to the editor of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune agrees with columnist Doug Grow that Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura was the real killer of Sen. Pat Piper's medical-marijuana bill. Ventura let the bill die despite his pro-medical-marijuana campaign stance and despite this month's Mason-Dixon Research poll, which shows 65 percent of Minnesotans favoring medical use and only 20 percent opposed. Indulging in the bait-and-switch politics-as-usual he forswore only weeks ago, Ventura sided with Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 20:17:38 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US MN: PUB LTE: Double Talk On Medicinal Pot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul M. Bischke) Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Copyright: 1999 Star Tribune Feedback: http://www.startribune.com/stonline/html/userguide/letform.html Website: http://www.startribune.com/ Forum: http://talk.startribune.com/cgi-bin/WebX.cgi Author: Paul M. Bischke, St. Paul. DOUBLE TALK ON MEDICINAL POT A bill that would have protected doctors and patients employing marijuana as a medicine died Wednesday night at the hands of Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver. Columnist Doug Grow rightly pointed out March 17 that Gov. Jesse Ventura was the real killer of Sen. Pat Piper's bill, despite his pro-medical-marijuana campaign stance and despite this month's Mason-Dixon Research poll that finds 65 percent of Minnesotans in favor of medical use and only 20 percent opposed (15 percent ride the fence). Indulging in the bait-and-switch politics-as-usual he forswore only weeks ago, Ventura sided with Weaver, who has applied his own campaign slogan of "tough, not nice" against debilitated patients. Why the opposition? Weaver called the tiny medical use exception in Sen. Piper's bill "a law enforcement nightmare." Presumably he doesn't fear pot-crazed cripples attacking cops in the streets or cancer patients lurching from their beds to commit unspeakable acts of reefer madness. Real meaning: Drug cops don't like having to ask any questions before kicking down the door for their beloved raids, like that upon wheelchair-ridden Darryl Paulson. Weaver complained that: (1) marijuana is sometimes more potent today, and (2) that smoke is an irritant. These arguments cancel each other out. High potency delivers the medicine with minuscule smoke exposure. Weaver also said Ventura would not support a state law that leaves medical marijuana users in violation of federal law. That's double talk to cover Ventura's political cowardice. As the Institute of Medicine report confirms, marijuana is a safe and effective medicine, albeit with minor respiratory risks. Patients need protection, not from marijuana, but from coercive big-government. Ventura, who once decried overbearing government, now presides over the state enforcers who remain authorized to kick down patients' doors, put guns to their heads, throw them in prison and confiscate their earthly possessions. Ventura's odd reasoning: To protect patients from federal prosecution they must remain subject to state prosecution. That's a big help, Jesse. -- Paul M. Bischke, St. Paul.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Deserves Try (A staff editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Institute of Medicine report helps expose the folly of the federal government's hard-as-granite position on marijuana.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 21:58:20 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WI: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Deserves Try 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: Mon, 22 March 1999 Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Copyright: 1999, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 414-224-8280 Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ MEDICAL MARIJUANA DESERVES TRY Striking a blow for common sense and effective medical care, a private scientific institute has recommended that marijuana cigarettes be made available to help seriously ill patients whose misery might be relieved by smoking the now-outlawed substance. The recommendation flies in the face, and helps expose the folly, of the federal government's hard-as-granite position on marijuana. Federal law still outlaws its use, and last fall Congress adopted a resolution condemning marijuana's use, even under medical supervision. Yet a mountain of anecdotal evidence, plus an explosion of new scientific research, show that the active ingredient in marijuana appears to be useful for treating pain and other symptoms associated with cancer and AIDS in some patients, reported the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Further demolishing any justification for the government's across-the-board ban, the institute study, issued last Wednesday, said there was no evidence that making marijuana available to sick patients would increase its recreational use, or that marijuana introduced users to more dangerous narcotics such as heroin. It should be emphasized that the institute recommended nothing that would encourage young people or others to smoke pot. On the contrary, the institute urged that marijuana be used only under medical supervision; for only a short time; only by patients suffering from a few specific maladies, and only when other treatments have failed. Moreover, it warned would-be users that the smoke in marijuana cigarettes is dangerous, and for this reason it urged the development of new ways to administer the drug, such as inhalers. Very often, doctors prescribe medicines that are lethal when used carelessly. For example, highly addictive narcotics are prescribed in certain situations. No rational, humane person objects to this, especially to relieve pain in patients who are mortally ill. By the same token, there is no legitimate reason to object to the medical use of marijuana. If marijuana helps doctors make life more bearable for people who are suffering, it would be unreasonable and cruel to deny physicians -- and their patients -- this tool.
------------------------------------------------------------------- America, Land Of Prisons (A staff editorial in the Chicago Tribune responds to the latest figures showing the U.S. prison population rose to 1.8 million last year, rivaling Russia's. There is considerable evidence, however, that the imprisonment binge does not explain falling crime rates. For one thing, the growth in the jail population has been attributable almost exclusively to tougher charges and longer sentences, not more arrests by police.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 20:46:27 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Editorial: America, Land Of Prisons Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young (email@example.com) Pubdate: Mon, 22 March 1999 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ AMERICA, LAND OF PRISONS No doubt there is a connection between America's falling crime rates and its soaring prison populations. It's the nature of that connection that demands scrutiny. Many think the former was purchased with the latter. Lock up more criminals for longer periods and it is inevitable the streets will become safer. And they have. This is a trade-off most Americans have been willing to make. It's expensive, but locking up felons is a government activity that taxpayers always seem willing to fund. Still, the latest incarceration summary from the Justice Department ought to give pause to everyone who cherishes this land of the free. It reports that, as of last June, there were 1.8 million Americans behind bars, or 4.4 percent more than the previous year. If present trends continue, the U.S. rate of incarceration will surpass Russia's in two or three years, making this nation the world's busiest jailer. Oddly enough, last year's increase marked a slowing. The prison population had been rising at a 7.3 percent annual clip from 1985 to 1998, during which time our rate of incarceration (inmates per 100,000 population) more than doubled, to 668. Since 1972, when the prison-building boom began, the number of inmates held in federal, state and local jails has increased sixfold. There is considerable evidence, however, that the imprisonment binge does not explain falling crime rates. For one thing, the growth in the jail population has been attributable almost exclusively to tougher charges and longer sentences, not more arrests by police. Most crime still goes unpunished, but those who are caught are being convicted more often of more serious offenses carrying longer prison terms. It can be argued that this is having a deterrent effect on would-be criminals, and, therefore, depressing the crime rate. Perhaps. But it also can be argued that jailing almost 2 million people is, in the long run, neither a cost-effective nor a humane method of maintaining domestic tranquility. Not when it costs around $30,000 a year to keep someone in a typical prison. And not when our prisons are as likely to harden criminals as rehabilitate them. Violent incorrigibles belong in prison, no question. Yet the fastest-growing segment of the prison population is non-violent drug offenders. These young people are more apt to gain bad habits in jail than to shed them. Education, job opportunities, drug treatment--these are the long-term solutions to crime. More prisons are not the answer. We have enough.