LOS ANGELES TIMES
ANTIDEPRESSANT MAY HELP TREAT METH ADDICTION
A common antidepressant,
bupropion, can reduce the craving for methamphetamine,
providing the possibility of a drug treatment for the
powerfully addictive stimulant, according to a study by UCLA
researchers published today. Dr. Thomas F. Newton, a UCLA
psychiatrist who led the study, found that subjects who were
given bupropion reported a lesser high after a meth injection
as well as a less intense craving after watching a video of
actors favorably portraying meth use.
Although the four-week
study involved only 20 patients, its results were encouraging
because there is no drug treatment for methamphetamine
Bupropion, sold under the trade name Wellbutrin, has long been
used as an antidepressant and treatment to stop smoking. The
"study is provocative and potentially promising," said Dr.
Eric Collins, a psychiatry professor and drug expert at
Columbia University who was not involved in the research. A
related study, involving 120 patients, will be presented next
month at a National Institute for Drug Abuse meeting, said
that study's principal investigator, UCLA psychiatry professor
Richard A. Rawson.
"The new and larger trial
may be the real test of the
treatment," Collins said.
Most addicts are treated with counseling, and recovery rates
are low about 20%, experts say.
METH AND DESTRUCTION,
Mike's an addict from way
back. He's been addicted to some drug or another for decades,
but he said none has ever done to him what meth has. Mike's
name has been changed to protect his identity, and from an
interview in the Walker County Jail on Monday, he said meth is
a drug no one should touch.
"I started meth a couple of years ago," the
30-something-year-old man said. "I had always done marijuana."
Marijuana is the drug of
choice for many, but expedience is key, according to Mike, and
the timing issue led him to meth.
"I was on probation for marijuana," he said. "Marijuana stays
in your system longer than meth. Meth gets out of your system
in three days and you can pass a piss test."
METH AND DESTRUCTION,
The U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration ranks Texas the top-yielding state in the
nation for methamphetamine seizures. In 2002, approximately
288 pounds were seized. By 2004, that number jumped to about
1,481 pounds, an amount that could garner more than $28
million on the street.
METH AND DESTRUCTION,
As methamphetamine moves
from the rural Heartland into American cities, police, experts
and health officials sort through their toolbox for ways to
fight the epidemic. It's a challenge that can be seen from the
darting eyes of recovering users to the wringing hands of
concerned community members. But allowing use to spread
unimpeded is costly to the public pocketbook.
More than 12 million people in the United States have used
meth at least once, estimated a U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services survey. More women now use meth than cocaine.
Despite its spread,
methamphetamine remains a rural drug in much of the country.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
VIDEO OFFERS BRUTAL
GLIMPSE OF DRUG CARTEL
The four men sit bruised,
bloody and bound on the floor before a curtain of black
garbage bags. Prodded by an unseen interrogator, they coolly
describe how they enforce the rule of Mexico's Gulf cartel:
Enemies are kidnapped, tortured and shot in the head, their
bodies burned to ashes.
Among those killed, the
men say in a video sent to The Dallas Morning News,
were a radio reporter who "didn't want to work anymore" for
their cartel and a chamber of commerce leader who called too
loudly for federal help against the drug gangs. "Break him
because he is causing controversy," was the order from his
cartel boss, says one of the men.
After six minutes of such
confessions, a 9 mm pistol held by a black-gloved hand enters
the picture and fires a bullet into the head of one of the
self-proclaimed killers. Authorities on both sides of the
border said the interrogation video appears genuine, offering
a rare and extraordinary look into the Gulf cartel's inner
workings and its well-armed allies, known as the Zetas. They
also said the crude home movie raises unsettling questions
about the cartels' possible reach into Mexico's government,
military and media though a government spokesman said that
impression could be misleading.
TAPED KILLING A 'WAY TO
They're the latest weapon
in the drug war: videotaped executions. Like tapes of
beheadings made by terrorists, these videos can show in
graphic detail the consequences of crossing the drug cartels.
