A group of House Democrats will
unveil a plan today to give Hurricane Katrina victims with
prior drug convictions access to federal benefits such as food
stamps, public housing and student loans.The Elimination of
Barriers for Katrina Victims Act would suspend for three years
the restrictions that prevent drug offenders from getting
federal assistance. The bill applies to residents of
Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.
"The bill does not affirm or
support acts of crime, (but) it should not be labeled or
stigmatized," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, one of
the sponsors. "These are individuals who have lost everything
and to a great extent are victims."Barring some displaced
residents from federal aid opportunities, she said, "only
fosters a cycle of poverty."
Supporters predicted the
legislation would help thousands of displaced residents but
conceded that the bill faces a tough fight in Congress.
THE DAYTON BEACH NEWS
DRUG CZAR: PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE KILLING US
Every day, six people die in Florida from lethal doses of
prescription drugs, the state's drug czar said Friday. Jim
McDonough, director of the Florida Office of Drug Control,
told about 100 people at a 2005 Red Ribbon luncheon at Daytona
Beach Community College that improper use of prescription
drugs, primarily pain pills, is the main drug problem the
state is facing.
He said prescription-drug
death rates now exceed the combined total of heroine and
cocaine deaths. "The addict finds a more attractive high off
prescription drugs, but he's also getting a more fatal high,"
McDonough said prior to the luncheon.The issue is so urgent,
he said, his office will push again next spring for
legislation that would put a computer network system in place
for doctors and pharmacists to see what prescription drugs
people are already receiving when they come in for a
The system would prevent
people from going to multiple doctors and pharmacies to get
multiple prescriptions. Similar systems are in place in two
dozen other states, he said. The program would cost about $3
million and primarily be paid for through federal dollars, he
SALT LAKE CITY TRIBUNE
PREGNANCY, DRUG ABUSE
AND JAIL STIR EMOTIONS
Tammaria Gehring is more
than eight months pregnant. Until Sept. 22, when she was
locked up in the Salt Lake County Jail, the 30-year-old mother
of two was living in a motel room and using methamphetamine.
Were it not for a judge who personally lobbied Salt Lake
County Sheriff Aaron Kennard to book her - against Kennard's
strict policy not to book pregnant women - Gehring would still
be out, possibly doing drugs, despite a felony drug
charge and violations of her pre-sentencing release.
Those in the criminal
justice system who handle cases such as this say there is
little they can do to stop pregnant women from using drugs and
risking the health of the unborn children. Third District
Judge Terry Christiansen said he cannot court order inpatient
drug treatment programs for such women until they have been
sentenced. Even when they test positive for drugs, a violation
the terms of their pre-sentencing release, the judge can't get
them jailed because the sheriff will turn them away.
While jails are revolving
doors for drug addicts, the Salt Lake County jail refused to
let Gehring in the door on more than one occasion when it
found out she was pregnant and at high risk for complications.
Kennard said pregnant women who abuse drugs are a legal and
financial liability to the jail. "She was not [initially]
admitted because of medical reasons," Kennard said. "Being a
high-risk pregnancy, this is not something the jail is
prepared to handle."
The sheriff said a
high-risk pregnancy that ends badly could "bankrupt" the
county. "It's not my responsibility to medically take care of
But the judge did not want Gehring to walk. Two lives were at
MEDICAL MARIJUANA MAY NEED NEW TOURCHBEARERS
About 50 medical marijuana activists rallied under Wednesday's
leaden skies near the United Nations Plaza farmers market,
wielding a bullhorn and picket signs to demand that federal
officials act on a formal request to loosen the drug's ban.
This weekend, "Guru of Ganja" Ed Rosenthal of Oakland hosted a
"Wonders of Cannabis" festival in Golden Gate Park featuring
joint-rolling contests and an appearance by comedian and noted
stoner Tommy Chong.
Mixed messages, some drug
policy experts say sadly. "Sometimes I think cannabis
activists are their own worst enemies," said University of
California, Berkeley public policy professor Robert MacCoun.
