------------------------------------------------------------------- Federal officials forge anti-drug partnership with Maryland, Oregon (The Associated Press says the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, signed an agreement Friday with Maryland to make the state, along with Oregon, a national model for a joint federal-state partnership in the war on some drug users. The partnership agreement does not involve any funding commitments. It does set up a series of committees and working groups with representatives from the state and federal governments, and commits the groups to work together to cut illegal drug use in half by 2007.) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): email@example.com Federal officials forge anti-drug partnership with Maryland, Oregon The Associated Press 4/3/99 4:08 AM By TOM STUCKEY Associated Press Writer ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Federal drug czar Barry McCaffrey signed an agreement Friday with Maryland to make the state, along with Oregon, a national model for a joint federal-state partnership in the battle against drug abuse. McCaffrey said he will follow up by signing a similar agreement with Oregon. "What we hope to do is use Maryland and Oregon as a model for the other 54 states and territories," he said at a ceremony where he and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend signed the agreement. McCaffrey said the nation's drug problems cannot be solved by the federal government. "At the end of the day, the drug problem will be solved by the counties and cities of Maryland...," McCaffrey said. The partnership commits the states and the federal government to work together to cut illegal drug use in half by 2007. The agreement specifically targets drug use by young people and by people convicted of crimes. McCaffrey said the goals can be achieved. "They are not political slogans. This is what we owe the people," he said. Ms. Townsend also said the goals contained in the agreement "are not just predictions that will be shelved." She said new programs being developed at the state and federal levels can work to cut drug use. The partnership agreement does not carry any funding commitments by either party. It sets up a series of committees and working groups with representatives from the state and federal governments. Ms. Townsend and McCaffrey offered statistics to show the extent of the drug problem and the cost to the nation of drug use. Barbara Mason of Harford County, whose 20-year-old son, Elliott, died of a heroin overdose just over a year ago, put a human face on the tragedies associated with drug use. Displaying a framed picture of her son, Ms. Mason said he was out with some friends when "he tried heroin for the first time and died from it." When he started having respiratory problems, his friends brought him home, and she sent him to bed, Ms. Mason said. "I knew nothing about it because I was not educated about drugs," she told state and local officials, parents and students who attended the event in the State House. When she found him barely clinging to life the next morning, nothing could be done to save him. "Tell parents they need to get educated. Tell kids to make the right choice," Ms. Mason said. (c) 1999 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1999 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. *** [Is Oregon an "open" society or a "closed" society? To find out, wait for a news story identifying which representatives of state government get themselves appointed to the committees and working groups mentioned above. In an "open" society, such politicians who want to expand the war on some drug users would be identified, and could be removed from office by voters. In a "closed" society, such people are never identified, and no more news about the committees and working groups would be disseminated, at least until such groups announce some new policy to be carried out by government without any real public input. - Portland NORML]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Court of Appeals affirms decision against physician (The Oregonian says the Oregon Court of Appeals has affirmed the state Board of Medical Examiners' actions in disciplining a Corvallis internist for his role in a euthanasia case. The board had reprimanded and temporarily suspended the medical license of Dr. James Gallant in 1997 for unprofessional or dishonorable conduct in allowing a nurse to give a dying and comatose patient a lethal injection. Gallant has said that his patient "was adamant in obtaining my promise that I would not let her suffer should she become ill with no hope of recovery to a meaningful life.") Newshawk: Phil Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sat, Apr 03 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Erin Hoover Barnett of The Oregonian staff Court of Appeals affirms decision against physician * The case involves a Corvallis internist who allowed a nurse to give a dying and comatose patient a lethal drug injection The Oregon Court of Appeals has affirmed the state Board of Medical Examiners' actions in disciplining a Corvallis internist for his role in a euthanasia case. The board had reprimanded and temporarily suspended the medical license of Dr. James Gallant in 1997 for unprofessional or dishonorable conduct in allowing a nurse to give a dying and comatose patient a lethal injection. Gallant's Eugene attorneys, Win Calkins and Eric S. DeFreest, appealed the case, claiming the board erred in its disciplinary process and that the decision should be reversed. Gallant's 78-year-old patient was hospitalized and unconscious after a blood vessel burst in her brain on March 22, 1996. Doctors determined that she had little hope for recovery. The patient previously had told Gallant, her longtime physician, that she did not want to be kept alive through artificial or extraordinary means should she become terminally ill. That wish was also noted on an advance directive, though the directive was never signed. Gallant has said that his patient "was adamant in obtaining my promise that I would not let her suffer should she become ill with no hope of recovery to a meaningful life." He said he was acting on the wishes of his patient and her family when he approved the injection of the drug, succinylcholine, which paralyzes the diaphragm and stops a person's breathing. The patient's daughter, who was also the patient's health care representative, was with her mother at the hospital. The daughter feared that her mother was suffering after her ventilator was removed and she continued to breathe. The daughter expressed her concern to the nurse. The nurse called Gallant and suggested the use of succinylcholine. The daughter has continuously supported the nurse's actions and Gallant's actions. In November 1996, the Oregon Board of Nursing suspended the nurse, Gerald Keuneke, for one month and placed him on probation for his role in the case. The Lane County district attorney decided Dec. 10, 1997 not to criminally prosecute Gallant, Keuneke or anyone else involved in the case. The case was referred to Lane County because the Benton County district attorney was a patient of Gallant's. The Oregon Court of Appeals discussed only two of the seven errors that Gallant's attorneys accused the medical board of committing. In the first instance, detailed in the March 17 court opinion, the court decided that the board correctly applied the preponderance of evidence standard of proof in the Gallant case. In the second instance, the court decided that the board allowed a disqualified board member, Dr. Bruce Williams, to be present during board deliberations on Gallant's case on a particular day. Williams practices in the same town as Gallant and recused himself from the case. But the court decided there was no evidence that Williams actually participated in the deliberations on the day in question. The court decided that "more than simply the appearance of unfairness must be established" and concluded that Gallant's attorneys failed to demonstrate that the board's actions must be reversed. Gallant could not be reached at his office Friday. DeFreest, one of Gallant's attorneys, deferred any comment to Calkins, who also could not be reached. Gallant's attorneys could choose to appeal the court's opinion to the Oregon Supreme Court. Kathleen Haley, executive director of the medical board, said the Gallant case was a difficult one and that the board members were glad to have the case behind them. The case drew particular attention because it happened in the midst of the debate over physician-assisted suicide and the extent to which patients should have control over life's end. Gallant's actions, however, did not constitute physician-assisted suicide and would not have been allowed under Oregon's assisted suicide law. The law does not allow lethal injection because that could put the control of this final act in the hands of someone other than the patient. The assisted-suicide law allows a doctor to assist a qualified patient in ending his or her life only by writing the patient a prescription for a lethal dose of medication that the patient can then decide to swallow. You can reach Erin Hoover Barnett at 503-294-5011 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge says Keizer doesn't owe former police chief more termination pay (The Associated Press says Marion County Circuit Court Judge Albin Norblad has ruled that the city of Keizer does not owe Charles Stull, its former police chief, any more termination pay. The husband of Shirley Stull, the Oregon legislator who backed marijuana recriminalization in early 1997, was fired in June 1997 after an investigation concluded he had intimidated and harassed employees.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Mon, Mar 29 1999 Source: The Associated Press (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Associated Press Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: The Associated Press Judge says Keizer doesn't owe former police chief more termination pay The Associated Press 4/3/99 4:12 AM SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- A Marion County judge has ruled that the city of Keizer does not owe its former police chief any more termination pay. Circuit Court Judge Albin Norblad ruled against Charles Stull, fired in June 1997 after an investigation concluded he had intimidated and harassed employees. Stull sued, claiming he was owed about $21,000 in termination pay plus damages. The biggest monetary issue involved vacation pay Stull claimed was due. Norblad said Stull shouldn't be paid for the excess vacation time he banked - about 400 hours. Stull initially contended the city had falsified dates on documents, which led to his losing benefits. He abandoned that allegation by the time the case went to trial. (c) 1999 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1999 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. *** Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 00:08:31 -0700 To: (email@example.com) From: "D. Paul Stanford" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Re: DPFOR: ART: Judge says Keizer doesn't owe former police chief more termination pay At 11:41 PM 4/5/99 -0700, you wrote: >[As I recall, former Keizer, Oregon, Police Chief Charles Stull is the >husband of Shirley Stull, who played a role as a state legislator in pushing >the ill-fated marijuana recriminalization bill through either the house or >senate in 1997. Can anyone recall her role? Is she still in the legislature? >- Phil Smith] Shirley and Charlie moved to California and Shirley retired from Oregon politics last year.