"This is what you do in
wars," said an investigator familiar with the video.
Those who put it together
and distributed it, the investigator said, clearly wanted to
unnerve the Zetas, whose men are being interrogated on camera.
INMATES TRY BOOT CAMP
FOR KICKING DRUGS
In this remote section of
Minnesota woods, the 14 prisoners of Echo Squad march in
seamless military formation, dressed in neat khakis and blue
hats, repeating cadence calls that are more Dr. Phil than
Sergeant Hartman: "Now
it's time to be a man; fix our problems while we can.
Restorative justice, giving back; trying to get our lives on
The men are almost done
with the boot-camp portion of a Minnesota program that gives
early release to nonviolent drug offenders, most of whom are
in on methamphetamine-related crimes. (A similar camp exists
for women inmates.) The state's program has become a rare
model. At a time when the federal and several state
governments are moving away from boot-camp programs, Minnesota
is showing how nonviolent drug offenders can return to society
and remain sober.
With meth use becoming a
serious problem across the Midwest and West, states are
fighting back by restricting the sale of ingredients, like
cold medicines, used to make the drug and increasing mandatory
minimum sentences. The House of Representatives is considering
a bill that would do both at a federal level.
But some states are also
seeing economic and social benefits by replacing prison time
with treatment, particularly with those who are in the drug
business because of a personal addiction rather than for
profit. Proponents say they alleviate the growing burden on
prisons and improve the chances that drug offenders will be
able to kick their habit and return to society.
LUMMIS ENLIST FIRE, AN
OLD ALLY, AS THEY BATTLE SCOURGE OF DRUGS
LUMMI NATION, Whatcom
County It began quietly with the beat of a single elk-skin
drum. Then came the songs and prayers, as powerful as the fire
set to this house to burn it to the ground. Painted
with red ochre for spiritual protection, Dorothy Charles, a
spiritual leader of the Nooksack tribe, led family members in
setting the house ablaze and, with it, trying to destroy the
scourge of drug abuse killing some Lummi people.
Boarded up, abandoned and
condemned, the house destroyed in a burning ceremony on the
Lummi reservation Thursday was last lived in by a renter who
used it, without the knowledge of its owners, to deal drugs. The
dealer is now in jail. The family that owns the home agreed to
the burning to cleanse the ground, and through the fire, bring
a fresh start not only to the family but to the tribe.
Of 170 babies born on the
reservation in 2003, 28 are believed to have been affected by
alcohol or drugs. The
Lummi have responded, beginning in 2002 with a communitywide,
anti-drug program that has thrown everything at the drug
problem, from detectives and prosecuting attorneys to drug
testing, surveillance cameras and even banishment of dealers
from the reservation. And
still it is not enough. To begin the healing, the tribe has
returned to the teachings of its ancestors.
COURT REBUFFS STATE
PROSECUTORS ON DWI DEVICE
With hundreds of
drunken-driving cases in limbo, a state appellate panel
yesterday ordered a new hearing to determine the reliability
of the device that is replacing the Breathalyzer.
The ruling is a defeat for
state prosecutors, who maintained that a Camden County judge's
2003 ruling established the accuracy of the Alcotest 7110
MKIII-C. But because no appellate court reviewed that
decision, defense lawyers contended that it was not binding in
the state's 20 other counties.
Since the 2003 ruling, 10
counties besides Camden have deployed the Alcotest. The
remaining 10 are to use it by November.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
AGENTS HELD IN TAPED
Corrupt federal agents
working for drug traffickers are the primary authors of a
shocking video in which four enforcers for a rival cartel are
interrogated and one is shot in the head, a top Mexican
prosecutor said Thursday.
Eight federal agents and
two civilians are in custody, accused of kidnapping and
torturing the Nuevo Laredo-based Zetas, allies of the Gulf
cartel, said Deputy Attorney General José Luis Santiago
Vasconcelos. The eight are members of the elite Federal
Investigative Agency, modeled on the FBI. Three more agents
are considered fugitives, he added, and seven civilians are
still at large.
