------------------------------------------------------------------- Taking Civil Liberties (A letter to the editor of Willamette Week, in Portland, says Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle is overstepping the boundaries of his position by using his official title and resources to amend Oregon's medical-marijuana law.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: M. Casey Condon, Northeast Glisan Street, Portland Taking Civil Liberties Sheriff Dan Noelle's job is to enforce laws, which are drafted by the Legislature and signed into law by the executive branch, or decreed by direct vote of the citizenry. He is therefore overstepping the boundaries of his position by using his official title and resources to amend the medical-marijuana law ["Dope Meddlers," WW, March 17, 1999] His efforts offend basic U.S. political philosophy in three ways. First, his intent is to alter the legal will of the people. Because of past citizen activism, the Oregon political system provides for direct citizen input into the creation of laws. This is a unique franchise, and we must aggressively protect it. Dan Noelle should be rebuked for attempting to undermine this democratic ideal. Second, the motivation behind his efforts is tainted with conflict of interest. His organization benefits financially from drug prohibition through federal, state and local funding and seizure laws. Third, his organization benefits also by extending its police powers since increases in police authority provide tautological justification for increases in police authority and, therefore, police budgets. Police departments securely entrench themselves within the fear they help to manufacture. How many cops did Clinton put on the streets this decade? And didn't Portland add over 80 just this year? Take a look at his proposal to have three annual searches of legal growers. This is Draconian. It violates the due-process rights of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as extended to the states by the 14th Amendment, Section 1. Also, it necessitates a greater police presence (even where there is no threat) and increased police budget. What next, random searches of book dealers to make absolutely sure they don't have a stolen copy of the first edition of The Great Gatsby? We can never be too certain.... Right, Dan. After all, liberties and the Constitution just get in the way of your efforts to subjugate us naughty citizens. Whether Sheriff Noelle is motivated by philosophical opposition to democracy, a desire to increase police funding, a desire to suppress Constitutional liberties and create a police state, or even personal moral attitudes, we should not allow him to play out his intentions, especially when his strategy is to curb the freedoms of innocent citizens.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Modest Proposal (A like-minded letter to the editor of Willamette Week proposes an addendum to the legislation that would largely nullify the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Rep. Mannix and Sheriff Noelle would be the people who make the random searches of ill citizens who are certified to grow and smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. If they propose such invasive and offensive laws, they should carry them out themselves - if the Oregon Legislature proves to have the same kind of forward thinking as the good sheriff and his political pal.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: email@example.com Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: Jim McDonald, Monmouth (about 70 miles south of Portland) Note: the referenced article is posted at: http://www.pdxnorml.org/ii/990317.html#dmw LTE: A Modest Proposal I read your article regarding State Rep. Mannix and Sheriff Noelle's proposal to monitor medical-marijuana users ["Dope Meddlers," WW, March 17, 1999]. I would like to tweak the bill just a bit. I propose an addendum denoting that Mannix and Noelle be the people who do the random snooping of ill citizens who are certified to grow and smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. If they propose such invasive and offensive laws, they should carry them out themselves--if the Oregon Legislature proves to have the same kind of forward thinking as the good sheriff and his political pal. I would think that Mannix and Noelle would be more than happy to heed this special calling, given that they are both politicians with a true love for meeting the people firsthand. This opportunity should not go unmet. Both righteous gentlemen can bring their political campaigns directly to the people who they wish would elect them for a next term. My guess is that either of these happy campers could safely amass a large statewide following and may seriously make a run for the next governorship with all of the grassroots followers that they're likely to accrue. Skipping merrily from house to house, they would almost certainly attract a large groundswell of worshipers applauding their every visit. Onward, gentlemen! You're ahead of the curve!
------------------------------------------------------------------- Need For Addiction Services Exceeds County Aid (The Oregonian says Jim Peterson, Multnomah County's addictions services manager, told the county Board of Commissioners in Portland Tuesday that the $10.8 million budgeted for about 8,200 drug treatment slots in this fiscal year was inadequate by about 25 percent. Sometimes, he said, the treatment programs end up competing with the county's Corrections Department for money.)Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 17:49:31 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OR: Need For Addiction Services Exceeds County Aid Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: David Austin, the Oregonian NEED FOR ADDICTION SERVICES EXCEEDS COUNTY AID * More people are lining up for drug and alcohol treatment than commissioners anticipated when the $10.8 million budget was drawn up The number of people seeking help for drug or alcohol problems in Multnomah County far outpaces the amount of money available to pay for treatment that works. And if county officials don't come up with a way to pay for improved treatment programs, the system that deals with addicts could be in trouble. The county's Board of Commissioners heard that message at a Tuesday briefing on how its treatment programs operate. "We need to find a way to stabilize the system," said Jim Peterson, the county's addictions services manager. "The amount of funds available to us has been reduced because of the number of people we have to serve. And now we may be in a position where we're competing for the same money" with other county departments. Big gap in estimate The county has budgeted about $10.8 million for residential and outpatient treatment and other services for the 1998-99 fiscal year, which ends in June. That will enable officials to treat roughly 8,200 patients, Peterson said. But officials predict that more than 11,000 people will seek treatment by the end of the fiscal year. The county relies on local, state and federal money to pay for the bulk of its drug and alcohol treatment programs. "It's not like we need more money to serve more people," Peterson said after the briefing. "We need more money to serve the people we're seeing now. I'd say we're at about 75 percent funded and dealing with the issues somewhat adequately. What we really need to do is infuse more (money) into our system." And sometimes, he said, the treatment programs end up competing with the county's Corrections Department for money. Tuesday's briefing updated the board on changes being made within the behavioral health department as a result of an audit last year. The April 1998 audit found a series of deficiencies, including the need to develop a system that better tracks people through treatment. The board considered the financial predicament in the context of statistics presented by Peterson and Floyd Martinez, the manager of the behavioral health division, including: * For every dollar local government spends on substance abuse treatment, roughly $7 is saved in other areas. * Intensive residential treatment is about seven times more cost effective than jail time in reducing cocaine use. * About one-third of children who are cared for by the state are taken from their families because of their parents' alcohol or drug problems. Some of the commissioners were surprised to hear that about 25 percent of people who go through treatment aren't from Multnomah County. "If this is the case, we may as well go back to a state-funded system," said Commissioner Lisa Naito. Commissioner Diane Linn expressed concern about the increase in treatment cases. She said heroin is a particular problem in larger Northwest cities such as Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, which could lead to a bigger problem in Oregon. "We really need to keep our eyes on the prize and focus on getting more resources for these kinds of problems," she said. The board didn't come up with any concrete solutions, but members agreed to examine where the money gets spent and how to identify areas that need more help. Martinez told the board that his department is in the midst of implementing a number of changes recommended in the audit. They include developing a clearer vision for the department, improving day-to-day management and refining how the department coordinates with other county agencies. You can reach David Austin at 221-5383 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Plan seeks tobacco money in lump sum (The Oregonian says state Treasurer Jim Hill plans to propose today that Oregon swap its rights to part of $2.4 billion in tobacco settlement payments over 25 years for a lump sum that could be used right now to solve the Legislature's school finance stalemate.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Steve Suo, the Oregonian Plan seeks tobacco money in lump sum * A proposal would have Oregon take an upfront payment from the national tobacco settlement to help increase school spending SALEM -- The state should swap its rights to part of $2.4 billion in tobacco settlement payments over 25 years for a lump sum that could be used right now to solve the Legislature's school finance stalemate, state Treasurer Jim Hill plans to propose today. The arrangement could help increase state school spending in the next budget to the $4.95 billion that Gov. John Kitzhaber is seeking -- without the tax increases that Kitzhaber wants and Republican legislative leaders reject. And it would leave additional money for the state to invest for the future. "That's the main part of the plan," Hill said Tuesday, though he would not provide further details in advance of a news conference scheduled for today at the Capitol. The proposal by Hill, a Democrat, apparently caught both Kitzhaber and Attorney General Hardy Myers, who helped negotiate the settlement with 45 other states last November, off guard. Aides in their offices would not comment publicly. But legislators in both parties expressed interest. In a concept drawing growing interest in other states, Oregon would sell its share of payments from the $206 billion settlement, which gave immunity from further lawsuits to the companies involved. Oregon would receive an upfront payment, probably far less than the $2.4 billion it is owed under the settlement. But because the settlement allows the industry's payments to Oregon to decline if cigarette sales drop, there is a risk the full $2.4 billion won't materialize. Accepting the upfront payment would eliminate that risk and provide money to spend or invest immediately. It was unclear Tuesday whether Hill would convert all of the settlement into cash or just a portion. The financial industry has shown a growing interest in similar plans around the country. Senate President Brady Adams, R-Grants Pass, said he would prefer to channel any money from the settlement into a trust fund that uses its earnings to pay for health care needs. But he likes the idea of taking a lump sum, rather than a potentially unstable stream of settlement money during the next 25 years. "A bird in hand in my estimation is worth two in the bush," Adams said. Rep. Randall Edwards, D-Portland, who once worked for