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Drug Headlines across the U.S. November 19 Edition

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. It is nice to take time out of our incredibly hectic schedules to just reflect on all the accomplishments this past year has brought our way. Helping that person find treatment for their addiction, teaching or training others in the field, working on policy issues, or making a difference to those parents who are struggling day to day trying to save their childs'' life, is what we work so hard to do. I am thankful for you all and proud to work in this field along side of you!
Enjoy your Holiday and don't forget to your blessing!
Sharon L. Smith
Box 450
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
One of the hottest-selling T-shirts around the country shows a simply drawn snowman with a menacing _expression. It's not Frosty's evil twin. The image popularized by drug-dealer-turned-rapper Young Jeezy symbolizes those who sell a white substance known on the street as snow: cocaine.
Anti-drug campaigners and education officials are alarmed, saying the T-shirt and others like it are part of sophisticated marketing campaigns using coded symbols for drug culture that parents and teachers are not likely to understand. Some schools are banning kids from wearing the snowman images.

"The snowman is made of white, grainy stuff like sugar," said 12-year-old seventh-grader Mailik Mason, standing next to his mother in a Manhattan store selling the snowman shirts. "It has to do with a certain drug, crack or coke."

"This is part of a phenomena in which parents have no idea what their children are exposed to. There is a code that children are aware of but not parents," says Sue Rusche, president and CEO of the anti-drug group National Families In Action. http://edition.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/07/snowman.tshirt.ap/

NEW YORK TIMES                                                                                                                                                                           
King Pharmaceuticals  has obtained the rights to an abuse-resistant version of the widely used painkiller OxyContin from Pain Theraputics, a biotechnology company, the two companies plan to announce today. King will pay Pain Therapeutics $150 million at the outset and up to $150 million more depending on progress in gaining regulatory approval for the drug, Remoxy, and in the development of other abuse-resistant opioid painkillers.

King, which is based in Bristol, Tenn., will also pay research and development costs and royalties to Pain Therapeutics. Remoxy, like Oxycontin made by Purdue Pharma, releases the narcotic oxycodone slowly over a matter of hours. But people have figured out how to extract OxyContin's entire dose at once, producing a euphoric high. Pain Therapeutics says this cannot easily be done with Remoxy because the drug is encased in a sticky, highly viscous material that resists crushing, snorting, injecting or dissolving in alcohol.

King and Pain Therapeutics, which is based in South San Francisco, Calif., said they planned to begin a final-stage clinical trial in January. If the trial is successful, they said, they plan to file an application in 2007 for approval of Remoxy. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/10/business/10drugs.html?pagewanted=print

SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE                                                                                                                   
MARIJUANA CRACKDOWN                                                                                                                          

Drug traffickers have found another way to get marijuana into the county: They grow it locally. Law enforcement officials said yesterday that San Diego County is ranked fourth in the state for the amount of pot plants seized on public lands, surpassing longtime pot-growing leaders Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties.

Beefed-up security at the U.S.-Mexico border since 9/11 is one of the reasons so much more of the drug is being grown here, said Jack Hook, assistant special agent in charge of the San Diego Drug Enforcement Administration. He said it is easier for Mexican nationals to grow marijuana locally than to try to smuggle it across the border.                                     http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20051115/news_1n15crops.html

FT WAYNE JOURNAL GAZETTE                                                                                                                
DRUG TESTING IS GIVING STUDENTSD REASONS TO SAY NO                                                                
Random drug testing of students is most successful in giving students an excuse to stay away from drugs, school officials who oversee such policies say. But the actual success of the programs has been debated nationally, and even schools that have random drug testing often don’t know whether it’s reducing the number of students who use drugs.

That is one of the areas Southwest Allen County Schools will study as it goes through its program over at least the next three years. And Manchester High School is participating in a national study to determine what combination of random drug testing and education is most effective.

Randy Self, assistant principal at Manchester High School, said the school is in its second year of the Institute for Behavior and Health study. The institute is a Maryland-based non-profit organization that focuses on national polices on preventing and treating drug abuse. “We kind of fell into a wonderful opportunity,” Self said.                                                                             http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/local/13157543.htm

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                                                                     
U.S. DRUG CZAR LAUNCHES ANTI-METH TV ADS                                                                                     

The nation's drug czar launched an ad campaign Monday encouraging communities across the country to help in the fight against methamphetamine. The 30-second public service announcements were introduced on television Monday in Springfield, in southwestern Missouri, which leads the nation in illegal meth lab seizures. The ads will run in 22 other cities in coming weeks.

