Portland NORML News - Monday, May 10, 1999

Baldwin Trial Update (Bob Ames, a medical-marijuana patient awaiting trial in
Sacramento, e-mails a helpful account of court proceedings in the jury trial
of his fellow medical-marijuana patients, Dr. Michael Baldwin and his wife,
Georgia, on cultivation-related charges, in Auburn, California. Numerous
patients attended, most awaiting their own trials. Placer County Detective
Grant admitted on the stand last week that a majorify of his present cases
involve medical marijuana patients. Judge Garbolino dropped cultivation
charges, citing Proposition 215, but allowed the jury to weigh a charge of
sales. The jury is still out after just over a full day of deliberations.)
Link to 'Medical pot comes to Auburn' from the 4/30 Auburn Journal
Subject: DPFCA: Baldwin Trial Update To: dpfca@drugsense.org Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 00:29:37 -0700 (PDT) Cc: bob@rush.com From: bob@rush.com (Bob Ames) Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org Reply-To: bob@rush.com (Bob Ames) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Greetings, This describes some of the events of the Baldwin trial, being held at the beautiful, Historic Old Auburn Courthouse. CONTENTS *) Cultivation Charges Dropped. *) Judge: Avoid jurors when using medical cannabis on court property. *) Numerous patients attending with Baldwins. Most awaiting own trials. *) State "Expert": Joints weigh 0.25 grams, "abusers" smoke 5 per day. *) Chris Conrad: 0.25g pinners fold in places due to lack of cannabis. Jury provided with 3 of Ryan's joints, 0.33g, 1.0g, 2.0g. Jury also provided another defense exhibit of a tub of green butter, which Mrs. Baldwin testified contained 1 pound of cannabis and 1 pound of butter. *) State "Expert": No indoor plants ever get mold, fungus, or pests. Photos of Baldwin garden show perfect, healthy plants, all of which would have grown up to equal 3 to 6 ounces per plant, meaning the Baldwin garden would have produced 26,457 joints, enough for a 20 year supply for those "abusers" who smoke five 0.25g joints per day, the most he has ever heard of anyone using. "Five joints, I mean EVERY DAY, EVERY SINGLE DAY, is a lot of cannabis.", Mellika said. *) Chris Conrad & Bill Logan: Baldwins' garden severly infected with Spider Mites, many dead clones, clearly patients were about to run out of cannabis and would have waited months for more, and even that would have been insufficient due to the present spider- mites infestation. *) Jury still out. *) Police Again Disregard 215. *) Strange Optional Jury Procedure. --- Cultivation Charges Dropped. Judge dropped cultivation charge, saying basically: In California if you have a valid, verified doctor's recommendation for cannabis, you could cultivate one plant, or a garden "the size of Rhode Island" and you couldn't be convicted under 11358, Cultivation, because of California Health & Safety Code Section 11362.5, Proposition 215. Judge Garbolino did permit the intent to sell charge to remain, saying that 11362.5 doesn't exempt that from prosecution. After the Judge dropped the cultivation charge, the DA claimed he was going to strongly suggest to his boss that he be permitted to drop the intent to sell. Upon returning from lunch, the DA's boss had insisted on continuing with the prosecution. During the ruling dropping the cultivation charge, The Judge quoted portions of the ballot arguments for and against 215. San Francisco's DA Terrance Hallinan had suggested in the ballot arguments that 215 creates an affirmative defense to prosecution, which would require for the defense to prove medical use beyond a reasonable doubt. Then-Attorney General Dan Lungren suggested on the same ballot pamphlet that 215 presents a bar to prosecution. The Judge noted the irony that those two sides would have been expected to have taken the opposite positions on this point, then he ruled in favor of Dan Lungren's opinion and dismissed the cultivation charge, saying 215 presents a bar to prosection. |-) --- Judge: Avoid jurors when using medical cannabis on court property. Ryan Landers, Sacramento Medical Cannabis Spokesman, was walking up to a deputy when the deputy said, "Now don't even ask. I know what you're going to say and I don't want you to even ask. Just go somewhere where jurors won't see you. That's all I can say." After the break, Judge Garbolino basically said, outside of the jury: I'm aware that there are patients who need to use cannabis. Since this is legal for those with doctor's recommendations, all I can ask is that you avoid tainting the jury. I'd suggest the area up either stairs where the doors are locked at the top of the stairs. Jurors, or anyone else, aren't likely to go there so you could probably find some privacy there. Just keep a watch out for jurors. --- Numerous patients attending with Baldwins. Most awaiting own trials. Numerous patients, many of whom are facing trials of their own, have been attending with the Baldwins. Bob DeArkland, Paul Hall, Carrie Becker, Chris Miller, Ryan Landers, and several others including myself Bob Ames, have been there to support the Baldwins. We have learned much which will undoubtedly assist us during our own upcoming trials. Several patients have approached Chris Conrad, William Logan, Lawrence Lichter, and the legendary J. Tony Serra about assisting with their own upcoming cases. Placer County Detective Grant admitted last week on the stand that A MAJORIFY OF HIS PRESENT CASES ARE MEDICAL MARIJUANA CASES. And, although he's a Placer County Detective, a majority of his pending medical cannabis cases are in Sacramento county! --- Experts Wage War State "expert" Nick Mellika is a real piece of work. He comes off as quite honest during initial questioning. It's when he gets to cannabis science when it's obvious he knows nothing. All of his "knowledge" is based on statements made to him by either "cannabis abusers" (those who smoke five 0.25g pinners/day) or by "busted growers" (who want to tell him what he wants to hear). Mellika has no medical training, no horticulture training, no idea how much medical users would need. He has spoken to the head of the NIDA Investigative New Drug (IND) program and has learned about medical cannabis from the Federal government. Mellika said that the government, which provides federal cannabis to the 7 patients who originally sued to get in the program, deliberately provides the worst possible cannabis in order to reduce the medical value of the cannabis provided to those patients who sued to get in to the program. Mellika said that, prior to shipping the cannabis from Mississippi to North Carolina for rolling at a tobacco plant, all buds are removed and only sticks, stems, seeds, and leaf are sent to North Carolina for processing and rolling. Mellika testified that the THC in cannabis breaks down in just a few months. He didn't have an explanation as to why the IND patients are provided with cannabis that is nearly 4 years old. --- Jury still out The Jury is still out after just over a full day of deliberations. Deliberations are scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday at the old Auburn Courthouse. Everyone stays very close-by because the Jurors often have questions or want read-backs. Nice opportunity to speak with the legendary J. Tony Serra and his partner, Lawrance Lichter while they wait day after day for the jury to come back. Tuesdays through Thursdays are the days of the week voten in by the Jury to deliberate. Anyway, we're all hoping for a quick verdict. Dr. Baldwin is going crazy waiting for the verdict. Mrs. Baldwin is more calm, but both are eagerly awaiting acquittal so they can get on with their lives and end this terrible ordeal which began several months ago with Placer County automatically obtaining a warrant after "hearing" that the Baldwins were growing. --- Police again disregard 215 Absolutely no attempt made to check on 215 status prior to obtaining the warrant. No female officers present during early morning raid. 215 paperwork clearly posted and ignored by officers. --- Strange Optional Jury Procedure Strange Optional Jury Procedure. 15 jururs seated during entire trial. After trial, three are randomly picked to be alternates. This supposedly keeps them all interested during the entire trial. Many observers dislike new system. One attorney was overheard saying that he would never again experiment with this new method. *** My very own jury trial on medical cannabis charges begins in 3 weeks in Sacramento, where police admitted policy of automatically arresting all patients and then "let the courts sort it out." Hope to see you at my trail in Sacramento, starting June 2. Bob Ames bob@rush.com

Letter from Prison - Marvin Chavez (A letter written from Wasco Prison in
California describes the injustices encountered by the medical-marijuana
patient/activist and founder/director of the Orange County Patient, Doctor,
Nurse, Support Group. Chavez is serving a six-year sentence after being
denied a Proposition 215 defense to charges related to his helping other
patients obtain free marijuana.)

Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 17:01:49 -0700
To: "dpfca@drugsense.org" (dpfca@drugsense.org)
From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org)
Subject: DPFCA: Letter from Prison Marvin Chavez
Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org
Reply-To: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org)
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/

NOTE: Many Thanks to D. Paul Stanford for transcribing Marvin's letter
which arrived at MAP HQ in a 4 page hand written format which was written
from his prison cell.



Letter from Marvin Chavez Sr., an imprisoned medical marijuana patient and

Dear M.A.P.

I want to share my situation with you and bring you up to date on my case.
We all knew we would be in for a long haul with Prop 215 and the war
against medical cannabis. I did not realize how low those in authority
would sink in their abuse of power, persecuting the sick and dying, and
disregarding the majority of voters who favor medical marijuana and passed
Prop 215.

I am still in the California state prison reception center and have begun
serving my 6 year sentence. For helping very sick people obtain free
marijuana, I stand accused of wrong doing and of being nothing more than a
sophisticated street dealer using Prop 215 as a front. When the undercover
officer who led to my arrest (himself posing as a patient and giving me a
doctor's letter stating he was a patient whom marijuana would help)
testified, he made it clear in court that I told him that cannabis was free
at our co-op. We asked for any kind of donation to help pay for our copies,
telephone bills, and other bills. These donations were not to pay for
cannabis, but to pay for our organization's operating expenses. I formed a
nonprofit organization called "Orange County Patient, Doctor, Nurse,
Support Group Cannabis Co-op." Its sole aim to help the sick and dying
people who are in need of medical cannabis. I never profited from my
volunteer work and there was never any personal gain of money in this for
me. The city of Garden Grove even gave me a business license.