The video of the
interrogation and shooting was made public Thursday by The
Dallas Morning News, prompting Mr. Vasconcelos to hold a
news conference to respond to the graphic revelations.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
MEXICO TO EXTRADITE
MORE SUSPECTS TO U.S.
Mexico's Supreme Court
agreed Tuesday to allow the extradition of criminal suspects
who face life sentences abroad, clearing the way for thousands
of alleged killers and drug traffickers to stand trial in the
United States. The court's 6-5 vote ends four years of
wrangling between the U.S. and Mexican governments over murder
suspects who have been protected by Mexico's ban on life
U.S. lawmakers this fall threatened to cut off millions of
dollars in aid to Mexico unless it turned over suspects in a
number of high-profile cases, including the fatal shootings of
a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and a Denver police
detective. Since 1978, Mexico has barred the extradition of
its citizens accused of crimes that carry the death penalty.
The Mexican Supreme Court extended the extradition ban in
October 2001 to Mexicans facing life in prison, a penalty the
court said violated the country's constitution as a cruel and
COCAINE'S NEW ROUTE-
DRUG TRAFFICKERS TURN TO GUATEMALA
attention focused elsewhere, Guatemala has quietly become the
transshipment point for more than 75 percent of the cocaine
smuggled into the United States, according to US authorities.
Loosely patrolled borders,
two coastlines, staggering corruption, lax enforcement, and
judicial impunity have long made Guatemala a favored transit
point for contraband. But with US resources channeled toward
battling drugs in Colombia and terrorism in the Middle East,
organized crime has made even more dramatic inroads here in
the past several years.
In the first half of this
year, traffickers moved 90 percent of US-bound cocaine through
Central America, much of it through Guatemala, a top US Drug
Enforcement Administration official told Congress this month.
As Mexico has stepped up antidrug patrols and interdiction in
recent years, traffickers are increasingly looking to
Guatemala as a dropoff point for their payloads.
ALITO FOES FOCUS ON
DRUG CASE AS OMEN ON PRIVACY
A key battleground in the
fight over Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. has
become his ruling last year in favor of police officers who
searched a 10-year-old girl during a raid on a suspected drug
house. Liberals accuse Judge Alito of generally supporting
police searches of children and frame his dissent in Doe v.
Groody as part of a broader hostility toward "privacy rights."
Judge Alito's defenders
say the liberal attacks oversimplify the case to the point of
dishonesty and distort his ruling. Judge Alito's dissent, they
say, was not a policy statement supporting the strip-search of
children, but rather an opinion saying that officers were
immune to a civil lawsuit filed by the drug suspect over the
search of his daughter.
LAWMAKER WANTS TO LOWER THE DRINKING AGE FOR TROOPS
A Portsmouth lawmaker wants to
lower the drinking age for troops. State Rep. James Splaine
said his bill would let the youth over 18 use their military
identification card to buy alcohol. The current drinking age
is 21. "I think it is unconscionable for us to be sending you
people into battle and still be saying there are some rights
you don't have and one of them is the right to drink," said
Splaine, a Democrat.
Critics of Spline's bill say
alcohol inhibits brain development in the young and would put
New Hampshire's federal highway funding at risk. Federal law
conditions the aid on the drinking age being 21.Splaine said
he would make the age change in New Hampshire conditional on
winning a waiver from the federal government so highway aid
would not be affected.
"I think this will be a good
debate to have," said Splaine. "I don't know if the bill
stands a chance of passage, but we need to generate the
discussion on how to best educate people to handle alcohol.
Age doesn't seem to be the main element."
