------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Zero Tolerance' Comes Up Short (An op-ed in the Orange County Register by Mark T. Greenberg and Brian K. Baumbarger of Penn State University says there is little scientific research to show that zero tolerance or other "get tough" measures are effective in reducing school violence or increasing safety. On the contrary, there is a growing body of research showing a clear association between disciplinary exclusion and further poor outcomes such as delinquency, substance abuse and school dropout. Disciplinary exclusion should be reserved for students who present a clear and present danger to others.) Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 15:44:02 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: 'Zero Tolerance'Comes Up Short Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Section: Commentary,page 5 Author: Mark T. Greenberg and Brian K. Baumbarger Note: Dr. Greenberg is director of the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development in Penn State University's College of Health and Human Development and holds the Edna Peterson Bennett Chair in Prevention Research in the college. Mr. Baumbarger is a research associate at the center. 'ZERO TOLERANCE' COMES UP SHORT Despite the overwhelming popularity of expulsion and out-of-school suspension among educators, there is little scientific research to show that zero tolerance or other "get tough" measures are effective in reducing school violence or increasing safety. On the contrary, there is a growing body of research showing a clear association between disciplinary exclusion and further poor outcomes such as delinquency, substance abuse and school dropout. Disciplinary exclusion should be reserved for students who present a clear and present danger to others. Historically, suspension and expulsion were viewed as rather severe punitive sanctions meant to send a clear deterrent message to both the student and parent about the seriousness of the student's misconduct. An out-of-school suspension or expulsion virtually guaranteed getting a parent's attention and getting the parent to attend a school conference to discuss the problem behavior. It also provided a cooling-down period for students who posed a clear and present danger to other students or staff. The popularity of suspension and expulsion, coupled with a lack of other options, led to a dramatic increase in their use. Nationally, it is estimated that nearly 2 million students are suspended each year. Suspensions are often given for less serious or nonviolent misconduct, and this has weakened their deterrent impact. These sanctions are no longer viewed as the severe "last resort" and thus draw little attention from many parents. Educators must rethink their use of these sanctions and develop a broader spectrum of options, beginning with primary prevention. School-based primary prevention programs can increase appropriate behavior and decrease the frequency and intensity of inappropriate behavior, and thus should be the cornerstone of a comprehensive school safety and behavior improvement strategy. Many such programs have been evaluated and shown to produce significant reductions in aggression, violence and weapon carrying. Some examples include the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum, the Second Step Violence Prevention Curriculum and the "I Can Problem Solve" program. Even the most effective programs will not prevent all student violence or misconduct. For students who do not respond to primary prevention efforts, educators should have a sufficient variety of options to allow them to craft a continuum of responses appropriate to the level of misbehavior. Options such as in-school suspension, individual and group counseling, and Saturday or lunch-time detention, coupled with remedial support and social-emotional cognitive skill-building, address the present behavior while also recognizing the underlying causes. For discipline to be effective, the response should be consistent and matched to the severity of the offense. A recent special report we did in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Child Development points out that this is not currently practiced in many schools. Most suspensions are for noncompliance or disrespect, and the fewest number are for behaviors that threaten safety; and regardless of teaching responsibility, a few teachers are responsible for most disciplinary referrals. Training teachers in effective classroom management may increase the consistency of discipline, potentially reducing unnecessary exclusions and preventing the erosion of the deterrent effect of suspension and expulsion. We also found no studies demonstrating the positive impact of expulsion or out-of-school suspension in reducing school violence. In fact, some research casts doubt on the effectiveness of exclusion in achieving a safe-school environment and raises questions about the potential negative side-effects of exclusion, which sends the message to students that they are not wanted in school and that attendance is not important. Exclusion teaches them that problems can be avoided rather than addressed. Some researchers have linked out-of-school suspension with poor grades and early dropout. Obviously, suspension and expulsion do not strengthen commitment and attachment to school. Excluding disruptive students from school may actually reinforce negative behavior and put these students at greater risk for further negative outcomes. Given the research on the application and effectiveness of suspension and expulsion, these sanctions should be reserved for the most serious of infractions involving habitual or violent conduct.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hartman In-Law Sues Pfizer (The Houston Chronicle says the brother of the wife of actor Phil Hartman is suing Pfizer Inc., contending that his sister was under the influence of the anti-depressant drug Zoloft when she killed her husband and herself a year ago. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday by Gregory Omdahl, alleges Pfizer has done "all that it can to downplay the possibility that Zoloft causes violence or suicide in some people." Omdahl also sued Dr. Arthur Sorosky, a Los Angeles psychiatrist who gave Hartman's wife a sample of the drug provided to him by a Pfizer salesman.) Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 07:25:26 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: Hartman In-Law Sues Pfizer Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Art Smart (ArtSmart@neosoft.com) Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Page: 2A HARTMAN IN-LAW SUES PFIZER The brother of the wife of actor Phil Hartman is suing Pfizer Inc. and a psychiatrist, contending that his sister was under the influence of the anti-depressant drug Zoloft when she killed her husband and herself a year ago. Brynn Omdahl, 40, shot Hartman, 49, a star in the TV sitcom News Radio, on May 28, 1998, after spending the previous evening drinking with a female friend. She shot herself four hours later. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday by Gregory Omdahl, acknowledged that an autopsy found alcohol and cocaine in her body but contended that she snorted the cocaine after killing her husband. Omdahl said in the lawsuit that Pfizer, which makes Zoloft, had "done all that it can to downplay the possibility that Zoloft causes violence or suicide in some people." Celeste Torello, a spokeswoman for Pfizer, said there was no evidence to suggest that Zoloft causes suicidal or violent tendencies. Omdahl also sued Dr. Arthur Sorosky, a Los Angeles psychiatrist who gave Hartman's wife a sample of the drug provided to him by a Pfizer salesman. Sorosky was not available for comment.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Shed Some Light On 'Racial Profiling' (A staff editorial in the Tulsa World says Army Sgt. Rossano Gerald has sued the Oklahoma Highway Patrol because he was stopped twice within 30 minutes after crossing the state line last August; because he and his 12-year-old son were detained for two hours inside a patrol car in 90-degree heat with the windows rolled up and the air conditioning turned off; because the troopers looking for drugs searched his car without his permission, causing a reported $1,089 in damages; and because he was arrested for DWB - Driving While Black, or Driving While Brown. The case has propelled Oklahoma into the middle of a national debate over racial profiling. Collection of national figures on traffic stops is an idea well worth pursuing.) Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 00:52:30 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OK: Shed Some Light On "Racial Profiling" Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: EWCHIEF Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 1999 Source: Tulsa World (OK) Copyright: 1999, World Publishing Co. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.tulsaworld.com/ SHED SOME LIGHT ON "RACIAL PROFILING' Army Sgt. Rossano Gerald didn't sue the Oklahoma Highway Patrol solely because he was stopped twice within 30 minutes after crossing the state line last August. He did not seek out the American Civil Liberties Union only because of claims: -- That he and his 12-year-old son were detained for two hours and held inside a patrol car in 90-degree heat with the windows rolled up and the air conditioning turned off. -- That troopers looking for drugs searched his car without his permission, causing a reported $1,089 in damages, before sending him on his way after finding nothing. None of these alleged events by itself caused Gerald to sue. He took action, he claims, because he was arrested for an "offense" that can't be found in any law book, an "offense," known in the minority community, as DWB, Driving While Black (or Brown). Bob Ricks, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, vehemently denies that troopers stopped Gerald for DWB or that the OHP engages in any racially motivated practices. Regardless of its outcome, the case has propelled Oklahoma into the middle of a national debate that has drawn seven other states into similar ACLU lawsuits. In April, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who has condemned racial profiling, asked law enforcement agencies to look hard at an issue that is breeding distrust from minority communities that increasingly believe that many of their citizens are being victimized by race-based stops and searches on highways, in airports, at bus stations and at borders. Most police agencies deny that racial profiling is a systemic problem. But leaders in Congress and several state legislatures aren't so sure. They are pushing legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Justice to order law enforcement agencies to collect national statistics on the number and reason for traffic stops and the race, gender and age of motorists stopped. Police generally oppose collection of such data, arguing that it would be cumbersome and expensive to collect and likely would reveal nothing more than good-faith stops for suspected traffic violations. Even proponents of data collection are divided on how successful such an effort would be. But in the absence of any meaningful national figures, collection of such data is the best step toward getting to the bottom of an issue that is eroding public confidence that everyone is treated fairly. Collection of data is warranted in light of information on the record strongly suggesting that racial profiling is not confined to isolated incidents. In New Jersey, a recent state attorney general's report found that racial profiling was "real, not imagined" along a heavily traveled stretch of an interstate. Minority drivers represented 34 percent of drivers stopped. But 77.2 percent of the cars searched belonged to blacks or Hispanics. A 1992 study by the Orlando, Fla., Sentinel, which reviewed police videotapes of 1,084 traffic stops, showed that 70 percent of the stops and 80 percent of vehicle searches were of minority motorists although they represented fewer than 10 percent of all drivers. Only nine of the 1,084 motorists pulled over were cited for traffic violations. In Maryland, the state settled an ACLU lawsuit and agreed to ban racial profiling and to collect traffic-stop information after a study revealed that along just one stretch of interstate, African- American motorists made up 17 percent of the traffic but accounted for 70 percent of those motorists who were stopped. David O'Meilia, a former federal drug task force coordinator here, worked cases in which claims racial profiling often were raised. "Profiles are not infallible and there are incidents when the stop turns out to be that of an innocent person. In my experience, if there was profiling it would occur only after a stop was made that was based on a legitimate suspicion of a traffic violation. Often arrests are made at night. I don't think profiling was occurring first and then officers were coming up with reasons for a stop." But as the law now stands, defense attorneys, usually in drug cases, are limited in how far they can go in trying to find out the reasons for a stop, said Northern District Federal Defender Stephen Knorr. Once a police officer says the stop was based on a legitimate suspicion of a traffic violation defense attorneys can go no further in the inquiry although they may suspect the stop was for other reasons. "We used to be able to argue that the stop was just a pretext and that the driver really was stopped because they were looking for drugs or guns. Now it doesn't make a difference. The real question is how many stops involving minorities occur where nothing is found. There aren't any statistics," Knorr said. John Echols, a Tulsa defense attorney, agrees that racial profiling largely is "hidden from view." "A police officer who is following a Hispanic doesn't say in court he was following him because he was Hispanic. He says he was following him because of an illegal lane change. Police may stop 10 people who are the victims of harassment but only one is arrested and gets a lawyer. The bulk of these encounters are hidden from view unless there is some outrageous conduct picked up by the press. The problem with the current system is ....that it's not a healthy way to run a free society but a good way to run a police state." While profiling often has been cited as an effective tool by law enforcement for arresting couriers of drugs and other contraband, profiling based purely on skin color can be an equally effective tool for harassment. National Assessment Services recently pointed out the dangers of racial profiling. "While crime patterns might make it rational for police to focus more on blacks and males than on whites and women, most individual blacks, like most males, never commit serious crimes. The unpleasant truth is that profiling can be statistically valid and yet have discriminatory, real-world results since most blacks who are stopped on suspicion -- like most males -- will be innocent people." Paul Finkelman, the newly named Chapman Distinguished professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law, has written extensively on issues involving law and race including racial profiling. He believes reliable information is needed to shed light on the extent of the problem. If the information is honestly reported, one of two things may result, Finkelman said. "All Americans may turn out to be relieved to discover there is no racial targeting and happy to know America is a more racially just society than they thought. Alternatively, we ma find out there is racial targeting and something needs to be done about it. One can never complain about having data. It tells us what's going on -- sometimes, such as what was happening in New Jersey." If police stop 30 minority citizens and arrest only one, that's a poor average. "If a pitcher strikes out only one of 30 batters, if a batter gets only one hit in 30 times or if a student gets only one A in 30 classes, we wouldn't consider that a very good average," he said. But random profiling that targets people on the basis of race is not about getting a good average, he said, or about efficient law enforcement. "Merely stopping people for the way they look seems to be waste of police resources that could be better spent finding criminals or preventing crimes," he said. In the meantime, many minority citizens who are victimized by racial profiling often do not have the resources to fight unfair treatment. Eleven years ago drug police arrested an African-American they suspect of being a drug courier when he got off the plane at Los Angeles International Airport. Believing he had an accomplice police asked him for a description of his traveling companion. The man replied, "he looks like me." A detective then approached a black man using a pay phone, spun him around and before the man could provide identification, threw him to the floor and handcuffed him. Twenty minutes later police found out that second suspect, who they'd detained simply because he was black, was baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. Morgan sued and later won $500,000. For every Morgan who can afford to pursue a complaint for an illegal or unwarranted search, there may be thousands of other innocent minority citizens, Finkelman said, who cannot afford to vindicate their rights. The key issue is not that police find people sometimes or once in a while carrying contraband. "The question," he said. "is how often they find people with nothing." Collection of national figures on traffic stops is an idea well worth pursuing.