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hayden Drug Reform Bill (An action alert from California NORML urges California residents to contact their legislators in support of Sen. Tom Hayden's bill, SB 1261, which would set up a state commission to study the connection between drug laws and violence. California NORML has endorsed SB 1261 as a welcome step in the right direction which could set the stage for a serious discussion of marijuana and drug decriminalization.) Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 20:14:13 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Hayden Drug Reform Bill Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dale Gieringer) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ On April 13th, the Senate Committee on Public Safety will be holding hearings on Sen. Tom Hayden's bill, S.B. 1261: COMMISSION ON DRUG POLICY AND VIOLENCE which would set up a state commission to study the connection between drug laws and violence. Noting that record imprisonment rates have failed to stem drug use, Sen. Hayden says, "Californians must find alternatives to deal with its drug problems." California NORML has endorsed SB 1261 as a welcome step in the right direction which could set the stage for a serious discussion of marijuana and drug decriminalization. Letters of support should be sent to Sen. Hayden and Sen. Vasconcellos, chair of the Public Safety Committee, State Senate, plus Public Safety Committee members Richard Polanco (LA), Richard Rainey (Walnut Creek), Bruce MacPherson (Sta CZ), Sen. Patrick Johnston (Sacto), and Sen. John Burton (SF). *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // email@example.com 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- Enough Prisons? (A staff editorial in the Fresno Bee says there's widespread agreement, and considerable evidence, that jailing more violent and repeat criminals has contributed to the sharp drop in crime against both persons and property. But as John J. Dilulio Jr., a leading conservative criminologist, pointed out recently, the same evidence suggests that we've now reached the point where jailing more offenders, particularly nonviolent ones, draws dollars away from more promising and efficient crime-control spending: drug treatment, policing, improved probation and parole and programs aimed at preventing juvenile crime.) Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 11:56:55 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Enough Prisons? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom O'Connell) Pubdate: 3 Apr 1999 Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Fresno Bee Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.fresnobee.com/ ENOUGH PRISONS? Over the last two decades we Americans showed our disgust with crime in a very American way: We threw money at the problem, most notably by turning prisons and jails into a growth industry. Now, with the crime rate falling and the number of Americans behind bars at 1.8 million, more than the combined populations of Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming, there's a budding sense on both left and right that the law, of diminishing returns applies as much to imprisonment as other human endeavors. The raw outline of the imprisonment boom are by now familiar. Since 1978 the number of prison and jail inmates has tripled; in states like California, it's grown sixfold. Likewise, the total annual bill for prisons and jails has grown about sixfold, to $31 billion, pushing costs in state budgets to levels that rival spending for higher education. But some facts are less well known. As the liberal Justice Policy Institute reported in a study last month, 1 million prisoners, more than half of the total, are behind bars for offenses that involved neither harm, nor threat of harm, to someone else. Twenty years ago, 57% of prisoners were being held for violent offenses; today violent criminals are in a minority in jails. A disproportionate share of the prison growth has been nonviolent inmates convicted of drug offenses. Few Americans can be proud of the waste of human and economic potential represented by soaring prison populations, but there's widespread agreement, and considerable evidence, that jailing more violent and repeat criminals has contributed to the sharp drop in crime against both persons and property. But as John J. Dilulio Jr., a leading conservative criminologist, pointed out recently, the same evidence suggests that we've now reached the point where jailing more offenders, particularly nonviolent ones, draws dollars away from more promising and efficient crime-control spending: drug treatment, policing, improved probation and parole and programs aimed at preventing juvenile crime. The hard part of changing our criminal justice policy is not knowing what to do. As Dilulio and others point out, research has shown the potential of programs that can change destructive behavior at less cost and with less harm to families and communities. The tough task will be changing our political dialogue. The language of politics on crime is still stuck in the early 1980s, when a politician was "tough" for pushing prisons and "soft on crime" for opposing longer sentences for more and more crimes. Having learned to deploy that language in ways that appealed to voters, politicians face the risky challenge of backing away from the words when they no longer fit the policy facts. As hard as that will be, it's an essential job for the state's and nation's leaders if we are to stop throwing money in the wrong place.
------------------------------------------------------------------- San Francisco May 1 Event Announcements (A news release from California NORML publicizes events scheduled in conjunction with the global Million Marijuana March reform rally, including speakers, music and a dance party. Volunteers are needed!) Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 19:54:44 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Subject: SF May 1st Event Announcements *** MILLION MARIJUANA MARCH AND RALLY ANNOUNCEMENT *** Come out to San Francisco! Stand up and march for the rights of millions of marijuana users! THE MILLION MARIJUANA MARCH AND RALLY *** Medical Marijuana * Industrial Hemp * Personal Freedom * Pot Smoker's Rights * Drug Peace *** May 1st 1999 - May Day is Jay Day! San Francisco Civic Center Plaza Gather at High Noon Pot Pride Parade at 4:20pm 'Dance for Pot' Party on the Plaza! Fun for all! Speakers and Entertainment: *** Chris Conrad, BACH * Dale Gieringer, California NORML * Mikki Norris, Human Rights and the Drug War * Richard Evans, medical marijuana provider * David Ford, author of "Marijuana: Not Guilty As Charged" * Julia Carter, the Drug Peace Campaign MC: The Woodnymph 'Dance for Pot' Party, DJs and Sound System by Radio-V.com Live music by Ten Ton Chicken starts at noon! Drum Circle * Human Rights & the Drug War Exhibit Information Tables * Booths * Free Speech Platform * Pot Song-a-Thon For more info check out our Website at: http://www.drugpeace.org/mmm E-mail us at: SFmmm@hotmail.com; Or leave a Voice Mail on: (415) 971-3573 *** Event Sponsors and Organizers: *** The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Californians For Compassionate Use, The Drug Peace Campaign, The Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp (BACH), Cures-Not-Wars, Human Rights and the Drug War Exhibit, Radio-V.com, The Legalize! Initiative, Positive Solutions, Hemp Town USA, The Cannabis Action Network, C.H.A.M.P. *** Volunteering: *** Volunteers are needed to help with publicising the event and to assist during the event itself. To help spread the word, please forward this e-mail to your interested friends. We also have 4x6" flyers and 8.5x11" posters to distribute for the SF event, as well as large 'May Day is Jay Day' posters that are available in exchange for a donation. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 971-3573 to offer assistance. *** DANCE PARTY ANNOUNCEMENT *** MAY DAY IS JAY DAY - DANCE AT THE MILLION MARIJUANA MARCH & RALLY Saturday, May 1st - Radio-V.com presents May Day is Jay Day! Tom (Koinonea), Rob Rayle (Sacred Dance Society, Koinonea) , Tim (CCC). Join the Dance For Pot Party at the Million Marijuana March and Rally! Featuring: speakers, exhibits, live music, pot song-a-thon, Dance for Pot Party all day and the Pot Pride Parade at 4:20pm. Fun for all! Come out to San Francisco and dance for pot! Email: email@example.com High noon-5pm * Civic Center Plaza, SF. http://www.drugpeace.org/mmm 415.971.3573 Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // firstname.lastname@example.org 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114 *** Date: Mon, 05 Apr 1999 14:42:06 -0700 To: email@example.com From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: Hand out MAP Fyers at MILLION MARIJUANA MARCH Anyone wishing to pass out DrugSense/MAP flyers at this event can print them from http://www.mapinc.org/map4up.pdf (designed for front and back 4-to-a-page to get an easy to pocket and economical hand out) We will reimburse any print costs upon presentation of a receipt from the printer. We will also have this ad in the official program. About 3,000 attendance expected.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Utah Meth Problem Gets Publicity While Rising Use Of Marijuana Goes Unnoticed (The Salt Lake Tribune says Utah ranks third in the nation for meth lab seizures, but a survey of 10,000 students in grades seven through 12 in May 1997 by Brigham Young University shows marijuana use by Utah children has gone up 50 percent in the last 13 years.) Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 19:30:20 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US UT: Utah Meth Problem Gets Publicity While Rising Use Of Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: 3 Apr 1999 Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT) Copyright: 1999, The Salt Lake Tribune Contact: email@example.com Website: http://utahonline.sltrib.com/ Forum: http://utahonline.sltrib.com/tribtalk/ Author: Kelly Kennedy UTAH METH PROBLEM GETS PUBLICITY WHILE RISING USE OF MARIJUANA GOES UNNOTICED A creeping Utah drug problem has gone undetected because police busts of methamphetamine labs have grabbed the headlines. Yet the illegal use of marijuana is growing too. In fact, police say they busted two people this week in Salt Lake County for growing marijuana. "As far as investigations, meth has swept the headlines, but the other problems do exist," said Don Mendrala, Drug Enforcement Agency resident agent in charge. Though Utah ranks third in the nation for meth lab seizures, a recent study shows marijuana use by Utah children in grades seven through 12 has gone up by 50 percent in the past 13 years, according to a new study by Brigham Young University. On Monday, Salt Lake police seized 11 marijuana plants, 18 grams of dried marijuana and three pounds of marijuana leaves at a Salt Lake home, while Sandy police and the DEA found 69 plants at the suspect's brother's home in Sandy. Each plant is worth $1,000, and each pound of dried leaves equals between 300 and 500 joints. "Unlike coke and meth, [marijuana] involves cultivation," said Salt Lake police Sgt. Ken Hansen. Marijuana can be grown outside in a field, but it's hard to monitor, Mendrala said. Anyone could find it, take it or report it. And growing it indoors can be more problematic. "The stench in the Sandy home about knocked us over," Mendrala said. "If you're going to grow enough plants to make it worth it financially, people are going to find out." Mendrala said calls have come in