------------------------------------------------------------------- When Patients Want To Use Marijuana For Medical Purposes - How Physicians Should Respond (Dr. Rick Bayer, a chief petitioner for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, forwards the Oregon Medical Association's new official legal guidelines for physicians on how best to help a patient whose condition might be improved by cannabis. The new guidelines have not been posted at the OMA website, and so far have been distributed only to about 300 OMA delegates and officers out of the more than 7,000 doctors in Oregon and 5000 OMA members. But this is a big change for the OMA from their "just say no to OMMA" message in December. There were no negative comments from any doctor about this change in OMA policy.) From: "Rick Bayer" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "Rick Bayer" (email@example.com) Subject: OMA official OMMA policy Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 19:22:57 -0700 Dear OMMA supporters A few weeks ago we had the preliminary executive committee A report from the Oregon Medical Association about how doctors "should respond" to a request for mmj under the OMMA. The report is now official and the change was a new line (E.) adding to have a PARQ (procedures, alternatives, risks, and questions answered) conference with patients and document it in the chart like we are supposed to do for all drug therapies. The official document is enclosed below and I know some of it is intentionally scary. I cannot find it on the OMA website and am at a loss as to how many doctors are going to be aware of this unless it is included in some general mailing in the future. As of this moment, the mailing has gone only to OMA delegates and officers (around 300 of the 7000 + or so docs in Oregon and the 5000 + OMA members). This is a big change for the OMA form their "just say no to OMMA" message in December of 1998. There were no negative comments from any doctor about this change in OMA policy. I may put it on the OMR website (http://www.teleport.com/~omr) and add a link on the OMR website to the IOM study if people think that is a good idea. Feel free to copy and paste the report below onto a document that you can distribute to patients and doctors and policy makers. Again special thanks to ACLU national attorney Graham Boyd (and ACLU Oregon executive director Dave Fidanque who set this up) and California Medical Association attorney, Alice Mead. Special thanks also to OMA attorney Paul Frisch who eventually saw that he needed to do something to protect Oregon Medical Association doctors from the feds. As you know, the OHD has now made the administrative rules official as of May 1. Dr. Higginson, the state health officer, returned my call yesterday to tell me that the program is "up and going" and the application forms are being mailed. The fee and plant maturity issue are unfavorable but are not insurmountable obstacles. The fee is not the fault of the OHD. We need to look to creative ways and private funding for patients who cannot afford that. The whole plant maturity and pre-arrest exception for patients who need more than three plants worth of mj needs to be re-explored, but we have a bigger concern now. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, our enemy is now HB 3052 - this is the conundrum that could force us back to the ballot for a referendum if our legislature tries to undo the OMMA. Thanks to Geoff Sugerman, Amy Klare, and David Smigelski (Oregonians for Medical Rights) for tracking, lobbying, and testifying on the activities in Salem. Also thanks to Dave Fidanque, Lee Berger, and others who have testified for us on HB 3052. Congratulations to John Sajo, Lee Berger, and Michael Rose of Voter Power and the many others of you for working to get HJM 10 getting out of committee. Wow! I'm stunned. Nice job. Special thanks to OMMA chief petitioner, Stormy Ray, for tirelessly lobbying legislators on protecting patient's rights on all the above issues. I apologize for leaving out the many, many volunteers who have gotten us to where we are today but you know who you are and thanks. The HJM 10 vote should come up this week (if someone doesn't find a technical way to kill the resolution). HB 3052 has either passed through the House Judiciary committee or is about to. The legislative session usually ends in July and they don't come back until 2001. Maybe we will get a few more tolerant (and tolerable) individuals in the legislature by then. Please vote in 2000. Stay tuned. . . Thanks for your support. Rick Bayer Rick Bayer, MD 6800 SW Canyon Drive Portland, OR 97225 503-292-1035 (voice) 503-297-0754 (fax) mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org *** WHEN PATIENTS WANT TO USE MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES HOW PHYSICIANS SHOULD RESPOND Oregon's medical marijuana law was passed by the voters in November, 1998. It exempts certain persons from state criminal penalties for the production, possession, delivery, or administration of marijuana or paraphernalia used to administer marijuana provided they comply with very detailed requirements. Oregon's law is unique in that the state health division is charged with creating a means by which candidates for exemption from prosecution are given registry identification cards so that state law enforcement officials can readily determine their exempt status. Oregon physicians figure into the law because unless the patient has the required "written documentation" from their "attending physician," they are not eligible for this exemption. This law poses several important legal dilemmas for members. Physicians who comply cannot be prosecuted criminally by state authorities. However, nothing prevents the federal government through the Drug Enforcement Administration from taking action against physicians for "aiding and abetting" the commission of a federal crime. To underscore the seriousness of this situation, consider this February 27, 1997 response of federal officials to a request from the California Medical Association regarding that state's medical marijuana law: ' . . .Physicians may not intentionally provide their patients with oral or written statements in order to obtain controlled substances in violation of federal law. Physicians who do so risk revocation of their DEA prescription authority, criminal prosecution, and exclusion from participation in Medicare, and Medicaid programs." In a March 8, 1999 letter, OMA asked these officials for clarification of the above statement. OMA's letter poses the following question: "Do statements in patient charts that the person has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition and that the use of medical marijuana may mitigate the symptoms or effects of the debilitating medical condition constitute written statements in order to enable [their patients] to obtain controlled substances in violation of federal law?" OMA has not yet received a response. Pending that response, physicians are advised that they are at risk unless they limit their activities to those identified below. A second and equally serious dilemma arises when physicians provide their patients with a discussion of the possible risks and benefits associated with the use of marijuana for medical purposes. To the extent that such discussions occur, physicians need to know that nothing in the law prevents patients, or their legal representatives if they die, from bringing claims against physicians alleging failure to disclose all the viable alternatives and material risks of using medical marijuana. This is particularly important because patients must be suffering from a "debilitating medical condition" at the time the discussions occur. Patients with already compromised physical conditions make riskier candidates. If they suffer a bad outcome coincidental to their use of medical marijuana, they may try to blame their "attending physician." I. Physicians are not obligated to participate. II. If the patient requests it, physicians should do ONLY the following things in order for their patients to benefit from Oregon's law permitting medical use of marijuana. A. Determine whether the patient suffers from a "debilitating medical condition." If the patient does not qualify this should be documented in the patient's chart. B. If they do suffer from a debilitating medical condition, document that fact in the patients chart. C. Determine whether the use of medical marijuana "may mitigate symptoms or effects of the person's debilitating medical condition." If you tell the patient that its use may not mitigate symptoms or effects, then this should be documented in the patient's chart. D. If you tell the patient that "use of medical marijuana may mitigate symptoms or effects", document that this conversation occurred in the patient's chart. E. Perform a PARQ conference and document it in the patient's chart. I. Physicians SHOULD AVOID any of the following: A. AVOID providing your patients with information about where they can obtain medical marijuana. B. AVOID talking with anyone by telephone or in person who offers to help your patient obtain marijuana. C. AVOID writing anything in support of the patient's desire for medical marijuana other than that the patient suffers a "deliberating medical condition" and that "medical use of marijuana may mitigate symptoms and side effects..." D. AVOID writing anywhere but in the patient's chart. This means not supplying the patient with a letter or form signed by the physician. E. ABOVE ALL AVOID writing this information on a prescription. As long as the discussions and documentation concerning the use of medical marijuana occur just between a physician and a patient in a medical office setting and the information conveyed is no more than that which is required to fulfill the physician's part in the patient's process of gaining exemption from criminal prosecution, OMA believes that the risk of federal intervention is minimized. This is because the foregoing actions are consistent with traditional physician functions of diagnosing, and documenting advice and counsel. They also meet the definition of the law's requirement of "written documentation" of the patient's debilitating medical condition. At the same time they are inconsistent with the actions described in the federal government's letter to the California Medical Association. However, unless and until the federal government provides OMA with a response to its March 8, 1999 letter seeking clarification of the government's position on Oregon's law, no physician is fully protected. [Source: Oregon Medical Association "Digest of Actions" 125th Annual Meeting of the OMA House of Delegates, April 23-25, 1999]
------------------------------------------------------------------- The pot issue: separating smoke from science (An op-ed in the Oregonian by the principal investigators for the Institute of Medicine's March 17 report on medical marijuana, Dr. John A. Benson Jr. of Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland and Stanley J. Watson Jr. of the Mental Health Research Institute at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, shows why the IOM's political document is destined - perhaps designed - to lead nowhere. The researchers continue to promote pie-in-the-sky pharmaceutical derivitives nobody is going to pay to develop while ignoring the essential question that prompted the report: How many patients with serious, life-threatening diseases should be persecuted and locked up at taxpayer expense right now, today, for using marijuana when it's recommended by their physicians?) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Tue, May 04 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Authors: John A. Benson Jr. is dean and professor of medicine emeritus, Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine, Portland. Stanley J. Watson Jr. is co-director and research scientist at the Mental Health Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. They were co-principal investigators of the Institute of Medicine's study on the medical use of marijuana. The pot issue: separating smoke from science * Marijuana indeed shows medical potential, but the delivery system shouldn't involve smoking By John A. Benson Jr. and Stanley J. Watson Jr. When a study on the medical use of marijuana was issued recently, advocates for legalizing the drug cheered the report's conclusions that marijuana's compounds do have some potential as medicine. Their opponents, however, cited the report's caveat that the harmful effects of smoking far outweigh marijuana's potential benefits for most patients. Both sides are right. And this is not scientific hair-splitting. To date, it has been nearly impossible to separate scientific evidence about marijuana's potential from larger societal concerns about its use. But doing so may be the key to advancing the rancorous debate over this issue since medical marijuana began to appear on state ballot initiatives in the mid-1990s. Some may be surprised to learn that in the scientific realm, we found remarkable consensus that marijuana's components have potential to relieve symptoms such as pain, nausea and vomiting, as well as the poor appetite associated with wasting in cancer or AIDS. For most symptoms, there are more effective drugs already on the market, but physicians encounter patients who do not respond well to standard medications, or who need additional therapies. These patients could benefit from new drugs based on cannabinoids, the active components in marijuana. Marijuana's future as medicine rests in developing new ways of delivering these cannabinoids -- including the most common one, THC. Marinol, a THC capsule, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, as well as poor appetite and weight loss associated with AIDS. However, some who have used Marinol complain that it takes effect slowly, and its results are variable. Sufferers, obviously, need fast-acting medication. For that reason, we recommend that clinical trials move forward, with the goal of developing a rapid-onset, non-smoked delivery system, such as an inhaler. This would deliver precise doses without the health problems associated with smoking. But an inhaler could take years to produce. What do we do now? In deciding whether marijuana should be smoked as medicine, society must weigh the reality of this crude drug-delivery system against the benefits it might bestow. Chronic smoking of marijuana increases a person's chances of developing cancer, lung damage and problems with pregnancies, including low birth weight. It simply is not an acceptable long-term option. Smoking should be allowed only for short-term use by patients with debilitating symptoms, or who are terminally ill and do not respond well to approved medications. Even in these cases, marijuana use should be carefully controlled. Patients who are prescribed marijuana should be enrolled in short-term clinical trials involving only those most likely to benefit. These clinical trials of smoked marijuana should not be designed to develop it as a licensed drug, but to make way for developing new, safe delivery systems of cannabinoids. There is no evidence that using marijuana in controlled settings -- or cannabinoids in the form of drugs such as Marinol -- will lead to increased illicit drug use in society. Our review of the science behind marijuana and cannabinoids convinces us that the debate so far has been miscast. Rather than focusing on drug-control policy, the debate should really be about the promise of future drug development. Mining the pharmaceutical potential of cannabinoids requires the same kind of development that brought us any number of pain-killing drugs prescribed by physicians today. With public investments in research, or enough incentives to convince private companies to develop these drugs, the perceived need to smoke marijuana to alleviate symptoms could vanish. *** [Portland NORML wishes Drs. Benson and Watson would explain why they ignored the existence or efficacy of vaporizers, which release cannabinoids without producing smoke. Why did they consign countless thousands of patients to persecution and misery rather than acknowledge that the risks of cannabis smoke are entirely theoretical? How do zero deaths from lung cancer or emphysema outweigh the suffering of patients with AIDS, cancer, chronic pain and other debilitating conditions? Unfortunately, the IOM doesn't explain its cost-benefit accounting, which is just one reason its report is not a scientific document. If it had been a scientific document, it would have at least explained why it ignored the evidence from such patients as Robert Randall, who was able to prove scientifically to a skeptical federal court that marijuana is the only thing that works for his glaucoma. Those who can empathize with such patients' suffering find it hard to lend credence to theoretical research, generally funded by an unfeeling government, which asserts that it cannot possibly be useful for glaucoma. But if Drs. Benson and Watson would just offer their explanation for why we should lock up Robert Randall, maybe the rest of the public can gain some real increase in understanding. Portland NORML would like to know what words the good doctors would choose to explain to Randall, or Elvy Musikka, another glaucoma patient who depends on federally supplied marijuana to preserve her eyesight, why they are just drug abusers and henceforth should be subject to criminal penalties. Is it because Drs. Benson and Watson are advocates for pharmaceutical companies, the medical-industrial complex and the government, and not patients, or science? The excuse that the IOM was ordered to avoid policy issues won't wash. As the drug czar implicitly acknowledged when he first commissioned the IOM report, after medical-marijuana initiatives prevailed in California and Arizona, one can't address the efficacy of marijuana as medicine without concluding, implicitly or explicitly, whether patients should be punished for using it in the here and now. Unfortunately, the IOM report seems to have been assiduously designed to avoid the latter issue, making it impossible to address the former one honestly. As a result, the IOM report is a utopian vision of the pharmacological future rather than an objective, real-world assessment of contemporary health risks and benefits.