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Trying To Count All The Cops Is Hard (Houston Chronicle columnist Thom Marshall observes that Houston and Harris County seem to be proliferating countless police officers toting guns and badges and representing myriad city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Marshall invites readers to participate in a project launched by Bryant Reed of La Porte, aimed simply at listing all the police groups in the area, such as the HPD, Sheriff's Department, Metro PD, constables, U.S. Marshals, the Houston ISD PD, highway patrol, the Texas Rangers, the FBI, INS, DEA, ATF, CIA - even the Harris County Hospital District.) Date: Sun, 6 Jun 1999 21:10:40 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: Column: Trying To Count All The Cops Is Hard Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: G. A ROBISON Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Author: Thom Marshall TRYING TO COUNT ALL THE COPS IS HARD At least once a week, Bryant Reed of La Porte finds himself wondering how many police agencies we have watching us and why we need so many. Reed recently wrote in an e-mail, "In this area, we have HPD, Sheriff's Department, Metro PD, constables, U.S. Marshals, the Houston ISD PD, highway patrol, the Texas Rangers, the FBI, and, I swear, the other day I saw a Harris County Hospital District police car." I, too, have wandered down the trail of speculation about law enforcement proliferation. Writing down just the agencies that came quickly to mind, I came up with more than 20, including district attorney investigators, game wardens, postal inspectors and federal officers with the INS, DEA, ATF, CIA ... Once, some time ago, I decided to make a few calls and find out just how many policing agencies and the total number of cops of all kinds we have in our town. That would include all levels -- city, county, state, federal. And it also would count some cops that wouldn't fall precisely under those umbrellas, such as those who work for public school or university police forces. Houston area has no list In other words, I was after a total of all officers with badges and guns who are empowered to enforce laws, investigate crimes or pursue criminals. It would not include the employees of myriad private security companies. (Someone at the Harris County Hospital District said the security department uses contract security officers, so I might not count that as a police agency. On the other hand, a friend who has for years been a public information officer for the police department and the sheriff's office, in another city, noted that railroad companies have private police departments whose officers have "full-blown" commissions. So I might count them.) Coming up with an inventory of police agencies and a total number of cops initially struck me as a simple task. It is a basic element of policing, after all, to keep detailed records. And since police are employed by the public and were created to serve the public, I figured the public ought to have little trouble getting the information. I figured there must be someone somewhere in town who had a reason for maintaining the sort of listing that I sought, and would have made it widely available, and with a phone call or two, I could find someone to fax me a copy. But if any such person and any such list does exist in Houston, my attempts to find them were fruitless. I wound up putting that idea on a back shelf until Reed's message provided the motivation to try again. This time I decided to try an indirect approach to finding out about police agencies in Houston. I called Huntsville, where Sam Houston State University has the College of Criminal Justice and the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas. No, they told me. They didn't have the Houston statistics I was after, but they suggested trying a couple of other places, starting with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education in Austin, which wouldn't have any federal agencies but might be able to provide much of the rest. A paperwork hurdle in Austin So, as much as I hated doing it, I called Austin to ask for information about Houston. A fellow there said they might be able to pull out of the computers the numbers I was after. But I must first file a formal Freedom of Information request, telling precisely what I want, and they will look it over and let me know if they can provide it and how much it will cost. Proving yet again that we should never have allowed the capitol of Texas to be moved out of our town. The other suggestion was that I call Stevens Point, Wis., where the National Public Safety Information Bureau publishes the National Directory of Law Enforcement Administrators, which lists more than 35,000 agencies all over This Great Land. I did call Wisconsin for information about Houston, though it seemed even stranger than calling Austin, and they said the new book with updated statistics won't be ready for a month or so and will cost pretty close to a hundred bucks. And I'm not convinced it would contain the exhaustive count of all police agencies doing business in our town that we are after. So let's just make it a project to compile our own inventory of police agencies and officers from all levels of government in the greater Houston area. Anyone with information to contribute can send it, and I'll keep making calls, and we'll see what we come up with.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Revelers' Tents Sprout Like Weed In Sauk County Farm Field During Marijuana Festival (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in Wisconsin, says almost twice as many people showed up this year for the annual Weedstock Festival in Sauk County as last year, perhaps showing that good weather can influence people more than marijuana. Weedstock organizer Ben Masel had some complaints about the size and intensity of the law-enforcement force. Masel said some officers were making up traffic violations as an excuse to pull people over. "We even had people pulled over because their tires were bald, which the officer noticed at night, as they are driving at 35 miles an hour - not likely," Masel said.) Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 15:43:59 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WI: Revelers' Tents Sprout Like Weed In Sauk County Farm Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Frank S. World Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 1999 Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Copyright: 1999, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 414-224-8280 Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ Forum: http://www.jsonline.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimate.cgi Author: Susann Gamble, Special to the Journal Sentinel May 30, 1999 REVELERS' TENTS SPROUT LIKE WEED IN SAUK COUNTY FARM FIELD DURING MARIJUANA FESTIVAL Town of Fairfield -- Almost twice as many people showed up this year for the annual Weedstock Festival in Sauk County as last year, perhaps showing that good weather can influence people more than marijuana. About 2,000 people, some claiming to be from as far away as England, were gathered Saturday for the festival, which promotes the legalization of marijuana, and more were still coming in. A sea of tents, buses and just about anything else that could provide a little shade cascaded across a rolling green hill in the lush Sauk County terrain. The festival, which runs until Monday, was held in the same location on Marcus Gumz's farm off Highway 33 last year. But the cold, rainy weather last year kept the crowd down to about 1,300. This year, the festival-goers -- who paid $35 for the weekend -- basked in the warm temperatures. Around them, vendors sold bongs, pipes, tie-dyed clothes, cold drinks and signs that read: "Thank You for Pot Smoking." A frozen dessert sandwich advertised as being made from hemp quickly sold out. There were few problems with the crowd, according to law enforcement officials from Sauk County, Columbia County and the Wisconsin State Patrol. Officers were patrolling the area with drug-sniffing dogs. "We have issued a lot of written warnings, traffic citations, possession charges, a couple of warrant pickups, one OWI (operating while intoxicated)," said Lt. Tom Pollard of the Sauk County Sheriff's Department. The annual gathering meant 12-hour shifts and no holiday time off for deputies on the Memorial Day weekend, but Pollard said they were used to it. "We haven't had any disturbance complaints," Pollard added. Weedstock organizer Ben Masel had some complaints, though -- about the size and intensity of the law-enforcement