Hill's office, said the proposal has merit. "The creative side of me says that might be a way to minimize having to go out and raise a lot of taxes," Edwards said. The concept also has political appeal because it offers a possible passage out of a budget logjam that's stymied Kitzhaber, fellow Democrats and Republicans who are in control of the Legislature. In an effort to boost spending on elementary and secondary schools, Kitzhaber has proposed raising the corporate income tax, canceling a surplus income tax refund to individuals, spending the first $70 million from the tobacco settlement and increasing the state's draw on the Common School Fund. Republicans say they can boost school funding without raising taxes by digging into the budgets of other state agencies. They have proposed spending $4.73 billion on schools in 1999-2001, while a coalition of educators and parents says $5.1 billion is needed. "We're trying to bring the Legislature and the governor together," said Michael Parker, a spokesman for the treasurer's office. Hill's proposal would put Oregon on a growing list of states and local governments exploring "securitization" of its legal settlement. Just as some companies are in the business of offering immediate cash for winning lottery tickets that pay out over a stretch of time, investment firms are showing interest in taking over tobacco settlements. In Nassau County, N.Y., officials have taken proposals from 14 Wall Street banks hoping to buy the county's $650 million in tobacco settlement payments -- an estimated $27 million a year -- for $170 million. The money would plug the county's budget deficit. New York City, meanwhile, has taken a different approach. It is planning to sell $2.5 billion in bonds to pay for capital construction projects, using its $6.7 billion from the settlement to repay them. You can reach Steve Suo at 503-221-8234 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Smoking Gun (Willamette Week, in Portland, says last week's record $80.3 million judgment against Philip Morris is mostly attributable to the jury being exposed to confidential tobacco industry documents, which revealed that executives knew about the addictive and carcinogenic properties of cigarettes but engaged in a decades-long effort to suppress such information.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: Chris Lydgate (email@example.com) The Smoking Gun * Last week's staggering verdict in the local tobacco case shows the power of confidential industry documents. Last week's record $80.3 million judgment against Philip Morris represents a major setback for the tobacco industry--not just because of the size of the damages awarded, but also because it demonstrates the persuasive power of a new legal weapon for plaintiffs: confidential company memos. "The documents were the case," says lawyer Chuck Tauman, part of the legal team that represented the Williams family. The family sued Philip Morris for its role in the death of Portland janitor Jesse Williams, a lifelong Marlboro smoker who died of lung cancer in 1997. In the past, tobacco company lawyers have been able to defeat legal challenges by casting doubt on the links between smoking, addiction and lung cancer. That changed last year during the titanic legal battle between cigarette makers and state attorneys general trying to recoup health-care expenditures. A Minnesota judge ordered Philip Morris and other cigarette makers to release thousands of previously undisclosed internal documents, some dating back to the 1950s. The documents revealed that executives knew about the addictive and carcinogenic properties of cigarettes but engaged in a decades-long effort to suppress that information. They also showed the industry supported "front" organizations that echoed its message that the scientific evidence on smoking was inconclusive. By combining these memos with Jesse Williams' health records, the Williams family's legal team--which, in addition to Tauman, included local lawyers Bill Gaylord, Ray Thomas and Jim Coon--was able to convince a Multnomah County jury to hit Philip Morris with the highest punitive damages ever in an individual smoking case. After the trial, jurors cited the documents as a key factor in their decision. "I'd have to say it was the documents," juror Debra Barton told The Oregonian. Despite the lure of big fees and bold headlines, plaintiffs' attorneys--hardly a diffident breed--have traditionally shied away from suing cigarette manufacturers. Taking on Philip Morris was "a huge, huge risk," says Coon. "As an investment it's insane." The main reason for this reluctance is the tobacco companies' intimidating track record. Over the past four decades they have managed to beat back virtually every smoker's lawsuit filed against them. The few cases that have been decided against the cigarette makers have been overturned on appeal. In addition, tobacco litigation is enormously complex. The Williams team spent thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars to assemble its case. The kind of effort needed to defeat a corporate titan like Philip Morris can easily exhaust the resources of plaintiffs' attorneys, who typically work in small firms or in solo practice. In the wake of the Minnesota settlement, however, suing cigarette makers has gotten simpler, in part because a network of plaintiffs' attorneys and anti-tobacco activists is busily trading unflattering confidential company memos released in Minnesota. The Williams case was only the second smoker's trial against Philip Morris in which plaintiffs' attorneys were able to take advantage of those documents. (The first trial came in February, when a San Francisco jury slapped Philip Morris with $51.5 million in damages.) Industry analysts are nervous about the implications. "The juries apparently have been very angered by the allegation of differences between what the companies knew privately and what they said publicly," Salomon Smith Barney tobacco analyst Martin Feldman told Reuters. "The plaintiff lawyers have been very effective at using the documents on an emotional basis." The Williams trial is just the beginning. There are now hundreds of other cases pending against Philip Morris around the country--many of which will revolve around the very same documents that proved successful in Portland. [Sidebar notes:] * Under Oregon law, 60 percent of the $79.5 million in punitive damages in the Williams trial would go to a victims assistance fund. The remainder would be split between the Williams family and its legal team. * Philip Morris Companies Inc.'s stock tumbled 14 percent to a two-year low after news of the Williams verdict Web Xtra: View some of the key documents in the Williams trial, including confidential internal memos from Philip Morris (http://www.wweek.com/html/tobaccoindex.html) Other useful sites are http://www.tobacco.org, http://www.smokescreen.org, and http://www.philipmorris.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tobacco judgment a sad victory (A letter to the editor of the Oregonian from Wendy Bjornson of the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Oregon says a Portland jury's recent $80.3 million judgment against Philip Morris was sad because Jesse "Williams' death was among more than 6,000 in Oregon caused by tobacco every year." Bjornson's logic is clearly prohibitionist, suggesting all sorts of problems will magically disappear just by targeting tobacco companies.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Wendy Bjornson, project director, Tobacco-Free Coalition of Oregon, Northeast Portland LTE: Tobacco judgment a sad victory The recent court decision against Philip Morris Inc. was a sad victory. A victory because the jury responsibly decided to hold the tobacco industry accountable for its deception and for contributing to the addiction that took Jesse Williams' life. Sad because Williams' death was among more than 6,000 in Oregon caused by tobacco every year. Some argue that Williams could have quit had he wanted to badly enough, and that addiction to nicotine is psychobabble. But what kind of argument is that when thousands are losing their lives, from adults suffocating with emphysema to infants dying from SIDS? This is a problem we need to solve together. Oregonians who want to quit can call the Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP and take advantage of a number of cessation programs. And, smokers and nonsmokers alike can urge the Oregon Legislature to: Support the innovative tobacco education and prevention program, which is part of the proposed Oregon Health Division budget and is paid for with tobacco taxes. Allocate national tobacco settlement funds to expand these effective programs to reach more Oregonians. Not take away the rights of local governments to adopt locally designed tobacco-control laws. Several Oregon communities are considering new laws that will help youths and adults alike.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Freedom of Choice (A letter to the editor of Willamette Week from a 56-year-old woman with severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder follows up on a recent article on Ritalin, noting it is a drug that can give some patients more choices by freeing them from the impulse to respond to every new stimulus.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: email@example.com Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: Becky Heath, Vancouver, Wash. (just across the Columbia River from Portland] LTE: Freedom of Choice Kudos to Nigel Jaquiss for a well-researched and balanced article ["Readin', Writin' and Ritalin," WW, Feb. 17, 1999]. It's a complex issue. I'm a 56-year-old woman on Ritalin for severe ADHD. Just four years ago I discovered how having undiagnosed ADHD explained why I was unable to dislodge chronic failure from my life. Dr. Russell Barkley now wants to rename this problem Impulse Control Disorder (ICD). He has written a new book: "ADHD, Self-Control and Time" (in press). He believes it all hinges on impulsivity: being unable to inhibit a response or manage time/delay. This accurately describes my experience. I lack the choice-making ability most people take for granted. In a nanosecond, new stimuli take my attention away from my previous focus, which is then immediately forgotten or added to an overwhelming mass of alternatives. Just saying no to a new stimulus really is impossible, and trying harder compounds failure, making life miserably frustrating - impossible for some. Behavior modification doesn't work very well for people with ADHD, Barkley suggests. The environment must be engineered for success say Drs. Hallowell and Ratey in their now-classic book "Driven to Distraction." Stimulant medications give back choice-making ability. They (somehow) stimulate the "say no" center of the brain. Ritalin is giving me some choices. I'm back in college training for a new career. For a change, change looks possible. Perhaps I can find success with the rest of the working world. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about a wonderful e-group for adults with ADHD.