As a patient of Prop 215, I suffer from Ankylosis Spondyitis, Fibromyalgia
and herniated vertebrae in my neck and lower back. These are chronic
conditions. I tried all kinds of medications from 1991 until April of 1996.
The side effects of these pharmaceuticals were so hard on my body, mind and
spirit that I became a zombie and hermit. I decided that I would educate
myself and take charge of my medical situation. My doctor and I sat down
and discussed the use of medical cannabis. I got approval to use medical
cannabis for my condition from my doctor. That is when I decided to make a
commitment to help promote California's Prop 215. I became a patient
activist to restore patient's hope and to improve the quality of other
patient's lifes. I wanted to help others receive medical care and to
educate patients, doctors and nurses about the medicinal properties of

As a political prisoner of Prop 215, I was sent to state prison for 6 years
because I have acted according to my beliefs and in fulfilling the will of
the voters who approved Prop 215. I wanted to help others and also help
relieve my own pain and suffering. The officials in Orange County are
trying to shut me down and to discourage me, but my faith and spirit are
strong. They cannot keep a good patient down. I'm making a stand so that
others, as well as myself, can exercise our rights as Americans. With the
help of God and people like you, we can and will prevail.

While I'm at Wasco State Prison Reception Center until they move me, I'm
attempting to reach out to other patients with medical conditions and
educate them about their rights and about Prop 215. The state prison
officials are denying me the use of cannabis as my medication. Since I have
been here, I have not received the necessary medical care I need. I need
you to witness and tell others about what I'm doing as a patient activist.
What they are causing patients is anguish, pain and wrongful punishment,
and they are inflicting this torture upon sick and dying Americans.

Now that the changing of old guard has taken place, as a political
prisoner of Prop 215, there is now hope. With the new guard in office
(Governor Davis, Attorney General Lockyear, Orange County Sheriff Carona,
State Senator Vasconcellos and others), the old guard has been removed
(Governor Wilson, Attorney General Lundgren, Orange County Sheriff Gate,
Orange County district Attorney Capizzi and others). They took an oath and
have a duty and responsibility to enforce the voters initiative, Prop 215.
I give them a big heroes welcome and thank them for standing up and letting
their voices be heard for sick and dying California people. We need them to
face down the federal government and uphold Prop 215.

As a patient activist, I was up front and used common sense in a common
language, with straight talk and with the truth. I believed that would hold
up under fire. We, the patients, are living proof that medical cannabis
does help us.

In the Orange County Register, dated April 3, 1999, they reprinted a report
from the Sacramento Bee about a meeting between Drug Czar General
McCaffrey, US Attorney General Janet Reno and California Attorney General
Lockyear. The federal officials were both very clear that medical cannabis
use violates federal law. McCaffrey said a massive additional research
effort is needed. If this is the case, why is the federal government
providing medical cannabis to 8 medical patients and it costs the taxpayer
over $250,000 as of November 1996. Then, federal Drug czar McCaffrey
threatened our California Attorney General Lockyear with arrest if he
implements a state law passed by the people of this state.

The federal Drug Czar has abused his power. Just like any other war, there
are victims and prisoners. I am a prisoner of war, and I have lost other
friends in this drug war. We are threatened by our own government with jail
and prison and told we must live in fear.

Our positive spirits have brought us together. It is important to remember
we are upholding the truth. The truth will set us free. Please keep us
strong in our faith and hope. Please give one another the support we all
need in our different ways.

The government has cut off my disability payment. I'm reaching out to
anyone who can help me. A trust fund has been put together on my behalf.
Please make a donation to my trust fund. Please make out a check or money
order and mail it to

Marvin Chavez, Sr. Trust Fund
P.O. Box 6826
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Please write to me at

Marvin Chavez, Sr.
P28708 C3A 111L
Wasco State Prison Reception Center
P.O. Box 5500
Wasco, CA 93280-5500

Please do not use sticker address labels. I may receive a book of 20 stamps.

If you'd like to interview me, please write your questions and send them to
me. I will answer them. I will be transferred at any time from here at
Wasco State Prison Reception Center. I don't yet know when or to what
prison they will transfer me to for the majority of this 6 year prison
sentence the state has given me for helping other patients.

The mail here is very slow to get to us. It takes 12 to 15 days. Here is
the telephone number for the California Department of Warrants. You can
contact them so that you may keep track of where I am. Their number is

My attorneys are
James M. Silva, 310-450-2690
J. David Nick, 415-552-4444

You may use the information in this letter in any way you like (newspaper,
Internet, etc). Please share this message with others.

Would you please send a copy of articles about medical marijuana to me,
especially anything on Prop 215. I would like to be as up to date as
possible in my incarcerated predicament. I will share the information you
send with others and educate them about Prop 215.

I want you all to know that I thank you for your support. I need your words
and donations. I send my love to you all. There will always be a special
place in my heart for you. Because you have helped me, I am still able to
help others to help themselves.

There is an old saying, "What comes around goes around." May you all know
love and peace forever.

Please tell everyone that I say hello. Tell them that my spirit is strong.
I'm asking those that are sitting and watching to make a stand for the
principles and values that will end this Drug War. Please join together and
help groups that are working to end this madness. I thank you. God bless
you all and bless the other medical cannabis patients.

Yours truly,

Marvin Chavez, Sr.

Founder/ Director, Orange County Patient, Doctor, Nurse, Support Group
Cannabis Co-op


Mark Greer
Executive Director

Assembly bill eases marijuana penalties (An Associated Press article in the
Las Vegas Sun says Nevada law makes the first-time offense for possessing any
amount of marijuana a felony punishable by between one and four years of jail
and a $5,000 fine. Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, thinks the
time has come for change. Her AB 577, pending in the Ways and Means
Committee, would decriminalize the first-time possession of less than an
ounce. The penalty of up to $500 would go to anti-drug programs. "Notice the
absence of opposition here," Giunchigliani said. "It's risky for anyone in
law enforcement to be at the forefront of this, but I've received calls from
judges and DAs who say they support it. And there has been positive reaction
from the public. Statewide, there really has been no major opposition.")

Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 20:18:06 -0500
From: "Frank S. World" (compassion23@geocities.com)
Organization: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/
To: editor (editor@mapinc.org), DPFCA (dpfca@drugsense.org)
Subject: DPFCA: US NV: Assembly bill eases marijuana penalties
Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org
Reply-To: "Frank S. World" (compassion23@geocities.com)
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/
Source: Las Vegas Sun
Website http://www.lasvegassun.com/
Email letters@lasvegassun.com
Pubdate: May 10, 1999 at 13:29:55 PDT



CARSON CITY (AP) - Nevada is either the best or the worst state in the
country when it comes to laws governing the possession of small amounts of

The state has the toughest pot laws in the country. Possession of any amount
is a felony.

But only a handful of Nevada's prison inmates are locked up on marijuana
charges - an indication that few Nevadans use marijuana - or that hardly
anyone enforces those tough laws.

"Depending on your point of view, you're either at the top or the bottom,"
said Paul Armentano, communications director for the National Organization
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Only two states consider possession of small amounts of marijuana a felony
punishable by as much as four years in prison - Nevada and Arkansas. And
Nevada is tougher on first-time offenders than Arkansas, at least on the

Nevada's law makes the first-time offense for possessing any amount of
marijuana a felony punishable by between one and four years of jail and a
$5,000 fine.

Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, thinks the time has come to
change the books.

Her AB577 would decriminalize the first-time possession of less than an
ounce. The bill is pending in the Ways and Means Committee.

The penalty would be a fine of up to $500, which would go to anti-drug

In Arkansas, possession of between an ounce and 10 pounds of marijuana is a
crime punishable by four to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Less than
an ounce is punished by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Legislators have been reluctant to talk about decriminalization of pot laws
in recent years. Even the trend to permit marijuana for medical use was not
helping legislators to soften harsh drug laws, Armentano said.

Such discussions have been taboo, he said, and NORML was encouraged that in
Nevada, decriminalization has become part of a public policy discussion.

It is a discussion where most Nevada law enforcement groups are remaining

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the state's district attorneys
and the attorney general's office all have said nothing when the bill was
being discussed in committee.

The Nevada Narcotics Officers Association and the Nevada Division of
Investigations testified against the bill before the Senate Judiciary
Committee. They argued weaker laws encouraged drug use, particularly among
young people.

"Notice the absence of opposition here," Giunchigliani said. "It's risky for
anyone in law enforcement to be at the forefront of this, but I've received
calls from judges and DAs who say they support it. And there has been
positive reaction from the public. Statewide, there really has been no major

Giunchigliani said she couldn't estimate what the cost savings might be if
her bill passes.

"Since not that much bed space is taken up solely by marijuana prisoners, we
can't break out how much might be saved," she said. "It would prevent or
divert, however, which saves money down the road."

The Drug War's Collateral Damage (Chicago Tribune columnist Salim Muwakkil
reflects on Joshua Wolf Shenk's article, "America's Altered States" in the
May edition of Harper's magazine. While we're fed scare stories and outright
lies about the "controlled substances" our government has demonized,
more dangerous drugs are being pushed legally through a pharmaceutical
industry that is reaping huge profits by offering the same kind of chemical
relief. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the group responsible for
demonizing ads, receives most of its funding from the pharmaceutical
industry. It's clear we would rather indulge our addiction to war metaphors
and racial biases than seriously address the problem of drug dependency.
Because of those unfortunate fixations the American people have become the
drug war's ultimate casualty.)

Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 04:29:10 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US IL: OPED: The Drug War's Collateral Damage
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young
Pubdate: 10 May 1999
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/
Author: Salim Muwakkil


America's war on drugs strongly confirms the adage that truth is war's
first casualty.

While we're fed scare stories and outright lies about the "controlled
substances" our government has demonized, more dangerous drugs are being
pushed legally through a pharmaceutical industry that is reaping huge
profits by offering the same kind of chemical relief.

But that shouldn't be surprising: The Partnership for a Drug-Free America,
that group responsible for those demonizing ads ("This is your brain on
drugs . . .," et al.), receives most of its funding from that very same
pharmaceutical industry.

They certainly can afford it; the inflation-adjusted revenue of major
pharmaceutical companies in 1998 was $81 billion, more than four times what
it was in 1970. About 24 percent of that growth derives from drugs designed
for pleasure, vanity or convenience.

These companies' advertising budgets have been soaring in sophisticated
attempts to hook Americans on the legal drug habit, even as they lavishly
fund propaganda urging a drug-free society.

That particular contradiction is central to the argument made by Joshua
Wolf Shenk in an article entitled "America's Altered States" in the May
edition of Harper's. "When does legal relief of pain become illegal pursuit
of pleasure?" is the article's subtitle, and Shenk examines that question
at great length. He finds that contradictory attitudes about drug use are
widespread in this culture. We appear to believe, he writes, "that altering
the body and mind is morally wrong when done with some substances and
salutary when done with others."

For example, Shenk explains, there is little difference between the
physiological affects of the drug MDMA (street name: ecstasy) and that of
Prozac. "Both drugs work by increasing the presence of serotonin in the
brain," he notes. His article explores the social calculus that approves
Prozac and makes money for its makers, Eli Lilly & Co., but demonizes MDMA
and jails its purveyors. He finds racial biases deeply implicated.

Those biases allow us to criminalize the urge for chemical relief among
members of minority and countercultural groups, while tolerating it in the
mainstream. And that's nothing new, as Shenk explains; this country's
restrictive drug policies have always been inspired by a mixture of
xenophobia and commercialism.

Prohibitive drug laws "were all, in part, a reaction to inflamed fears of
foreigners or minority groups." Theodore Roosevelt's drug adviser warned,
for example, that "cocaine is often a direct incentive to the crime of rape
by the Negroes," he notes.

"Opium was associated with the Chinese. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act
targeted Mexican immigrants," Shenk says.

Legal drugmakers with markets to protect inflamed those fears, and the dual
forces of lucre and racism still fuel the current drug war. According to
Justice Department figures, the number of incarcerated drug offenders
increased 12-fold from 1980, when the drug war began in earnest, to 1995.

The U.S. now imprisons more of its citizens percentage-wise than any
country on Earth, and this burgeoning jail population is disproportionately
composed of young, minority drug offenders. A 1996 Justice Department study
found that while 12 percent of the nation's drug users were black, they
represented 60 percent of those in state prisons for drug felonies.

America's drug war is producing global cartels of illicit drug dealers
while fueling crime, racial animosity and assaults on civil liberties at
home. It is diverting untold resources from more productive social

But there may be hope; war propaganda has failed on at least one front.

Americans in six states--Arizona, Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon and
Washington--have passed ballot initiatives favoring medical use of
marijuana and six more states are being targeted this year.

Since marijuana prohibition is central to drug war strategy, those
referenda represented serious battlefield losses. Voters emphatically
rejected drug czar Barry McCaffrey's attempt to dismiss medical pot as a
"cruel hoax."

The National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine vindicated the
electorate's wisdom when it released a report in March finding that
marijuana has clear medicinal value for patients suffering from a variety
of illnesses, including cancer and AIDS. The report also refuted the
argument that marijuana serves as a "gateway" to more dangerous drugs like
cocaine and heroin.

It might have added other substances to that dangerous list. "Legal
medications are the principal cause of between 45,000 and 200,000 American
deaths each year," Shenk notes. "Marijuana, though not harmless," he adds,
"has never been shown to have caused a single death."

It's clear we would rather indulge our addiction to war metaphors and
racial biases than seriously address the problem of drug dependency.
Because of those unfortunate fixations the American people have become the
drug war's ultimate casualty.

Why Some Get Busted and Some Go Free (An unusually perceptive staff editorial
in the New York Times discusses how racial profiling and racist perceptions
among police and in society at large exacerbate the racially disparate harms
caused by the war on some drug users. For example, white intravenous drug
users outnumber black users by at least five to one. But drug sweeps tend to
concentrate on inner cities. Federal data show five arrests for every 100
white addicts, but 20 arrests for every 100 black addicts. As a result, white
addicts tend to be less worried about random searches, and so tend to carry
clean needles. But black addicts know they are much more vulnerable to random
searches and so are less likely to carry clean needles. Instead, they share
the needles of strangers. As a consequence, the rate of HIV infection for
black drug users is many times that of whites.)

Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 08:58:47 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Editorial: Why Some Get Busted and Some Go Free
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Robert Field http://www.csdp.org/
Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 1999
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company
Section: Editorial
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Forum: http://www10.nytimes.com/comment/


Drug arrests on the 10 o'clock news tend to show inner-city blacks and
Latinos being led away in handcuffs. But Federal health statistics show
only slight differences in the rates of drug use for whites and people of
color -- and define the typical drug addict as a white male in his 20's who
lives in a suburb where drug busts almost never happen.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America expects to spend nearly $200
million this year to convince policy makers and affluent Americans that the
drug problem crosses racial, economic and geographic lines. This point
would seem self-evident. But the myth that drug use is confined to the
black inner city will be difficult to dislodge.

The Hartford Courant learned how deep the myth runs when it published a
series in 1992 that examined the lives of drug addicts who supported their
habits through prostitution. Conditioned to think of drug abuse as a
minority problem, some readers were stunned that 70 percent of the
drug-addicted prostitutes shown in the series turned out to be white. Some
doubted that the story was true. The refusal to believe that white heroin
addicts exist was particularly self-deceptive in a state that is almost 90
percent white.

The same stereotypes have been at play for decades along the mid-Atlantic
stretch of Interstate 95, where the presumed link between race and drugs
has led state troopers to stop and search black motorists based on race
alone. The profiling scandal in New Jersey is spreading. Last week Boston
opened a profiling investigation of its own.

The move in Boston was helped along by a Federal judge who sharply cut the
expected sentence for a black man who had been charged with weapons
possession after a random traffic stop. Judge Nancy Gertner chastised the
police, saying that nothing in the man's record or driving conduct
justified them in stopping him.

Turning to the police record, the judge found a host of random stops. She
noted that "African-American motorists are stopped and prosecuted for
traffic stops more than any other citizens" and suggested they were
"imprisoned at a higher rate for these offenses as well." Citing "deep
concerns" about the disparity, the judge gave the man 30 months, when she
could have given him six years.

Statistics from Maryland and New Jersey show that black motorists are about
five times as likely to be stopped on the highway as whites. Even Americans
who disapprove of racial profiling tend to view it as a passing
humiliation, with no broad social import. But criminologists have long
argued that profiling goes well beyond the personal and exerts a
substantial impact on the criminal justice process and the broader social
order as well.

Speaking at a national conference last week, Dr. Dawn Day, an addiction
specialist from the Dogwood Center in Princeton, N.J., drew a connection
between racial profiling of intravenous drug users and the rapid spread of
AIDS in the black community.

The most conservative estimates suggest that white intravenous drug users
outnumber black users by at least 5 to 1. Even so, drug sweeps tend to be
concentrated in inner cities, which are widely viewed as the sole source of
the problem. Dr. Day's calculations, based on Federal data, show 5 arrests
for every 100 white addicts, but 20 arrests for every 100 black addicts.

Unworried about random searches and arrests, many white addicts carry clean
needles so that they can avoid sharing needles and the risk of getting
AIDS. But black addicts know that they are vulnerable to random search and
arrest and often choose not to carry needles. Instead, they share the
needles of strangers, getting AIDS and other blood-borne diseases in the
process. As a consequence, the rate of H.I.V.infection for black drug users
is many times that of whites.

Criminologists have argued for decades that racial profiling plays a
central role in the fact that black Americans make up a disproportionate
part of the prison population. Drug cartels have long since grasped this
point, minimizing the use of non-whites as couriers and using people who
look like mild-mannered suburban housewives whenever possible.

Police departments have historically justified profiling by arguing that it
leads to valid arrests. But the practice also exempts from scrutiny the
vast majority of drug users and couriers who are by definition non-black.
The race-based practice catches some of the guilty, but it violates the
lives of many more innocent people, undermining law-enforcement credibility
in minority neighborhoods. Finally, the myth that drug crime is a "black"
problem, confined to ghettos, allows the culture to deceive itself about
the vast scope of the epidemic.

Albany County Says No To Proposed Forfeiture Law (The Times Union, in Albany,
New York, says a proposal to allow police to forfeit the cash and cars of
suspects arrested on minor drug charges failed 25-12 Monday as county
legislators called the law illegal and potentially unfair.)

Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 16:41:35 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: Albany County Says No To Proposed Forfeiture Law
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Capital Region NORML
Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 1999
Source: Times Union (NY)
Copyright: 1999, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Contact: tuletters@timesunion.com
Address: Box 15000, Albany, NY 12212
Feedback: http://www.timesunion.com/react/
Website: http://www.timesunion.com/
Forum: http://www.timesunion.com/react/forums/
Author: Jay Jochnowitz, Staff Writer


Albany -- Legislators call the plan to seize cash and cars of suspects in
minor drug cases unfair

A proposal to allow police to seize the cash and cars of drug suspects
arrested on minor drug charges failed Monday as county legislators called
the law illegal and potentially unfair.