STUDY: METH LINKED TO
For the first time,
researchers studying childhood deaths in Arizona looked behind
the statistics to determine what really led to a youngster's
The answer, in one out of five cases where the death was a
result of maltreatment, was methamphetamines. The Arizona
Childhood Fatality Review Team's annual report, released
Tuesday, showed that 21 of the 102 child deaths linked to drug
and alcohol use by a parent or caregiver in 2004 were due to
meth. Alcohol and other drugs contributed to 10 percent of all
childhood deaths last year, with alcohol identified in 50 of
Unlike the previous 11 years, researchers dug through the case
histories of the 1,048 child deaths in 2004 to find the root
cause of their deaths.
Instead of listing a child's death as caused by falling from a
window, for example, researchers looked for reasons why the
child fell, namely inattentiveness by parents or caregivers
who were using drugs and alcohol at the time.
In a precedent-setting decision, the Hawai'i Supreme Court
ruled yesterday that women cannot be prosecuted for the death
of their children caused by detrimental conduct while
pregnant. The ruling reversed a manslaughter conviction for a
32-year-old Kane'ohe woman whose newborn infant died because
she smoked crystal methamphetamine during her pregnancy.
The high court ruled that the homicide prosecution of Tayshea
Aiwohi did not fall under state law because her unborn child
was not a "person" when she smoked the drug. No court in
America has upheld a homicide conviction based on a mother's
conduct while pregnant. An offshoot of the Hawai'i Supreme
Court decision is that it suggests a person who injures a
pregnant woman cannot be prosecuted for the death to her
DRUG DOUBLES FATAL CRASH RISK
Driving after taking even small
amounts of cannabis almost doubles risk of a fatal road
accident, research suggests.
The French National Institute
for Transport and Safety Research found evidence of cannabis
use among 7% of drivers involved in fatal crashes. However,
the figure was dwarfed by the 21.4% who tested positive for
alcohol consumption. The British Medical Journal study was
based on 10,748 drivers involved in fatal crashes between
2001 and 2003.
All of the drivers had
compulsory tests for drugs and alcohol. The researchers
found the risk of being responsible for a fatal crash
increased as the blood concentration of cannabis increased.
While even small amounts of cannabis could double the chance
of a driver suffering an accident, larger doses could more
than triple the risk. The findings also showed 2.9% of
drivers tested positive for both cannabis and alcohol use.
HEAVY SMOKERS COULD BE
DENIED NHS TREATMENT
Patients with illnesses deemed to
be 'self-inflicted' could be denied treatment under guidance
introduced by the drugs rationing watchdog. Heavy drinkers or
smokers and those who are overweight could all be refused
help. Patients' groups last night demanded to know how far the
definition of 'self-inflicted' illness might go.
They are concerned it could
also cover conditions such as sports injuries. Details of the
guidelines emerged days after health trusts in Suffolk
announced that obese patients would be banned from having knee
and hip replacements. It appears in a document produced by the
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to help
decide how new drugs and treatments could best be employed.
In the section on self-induced
illnesses, the document, entitled Social Value Judgments, says
treatment could be withheld if the selfinflicted cause of the
illness affects the 'clinical or cost effectiveness' of a drug
LOWERING THE DRINKING AGE INCREASES CAR CRASHES AMOUNG YOUTH,
STUDY FINDS: INJURIES; DEATHS ON THE RISE AFTER NEW ZELAND
Lowering the drinking age causes a dramatic increase in
alcohol-related car crashes among young people, according to a
new study based on data from New Zealand, where the government
dropped the drinking age to 18 six years ago. This evidence
is significant for the United States, because drinking and
driving patterns among young people are similar. Theres
continuing pressure in the United States, particularly from
alcohol industry interests, to reduce the minimum legal
drinking age. Currently, five states have pending legislation
to lower their drinking age.