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Some die with their rights on (An editorial in the Oregon by Robert Landauer says that just saying no to drugs might someday get you locked up in Oregon, if a task force on civil commitment of the mentally ill manages to present a bill to the Oregon legislature this session. Strenuously opposing forced treatment are persons who call themselves psychiatric survivors. They particularly fear anything that might lead to forced use of mood-altering drugs. Some dwell on disagreeable side effects of certain medications. Others say that forced drugging reflects a conspiracy of the pharmaceutical industry, organized psychiatry and mental-health institutions to gain clients, profits and power. Passions run high. There is no chance for task-force agreement except for the need for more resources. That's a strong signal that a bill should not go to this Legislature. The problems and remedies need public airing.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Tue, May 04 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/ Authors: Robert Landauer, editorial columnist, the Oregonian, can be telephoned at (503) 221-8157 or reached by e-mailed at email@example.com. Some die with their rights on * It's too late in the session to start dealing with mentally ill persons who reject treatment Just say no to drugs is a watchword of faith. But making that stand might someday get you locked up in Oregon. The issue here is not street pushers, zoned-out addicts and shooting galleries of the sleazy narcotics trade. The controversy is about how to help mentally ill people who won't accept treatment. A task force led by by Mark Gardner, special counsel to Attorney General Hardy Myers, has been searching for ways to require treatment for people who appear to be heading toward serious breaks with reality but who can't be shown at the moment to be dangerous to themselves or others. That is the threshold of dangerousness the state must show the person has crossed before it can force mental-health services on someone who hasn't broken any law. Gardner, a former circuit judge, understands the importance of the civil-liberties protections. He also knows the burdens families, schools, jails, prisons, employers, hospitals, service agencies and taxpayers bear when people who need help reject it or can't get it. Family members are pushing hardest to lower the threshold under which people could be locked up for evaluation and the state be required by judges to put them under intensive case management. In practice, this means that many, possibly most, would be pressured to "take their meds." The relatives argue that the state intervenes too late, long after their loved ones are able to make informed choices. The relations cite tragic cases of their sons, daughters, spouses and siblings deteriorating to the point of irreversible damage before help is given. Strenuously opposing forced treatment are persons who call themselves psychiatric survivors. They particularly fear anything that might lead to forced use of mood-altering drugs. Some dwell on disagreeable side effects of certain medications -- major weight gains, overwhelming drowsiness, loss of creativity. Others say that forced drugging reflects a conspiracy of the pharmaceutical industry, organized psychiatry and institutionalized mental health to gain clients, profits and power. Forcing people into court because they might become committable in the future, and threatening to lock them up for failure to appear for evaluation by judges, disturbs civil libertarians. They object to invasions of privacy, intrusions on liberty and singling out this class of people for detention. They worry, too, that many judges with low literacy about mental illness will be making these decisions. Passions run high. There is no chance for task-force agreement except for the need for more resources, Gardner reports. That's a strong signal that the proposals should not go to this Legislature. At best they would get an end-of-session swift swipe. The problems and remedies need public airing. Oregon's conversation should include more evaluations from states that force treatment. More consumers -- there was only one on the task force -- need to testify about approaches that engage the mentally ill instead of coercing and frightening them. Cost analyses need to explore how alternative approaches would affect the Oregon Health Plan, jails, prisons and other public and private agencies, as well as consumers' ability to live independently, hold jobs and become taxpayers. Let's take the task force findings to statewide hearings during the legislative interim.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hawaii: "Second" State to Pass Hemp Legislation (A list subscriber says HB 32, an industrial hemp bill before the Hawaii legislature, passed today in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate vote was 13 to 11 and all House members, except three, voted affirmatively. Governor Cayetano has been supportive and will sign the legislation in June. North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer signed the first industrial hemp bill, HB 1428, into law on April 17. A statement from the DEA is also taken to mean the agency may be intending to once again allow industrial hemp to be grown in the United States.)Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 01:21:29 EDT Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: "David Crockett Williams" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: Hawaii: "SECOND" State to Pass Hemp Legislation Subject: Hawaii: "SECOND" State to Pass Hemp Legislation Date: Tuesday, May 04, 1999 8:52 PM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Honolulu, Hawaii May 4, 1999 Hawaii: "SECOND" State to Pass Hemp Legislation Today Hawaii's industrial hemp legislation, House Bill 32 passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate vote was 13 to 11 and all House members, except three, voted in favor of HB32. Governor Cayetano has been supportive of HB32 and will sign the legislation into law in June. The bill authorizes industrial hemp seed variety trials in Hawaii. A letter received from DEA's Chief of Operations, Gregory Williams, states: "...DEA will consider setting the level of THC content for Cannabis sativa L., hemp that may be grown for industrial purposes. This review is based on the premise that public and commercial interest may be better served if the cultivation of Cannabis sativa L., hemp is authorized by the appropriate Federal and State entities." The DEA's statement indicates their intentions to change the present regulatory system and once again allow industrial hemp to be grown in the United States. Hawaii is the second state to pass industrial hemp legislation behind North Dakota, where Governor Ed Schafer signed HB1428 into law on April 17, 1999. Contact Information: Hawaii Rep. Cynthia Thielen (808) 586-6480 capitol e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer (701) 328-2200
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Czar' Stand On Marijuana Belied By Facts (A letter to the editor of the New London Day, by Mike Gogulski of the Connecticut Cannabis Policy Forum, takes issue with statements about the Insitute of Medicine report made locally by General Barry McCaffrey. Citing some excellent statistics and URL references, Gogulski says it's time for the General Assembly to follow the recommendations of the Connecticut Law Revision Commission's 1997 report on drug policy, and decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana by adults over 21.) Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 19:40:05 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CT: PUB LTE: Drug Czar' Stand On Marijuana Belied By Facts Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Tue, 04 May 1999 Source: New London Day (CT) Copyright: 1999 The Day Publishing Co. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.newlondonday.com/ Author: Mike Gogulski Note: Mike Gogulski is a founding member of the Connecticut Cannabis Policy Forum (http://www.ccpf.org/), and Editor for the Media Awareness Project of DrugSense (http://www.mapinc.org/) DRUG CZAR'S STAND ON MARIJUANA BELIED BY FACTS To the Editor of The Day: I recently heard US Drug Czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey speak at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington, and I take issue with his statements there about marijuana. Gen. McCaffrey told us that the criminal sanctions for drug use must remain in place, and that the most dangerous drug in America is marijuana. This, despite the recent findings of the Institute of Medicine report his own office commissioned, which found marijuana to be not very harmful, not very addictive, and not a "gateway" to harder drug use ("Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," (http://www.drugsense.org/iom_report/). Attendees received the "Statewide Interagency Substance Abuse Plan" for 1999 prepared by the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council (CADPC), which mentions that, according the 1996 Adult Household Survey conducted, 32 percent of Connecticut residents reported lifetime use of marijuana, and 3 percent reported using marijuana in the past 30 days. It also says there are 2,537,535 adults in the state of Connecticut. According to the statistics in this plan, Connecticut is home to at least 76,000 regular adult marijuana users and 812,000 adults who have used marijuana at some point in their lives. These numbers are doubtless low, because the Drug War climate encourages respondents to be less than truthful in reporting their own "crimes." Now, I doubt that all or even most of those 76,000 thousand regular marijuana smokers statewide are bad people in need of criminal convictions for marijuana posession under current Connecticut state law, much less desperate "pot addicts" in need of forced treatment for marijuana addiction. Yet, according to a recent study by the General Assembly's Office of Legislative Research, Connecticut arrests over 8,000 people per year for marijuana "crimes." ("Marijuana Statistics", http://www.cga.state.ct.us/olr/marchreports/99-R-0384.htm) It's time that the General Assembly follow the recommendations of the Connecticut Law Revision Commission's 1997 report on drug policy (http://www.cga.state.ct.us/lrc/DrugPolicy/DrugPolicyRpt2.htm), and decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana by adults over the age of 21. Perhaps in doing so the state can free up valuable resources needed to combat real problems of addiction and drug abuse, programs for which, according to CADPC, are desperately underfunded. Mike Gogulski, Hamden Mike Gogulski is a founding member of the Connecticut Cannabis Policy Forum (http://www.ccpf.org/), and Editor for the Media Awareness Project of DrugSense (http://www.mapinc.org/)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Old Drugs, New Uses (Style Weekly, in Virginia, says three professors at the Medical College of Virginia hope to market marijuana and nicotine derivatives as new medicinal treatments for cigarette addiction, severe pain, and slowing the progress of Alzheimer's disease. Louis S. Harris, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Virginia Commonwealth University's MCV, fellow researchers Billy Martin, also a pharmacology professor, and Richard Glennon, a professor of medicinal chemistry, have formed CogniRx Inc. in the hope of capitalizing on research advances and discoveries they made during their years at MCV. "The science that we're learning from marijuana can be very valuable in developing drugs that will be useful in treating a variety of conditions," says Harris.) Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 19:18:11 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US VA: Old Drugs, New Uses Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Miguet (http://www.drugsense.org/dpfva) Pubdate: Tues, 4 May 1999 Source: Style Weekly (VA) Copyright: 1999 Style Weekly Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.styleweekly.com/ Section: Street Talk Author: Richard Foster OLD DRUGS, NEW USES Three MCV professors hope to market marijuana and nicotine derivatives for new medicinal treatments. A better treatment for cigarette addiction. Quick, safe relief from severe pain. Slowing the progress of Alzheimer's disease. These are all treatments that a new company formed by three MCV professors is hoping to bring to market over the next decade using compounds and derivatives of two very controversial and politically charged drugs -- marijuana and nicotine -- in ground-breaking ways. Despite the stigma attached to both, "the science that we're learning from marijuana [and nicotine] can be very valuable in developing drugs that will be useful in treating a variety of conditions," says Louis S. Harris, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College of Virginia. And, he adds, he and his colleagues are at "the cutting edge" of that research worldwide. Harris, who chaired MCV's department of pharmacology and toxicology for two decades, and his fellow researchers Billy Martin, also a pharmacology professor, and Richard Glennon, a professor of medicinal chemistry, are partners in the newly formed CogniRx Inc., a company that hopes to capitalize on research advances and discoveries the three made during their years at MCV. In March, the national Institute of Medicine, a federal advisory committee, released a report calling for more research into ways to use chemicals found in marijuana (known as cannabinoids) to treat pain. The report also exhorted scientists to develop a safer delivery method such as an inhaler that would be an alternative to smoking marijuana. Enter Harris, Martin and Glennon, who have been researching marijuana for years. CogniRx is poised to become the first company out of the gate with an inhaler for pain relief. Dr. William Regelson, an MCV medical professor and co-author of the top-selling book "The Melatonin Miracle," calls the invention "a revolution. ... You carry this thing around in your pocket like we do for people who suffer from asthma. It's tremendous. Somebody should invest in it. ... They're winners." It's long been known that marijuana has great value for pain relief and it's scientifically proven to be less addictive than drugs like morphine, heroin or cocaine, Harris says. Marijuana eases nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients, stems weight loss in AIDS patients and helps glaucoma patients. Furthermore, Harris says, there's never been an overdose death attributed to marijuana, making it safer to work with than other narcotic pain-killers. But Delta 9 THC, the active chemical in marijuana, is not particularly water soluble, meaning that it can't be injected in drug form like morphine. Until now, smoking marijuana has been the best method of receiving relief, but it's generally illegal and it exposes the smoker to dangerous carcinogens. The only other method thus far available has been a pill, legally available for prescription, called Marinol. In pill form, however, THC takes a much longer time to be absorbed through the blood stream, and less of the chemical actually reaches the brain receptors. Working with Peter Byron, a professor of pharmacy at MCV who has created a device similar to an asthma inhaler, Harris and his partners have developed a synthetic cannabinoid that can be absorbed into the blood vessels of the lungs, from which it travels directly to the heart and brain and the rest of the body. Furthermore, it's not likely to be abused as a street drug because it would cost more by prescription than it would to buy marijuana on the street, Harris says. Besides, they're not even sure if their medical marijuana derivative would produce a "high." They would have to do clinical testing to discover that. Other breakthroughs could come from the CogniRx professors' research into another controversial substance, nicotine -- the addictive agent in cigarettes. For starters, there's some scientific data showing that nicotine can increase concentration skills and that the incidence of Alzheimer's disease is lower among cigarette smokers. Hitchhiking off that research, Harris, Martin and Glennon have been working on nicotine-based treatments for Alzheimer's. But the product with the most wide-reaching possibilities is (hold your breath if you can, chain smokers) what could potentially be the best treatment for nicotine addiction yet invented. Every drug theoretically has another drug, called an antagonist, that negates its effects. Harris, Martin and Glennon have found a drug that, in mouse and rat trials, eliminates some of the effects of nicotine. They won't name the compound, which they are in the process of patenting. Mice trials are a long way from saying it would work in humans, Harris cautions, but theoretically, he says, "If we can block the effects of nicotine [from smoking] then people lighting up a cigarette are going to get no effect from the cigarette and therefore, they should stop smoking because they're not getting reinforcement anymore." However, even if it's proven to work on humans, the treatment wouldn't be foolproof, Harris readily admits. It would only be as good as the will of the person who's quitting and their commitment to take the pills until they quit for good. CogniRx is also working on antidepressant treatments with serotonin. Harris is quick to point out that all of the possible applications for his and his colleagues' research are still years and years away from being available to the public by prescription or otherwise. With the possible exception of the inhaler, which may get green-lighted earlier thanks to the national report, most of their applications may follow the national average for new drugs, which generally take eight years and as much as $150 million to go from lab to pharmaceutical production. CogniRx is working on obtaining licenses from VCU for the professors' research work. The company will then raise the capital to market the ideas for sale to large pharmaceutical companies, which would, in turn, seek federal approval to manufacture and sell the drugs. "Our aim is not to become a pharmaceutical company," says Harris. "We're trying to stimulate the development of these drugs because we think they have uses in patients with diseases and disorders. That's our objective, to get better treatments out there."