force. Masel said some officers were making up traffic violations as an excuse to pull people over. "We even had people pulled over because their tires were bald, which the officer noticed at night, as they are driving at 35 miles an hour -- not likely," Masel said. A Minnesota man said his bus had been searched by Saturday afternoon. "The second time they had dogs and found nothing," he said. He declined to give his name for fear his employer would see it. Wendell Holmes of Madison said: "I don't have to smoke pot; I'm here just to get high on the good time." Most folks were simply enjoying the beautiful weather, the campfires and the music tent. Robin Cardell made the trip from Oshkosh in a blue bus with a group called Amnesty 2000. The group wants all victimless criminals released from the prison system by 2000. "These are productive members of society that for whatever reason smoked a little pot," Cardell said. "They are still productive." Barbara Peterson, a Madison activist and former emergency-room nurse working in the safety tent at the festival, said there had been no problems beyond a bit of dehydration. "I've actually treated two dogs, but my main point is it's nothing like you would see at a Badger football game, where a large amount of alcohol is involved," Peterson said. Peterson said she has been an activist most of her life. "My uncle is David Dellinger of the Chicago Seven," the protesters indicted after the 1968 Democratic National Convention, she said. "I believe strongly in the decriminalization of something that has brought so much to society for years."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Opposition To Plan To Test Welfare Applicants For Drugs (The New York Times says that starting in October, Michigan welfare applicants under 65 in three locations yet to be chosen will be required to take drug tests or forfeit their benefits. "The state is starting from the assumption that the poor are criminals," said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. "The state is saying that if you want money for food and shelter you have to give up the Fourth Amendment rights that others have.") Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 07:28:01 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MI: Opposition To Plan To Test Welfare Applicants For Drugs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dick Evans Pubdate: May 30, 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://www10.nytimes.com/comment/ Author: Robyn Meredith OPPOSITION TO PLAN TO TEST WELFARE APPLICANTS FOR DRUGS DETROIT -- In a controversial and unusual effort to move more welfare recipients into the work force, Michigan plans a pilot program that would require thousands of those applying for aid to take drug tests to qualify for benefits. Starting in October, Michigan welfare applicants under 65 in three locations yet to be chosen will be required to take drug tests or forfeit their benefits. People already receiving benefits at those locations would be randomly tested. Those who test positive for illegal drugs would be required to get treatment to collect welfare money, and those who refuse treatment would be dropped from the welfare rolls. Against a tide of opposition from civil libertarians and welfare experts and mixed reaction from welfare recipients themselves, Gov. John Engler explained that the program would help those who needed drug treatment to get it and to obtain jobs. "The idea is that workplace testing today is so common," Engler said. "This is a tool that will help identify some of the problems that need to be treated." Michigan was one of the early leaders nationwide in the effort to end the decadeslong system of guaranteed welfare benefits and to replace it with time limits and other changes intended to force those on welfare to work. Since October 1992, when Michigan's welfare changes began, the state's caseload has dropped about 60 percent, to 89,866 families from 225,359, the 14th largest drop among states, according to federal statistics. With many of those most able to find jobs already working, Michigan is trying a new approach on welfare. The mandatory drug tests, which other states have considered but rejected, are just one indication of its new direction. Other initiatives include a plan to reduce fraud by taking computerized fingerprint images of those applying for welfare. And the welfare agency plans to expand its "Project Zero" program to 25 additional welfare offices around the state, bringing to 60 the number of locations offering flexible, expanded social services, like child care and transportation, with a goal of reducing welfare cases in a given area to zero. But of all the initiatives, mandatory drug testing has raised the most concern, especially among civil libertarians, social workers and welfare experts. Other states have considered similar drug testing programs but have backed away. Last year, Florida set up a pilot program in two regions to detect drug-abusing welfare recipients. It asks drug-use questions of all applicants, but uses physical drug tests only on those it has reasonable cause to believe use drugs. Louisiana passed a law in 1997 requiring drug testing for welfare recipients and certain public employees. But after a task force was set up to carry out the law, the state decided instead to require applicants to answer a questionnaire about drug use. Answers to the questions determine whether a drug test is administered. New York and Maryland planned to require drug tests but found that other types of screening like questionnaires were cheaper and more effective. Four other states -- New Jersey, Minnesota, South Carolina and Wisconsin -- randomly test welfare recipients with felony drug convictions. The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is considering suing the state to challenge the program on constitutional grounds, arguing that the mandatory drug test violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure. "The state is starting from the assumption that the poor are criminals," said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. "The state is saying that if you want money for food and shelter you have to give up the Fourth Amendment rights that others have." Social workers are concerned that the new program could have unintended consequences. "It is very demeaning," said Sharon Parks, senior research associate at the Michigan League for Human Services, a nonprofit organization. "It might have a real chilling effect on people even coming in and applying." Welfare experts object to the program and say it has a number of shortcomings. "Michigan is the only state in the country that is doing this," said Gwen Rubinstein, director of policy research at the Legal Action Center, a nonprofit organization based in New York that focuses on alcohol and drug policy and tracks drug testing efforts nationwide. "Drug testing often sounds on the surface like a good idea, but it has so many flaws." First, Ms. Rubinstein said, drug testing will not turn up those with alcohol abuse problems, which are more prevalent among welfare recipients. The tests are intrusive, she said, and casual drug users who are able to work will test positive along with addicts who need treatment. Because testing is also expensive, it can divert money that could otherwise be used for drug treatment and other social services, Ms. Rubinstein said. Sheldon Danziger, an economist and professor of social work and public policy at the University of Michigan who conducted a study of Michigan welfare recipients, said money used to test for drug use could be put to better use screening for mental health problems that needed treatment. "A much greater percentage of women have mental health problems like depression, anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder than have substance abuse problems," Danziger said. But Douglas E. Howard, the new director of the state welfare agency, defended his plans. "Michigan's approach is very unique," Howard said. "It is not just testing; it is testing followed by treatment." He said the falling welfare caseload in the state dictated a change in direction. "We're in an economy now where job placement isn't as tough as it was 10 years ago," he said. "The challenge is in job retention." The state plans to select the three pilot sites in June, with one likely to be in Detroit, one in another large city and one in a rural area, Howard said. Drug treatment availability varies by region, and the sites chosen will be those with adequate treatment centers. "What we are trying to do is remove barriers to work," he said. It is unclear how much the testing and treatment programs will cost because neither the sites nor the testing material -- urine, sweat or hair follicles -- have been