There is no traffic safety
policy with more evidence for its effectiveness than minimum
legal drinking age laws, said Robert B. Voas, Ph.D., an author
of the study. Traffic crashes by young drivers were declining
in New Zealand when that country decided to lower its drinking
age. Thereafter, the overall road toll for those drivers rose
dramatically. People in the United States who argue for
lowering the drinking age should pay attention. Voas, a senior
research scientist at PIRE Public Services Research Institute,
has studied alcohol-related traffic issues for more than three
The study, published in the
January edition of the Journal of American Public Health
Association, found that the rate of alcohol-related traffic
crashes with injuries among males increased 12 percent for 18-
to 19-year-olds and 14 percent among 15- to 17-year-olds in
the four years before and after the law changed. For females,
the rate increased 51 percent for 18- to 19-year-olds and 24
percent for 15- to 17-year-olds. The authors estimated that
400 serious injuries and 12 deaths a year among 15-19 year
olds could be avoided in New Zealand by raising the drinking
age. Most remarkable was the trickle-down effect that was seen
in the 15- to 17-year-olds, Voas said. Clearly, theyre getting
alcohol from older
THE STAR LEDGER
CAMDEN CRIME A
Fueled by the illegal drug
trade, Camden's crime problem is becoming Gloucester County's
headache. For the second straight year, Camden has been dubbed
the most dangerous city in America by city crime rankings from
Morgan Quitno in Lawrence, Kan. But crime in Camden is not
only caused by those who live in that city. It's just as much
the fault of Gloucester County residents and those from other
suburban communities, according to Camden County Prosecutor's
Office spokesman Bill Shralow.
Drug dealing is the core of
Camden's crime problem, Shralow said; however, between 60 and
70 percent of those arrested for trying to buy drugs in Camden
come from outside the city. "People in this area know that
Camden has somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 open-air drug
sets," Shralow said. "The narcotics trafficking wouldn't exist
-- at least not to the extent that it does -- without demand
from places like Gloucester County."
Each day, law enforcement
officials in Camden work to arrest dealers and buyers. Once
they are out of jail, though, many go right back to what they
were doing. "It's a big hill to climb," Shralow said. "We've
put a considerable amount of focus on targeting buyers and
trying to reduce the suburban
THE SAN FRANSICO
SACRAMENTO HIGH COURT TO RULE ON MEDICAL POT FIRING
The state Supreme Court waded into the conflict between state
and federal drug laws Wednesday and agreed to decide whether
employees in California can be fired for using medical
marijuana. The justices granted a hearing on an appeal by Gary
Ross of Sacramento, who was fired after eight days of work as
a systems administrator for an information technology company
when he tested positive for marijuana on a pre-employment
physical exam. Chief Justice Ronald George and Justices Joyce
Kennard, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar and Carlos Moreno, a majority
on the court, voted to review the case.
The ruling will determine
whether Proposition 215, the 1996 initiative that legalized
marijuana for medical purposes in California, protects
employees who can show that they are capable of doing the job.
In his lawsuit, Ross said he had suffered back injuries while
in the Air Force, started using marijuana with his doctor's
approval in 1999 and was able to work without impairment. He
was hired by Ragingwire Telecommunications in September 2001
but fired after the company received results of his drug test.
Two Flagler County elementary
school pupils were arrested last week after pretending a
plastic bag of parsley was marijuana.
An arrest report by Cpl. Don
Apperson, a school resource deputy with the Flagler County
Sheriff's Office, said the two girls, each 10-year-old pupils
at Old Kings Elementary School, were showing classmates a
plastic bag with a green leafy substance they said was
School officials learned of
the alleged bag of marijuana and called the girls into a
conference with their parents. The girls admitted they did not
have marijuana and said that the bag of parsley, which they
brought to school in their book bags, was a prank, the report
said. The girls were charged under a state law that makes it a
crime to claim that a substance is a drug -- whether or not
the item is intended for sale or distribution, according to
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debra Johnson. They were taken to
the Flagler County Inmate Facility and later released to their
The girls were also suspended
from school and ordered to attend drug awareness
HERE ARE THE RESULTS
SO FAR FROM THE WISCONSIN POLL TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA:
PLEASE ADD YOUR VOTE TO OVER TURN
A TV station in WI is doing an
online poll on MedMJ.