------------------------------------------------------------------- One Size Doesn't Fit All (Another letter to the editor of Willamette Week says its recent article about proposed legislation that would lock up some people with mental illnesses and force them to take dangerous drugs omitted the perspective of patients who have experienced civil commitment.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: email@example.com Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: Kevin Fitts, Southeast Ankeny Street, Portland LTE: One Size Doesn't Fit All I am writing to express a voice unheard in the article "Unlocking Doors" [WW, March 24, 1999]. I have been civilly committed in the Oregon State hospital system. 14 years ago, after my first discharge while living in a group home, the psychiatrist said I was severely mentally ill and would need to be in supervised living the rest of my life. Today, I have the diagnosis of manic depression. I watch my sleep and exercise daily but don't take medication. I live independently and work full-time helping other mental-health consumers in their process of recovery. I am sorry that this and other firsthand experiences of civil commitment were not represented at the attorney general's task force. We don't need more restrictive laws - we need an examination of why many individuals labeled with mental illness resist current treatment. Many individuals diagnosed with mental illness do not take medications because they believe medications are neuro-toxic. Medication damaged my immune system and liver and left me with chronic sinusitis. Restrictive civil commitment laws that force individuals into the one-size-fits-all, pharmaceutical model of treatment are very costly and don't work in the long run. We need to offer more to individuals in emotional crisis. I was terribly saddened by Mary's death. The demonstrated love that Carol has for her daughter will forever touch me. Mary Boos turned away from the mental-health system as many individuals with mental illness in Oregon do today. Let us learn from Mary's death. More treatment alternatives, not more forced treatment.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Careful What You Wish For (A similar letter to the editor of Willamette Week says that making civil commitment and forced treatment easier won't affect just a tiny group of weirdos. Psychiatrists claim that most people are crazy. A 1993 study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health claims that over a lifetime, more than half the population is mentally ill, yet only 4 percent who "need" it receive treatment. Think about that before advocating that people should be forced to take psychiatric drugs, which cause serious brain damage and turn people into bloated and numbed-out near-zombies. The rights the attorney general wants to take away may be your own.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: Ted Chabasinski, Berkeley, Calif. Careful What You Wish For Your article on loosening the commitment standards for "mentally ill" people is yet another attack on a group that has been continually attacked lately ["Unlocking Doors," WW, March 24, 1999]. At least one out of 10 Americans has been in a psychiatric facility, and there are several patients' rights groups in Oregon led by former patients, but your story failed to give that point of view. Thus, you portray mental patients as non-persons, unable to speak for themselves. I find this really frightening. Media portrayals of people with psychiatric labels as dangerous and subhuman prepare the public to accept stripping away their legal rights. This is reminiscent of the propaganda campaign against the German Jews in the 1930s. Please realize that making forced treatment easier won't affect just a tiny group of weirdos. In their own journals, psychiatrists claim that most people are crazy. A 1993 study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health claims that over a lifetime, over half the population is mentally ill, yet only 4 percent who "need" it receive treatment. Think about that before advocating that people should be forced to take psychiatric drugs, which cause serious brain damage and turn people into bloated and numbed-out near-zombies. The rights the attorney general wants to take away may be your own.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Student Drug Use, Violence Rising, Survey Finds (The Seattle Times says the seventh annual Kids Count Data book survey of Washington students suggests the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs that are illegal to Washington schoolchildren is on the rise, with "regular" use starting in sixth grade and escalating to more than one in four 12th-graders reporting they went to school drunk in the past year. More than one in three adolescents also showed signs of clinical depression.) Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 16:55:05 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WA: Student Drug Use, Violence Rising, Survey Finds Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Copyright: 1999 The Seattle Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Author: Lynne K. Varner, Seattle Times staff reporter STUDENT DRUG USE, VIOLENCE RISING, SURVEY FINDS Regular use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs by Washington schoolchildren is on the rise, with regular use starting in sixth grade and escalating to more than one in four 12th-graders reporting they went to school drunk in the past year, according to an annual survey. One in three teens experienced problems of substance abuse, depression, violent behavior and poor school performance, said the seventh annual Kids Count Data book, which acts as a yearly yardstick of children's economic, social and physical well-being throughout the state. Moreover, the majority of teens who smoke or carry a gun exhibited behavioral problems when they were 11 or 12 years old and if they didn't receive help, those problems multiplied by 10th grade, said the report, which was released today. The survey also found that many sixth-graders already engage in risky behavior. Two out of five tried alcohol last year; one in eight attacked another person; and one in seven had been suspended from school. "In sixth grade, these behaviors should not be viewed as harmless, youthful experimentation," says Dr. Frederick Connell, a professor at the University of Washington's School of Public Health and co-author of the survey. By 10th grade, the survey found, the numbers had risen, with two in five students drinking alcohol regularly, and one in four involved in fights and being suspended from school. Schools need to increase their early-prevention programs to match the large scope of these problems, says Rick Brandon, a UW Graduate School of Public Affairs professor who researched the data in the survey. Brandon said the right steps include preventive programs like STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand), in which they sign contracts pledging a nonviolent lifestyle, and creating a positive code of conduct. Several middle schools and one high school in the Seattle School District have STARS programs. At Madison Middle School, where the STARS program won a Governor's Award for being the best drug-, alcohol- and violence-prevention program in the state, one-third of the student body is involved in it. Eighth-graders mentor sixth-graders, and both groups go out to elementary schools to talk to 9- and 10-year-olds about drugs and alcohol. The students in STARS hold alcohol- and drug-free events and perform community services. The 300 or so STARS students at Madison also put on Day of the Dead in which they symbolically "die" every half-hour to spotlight the rate at which U.S. teenagers die because of drugs, alcohol or violence. The continuous activity means kids are actually involved in preventing substance abuse rather than listening to an adult tell them to "just say no," says Madison's STARS coordinator, Jacob Ellis. Other findings from the Kids Count Data Book: -- The number of children in foster homes and other out-of-home placements is outgrowing the system's capacity to handle this need. -- The number of adults a child can talk to diminished from sixth to 12th grade. -- The number of divorces in families involving children and the percentage of out-of-wedlock births continued to rise. -- One in three children continued to live in a family without adequate income to afford the basic necessities. -- More than one in three adolescents showed signs of clinical depression. -- Last year, one in 25 children lived in a family that had been investigated for child abuse or neglect.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Donald Abrams to Speak on "Medical Marijuana: Tribulations and Trials" (A list subscriber says the Lindesmith Center will sponsor a talk May 25 at the San Francisco Medical Society by the UCSF professor who is carrying out the first research with marijuana allowed by the federal government in this decade.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 10:28:43 -0700 To: email@example.com Subject: DPFCA: NEWSFLASH: Abrams to Speak Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Dr. Donald Abrams of UCSF will speak on Medical Marijuana: Tribulations and Trials at a Lindesmith-sponsored forum at the SF Medical Society on May 25, from 5-7 PM. The talk will include reviews of the medical uses of marijuana, the different pharmacokinetics between oral and smoked THC, issues of concern for patients with HIV, and an outline of Dr. Abrams's clinical trial. Also, Dr. Karl Sporer, who will be presenting at a April 29 Lindesmith forum on heroin overdose prevention, is published in the April 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The article, titled Acute Heroin Overdose, can be viewed this week at: http://www.acponline.org/journals/annals/06apr99/upover.htm
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge keeps smoking verdict, cuts damages (According to the Oregonian, a judge in San Francisco refused Tuesday to grant a new trial or to overturn a local jury's verdict against Philip Morris, but lowered from $51.5 million to $26.5 million the amount the company must pay to a former three-pack-a-day smoker with inoperable lung cancer. When Patricia Henley won $51.5 million in February, it was the largest award ever in a tobacco liability lawsuit filed by an individual smoker. However, that verdict was surpassed last week by a Portland jury, which ordered Philip Morris to pay a record-setting $80.3 million in damages to the family of Jesse Williams, a school custodian and longtime Marlboro smoker. Philip Morris said it will take the case to the California Court of Appeal.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: wire and staff reports Judge keeps smoking verdict, cuts damages * The jurist calls $50 million in punitive damages excessive and says $25 million will adequately punish Philip Morris SAN FRANCISCO -- A judge refused to overturn a jury's verdict against Philip Morris on Tuesday but lowered from $51.5 million to $26.5 million the amount the company must pay to a former three-pack-a-day smoker with inoperable lung cancer. When Patricia Henley won $51.5 million in February, it was the largest award ever in a tobacco liability lawsuit filed by an individual smoker. That was based on $1.5 million in compensatory damages to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and $50 million in punitive damages. However, that verdict was surpassed last week by a Portland jury, which ordered Philip Morris to pay a record-setting $80.3 million in damages to the family of Jesse Williams, a school custodian and longtime Marlboro smoker who died of lung cancer at age 67. On Tuesday, Judge John Munter said the $50 million punitive award in Henley's case was excessive. A damage award of $25 million -- Henley asked for $15 million -- is enough to punish Philip Morris for misleading the public about the dangers of smoking and for marketing cigarettes to teen-agers, he said. Munter also denied the company's request for a new trial. Harry Wartnick, a lawyer for Henley, noted that she has the option of rejecting the reduced award and retrying the case. But he said $26.5 million should be enough to "get a message across to Philip Morris and to any other company that looks to market products that kill human beings." Philip Morris said it will take the case to the state Court of Appeal. "We are pleased that the punitive damages have been cut in half and while we would have liked the court to have granted our motions in their entirety, we recognize that it is rare that a trial court will completely overturn a verdict," said James R. Cherry, associate general counsel for Philip Morris. Henley, 52, of Los Angeles said she became hooked on Marlboros at age 15 and smoked three packs a day until 1997, after she started suffering coughing fits and other health problems. She was diagnosed last year with inoperable lung cancer, which she says is now in remission after chemotherapy and radiation. Her suit was the first tried in California since the repeal of a 1987 law that protected tobacco companies against suits by individual smokers. In the Portland case, Judge Anna Brown of the state circuit court in Multnomah County said she won't enter a judgment on the $80.3 million award until completing a review required by Oregon law. She has set a hearing