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rep. Hyde to Introduce Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill (A press release from the Drug Policy Foundation, in Washington, D.C., says Henry Hyde, John Conyers, Bob Barr and Barney Frank will co-sponsor a bill in Congress today that would reform civil asset forfeiture laws.) Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 12:08:15 EDT Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Drug Policy News Service" (email@example.com) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Press Release: Rep. Hyde to Introduce Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill X-ListProcessor-Instructions: Send an email to email@example.com with the subject blank and the BODY containing nothing but the word HELP for instructions. X-Comment: The Drug Policy News Service is presented by the Drug Policy Foundation - www.dpf.org. DRUG POLICY FOUNDATION PRESS RELEASE HENRY HYDE, JOHN CONYERS, BOB BARR AND BARNEY FRANK TOGETHER AGAIN FOURSOME CO-SPONSOR BILL TO REFORM CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE; BILL TO BE INTRODUCED TODAY WASHINGTON, May 4 - Reps. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Bob Barr (R-Ga.), and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), last seen bickering loudly during the House impeachment hearings, are back together today in a much friendlier fashion. Each is a co-sponsor of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, a bill written by Hyde and scheduled to be introduced today. While the bill has important policy implications, it will also be fascinating to watch the old enemies come together around something they all support. DPF has worked on civil asset forfeiture issues for many years and supports the passage of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act. "Civil asset forfeiture is such a gross misuse of police powers that it's easy to understand why lawmakers representing a broad spectrum of ideologies are against it," DPF Senior Policy Analyst Scott Ehlers said. "Civil asset forfeiture comes awfully close to being legalized theft." Under the guise of fighting the war on drugs, law enforcement officers can seize your home, car, or money without ever charging you with a crime. Known as civil asset forfeiture (CAF), it is one of the most abused police powers in America today. Civil asset forfeiture is based on the legal fiction that the property that facilitates or is connected with a crime is itself guilty and can be seized and tried in civil court (e.g., United States v. One 1974 Cadillac Eldorado Sedan). Under civil forfeiture law, the government can take a person's property on the basis of "probable cause," which is the same minimal standard required for police to obtain a search warrant. In order to get the property returned, an owner must prove by a "preponderance of the evidence" - a higher standard of proof - that his/her property was not used to facilitate a crime. Whereas under criminal law the defendant is innocent until proved guilty, in CAF proceedings the property is presumed guilty and the owner has to prove otherwise to get it back. CAF funds often turn into unregulated police slush funds. When police departments are allowed to keep what they take, CAF funds exist beyond the purview of legislative or budgetary oversight so it's fairly common for police to misuse CAF funds. Nearly a dozen newspapers have documented this, including the Pittsburgh Press, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for exposing CAF corruption. "That police can take property without anyone being charged or found guilty of a crime is an abomination," Ehlers said. "Civil asset forfeiture basically provides police with a way to run around the Constitution by allowing them to punish someone without having to go through the criminal process." A zeal for CAF funds has occasionally led to the use of "profiling," the targeting of minorities by police which New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman recently admitted was standard practice among the New Jersey State Police. CAF-related profiling has been documented in Louisiana, Florida, Washington and Maryland. Hyde's bill, which was blocked by a cash-loving Clinton Justice Department in 1997, would make numerous changes to civil forfeiture law, including: -- Forcing the government to prove that seized property is related to a crime, as opposed to the current practice of property owners having to prove that their property is not guilty; -- Create an "innocent owner" defense, whereby property owners unaware of criminal activity occurring on their property could recover their property; -- Provide indigent defendants with appointed counsel; and -- Eliminate the cost bond requirement, which currently requires property owners to pay up to $5,000 or 10 percent of the seized property's value in order to contest the seizure in court. Two DPF analysts, Scott Ehlers and Rob Stewart, will be available to the media on Monday. They can both be reached at (202) 537-5005. For more information, please contact DPF Deputy Communications Director Tyler Green at (202) 537-5005. *** The Drug Policy Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest membership drug policy reform group. Established in 1986, DPF has over 23,000 supporters. *** To support the Drug Policy Foundation's efforts to create reasoned and compassionate drug policies, become a member online at: http://www.dpf.org/html/join.html. You can sign on or off this list by going to: http://www.dpf.org/html/listform.html *** Drug Policy Foundation "Creating Reasoned and Compassionate Drug Policies" 4455 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite B-500 Washington, DC 20008-2328 ph: (202) 537-5005 * fax: (202) 537-3007 www.dpf.org www.drugpolicy.