from neighbors, delivery boys -- even Girl Scouts selling cookies who have smelled the stench while standing at someone's door. "You can't hide that stuff if you're growing enough to make money," said Pat Fleming, assistant director of the state division of substance abuse. Fleming said most Utah marijuana is imported on Interstates 15 and 70 because growing it is so difficult. At the same time, Utah laws may make the state one of the easiest places to make meth. "It's an open-market state where the ingredients to make meth are easier to get," Fleming said. "It's not that law enforcement is doing a bad job catching the guys growing pot, it's just easier and cheaper to make meth." There is a distinct line between the hard-core users who go for heroin, meth and cocaine and those who smoke pot. The problem with marijuana, Fleming said, is that it is a gateway drug that can lead to those hard-core drugs. And Utah's biggest problem is that more children are smoking cigarettes. "In this culture, smoking is a big step," Fleming said. "They've already been alienated from their friends and families because of the cigarettes, so marijuana is no big deal." The BYU study, which was filled out anonymously by 10,000 Utah students in May of 1997, shows marijuana use is going up at the same rate as smoking. In 1984, 10 percent of Utah students said they were smoking tobacco and 6 percent said they were smoking marijuana. In 1997, 15 percent said they were smoking tobacco and 10 percent were smoking marijuana. "Marijuana is five times stronger than it was in the '60s and '70s -- it's a whole new drug," Fleming said. "Kids don't realize that. And teenagers aren't as afraid of pot because they know people who have done it, and they haven't turned into drug fiends. But that gateway effect is definitely there."
------------------------------------------------------------------- State Jail Warden Arrested (The Houston Chronicle says Jeffrey Jeffcoat, the warden of the 2,100-inmate Gist State Jail in Beaumont, Texas, was arrested Friday on allegations that he accepted a bribe from a prison employee seeking a promotion.) Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 22:50:36 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US TX: State Jail Warden Arrested Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Art Smart (ArtSmart@neosoft.com) Pubdate: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html STATE JAIL WARDEN ARRESTED BEAUMONT - Staff, Wire Reports - The warden of the 2,100- inmate Gist State Jail in Beaumont was arrested Friday on allegations that he accepted a bribe from a prison employee seeking a promotion. Jeffrey Jeffcoat, 42, was taken into custody as he left the minimum- to medium-security prison after he submitted his resignation to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Jeffcoat joined TDCJ in January 1983 and had been warden at the Beaumont facility since March 1997. Also arrested was Brian Wilson, 25, who allegedly paid Jeffcoat $2,000 in return for a promotion from unit supply clerk to unit supply officer. In a sworn affidavit, TDCJ internal affairs officer Deborah Leonard alleged that Jeffcoat advised subordinates to supply Wilson with questions to a test required for the position. On Oct. 5, 1998, Wilson wrote the check to Jeffcoat, noting it was for the purchase of a car, she said. On Oct. 20, 1998, Jeffcoat administered the test, then selected Wilson from a field of 20 candidates. TDCJ spokesman Larry Todd said a new warden for the Gist jail will be appointed Monday. He was unable to say how much the promotion raised Wilson's salary.
------------------------------------------------------------------- City Betrayed Officers In Oregon Case, Fired Cop Says (According to the Houston Chronicle, James Willis, the lone officer charged in connection with the shooting death of Pedro Oregon Navarro during a warrantless break-in by six prohibition agents, says Houston city and police officials betrayed him and his fellow officers to avoid taking political heat.) Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 12:34:38 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: City Betrayed Officers In Oregon Case, Fired Cop Says Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: GALAN@prodigy.net (G. A ROBISON) Pubdate: 3 Apr 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Author: Steve Brewer Section: Front Page CITY BETRAYED OFFICERS IN OREGON CASE, FIRED COP SAYS The lone officer charged in connection with the shooting death of Pedro Oregon Navarro says Houston city and police officials betrayed him and his fellow officers to avoid taking political heat. In his first interview since being acquitted last week of misdemeanor criminal trespass charges in the July 12 shooting, James Willis told the Chronicle that he and the other five officers were fired by Police Chief C.O. Bradford to "appease" protesters critical of the department. Willis says Houston Police Department brass didn't have all the facts and didn't want them to come out. "Bradford's comments were the ultimate blow. It was like someone going in your chest and ripping your heart out," Willis said. "We're not crooks. We weren't out there doing criminal activities ... We were out there trying to do our jobs and catch a crook. We weren't out there raping or killing or doing dope. Granted, it didn't turn out great, but it wasn't something we didn't do in the past." He also claimed that the betrayal took a dangerous turn when Hispanic gang members threatened to kill officers in southwest Houston after Oregon's death, specifically mentioning Willis and the other five officers. Willis, 29, said no one from HPD contacted him or the others about the threats, but he had learned about them from friends. An HPD spokesman said he wasn't aware of the threats but was sure Willis and the others would have been told if they were, in fact, threatened. Police officials also deny that the officers were fired because of political concerns but because they were guilty of misconduct. Since the incident, Willis says he has been called everything from a liar and racist to a cold-blooded killer cop. Because he faced a criminal charge, Willis said he could not respond and until his trial people only heard the "spin" from the attorneys for the Oregon family. Though he still faces possible federal charges and the city is being sued by the family, he said he wants to tell the officers' side of the story. Willis says his bosses and city officials gave him and the other officers in his task force nothing but praise when they were arresting gang members. But all that ended on July 12. Tipped by an informant that Pedro Oregon's brother, Rogelio, was dealing crack cocaine, Willis and five other officers set up a meeting with Rogelio and went to his apartment. Having no warrant, the officers got the informant to knock on the door. Rogelio opened it, saw the uniformed officers behind the man and darted off. Thinking Rogelio was going for a gun or about to destroy evidence, Willis has said, he followed his partner inside. Willis restrained Rogelio and covered another man while the other officers went to the back of the apartment. That's where he says they saw an armed Pedro Oregon. One officer fired, but the bullet hit his partner. The other officers thought Pedro had shot at them, so they opened fire, hitting him with 12 of 33 shots, nine of them in the back. One officer fired 24 times. Pedro's gun was not fired, and there were no drugs in the apartment. After a lengthy investigation, a state grand jury indicted only Willis. The Oregon family and their supporters were enraged. Willis said the officers were only trying to get Rogelio Oregon's consent to search his apartment. If he refused, Willis said, the officers would have left. "We were there doing our jobs," said Willis, denying that the police had illegally created a justification to enter the home. "Rogelio knew he was busted, and he knew what was going to happen. That's why he ran." In Willis' trial, prosecutors argued that the officers were trying to pad drug arrest statistics to keep federal grant money flowing into the task force. Willis denies it: "We weren't pressured to make good numbers. We wanted to make the numbers. It made us look good, so we made the numbers." Asked why the state grand jury indicted only him and for only a misdemeanor, Willis said, "My theory is the grand jury heard what had happened, and they were OK with what happened. But because of the publicity the case received and because the protesters got involved so fast and because politicians got involved so fast, they must have felt like the facts had to come out." The only way the grand jury could accomplish that was to indict one of the officers and let the issue be aired at trial, he said. Willis denied that he was arrogant during his nine hours in front of the grand jury and said maybe the panel felt he had the least to lose. Willis said the indictment was frustrating, but he was more upset by the criticism leveled by Bradford and others without having heard their grand jury testimony. An HPD spokesman responded that Bradford had the benefit of investigations by the homicide division and internal affairs. Though he did not see the gunfire, Willis said, "A terrible thing happened that night. No one wanted Pedro to die. But what choice did he leave those officers?" Willis said that if what the officers did was so wrong, then Rogelio Oregon should have testified in his trial. Rogelio was called as a witness for the state, but he took the Fifth Amendment. Oregon family attorneys have said Rogelio didn't think the state was prosecuting in good faith. Willis says the lawyers for the Oregon family have vilified him but are afraid to have their client answer tough questions. Rogelio, Willis said, is their "gold mine." "I bet you if their daughters were buying dope from Rogelio and strung out on crack that they'd be saying something different."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Oregon's Family Clears A Hurdle (The Houston Chronicle says the federal civil rights lawsuit over the death of Pedro Oregon Navarro hasn't gone to court yet, but his family's lawyers have already won a small victory. By keeping Oregon's brother, Rogelio, off the stand in the misdemeanor criminal trespass trial of former Houston police Officer James Willis, attorneys for the family have protected their key witness in the civil rights suit, several criminal defense lawyers agree.) Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 16:48:07 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US TX: Oregon's Family Clears A Hurdle Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Art Smart (ArtSmart@NEOSOFT.COM) Pubdate: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Author: Steve Brewer OREGON'S FAMILY CLEARS A HURDLE Keeping Brother Off Stand Helps Suit The federal civil rights lawsuit over the death of Pedro Oregon Navarro hasn't gone to court yet, but his family's lawyers have already won a small victory. By keeping Oregon's brother, Rogelio, off the stand in the recent misdemeanor criminal trespass trial of former Houston police Officer James Willis, attorneys for the family have protected their key witness in the civil rights suit, several criminal defense lawyers agree. Though lawyers for the Oregon family deny that keeping Rogelio from testifying was done with that in mind, it did mean that he did not have to confront publicly allegations that he and his brothers were crack dealers. "Oh boy, did you want to keep him off the stand," said Stanley Schneider, a Houston criminal defense lawyer who has handled several high-profile cases. "That's because once he starts testifying, it's open season." Brian Wice, a local defense attorney and legal analyst for a Houston television station, agreed. Rogelio Oregon answered the door July 12 when six uniformed police officers, acting on an informant's tip, but without a warrant, came to his apartment looking for drugs. One of the officers testified that Rogelio tried to run but was grabbed by the first officers in the door. The other officers moved quickly to the back of the apartment and found Pedro Oregon in a bedroom. The officers have said Pedro pointed a gun at them. One officer fired, hitting a partner. The other officers thought Pedro had fired and they fired, hitting Pedro with 12 of 33 shots, nine to the back. One officer fired 24 times. No drugs were found. The officers have all been fired, but only Willis was charged, and that was just a misdemeanor. That has outraged the family and activists. A federal grand jury probe has begun and the family has sued the city. Rogelio Oregon's lawyers tried to get Harris County District Attorney John B. Holmes Jr. to drop the charge against Willis, calling it an insult to the family, and defer to the federal probe. Holmes refused. Furthermore, Ed Porter, who was prosecuting Willis, said he had to have Rogelio testify about how the police got into the apartment, which was the key issue in the trespass charge. Richard Mithoff, the lead attorney representing the family in the civil suit, and Flood both say it was important to keep Rogelio off the stand, because he had no faith in the state's prosecution of Willis. They said he thought his brother's death deserved more serious charges, and he preferred to cooperate with the federal investigation. Mithoff and Flood vehemently deny that keeping him from testifying had anything to do with the fact that earlier in the trial jurors had heard testimony that he had been dealing drugs. They challenged the validity of that testimony. After dodging a subpoena for weeks, Rogelio eventually was brought to the stand. Porter offered him "use immunity" -- a promise that he would not be charged for drug dealing in exchange for truthful testimony -- to compel his testimony. Flood then argued to Harris County Criminal Court-at-Law Judge Neel Richardson that Porter couldn't compel the testimony merely by offering use immunity. Flood said he was not worried about the allegations of drug dealing, but rather that his client might be prosecuted for minor inconsistencies between what he might say and his testimony to the state grand jury. Even though state law makes a perjury prosecution on such grounds unrealistic, Richardson allowed Rogelio to take the Fifth Amendment. Schneider, Wice and other lawyers say keeping Rogelio from testifying was a deft move that allowed the attorneys to respond to the drug allegations by criticizing Porter's case without exposing Rogelio to cross-examination from Brian Benken, Willis' attorney. And because Rogelio didn't testify, Benken couldn't call three other witnesses who were ready to say they had bought drugs from Rogelio. Because he had not testified he had not been dealing drugs, they couldn't be called to impeach his testimony. It also possibly puts the attorneys representing the city in the civil suit in a tough spot, legal observers say. Rogelio Oregon has only testified in front of state and federal grand juries. That testimony would only be available to attorneys for the police officers if they were indicted for criminal charges in federal court. And because he didn't testify in Willis' case, they have nothing to use against him when and if he gets on the stand in civil court, Schneider and Wice agreed. Mithoff insists that wasn't the objective, saying he and Flood were only trying to respect Rogelio's wish not to testify in Willis' case. But Mithoff does acknowledge that keeping Rogelio from testifying did make good legal sense: "I don't think any lawyer wants to see his client asked the same questions on four different occasions."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Semi-Legal Drugs - A Field Full Of Buttons (The Economist, in Britain, examines the peyote industry sanctioned by Congress for American Indians only. In the United States, the peyote cactus - Lophophora williamsii - grows naturally only in four counties in Texas, and it cannot be cultivated successfully elsewhere. The Texas Department of Public Safety regulates the harvesting and transportation of peyote buttons by licensing seven people - peyoteros - and monitors them on a quarterly basis. But the supply of peyote is shrinking even as Native American Church demand increases. There is an easy solution: using peyote stocks that stretch 300 miles or more into Mexico, a reserve that might produce twice the output of the United States. Yet, ironically for a government that has often run into trouble with American officials for enforcing drug laws too weakly, Mexico continues to stand firm on peyote, preventing any harvesting or possession of the cactus on its side of the border.) Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 01:48:23 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: Semi-Legal Drugs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: D. Paul Stanford http://www.crrh.org/ Pubdate: Sat, 3 April 1999 Source: Economist, The (UK) Copyright: 1999. The Economist Newspaper Limited. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.economist.com/ SEMI-LEGAL DRUGS A Field Full Of Buttons MIRANDO CITY, TEXAS - Webb, Zapata, Jim Hogg and Starr Counties, all in Texas, look much like the rest of the American south-west--lots of parched rangeland, dotted with mesquite, cacti and the occasional ranch. In this desolate region, people are far outnumbered by "buttons" of America's most unusual crop: peyote, a small, mind-altering cactus used for 10,000 years as an Indian religious sacrament. Peyote - officially known to botanists as Lophophora williamsii - grows naturally only in these four counties, and it cannot be successfully cultivated anywhere. For non-Indians, possession is illegal and punishable by stiff narcotics laws. But the religious use of peyote is allowed for members of the Native American Church, a pan-tribal religion derived from the practices of native peoples who inhabited what is now southern Texas and northern Mexico. The peyote church, as it is sometimes called, began to spread through Indian country in the late 1870s. Adherents eat peyote in a powdery form or drink it in tea during communal sessions that last from evening until dawn. Members of the 400,000-member church do not report feeling a high--pharmacologists say actual hallucinations are uncommon--but rather a period of intense inward reflection. "To me it's a medicine," says Earl Arkinson, the church president, a Chippewa-Cree Indian from Montana who is a police chief in his other life. "It's a spiritual feeling." Until recently, the legal status of peyote was a headache for church members. Congregants who wished to avoid being stopped for possession of peyote were obliged to drive through a loose patchwork of states in which church-sanctioned uses of peyote were legal. Then, in 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment did not protect the religious use of peyote by the Native American Church. Four years later, Congress--backed by the Drug Enforcement Agency and other federal law-enforcement officials--rebuked the high court by reaffirming the right to use peyote in religious ways, and by preventing states from cracking down on the transport of peyote. Indirectly, that legislation also ensured that the small band of predominantly Latino peyote harvesters, or peyoteros, in south Texas would be able to continue their trade. The peyoteros' techniques are learned from family members or neighbours. Since the plant lies close to the ground, harvesting--slicing the drug-containing "buttons" from the roots--is backbreaking work. Experienced harvesters, however, can pick 1,000 buttons in an hour. Once collected, the buttons are either used immediately or dried naturally on long, slanted tables, a process that can take as long as a month or as little as a week in the searing summer temperatures of south Texas. The Texas Department of Public Safety licenses seven peyoteros and monitors them on a quarterly basis. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency keeps an eye on things too, and reports very little abuse of the drug by non-Indians. Advocates of peyote say it actually reduces alcoholism among Indians, a serious health problem in most tribes. Salvador Johnson, of tiny Mirando City, is one of the youngest peyoteros; he is 52. He employs up to a dozen labourers, most of them relatives, to pick peyote buttons all year round on about 30,000 acres. His business is booming. "You can have 100 church members come down in a weekend," he says, "and the least that each of them will take is probably a couple of thousand buttons." Mr Johnson himself may not supply all those customers, but at $150 for 1,000 fresh buttons--or $170 for 1,000 dried buttons--the maths works out well enough. "By June, I take a break because I'm exhausted," he says. In addition to affording the harvesters a living, the peyote business helps funnel the dollars of Indian peyote-seekers to restaurants and hotels in large cities like Laredo as well as small towns like Rio Grande City, which is home to five of the seven licensed harvesters. But trouble lurks. Although some of the ranchers whom Mr Johnson and his fellow-peyoteros work with have been leasing them peyote-rich land for decades, others are increasingly unwilling to do so. They can make much more money from renting their lands to big-game hunters than to peyote harvesters. With fewer lands available to harvest, the supply of peyote is shrinking even as church demand increases. There is an easy solution: using peyote stocks that stretch 300 miles or more into Mexico, a reserve that might produce twice the output of the United States. Yet, ironically for a government that has often run into trouble with American officials for enforcing drug laws too weakly, Mexico continues to stand firm on peyote, preventing any harvesting or possession of the cactus on its side of the border. If Mexico were to liberalise its peyote laws, or if the Native American Church were to buy land and harvest its own peyote, America's seven licensed peyoteros could suffer from falling prices. But Mr Johnson says he would be willing to put up with that if it meant an increased supply of peyote for congregants who need it. "We will never have enough to meet the demand," he says. "There's no way in the world we can meet it. It's sad, because this is something these people use for their church. And without peyote, there is no church."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Beyond DARE - Dane County Communities Search For New Ways To Prevent Teen Drug Abuse (The Wisconsin State Journal looks back on the 16 years since the nation's first crop of fifth-graders DARE'd to be substance free. It's been 13 years since Nancy Reagan pleaded with Generation X-ers to "Just Say No." Use of alcohol and marijuana is increasing. There is no evidence that the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program has had any more beneficial effect than Nancy Reagan's attempt to shift public attention away from the news that her astrologer was running the country. Three Dane County school districts - Madison, Deerfield and Mt. Horeb - have dropped DARE. So has Lodi in Columbia County. Those who still back DARE no longer view it as an end-all. Some say answers lie in a new buzzword for the millennium: assets. But even those buying into it admit there's little proof that it works either.)Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 22:22:40 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WI: Beyond Dare Dane County Communities Search For New Ways Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.madison.com/ Copyright: Madison Newspapers, Inc. 1999 Author: Karyn Saemann BEYOND DARE DANE COUNTY COMMUNITIES SEARCH FOR NEW WAYS TO PREVENT TEEN DRUG ABUSE This is as subtle as it got a decade ago: television spots that likened addiction to fried eggs. It's been 13 years since Nancy Reagan pleaded with Generation X- ers to "Just Say No," and 16 years since the nation's first crop of fifth-graders DARE'd to be substance free. Like the children it first targeted, drug education has come of age with new research and new philosophies. But has anything really changed? Recent surveys show that local teenagers are increasingly trying marijuana and binge drinking at an alarming rate. Some say answers lie in a new buzzword for the millennium: assets. In a 1990 report and 1997 follow-up, researchers at Minneapolis' Search Institute said kids with enough "positive assets" in their lives - defined as everything from caring neighbors to high self- esteem and community service opportunities - were more likely to make healthy choices on a range of issues from alcohol use to overeating to sex. The concept revolutionized drug and alcohol education after a generation of the spotlight being on factors that put young people at risk. The news reverberated throughout Wisconsin and Dane County. "What we're looking at is concentrating on positive strengths, rather than looking at children as damaged goods," said Carol Klopp, alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse coordinator for Cooperative Educational Service Agency-2 in Dane County. The shift is so new that those buying into it admit there's little proof that it works in practice. They can point only to evidence that it has made an impact in clinical situations. The breakthrough came as other research suggested DARE - Drug Abuse Resistance Education - was costing a lot of money, with no definitive proof that it was keeping teenagers from abusing drugs. Studies did show it was having a nominal effect on teenage tobacco use. Three Dane County school districts - Madison, Deerfield and Mt. Horeb - have dropped DARE So has Lodi in Columbia County. Those who still back DARE no longer view it as an end-all. "We still do DARE. We like DARE. But DARE can't stand alone. You need to do more," said Kim Hegstrom, alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse coordinator for the Belleville School District. "I think the picture is bigger than that." "I think the reason that DARE fails at a lot of schools is that they just do DARE," agreed Dennis Steed, student assistance program coordinator for the Stoughton Area School District. As they weigh whether to keep DARE, school districts are wading through an explosion of new "asset-based" curriculums that focus on strengthening kids and teaching them to make lifelong healthy choices. The programs also stress resiliency - the notion that even kids who don't have much going for them are capable of making it. Gone are the days where drug education meant showing middle schoolers an array of colored pills laid out in a glass case like a bug collection. Today the focus is on raising consciousness about wise choices for the long term. "You are never going to have a program that is going to stop kids from experimenting," said Lynn Reining, alcohol and drug coordinator for the Middleton-Cross Plains School District. "What you hope is that if they do experiment, they are not going to drive drunk." "We don't talk about alcohol being a drug. We talk about how alcohol can cause health-related problems and impairment problems," said Linda Sanders, a guidance counselor at Lodi Middle School. "With young kids, we talk about how it can make you stumble and fall. We talk in high school about how it can affect relationships with people." Eighth-graders in Belleville discuss the economics of tobacco. Madison fifth-graders get an eye-opening look at what it would mean to live on minimum wage if parenthood or alcohol or drug abuse short-circuited their education. The lessons are part of C.O.P.S., or Classes on Personal Safety, which debuted last fall as a replacement for DARE. "We start going through food and utilities, and kids are coming up with about 33 cents per day to have fun with," said Madison Safety Education Officer Maryanne Thurber. "All of a sudden I hear kids say, `I'm not going to get pregnant. I'm staying in high school.'" Madison high schoolers who see that their parents turned out fine after using marijuana in the 1960s are taught that a joint today is 14 times more potent and addictive than 30 years ago, said Joan Lerman, alcohol and other drug program support person for the Madison Metropolitan School District. Home help: At the core of the Search Institute's assets concept is the idea that community and parent involvement is critical to keeping children free of alcohol and drug problems later in life. "We can support what the parents are trying to do and they can support what we are trying to do. That's where it starts," said Julie Taylor, Wisconsin Heights School District alcohol and drug abuse coordinator. Parents in Mt. Horeb, Madison, Evansville and Deerfield have been offered an in-depth evening course called "Talking with Your Kids About Alcohol," developed by the Kentucky-based Prevention Research Institute. Pat Werk, of Deerfield, whose children are 11, 13 and 16, said the class "made me comfortable. I felt more knowledgeable. I felt I had some tools to work with. I know what points I need to make." While short-term issues such as a family's moral expectations that a teenager will not drink alcohol fit into the discussion, the ultimate intent is to help young people prepare for adulthood. "It is to help parents reduce their children's risk of ever developing an alcohol problem any time in life," said Katie Albrecht, alcohol and other drug abuse coordinator for the Deerfield School District. Participants are forced to examine the example they set. "It challenges adults to look at what they consider to be responsible drinking," parent Larry Sexe said. "The minute you start talking about drinking in this state, you press all kinds of buttons," said drug educator Klopp. "The reality is they're watching everything you do. No matter what I say, if I don't back it up with my deeds, I might as well quit saying it." Marshall and Madison offer a course called "Active Parenting," which deals with issues from alcohol to sexuality. Evansville, Mt. Horeb and Lodi offer a related classroom course called "Talking with Your Students About Alcohol." It will be offered in Middleton next year. In an effort to arm parents with needed information, school districts throughout Dane County have set up resource rooms offering literature for check-out, Internet access and a chance for parents to network. Verona and McFarland have Partners in Prevention. It offers asset training for parents and tries to raise awareness of drug and alcohol use among area teens. The Wisconsin Heights School District has brought in detectives and University Hospital officials to share their medical and law enforcement expertise with parents and staff members. Marshall recently offered an evening seminar with Michael McGowan, a Pewaukee-based consultant who specializes in alcohol, drug and family issues. Madison offers F.A.S.T. - Families and Schools Together, an evening program that brings entire families together one night a week for eight to 10 weeks. The sessions include dinner, family communication games and straight talk about drug and alcohol use. Similarly, Middleton offers "Family Talk," an in-depth discussion of alcohol and drugs for parents of adolescents. And Mt. Horeb has "Joining Forces for Families," which brings together a social worker, public health nurse, police officers and others to talk about how local families can be strengthened. In the long run, however, will these new approaches make a difference? Checking results: No one knows for sure, admitted Elise Frattura Kampshroer, director of student services for the Verona Area School District. "I could list 10 things under every grade level that we do. We do a lot. Our question is, is it helpful?" Frattura Kampshroer said. "Is it meeting the needs of our kids?" Verona is hoping to amass some information through a survey this spring of seventh-to 12th-graders. "Over the past five or six years, we've been putting services into place. It was time to stop the merry-go-round to see if we had built it right," Frattura Kampshroer said. But Ron Biendseil, youth services coordinator for the Dane County Youth Commission, said most school districts don't have the money to independently research whether their programs are working. They're counting on the research done ahead of time by the curriculum developers. "What schools and community groups are trying to do is latch on to those kinds of programs that have had some kind of evaluation, usually in another community or state. That's about the best we can do," Biendseil said. With its asset model, the Search Institute has "been able to document at least correlations" between assets and healthy choices, Biendseil said. "They are saying we seem to have found some things that make sense." "We're really in the infancy in so much of this area in terms of what works. Each year we learn a little more. It takes time and resources and money and trial and error and people coming together to share anecdotes to see if there is some consensus that this is working," Biendseil said. A federally funded project that brought Dane County school districts together for two years between 1994 and 1996 was a huge step in understanding what works, CESA2's Klopp said. "When I started working here, there was a large amount of frustration among our coordinators over the issue of `Is what we're doing right? We don't know,' " Klopp said. Backed by a $465,000 federal grant, school district and CESA2 officials spent a year sifting through 40 years of published material on prevention research. The effort, dubbed Project Four Square, picked apart scores of canned curriculums, including DARE. "We found that there were things that schools were doing that didn't work. As a matter of fact, some stuff is detrimental," Klopp said. The group came away with an asset-based model for alcohol and drug education that has become the basis for much of what's now taught in area schools. A similar framework was recently developed by the state Department of Public Instruction. Klopp said Project Four Square resulted in new confidence among school district alcohol and drug coordinators. "We're in this period of change in which districts are asking some very hard questions. They're no longer willing to accept surface answers," Klopp said. "We now have the ability to say, `What research have you done on this?' We're no longer saying, `That looks pretty good to us.'" A new Dane County youth survey to be published next year may offer the first benchmark on whether the project was on the right track. The survey is done every five years by a host of area agencies including the Dane County Youth Commission, UW-Extension, area school districts, CESA2 and Partners in Prevention. Other answers may be slower in coming. At universities around the nation, researchers are just beginning to delve into the effectiveness of some of the new curriculums. DARE had been around for nearly 15 years before researchers