While lawmakers said they favor trying to deter drug sales, most said a
forfeiture law was the business of the state, not the county. Some said the
whole concept of seizing property on arrest was fundamentally wrong.

"I was always kind of partial to the idea of giving somebody a trial before
you convict them," said Paul Collins, an Albany Democrat.

The bill, endorsed by Albany Democrat Gary Domalewicz and Colonie
Republicans Peter Crummey and Gavin Donohue, was defeated across party lines

Donohue portrayed the law, similar to those enacted in five other New York
state counties including Columbia and Rensselaer, as a way to discourage New
York City drug dealers from coming north.

The law would have allowed police to seize up to $1,000 in cash and $5,000
in other property when arresting someone on misdemeanor drug charges.
Current federal law allows seizures above those thresholds.

In addition to the law's legality, which County Attorney Michael Lynch had
also questioned, legislators warned it could be wielded unfairly. Mary Lou
Connelly of Guilderland speculated, for example, that a single mother might
lose her car if a child were arrested. Collins noted, too, that for the
forfeiture to become permanent, a suspect would need to be convicted only of
an "offense" -- leaving open the possibility that a person cleared of drug
charges but convicted of speeding would still lose their money and car.

And Lucille McKnight, who represents Albany's South End, said the law would
likely hurt minorities, who she said are unfairly targeted by police. She
called it "unconstitutional, unfair and inhumane."

Domalewicz shrugged off the defeat, stating, "That's the great thing about
the Democratic Party; we don't walk lockstep. I think everyone pretty much
made their minds up on this law three months ago."

The legislature on Monday also began reviewing a proposal to follow the
state's lead and eliminate the county's 4 percent sales tax on clothing and
footwear under $110. But while a public hearing was set for May 25 at the
County Court House and a committee review will follow, the proposal appears

Monday night saw a show of opposition from Democratic and GOP mayors and
town supervisors, including Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and Colonie
Supervisor Mary Brizzell. They warned that the lost sales tax revenue --
estimated at $10.2 million annually, $4.7 million of which would otherwise
go to communities -- would have to be made up for in property tax hikes.

County Comptroller Michael Conners also noted that an estimated 46 percent
of that money comes from non-county residents, so people living in the
county would have to make up millions more than they would save. While
County Executive Michael Breslin favors the bill, Conners opposes it and
Democratic Majority Leader Frank Commisso
predicted it will be defeated.

Needle Exchanges Do Work (A letter to the editor of the New York Times from
the president of Prevention Works, the organization that runs the District of
Columbia's only needle-exchange program, corrects false assertions by a
previous writer opposed to such programs. Studies from the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control, the GAO, NIH and the Office of Technology Assessment
unanimously concluded that needle exchanges reduce HIV transmission. None
found that the programs increase drug use. Recently, University of British
Columbia epidemiologist Martin Schecter explained that Canadian needle users
have a higher rate of HIV infection because in Canada it is legal to purchase
syringes in pharmacies. Those who can afford to buy syringes do not have to
share needles. Those who participate in needle exchanges, though, cannot
afford to buy clean syringes and are forced to share, significantly
increasing their risk of HIV infection.)

Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 1999
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company
Page: A22, Letters to the Editor
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Forum: http://www10.nytimes.com/comment/
Author: Patricia S. Fleming, President, Prevention Works
Note: The LTE being responded to is at:


As president of the organization that runs the District's only
needle-exchange program, I want to correct false assertions made by Calvina
Fay [letters, April 26].

Ms. Fay said, "Most needle exchange programs are not exchanges at all, but
are needle giveaways." However, exchange rates of dirty needles for clean
ones are extremely high, exceeding 90 percent in most cases. In the
District, we exchange more than 3,000 needles a week with a return rate of
97 percent. This ensures that dirty needles are not discarded in the streets.

Ms. Fay questioned whether needle-exchange programs are a successful HIV
prevention tool. Studies - including those conducted by the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. General Accounting Office, the
National Institutes of Health and the Office of Technology Assessment of
Congress - unanimously concluded that needle exchanges do reduce HIV
transmission. None find that the programs increase drug use.

Ms. Fay misrepresented a Vancouver study as showing that needle exchange is
"a tremendous failure," despite the Canadian authors' numerous public
clarifications including an April 9, 1998, op-ed in the New York Times.

Most recently, study co-author and University of British Columbia
epidemiologist Martin Schecter explained that individuals who participate
in Canadian needle-exchange programs are expected to have a higher rate of
HIV infection because in Canada, unlike in the United States, it is legal
to purchase syringes in pharmacies without a prescription. Those who can
afford to buy syringes do not have to share needles. Those who participate
in needle exchanges, though, cannot afford to buy clean syringes and are
forced to share, significantly increasing their risk of HIV infection.

Among those who endorse needle-exchange programs are the American Medical
Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics
and the American Public Health Association. These respected associations
agree that needle-exchange programs slow the spread of HIV without
encouraging illegal drug use.

Prevention Works

Medical Marijuana: Will IOM Report Encourage Clinical Trials? (The Scientist
says the March 17 report from the Institute of Medicine should define the
medical-marijuana issue more tightly. Do the report's conclusions encourage
researchers who have long sought approval of clinical trials of marijuana? "I
hope so," says one of the report's two principal investigators, John A.
Benson Jr. Unfortunately, the magazine omits any discussion of who might have
the money or desire to fund any of the six recommendations made by the
report, all of which ignore the needs of patients trying to survive in the
here and now.)

Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 00:34:25 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: MMJ: Will IOM Report Encourage Clinical Trials?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Paul Consroe
Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 1999
Source: The Scientist (US)
Copyright: 1999 The Scientist, Inc.
Contact: editorial@the-scientist.com
Website: http://www.the-scientist.com/
Author: Peter Gwynne, pgwynne767@aol.com


As an issue on the cusp of science and social policy, the value of marijuana
in medicine refuses to go away. For several years, researchers wishing to
undertake clinical trials of marijuana's medical effects on humans have
claimed that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the White House
Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) are stonewalling by insisting that the protocols are
unacceptable. Those organizations complain that several proponents of
clinical trials have failed to understand the complexity of the issue and
have been unwilling to change their protocols. ONDCP has warned physicians
in states whose voters have approved initiatives that back the concept of
prescribing marijuana for medical purposes that they risk losing their
licenses if they follow that advice.

A new report from the Institute of Medicine should define the issue more
tightly.(1) It may also stimulate clinical trials somewhat different from
those advocated to date. The report concludes that cannabinoids,
marijuana's active components, have potential applicability for some human
symptoms. However, it also suggests that those components should be
delivered by a mechanism other than inhaling smoke. The report recommends
that any clinical trials of smoked marijuana should be short, approved by
institutional review boards, and applied only to patients most likely to
benefit from the treatment.

"We say basically that we believe the future is nonsmoked, inhaled
molecules - inhaled from marijuana or synthesized," says Stanley J. Watson
Jr., codirector of the University of Michigan's Mental Health Research
Institute and co-principal investigator of the report. "We can imagine
situations where you might want to start with a short-term study with
cannabinoids in the form of a cigarette. But we feel there should be a time
limit on those studies."

In fact, the report provides some solace for both sides in the prickly
debate. And both sides quickly claimed credit. "The scientific evidence in
the report shows that marijuana is relatively safe and effective medicine
for many patients," asserts Chuck Thomas, codirector of the Marijuana Policy
Project, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., that favors marijuana usage.
"The smoked-marijuana community should see this study as a nail in the
coffin," retorts Eric Voth, chairman of the International Drug Strategy
Institute, based in Topeka, Kan. "It says that any kind of research needs to
be done with the ultimate focus of nonsmoked cannabinoids. That's been my
point all along."

Do the report's conclusions encourage researchers who have long sought
approval of clinical trials of marijuana? "I hope so," says the other
co-principal investigator, John A. Benson Jr. "We tried very hard to suggest
a number of experiments ...," adds Benson, who is dean and professor of
medicine emeritus at the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine.

The report contains six recommendations, each of which bears on studies of
marijuana's effects on humans:

1. Research should continue into the physiological effects of synthetic and
plant-derived cannabinoids and the natural function of cannabinoids found in
the body. The research should include, but not be restricted to, effects
caused by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol - the best-characterized cannabinoid in
marijuana plants) alone.

2. Clinical trials of cannabinoid drugs for symptom management should be
conducted with the goal of developing rapid-onset, reliable, and safe
delivery systems.

3. Psychological effects of cannabinoids such as anxiety reduction and
sedation, which can influence perceived medical benefits, should be
evaluated in clinical trials.

4. Studies to define the individual health risks of smoking marijuana should
be conducted, particularly among populations in which marijuana use is

5. Clinical trials of marijuana use for medical purposes should be conducted
under limited circumstances. They should involve marijuana use for less than
six months in patients with conditions for which there is reasonable
expectation of efficacy, and should collect data about efficacy. They should
also be approved by institutional review boards.

6. Short-term use of smoked marijuana (less than six months) for patients
with debilitating symptoms must meet several conditions, including the
failure of all approved medications to provide relief.

Those recommendations would certainly appear to set the stage for fresh
research projects. However, even participants in the IOM committee warn that
change won't occur overnight. "It will be a long process," predicts Billy
Martin, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Virginia Commonwealth
University and a member of the IOM panel. Martin warns that proposals for
clinical studies of marijuana's medical effects must still meet tough criteria.