The campaign comes as the Bush administration and many states are stepping up efforts to stop the spread of meth, an addictive stimulant that can be prepared or "cooked" in makeshift labs with over-the-counter cold tablets and common household chemicals.The ads warn of the harmful effects of meth labs on communities. Viewers are referred to a Web site, http://www.drugfree.org/Meth, with information about toxic byproducts, crime, and the plight of the children of meth cookers and addicts.

"The meth problem needs the individual contribution of more citizens in their neighborhoods and their communities," said John Walters, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.                        http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1155AP_Methamphetamine.html

NEW YORK TIMES                                                                                                                             
DOCTORS PONDOR DRUGS FOR SLEEPLESS NIGHTS OF ADOLESCENTS                                           

When is it a good idea for an adolescent to take a sleeping pill? There is reason to suppose the answer may be never. No prescription sleep aids are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in people under 18, largely because they have not been well studied in children. But children do take sleeping pills.

In 2004, more than 180,000 people under age 20 in the United States - most of them 10 or older took sleep medications, according to estimates released last month by Medco Health Solutions, a large managed-care company. Although that represents only about one child in 500, Medco found that usage was up by 85 percent since 2000.

The numbers reported by Medco were somewhat mysterious: the company's report did not indicate why the pills were prescribed for the patients under 18, or which pills were prescribed for them. That makes some doctors worry that the large increase may reflect a certain amount of unnecessary prescribing.

To some extent, not sleeping enough is a normal part of adolescence. Teenagers are generally inclined to stay up late, thanks in part to the stimulation of things like television, homework, instant messaging and soft drinks spiked with caffeine. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/15/health/15cons.html?pagewanted=print&oref=login

On Wednesday, November 23rd, at 4:00 pm, The Oprah Winfrey Show is scheduled to air an episode called "Meth in America."  This is a follow up to an Oprah show several months ago during which Oprah interviewed a female methamphetamine user and assisted her to enter a treatment facility.  This upcoming episode will also feature an interview with Jay Dagenhart, a recovering crystal meth addict from Philadelphia and the president and co-founder of the Philadelphia Crystal Meth Task Force.  His episode promises to be a frank and moving narrative about the depths of his addiction and the ongoing process of his recovery.  I urge you to watch this episode if you can and alert others to it.  Jay will also be featured on an hour long episode of Oprah's cable show, Oxygen, which immediately follows The Oprah Winfrey Show on cable.
If you are unable to watch the episode, you can read about it on these websites:  Oprah.com and Oxygen.com.


(Washington, D.C.)—The Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Education today announced the release of Federal grants for schools to implement random student drug testing programs to help more young Americans avoid the trap of addiction. Student drug testing grants extend the benefits of early intervention programs that have been proven in government, military, education, transportation, and private sector workplaces. Student drug testing is part of a balanced strategy that places appropriate emphasis on treatment, community action, and prevention.

"Parents and school administrators are not powerless against the drug problem. Random student drug testing is a powerful, proven tool that communities can use to prevent drug use and identify young people who have started on the path toward drug addiction," said John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "Drug testing makes our young people safer and helps shield them against a major public health threat that has ruined so many lives. While youth drug use is down 17 percent over the last three years, there are still too many teens using drugs. That is why we must continue to develop programs, such as random student drug testing that prevents use and provides needed treatment to those who have already begun."

"Drug use interferes with a student's ability to learn. It also disrupts the orderly environment necessary for all students to succeed. Reducing the likelihood of disruptive behaviors benefits everyone," said U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. "The 55 grants going to over 350 schools through this program are investing in a worthwhile and beneficial tool by helping to reduce the number of students who are using drugs."

The U.S. Department of Education's Student Drug Testing Demonstration Grants are part of the solution. Fifty-five grants were awarded to school districts that will go to fund random student drug testing programs in 352 schools. The competitive grant program supports schools in the design and implementation of a confidential and non-punitive program to randomly screen selected students and to intervene with assessment, referral, and intervention for students whose test results indicate they have used illicit drugs.

Schools must evaluate the effectiveness of their programs as a provision of receiving a grant. Drug testing should be one part of a broad prevention program that also includes intervention and treatment. The expectation that they may be randomly tested is enough to make some students stop using drugs—or never start. Drug testing creates a culture of disapproval toward drugs. Children know that the adults in their school and community expect them to remain drug-free. In an environment of relentless peer pressure, drug testing gives students a definitive reason to say no and provides the armor they may need to justify their decision.

The purpose of drug testing is not to punish students who use drugs, but to help those in trouble by preventing drug use and helping drug-using students become drug-free in a confidential manner. The results of a positive drug test should be used to intervene with not-yet-dependent students and get drug-dependent students into effective treatment. After assessing the extent of the problem, parents and administrators can recommend further prevention activities such as education on the negative effects of drugs, counseling, or if necessary, drug treatment.