began to debunk it, Stoughton's Steed pointed out. "It took 25 years for smoking to come to the awareness it has today," Steed said. Research at the national level has begun to show that community policy changes - such as raising alcohol taxes, raising drinking ages and adopting zero tolerance laws - may have as Page 4A much impact on kids' choices as school programs, said Paul Moberg, director of the Center for Health Policy and Program Evaluation at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. There is also evidence that hands-on programs and those that allow students to take a leadership role may have more impact than lectures, said Cheryl Perry, an epidemiology professor at the University of Minnesota. Perry was involved in a lengthy trial that began in 1991, and trained middle schoolers to put on alcohol-free community fun nights. Initial results showed a significant reduction in alcohol use among eighth-graders. "I think what happened is we started to re-create their social environment so that they didn't think the only way to have fun was to drink," Perry said. Moberg is involved in a three-year research project that is looking at what happens when initial F.A.S.T. money dries up and critical pieces of the program, such as community dinners, are cut out. Meanwhile, school districts are becoming familiar enough with the programs to discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Kay Nightingale, safe and drug free school coordinator for the Beloit School District and a certified trainer for the Prevention Research Institute who has taught guidance counselors all over the state to use its programs, said "Talking with Your Kids About Alcohol" tops her list of nationally known programs. "It's the best stuff I've ever seen by far," she said. But while Deerfield's Albrecht praised "Talking with Your Kids About Alcohol," the related student component got mixed reviews. "Kids can get bored with it. It's very lecture oriented with slides," Albrecht said. "They need to do some revision on how the program is delivered, to make it more palatable." Mt. Horeb apathy: But at least Deerfield has had enough interest to offer the course for parents. Mt. Horeb alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse coordinator Carol Clavey said her district has tried to offer "Talking with Your Kids About Alcohol" for years. The last time it had enough parental interest to hold a class was in 1996. "It's been frustrating," Clavey said. "Parents aren't seeing it as a priority." "I have talked to parents and said, `Why don't you want to take it?' They say, `I have already talked to my kids.' `What did you tell them?' `Not to do it.' " Sometimes there are surprises, however. Despite a small turnout for "Talking with Your Kids About Alcohol," a separate panel discussion on teenage drug use drew 50 Deerfield parents last year, Albrecht said. "Historically - and I'm sure this is true in many communities - there's a lot of denial that we have a problem," Albrecht said. "This was a sign of success." There are many signs, in fact, that area communities are taking their role seriously - such as an increasing recognition that summer festivals need not revolve around beer tents and a recent push to establish youth centers. "I would say that communities are taking off the blinders," Steed said. Stoughton has offered some of the county's most innovative programs, including an exchange program with inmates from the Rock County Jail, in which students see first hand the impacts of unwise choices. Stoughton has a peer jury and was one of the county's first communities to have a youth center. It also has S.A.D.D. - which begins in the middle school as Students Against Dangerous Decisions and evolves into Students Against Drunk Driving in high school. Biendseil calls Stoughton "our poster child." But even that community has seen bumps in the road. An award-winning effort to have liquor stores and taverns sign a pledge to not sell alcohol to minors has seen "limited follow-up," Steed admitted. It's just one example of the work that remains to be done. Despite the recent publicity about local youth centers, only one- quarter of middle school students in Dane County currently have access to such places, Biendseil pointed out. And no one believes that there's a silver bullet out there. "We recognize that this is a piece of work that will never be done," Thurber said. INHALING AND IMBIBING Recent surveys show marked increases in teenage marijuana use. In 1995, a survey of 6,800 Dane County seventh-to 12th-graders showed that 26 percent had used marijuana, up from 20 percent in 1990. That mirrored a statewide rise in teenage marijuana use between 1993 and 1997 from 23 percent to 36 percent. Nationwide, the number of high school seniors having used marijuana rose from 41 percent to 50 percent between 1990 and 1997. Additionally, in a recent study, the State Medical Society of Wisconsin said adults in Wisconsin ranked first in the nation in binge drinking - commonly defined as five or more drinks in a row for men and four for women. The 1995 Dane County Youth Survey showed that 27 percent of local teenagers had binged in the past month. Similarly, the 1997 statewide survey showed that 31 percent of Wisconsin teenagers had binged in the past 30 days, and 17 percent had taken their first drink at age 10 or younger. The state survey did show small to moderate decreases in teenage use of tobacco, crack cocaine and alcohol since 1990. "While we have made a lot of strides, we have seen some backsliding there," said Steve Fernan, prevention education consultant with the state Department of Public Instruction.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Providence Police Lack Records On Seized Cars (The Providence Journal-Bulletin, in Rhode Island, says its investigation into how a 1991 Honda Accord obtained in a drug arrest wound up in private hands has led Capt. John J. Ryan, the Providence Police Department's director of administration, to disclose that over the past eight years, the department has sold 250 cars seized in drug arrests, but has almost no records of how much the cars were sold for, or who bought them.) Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 12:39:41 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US RI: Providence Police Lack Records On Seized Cars Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Dunbar Pubdate: 3 Apr 1999 Source: Providence Journal-Bulletin (RI) Copyright: 1999 The Providence Journal Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://projo.com/ Author: W. Zachary Malinowski and Jonathan D. Rockoff, Journal Staff Writers PROVIDENCE POLICE LACK RECORDS ON SEIZED CARS The Department's Failure To Account For Hundreds Of Cars Comes To Light After Questions Are Raised About The Trail Of A 1991 Honda Seized In A Drug Case. PROVIDENCE -- Over the past eight years, the Providence Police Department says, it has sold 250 cars seized in drug arrests. But the department has almost no records of how much the cars were sold for, or who bought them. Capt. John J. Ryan, the department's director of administration, said the police did not begin keeping records until the most recent car auction -- last July. "Does this embarrass us?" Ryan said. "Of course it does. But then we fix it." The disclosure raises new issues with how the state's largest police department handles evidence seized in raids. Last month, Ryan acknowledged that the department had lost 16 items seized during a raid of a pawnshop in the Washington Park section of the city. And the pawnshop's owner, who won a court order forcing the police to return its merchandise, said some of the goods came back used. The sides are negotiating over compensation for the missing and used property. The department's failure to account for seized cars surfaced as a result of inquiries by The Providence Journal into how a 1991 Honda Accord obtained in a drug arrest wound up in private hands. THE HONDA, with 147,272 miles, came into the possession of the Providence police as the result of a drug investigation two years ago. On June 18, 1997, police arrested two men on charges that they were selling heroin from a garage at Eddy and Chapman Streets. Police seized 200 packets of heroin, $473, and the Honda that the suspects used to deal the drugs. About a month later, on July 24, the state attorney general's office moved to confiscate the money and car. Under state law, suspected drug dealers may be forced to forfeit cars, money and other property allegedly connected to their crimes. The forfeiture process involves the police, the attorney general and the state treasurer's office. In August 1997, as required by law, the attorney general's office ran three legal notices in The Providence Journal announcing a series of drug-related property seizures across the state. The ad specifically mentioned the $473 and the 1991 Honda. The forfeiture was completed Sept. 25, 1997. The money and car officially became the property of the Providence police. Four months later, on Jan. 30, 1998, the Providence police submitted an annual report to the state treasurer's office. State law requires detailed reports of money and property seized in the previous year. Providence's six-page document was signed by Col. Urbano Prignano Jr., the Providence police chief. It listed $211,580 in property and money seized by the department in 1997. The report mentions the $473 seized in the June 18 drug arrest. Not listed: the 1991 Honda. THREE WEEKS later, the car was sold twice -- within 48 hours. On Feb. 17, 1998, the Providence police held an auction at the Providence Civic Center to sell 17 cars. The department publicized the auction. Because the police have not kept records of their car sales, only Richard Autiello can say what happened to the 1991 Honda. Autiello is co-owner of Four A's Enterprises, a garage and car dealership in Providence that holds a three-year, $1.75-million contract to provide service for the fleet of city police vehicles. Autiello said he always attends the auctions, but seldom buys any cars. The Honda was put up for auction that day, but nobody bid on it, according to Autiello. Afterwards, as he was "kibitzing" with police officers, Autiello said, he decided to buy the Honda. He said he haggled with the police and got the Honda for $450. "It started up, but it didn't move," Autiello said. He had the Honda towed to his garage on Cranston Street. He said he planned to use the car for parts. "It was blowing black smoke." But the next day, Autiello said, a buyer for the car walked into his garage: Sandra L. Morgero, 45, then of 34 Spenstone St., Cranston. Morgero, he said, was driving an older Honda. "She had some toilet she was driving, some kind of junk box," Autiello said. Autiello said he asked Morgero how much money she wanted to spend and that she told him $3,000. THE MECHANICS at Four A's went to work. Autiello said they spent at least a week repairing a severe oil leak, rebuilding the transmission and replacing the clutch. He estimated that he spent more than $1,500 on repairs. Records from the state Registry of Motor Vehicles show that Morgero bought the car Feb. 18, the same day she stopped by the garage. She had the car registered the next day. Autiello said he didn't know why she bought the car and had it registered before she could drive it. "I was wondering that myself," he said. Last September, Morgero joined the payroll of the city's Public Safety Department. She works as a laborer earning $13 an hour at the Providence Animal Control Center. She drives the Honda to her job at the city dog pound. Approached early this week by two