Researchers' Challenges

Critics of the federal government's approach to medical marijuana agree that
it's difficult to set up studies. But they blame a government that, they
say, opposes the idea that marijuana can offer medical benefits. "It's still
as hard as ever to get marijuana for clinical studies," says Paul Consroe, a
professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Arizona Health
Sciences Center. Consroe and others complain particularly about the process
of obtaining the starting material for clinical studies. Scientists can
obtain marijuana for such research only from NIDA, which obtains it in turn
from a farm in Mississippi.(2) NIDA insists that researchers who apply for
the plant must have their studies approved by the National Institutes of
Health. "No other drug of any type has to meet that standard," says Consroe.
"On the one hand, the government says that we don't have enough proof about
marijuana's medical effects. On the other hand, they won't let us get the

Consroe and University of Arizona colleagues have experienced that situation
firsthand. In September 1997, they and the FDA agreed on a protocol for a
large, so-called Phase III study of marijuana's ability to stimulate the
appetites of patients with AIDS and cancer. Then, in February of last year,
recalls Consroe, a new chair of the FDA committee ordered the group to
downsize to a small, Phase I study. After the team had submitted a new
protocol, the FDA rejected the study entirely. Finally, "they told us we had
to go back to do animal studies,"
says Consroe. "I said, 'With all due respect, marijuana has been studied to
death.' It's a political drug. You're not talking science."

Another disappointed researcher is Ethan Russo, a neurologist at the Western
Montana Clinic. For the past two years, he has tried to persuade NIH to fund
a clinical study of the use of cannabis in treating migraines. "There is
this singling out of cannabis, which is irrational from a scientific
standpoint," Russo charges. "There does not seem to be any change in the
attitude of NIH top managers about allowing studies to go forward."

One scientist has managed to cut through the red tape. Starting in 1992,
Donald Abrams of San Francisco General Hospital sought funding for a
clinical study of the differential effects on AIDS patients of smoked
marijuana, Marinol--a tablet form of THC--and a placebo pill.(3) In late
1997, he received grant money for the study, which focuses on patients
taking protease inhibitors. "We started the study last May and have now
enrolled 35 patients out of 63," Abrams says. "The project should be
complete by next January." However, his study was not approved
until its focus was changed from the efficacy to the safety of marijuana.

Lester Grinspoon, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School,
argues that the safety issue is long dead. "This country has devoted
millions of dollars, mainly through NIDA, to establish the toxicity of
marijuana," he says. "They've come up with a goose egg." He predicts that
pressure from potential patients will eventually force a change in attitudes.

The Government's Response

Government sources say good research proposals will receive a fair hearing.
"NIH gets a huge number of grant applications every year," says Bobbi
Bennett, NIH's spokesperson on medical marijuana. "Usually, we're only able
to fund ... 30 percent of them. We remain open to any grant applications for
research on marijuana. They will be put through the same peer review system"
as other applications.

ONDCP, meanwhile, has taken a cool view of the IOM report. "We will continue
to rely on the professional judgment of the Secretary of Health and Human
Services, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and the Surgeon
General on all issues related to the medical value of marijuana and its
constituent cannabinoids," the agency declared in a statement. "We look
forward to considered responses from our nation's public health officials to
the interim solutions recommended by the report."

Peter Gwynne (pgwynne767@aol.com) is a freelance science writer based in
Marstons Mills, Mass.


1.Institute of Medicine, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,
Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1999.

2.P. Gwynne, "Trials of marijuana's medical potential languish as government
just says no," The Scientist, 9[23]:1, Nov. 27, 1995.

3.P. Gwynne, "Medical marijuana debate moving toward closure," The
Scientist, 11[7]:1, March 31, 1997.

The Scientist, Vol:13, #10, p. 1, May 10, 1999

Action Alert: Support the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, H.R. 1658 (A
news release from the Drug Policy Foundation, in Washington, D.C., explains
how to lobby your U.S. representative in Congress to support the bill
sponsored by Reps. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., and John Conyers, D-Mich. The bill
would, among other reforms, force the government to prove that forfeited
property is related to a crime, as opposed to the current practice of owners
having to prove that their property is innocent.)

Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 17:23:48 EDT
Originator: dpnews@dpf.org
Sender: dpnews@dpf.org
From: "Drug Policy News Service" (dpf-mod@dpf.org)
To: Multiple recipients of list (dpnews@dpf.org)
Subject: ACTION ALERT: Support the Civil Asset Forfeiture
Reform Act, H.R. 1658



Available on the web at: http://dpf.org/html/hr1658alert.html and
http://www.dpf.org/pdf/hr1658alert.pdf .

Support Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform
Urge Your Representative to Cosponsor H.R. 1658

Released: May 10, 1999 -- Please Redistribute

Under the guise of fighting the war on drugs, law enforcement can seize your
home, car, or money without ever charging you with a crime. The practice of
taking property that "looks guilty" is known as civil asset forfeiture, and
it is one of the most abused police powers in America today.

Reps. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), and other members of the
House of Representatives in Congress are seeking to curb federal civil asset
forfeiture abuses with H.R. 1658, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act. If
passed, this legislation would:

-- force the government to prove that property is related to a crime, as
opposed to the current practice of property owners' having to prove that
their property is innocent;

-- create an "innocent owner defense," whereby property owners who are
either unaware of or unsuccessfully try to stop criminal activity on their
property could recover the property;

-- provide indigent defendants with appointed counsel;

-- eliminate the cost-bond requirement, which currently requires property
owners to pay $5,000 or 10 percent of the seized property's value to contest
the seizure in court;

-- provide compensation for property damage caused by federal agents;

-- extend the time for filing a claim to contest a forfeiture; and

-- provide prevailing property owners with compensatory interest in certain


Call or Write Your Representative -- The Drug Policy Foundation is urging
you to contact your representative and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 1658.
Feel free to use the following:

"As your constituent, I urge you to support H.R. 1658, the Civil Asset
Forfeiture Reform Act. This legislation will serve to protect my property
rights, which are threatened by abuses of civil asset forfeiture laws. The
current law places the burden of proof on the property owner, reversing the
presumption that an American is innocent until proven guilty. H.R. 1658
would shift the burden back on the government to prove that a person's
property was involved in a crime. It would also establish an "innocent owner
defense" for persons who were not aware that their property was being used
in a criminal activity, and provide a court-appointed attorney for people
who cannot afford one.

"Please join the 13 Republican and 16 Democratic cosponsors, or vote in
favor of H.R. 1658 to restore Americans' property rights. I look forward to
hearing from you about your position on this important legislation."


Call Your Representative -- Calling your representative is an easy way to
make your views known to him/her. This bill is going to move quickly, so if
you don't have time to send a letter to your representative, give him/her a
call. You should:

-- Find out who your representative and his/her phone number by going to
http://www.house.gov/writerep and entering your state and zip code. You can
also call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and tell the
operator your zip code.

-- Speak with the legislative assistant who is working on asset forfeiture
or criminal justice issues.

-- Keep the message simple. Urge your representative to support H.R. 1658
and civil asset forfeiture reform for the reasons outlined above. Ask for a
return letter explaining your representative's position on the legislation
and civil asset forfeiture.

Fax, Write a Letter, or Email Your Representative and Senator -- Writing
your member of Congress is very effective, and usually results in a written
response explaining your member's position. You can find the fax number and
email address of your representative by going to
http://www.house.gov/writerep. Letters can be addressed to your
representative as follows:

The Honorable [name of your representative]
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-1101

Faxing or mailing your letter is most effective, but if you donīt have time,
feel free to use email.

Please send a copy of your letter and representative's response to:

Scott Ehlers, Public Policy Office, Drug Policy Foundation, 4455 Conn. Ave.
NW, Suite B500, Washington, DC 20008-2328. Fax: (202) 537-3007. Email:


DPF's Online Civil Asset Forfeiture Project:

PDF version of DPF's new Policy Briefing on asset forfeiture:

PDF version of this action alert:

DPF press release on introduction of HR 1658:

A summary and talking points of HR 1658:

PDF version of the full text of HR 1658:


To support the Drug Policy Foundation's efforts to create reasoned and
compassionate drug policies, become a member online at:

You can sign on or off this list by going to:


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

FDA Moves to Reduce Accidental Drug Deaths (The Los Angeles Times says more
than 100,000 Americans are inadvertently killed every year by prescription
drugs - one of the leading causes of death in the country. In a 150-page
document expected to be released today, the FDA plans to unveil several
initiatives to prevent fatalities blamed on misuse of prescriptions.)

From: "Peter McWilliams" (peter@mcwilliams.com)
To: "Peter McWilliams" (peter@mcwilliams.com)
Subject: The FDA--Grrrrrr.
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 19:55:48 -0700

Have a look at these pathetically feeble FDA attempts to end the 100,000
unnecessary deaths caused by prescription medications in the US, while at
the same time the FDA keeps medical marijuana--which has killed precisely no
one in 5000 years of recorded medical use--completely forbidden. Note how
the FDA referrs to these as "accidental deaths." They are murders, pure and

This from the front page of Today's LA Times.

Take care,



FDA Moves to Reduce Accidental Drug Deaths

* Health: Agency to unveil strategy today to prevent fatalities blamed on
misuse of prescriptions.

By MARLENE CIMONS, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON - More than 100,000 Americans are inadvertently killed every
year by prescription drugs - one of the leading causes of death in the

Some people die of drug reactions that are completely unexpected, the
stuff of dramatic headlines and heavy lawsuits.