"They rely too heavily on a 1960s countercultural playbook,
but it's precisely that kind of association that inflames
opponents." Rosenthal insists McCoun and other critics miss
the point: The Bay Area supports medical marijuana, and the
ease with which the region has assimilated it should be a
model for the rest of the nation.
"It's not like we're trying to
be far out, we're just appealing to a rainbow," he said.
"Marijuana is the one issue that crosses gender, age, ethnic
and political lines ... There's only one group that's opposed
to marijuana and that's the criminal justice system. It's fat
in the budget for them and they don't want to lose it." Part
of the festival's proceeds benefits Green Aid, a medical
marijuana legal defense and education fund that's defraying
legal costs for defendants including Rosenthal himself, as he
appeals his 2003 federal conviction and one-day jail sentence
for growing marijuana.
THE DENVER POST
DENVER POT ISSUE PASSES BY THIN MARGIN
Denver residents Tuesday voted to legalize possession of small
amounts of marijuana, but the state attorney general said the
vote was irrelevant because state law will still be enforced.
The measure passed 54 percent to 46 percent. "It just goes to
show the voters of Denver are fed up with a law that prohibits
adults from making a rational, safer choice to use marijuana
instead of alcohol," said Mason Tvert, executive director of
Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, or SAFER.
The measure will change the
city's ordinance to make it legal for adults 21 and older to
possess up to an ounce of marijuana in the city. Denver
follows the city of Oakland, which last year voted to make
marijuana possession its lowest enforcement priority and
required the city to develop a plan for licensing and taxing
the sale, use and cultivation of marijuana for private use.
Voters in Telluride Tuesday defeated a similar measure.
SANTA CRUZ SENTENEL
STATE TO TAX MEDICAL MARIJUANA
The state approved a policy this week that opens the door for
medical marijuana distributors to collect and pay state sales
tax. The policy, while requiring marijuana retailers to feed
state coffers just like department stores or any other
California retailer, also considers their unique fear of being
targeted by federal authorities because of legal questions
surrounding their product.
While California approved
medical marijuana in 1996, it remains illegal under federal
law. Under the new policy passed by the state Board of
Equalization, businesses can get what is known as a sellers
permit, allowing them to collect sales tax, without indicating
whether their merchandise is lawful to sell.
Like the federal government,
the state Board of Equalization considers any kind of
marijuana sale to be unlawful. "We didn't want to
inadvertently be in the position of putting medicinal
marijuana dealers in a trouble spot," said board member Betty
T. Yee of San Francisco.
DEATH OF MINEAPPOLIS GIRL, 11
As police announced Friday that a cocaine overdose caused the
death of an 11-year-old girl found off of a south Minneapolis
street, Indian and community leaders implored people with
information about the death to come forward. "We are
investigating this as if it were a homicide," Police Chief
William McManus told several hundred people gathered at an
outdoor memorial service for Sidney Mahkuk. "An 11-year-old
girl doesn't wind up dead of her own volition on a sidewalk at
2:30 in the morning."
A few feet away from McManus,
on the boulevard outside 2531 Columbus Av. S., a memorial of
flowers, stuffed animals, eagle feathers and notes was spread
over the spot where Sidney's body was found two weeks ago
tomorrow. Capt. Rich Stanek said police met with Sidney's
family Friday to discuss the results of toxicology tests that
showed she died of a cocaine overdose. He said there was no
measurement, as there is with alcohol, to tell how much
cocaine she ingested. But it was lethal.
"I don't know of anybody else
that young to die of a drug overdose," said Stanek, who heads
the homicide and criminal investigation unit. Stanek said
police have received information from Sidney's family and
others, which investigators have aggressively pursued since
she was found Oct. 23. "We will not stop until we find out who
is responsible for the death of Sidney Mahkuk," Stanek said.
"That's what we have pledged to the family."