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Panel Sees Benefits Of Marijuana (The Times Union, in Albany, New York, summarizes last week's Institute of Medicine report.) Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 08:34:15 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Medical Panel Sees Benefits Of Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: Times Union (NY) Copyright: 1999, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation Contact: email@example.com Address: Box 15000, Albany, NY 12212 Feedback: http://www.timesunion.com/react/ Website: http://www.timesunion.com/ Forum: http://www.timesunion.com/react/forums/ MEDICAL PANEL SEES BENEFITS OF MARIJUANA WASHINGTON -- The active ingredients in marijuana ease pain and nausea in AIDS and cancer patients and "should be tested rigorously" in scientific studies, a prestigious medical panel advising the federal government said Wednesday. In one of the most comprehensive assessments of the medical uses of the drug, an 11-member panel of investigators for the Institute of Medicine warned against permitting smoked marijuana for such patients -- as some advocacy groups are seeking -- and instead proposed development of an inhaling device. In its study, the Institute of Medicine, which is affiliated with the independent, quasi-federal National Academy of Sciences, rebutted a long-held view of many opponents of marijuana that it is a "gateway" drug to more dangerous narcotics. The report says there is "no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs." "Marijuana has potential as medicine, but it is undermined by the fact that patients must inhale harmful smoke," said Dr. Stanley J. Watson Jr., one of the study's principal investigators, at a news conference called to release the inch-thick study. "Until researchers develop a safe and effective delivery system, care-givers must consider the health problems that can result from smoking when deciding whether to recommend marijuana to patients," said Watson, co-director of the University of Michigan's Mental Health Research Institute in Ann Arbor. "Marijuana's future as medicine does not involve smoking," he added. The institute said that for people undergoing chemotherapy and those suffering from AIDS, chemicals in marijuana stimulate the appetite, ease pain and anxiety and reduce nausea and vomiting. But the panel said marijuana, which has been touted by some advocacy groups as a treatment for glaucoma, reduces eye pressure accompanying the disease only temporarily. The study proposed development of new drugs derived from the chemicals in marijuana called "cannabinoids" that could be delivered through an inhaler. The Food and Drug Administration has approved only one such medication, Marinol, currently available in pill form, for use by seriously ill AIDS patients or those with cancer undergoing chemotherapy. The report said smoked marijuana should be permitted only in a few circumstances until additional marijuana-derived drugs and the inhaler are available. Dr. John A. Benson Jr., dean of the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine and the other principal investigator for the study, said marijuana should be smoked only by "terminally ill patients or those with debilitating symptoms that do not respond to approved medications." Benson called for strict medical supervision in such instances. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which commissioned the study, called the findings "the most thorough analysis to date of the relevant scientific literature" on the medical use of marijuana. But the office, headed by retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who has opposed legalizing marijuana for medical use, did not endorse the findings. In a statement, McCaffrey said he "will carefully study" the recommendations, adding, "We note in the report's conclusion that the future of cannabinoid drugs lies not in smoked marijuana, but in chemically defined drugs," the statement said. Patient advocacy groups hailed the study. Chuck Thomas, co-director of the Marijuana Policy Project here, said the report "shows that marijuana is a relatively safe and effective medicine for many patients." Wayne Turner, an executive with the gay rights group ACT-UP, said, "This report is a long time coming. Once and for all, we now have the stamp of approval for what we've been maintaining all along, that marijuana has medical benefit." But Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., who led a successful fight to get the House to condemn medical marijuana last fall, said he is "deeply concerned" that the report might encourage people to smoke marijuana. He acknowledged that some of the chemicals in marijuana can be useful but said their place is in inhalers or pills. "We should not sanction smoked marijuana because there is no way to control that," McCollum said. Robert Maginnis of the conservative Family Research Council insisted doctors have other medicines to treat any ailment that marijuana can help. Public opinion on using marijuana for medical purposes has been divided. Ballot initiatives supporting such use were approved by voters in California in 1996 and voters in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington last year. But the Clinton administration has denounced the measures and said federal law prohibits medical use of the drug except in a few cases. Last year's House resolution said marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug and should not be legalized for medical use.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Drug War Against The Sick (An op-ed in the New York Times by Richard Brookhiser of the conservative National Review recounts his illicit use of marijuana while undergoing chemotherapy, and says the Institute of Medicine's report last week medical marijuana raised serious questions about the toxicity of marijuana smoke. But many medicines are toxic. The relevant question is, toxic compared to what? Support for medical marijuana is not an exception to conservative principles but an extension of them.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 10:14:51 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: OPED: A Drug War Against The Sick Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Evans) Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 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/ Author: Richard Brookhiser A DRUG WAR AGAINST THE SICK A Government-commissioned panel of experts reported last week that there had been "an explosion of new scientific knowledge" on the medical uses of marijuana. The chemicals in marijuana, they concluded, can fight the nausea induced by chemotherapy, boost the appetites of AIDS patients and ameliorate some symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The report was no news to me. I had reached the same conclusions as a cancer patient, seven years ago. In 1992 I was found to have testicular cancer. My chemotherapy put me in the hospital for five days at a time, once a month, for four months. But midway through my treatment I could tell that Zofran, then a hot new drug prescribed to combat nausea, was losing its effect. For the remainder of my chemotherapy I turned to marijuana to keep my head out of the toilet. None of the doctors or nurses at the hospitals I went to for treatment (New York University Medical Center) or consultation (Memorial Sloan-Kettering) discouraged me from using marijuana should the need arise. They said they had patients who had benefited from it when other drugs had failed. But none of them could prescribe it, because using marijuana was a crime -- and remains so, despite half a dozen state