But the majority of such deaths are preventable, the result of mistakes
or confusion about dosage, dangerous drug interactions from mixing
medications or known allergic reactions. Some patients, especially the
elderly, die because their liver or kidneys are so weakened by other
illnesses that they cannot effectively process new drugs.

Alarmed by such drug-induced fatalities, the Food and Drug
Administration is talking with leading drug companies, the American Medical
Assn., hospitals and consumer groups seeking ways - together and
individually - to further protect patients.

In a 150-page document expected to be released today, the FDA plans to
unveil some of its initiatives. These include an upgraded computer network
that will allow drug companies to report unexpected adverse reactions
quickly and a new approach to language about the known side effects of
prescription drugs that will give patients and doctors better and clearer

The actions were prompted in part by a study published in the Journal
of the American Medical Assn. last year that concluded that adverse drug
reactions are among the top six causes of death in the United States.

But other factors also propelled the issue to the top of the FDA's
agenda. Under pressure from patients and politicians for faster access to
promising medications, the FDA has in recent years moved drugs more rapidly
through the regulatory pipeline. Such speed raises the risk once a drug is
in widespread use.

Over the last two years, the FDA has recalled five drugs and moved to
reevaluate several others, including the diabetes drug Rezulin, whose
problems were detailed in a Times series last year, and the Parkinson's
medication Tasmar, both of which have caused instances of liver failure.
Whether Rezulin will remain on the market is still under debate.

"More can be done" overall to enhance public safety, said FDA
Commissioner Jane E. Henney, who shortly after being confirmed by the Senate
in October created a task force to study the drug approval process. She
predicted in an interview that the effect of the changes "will be

Some of the changes are underway, and others are in the talking stages.

Among them:

* An $8-million computer upgrade that will enlist the nation's 13
leading drug companies to immediately report any sudden and unexpected
reactions to recently licensed drugs. This replaces a computer index that
was linked to a paper-based file that was cumbersome and slowed the agency's
ability to respond quickly, said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's
center for drug evaluation and research.

The new system means the "FDA can learn about trends faster and act on
them faster," Woodcock said.

* An international agreement among U.S. drug regulators and those in
Europe and Japan to use the same terminology to describe drug reactions or
causes of death so that global trends can be more clearly and rapidly
identified. "Since companies are now marketing around the world, adopting
these [standardized terms is] a major undertaking," Woodcock said. For all
nations to use the same language "gives us the best chance possible to find
something and spot a trend."

* Revised drug information for physicians that will highlight
precautions about drugs in an easier-to-find format so doctors don't have to
search through pages of detailed information to find what they need to know
about possible drug reactions. The FDA plans to propose this within a year.

The drug industry has expressed some concerns about the changes,
fearing that industry liability could increase as a result of doctors
missing something important.

"I don't think it's possible to condense all the key information on
prescription drugs into such a simplified, standardized format," said
Marjorie Powell, assistant general counsel for the Pharmaceutical Research
and Manufacturers of America, an industry trade group. "It raises lots of
things that a creative plaintiff's lawyer could argue in court."

But Nancy Ostrove, an FDA official involved in drafting the labeling
overhaul, countered: "Their concern is that by highlighting certain
information it will discourage prescribers from reading the rest. We don't
believe that, because we think they aren't reading it now."

Nor are doctors always talking about it with their patients. Many feel
hampered by the managed care climate, which has shortened the time they
spend with their patients. Also, many physicians, traditionally trained to
stick to a few drugs for any particular condition, now are forced by certain
health plans to use specific drugs, some of which they may not be familiar

"If you ask physicians whether they talk to their patients about all
the side effects and problems associated with drugs, [most] will say they go
through all of it," said one AMA official who requested anonymity. "The
reality is that about [two-thirds] engage in some type of oral communication
about the drugs, and when you get into the specifics of side effects, it's
more like 30%."

* New information for consumers. Up to 10 new products annually - those
deemed by the FDA to have the riskiest side effects - will carry new,
easy-to-understand warning information for the patients themselves.
Currently, only certain categories of products, such as hormone replacement
therapy or drugs with extremely dangerous side effects such as thalidomide,
contain such information. "We believe that the more educated consumers are,
the safer they are going to be," Woodcock said.

However, many experts acknowledge that it is tough to get consumers to
pay attention - either to labels or to their own doctors. The FDA is looking
for more ways to encourage consumers to become more involved in their own
health. The agency already sponsors community education outreach programs
for women through its women's health office and would like to expand these
programs "if we could find the resources to do it," Woodcock said.

* Better coordination, including the increased use of computers, to
avoid medication errors arising from confusion over similar brand names.
Problems occurred recently, for example, over prescribing practices for the
new pain reliever Celebrex, close in name to the antidepressant Celexa, as
well as the epilepsy drug Cerebyx.

"We have the ability to forbid a name that's too similar - we do turn
down names - but we can't always do as close a review as we like," Woodcock
said. "We need computers to do name comparisons in advance."

* Designated hospitals to monitor and report drug reactions. The
program would be modeled on an existing pilot project that watches for
adverse reactions to heart valves, implants and other medical devices.

The FDA stresses that tackling adverse drug reactions is not something
it can do alone.

The agency's primary responsibility is ensuring that a drug is safe and
effective before it reaches the market, and it has the authority to remove a
drug from circulation if it proves dangerous. But it cannot regulate how
doctors practice medicine, how pharmacists fill prescriptions or what
consumers do once the drug reaches their medicine cabinet.

Dr. Nancy Dickey, president of the AMA, believes that the problems need
to be addressed by everyone in the system, with novel ways to protect
consumers - much like surgeons and hospitals seeking to avoid mistakes by
putting ink on a patient's body at the site where the operation is to occur.

"We are looking for that equivalent for prescription drugs - a change in
the entire system - that could help prevent mistakes," she said.

FDA officials agree. "A lot of these deaths are preventable," Woodcock
said. The agency's report and its ongoing discussions with outside groups,
such as the pharmaceutical industry and the AMA, takes "the first step
toward trying to reduce those deaths - because we think it can be done."

'Head shop' museum traces drug use, abuse (The Toronto Star says that in a
country where there's a hall of fame for everything from bourbon to birth
control, it had to happen: The United States opens its first drug museum
today, in Arlington, Virginia. First official museum anyway - it's run by the
DEA, the 10,000-member Drug Enforcement Administration that pursues drug
offenders in 72 countries, including Canada. A poster at the museum entrance
states that 4 million Americans admitted to using drugs in 1960; in 1999 the
number is 74 million. It doesn't add the dollar signs announced this month by
White House anti-drug czar General Barry McCaffrey: Illegal drugs are a $57
billion industry in America. Compare that with the $6 billion video game
industry and the $4 billion gun industry.)
Link to 5/6 Washington Post version
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 09:58:39 -0400 To: mattalk@islandnet.com From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca) Subject: TorStar: `Head shop' museum traces drug use, abuse Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star (Canada) Pubdate: Monday, May 10, 1999 Page: A2 Website: http://www.thestar.com Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com Author: Kathleen Kenna, Toronto Star Washington Bureau 'Head shop' museum traces drug use, abuse Paraphernalia, mementos among exhibits ARLINGTON, Va. - In a country where there's a hall of fame for everything from bourbon to birth control, it had to happen: The United States opens its first drug museum today. First official museum anyway - it's run by the DEA, the 10,000-member Drug Enforcement Agency that pursues drug offenders in 72 countries, including Canada. (There's a three-agent bureau in Ottawa; another office is being considered for Vancouver, to crack down on booming cross-border trafficking.) Despite its law-and-order landlord, this government-run ``head shop'' has as much paraphernalia and drug culture mementos as any of the old Yonge St. stores. Not only are there '60s pipes for marijuana and hashish, but there are also the pipes used by opium addicts in the 1800s and the pipes used by crackheads in the 1990s. Here are turn-of-the-century heroin spoons and syringes - available in the 1902 Sears Roebuck catalogue; smugglers' favoured transport objects, from a lacy garter to a hollowed surfboard; and more varieties of rolling papers than you'll find at a Metro convenience store. There's a fur coat worn by a DEA agent who infiltrated the Chicago drug underworld; and a Detroit agent's green platform shoes that give new meaning to the word undercover. There's also hardware from both sides of the street - a machine gun used by DEA agents during the 1930s and a diamond-encrusted handgun seized from a Costa Rican trafficker - and their business props. (The DEA agent gets an encrypted cell phone; the grower has clothes peg devices to trip explosives for those who stumble across his marijuana patch.) While there are plenty of death statistics, photos of drug-overdosed corpses, and a few anti-drug posters (``Death to all drug traffickers!'' from Malaysia), the museum doesn't slam visitors with an anti-drug message. Instead, it starts with the China-Britain Opium War of 1840 (China feared for addicts but the British feared loss of trade), to show the historical pleasure-and-pain seesaw of once-legal drugs. The museum has Godfrey's Cordial, an opium-laced spirit available from the 1780s until the 1950s; an 1898 medicine bottle from the Fredrich Bayer Co., the Aspirin manufacturer that added heroin to its over-the-counter cough syrup; and, of course, the early colas of the 1900s whose cocaine ingredients led to today's drug-free Coke label. The label on Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup - sold as a teething remedy - shows why the American Medical Association ran ads in 1906 connecting it to numerous baby deaths. It contained morphine. ``Some of the older people who have come in say they remember their grandmothers used to give them a teaspoon of Mrs. Winslow's with a bit of sugar to help it go down,'' says museum official Sean Fearns. There are sketches of civil war soldiers hooked on morphine and ``society ladies'' of the 1800s swooning over opiates, next to reminders that modern writers and jazz musicians died from it. Some of the Hollywood posters are as outrageous as the day they were printed. An ad for a 1930s drug party flick seems ahead of its time: ``Weird orgies. Wild parties. Unleashed passions. Lust. Sorrow. Despair. Misery.'' A poster at the museum entrance states that 4 million Americans admitted to using drugs in 1960; in 1999 that number is 74 million. It doesn't add the dollar signs announced this month by White House anti-drug czar General Barry McCaffrey: Illegal drugs are a $57 billion industry in America. Compare that with the $6 billion video game industry and the $4 billion gun industry. *** Dave Haans Graduate Student, University of Toronto WWW: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/~haans/