on the matter for May 13. Philip Morris is challenging the $79.5 million in punitive damages and the $821,000 in compensatory damages. Three jury verdicts for smokers in other states have been overturned on appeal, and juries in other cases have ruled in tobacco companies' favor. Also Tuesday, Philip Morris rejected a proposal by 17 states to kill its current anti-smoking ads and replace them with a more aggressive message. State officials said the company's $75 million media campaign, which is mandated as part of last year's national tobacco settlement and is aimed at discouraging teen-age smoking, is not effective. They cited a study by a Chicago firm, Teenage Research Unlimited, which found from 20 focus groups that teen-agers are not influenced by the ads and that they do not offer compelling reasons not to smoke. Ellen Merlo, senior vice president for Philip Morris USA, said the company had no intention of dismantling its current ad campaign. "We think, from our research, that our message does communicate the message not to smoke and communicates it effectively," Merlo said. The ads show teen-agers in various settings being lured to take cigarettes but rejecting the offer. Joe Rojas-Burke of The Oregonian staff contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Truth or DARE - The Dubious Drug-Education Program Takes New York (The Village Voice says over the next four years, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program will implement its full curriculum - kindergarten through 12th grade - in all of New York City's public schools. After first gaining a foothold in the city in 1996, DARE America now donates $1.5 million worth of supplies annually for 271 New York City elementary schools, while the NYPD covers $8.5 million a year in salaries and benefits for the city's DARE officers. Since 1983, DARE has become the world's dominant drug prevention program. The $230 million operation conducts courses in all 50 states and in 44 countries, from Sweden and England to Brazil and Costa Rica. Eighty percent of U.S. school districts have DARE. More than a dozen studies have concluded that DARE has no lasting impact. And one six-year study found increased drug use among suburban kids who graduated from DARE.) Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 16:57:38 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Truth or D.A.R.E. Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Nicholas Merrill http://www.calyx.net/ Pubdate: 7 - 13 Apr 1999 Source: Village Voice (NY) Copyright: 1999 VV Publishing Corporation Section: Feature Article Contact: email@example.com Address: 36 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003 Feedback: http://www.villagevoice.com/aboutus/contact.shtml Website: http://www.villagevoice.com/ Author: Jennifer Gonnerman Research assistance: Hillary Chute Note: Calyx supports an exellent email list about DARE. To join DARE-LIST, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject blank and the BODY of the email containing nothing but the following line, without the quotes: "subscribe DARE-LIST name" Truth or D.A.R.E. The Dubious Drug-Education Program Takes New York Thirty sixth-graders begin to shout as a police officer enters their classroom at P.S. 20 on the Lower East Side. "Good morning, Officer Carla!" they call out to their favorite teacher. Officer Carla is Carla DeBlasio, 35, a one-time transit cop who teaches weekly classes as part of the NYPD's Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, known as DARE. On a recent Wednesday, the officer strides into the classroom clutching DARE's mascot, a fuzzy stuffed lion named Daren. Officer Carla wears a DARE pin above her police badge and a gun tucked discreetly inside the waistband of her navy blue slacks. But she seems more like a dedicated teacher than a typical cop. Indeed, she knows every student's name, and when she discovered that P.S. 20 did not have a basketball team, she started her own. Such devotion has made Officer Carla a star in the city's DARE program. At first, the students fired the usual questions at her. "Have you ever used your gun?" "Have you ever shot anybody?" But now, near the end of DARE's 17-week curriculum, any anxiety the students may have had about cops, or at least Officer Carla, seems to have dissipated. Officer Carla begins by recapping last week's lesson on "positive alternatives." "What happens when we hang out with the wrong people?" she yells. Tiny hands shoot into the air as students holler the answers. "Drinking!" "Smoking!" "Drugs!" "Good," says Officer Carla, flashing a warm smile. Apparently, her students have internalized DARE's message - resisting peer pressure and choosing the right friends will keep them away from drugs. DARE America started in Los Angeles in 1983 with what seemed like a good idea: put cops in fifth-and sixth-grade classes to teach kids about drug abuse. Since then, DARE has become the world's dominant drug prevention program. This $230 million operation conducts courses in all 50 states and in 44 countries, from Sweden and England to Brazil and Costa Rica. Eighty percent of U.S. school districts have DARE. The largest city program is right here in New York, with DARE officers teaching in 271 public elementary schools. By the end of the current school year, the total number of graduates from New York City's DARE program will climb to 210,000. As DARE America grows, so does criticism of its effectiveness. More than a dozen studies have concluded that DARE has no lasting impact. And one six-year study found increased drug use among suburban kids who graduated from DARE. Even more damaging than these little-read reports were a pair of stories penned by Stephen Glass, the prolific young con man who wove fictitious anecdotes into his articles. Glass wrote scathing pieces about DARE for The New Republic in 1997 and Rolling Stone in 1998. Now Glass admits that many of the embarrassing allegations in his stories were false. In February, DARE slapped Rolling Stone with a $50 million libel suit. Glass's deceitful journalism has not, however, dispelled the doubts that continue to dog DARE. The list of cities that have dropped DARE - either because they cannot afford it or do not believe it works - has grown to include Seattle, Oakland, Spokane, Omaha, Austin, Houston, Milwaukee, Fayetteville, and Boulder. Despite DARE's uneven track record, New York City adopted the program in 1996. "I really believe it is effective," says Captain James Serra, who oversees the NYPD's DARE officers. "Any kind of prevention we can give the kids of New York City is a great thing." For the beleaguered DARE - struggling to hold on to its schools and reputation - winning over New York City was a major coup. To woo the NYPD, DARE offered an attractive deal. The national organization provides free workbooks to New York City students - a perk for which other cities usually pay. When Safir announced that the NYPD would adopt DARE, he mentioned this freebie as a convincing selling point. The price tag for the city's DARE program is $10 million a year, most of which is paid for by the NYPD in the form of salaries for 100 full-time DARE officers. To further strengthen its relationship with the city, DARE's national office hired a fundraiser just for New York. (DARE programs in other parts of the country raise their own funds.) "It is very important to us to have a successful program in New York City," says Bill Alden, DARE's deputy director and a former agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. "It took us four years to break through and finally see the impact. Whatever it costs it's worth because we're reaching so many kids we couldn't reach before." New York City's DARE did not get off to a smooth start. In early 1998, DARE's local fundraiser, Ronald J. Brogan, booked the Marriott Marquis and was about to mail invitations to a $1000-a-plate dinner. That's when the Rolling Stone story appeared. The dinner's honoree pulled out and DARE cancelled the caterer. "Stephen Glass cost me $1 million," says Brogan, also a former DEA agent. "He cost me a year's worth of work. If not for that story, there could be a DARE middle-school program [in New York City] by now." The 11- and 12-year-old kids in Officer Carla's after-lunch class are riveted. Today's topic is "role models." So a handful of students have moved their chairs into a circle around visitor Steven Adorno, a 22-year-old senior at Hunter College. Each child's DARE workbook is open to a list of 19 suggested questions. One student pops question number six: Why is it important for you to be drug-free? "Drugs make you lazy," Adorno explains. "You want to relax. You don't want to do your homework. You just want to play video games." After a few minutes, Adorno admits that he used to smoke weed. The sixth-graders slide their chairs closer and begin peppering Adorno with their own questions. "When you used drugs, did people still play with you?" "Did your parents ever find out?" "Where in your house did you hide the drugs?" "Did you have a girlfriend?" Adorno answers every query and then delivers DARE's zero-tolerance message. "It's fun in the beginning," he says. "But then it catches up with you. It's hard to get out. You destroy your life by drinking, by smoking even cigarettes." In DARE's worldview, Marlboro Light cigarettes, Bacardi rum, and a drag from a joint are all equally dangerous. For that matter, so is snorting a few lines of cocaine. DARE's student workbook features an eighth-grade alcoholic named Robert on page seven, Wendy the pot-smoking eighth-grader on the next page, and by page 10 a ninth-grader named Laura is trying to score some cocaine. After reading these tales, students are supposed to list what they learned about each drug. This zero-tolerance, just-say-no approach has attracted plenty of critics. "It really is irresponsible to place all drugs in the same category," says Marsha Rosenbaum, who heads the West Coast office of the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy reform organization. "What I don't want kids to hear is that all drugs - and any amount you do - will be the road to devastation. Once kids get to an age where they're experimenting . . . they know that is not true, so they throw away the entire prevention message. It isn't really education. It's indoctrination." The DARE curriculum condemns not only tobacco and drugs, but also graffiti and tattoos. One section of the DARE workbook describes sticky situations kids might confront, and it tells them to choose the best "way to say no." These scenarios include Pete's friend urging him to scrawl on the wall of a park bathroom, and Jana wandering into a party packed with dangerously decorated strangers. "In a corner of the room they . . . noticed that all of the boys and many of the girls had tattoos," the workbook states, ominously. "There was even someone getting a tattoo." Glenn Levant, DARE's cofounder and president, insists it makes perfect sense to include graffiti and tattoos in a drug prevention curriculum. "What we're endeavoring to do is to keep kids from getting involved in that type of activity because it can lead to a dangerous situation," says Levant, a former deputy chief with the Los Angeles Police Department. "You could be involved in graffiti, and there are cases reported from time to time when a property owner gets a shotgun and tries to shoot someone involved in that type of thing. . . . It's a social peer pressure that really leads to most of the trouble." Back in the classroom, several students spend more time squeezing Daren the lion, a foot-high stuffed animal dressed in a DARE T-shirt, than they do studying their workbooks. The children play tug-of-war with Daren, poke him with a pencil, and shake him so hard his mane stands straight up. "I'm almost embarrassed to bring him," Officer Carla says. "But when I leave him in my office, it's like 'Where's Daren? Why didn't you bring him?'" At the end of a recent DARE class, Eleen Ahmed, 12, is particularly enthusiastic. "It's great," she says. "They teach you not to use drugs, and not to get into fights, and it's fun to hug that doll Daren." DARE may be fun, but does it work? Leonard Golubchick, the principal of P.S. 20, insists the program is a success. "The