decided on. Most drug tests cost about $40 a person, Howard said, but he was not sure how many people would fall under the jurisdiction of the three locations. Some welfare recipients here vehemently oppose his plans, and others applaud them. "It definitely would be humiliating to me," said Barbara L. Whitfield, 61, who has been raising four grandchildren since her daughter died nine years ago. "They should find a better way to do that, a more dignified way." Others supported the plan. "I think it is a good idea," said Talonda D. Loggins, 25, a mother of three who works as a nurse's assistant when she can find good child care and collects welfare when she cannot. "Some recipients are not using their money the way it is supposed to be used," Ms. Loggins said, adding that the testing would reduce recipients' use of drugs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hair Tests Raise Doubts (The Baltimore Sun says the use of hair samples to detect traces of illegal drugs is drawing criticism for its alleged inaccuracy and bias against dark-haired people, particularly African-Americans. General Motors, Anheuser-Busch, BMW, Rubbermaid and several big-city police departments are among the more than 1,000 employers using the hair test. More workers are being hair tested all the time, but the scientific consensus from the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists is that hair tests are not sufficiently reliable for widespread use. No hair-testing laboratories have been approved by the FDA. Sixteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter May 14 to the Secretary of the Army requesting a review of Army policy on hair testing, and expressing concern about the case of Duane Adens, who received a bad-conduct discharge in July solely on the basis of a false positive. As a result of his federal conviction, said Adens, "I will never be able to get a good job. I lose my voting rights. Something I worked hard at for 14 years is going to be taken away from me - for no reason at all.")Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 11:11:16 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US MD: Hair Tests Raise Doubts Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Rob Ryan Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 1999 Source: Baltimore Sun (MD) Copyright: 1999 by The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sunspot.net/ Forum: http://www.sunspot.net/cgi-bin/ultbb/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro Author: Leslie Kean and Dennis Bernstein HAIR TESTS RAISE DOUBTS Analysis: The Use Of Hair Samples To Find Drug Traces Is Drawing Criticism For Its Alleged Inaccuracy And Bias Against Dark-Haired People. THE POPULARITY of hair testing to detect drug use is skyrocketing nationwide. But with the increased popularity comes controversy over the accuracy of the method. People in different parts of the country claim they have received false results through hair testing. Employers, including some of the nation's biggest corporations, favor hair testing over urinalysis because it can reveal drug use from months earlier, rather than from only the previous few days. General Motors, Anheuser-Busch, BMW and Rubbermaid are among the more than 1,000 companies employing the test. Hair testing is also used by the police departments of several major cities. The controversy surrounding hair testing stems from years of scientific research. Doubts about hair testing's accuracy have been raised by several federal and private concerns -- from the National Institute of Drug Abuse to the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. The scientific consensus is that the process is not sufficiently reliable for widespread use. Evidence also points to a possible bias against people with dark hair. Althea Jones, an African-American mother of two, says she is a victim of hair testing's inaccuracy. Her lifelong dream was to be a police officer, but when she applied for admission to the Chicago Police Academy, it requested a sample of her hair. The results came back positive for drug use. "I was shocked. I couldn't believe it," said Jones. "I don't even smoke or drink. I was heartbroken by this." She was denied admission to the academy. She is now a criminal justice major at Chicago State University. Jones and seven other Chicagoans, who say they received erroneous hair-test results when they applied to the Police Academy, have filed complaints of racial discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case is under investigation. "The consensus of scientific opinion is that there are still too many unanswered questions for [hair analysis] to be used in employment situations," Edward Cone, NIDA's leading researcher on the test, said in June. In a recent interview, Cone said hair testing "is not ready for use yet, where people's lives are at stake." The Society of Forensic Toxicologists stands by its 1990 report, which said: "The use of hair analysis for employees and pre-employment drug testing is premature and cannot be supported by the current information on hair analysis for [drug abuse]." D. Bruce Burlington, a doctor and director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, testified on Capitol hill in July that "many scientific questions remain ... about the effectiveness of hair testing for detecting drug use." No hair-testing laboratories have been approved by the FDA. Burlington also raised another issue -- that hair testing might be racially biased. "Dark hair, blond hair and dyed hair react differently, thus creating questions of equity among ethnic groups and genders," he said. A U.S. Navy study released by NIDA in 1995 shows that the dark, coarse hair of African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians is more likely to retain external contamination, such as drug residues absorbed from the environment, and thus is more likely to test positive, even if the person never abused drugs. The issue of external contamination is particularly serious for police officers, who might be exposed to drugs on the job. Hair testing cost Sgt. Duane Adens his U.S. Army career. Adens, an African-American father of five, had worked at the Pentagon for 14 years. In January 1997, he was less than six years from retirement and had received the highest possible performance rating in his last job evaluation, when he provided a hair sample for testing by army investigators. It was sent away for analysis, though Adens never signed off on the hair to identify it as his own, as regulations demand. The results came back positive. Adens was stunned. He said he does not use drugs and had not been exposed to environmental contaminants. Indeed, seven urine tests he had taken between October 1996 and May 1998 -- most of them random tests required by the military -- came back negative. Adens was brought before an Army court martial and, because of the hair-test results, received a bad-conduct discharge in July. The possibility that Aden's results were a "false positive" is underscored by two cases in New York. In the first, three police department applicants -- all white -- were told that an analysis found evidence of drug use in their hair samples. Outraged, two of the men sent hair samples for testing by other labs, which told them that the samples indicated no drug use. In a second case, nine African-American police officers were dismissed three years ago because of a positive hair test -- though all nine had passed a series of random urine tests throughout their two-year probation periods. Soon after hearing of the positive results, one officer sent another sample of her hair to a different testing firm. That test came back negative. Taken together, these cases point up the incidence of erroneous, or "false positive" results, from hair testing. Yet its use continues to increase nationwide. Worries about hair testing -- and the Adens case in particular -- have reached Congress. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, a Georgia Democrat, informed Defense Secretary William Cohen in July that she was "exploring a possible legislative remedy to prohibit human hair testing for drugs in the military." On May 14, 16 House members, including McKinney, sent a letter to the Secretary of the Army requesting a review of Army policy on hair testing and expressing concern about the Duane Adens case. "One of the things that really, really bothers me is that this is a federal conviction," said Adens. "I will never be able to get a good job. I lose my voting rights. Something I worked hard at for 14 years is going to be taken away from me -- for no reason at all." *** Leslie Kean and Dennis Bernstein are co-authors of the new book "Henry Hyde's Moral Universe: Where More than Time and Space are Warped" (Common Courage Press).