referendums since 1992 urging that it be legalized for medical use. Federal laws still ban marijuana as stringently as heroin. Not that I was ever at much risk of arrest. As a member of the media elite, I was not a likely target for a drug bust, and living in Manhattan, I could acquire what I needed under the cover of urban anonymity. But people in less privileged professions, or from different ZIP codes, do get into trouble when buying or growing marijuana for medical purposes. Unequal enforcement is a sign of bad law. The experts' report raised serious questions about the toxicity of marijuana smoke. But many medicines are toxic. The relevant question is, toxic compared to what? The chemicals in chemotherapy are dangerous; so is radiation; so are the drugs in AIDS cocktails. An AIDS patient facing starvation might well be willing to damage his lungs instead. Further work should be done on alternative delivery systems, like inhalers and patches. But in the meantime there are sick people who could use relief now. Polemicists in the war on drugs fear that acknowledging marijuana's medical efficacy would set a bad example. Then why don't we take morphine out of hospital medicine cabinets? There is also little risk of inducing bad habits in patients. Using marijuana medically is the ultimate aversion therapy, forever linking the plant to hospital smells and IV poles. In almost every case when the medical use of marijuana has been put on a ballot, it has been approved by voters. Supporters have been as diverse as the rainwater liberals of Oregon and the cowboy libertarians of Arizona. We will probably discover that the District of Columbia approved an initiative last fall, too, if Congress allows the votes to be counted. On this issue, voters have shown that they are more mature than the political class. For obvious reasons, there has been no leadership on this issue from President Clinton, who began his career of evasion at the national level by telling us he didn't inhale. Conservative Republicans, my ideological soulmates, have also been woefully stubborn. They hammered Hillary Clinton's health care plan because it would come between doctors and patients, yet they support Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey and the Office of National Drug Control Policy when they do the same thing. Support for medical marijuana is not an exception to conservative principles but an extension of them. My chemotherapy worked, and I haven't smoked during the entire Clinton Administration. But should I ever need to turn to marijuana again, I'd like to be able to do so without the added burden of breaking the law. Richard Brookhiser, a senior editor of National Review, is the author of "Alexander Hamilton, American."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Debate Is Re-ignited: Is Pot A 'Gateway'? (USA Today says last week's Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana has infuriated many drug abuse experts, prosecutors and lawmakers by concluding that "There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs." Lynn Zimmer, a sociologist at Queens College in New York and co-author of the book, "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts," says the gateway theory is as likely to be true as the idea that early bicycle riding "causes" motorcycling. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, called the Institute of Medicine report "the biggest waste of money in the entire war on drugs." However, Mica announced plans to hold hearings in late April on drug legalization and medical marijuana.) Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 08:16:36 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Debate Is Re-ignited: Is Pot A 'Gateway'? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Kevin Zeese http://www.csdp.org/factbook/ Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: USA Today (US) Copyright: 1999 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA 22229 Fax: (703) 247-3108 Website: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nfront.htm Author: Patrick McMahon, USA TODAY DEBATE IS RE-IGNITED: IS POT A 'GATEWAY'? The major study on medical marijuana released last week did more than conclude that marijuana may help treat certain sick and dying patients. Eminent researchers also tackled the long-debated question of whether marijuana leads users to abuse hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Their finding: "There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs." This statement elicited sweet satisfaction from marijuana proponents, but it infuriated many drug abuse experts and prosecutors and some lawmakers. "In my mind, there is no question about the statistical relationship" between marijuana and the abuse of hard drugs, says Joseph Califano, a former U.S. secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. Califano cites studies showing that a child who uses marijuana before age 12 is 79 times more likely to use harder drugs than a child who never smokes marijuana. Califano says the connection is more statistically significant than the 1964 surgeon general's report that first linked smoking and lung cancer. "To say there is no relationship - that is preposterous." Califano is currently head of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University in New York, perhaps the nation's foremost promoter of the "gateway theory" - that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to heroin and cocaine. The medical director of CASA, Herbert Kleber, says research on the brain's pleasure center may provide more evidence of a direct link. "We don't have the smoking gun yet, but we are closing in," he says. Portland, Ore., medical professor John Benson, co-director of the Institute of Medicine study, defends it, but also stresses, "We are, of course, worried about the association between marijuana and further drug use, particularly among teen-agers." He also noted that the study, commissioned and paid for by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, "came out strongly against smoking" marijuana. In the report, Benson and University of Michigan researcher Stanley Watson say that because marijuana use usually precedes hard drugs, "it is indeed a 'gateway' drug" in some sense. But, they continued, "because underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common and rarely the first 'gateway' to illicit drug use." The factors that best predict use of illicit drugs beyond marijuana are actually "age of first alcohol or nicotine use, heavy marijuana use and psychiatric disorders," the study said. The most frequent explanation for marijuana as a gateway drug is that youths who use it enter the world of illegal drugs, where they have a greater opportunity and are under greater social pressure to try other illegal drugs. This interpretation "is supported by - although not proven by - the available data," the report conceded. But, the report also argued, the data is unconvincing. Too often, the data provides no indication of what proportion of marijuana users become serious drug abusers, only that drug abusers usually use marijuana before they smoke crack cocaine or inject heroin. Chuck Thomas of the Marijuana Policy Project says that if there is anything about marijuana that drives teen-agers to hard drugs, it is the likelihood they'll have to buy it from drug dealers. His group, based in Washington, D.C., seeks to eliminate jail penalties for marijuana use. Lynn Zimmer, a sociologist at Queens College in New York and co-author of the book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts, says the gateway theory is as likely to be true as the idea that early bicycle riding "causes" motorcycling. Marijuana use "may give you a hint that your kid might be interested in other drugs," she said. Zimmer favors an approach used in the Netherlands that separates the marijuana market from other drugs by allowing small amounts of marijuana to be sold to people over 18 at certain businesses. Zimmer's attitude is not shared by most law enforcement officials. "People who work in our drug court tell me" that marijuana and more serious drugs are connected, says Doug Moreau, the district attorney in Baton Rouge. "It's only common sense. There's a natural human tendency" once you are a regular user of one drug "to start looking for something that gives you a bigger kick." Santa Fe District Attorney Henry Valdez says that "almost every case we've had" of major drug use began with marijuana, and he thinks social pressure as much as anything leads people to use hard drugs after they're tried marijuana. The Institute of Medicine report drew criticism from Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources. Mica announced plans to hold hearings in late April on drug legalization and medical marijuana, and called the Institute of Medicine report "the biggest waste of money in the entire war on drugs."