bottom line is that it creates relationships between children, students, and parents that you rarely find anywhere," says Golubchick, whose school hosted the city's first DARE. "My opinion is that the national data does not tell the story of the great effects on children." But a growing pile of evidence suggests that DARE's impact is short-lived. Dennis P. Rosenbaum, a onetime DARE supporter who heads the criminal justice department at the University of Illinois in Chicago, published one of the most recent studies. Funded by the Illinois State Police, Rosenbaum tracked 1800 kids at 31 schools over six years. He found that all of DARE's effects - including instilling negative attitudes toward drugs, positive attitudes about cops - had worn off after four years. Such findings anger DARE fans. "If you take German for 17 weeks, you're not going to speak German," says Brogan, DARE's New York fundraiser and spokesperson. "The critics say the effect dissipates over the years. No shit, Sherlock. Is that supposed to be surprising?" (DARE officials say the solution to this problem is not less DARE but more of it, and they urge cities to teach DARE in middle and high school.) Another of Rosenbaum's findings was even more alarming. He discovered that "suburban students who participated in DARE reported significantly higher rates of drug use . . . than suburban students who did not participate in the program." DARE's president Levant dismisses this explosive finding as "not statistically significant." Also, Levant points out that DARE has changed its curriculum nine times since 1983, which he claims raises doubts about the accuracy of such critical studies. Part of what makes DARE so popular is that participants get lots of freebies. There are fluorescent yellow pens with the DARE logo, tiny Daren dolls, bumper stickers, graduation certificates, DARE banners for school auditoriums, DARE rulers, pennants, Daren coloring books, and T-shirts for all DARE graduates. Marsha Rosenbaum of the Lindesmith Center worries that sophisticated kids will find these DARE items corny and eventually begin to mock DARE's no-tolerance teaching. "What happens is that the culture takes these messages and twists them around," Rosenbaum says, "which is what happened with the 'This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs' commercials. And now there's a whole T-shirt line that's a spoof." DARE's just-say-no mantra and all its logo-bearing toys have also come under attack from academics. Richard Clayton, director of the Center for Prevention Research at the University of Kentucky, conducted a five-year, 31-school study that, once again, found DARE has no lasting impact. "It is sad to say, but an overwhelming majority of people in the United States have a rather naive view of . . . how to solve social problems such as drug use and abuse by adolescents," Clayton cowrote in a 1996 book on drug prevention. "Drug use is not a simple phenomenon. It will not be solved by simple slogans and bumper stickers and T-shirts and a bunch of people believing DARE is 'the' answer to drug abuse in America." The NYPD captain who oversees the city's DARE officers shrugs off such criticisms. "We'll never be able to measure how many kids do and don't get involved with drugs," says Serra. "But whatever we are teaching them, it's better than giving them nothing." This better-than-nothing argument is popular among DARE boosters. But there are programs that have proven more effective than DARE. The best known is Life Skills Training, which was created by Gilbert J. Botvin, a professor of both psychiatry and public health at Cornell University Medical College. This program targets middle-school students and stretches its classes over three years- longer than DARE's 17-week core curriculum. A division of the U.S. Department of Justice recently pledged $4.9 million to teach Life Skills Training at 70 sites across the country, while the National Institute of Drug Abuse plans to spend $5 million over five years to study its impact. "This has got to be scaring the hell out of [DARE]," says Michael Roona, an experienced researcher who is now a doctoral candidate at Syracuse University studying drug prevention programs. "DARE America is like any other multimillion-dollar corporation- they're very concerned about competition in the marketplace. They were the IBM of drug-prevention programs for a long time, and they don't want to go the same way as IBM, when suddenly PCs transformed computing in America and they weren't there." So while DARE's Levant publicly insists that DARE works, behind the scenes he is scrambling to bolster it. Mounting skepticism - and prodding from Congress - has led DARE to solicit advice from its fiercest critics. DARE leaders have met twice in recent months with Dennis Rosenbaum, Richard Clayton, and other drug-prevention researchers who have exposed DARE's failings. According to Clayton, the first meeting was "blunt and bloody." But by the next meeting, held in New York last October, the researchers and DARE officials had smoothed out their differences, and together drafted a plan to conduct a long-term study testing other drug-prevention curriculums. Herbert D. Kleber, the Columbia University psychiatry professor who chairs DARE's scientific advisory board, says, "DARE has agreed to abide by the results of the research." The project will last at least three years. "We're very willing to change," says Levant, DARE's president. "If someone's got a better mousetrap, we'll use it." DARE supporters boast that their program is cheap. "The program costs a buck a year per kid," Levant says. But this dollar covers only the price of supplies, like workbooks and T-shirts. DARE America spends $1.5 million annually on supplies for New York City, while the NYPD covers the bulk of the program's costs. The NYPD's payroll includes $8.5 million a year in salaries and benefits for the city's DARE officers. DARE proponents insist the program is inexpensive because police departments often redeploy officers rather than hiring new ones. To launch its program, the NYPD trained cops in its Youth Division to become DARE officers. "A critic would say the cops cost $10 million a year, and that money could be better spent somewhere else," says Brogan of DARE. "But the officers are already there." Not every police department accepts this rationale, however. In 1987, Rochester became the first city in New York State to adopt DARE, and its DARE budget eventually climbed to almost $1.2 million. But last year, Rochester dumped DARE. "We, as a police department, could not justify being able to put in 30 or 40 officers just for this," says Officer Carlos Garcia, spokesperson for the Rochester police department. "We chose to move away from DARE because we needed more officers on the street." The recent uproar following the fatal police shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed immigrant from West Africa, raises questions about what role, if any, cops should have in the city's classrooms. "It's hard to face kids when a tough situation like that hits the papers," says Officer Carla. "Kids will come right out and ask why they shot this guy 41 times. I tell them, 'Listen, I can't explain why they shot this man 41 times, but don't pass judgment on all cops.' I told them it's sad for both sides - it's sad for the man's family and it's sad for the families of the cops." During such tension-filled times, DARE can perform a valuable public-relations service. "DARE officers give a different face of law enforcement," says Levant, DARE's president. "A child's first experience with a uniformed police officer is in a friendly, helpful way. . . . You have to have programs like DARE in place so police aren't viewed as an occupying army." From the beginning, improving police-community relations was part of the impetus for bringing DARE to New York City. "That seemed to me to be one of the major benefits of the program," says Robert Strang, the former DEA agent who chaired the mayor's advisory committee on antidrug initiatives. "Forget about the drug education. . . . We saw a relationship that could be built between the students and the police officers. There's no other vehicle for that that we're aware of. . . . For critics who say it's good PR for the police department, they're absolutely right and we should do more of it." This is precisely what DARE plans to do. Hoping to double the program's size, the NYPD recently applied for a federal grant to add 100 more DARE officers and expand into the city's middle schools. But DARE doesn't intend to stop there. Sounding like a proud father, DARE's president reveals that over the next four years DARE will implement its full curriculum - kindergarten through 12th grade - in all of New York City's public schools.
------------------------------------------------------------------- As Inmate Population Grows, So Does A Focus On Children (The New York Times examines some of the unintended consequences for families of America's booming prison-industrial complex. There are 7 million children with a parent in jail or prison or recently released on probation or parole. Experts warn that the nation's emphasis on imprisonment may be helping to create the next generation of criminals.) Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 09:20:34 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US:NY: As Inmate Population Grows, So Does A Focus On Children Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Author: Fox Butterfield AS INMATE POPULATION GROWS, SO DOES A FOCUS ON CHILDREN OSSINING, N.Y. -- Baba Eng had been a prisoner at Sing Sing for 22 years, serving a life sentence for murder, when a new inmate walked into the shower room one day and stared at his face. "Dad," the stranger finally exclaimed. The man was his son, whom Eng had not seen since his arrest, and who now was in prison himself for armed robbery. "It was the worst moment of my life," Eng recalled. "Here was my son; he had tried to imitate my life." Eng's experience reflects a side of the nation's prison-building boom that is only now gaining attention: there are 7 million children with a parent in jail or prison or recently released on probation or parole. Those numbers alarm experts who say that having a parent behind bars is the single largest factor in the making of juvenile delinquents and adult criminals. Although most jails and prisons do not even ask new inmates if they have children, a few are taking steps to counter the effect of parental incarceration, as experts have begun to realize the seriousness of the problem. Some prisons have created special visiting areas for children; some offer parenting classes for inmates. But the experts also warn that the nation's emphasis on imprisonment to fight crime may be helping to create the next generation of criminals. "There is no free lunch in this business," said Lawrence Sherman, dean of the University of Maryland's school of criminology and criminal justice. "If you increase the number of people arrested and sent to prison, you may actually be creating another problem. There is a multiplier effect." Some 1.96 million children have a parent or other close relative in jail or prison on any given day, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a branch of the Justice Department, and 5 million more have parents who have been incarcerated and are on probation or parole. The link between the generations is so strong that half of all juveniles in custody have a father, mother or other close relative who has been in jail or prison, said Allen J. Beck of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 40 percent of the 1.8 million adults in jail and prison have a parent, brother or sister behind bars, he said. There are several reasons why children with a parent in prison are more likely to get in trouble, experts say. Most of these children grow up in families troubled by poverty, abuse, neglect and drug use. And separation from a parent -- for any reason -- is a well-documented problem for children. But incarceration adds a special hazard. Children who see a parent arrested and handcuffed, and who are frisked by guards during a prison visit, become contemptuous toward law enforcement. More troublesome, many children