reporters and asked about her purchase of the Honda, Morgero declined to comment. "I'm sorry, that's personal information," she said. Within an hour, Ryan, of the Providence police, called one of the reporters to announce that the dog pound is off-limits to reporters. ON THURSDAY, Ryan was interviewed about police property procedures. The department could not produce any records concerning the Feb. 17 sale of the 1991 Honda. When asked why the car's seizure and sale were not reported to the state treasurer, Ryan placed a telephone call to Detective Wayne Ferland, who oversees property seized by the department. "Can you tell me how this would happen?" Ryan asked. Ferland, who could be heard on a speaker phone, couldn't provide Ryan with answers. Ryan instructed Ferland to address the problem immediately and compile an amended report for the state treasurer. Then Ryan leafed through the department's internal list of seized cars to see if there were other contradictions with the 1998 and 1999 reports to the state treasurer. Within a minute, he found four other cars that were not reported. "It certainly isn't on purpose," Ryan said. "We wouldn't violate a state law that requires us to report." When the subject of the Feb. 17 auction came up in the interview, Ryan again telephoned Ferland. This time, he spoke with Ferland over the handset, not the speaker. "What records do you have?" Ryan asked. "Do you have a record of any car sold that day at the auction?" "So how do we keep track of how much we get from it?" "So what you're saying is we don't have a record of selling that car for $450?" "Do we have a total amount for that auction?" Ryan said he did not know how many property auctions the department has conducted since the forfeiture law was enacted 10 years ago. He said the Providence police have been seizing cars since 1988. He said that since 1991, the department has seized 480 cars and has sold 250. He said the police have records of one auction: the last one, held July 25, 1998. The police report to the state treasurer said that eight cars were sold. Ryan, during the interview, vowed to correct the problem of inaccurate reports to the state treasurer. He said that the problem should be solved by the pending installation of computer software. Ryan later telephoned to report that, while there was no record of the sale price of any car, records showed that the police deposited $15,209.53 in a bank account after the auction on Feb. 17, 1998.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Former Chief Turns Against His Men (The New York Times says Alexander V. Oriente, the former police chief in West New York, New Jersey, a small blue-collar town across the Hudson River from Manhattan's Upper West Side, has already admitted to payoffs, kickbacks, shakedowns and bribes. He has declared himself a liar, a loan shark, even a common thief. Even more surprising, for more than a week, Oriente has been testifying as a government witness against four of his former officers accused of taking bribes and kickbacks. The indictments in the case paint a detective-novel picture of illicit after-hours bars, illegal video gambling dens and police-protected prostitution rings. With its shady characters and film noir backdrop, Oriente's tale is exceptionally noir. For nearly a decade, prosecutors say, Oriente and his officers turned their department into a bustling organized crime enterprise that collected and shared as much as $1.5 million in illegal gains.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Former Chief Turns Against Force Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 18:03:00 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org April 3, 1999 New York Times Former Chief Turns Against His Men By ALAN FEUER AMDEN, N.J. -- He has admitted everything: the payoffs, the kickbacks, the shakedowns and the bribes. In his resigned and raspy voice, he has declared himself a liar, a loan shark, even a common thief. But Alexander V. Oriente has been forced to do more than simply offer his confessions on the witness stand in Federal District Court here. He has had to break the code of his profession and testify against his own. For more than a week, Oriente, the former chief of police in West New York, N.J., has been appearing as a Government witness in the trial of four of his former officers, who stand accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks on the job. Although Oriente led the department during the years in which his officers are charged with breaking the law, he avoided a trial in the sprawling corruption case by pleading guilty to single counts of racketeering and tax fraud last March. No one expected a lofty contest of ideals when the four officers -- Lieut. Richard Hess, Sgts. John Morrow and Arthur Pena and Detective Carlos Rivera -- went on trial last week. After all, the indictments in the case painted a detective-novel picture of illicit after-hours bars, illegal video gambling dens and police-protected prostitution rings. But even in a case like this, with its shady characters and film noir backdrop, Oriente's tale is exceptionally noir. The case, which erupted in January 1997 with the arrests of 9 officers and 10 residents of West New York, a small blue-collar town across the Hudson River from Manhattan's Upper West Side, is the largest police corruption scandal in New Jersey history. For nearly a decade, prosecutors say, Oriente and his officers turned their department into a bustling organized crime enterprise that collected and shared as much as $1.5 million in illegal gains. More than 30 people, about half of them police officers, were eventually charged in the case. But most entered plea agreements with the Federal Government, and only the four accused remain on trial. The trial is expected to last into the summer and feature a cast of characters that could include a father-and-son team of convicted Cuban gamblers and an officer who helped the Government by secretly tape-recording his colleagues and friends. But for now, Oriente, 65, of Ridgefield, is the Government's star witness. When he first took the stand last week, he implicated each of the four defendants and testified that he himself had taken bribes from virtually his first day on the job, more than 40 years ago. "It was normal procedure," he told the jury matter-of-factly. "If someone was brought in, you'd take their money, put it in your pocket or share it with your partner." Defense lawyers have tried to portray Oriente as a serial liar who cut a deal with the Government to avoid a long prison term. In his opening statement, Vincent Nuzzi, the lawyer for Lieutenant Hess, referred to Oriente and his fellow witnesses as "lowlifes" and added, "Calling these people rats would be doing a disservice to the rodents." On Wednesday, Peter Willis, a lawyer for Sergeant Morrow, peppered Oriente with stinging questions about lying on his tax returns and betraying everything from his sworn oath as an officer to his marriage vows. But even under harsh cross-examination, the witness was serene in acknowledging these misdeeds. Indeed, Oriente's deadpan confessions, offered with wry shrugs that bunched the shoulders of his gray business suit, seemed to prove that he had become a man beyond embarrassment and shame. On the stand, he has told how he joined the police force in 1956 and worked his way up from patrolman to captain and eventually to chief. Along the way, he told the jury, he took part in the civic life of West New York, lecturing on public safety to the P.T.A. and on the dangers of drugs to family groups. (His own family includes three children, one of whom, Alexander Oriente Jr., is a former West New York police officer who pleaded guilty in the case.) But the former chief also admitted that he led a double life, scouring the streets in uniform looking for illicit deals. Over the years, he said, he lent millions of dollars as a loan shark, took kickbacks to protect illegal gambling and received at least $200 a week from a local madam, whom he admitted sleeping with and protecting when her neighbors complained about the business. (The woman, who was charged in the case, suffered a nervous breakdown in jail and Government psychologists declared her incompetent to stand trial.) Oriente resigned in 1997 under the shadow of a Federal investigation, and in January state officials revoked his $80,000 annual pension. He now works an $8.50-an-hour job at a home for the elderly, he said. While it remains unclear how much he made from his crimes, he said under cross-examination that he is now "busted, broke, just plain out of cash." The sight of Oriente on the witness stand describing the crooked ways of his department has shocked some law enforcement experts, who say it is exceedingly rare for a police chief to testify against his employees. "I don't think I've ever seen it before," said Michael Chertoff, the United States Attorney for New Jersey from 1990 to 1994. "It sounds like the underlings waited a little too long to cooperate, and the chief just beat them to the punch." Most police officers in West New York have refused to discuss the case, though the handful of officers willing to talk have painted a picture of a department where morale is low and paranoia is high. "It's depressing to everyone," one officer said on the condition of anonymity. "And I'm sure, for certain individuals, it's very scary. All I want now is to do my last seven years and get off the job as quickly as I can." For Oriente, the trial is a chance to reduce the amount of time, if any, he will have to spend in prison; his maximum possible sentence is 25 years. But the trial is also an opportunity, he says, to clear his conscience after more than four decades as a corrupt police officer. "I come here," he told the jury with a rare strain of emotion in his voice, "and I tell the truth. I come clean with everything. I tell what's really going on."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Do We Fear Pot - Or Those Who Smoke It? (A letter to the editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in Virginia, pans a recent editorial cartoon. "Why does our society spend so much time and effort on this prohibition? I believe we can find a hint in your cartoon. While it depicts a clean-cut doctor, the patient has long hair. Could it be there is something other than marijuana that bothers us about its users?") Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 10:42:53 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US VA: PUB LTE: Do We Fear Pot -- Or Those Who Smoke It? Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Michael (Miguet@NOVEMBER. ORG) Pubdate: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) Copyright: 1999, Richmond Newspapers Inc. Contact: email@example.com Fax: 804-775-8072 Website: http://www.gateway-va.com/ Author: Walter Bender Note: The author is a member of Virginians Against Drug Violence and the Drug policy forum of Virginia. DO WE FEAR POT -- OR THOSE WHO SMOKE IT? Editor, Times-Dispatch: Gary Brookins' March 19 cartoon may have given some a chuckle, but to those who are struggling with the intractable policy of medical marijuana prohibition, it was not so funny. In California, where the voters made medical marijuana use legal, federal authorities still are arresting cancer and AIDS patients who use it for relief. The Institute of Medicine was commissioned to study marijuana as a result of that vote. The report went beyond a vindication of those who claim medical benefits. The doctors provided some interesting facts that call into question much of what we are told about marijuana by authorities. The concept that marijuana leads to other drug use was debunked. It also disproved the idea that the herb causes a lack of motivation in users. Most of them have little or no trouble stopping if they want to. So why does our society spend so much time and effort on this prohibition? I believe we can find a hint in your cartoon. While it depicts a clean-cut doctor, the patient has long hair. Could it be there is something other than marijuana that bothers us about its users? Walter Bender. Crewe.