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legalizing Pot Sends Wrong Message, Say Calgary MP's (The Calgary Herald says the newspaper's survey of regional members of Parliament shows varying opinions about decriminalizing marijuana. Some Reformers are strongly against "legalization," while others agree with a recent call for clinical trials to determine the medical benefits of the weed.) Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 16:59:20 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Re: Canada: Legalizing Pot Sends Wrong Message, Say Calgary Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun. 30, May 1999 Source: Calgary Herald (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.calgaryherald.com/ Author: Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald LEGALIZING POT SENDS WRONG MESSAGE, SAY CALGARY MP'S Decriminalizing marijuana would be a step backwards, sending young people the message that smoking weed is no worse than smoking a cigarette, say some Calgary MP's. In a recent survey of local MP's by the Herald, some Reformers were strongly against legalization of marijuana, while others agreed with a recent call for clinical trials to determine the medical benefits of the weed. "I think we have to apply the test - what fruit will it bear?" said Rob Anders, MP for Calgary West. Many AIDS and cancer patients say smoking pot helps them cope with the often painful effects of chemical therapies, prompting the Federal government to pass a motion presented by the Bloc Quebecois Tuesday. It called for the government to `take steps immediately' to develop clinical trials and guidelines for people who use the substance for pain relief. Legalization of marijuana is being considered as part of the process. The decision follows a call by police chiefs and the RCMP, asking the federal government to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. It recommended giving police officers the option of ticketing people with 30 grams or less of marijuana, sparing them a criminal record. It is expected Health Minister Allan Rock will publicize a plan for legalizing medicinal pot before the House breaks for the summer, possibly as early as June 9. But Anders argues, "if we allow smoking for medicinal purposes, we open up a whole spectrum of people growing weed." He suggests it may be possible to come up with a pill or suppository which contains THC, the active substance found in marijuana. "There is still some science to come in on that," he said. Art Hanger, MP for Calgary Northeast, said there would have to be sound evidence from the medical community showing both the public and police forces that it isn't harmful. "It (using marijuana) becomes dangerous, especially when combined with alcohol," Hanger said in a telephone interview from Warsaw, Poland, where he was attending NATO meetings this weekend. "It makes a person incapacitated to think clearly, their judgment is completely off kilter." As a former city police officer, Hanger said there are enough problems with substance abuse without making pot widely available, including criminal activity associated with its use. By legalizing weed, "we're sending a message to young people that it is no worse than smoking . It is certainly worse than smoking," said Hanger. It would have to be "clearly demonstrated that it will not lead, especially, young people into addiction," added Jason Kenney, MP for Calgary Southeast. He said, however, he has mixed feelings on the issue of legalizing pot. `The standard for me, if this drug, in terms of medicinal use, is necessary and has positive uses for palliative care, I wouldn't be opposed to its use.' Diane Ablonczy, MP for Calgary Nose Hill, said the Reform Party supports the use of marijuana as prescribed by medical doctors when other treatments are proven to be ineffective. She said she voted for the motion in the House of Commons on Tuesday, noting polls show a majority of Canadians support marijuana `as an age-old medicine with natural qualities.' But, Calgary Centre MP Eric Lowther said people who want marijuana legalized are only using medical benefits as an excuse, adding there are medications available which do `everything and more than marijuana.'
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cocaine Is Being Passed Around Like After-Dinner Mints (An op-ed in the Observer, in Britain, by Adam Edwards, the son of a judge, a former editor of a London magazine, and a cocaine user since the early 1970s, reveals how widespread cocaine use is today, in the wake of revelations involving Lawrence Dallaglio and Tom Parker Bowles and as the Government launches a new anti-drugs crusade. "Cocaine is the drug of choice for the professional classes under 40. In the past year, I have seen it taken by a Conservative politician, several lobbyists, a Guards officer, two QCs, a solicitor, a senior stockbroker, a merchant banker and a score of media men and women, including PRs, publishers, writers, Fleet Street executives and television and film producers. . . . Britain's professionsl classes are awash with the drug. I have not been to an event where it has not been readily available. Cocaine is to the current generation, rightly or wrongly, what marijuana was to the previous generation: an apparently innocent recreational amusement.") Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 11:11:35 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Cocaine Is Being Passed Around Like After-Dinner Mints Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 30 May, 1999 Source: Observer, The (UK) Copyright: Guardian Media Group plc. 1999 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/ Author: Adam Edwards COCAINE IS BEING PASSED AROUND LIKE AFTER-DINNER MINTS THIS WEEKEND ADAM EDWARDS is the son of a judge, a former editor of a London magazine - and a cocaine user. Here, in the wake of revelations involving Lawrence Dallaglio and Tom Parker Bowles and as the Government launches its anti-drugs crusade, Edwards reveals from his personal experience just how widespread cocaine use is today Perhaps the most surprising thing about Tom Parker Bowles admitting he took cocaine is that anyone is surprised. It would be more surprising if he had not taken the drug. Cocaine is the currency of the capital. Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, the It-girl and friend of Prince Charles, took it and last month ended up in a clinic. At any fashionable gathering, at smart restaurants, at funerals, at Christmas, New Year, cocaine is the drug of choice for the professional classes under 40. In the past year, I have seen it taken by a Conservative politician, several lobbyists, a Guards officer, two QCs, a solicitor, a senior stockbroker, a merchant banker and a score of media men and women, including PRs, publishers, writers, Fleet Street executives and television and film producers. It was taken not as a daring, amusing experiment, it was not even taken as an illegal excitement, it was consumed with the casualness of an After Eight mint. The lines of white powder, a row of sherbet soldiers on a china side-plate, passed around like port. No fuss, nothing to interrupt the conversation, just a snort through a tightly rolled note with the left nostril, then a snort with the right. The moment briefly savoured, like the comforting warmth of a good wine, and then, without comment, the chatter carries on where it left off. And yet not one of these professional men and women, who take the drug so casually, will agree to talk about their evening's recreation. 'My promotion chances would be dashed if it were known I had taken the drug,' said a senior executive at The Times. 'I don't want my children to know I take drugs,' said one of London's most notorious and beautiful aristocrats. 'You are finished in politics if it is known you take the drug,' said a successful young lobbyist. 