with a father behind bars make a hero of him. "When children are not in contact with their parents, it is a breeding ground for idealization, and when the parent is a big-time criminal, they can turn them into legends," said Jaime Inclan, a clinical psychologist who is director of the Roberto Clemente Center, a mental health center serving poor families on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Despite the dimensions of the problem, little attention is paid because the criminal-justice system is set up to deal with offenders, not their children. In most cities, when the police make an arrest, when a judge passes sentence, or when an inmate enters jail and prison, no one asks if the offender has children -- or if they happen to ask, does anything with the information. And inmates are often evasive about their children, out of shame or fear of losing custody or government benefits. There is so little research on the subject that there is no agreement even on the seemingly simple issue of whether it is good for children to visit their father or mother behind bars. Juliana Perez, a social worker who directs a parenting program in the county jail in San Antonio, says contact between incarcerated parents and their children is essential. In addition to helping the children, she said, "If the system doesn't allow bonding, we destroy whatever chance we have of changing the offenders' behavior." But Judge Kathleen Richie of the Juvenile Court in Baton Rouge, La., disagrees. "The more these kids are exposed to prison by visiting, the more they get used to it, and prison loses its stigma," she said. Judge Richie recently had a case in which a social worker was taking four children to prison to visit their mother, who had been convicted of selling crack cocaine and was awaiting trial on charges of neglecting the children. The judge ordered that the visits take place in her chambers, with the mother in civilian clothes, so the children would not become accustomed to prison. The mother was puzzled why prison visits were a problem. She had taken her children to visit her friends and relatives in prison for years before her own arrest. Three of the four children have since been arrested and sent to juvenile prisons. "Sadly, these kids have fond memories, and their only memories, of their mom behind bars," Judge Richie said. "If you have parents in jail, then it is part of your life, and there is nothing offensive about it." THE FATHERS Staying in Touch With Some Help he Children's Center of the visiting room at Sing Sing is a small glass-enclosed space with shelves of children's books, boxes of building blocks and toy cars, a crib full of stuffed animals, and a computer. It may not look much different than a day care center. But in one of the nation's oldest and most forbidding prisons, it is a revolution, an attempt to create a haven where convicts can meet quietly with their children in an effort to preserve, or rebuild, the family bonds that prison often breaks. One day Hector Millan, a 38-year-old from Spanish Harlem serving a 20-year to life sentence for murder, was seated at a low table with his young grandson, Hector III. His wife, Maritza, stood nearby. Millan has three sons and two daughters, and is one of the lucky inmates who is still married and visited by his family. Nationwide, less than a quarter of male inmates are married, and fewer than a third are visited by their families. But two-thirds of them have children. "Prison destroys families," Millan said matter of factly. "I can't tuck my children in bed at night. I can't be there to comfort them when they scrape their knees. I can't help them when they have problems at school. The damage done is irreparable." Millan is enrolled in an unusual 16-week program at Sing Sing that tries to teach convicts how to overcome the obstacles to parenting behind bars. The program is part classroom reading -- with selections from the great child psychologists Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson and Bruno Bettelheim -- and part family therapy with counselors to help bridge the gaps during visits or in writing letters home. The program, and the special section of the visiting room, are the brainchild of Elizabeth Gaynes, executive director of the Osborne Association, a group based in New York that sponsors programs to aid prisoners and their families. "We tell them prison walls certainly make it harder, but you can still be a parent," Ms. Gaynes said. "We say prison can be an excuse for not taking your children to the library, but it is not an excuse for not teaching your children the value of reading." Among the lessons the program tries to impart, she said, are that prisoners should stay in touch with their children, that they should not make false promises about when they will be released, and that they should acknowledge the pain they have caused their children, who are also victims of their crimes. The good news for the inmates, Ms. Gaynes said, is that while society "will forever remember them for what they did on the worst day of their life, their children will not judge them for just this." In the past few years, as the number of inmates has exploded, a handful of other programs have been started to help incarcerated parents, but most have been for mothers. Ms. Gaynes acknowledges that the impact on a child may be greater when the mother is locked up, because the mother is often a single parent and the child may be sent to a grandmother or foster home. But in sheer numbers, fathers pose a more serious problem. Because most inmates are men, in 93 percent of the cases in which a parent is behind bars, that parent is the father, the Justice Department said. "People forget most of these men are someday going to be released," said Creasie Finney Hairston, dean of the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois in Chicago. "There is a growing body of research that shows maintaining family ties while in prison leads to lower rates of re-arrest for the fathers and makes a difference in the lives of their kids." Prisons, however, are in the business of punishment, and security is their primary concern. Helping inmates preserve family ties is at the bottom of the list. Visits by wives and children are often viewed as a security threat by prison officials, or at least a nuisance, because they can be an opportunity to smuggle drugs or weapons and they consume guards' time. For the families, visiting prisons, which often are in rural areas, can be time-consuming and costly, and when they finally arrive, they can be kept outside in the cold or rain for hours and then subjected to humiliating searches. "A visit to a prison is a very emotionally difficult experience," Dean Hairston said. "There isn't time or space for normal family arguments, and the kids tend to act out afterward and the wives or girlfriends can be resentful." Juan Hernandez, an inmate at Sing Sing, said his 14-year-old son is angry at him for abandoning him, and his 16-year-old daughter is embarrassed and lies to her friends about where he is. Neither will write or visit. "I don't know how to deal with it," said Hernandez, who had just begun the parenting class. "It's impossible to be a good father from prison." One of the inmates' greatest fears, which they realize too late, is that their children may consciously or unconsciously imitate them. Gregory Frederick, a 52-year-old from Harlem who has been at Sing Sing for 10 years for murder, finds that his grandson "thinks I'm some sort of countercultural hero." "When he comes to visit," Frederick said, "he sees these guys walking around with big muscles, and then when he goes back home, he tells his friends, 'My grandfather is in prison,' and he's proud of it. In some communities, prison just has no stigma any more. It's a very distorted rite of passage." Children often imitate the behavior of those they are close to, said Angela Browne, a psychologist who is an expert on prisoners and their children. "Unfortunately," she said, "children imitate strong behavior, like anger and drug abuse, more than subtle behavior." THE CHILDREN Following Father, Right Into Prison he impact on children can fall most heavily on blacks in poor city neighborhoods, where a disproportionate number of people go to prison, contributing to a concentration of fatherless families. But research has found the dynamic of children being influenced by parents in prison in all populations. In the 1940s, two pioneering researchers at Harvard Law School, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck, found that among boys sent to a reformatory from the Boston area, two-thirds had a father who had been incarcerated, and half had a grandfather who had been locked up. Race was not an issue. All these boys were white. Similar findings, that about half of incarcerated juveniles have a parent who has been locked up, have been reported wherever the issue has been studied: in London, Minneapolis, or Sacramento, Calif. The most recent research, conducted last year in California among 1,000 girls in detention in Los Angeles, San Diego, Alameda, and Marin counties, revealed that 54 percent of their mothers and 46 percent of their fathers had been locked up. Leslie Accoca, a senior researcher with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, who directed the study, said that the real number of fathers who had served time was undoubtedly higher, but the girls knew less about them. "Incarceration today is a family matter," Ms. Accoca said. "There is an entire kinship system that is now moving through jail, prison, probation and parole." Corrections officials are sometimes stunned to find whole families locked up. At the Laurel Highlands state prison in Pennsylvania, a father and son, convicted of separate arsons, share the same cell. At the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, a father, mother, and their four sons and two daughters were all incarcerated for different bank robberies. In California, a daughter, her mother, and her grandmother were in one women's prison for separate crimes. THE VISIT A Child's Treat, a Parent's Reward Sareena Bain, all of 4 years old and dressed in a turquoise jumper, was waiting by the slam gate entrance to the Bexar County Detention Center, the San Antonio jail, for a new treat, a Saturday contact visit with her father, Bobby Bain, a convicted burgler. A guard gently ordered Sareena to take off her shoes so they could be searched for drugs, then passed her through a metal detector. Nearby, civilian volunteers took off the diapers of a group of babies to check for contraband, replacing them with fresh, jail-issued diapers. Inspection finished, the children were ushered into a special visitors room, the walls painted jungle green and emblazoned with a mural from the "Lion King." Sarena scanned the large, unfamiliar men in orange jump suits in the room and then let out a whoop. "Daddy," she said, and jumped into Bain's arms. Bain and the other men had earned the right to a one-hour visit with their children by volunteering for an innovative program, Papas and their Children, in which 70 of the 3,200 inmates in the San Antonio jail live in the same pod and attend an hour of parenting classes five days a week. Other inmates can talk to their visitors only by telephone through a glass wall. The San Antonio program, and an equivalent one for mothers in the jail, are the best of their kind in the country, said Anna Laszlo, a criminologist in Washington, D.C., who conducted a nationwide survey of programs for children of incarcerated parents for the Department of Health and Human Services. In the visitors room, Derrick Hunt, a bear of a man convicted of drug possession, was bottle-feeding his month-old son, DiAnthony, in his arms. Unfortunately, the baby had picked this moment to take a nap. But Hunt was able to quiz his 5-year-old son, Derrick Jr., on his ABCs. "I never really had a relationship with my children until I came to jail and took the classes," Hunt said. "But I've learned how to control my anger and how to put my kids in timeout rather than shout at them." In the visitors room of the women's section of the jail, Mary Anne Garza was lying on the gray carpet with her three children tight around her: Edward, 7, Anna, 4, and Briana, 9 months. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Ms. Garza's brother is in prison for murder, her husband is in jail, and she had now been convicted of auto theft. Anna could not stop hugging her mother. "She wants to come to jail with me," Ms. Garza said. "She is so worried about what is happening to me, and she is scared of the police and the guards." Not long before, there was an automobile accident near her mother's house, where the children are staying. When the police came, Anna said, "Don't go outside. The police will take you away and there won't be any more moms." Ms. Perez, the social worker who created the San Antonio, program for the sheriff's department said, "From a management point of view, it has been a success because it has been so popular it has changed jail culture." The inmates who take part in it have never tried to smuggle in drugs, they openly express their emotions and there are no racial cliques or fights in the pods where they live. "They are just parents, not brown, black or white," Ms. Perez said. The inmates may actually be better parents in jail than before they were locked up, Ms. Perez said. "Most of them are addicted, and when they are out there, the drug is the number one thing to them. But once in here, they have to be clean, they are able to think clearly and they learn now important parents are to their children."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Farmers Show Interest In Hemp (The Intelligencer Journal, in Pennsylvania, says Lancaster County Farm Bureau president Jane Balmer believes that falling prices for corn, soybeans and tobacco mean the time is ripe for local farmers to consider planting alternative crops, including hemp. The farm bureau board voted Tuesday night to investigate the matter, so an organizational meeting to explore the viability of forming the Pennsylvania Hemp Growers and Processors Co-op will be held April 16 in New Holland. According to Shawn Patrick House, owner of Lancaster Hemp Co., a wholesale distribution business, Lancaster County in 1850 was growing 540 tons of hemp, the same amount that was imported to the United States in 1996.) Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 17:49:17 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US PA: Farmers Show Interest In Hemp Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 Source: Intelligencer Journal (PA) Copyright: 1999 Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.lancnews.com/intell/index.html Author: Daina Savage Intelligencer Journal Staff FARMERS SHOW INTEREST IN HEMP County Official wants Government to Lift Ban on Growing Crop With sinking prices for corn, soybeans and tobacco, the time is ripe for farmers to consider planting alternative crops, according to county Farm Bureau president Jane Balmer. One of her suggestions is a crop that was grown abundantly here for more than 200 years, providing textiles, food, oil and paper. Trouble is, it's presently illegal to cultivate industrial hemp in the United States and has been since a 1937 ban was imposed to eliminate harvests of marijuana, industrial hemp's intoxicating cousin. Balmer's hope is that state legislators and the federal government will see fit to lift that ban and reintroduce industrial hemp as a cash crop for farmers. But first she wants to find out if the state's farmers are interested in growing a crop that hasn't been cultivated here for generations, but could be an answer to plummeting tobacco prices. An organizational meeting to explore the viability of forming the Pennsylvania Hemp Growers and Processors Co-op will be held April 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Yoders Restaurant in New Holland. The meeting is open to the public, but seating is limited. Call 399-8369 for reservations. The county's farm bureau board voted Tuesday night to investigate the matter and decide if it should be grown again here. And a number of states, including Hawaii, Minnesota and Virginia, have introduced legislation to make the crop legal. "There are a lot of states getting into this. I guess we're going to try to be one of them," Balmer said. At an estimated return of $700 an acre, hemp doesn't seem as lucrative a crop as tobacco, which was earning more than $3,000 an acre several years ago. But declining tobacco prices in the past two years have brought that yield down to $1,000 an acre, with an increasingly uncertain future. "It's a 90 to 100 day crop," Balmer said of hemp. "It needs to be planted the same time as we plant tobacco. It's harvested at the same time. So it would work in with same schedule as tobacco." "We've got to do something to help these farmers," she said. "This may be a way to help save farms the right way by helping farmers make a profit." According to Shawn Patrick House, owner of Lancaster Hemp Co., a wholesale distribution business, reintroducing hemp here is a natural step to diversifying farms. "We want to prepare farmers for the inevitable," House said. "We want to be growing hemp here by the year 2000." House's ambitious plans include first teaching farmers how to grow the crop by visiting Canadian farmers that grow hemp and then how to sell it to a burgeoning American market. "We want to see what Canada's doing, but do it better," he said. "We're behind now but will swiftly catch up." According to House, in it's heyday in 1850, Lancaster County was growing 540 tons of hemp, the same amount that was imported into the United States in 1996 to meet the growing demand. "I personally want to see Lancaster County be the first county in the nation to grow hemp," House said. "If farmers desire to grow industrial hemp they should be able to. We need to find out what laws need to be repealed to make it possible." He said there are 50,000 products that can be made from hemp, from the heavy-duty roping made from hemp fibers, to the oil, food and cosmetics made from its seeds. "When you read about all of the uses, my mind wonders: Why did we ever give this up?" Balmer said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Number Of Drug Deaths In Florida Rises (The Tampa Tribune says deaths in Florida last year attributable to illegal drugs increased dramatically. There were 206 deaths caused by contaminated street heroin and the ignorance of users, up 51 percent from 1997. More than five times as many people - 1,128 - died from cocaine-related causes, up 65 percent since 1992, including last year's 8.6 percent jump. The state's new drug czar, James McDonough, formerly of the White House drug czar's office, said many of the victims were long-term addicts in their 30s and 40s who finally succumbed to years of drug abuse.) Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 16:17:34 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US FL: Number Of Drug Deaths In Florida Rises Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Chase Pubdate: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 Source: Tampa Tribune (FL) Copyright: 1999, The Tribune Co. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.tampatrib.com/ Forum: http://tampabayonline.net/interact/welcome.htm Author: A Tampa Tribune staff, wire report. Staff writers Ace Atkins and Vickie Chachere contributed to this report. NUMBER OF DRUG DEATHS IN FLORIDA RISES When Tampa General Hospital emergency doctor Cathy Carrubba trained in Philadelphia 15 years ago, heroin overdoses were all too common. These days she's noticed the return of her old enemy. "It's kind of deja vu for me," she said. "It [the emergency room visits] runs in batches depending on what's on the street. It's been pretty outrageous." Tampa isn't alone. Drug deaths in Florida last year increased at such a dramatic rate that the state's new drug czar described the crisis Tuesday as "totally out of control." Heroin deaths were up 51 percent from 1997 and cocaine-related deaths have climbed 65 percent since 1992, including last year's 8.6 percent jump. Most of the 1,128 cocaine-related fatalities and 206 deaths from heroin use were in the state's most populated areas. More than 400 of the cocaine-related deaths were recorded in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Tampa reported 13 heroin-related deaths in 1998 and three in 1996. There were 72 cocaine-related deaths last year and 58 in 1996. St. Petersburg had 10 heroin-related deaths last year and seven in 1996. There were 52 attributed to cocaine last year and 32 in 1996. "Heroin has been on the rise for over a year now," said Lt. Louis Potenziano, head of the Tampa Police Department's Quad Squad. He said new methods of taking the drug, such as smoking and snorting, and falling prices have made the drug attractive to new users. A gram cost about $300 last year but is now going for $180, Potenziano said. "We're also seeing a different clientele using heroin," he said. "It used to be inner city. Now, we see it on the north side of Tampa." James McDonough, director of the Office of Drug Control Policy in the governor's office said many of the victims in the state were long-term addicts in their 30s and 40s who finally succumbed to years of drug abuse. He also warned that a purer drug is killing many - including first-time users. The number of young people and suburbanites taking up new forms of smokable and snortable heroin is worrying national drug policy experts as well. "The new users are thinking it is safer when in fact they are just as dead after they use it," said Bob Weiner, spokesman for Barry McCaffrey, director of the national drug policy office in Washington. "Some of our new national media ads are targeted at kids using heroin to show the deadly impact." Eight of the 1998 heroin victims in Florida were younger than 20 years old while 187 were between 20 and 50. Most of the victims, 83 percent, were men. By race, 150 were white, 38 Hispanic, 17 black and one listed as "other." Heroin deaths in Florida have virtually doubled over the past two years in a state where more than 1 million people are being treated for some form of drug dependency. There are an estimated 12.8 million drugs users in the nation, McDonough said. McDonough, who was named to head up the state's drug program in February, plans to unveil a strategy this summer with the state's law enforcement and social services agencies to try to reverse the trend. Also playing a part in the equation is the scarcity of drug treatment programs. Typically, people don't seek drug treatment until their drug use is spiraling out of control. In Hillsborough County, there is at least a two-month wait for treatment in an in-patient treatment center and often the wait can be as long as six months, said Pat Marsicano, general manager of the Hillsborough County Drug Alliance, which helps fund treatment centers. There is at least a two-week wait for out-patient treatment. The county program provides about $1.8 million to help five local treatment agencies. "It's critical because you have them at a point when they have a motivation to help themselves, and they're told to wait," she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- FBI investigating death of DEA agent (The Associated Press says George Gehring, 34, whwo had been assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, was found Wednesday morning with a bullet wound to the temple. Police recovered a pistol at the scene. The wire service doesn't say whether a copy of the March 17 Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana was also found nearby.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: FBI investigating death of DEA agent Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 09:00:38 -0700 Sender: email@example.com FBI investigating death of DEA agent By Associated Press, 04/07/99 20:05 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - FBI agents Wednesday investigated the shooting death of a U.S. drug agent, whose body was found at his home in eastern Puerto Rico. George Gehring, 34, was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration office at the Roosevelt Roads naval base in Ceiba. His body was found Wednesday morning with a bullet wound to the temple in nearby Luquillo, said Puerto Rico police Capt. Victor Rivera. Police recovered a pistol at the scene. FBI and DEA agents said they hadn't determined whether Gehring's death was a homicide or a suicide.