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana (A typically duplicitous staff editorial in the Washington Post about the March 17 Institute of Medicine report says "There are good reasons to be skeptical of the movement for medical marijuana. The issue has become a kind of stalking horse for marijuana legalization generally, one that avoids the serious public policy questions legalization presents." This after more than 25 years of activists' efforts to get government to confront "the serious public policy questions legalization presents" and a lengthier period of stonewalling by government, including, most recently, the quashing of voters' rights in Washington, D.C.) Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 11:29:00 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Editorial: Medical Marijuana 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/ Pubdate: Sat, 3 Apr 1998 Source: Washington Post (DC) Copyright: 1998 The Washington Post Company Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071 Feedback: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Page: A14, Editorial Medical Marijuana THE REPORT by the Institute of Medicine on medical uses of marijuana provides guidance on a subject that has been politicized beyond both its actual medical promise and its actual law enforcement implications. The report has been spun as a victory by all sides, but its contents are neither a ringing endorsement nor an outright rejection of marijuana's therapeutic qualities. Its authors conclude that while marijuana-derived chemicals such as THC and other cannabinoids may be useful for a variety of symptoms, smoked marijuana is "a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances." The goal in studying "smoked marijuana would not be to develop marijuana as a licensed drug," they write, but "as a first step towards . . . nonsmoked, rapid-onset cannabinoid delivery systems." There are good reasons to be skeptical of the movement for medical marijuana. The issue has become a kind of stalking horse for marijuana legalization generally, one that avoids the serious public policy questions legalization presents. Moreover, THC is already available commercially in oral form with a prescription, and the FDA has approved other drugs to treat many symptoms marijuana is said to relieve. Something is wrongheaded about the notion of drug availability as a subject for referenda, rather than for a regulatory process in which data from rigorous clinical trials are evaluated. The flip side, as the institute's report suggests, is that the class of patients seems to be limited, generally, to terminally ill people suffering from chronic pain, nausea from chemotherapy, or appetite suppression from AIDS or advanced cancers who don't respond to standard therapies but do respond to marijuana. It seems wrong, in the name of fighting the war on drugs, to withhold from these patients a drug, however imperfect, that offers relief. And it should be possible to arrange for access to marijuana by people who may benefit from it -- as compassionate-use programs have allowed access to many unapproved therapies -- without a general relaxation of drug laws. The institute's report recommends that marijuana and its constituent compounds be studied further, with trials of smoked marijuana examining only short-term use to avoid the health consequences of longer-term marijuana smoking. No reasonable objection can be made to this idea, particularly insofar as further studies could lead to cannabinoid delivery systems that lack the unhealthful qualities of smoking. The report also recommends that access to marijuana be permitted for patients who have failed to respond to standard treatments and whose doctors approve their use of it. This too seems reasonable. Key, however, is that such expanded access not become a system -- such as the buyers' clubs that followed the referendum in California -- under which marijuana is made openly available even to those with no medical need for it. If marijuana is to be medicine, it should be under tight controls and used only by those who cannot avail themselves of other drugs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Too Pure' Heroin Claims 14 Lives (The Guardian, and the British police the newspaper gets all its information from, promote the myth that it's the heroin rather than the contaminants in street drugs that are killing users. This in a country where addicts receive 100 percent pure heroin in maintenance programs that have recorded no deaths from "overdoses," which the Consumers Union explained 25 years ago to be a misnomer anyway.) Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 12:34:33 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: 'Too Pure' Heroin Claims 14 Lives Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 3 Apr 1999 Source: Guardian, The (UK) Copyright: Guardian Media Group 1999 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/ Author: Sarah Hall 'TOO PURE' HEROIN CLAIMS 14 LIVES Abnormally pure batches of heroin circulating in two cities have claimed 14 victims in two months, police revealed yesterday. Two men in Bristol have died after injecting the drug in the past two days, bringing the number of deaths from heroin in the city since the start of February to 10. In Manchester four people have overdosed in less than three weeks. Yesterday, police warned users to reduce their normal intake after post mortem examinations and toxicology reports revealed morphine levels in the dead men were at least twice the usual fatal overdose amount. Inspector Tony Oliver, head of Avon and Somerset police's support unit, said: 'We would urge users to use less than they might usually to cut the risk of accidentally overdosing.' He added: 'We haven't traced the source of the drug yet but it appears to be an unusually pure batch of heroin.' Police believe the heroin, which they fear is still circulating in considerable quantities in the city, may be exceptionally pure because a tier of the drug-dealing chain had been missed. 'The heroin may not have been cut [mixed with impurities] so is not the strength it normally is at street level,' Inspector Oliver said. In Manchester officers believe an inexperienced dealer - unaware of the drug's strength - may be to blame. Sergeant Pete Johnson, of Manchester police, said: 'The most likely reason is somebody has just started dealing and they are inexperienced in cutting it down to the right level. They are pressured into supplying by their own use - it cuts the cost of their own habit to supply it to all their friends.' The latest victim died in the St Paul's, Bristol, on Thursday hours after another man, believed to be in his twenties, collapsed in the toilets of a shopping centre after injecting himself with the heroin. The spate of deaths began on February 5, when an ex-soldier, Andrew Beacock, aged 29, died at the Salvation Army hostel in the St Jude's area of Bristol. Two other addicts have since died at the hostel after injecting heroin from the same batch. A further five have died since then.
------------------------------------------------------------------- FDA Approves Drugs Even When Experts On Its Advisory Raise Safety Questions (A letter to the editor of the British Medical Journal questions the journal's conclusion that the Food and Drug Administration is "probably not" approving drugs too fast. For example, the transcript of the meeting of the FDA's advisory committee for mibefradil, which is available at the administration's website, supports the increasingly common view that the FDA has become the pharmaceutical industry's partner rather than its watchdog.) Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 18:02:11 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: LTE: FDA Approves Drugs Even When Experts On Its Advisory Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 Source: British Medical Journal (UK) Section: Letters Copyright: 1999 by the British Medical Journal. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.bmj.com/ Author: Dr. Laurence Landow FDA APPROVES DRUGS EVEN WHEN EXPERTS ON ITS ADVISORY PANELS RAISE SAFETY QUESTIONS EDITOR After reading the editorial questioning whether the Food and Drug Administration is approving drugs too fast I was perplexed by the conclusion "probably not." [ref 1] Apparently the authors failed to read the transcript of the meeting of the administration's advisory committee for mibefradil (NDA 20-689), which is on the administration's website one of three drugs recently recalled by the administration because of deaths and serious morbidity. If they had read this transcript they would have been overwhelmed by the number of disturbing signals from committee members throughout the document (page numbers refer to the Acrobat version): "I'm afraid that we are rushing into this" (p 199); "I think it's concerning that the mortality data look the way they do right now" (p 202); "given the fact that there are a lot of other effective therapies out there, why not be safe with the public?" (p 205); "I think it's premature [to approve the product] (p 209); "aren't we obligated to provide some assurance that the ECG (electrocardiographic) changes we've seen here today are not ultimately lethal?" (p 127); "I sure don't feel good about what I've seen" [referring to electrocardiographic changes] (p 126); "you have 8 deaths in the patients treated with mibefradil and 1 death in the placebo or control populations" (p 135); "are you really comfortable, with so little mortality data, ... that it's safe?" (p 138), etc. To conclude, as the editorial does, that serious adverse events are inevitable and "one more bittersweet fact of medical progress" is too facile. A more plausible explanation recognises that, for some time, formidable forces both political and economic have insisted that new drugs and devices be approved more quickly than ever before by the administration. This interpretation agrees with the view held by many healthcare policy academics, patient advocate organisations, and consumer watchdog groups. They argue that in the past few years the Food and Drug Administration's role has changed. Rather than regulating the drug industry to protect the health of consumers of prescription drugs, the administration has become the industry's partner, rapidly approving drugs for marketing even when medical experts on its own advisory panels raise serious safety questions. Although one may not entirely agree with this outlook, it does provide an explanation for much of the evidence that Kleinke and Gottlieb seem to have overlooked. Laurence Landow, Instructor in anesthesia, Harvard Medical School. Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA firstname.lastname@example.org From 1996 to 1998 Dr Landow was a medical officer and acting team leader in the Anesthetic and Critical Care Drugs Section of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration. Reference 1.Kleinke JD, Gottlieb S. Is the FDA approving drugs too fast? BMJ 1998; 317: 899. (3 October.) -------------------------------------------------------------------
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