'I daren't talk to you,' said one of London's best-known restaurateurs, 'it is guilt by association.' Yet I have taken the drug with all these people and, at the time, it has been no big deal to any of them. I have taken a line of cocaine with the editor of a broadsheet national newspaper and with the head of a City bank. It has been treated as a brief mark of friendship no more important than buying each other a beer. The only difference is the ceremony and the badinage frequently take place in lavatories. The effect of a line lasts about 20 minutes. It is quicker, although no more dramatic, than a large Scotch. Like snuff it first sears the nose, then makes the eyes water. In seconds your spirits are lifted, you are more focused, garrulous and comfortable in your skin. It cuts your appetite completely and leaves you with a grin and a dripping nose. After half an hour you want another line. I first took cocaine in my late teens, in the early Seventies, at a weekend cottage in Bradford-on-Avon. I took it, snorted through a rolled-up note, because I was reckless and foolhardy. Secretly, I was terrified, convinced I would lose control, see blinding white lights and think I could fly. Actually, nothing happened. It was something of a disappointment. I did not come across it again until I moved to New York in the mid-Seventies, when singles bars, Studio 54, snakeskin boots and the New York Yankees made Manhattan the coolest city on earth. Cocaine was everywhere. It came, as it does now, in home-made white envelopes, then at $60 a gramme. I was working for Rupert Murdoch's New York bureau, for the Sun and the News of The World. It seemed everybody I met took cocaine regularly. So did I. And so did a tabloid award-winning photographer who would buy it in the car park next door to the journalists' bar, Costello's, and sell it to the hacks. At The Bells of Hell, an expatriate British bar in Greenwich Village patronised by writers, musicians and Fleet Street correspondents, it would be administered by one of the bar staff when the clientele got too drunk. He would take me, and others, into the kitchen, cut out the lines with a credit card and insist we took it or left the bar. It was wonderfully sobering. By the end of the Seventies, many of the British expats, including aristocrats, correspondents and bankers, were taking cocaine regularly. But it remained, in both New York and in London, an exotic substance for an elite few, mostly for the idle and the rich. In both cities, the people who took it swanked about it. Many carried imitation razor blades, in solid silver or gold, to cut the cocaine into lines. It would be snorted through $100 bills or UKP50 notes, or from tiny silver spoons or specially made phials. It was rumoured the jewellers Tiffany had stopped selling its solid-silver cocktail straws because they were being bought by cocaine users. In London, in some restaurants there were horizontal mirrors on the bar and in the cloakrooms and lavatories. Customers assumed these were to ease the cutting and taking of cocaine. Then, the dealers were celebrated like minor rock stars, followed slavishly by those wanting the drug. I knew three main dealers in London in the early Eighties. All went to major public schools, one was the son of a well-known actor, another the son of the chairman of one of Britain's most celebrated companies, and the third the heir to a household name. All three were charming, well-dressed and never caught. Twenty years later, Britain's professionsl classes are awash with the drug. I have not been to an event where it has not been readily available. Now the dealers are anonymous, the drugs ordered by mobile phone and delivered to your front door, or to a restaurant, by minicab drivers, silent men in plain, unassuming saloons. It is still sold by the gramme in home-made envelopes and the price, at UKP70 a gramme, has changed little over the years. The difference is the drug is now taken for granted. At a dinner party held by a lobbyist in East Anglia this year, a party including his mother-in-law and a senior Tory MP, the guests were handed by the hostess on our arrival a small envelope of cocaine. This was so we could take the drug in private without embarrassing either the MP or the mother-in-law. At a Kensington restaurant, where the disabled lavatory is the favourite haunt of the casual drug-taker, I watched three PR girls, all well-known within the business, take it in turns to go into the toilet, passing the envelope of drugs openly between each other. When the final girl came back, she smiled and slipped the packet in my hand. 'Go on,' she said. 'You look like you need a line.' She was the PR girl who told me last week that she did not know a single person in PR who did not take cocaine. At a winter party at the Foreign Correspondents Club last year, attended by some of the most powerful political and business figures, my wife complained that she couldn't go to the ladies because there were so many women in there sniffing cocaine and shrieking with laughter. The gents was just as full. In most London clubs and restaurants, it is as plain as the dripping nose in front of your face that the drug is being taken and the owners are turning a blind eye to what's going on. Often they are taking it themselves. Go to the lavatory during a dinner party at the home of many a London professional and you will frequently see crumbs of white powder on the top of the cistern where the drug has been snorted. Or witness the white smears on pictures that have been taken from the wall. They have been laid flat, used to snort a line, and then a finger has been wiped across the surface and licked so as not to miss any of the precious substance. Even more extraordinary, at one or two private parties I have attended, the drug is laid out on the mantelpiece or offered like a delicious canape on a mirror or plate. There is no stigma as to whether you take it or not. A recent study from Sheffield and Glasgow universities found 75 per cent of cocaine users were affluent professionals whose habit rarely came to the attention of the authorities because they had the financial means to support it. The truth is that the modern generation uses cocaine casually and sees no harm in the drug, whatever the scare stories. Even some doctors, although they do not in any way endorse the drug, accept its casual use is endemic. Dr Robert Lefever, of the Promis Clinic, a unit in Kent that specialises in drug rehabilitation, gave me the bald figures. 'Five people a day die from addictive drugs, 100 from alcohol and 300 from nicotine. Alcohol is as addictive as cocaine, no more, no less,' he said. He added, however, that cocaine users are more prone to heart attacks and more worryingly: 'It takes 20 years to become addicted after your first drink, it takes only three years after your first line of cocaine.' But many people, he admitted, perhaps more than 50 per cent of casual users, may not have a problem with addiction. Dr Mark Collins, associate medical director of The Priory clinic in Roehampton, South-West London, admits: 'In general terms, I recognise through my work that someone who uses cocaine in certain social circles may not get into trouble. And certainly a significant number can take the drug without major problems.' But the difficulty is predicting who is going to have a problem and who is not. And 10 per cent will have a significant problem. 'When a doctor at Broadmoor admitted 50 per cent of his patients were not mad, he was asked why he didn't release them. He replied that the problem was knowing which 50 per cent was sane. That is true in the business of addiction. You simply do not know who is vulnerable and who is not.' This inability to predict who will turn out to be an addict worries many doctors, particularly now that there is this devil-may-care attitude towards the drug. Dr Adam Winstock, a clinical lecturer in addiction at the National Addiction Centre, said: 'Everyone starts off using cocaine in a non-dependent fashion. Nobody thinks what fun it will be to end up in a dependency unit in five years. 'But both dependent use of cocaine and non-dependent, casual use of the drug are associated with problems. You can't predict individual susceptibilities. Even if you don't use the drug very often, you can get into difficulties. Many people do not realise that what seem unrelated problems in their life are, in fact, related to the casual use of cocaine. 'You cannot tell whether you can use it safely. It's a lottery.' Since I left London six months ago, cocaine has disappeared from my life. I hardly ever take it now. It is rarely on offer in the shires. Outside London it is more hidden and the attitude towards it is less casual. However, this attitude is not, in my brief experience, very censorial. For example, the Gloucestershire county set's opinion about Tom Parker Bowles seems to be not that he shouldn't have taken the drug, but how disgraceful it was for the News of The World to set him up. For cocaine is no longer an exotic drug or even a mystery to the young chattering classes. Nobody under 40 was baffled when Liverpool's Robbie Fowler ran his nose along the white line of the penalty box, they were only surprised he did it in public. Cocaine is to the current generation, rightly or wrongly, what marijuana was to the previous generation: an apparently innocent recreational amusement. And, while Dr Jack Cunningham announces Government initiatives to halve the consumption of cocaine in Britain within nine years, I can assure him that in the warren that is the Palace of Westminster, in the nearby bars and restaurants, in the theatres and clubs, at Ascot, Wimbledon and even at the Chelsea Flower Show, somebody he knows will be cutting out a line of coke.