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Supreme Court Rejects School's Drug Test Appeal (Reuters says the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld an appellate court's decision that a high school in Anderson, Indiana, can't require drug tests from all students who want to return to school after being suspended.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 16:17:02 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Wire: Supreme Court Rejects School's Drug Test Appeal Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: David Hadorn (email@example.com) Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. Author: James Vicini SUPREME COURT REJECTS SCHOOL'S DRUG TEST APPEAL WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court returned Monday to the controversy over high school drug testing,letting stand a ruling that struck down for violating privacy rights mandated tests for all suspended students. The justices rejected without comment or dissent an appeal by a school district in Anderson, Indiana, after an appellate court struck down its drug-testing program for violating the constitutional right against unreasonable searches. The policy, adopted in 1997, requires that all students suspended from school for any reason for three days or more take a urine test to screen for drug or alcohol use before they may be readmitted. Besides suspended students, tests are required for any students who use or posses tobacco products, who are habitually truant or who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The last major decision on school drug-testing was handed down in 1995, when the Supreme Court ruled that schools may randomly test those who play sports. In 1998 the Supreme Court without any comment or dissent allowed a school district to require all students involved in extracurricular activities to submit to random drug tests. The latest case stemmed from a lawsuit filed by James Willis, who in 1997 was a freshman at Anderson High School and was suspended for fighting with another student. After the five-day suspension ended, Willis was told he would be tested for drugs and alcohol. When Willis refused to provide a urine sample, he was suspended again. He was told that if he refused again to provide the urine sample, he would be deemed to have admitted unlawful drug use and would be suspended a third time, pending expulsion proceedings. A federal judge upheld the school's policy, but a U.S. appeals court struck it down as unconstitutional, ruling that the school must meet the traditional standard -- suspicion that a student used drugs or alcohol before requiring the test. It ruled the school's interests do not outweigh Willis' privacy rights. In its Supreme Court appeal, the school district argued Willis has a ``lesser'' expectation of privacy as a public school student and the infringement of his privacy rights from the drug test was ``minimal.'' The school district said it has a ``legitimate and compelling interest'' in deterring student drug use and that its policy was ``very effective and narrowly tailored.'' Last, the school district said there may be a link between drug or alcohol use and fighting, giving ``individualized reasonable suspicion'' that the cause of Willis' violent behavior may be drugs or alcohol. But attorneys for the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, which represented Willis, said the dean of students examined Willis after the fight and concluded there was no reasonable suspicion he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They also said there was no need for the Supreme Court to expand the boundaries on what constitutes sufficient cause to justify a drug test.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ruling Bars Mandatory Drug Testing Of Students (The Associated Press version) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 18:41:06 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: Ruling Bars Mandatory Drug Testing Of Students 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: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press RULING BARS MANDATORY DRUG TESTING OF STUDENTS WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court today refused to let an Indiana school district require all high school students suspended for disciplinary reasons to undergo drug testing before they are reinstated. The justices, without comment, let stand a ruling that struck down the requirement as a violation of students' privacy rights. Today's action is not a decision and sets no precedent. In fact, the court's denial of review could confuse the already-murky law surrounding student drug-testing across the nation. At issue was a drug-testing policy formerly imposed at two Anderson, Ind., high schools. Lawyers for the Anderson Community School Corp. asked the justices to reinstate the policy, which they called vital to ``deterring drug and alcohol use among students.'' The Supreme Court in 1995 ruled in an Oregon case that random drug tests for student athletes do not violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. That 6-3 ruling emphasized the ``role model'' effect of student athletes' drug use but also noted the importance of ``deterring drug use by our nation's schoolchildren.'' Just last October, the highest court let another Indiana school district -- in rural Rush County -- continue conducting random drug testing for all students participating in extracurricular activities. The justices left that policy intact by rejecting, without comment, a challenge to it. But no court has ever condoned the random testing of all public school students. In striking down the drug-testing policy in Anderson, a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals drew a distinction between it and those involved in the Oregon and Rush County cases. ``A testing policy for students in athletics or other extracurricular activities applies only to students who have voluntarily chosen to participate in an activity,'' the appeals court said. ``Drug testing could be construed as part of the `bargain' a student strikes in exchange for the privilege of participating in favored activities.'' But in the Anderson case, the appeals court said, ``Such testing is a consequence of unauthorized participation in disfavored activities.'' The policy adopted in 1997 for Anderson's two public high schools required that all students suspended for any reason for three days or more take a urine test to screen for drug and alcohol use before being readmitted. If the test detected drug or alcohol use, the result was disclosed only to parents and a designated school official. The test result was not used for additional punishment. James R. Willis II was a freshman at Highland High School when in December 1997 he was suspended for five days for fighting. The school official to whom Willis was taken right after his fight later testified that there was no indication he had been using drugs or alcohol. Willis refused to take the required drug test for readmission, and, with his father, sued the school district. A federal trial judge upheld the drug-testing policy, but the 7th Circuit court reversed that ruling. The appeals court said the school district must restrict drug testing in such disciplinary cases to students individually suspected of using drugs or alcohol. The case is Anderson Community School Corp. vs. Willis, 98-1183.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Suits vs. City Cops Soar - $28m In Settlements (The New York Daily News notes New York City residents are filing 57 percent more lawsuits since 1988 claiming rights violations by police. And the city is paying a record amount for police misconduct - $28.3 million last fiscal year, nearly three times the $10 million taxpayers were soaked for a decade ago.)Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 09:59:18 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: NY: Rising Payments By NYC Police For Rights Violations Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Nathan Riley (email@example.com) Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: New York Daily News (NY) Copyright: 1999 Daily News, L.P. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nydailynews.com/ Forum: http://townhall. mostnewyork.com/mb/index.html Author: GREG B. SMITH New York Daily News SUITS VS. CITY COPS SOAR $28M IN SETTLEMENTS By GREG B. SMITH Daily News Staff Writer The city is settling a record number of police misconduct suits, paying $28.3 million last fiscal year -- nearly three times the $10 million it paid a decade earlier. The cost of the settlements has climbed steadily since 1988 as increasing numbers of New Yorkers have filed claims alleging that police violated their rights. The latest numbers come to light as the city is embroiled in controversy over police tactics sparked by the fatal police shooting of Amadou Diallo. The number of suits alleging some form of police misconduct climbed from 1,335 in 1988 to 2,105 last year, a jump of nearly 58%. During the same period, settlements rose from $10 million to $28.3 million. The biggest leap occurred two years ago, when the payouts jumped to $27.5 million from $20.6 million. The city corporation counsel's office attributes the increase in police misconduct cases to a larger and more aggressive police force, not to more brutal or overzealous cops. "The police force is more active," said Georgia Pestana, deputy chief of general litigation. Pestana said that since Los Angeles police were video-taped beating Rodney King, more citizens have become aware that they can sue police departments. Although the settlements allow the city to deny any wrongdoing in the incidents, some lawyers say the trend is a clear sign that the Police Department's successful fight against crime has come at a price. "The city just assumes that with the crackdown, with tougher police, 'We'll have to pay for a few lawsuits, that's the cost of doing business, so what?'" said Joel Berger, who used to represent the city in police misconduct cases when he worked for corporation counsel, but now represents people alleging police brutality. Berger's clients include Cornelius and Mary Jefferson, two grandparents in their 60s, whose $200,000 settlement with the city was approved last month by Manhattan Federal Judge Mary Johnson Lowe. The Jeffersons never had a run-in with the law until the night of June 24, 1997, when a crew of pistol-wielding cops smashed down their Bronx door with a battering ram. After the case made headlines, police officials continued to stand behind an informant's tip that the Jeffersons' neatly kept home was really the business office of a cocaine dealer. A few weeks ago, the city switched gears and agreed to settle. In weighing whether to take a case to trial, the city often considers whether the person bringing suit represents a sympathetic figure. In the case of the Jeffersons, for instance, Pestana admits jurors probably would side with the couple and impose a huge financial punishment against the city. "You had two people in their 60s, and you have to take that into consideration with the jury," she said. "Settling cases is usually a question of trial risk for us, not a question of admission of wrongdoing." The same holds true for Edna Louise James, who reached a $120,000 settlement with the city last month. The retired midwife found herself under arrest after a confrontation with a city worker escalated into what James alleges was a physical attack by a detective, who, she said, hit her with a karate chop and slapped her at her Roosevelt Island apartment. In another recent settlement, Elkin Mann was awarded $180,000 stemming from an incident that occurred in August 1993. Mann, then 19, was stopped on a Queens street by two cops investigating a burglary. Mann alleges he was thrown to the sidewalk and beaten with a flashlight, and that when he lifted his head to get a look at the officers, one smashed two of his front teeth with the flashlight. He was released after the woman whose house was burglarized told cops he wasn't their man. Last month, the city agreed to pay him.
------------------------------------------------------------------- What teens hear in marijuana debate (According to the Christian Science Monitor, which fails to interview a single young person, Mark Kleiman, the notorious drug warrior in residence at the University of California at Los Angeles, claims last week's Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana could lead teens to think "first, marijuana is sort of healthy, and second, the government is stupid and doesn't get it. . . . The argument about medicinal marijuana carries a greater threat to changing juvenile attitudes than any policy that's adopted." The nationally distributed newspaper says Mr. Kleiman and other "experts" worry that the medical-marijuana debate is, for teens, "morphing into questions about marijuana itself, and even drugs in general." Good heavens, we can't have that, can we? The newspaper doesn't say whether the national policy of defunding education while expanding the prison-industrial complex might have some bearing on teens' concerns about drug policy.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 10:35:34 -0600 From: "Frank S. World"
Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DRCNet Medical Marijuana Forum (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: US CHRISTIAN SCI MON: What teens hear in marijuana debate Sender: email@example.com Source: Christian Science Monitor Website http://www.csmonitor.com/ Email firstname.lastname@example.org Forum http://www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/vox/p-vox.html Pubdate: MONDAY, MARCH 22, 1999 WHAT TEENS HEAR IN MARIJUANA DEBATE By Paul Van Slambrouck, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor For parents and others concerned about teen drug use, this is a time for extra vigilance, say analysts. The intensifying debate over the medical value of marijuana is, in many respects, a loud clanging over a relatively minor issue. In the world of medicine and drugs, marijuana as a treatment is a peripheral topic, way down the list of pressing national health concerns. But the decibel level of the debate and its content, rich with mixed messages, make it especially dangerous, analysts add. The argument, they point out, is well within earshot of the nation's teens, who could find it confusing at best or, at worst, justification for experimentation. A report last week by the Institute of Medicine found marijuana "potentially effective" in treating certain symptoms of illnesses, including AIDS, a message that ran counter to the Clinton administration policy of staunchly opposing any medical use of the drug. While the administration's own Office of National Drug Control Policy requested the study, it's unclear what, if any changes in policy will result. Yet the message to teens could well be "first, marijuana is sort of healthy, and second, the government is stupid and doesn't get it," says Mark Kleiman, a specialist in drug policy at the University of California at Los Angeles. What Mr. Kleiman and other experts worry is that the medical-marijuana debate is, for teens, morphing into questions about marijuana itself, and even drugs in general. And because the issue of marijuana's medicinal value is not clear-cut, it could muddy unequivocal warnings against marijuana, and drugs, overall. Indeed, Joseph Califano, chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCASA) at Columbia University in New York, warned in a statement following the release of the government report: "It is imperative to distinguish between the issue of medical marijuana and marijuana as a threat to America's kids." Propelling the debate has been a rebellion of sorts from seven Western states where voters in recent years have passed ballot measures legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Since California did that in 1996, marijuana club owners and state and federal law-enforcement officials have engaged in an cat-and-mouse game of closures and legal appeals. Vaguely worded ballot initiatives have provoked some of the legal wrangling. They didn't clearly spell out how the process - from cultivation to use - was to work. But the federal government says state laws can't supercede federal law outlawing the drug. Beyond the state actions and legal maneuvers, though, are deeper reasons explaining the intensity of the medical marijuana wars. In many respects, marijuana sits on a fault line of American culture, an emblem of the 1960s social revolution that continues to ripple across the political landscape today. "In many respects, this issue eludes analysis on a scientific basis and quickly descends to passionately held