At War Over Drugs (The Sydney Morning Herald says with regard to Australia's
youngest heroin users, asking who speaks for their parents is a raw and
divisive issue. Most have lost children to drugs, but that does not give them
common cause. The delegates selected for the New South Wales drug summit
starting next Monday, as well as the parents who last week established a safe
injecting room, are exposing a rift in parental lobby groups as deep as that
running through the political and legal establishment. Many parents and a
large number of frontline drug workers endorse harm minimisation strategies,
believing that if you can support drug-dependent people through the worst of
their addiction, they eventually will come out the other side. Even the ones
who can't be reclaimed "don't deserve to be condemned to death." But most of
the parent representatives who will be at Bob Carr's summit are lining up
behind the prohibitionist view.)

Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 03:19:37 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Australia: At War Over Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Kenneth William Russell
Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 1999
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Contact: letters@smh.fairfax.com.au
Website: http://www.smh.com.au/
Author: Deborah Snow


Most have lost children to drugs, but this does not give them a common
cause. In fact, as these parents prepare for next week's drug summit,
the battle lines are being dug even deeper. DEBORAH SNOW reports.

TO AN outsider there seems so much to unite them. They are the
battle-scarred veterans of the "war" against illicit drugs, the
parents who've been through the unutterable pain of losing a child to
addiction, or drug-related death. A club, one of them says, that
"you'd never want to join". Having endured it, you ask yourself, how
could they not have a common cause?

Yet with the five-day NSW drug summit starting next Monday, it's
becoming apparent that shared adversity, even of the most extreme
kind, does not necessarily make for shared purpose.

Last week's establishment of a trial injecting room at the Wayside
Chapel in Sydney's Kings Cross exposes a rift in parental lobby groups
as deep as that running through the political and legal establishment.
The split is poised to come to a head at the summit where a handful of
small but politically influential and vocal parent organisations are
lining up against a man who takes a very different view of the way

His name is Tony Trimingham. His story is tragic, as are all the tales
these parents have to tell. His son, Damien, was 23 when he died from
a heroin overdose. Like many addicts, Damien had gone through periods
of struggling to free himself from the drug. At times he would
succeed. Then depression and unemployment would get the upper hand,
and Damien would take a train from the Blue Mountains to the city to

On what was to be his last such journey, he headed for town after a
row with his girlfriend. Withdrawing the last of his funds from an
ATM, Damien procured his hit and went into the darkened grounds of the
disused St Mary's Hospital in Paddington to inject in solitude. By the
time security guards found him he had collapsed. An ambulance arrived
too late. It took police three days to notify Tony Trimingham of his
son's death.

Trimingham believes that if safe injecting rooms had been available in
the city, a place for heroin users to shoot up under medical
supervision, then his son might not have died. "They would be like
brothels," he says. "You go in discreetly, use them and then leave.
There's far less risk involved in using a brothel than in picking
someone up off the streets."

Trimingham's searing experience has made him a leading advocate of the
approach to illicit drugs known as "harm minimisation". Its hallmarks
are safe injecting rooms, a belief in the need for trials of legally
prescribed heroin, support for methadone programs, and needle exchanges.

It's an approach also favoured by a large number of frontline drug
workers who believe that if you can support drug-dependent people
through the worst of their addiction, then eventually they will come
out the other side. Even the ones who can't be "reclaimed", says
Trimingham, "don't deserve to be condemned to death".

It's a stand which takes heavy drug use to be primarily a social and
health issue, rather than a law enforcement problem.

Yet most of parent representatives who will be at Bob Carr's summit
are lining up behind a radically opposing view. They include Angela
Wood from Drug Watch Australia, whose daughter Anna died after taking
ecstasy in 1995, sparking national uproar; rock legend Normie Rowe,
who's been publicly campaigning for tougher drugs action since
discovering the heroin addiction of his teenage daughter; Margaret
McKay, head of a North Coast organisation called Keep Our Kids Alive,
who lost her son David to a methadone overdose; Judy Gibson, wife of
football coach Jack, who lost a son, Luke, to heroin at the age of 25;
and Jill Pearman, also from Drug Watch Australia, the only one of this
group who has been spared personal trauma.

While there are differing emphases among the group, all broadly stand
under the "zero tolerance" umbrella espoused by the Prime Minister,
John Howard. They want money spent on community and school education,
on treatment, on cracking down hard on drugs supply. Their catchcry is
"prevention", not tolerance. Politically, they tend towards
conservatism. For them, safe injecting rooms are an anathema, sending
the wrong signals to their children and marking the first step along a
road they believe will lead to legalisation.

Tony Trimingham has become, for some of them, the voice of the

Angela Wood's resistance to the philosophy of safe drug use has been
hardened by the fact that her daughter died after taking a single MDMA
tablet at an all-night dance party. These days, she spends most of her
time giving talks on a voluntary basis to adolescents in schools. She
says: "I can never talk about 'safe use'. I don't talk about harm
minimisation. The truth with drugs is that they are going to hurt you.
If you use a mind altering drugs on a regular basis they are hurting

Of Tony Trimingham, she says: "He'll never convert me and I'll never
convert him. To me heroin has overtaken the whole debate; heroin has
stolen the spotlight. It's such a small amount compared to the damage
kids are doing themselves with other substances."

Wood dismisses the injecting room at the Wayside Chapel, set up in
defiance of the law, as "divisive", a line backed by virtually all the
other parents going to the summit.

Says Normie Rowe: "I don't understand how if you lost a child you are
prepared to keep other kids on drugs until they die. There is only one way
with these sorts of drugs and that's abstinence. These people cannot be
using their commonsense. You wouldn't give a recovering alcoholic a bottle
of scotch a day. It's a publicity stunt, a way of putting their point of
view way ahead of anything else. If the Government had the guts, they would
send the police in to shut it down. I would like to ask these people what
their ulterior motive is."

Dark hints about "ulterior motives" are symptomatic of the degree to
which fear and suspicion galvanise some in the anti-harm minimisation
camp. Rowe got into hot water last year as MC of a drugs seminar
organised by the Federal Sports Minister, Jackie Kelly.

Enraged by some of the data supplied by the National Drug and Alcohol
Research Centre (NDARC), which he considers a captive of the harm
minimisation lobby, Rowe hurled the report across the stage and
queried whether the organisation mightn't be doing the work of
international drug barons.

UNSURPRISINGLY NDARC, which is largely Commonwealth-funded, responded
with legal threats. Rowe has since soft-pedalled this line. More
recently, however, NDARC has been dogged by untrue rumours circulating
among some of the more conservative parent groups that it receives
funds from the US-based George Soros Foundation, which favours drug
law reform.

Rowe and others get frustrated by what they see as NDARC's downplaying
of the scale of the drug problem. But as one exasperated health
professional says: "These people are experts on parent suffering. They
are not experts on drug use. Because of the tragedies they have
suffered they are made into instant experts by the media. But often
they are poorly informed."

Paul Dillon, of NDARC, argues that "it's still a very small proportion
of people who are going to use heroin no matter how available it
becomes". He says that last year's 1998 Australian household survey of
people 14 years and up shows only 2 per cent of the population had
ever tried heroin. "If this drug summit can do anything, I would like
to see it ensure that the people who talk to the media about drugs are
given accurate information. We all need to give the same message."

Yet the chances for achieving that sort of unanimity appear remote.
Both sides are jockeying to form alliances, worried that the opposing
viewpoint will predominate at the summit. So far, all members of State
Parliament are on the invitation list, plus another 80 or so delegates
across the spectrum of health services, the judicial system and the
community. An unspecified number of associate delegates may also be

Arguments about who has or has not been invited, who will speak and
who will sit on the all-important working groups are already dogging
the lead-up to the summit.

Trimingham's initial reaction to the line-up was that he would be
drowned out by the opposing parent voices. "When I first saw the list,
my first reaction was to say I wouldn't go, and that we would protest

Rather than a boycott, though, he decided to press for some other
members of his parent-based organisation, Family Drug Support, to join
the summit as associate delegates. He's also formed an alliance with
like-minded health groups (including the Royal Australasian College of
Physicians) to caucus at the week-long meeting summit under the banner
of a newly formed Coalition for Constructive Drug Action.

A spokesman for the physicians' college, Craig Patterson, confirms the
new alliance, saying: "We've got to look at what works and what
doesn't. We should be looking at things like heroin trials as a
research issue, not a moral issue."

Trimingham also believes that with 1,800 members, his group dwarfs the
others, which he claims would be lucky to boast more than 100 or so
members between them.

This is strongly denied. While Angela Wood admits that the
organisation she heads, Drug Watch Australia, is "not a
membership-based organisation", she says she comes into contact with
hundreds of parents who urge her to keep up the work she's doing.
Others like Margaret McKay and Judy Gibson claim their networks run
into the thousands.