------------------------------------------------------------------- ACM-Bulletin of 30 May 1999 (An English-language bulletin from the Association for Cannabis as Medicine, in Cologne, Germany, features news about the Canadian House of Commons supporting the legalization of pot for medical reasons; and the U.S. government making marijuana easier to get for research.) From: "Association for Cannabis as Medicine" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 23:06:03 +0200 Subject: ACM-Bulletin of 30 May 1999 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org *** ACM-Bulletin of 30 May 1999 *** Canada: House of Commons supports legalization of pot for medical reasons USA: Government makes marijuana easier to get for research *** 1. Canada: House of Commons supports legalization of pot for medical reasons A motion of the Bloc Quebecois Party urging the legalization of pot for medical reasons passed on 25 May, with a few amendments. The motion calls on the government to "take steps immediately" to develop clinical trials, guidelines for use and a safe supply of marijuana for people who need it for medical reasons. Progressive Conservative critic Peter McKay voiced his party's support, but said Health Minister Allan Rock is moving too slowly. He referred to statements by Vancouver's Compassion Club, which supplies free marijuana to ease the pain of ill clients, saying Rock's pace means "more individuals will continue to suffer until legislation is passed." Rock, who next month will announce details of clinical marijuana trials, said there are benefits to having the pot grown in Canada under the watchful eyes of government bureaucrats. "The advantages might be you'd have a consistent percentage of THC, consistent quality, a level of cleanliness which is consistent," he said. The government is also looking to Britain, where GW Pharmaceuticals is allowed to grow cannabis for research purposes. Health Canada has so far received 26 requests from people who wish to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. (Sources: Toronto Star of 26 and 28 May 1999, AP of 27 May 1999) *** 2. USA: Government makes marijuana easier to get for research Research with government-grown marijuana is expected to become more common by December 1999 under new guidelines issued by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Under new rules, NIDA, one of the National Institutes of Health, will sell government marijuana to privately funded scientists whose research proposals have been approved. The Department of Health and Human Services said researchers seeking access to the drug must be involved in studies generally following guidelines from the Institute of Medicine report of March 1999. Government marijuana is grown on a small plot of land by the University of Mississippi under a contract with NIDA. Previously, only scientists who had won federal grants had access to that marijuana. And only a few such federal studies have been approved. The new guidelines were created after Cabinet-level discussions among agencies involved in America's war on drugs, including the Department of Health and Human Services, NIH's parent agency, plus the Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The University of Mississippi grows the government-approved marijuana on 1.8 acres at a closely guarded site. A crop is harvested on alternate years. So far that has been more than enough to supply the few approved researchers. If the new guidelines do prompt more research, the agency is prepared to grow more marijuana. The price of this cannabis has not been set, and the drug is not expected to be ready for researchers until December. In a press release of 27 May NIDA asks for "proposals from qualified organizations having the capability to grow, harvest, extract, analyse, store and manufacture marijuana cigarettes, and distribute cannabis, and marijuana cigarettes to NIH grantees and other researchers to support basic and clinical research." Chuck Thomas of the Marijuana Policy Project said his group is pleased the guidelines will encourage more research, but he said the action will not help patients in pain who need the drug now. "We're very disappointed that they failed to approve single-patient, compassionate use, as the Institute of Medicine had recommended," Thomas said. (Sources: Los Angeles Times of 21 May 1999, AP of 23 May 1999, PR Newswire of 21 and 24 May 1999, NIDA press release of 27 May 1999) *** 3. News in brief *** Great Britain: Britain's debate on legalizing cannabis for medical use was reignited on 20 May, after a record 89 MPs from across the political divide backed a private bill to lift the ban. Labour MP Paul Flynn, whose private bill on legalizing cannabis for use as a medicine is currently before parliament, asked the government to drop its cautious approach and allow sick people to benefit from the "3,000-year-old medicine." (Source: Reuters of 20 May 1999) *** USA: A first ID card for a medical marijuana patient has been issued in Oregon to a multiple sclerosis patient on 21 May. Alaska is expected to begin processing ID cards in June, too. 66 percent of Arizonans support doctors' authority to prescribe marijuana for patients, according to a poll by the Behavior Research Center in Phoenix. Californian B.E. Smith was found guilty on marijuana possession and cultivation despite possessing a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana. A judge ruled that the defendant's medically supervised use of the drug did not protect him from federal prosecution. (Sources: AP of 21 May 1999, The Arizona Republic of 22 May 1999, NORML of 25 May 1999) *** Germany: Conference: "Cannabis - a Plant with Many Facets" 29 September 1999, 3 to 7 p.m., Technical School Munster Organizers: Medical Association of Westphalia-Lippe, akzept, INDRO with: Professor Dr D Kleiber, Berlin: Cannabis Use in Germany - Data and Facts Dr F Nolte, Bremen: Cannabis as a Phenomenon of Youth Culture W Neskovich, Luebeck: About the Misery of Drug Policy - the Right of Intoxication Dr A Breiing, Munster: Cannabis and Alcohol - A Slightly Different View Dr M Schnelle, Berlin: Cannabis as Medicine Information: Dr Wolfgang Schneider, INDRO, e-mail: email@example.com *** Australia: Proposals to adopt the most liberal drug laws in Australia have been passed by the New South Wales Drug Summit. Proposed changes include removing jail terms for possession and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis as well as possession and sale of equipment like bongs. The government will have six weeks to decide if it will accept the 172 resolutions of the 200-plus politicians, experts and health workers who have been attending the week-long summit at parliament house. NSW Premier Bob Carr announced the formation of a top-level cabinet committee to formulate the government's response. (Sources: AAP of 20 and 27 May 1999) *** USA: The medical marijuana provided to patients in cannabis clubs usually contains much more THC than cannabis legally available to researchers and patients from the federal government, according to an analysis of 49 samples sponsored by California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marihuana Laws) and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The sample of the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) contained 3.9 percent THC, nearly all other samples tested over 8 percent, with averages in the range of 12.8 to 15.4 percent THC. (Source: California NORML of 21 May 1999) *** 4. THE COMMENT ... on the prospects of legal access to medical marijuana in Japan: "We always follow the lead of the United States. I believe that eventually legalization will happen here, but it will be a very slow process. Maybe 100 years." Koichi Maeda, author of "Marijuana Seishun Ryoko" (A Young Man's Marijuana Travels), a book that has sold 75,000 copies in Japan, Daily Yomiuri of 27 May 1999 *** Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM) Maybachstrasse 14 D-50670 Cologne Germany Phone: +49-221-912 30 33 Fax: +49-221-130 05 91 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: http://www.acmed.org If you want to be deleted from or added to the ACM-Bulletin mailing list please send a message to: email@example.com -------------------------------------------------------------------
The articles posted here are generally copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here for educational purposes under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107). NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and/or source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. The articles and information included here are not for sale or resale.
Comments, questions and suggestions.Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/
Next day's news
Previous day's news
to the 1999 Daily News index for May 28-June 3
to the Portland NORML news archive directory
to the 1999 Daily News index (long)
This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/ii/990530.html