positions," says Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in Washington. On one hand, there is the position that allowing marijuana as medicine will encourage recreational marijuana use, which, in turn, will lead to use of other drugs. On the other, many fighting for medicinal marijuana believe the marijuana laws in general are too heavy-handed and inconsistent with the status of other drugs, like alcohol. Some groups pushing for medicinal marijuana clearly would like to go further. Chuck Thomas of the Marijuana Policy Project says: "It's possible that legalization might bring a net harm. But there is a whole range of policies, including permitting adults to grow their own, that might be a net positive," compared with the blanket-criminalization approach used now. There are indications the teen-drug picture is improving. While illicit drug use by teenagers has risen during the 1990s, there has been a modest decline in the last two years, according to surveys by the University of Michigan. Still, the problem is seen as large - so large that some dismiss the notion that allowing controlled medical use of marijuana will have any measurable impact on the overall problem. Kleiman says there is no evidence to support the notion of "leakage" from one type of use to another. On the question of whether marijuana is a "gateway" to other drug use, there is disagreement. For his part, Robert MacCoun, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, wrote in a recent report: "In the absence of causal evidence, a strong allegiance to any particular gateway theory would seem to reflect ideology or politics, rather than science." Whatever the linkages to other drugs, NCASA says parents should talk more to their children about drugs and be watchful when they turn 13, a "critical turning point" when access and exposure to drugs skyrocket. Exposure to the arguments about medical marijuana has also skyrocketed, and that holds its own risk. As Kleiman puts it, "the argument about medicinal marijuana carries a greater threat to changing juvenile attitudes than any policy that's adopted."
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Focus Alert No. 102 - IOM Report (A bulletin from DrugSense says the Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana has virtually destroyed the main arguments against medical marijuana. At the same time, the IOM report dispels the myths that prohibitionists have relied for on for decades to prevent general legalization. Also included are a few related media reports and a list of newspapers to send letters to about the IOM report.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 12:54:02 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: DrugSense FOCUS Alert IOM Report DrugSense FOCUS Alert #102 Monday March 22, 1999 While Somewhat of a Compromise, The Institute of Medicine Report Not Only Supports Medical Marijuana But Shoots Down Most of The Main Arguments of Prohibition in General. See http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/enter2.cgi?0309071550.html TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS FOCUS ALERT *** PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE *** DrugSense FOCUS Alert #102 Monday March 22, 1999 The IOM Report on Medical Marijuana has virtually destroyed the main arguments against Medical Marijuana while, at the same time, dispelled the myths that the prohibitionists have relied for on for decades to prevent general legalization. "The problem for the prohibitionists is that they tied the two subjects together, both by using the same arguments against medical marijuana as they use for marijuana prohibition, and by saying that medical marijuana would undermine marijuana prohibition and its stated objectives."- Richard Cowan (See www.marijuananews.com/will_the_titanic_of_marijuana_pr.htm 1. Marijuana is not a "gateway drug" to harder substances. 2. Marijuana is not addictive and withdrawal, if any, is "mild and short-lived". 3. Decriminalization or legalization of cannabis will not increase its use among the general population. 4. Marijuana is indeed a useful medicine in treating and prevention of severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss. 5. Despite considerable research, marijuana has not been shown to cause immunological damage in humans. The compromise lies in the recommendation that more research be done with regard to Medical Marijuana and its delivery systems. (The report ignores the practice of vaporization and ingestion via foods or tea in lieu of smoking, which is the IOM's main objection to medical marijuana.) Many see this as more stalling tactics while sick and dying people continue to suffer and risk arrest and incarceration. The IOM also sets "burdens for access to marijuana that do not apply to any other drugs, even while they admit that 'except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications.' They know that marijuana is far less dangerous by any measure than most other drugs, simply because there is no lethal dose. In short, they ignore existing technology and programs, and set standards for access to medical marijuana not justified by their own data. While the report will be useful in the Class Action lawsuit, and it will help the states' medical marijuana movements, the IOM has actually made a stronger case against marijuana prohibition than for medical marijuana. That is really not surprising. The medical establishment has consistently failed the public in dealing with the marijuana issue in general, with the ironic exception of the 1937 hearings that created marijuana prohibition in the first place. They just struck out again, but this time they may have knocked out marijuana prohibition in the process. Oh well, unintended side-effects are one of the risks of medicine." - Richard Cowan (See www.marijuananews.com/will_the_titanic_of_marijuana_pr.htm Thanks for your effort and support. WRITE A LETTER TODAY It's not what others do it's what YOU do. *** PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID (Letter, Phone, fax etc.). Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the MAPTalk list if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer@mapinc.org. Your letter will then be forwarded to the list so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit. This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impact and effectiveness. *** CONTACT INFO Pubdate: Wed 18 Mar 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Joanne Jacobs *** EXTRA CREDIT - All are encouraged to read the IOM report and then ask the important questions to your newspapers and other media. (See below). Questions such as how many more millions of dollars and years of research and studies will it take before our government does the right thing regarding a virtually benign substance (compared to the legal alcohol and tobacco) for which there is no lethal dose or attributable deaths in over 5000 years? Other papers running IOM articles The Orange County Register REPORT: MARIJUANA HAS SOME BENEFITS email@example.com San Francisco Chronicle (CA) FEDERAL STUDY SAYS POT HAS MEDICAL VALUE firstname.lastname@example.org Toronto Star article U.S. REPORT BACKS EASING OF RESTRICTIONS ON POT http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n312.a02.html email@example.com Oakland Tribune article at http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n309.a08.html Guardian, The (UK) EXPERTS TELL THE WHITE HOUSE THAT MARIJUANA MAKES MEDICINAL SENSE firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n320.a05.html Arizona Republic (AZ) STUDY: MARIJUANA NOT A 'GATEWAY' DRUG REPORT URGES CLOSER LOOK AT PAIN, NAUSEA TREATMENT Opinions@pni.com http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n316.a01.html NOTE There are plenty more. If you want to find other articles in other locations please search on "Institute Medicine" (no quotes) in the DrugNews Archive at http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/ -OR- Send your letter to any or all of the newspapers in your state using the NEW DrugSense MEDIA EMAIL DATABASE. Simply go to the website below and select your state or other criteria and presto a list of media contacts complete with names of the media organization will be presented or E-mailed to you. http://www.mapinc.org/resource/email.htm NOTE: For best possibilities of getting published DO NOT BCC: to many papers at once. This will practically insure that you are not published. If your intention is the widest distribution of your thoughts in the least amount of time BCC may be acceptable in rare instances but is really a bad