ASKING who does speak for the parents of Australia is a raw and
divisive issue. Dr Andrew Byrne, an inner-city GP who has treated many
addicts and their families, backs Trimingham's claim, saying: "Tony
speaks for the vast majority of parents of addicts, in my experience.
Of course, all parents would like their kids to abstain and so on. But
we have to face up to realities. Many people, including myself, start
out with a rather narrow philosophy of just cracking down on it. But
you come to realise that that's unrealistic."

Yet the other parent summiteers feel it is they who are representing the
"silent majority". Says Margaret McKay: "I don't know one parent who
wouldn't want their kids to grow up drug-free. Most people don't want drugs,
have no power and don't know what to do."

She is banding together with the Australian Parent Movement to
organise a mass protest on June 26, marking International Drug Free
Day. Trimingham still believes that one of the greatest obstacles to
community acceptance of alternate strategies is that so many people
believe "it" can never happen to them.

A recent analysis of calls coming in to his 24-hour hotline (which is
largely funded by government grants) found nearly half related to kids
still living at home with their parents. The second highest origin of
calls, after the outer western suburbs, was Sydney's largely
privileged North Shore.

When questioned, Angela Wood, Normie Rowe, Jill Pearman and Margaret
McKay all state they would find it extremely difficult to work with
Trimingham. McKay's reaction was typical: "I would not work with
someone who is blatantly flouting the law."

Yet Trimingham states he's still hoping they can bury their
differences in at least some areas. "Just because we favour safe
injecting rooms and heroin trials doesn't mean we are not also in
favour of education, rehabilitation, and prevention."

Trying to build bridges between these disparate, impassioned voices
will be the hardest task the summit has ahead of it.

Heroin found on dead prison officer (The Scotsman says police in Tayside last
night were investigating the discovery of thousands of pounds worth of heroin
found on the body of Bruce Flight, a guard at Scotland's Perth prison who
died in hospital after a drinking binge ten days ago.)

Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 18:50:19 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Heroin found on dead prison officer
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: shug@shuggie.demon.co.uk
Pubdate: 10 May, 1999
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Copyright: The Scotsman Publications Ltd 1999
Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com
Website: http://www.scotsman.com/
Forum: http://www.scotsman.com/
Author: John Innes


POLICE were last night investigating the discovery of thousands of
pounds worth of heroin found on the body of a Scottish prison officer,
who died in hospital after a drinking binge ten days ago.

Tayside Police are waiting for the results of toxicology tests, but it
is understood the death of Bruce Flight, 34, was not drug-related.
Police sources said the father-of-two's death was caused by a
drinking binge that he embarked on after finishing a late shift at
Perth prison on 29 April. The next morning an ambulance was called to
his house in Dundee when it became clear that Mr Flight was seriously
ill. He was taken to Ninewells Hospital, but later died.

Medics alerted police after they found the drugs, which sources
confirmed as heroin, concealed in Mr Flight's clothing. A police
source yesterday confirmed the amount of drugs exceeded that normally
deemed to be for personal use. Forensic tests are being carried out on
the drugs.

Detective Chief Inspector Norrie Robertson said: "A substance has been
recovered and has been taken to Tayside Police forensic laboratory for
analysis. We cannot confirm what the substance is. An investigation is

Dozens of prison officers paid their respects to Mr Flight at his funeral
at Dundee Crematorium last week, unaware of the background to his death.
Colleagues were shocked when they learned of the investigation.

William Millar, the governor of Perth prison, said: "There is a police
inquiry under way and until that is complete, it would be
inappropriate to comment further. Obviously our thoughts and support
are with Mr Flight's family at this time."

Mr Millar said that prison officers are subjected to rigorous
anti-drugs checks. "Staff and their baggage are regularly checked
using X-rays and periodic rub-down searches."

He admitted the prison had a drugs problem, but said a large number of
prisoners were addicted to drugs when they are imprisoned. He said:
"Drugs are a major problem in the Scottish prison community as a
whole, but we take extensive steps to prevent the misuse of drugs
among the inmates.

"Security cameras and an intelligence network around the prison go
some way to minimising the problem, and visitors and their belongings
coming in are given rub-down and metal detector searches."

A spokeswoman for Tayside Police said: "A post mortem examination has
been carried out and, although toxicology tests are still pending,
there are no suspicious circumstances.

"A report has been submitted to the procurator fiscal andinquiries are
still ongoing."

Drug users can be good moms, book says (According to a Canadian Press article
in the Toronto Globe and Mail, "Using drugs does not equal poor parenting,"
says Susan Boyd, a Simon Fraser University professor whose new book, "Mothers
and Illicit Drugs: Transcending the Myths," sums up almost 10 years of
research. Ms. Boyd argued that her survey of literature suggests legal
substances such as alcohol and tobacco are of greater concern than illegal
drugs such as cocaine and heroin. And a spokesman for a province-wide
addiction agency in Ontario agreed.)

From: Carey Ker (carey.ker@utoronto.ca)
Reply-To: carey.ker@utoronto.ca
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Drug users can be good moms, book says
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 11:48:03 -0400 (EDT)
Newshawk: carey.ker@utoronto.ca
Source: The Globe and Mail, Page A9
Contact: letters@globeandmail.ca
Pubdate: Monday, May 10, 1999

Canadian Press, Vancouver

Drug-addicted women can still be good mothers, with some help,
says a criminologist who has written a book on the subject.

"Using drugs does not equal poor parenting," said Susan Boyd,
a Simon Fraser University professor whose book, Mothers and
Illicit Drugs: Transcending the Myths, sums up almost 10 years
of research.

"If someone is on a stable methadone maintenance program, they
can be just as good a parent as you or I, or anyone else," she

Ms. Boyd argued that her survey of literature suggests legal
substances such as alcohol and tobacco are of greater concern
that illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

And a spokesman for a province-wide addiction agency in
Ontario agreed.

Michael Piercy, a program consultant for the Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health, said the centre is most concerned
about alcohol and cigarettes because they can cause more
devastating effects than illegal drugs.

"The legal substances are far more damaging to fetal
development," he said.

Ms. Boyd interviewed 28 drug-addicted mothers aged 20 to 51 in
British Columbia and the Prairie provinces. She conceded that
she could have conducted more interviews, but said 28 was
enough to provide a valid assessment.

"I felt like I was hearing the same things over and over
again," Ms. Boyd said.

The women were from various social and economic backgrounds
and their addictions included heroin, cocaine and other
narcotics. All had been using drugs for more than a year when
their children were born; some used drugs well beyond the
birth of their children.

Ms. Boyd said she met most of the children of her research subjects.

Weekly Action Report on Drug Policies, Year 5, No. 18 (A summary of European
and international drug policy news, from CORA, in Italy)

Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 11:45:06 +0200
To: CORAFax EN (cora.belgique@agora.stm.it)
From: CORAFax (cora.belgique@agora.stm.it)
Subject: CORAFax #18 (EN)

Year 5 #18, May 10 1999


Weekly Action Report on Drug Policies

Edited by the CORA - Radical Antiprohibitionist Coordination, federated to
- TRP-Transnational Radical Party (NGO, consultive status, I)
- The Global Coalition for Alternatives to the Drug War


director: Vincenzo Donvito
All rights reserved






ITALY- Trent - The CORA is protesting because the account of facts they
presented about the malfunctioning of local public services for drug
addicts is going to be archived by the Magistrate who is in charge of the
case. The CORA says that this is an unjustified imposition and a slap in
the face of all those addicts who only want to defend their right to
receive decent cures.




ITALY - Orvieto - The Police entered two high schools with trained dogs
looking for drugs and denounced ten students. The same kind of operation
was carried out in the local train station, at the arrival of commuting




000599 29/04/99

40% of Parisian high school students have used cannabis at least once in
their lives. This is what emerges from a research by the Observatory on
Drugs carried out in 1995 on 875 high schools. What seems evident in
comparison to earlier researches is that cannabis consumption is undergoing
a 'normalising' phase.


000600 29/04/99

The National Association Against Drugs says that young religious Israelis
are accustomed to consuming heavy drugs like LSD, while laymans of the 4
same age tend to use cannabis instead. The Russian immigration has also
introduced another peculiar drug: shooting vodka directly in the veins.


000603 03/05/99

If on one hand the Iraqi invasion of eight years ago seems to not have left
any trace, on the other the sense of shock and fear lingers on. Young
people are trying to overcome these feelings by using drugs. A research
says that 44% of young Kuwaitis have tried using them, while the official
number of drug addicts is between 15.000 and 30.000.


000597 28/04/99

On the 13th of June will be able to vote in a referenda to decide whether
or not to do away with controlled distribution of heroin from the new law
on drugs, which is being at the moment revised.


000598 29/04/99

The Police heads of 17 countries from the European Union and from the
Balkans have met in Austria to discuss about drug traffic. It seems that
80% of the heroin that is sold in western and central Europe arrives
through the Balkans.


000601 01/05/99

In September the trial against a group of Kosovar traffickers headed by an
Albenese politician, Ritvan Peshkepia, will start. Many of those people
justified themselves at the moment of their arrest by saving they were
trafficking in drugs to fund the cause of freedom in Kosovo.


000602 03/05/99

The Nation, a Bangkok newspaper, has sounded an alarm: the army of the
united Wa is about to become the new drug boss of the Golden Triangle. This
thanks to its steady collaboration with the Government of Burma.


CORAFax 1999



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