Thanks to Arizona
H.I.D.T.A., Demand-Reduction Program: Drug-Free Workplaces,
Communities and Schools for this information:
Drug Courts: An Effective Strategy for Communities Facing
From the Bureau of
Justice Assistance (BJA), drug courts can be used effectively
for methamphetamine-addicted offenders. The BJA report offers
recommendations for drug courts on addressing the meth-using
population such as:
- Strategies should
include random, unannounced home visits and drug testing,
using probation and law enforcement officers who are
trained in detecting methamphetamine laboratories and use
for intensive supervision and monitoring
- Increase frequency of
status hearing for the first 90 days
- Set short-term
- Ensure longer periods of
treatment that are relevant to the meth users
- Use cognitive-behavioral
treatment modalities, including treatment for co-occurring
mental health disorders
- Provide service
coordination and comprehensive case management, as well as
- Provide on-going support
meetings for those discharged
Significant Financial Benefits of Providing Substance Abuse
From researchers at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and
School of Public Health led by
Susan Ettner, Ph.D.. The California Department of Drug and
Alcohol Programs, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and
the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy
Research Program (SAPRP) provided primary support for the
study. The research team used data from 2,567 clients in 43
treatment programs in 13 California counties during 2000 and
2001, through the California Treatment Outcome Project (CalTOP).
The overview of findings comes from SAPRP’s media release on
the study results.
- $1 spent on substance
abuse treatment generates $7 in benefits for society
- Average cost of
treatment is $1,583
- Monetary benefits of
$11,487 are gained through reduced medical expenses,
reduced costs of crime and increased employment earnings
- Treatment costs of
clients who began with outpatient care totaled $838
compared to $2,791 for those who began in residential care
- Reductions were seen in
hospital inpatient, emergency room and mental health
services costs, but only the $223 reduction in emergency
room costs was statistically significant
- Reduction in the cost of
victimization and other criminal activities averaged
- No significant changes
were seen related to unemployment or disability costs.
However, welfare payments increased slightly, perhaps due
to increased referrals to public aid programs
[Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP).
Study published in Health Services Research journal, Online
publication date: 20-Oct-2005. Overview of findings at
HAVE AWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MEETHAMPHETAMINE
SEMINAR ON METHAMPHETAMINE IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY.
December 14 and 15, 2005 9 am - 4 pm both
Ken Dickinson and John Kriger
This event will provide
comprehensive information about one of the most difficult
drugs: methamphetamine. Methamphetamine manufacturing and use
has far reaching consequences: it presents safety and health
issues for children in the homes of users and manufacturers,
health risks to neighborhoods, and a multitude of treatment
and intervention issues. Day one includes in-depth
presentation about the effects and metabolism of
methamphetamine. In day two, participants will review methods
of intervention and treatment. You must attend both days.
12 contact hours toward CADC
certification being applied for.
THIS IS RESERVED SEATING
ONLY: YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER TO ATTEND!
Contact Cyndi at 609 777-0748. Directions to the location will
be sent as confirmation of your registration. If you have
special need, or accommodation issues, please provide that
information when you call to register.
About the presenters:
Ken Dickinson and John Kriger have presented vital information
to thousands of parents, teachers, law enforcement officers
and preventionists and counselors nationally and
internationally for over 20 years. Both presenters have a
background in the treatment of individuals with co-occurring
Ken is a registered pharmacist
with an extensive background in addiction recovery and
treatment. He is a uniquely gifted presenter and a nationally
recognized expert on addictions, presenting at the Utah and NJ
summer schools of addiction studies, and other venues. He is
an instructor at Drexel University and is a consultant to the
Major League Philadelphia Phillies.
John is a nationally
recognized trainer, licensed addictions counselor & prevention
specialist providing services for numerous state, national and
international agencies and private organizations. His clients
include: The Drug Enforcement Administration, The National
Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, Rutgers Univ. School of
Alcohol Studies and School of Social Work, the Bermuda Council
on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions
of America, The NJ, Tenn. and Iowa National Guard, numerous
school districts and other organizations.