habit and considered bad form by most media contacts. *** EXTRA CREDIT #2 Let the San Jose Mercury news know that the reform movement appreciates the article and its author whose views reflect the intelligent and educated insights of the Medical Marijuana issue. *** Pubdate: Wed 18 Mar 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Joanne Jacobs REMOVE THE ROADBLOCKS TO MEDICINAL MARIJUANA [snipped to avoid duplication. Follow the link. - ed.] *** (Always include this) ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts 3 Tips for Letter Writers http://www.mapinc.org/3tips.htm Letter Writers Style Guide http://www.mapinc.org/style.htm *** SAMPLE LETTER (SENT) It may turn out, after all is said and done and studied and researched and reclassified, that the best answer to the medical marijuana question will be general, unrestricted legalization. State initiatives, task forces and IOM studies still leave us with the conflicts between state and federal law. Implementation of state initiatives and processes for patients' access outlined by the IOM are all so cumbersome and beleaguered with bureaucratic red tape that doctors will remain afraid, law enforcement will remain confused at best and over-zealous at worst and-most importantly-patients will remain helplessly sick and dying. Patients are still suffering and risking arrest and imprisonment while awaiting implementation of state laws that the federal government will never recognize. Patients are still dying while awaiting research that the government loves to recommend but never intends to do with any alacrity-if at all. Patients are still dying while studies are published in 1982 and now in 1997 (at a cost of millions of dollars) that conclude what we all already know to be true but the politicians choose to ignore. Yes, it may just be that unrestricted adult legalization, regulation and taxation will be the most effective, cheapest and fastest way to get marijuana to the people who need it. One side effect of this is that it will be the most effective, cheapest and fastest way by far to get marijuana out of the hands of underage users who may now obtain marijuana on street corners and church and school parking lots despite the millions spent every year on the drug war. Without marijuana prohibition the war on drugs would virtually be reduced to a pillow fight. In the absence of the cold war we still have a war based economy but Americans are the enemy and law enforcement and the prison industrial complex stand to lose the most in a pillow fight scenario. Let's tell all of the sick and dying people of this country that despite the IOM's debunking of all of the myths and lies that have for decades been the basis for prohibition, we just can't afford to legalize marijuana. *** Prepared by Mark Honts (firstname.lastname@example.org) DrugSense FOCUS Alert Specialist (with a little help from his friends) *** TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS: Please utilize the following URLs http://www.drugsense.org/hurry.htm http://www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, Newshawks and letter writing activists. 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. Send any news articles you find on any drug related issue to email@example.com *** NOW YOU CAN DONATE TO DRUGSENSE ONLINE AND IT'S TAX DEDUCTIBLE DrugSense provides many services to at no charge BUT THEY ARE NOT FREE TO PRODUCE. We incur many costs in creating our many and varied services. If you are able to help by contributing to the DrugSense effort visit our convenient donation web site at http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm -OR- Mail in your contribution. Make checks payable to MAP Inc. send your contribution to: The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. d/b/a DrugSense PO Box 651 Porterville, CA 93258 (800) 266 5759 MGreer@mapinc.org http://www.mapinc.org/ http://www.drugsense.org/ *** Just DO It! *** Mark Greer Executive Director DrugSense MGreer@mapinc.org http://www.drugsense.org http://www.mapinc.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug And Alcohol Use In The Workplace (The Los Angeles Times prints some discredited propaganda from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute on Drug Abuse about the supposed cost of alcohol and other drugs to workers' productivity, apparently hoping to benefit the drug-testing industry. The drag on productivity from having a correctional population of almost 6 million isn't considered, nor the recent research showing that drug-testing workers reduces a business's productivity by almost 20 percent.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 17:01:27 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Drug And Alcohol Use In The Workplace Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Dunbar Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (213) 237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Forum: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/DISCUSS/ DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE IN THE WORKPLACE According to federal health officials, drug and alcohol abuse is a major problem in the workplace. About 68% of illegal-drug users are employed either full time or part time, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates. One out of every 10 people in the United States has an alcohol problem, officials said. Some basic facts: * Workers who abuse alcohol and drugs are far less productive, miss more workdays, are more likely to injure themselves or someone else, and file more workers' compensation claims, according to federal officials. * Employers can't absorb all these costs, which are passed on to employees through higher insurance premiums and reduced salaries or benefit packages, and to consumers through higher-priced products. * Hidden costs include damage to equipment, drains on supervisory time and stress to others who continually fill in for absent or tardy co-workers. Signs of substance abuse include: * Frequent tardiness or absenteeism. * Abrupt changes in mood or attitude. * Frequent complaints of not feeling well. * Poor relationships with co-workers. * Uncharacteristic errors in judgment, poor concentration. * Unusual flare-ups of temper. * Deterioration of personal appearance and hygiene. * Repeated or unusual accidents. * Deteriorating job performance. * Borrowing money from co-workers or frequently requesting advances on paychecks. * Using a company credit card for personal business. Treatment can be successful in helping people with serious addiction problems. After treatment, recovering addicts are less likely to be involved in crime and more likely to improve job performance. PHONE HELP Some helpful phone numbers: Hotline (800) BE SOBER Alcoholics Anonymous (714) 556-4555 Adult Children of Alcoholics (714) 549-5733 Drug Use Is Life Abuse (714) 647-4593 Marijuana Anonymous (714) 999-9409 Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hope for AIDS man - Judge to re-open medical pot case (The Toronto Sun notes Saturday's news about Judge Harry LaForme's decision to allow AIDS patient Jim Wakeford to resume his lawsuit seeking access to medical marijuana. The Canadian government has refused to enforce a provision in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act the judge thought Wakeford could use to obtain the medicine.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: Hope for AIDS man Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 08:26:41 -0800 Lines: 32 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Toronto Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Monday, March 22, 1999 Author: Gretchen Drummie Hope for AIDS man Judge to re-open medical pot case Judge Harry LaForme has decided to hear arguments on re-opening a legal bid by a Toronto man for the right to smoke pot for medical reasons. "In the meantime, the government's cruelty to me continues," said Jim Wakeford, who smokes two joints a day to offset AIDS symptoms. He wants use of marijuana to be legalized for medicinal purposes. Justice LaForme agreed Friday to hear evidence on whether he has jurisdiction to re-open the hearing and, if so, he'll decide the issue as well. Last fall, LaForme rejected Wakeford's attempt to have the court exempt him from the law controlling the drug's use. The judge said then he made the decision because he believed there was a provision available in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to obtain lawful access to pot. That mechanism is a special application directly to the federal minister of health for an exemption. But Wakeford's lawyer, Alan Young, said since that application was made seven months ago there has only been one letter from the government and nothing has happened.