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Shot In The Arm For Drug Debate (The Australian says a half dozen volunteers trialled the so-called Tolerance Room, or T-Room, during a "practice run" last Thursday in the Wayside Chapel in Sydney's Kings Cross. The T-Room aims to be a safe place for long-term injecting drug addicts to shoot up, using clean equipment, under the eye of a trained nurse. The idea is that while the users will get high, at least they won't die. Everyone connected with the trial, including the chapel's Reverend Ray Richmond, could be arrested for aiding and abetting the administration of a prohibited substance. "But if we are closed down, if our energies and our suggestions are not taken up, the experiment will be continued in one form or another. We are very determined to get evidence-based policies relative to drug use," said the Reverend.) Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 18:12:34 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Shot In The Arm For Drug Debate Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Kenneth William Russell (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Tue, 4 May 1999 Source: Australian, The (Australia) Copyright: News Limited 1999 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ Author: Sally Jackson SHOT IN THE ARM FOR DRUG DEBATE NICK'S hypodermic, swab, tourniquet and foil of heroin are neatly laid out in preparation for his hit. He is about to inject, but first he reaches for a calming cigarette. Big mistake: the nurse is on him immediately. "You can't smoke in here," she says sternly, pointing to the rules posted on the wall. Nick guiltily shoves the pack back in his pocket and gets on with shooting up. Such are the bizarre contradictions that arise when the heroin culture collides with church rules. The man we are calling Nick was one of half a dozen volunteers who trialled the so-called Tolerance Room, or T-Room, at a "practice run" last Thursday. Located in the Wayside Chapel in Sydney's Kings Cross, the T-Room aims to be a safe place for long-term injecting drug addicts to shoot up, using clean equipment, under the eye of a trained nurse. The idea is that while the users will get high, at least they won't die. Aiding and abetting the administration of a prohibited substance carries a maximum penalty of a $2200 fine and/or two years' jail. Everyone connected with the trial, including the chapel's Reverend Ray Richmond could be arrested. He says the members of the T-Room group are braced for anything. "They are all going to come at us," he says. "We're going to be accused of all sorts of nefarious, left-wing, pinkish tendencies. "But if we are closed down, if our energies and our suggestions are not taken up, the experiment will be continued in one form or another. We are very determined to get evidence-based policies relative to drug use." Among the others watching as Nick and some fellow addicts injected were Tony Trimingham, the founder of Family Drug Support, his fellow director Ella Inta and social worker Joey Nipperess. Trimingham, whose son Damien died of a heroin overdose two years ago, says they were driven to their act of defiance after years of frustration. "I think it is intolerable that since my son died more than 1600 people have died in Australia and that there is no strategy to save their lives," he says. "It is only this action of civil disobedience from the community that will bring results. It isn't meant to cause anyone any damage or promote drug use. It is a symbolic act." The group behind the T-Room first got together when Trimingham and Richmond called an informal meeting of like-minded people last September to thrash out ideas. The most viable option seemed to be to open an injecting room. This had been thoroughly researched by the NSW Select Joint Committee into Safe Injecting Rooms, which was formed in 1997 after the Wood royal commission recommended such rooms be trialled. When the proposed trial was eventually voted down, in March 1998, it was a bitter disappointment to drug law reform advocates. And there were more to come. In December 1998 the NSW Government stopped distributing wide-bore syringes through its needle exchanges, saying they were being used to inject methadone syrup. At the premiers conference in April, the Federal Government committed a further $220 million to be spent on prevention, detoxification and rehabilitation, but controversial options such as legalised injecting rooms and a prescription heroin trial were not even discussed. Meanwhile, several attempts to set up legal injecting rooms in Victoria and the ACT failed. The final straw came in March when, two weeks before the NSW election and after turning a blind eye for a decade police raided and closed down three shooting galleries in Kings Cross strip clubs. Trimingham estimates that those strip clubs, which for between $5 and $10 provided junkies with a cubicle, a clean needle and someone to call an ambulance if they collapsed, saved 25 lives each per week, based on the number of overdoses that occurred in the clubs where people were revived. Drug reform campaigner Alex Wodak fears their closure may cause many more deaths than that, warning: "The combination of the closures of the facilities, the current cocaine epidemic and the ban on wide-bore syringe availability have set up all the conditions you need for a HIV epidemic." In January, the T-Room group decided to open its own injecting room in the hope they would force the NSW Health Department to step in and run a proper trial itself. Richmond was reluctant to host the trial, fearing it would create the untrue perception the Wayside Chapel was only available to injecting drug users. But, not surprisingly, finding alternative accommodation proved difficult. Richmond says they were also careful to pay for all the necessary equipment, such as syringes and swabs, rather than "sneak it out the back door of government-funded places". The T-Room budget is around $20,000, which would cover set-up costs and the current four to six-week demonstration, plus a second demonstration if necessary. As of last week, the group had raised $5200, enough to keep the T-Room open for just a few days. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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