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Smoke eater fined $2,500 for pot (The Edmonton Sun says Dean Troyer, a city firefighter, was sentenced yesterday in an Alberta court for growing 15 cannabis plants to combat depression and physical pain.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Smoke eater fined $2,500 for pot Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 08:26:55 -0700 Lines: 64 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 Author: Tony Blais Smoke eater fined $2,500 for pot A city firefighter who was growing potent pot in his basement to combat depression and physical pain was fined $2,500 yesterday in provincial court. Dean Troyer, 41, was also put on probation for six months after pleading guilty to simple marijuana possession and cultivating marijuana. His wife Marie had similar charges dropped yesterday. The 17-year veteran smoke eater had been very vocal about his marijuana use for medicinal purposes at an earlier court appearance and had compared his hydroponic operation to his home wine-brewing. However, neither Troyer nor lawyer Alex Pringle had any comment after yesterday's sentencing. Inside court, Troyer apologized for his actions and said they have led to some hard times for his family. "I've certainly learned a lesson through all of this," said Troyer, who has been on stress leave from his position as a senior firefighter for two years. Edmonton fire Chief Jim Sales is looking into the case and will decide whether the sentence will affect Troyer's ability to do his job, said a spokesman with the emergency response department yesterday. "The severity of the offences will be a factor," said Jean Kirkman, adding the city does not have a blanket policy on employees who are convicted of criminal offences. Federal prosecutor Carrie Sharpe told court that Troyer was busted by RCMP drug investigators after they raided his west-end home on Sept. 17, 1997. Cops discovered a sophisticated hydroponic grow-operation in his basement with 15 plants, eight of which were up to one metre tall. About four ounces of drying marijuana buds were hanging from the floor joists, said Sharpe. Another three ounces of dried marijuana buds and more than six ounces of marijuana leaves were also found, evidence that it wasn't the first crop grown there, said Sharpe. Sharpe, who was seeking an intermittent jail term, said police tested the marijuana and discovered it had a high potency. "This isn't someone who is just growing marijuana in their closet," said Sharpe. "There is definitely some level of sophistication here." Pringle told the court that Troyer is seeing a psychologist for depression, which has kept him on medical leave since 1997. He added the firefighter also has bouts of excruciating pain due to a tear in his anus that leaves a bundle of nerves exposed. "The marijuana helped in both of these conditions and was the primary factor behind the growing operation," said Pringle.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Canadians high on medicinal pot: poll (According to the Edmonton Sun, a recent Decima poll showed 78 percent of Canadians support the use of marijuana as medicine. Only 18 percent of respondents opposed it. The strongest support, 83 percent, came from households with at least $60,000 annual incomes and individuals with a university education. The poll shows medical marijuana "is more popular than any of the political parties. They're lucky to get 40 percent support," said Amanda Stewart, director of the Cannabis Re-legalization Society of Alberta. Stewart estimated about 10 percent of the population in Edmonton already uses the herb to ease physical pain and-or mental anguish.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Canadians high on medicinal pot: poll Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 08:28:38 -0700 Lines: 51 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 Author: Marty Yaskowich Canadians high on medicinal pot: poll Medicinal pot users say they weren't blowing smoke when they claimed most Canadians support their cause - now they have the numbers to prove it. A recent Decima poll showed 78% of Canadians support the use of marijuana for medical treatment. Just 18% of respondents opposed it. The study is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.1%, 19 times out of 20. "More than anything it says (the idea) is more popular than any of the political parties. They're lucky to get 40% support," said Amanda Stewart, director of the Cannabis Re-legalization Society of Alberta. "I think that with everyone pushing for it, it's inevitable." Decima Research Inc. asked 2,026 adults whether they strongly agree, agree, oppose or strongly oppose the federal government's consideration of legalizing pot as a medical treatment. The strongest support, 83%, came from households with at least $60,000 annual incomes and individuals with a university education. Fewer older people were enthusiastic about the plan, which is being studied by Health Minister Allan Rock, but a vast majority - 72% - of those over 50 did support it. Twenty years ago, a Decima poll showed 55% of Canadians opposed and 39% favoured a federal initiative to reduce criminal implications associated with marijuana. "I'm not surprised by the numbers," said Harland Calliou, who admits he uses the drug as an appetite stimulant. "I guess people have stopped listening to the devil-weed stories and are realizing it's good for everything and bad for nothing." Stewart estimated about 10% of the population in Edmonton already uses the drug to ease physical pain and-or mental anguish. She says pot helped her through serious bouts of depression when she was in her early 20s and said the government could capitalize on it. "Right now people are making huge amounts of money on the black market," she said. "It's not under control at all." A march is planned for April 20 beginning at Emily Murphy Park, and 5,000 pro-pot postcards are being mailed to Rock, Stewart said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Canadians Favour The Use Of Medical Marijuana (The National Post version) Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 18:39:42 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Canadians Favour The Use Of Medical Marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dr. Kate Pubdate: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 Source: National Post (Canada) Copyright: 1999 Southam Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nationalpost.com/ Forum: http://forums.canada.com/~canada Author: Tom Arnold CANADIANS FAVOUR THE USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA Canadians overwhelmingly support the medicinal use of marijuana, according to a new national survey. In a survey of 2,026 people, conducted last month by Decima Research Inc., 78% of those polled said they support the federal government's plan to consider the use of marijuana as a possible treatment for various medicinal conditions. The survey is considered accurate within 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. "That's a very very strong consensus," said Dave Crapper, seniour vice-president of Decima. "In public opinion terms, that's a reallly big number. And for a third of the population to strongly support anything is very impressive." About 33% of those polled strongly support the medicinal use of marijuana while, 45% said they support its use. Just 10% are opposed, while 8% are strongly opposed; 4% had no point of view. Support for marijuana's medicinal use was strongest among those who are university educated and with household incomes of more than $60,000 annually. Older people were less than enthusiastic, but still 72% of those over 50 supported the idea. It's been 18 years since Decima asked Canadians about marijuana. In 1981, the company asked more than 1,500 people if they were in favour of possible government initiatives and 39% of them favoured them. Alan Rock, the federal Health Minister, announced last month that health officials would conduct clinical trials on the medicinal use of marijuana to determine whether the drug can help relieve side-effects for patients being treated for illnesses such as AIDS and cancer. No timetable has been set, but Mr. Rock said scientists will gather evidence "as soon as possible" and develop appropriate guidelines for the medical use of the drug and to provide access to a safe supply. Mr. Rock's announcement came more than a year after an Ontario judge ruled it is legal to grow and use marijuana for medicinal use. In December, 1997, Mr.Justice Patrick Sheppard said Terry Parker, a Toronto resident, was deprived of his "right to life, liberty and security" by being charged with possession of marijuana. Mr. Parker had been smoking marijuana for more than 20 years to ease the severity of epileptic seizures. An appeal of the judge's ruling has yet to be heard.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Fugitive Former Governor Of Mexican State Charged With Drug Trafficking (An Associated Press article in the Seattle Times says the indictment of Mario Villanueva yesterday, the day after the expiration of his term as governor of the state of Quintana Roo, came nine days after he dropped out of sight. Prosecutors denied they delayed the criminal case to avoid charging and impeaching a sitting governor, something that has never been done in Mexico. Villanueva said in a letter published yesterday by Mexican newspapers that the case was politically motivated.) Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 18:07:20 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Mexico: Fugitive Former Governor Of Mexican State Charged With Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Copyright: 1999 The Seattle Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Author: The Associated Press FUGITIVE FORMER GOVERNOR OF MEXICAN STATE CHARGED WITH DRUG TRAFFICKING MEXICO CITY - A fugitive former state governor in Mexico has been charged with drug trafficking and organized crime, prosecutors said. Yesterday's announcement came a day after Mario Villanueva left office and nine days after he dropped out of sight. Prosecutors denied they delayed the criminal case to avoid charging and impeaching a sitting governor, something that has never been done in Mexico. But Villanueva said in a letter published yesterday by Mexican newspapers that the case was politically motivated. "Harassed by an investigation aimed at incriminating me at any cost with the trafficking and use of drugs . . . I have abandoned my turf to avoid being jailed," Villanueva wrote. His lawyer, Juan Collado, confirmed Villanueva had written the letter, the daily Reforma newspaper said. The former governor did not reveal his whereabouts. The warrant and charges against Villanueva and five alleged accomplices cap a long-running scandal in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo, which U.S. and Mexican officials say has become a relay point for Colombian cocaine entering the United States. Villanueva claimed the accusations he worked with drug traffickers were "absurd and ridiculous," saying that as governor he had no opportunity to protect drug traffickers from federal authorities. He said the charges were politically motivated because he opposed efforts by national leaders of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party to control Quintana Roo's state government. The attorney general's office had no comment yesterday. Prosecutors have asked Interpol and "other police agencies" to help in the search for Villanueva, indicating they believe he may have fled the country. U.S. authorities, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, have joined Mexican police in the search. Media reports have suggested Villanueva may have fled to Panama, where he has business contacts. Villanueva's successor, Joaquin Hendricks Diaz, said yesterday that the attorney general's office had every right to investigate the former governor and that the new state administration would cooperate by providing information about the case, the government news agency Notimex reported. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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