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Anti-Drugs Drive Fails To Stem Abuse (The Guardian, in Britain, says unpublished results from the first national audit carried out for the drugs tsar, Keith Hellawell, designed to provide the first glimpse into the state of the government campaign against drug abuse, show the war on drugs in Britain is proving ineffective. The results from three of the 100 drug action teams around the country show many initiatives are overloaded or never even get evaluated, despite being in place for years. All three reports showed drug treatment services were already overloaded, with many agencies reporting that they were finding it difficult to meet current demand levels. Publication of the audit is being delayed until after the Scottish, Welsh and local elections in May.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 18:10:57 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Anti-Drugs Drive Fails To Stem Abuse Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: 22 Mar 1999 Source: Guardian, The (UK) Copyright: Guardian Media Group 1999 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/ Author: Alan Travis, Home Affairs Editor ANTI-DRUGS DRIVE FAILS TO STEM ABUSE The drive against drug abuse in Britain is proving ineffective with many initiatives overloaded or never even evaluated despite being in place for years, according to unpublished results from the first ever national audit carried out for the drugs tsar. The results from three drug action teams in Avon, Cumbria, and Gloucestershire sent to the Guardian provide the first glimpse into the state of the official campaign against drug abuse and reveal a dismal picture. They show that there is a very patchy provision of drug education and treatment services across the country and there is little evidence that the police and others are making any significant headway in stifling the availability of illegal drugs to young people. Under Whitehall rules, the publication of these disturbing results is being delayed until after the Scottish, Welsh and local elections in May. Last night the drugs tsar, Keith Hellawell, confirmed that the findings from the three areas were typical of the reports from the 100 drug action teams around the country although some others displayed a more co-ordinated approach. 'The whole purpose of the exercise was to identify for the first time the real position in this country and it has achieved that purpose,' said Mr Hellawell. The Gloucestershire drug action team report says: 'Overall there is no formal monitoring of the onset and incidence of young people's illegal drug use in the county. There is therefore no current information which contribute to any judgements on the effectiveness of drug education.' It says that the most recent such data is four years old. There had been no specific work on heroin abuse among young people, the report said, nor any evaluation of the action taken to involve local communities in tackling drug problems, such as substance abuse groups, Crimestoppers or through police informants or work by the Gloucestershire police in pubs and clubs. The report also said that there had been no evaluation of the efforts to reduce access to drugs for five-to 16-years-olds. Asked to state their long-term priorities, the drugs action team said: 'A revised and coherent strategy.' The report from the Avon drug action team painted a slightly brighter picture. It said there had been no long-term evaluation of the effectiveness of the initiatives being taken to reduce drug misuse amongst the under-25s, but there did appear to be greater understanding of drug-related issues among students who had been through such courses than those who have not. Parents said their confidence in talking to their children about drugs had increased. Asked about what action was being taken to reduce exclusions from schools arising from drug related incidents, the Avon drug action team said it had difficulty obtaining the figures. It added that there was also a significant problem with heroin abuse amongst the under-25s but gave no evidence to show whether their response was effective. It added that there was no evidence to show that the effort to disrupt the supply of drugs locally was working. The report from the Cumbria team was even more frank. It said that the evidence that drug education in schools was working was very patchy: 'There is a very real lack of information on the effectiveness of drug education in terms of proper, comprehensive before-and-after studies on pupils' knowledge and attitudes towards drugs. This is a national issue.' It said there was no evidence to suggest that recent initiatives had succeeded in reducing drug-related crime. These schemes included the launch of drug action lines, a pubs and clubs against drugs plan in which photographs of known dealers were displayed, and the new Crime and Disorder Act Partnerships. All three reports showed drug treatment services were already overloaded with many agencies reporting that they were finding it difficult to meet current demand levels. However, there were positive aspects in all three reports. The Cumbria team wants to see the rest of the country adopt its policy whereby pharmacists dispense the heroin substitute, methadone, to addicts only on a daily basis under supervision. Cumbria argues it has reduced leakage of methadone to the illegal market and cut the danger of patients overdosing on methadone. The report said: 'The police make a conscious effort to stay away from methadone supervision and needle exchange sites which is most helpful in encouraging patients to participate in these schemes.' Danny Kushlik of the drugs charity, Transform, said the reports showed that nobody really knows what the state of the drug services are: 'They show that almost all the initiatives that have been in place for years are either ineffective, overloaded or unevaluated. This audit is long overdue and it shows that enforcement has not reduced availability.' Mr Hellawell said: 'The feedback we have given to each individual drug action team points at the particular shortcomings within their area and makes specific recommendations for the coming year. 'Most drug action teams recognise the work they have to do and their plans need to be in line with our ten year strategy which will achieve the improvements we need to impact on the problem in the way we all desire.'
------------------------------------------------------------------- Arrested RCMP officer resigns (The North Shore News, in British Columbia, says Constable Scott Simpson, a 12-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in North Vancouver, was arrested Feb. 16 under suspicion of possessing and distributing marijuana.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Arrested RCMP officer resigns Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 10:11:15 -0800 Lines: 37 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: North Shore News (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Author: Katharine Hamer Arrested RCMP officer resigns A North Vancouver RCMP officer under investigation for drug trafficking has tendered his resignation. Const. Scott Simpson was arrested Feb. 16 under suspicion of possessing and distributing marijuana. Simpson, a 12-year veteran of the force, has not yet been charged with these offences, although he was suspended from work immediately after his arrest. North Vancouver RCMP Supt. Jamie Graham said at the end of last week that Simpson had signed an "irrevocable" termination document "of his own volition" to quit, and was now no longer a member of the force. Search warrant information regarding Simpson's case was sealed by police at the time of his arrest. However, the results of an internal police investigation will be presented to a federal prosecutor within the next few days. Local Mounties have already recommended charges of possession and trafficking. Const. Simpson had been based in North Vancouver for three years. In a letter to the News last week, North Vancouver teen Jamie-Lee Markle described the policeman, who spent a lot of time working with local youth groups, as "a great cop and a great friend." To press time Tuesday, no representatives of the detachment were available for further comment. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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