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MOMSTELL January 7, 2006 Edition

GW Pharmaceuticals Plc has won approval from U.S. regulators to conduct a pivotal Phase III study into its cannabis-based medicine Sativex as a treatment for cancer pain, the drug company said on Wednesday.GW expects to start testing the product, which is sprayed into the mouth, in U.S. patients with advanced cancer later this year.

The randomised clinical trial will involve 250 people and is likely to last between 24 and 36 months, suggesting Sativex will not be ready for launch in the U.S. marketplace until towards the end of the decade.Canada became the first country in the world to approve Sativex in April 2005, for the relief of neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.

GW suffered a setback three weeks ago, however, when a British inquest found the death of a patient taking Sativex in an earlier clinical study was probably linked to the medicine.Sativex is GW's leading product and the source of most of the company's value. http://business.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=12622006

Rhode Island on Tuesday became the 11th state to legalize medical marijuana and the first since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that patients who use the drug can still be prosecuted under federal law.House lawmakers voted 59-13 to override a veto by Gov. Don Carcieri, allowing people with illnesses such as cancer and AIDS to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana to relieve their symptoms. The law requires them to register with the state and get a photo identification card.

Federal law prohibits any use of marijuana, but Maine, Vermont, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington allow it to be grown and used for medicinal purposes.The U.S. high court ruled on June 6 that people who smoke marijuana because their doctors recommend it can still be prosecuted under federal drug laws.

Federal authorities conceded they were unlikely to prosecute many medicinal users, and Rhode Island lawmakers pressed on, passing their medical marijuana bill on June 7. http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2006/01/03/house_members_override_carcieris


The public was misled about the dangers of taking cannabis when the Government unwittingly decided to downgrade the drug less than a year ago, the Home Secretary admits today. In a damning assessment of the decision taken by his predecessor, David Blunkett, Charles Clarke said he is very worried about recent evidence suggesting a strong link between cannabis and mental illness. His remarks, made in an interview with The Times, come just weeks before he must decide whether or not to execute an embarrassing about-turn and restore the drugs Class B status.

Mr Clarke said there was an alarming lack of knowledge about the health dangers posed by the drug among the general public. He also admitted that many people had been left confused by the law change. Whatever happens after this, let me reveal one recommendation of the advisory committee, which they make very, very strongly, which is a renewed commitment to public education about the potential affects of the consumption of cannabis, and the legal status of cannabis. That is well made, and I will accept it.  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,17129-1970798,00.html                                                       

Researchers studying childhood deaths in Arizona say methamphetamines appeared to play a role in one out of five cases where the death was a result of maltreatment

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 care giver in 2004 were due to meth. Alcohol and other drugs contributed to 10 percent of all childhood deaths last year.
Researchers dug through the case histories of the 1,048 child deaths in 2004 to find the root cause of their deaths. "We need better funding for substance abuse programs," said Dr. Mary Rimsza, a pediatrician and Arizona State University researcher and professor who heads the yearly report. "Not put the children in foster care, but instead let the substance-using parent get help while still taking care of their children." http://kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=4183074&nav=HMO6HMaY
Congress found time to indulge its obsession about oil drilling in the Arctic refuge. It found time to snip a few more holes in the health care safety net for the poor, and to cobble together an extension of the Patriot Act. But when it came to the fight against methamphetamine, well, this Congress just didn't have the time.
Never mind that law enforcement officers in Oregon and many other states say that meth is the greatest single problem they face. Never mind that it is a leading contributor to child abuse and neglect. Never mind all the human misery and environmental pollution linked to what has become the drug of choice across much of the country.
In the end, all that lawmakers could offer meth-stricken communities was this: "Wait 'til next year." The die was cast when the Republican leadership chose to lump the meth legislation with the bill to extend the Patriot Act. Republicans pretended their aim was to "protect" the meth legislation, but it was really about trying to woo senators into supporting the Patriot Act extension.
In the end, though, this packaging was nothing more than a gift to the meth cooks and tweakers who are destroying families and spilling out of local jails.
That day, members of the congressional Methamphetamine Caucus bucked Republican leaders who were trying to pass a key spending bill on the House floor. Put more money into state and local anti-meth programs, they demanded, or we'll make you. As the amendments rolled in, it began to look as if the bipartisan coalition of Western and Midwestern lawmakers might have the votes to prevail.
Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, as chairman of a powerful House spending committee, was duty-bound to defend the budget against last-minute changes. But Wolf, who shared the firebrands' desire to do more about meth, made clear where his sympathies lay. "Whether you win or lose on this, we will get together and see what we can do," Wolf told the House. And, he challenged his colleagues to go further: Take on the lobbyists who for two decades had watered down regulations on cold medicines used to make meth.
"If you really want to do something, stand up to the drug industry, which this Congress will not do," Wolf declared.
America's teens are smoking less and popping pain pills more. The lure of the family medicine cabinet helped nearly one in 10 high school seniors to try prescription painkillers last year, even as their generation continued turning away, at least slightly, from smoking and many other drugs.

The decline in illicit drug use by teens was modest but continued a trend, according to the government's annual study of drug use by eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders.And while teen cigarette smoking fell to its lowest level since the survey began, eighth-graders showed their first increase since 1996 in smoking in the month before the survey.

The survey of nearly 50,000 teens found that 21.4 percent of eighth-graders had used some illicit drug in their lifetimes, down from 21.5 percent a year earlier. For 10th-graders, it was 38.2 percent, down from 39.8 percent, and for 12th-graders it was 50.4 percent, down from 51.1 percent.

Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called that continuing decline "quite remarkable news." But, she said, abuse of prescription drugs by teens is a growing problem. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/3545995.html 

MINNESOTA STAR TRIBUNE                                                                                                                               2 SCHOOL DISTRICTS CONSIDER RANDOM DRUG TEST FOR STUDENTS                                                     Random drug testing could come soon to Cass Lake-Bena and Forest Lake districts as parents and educators look for new ways to combat drug use by teens. The issue of drug use has dominated the headlines near Cass Lake in northwest Minnesota, where there were four separate homicides during two months this fall. Drugs are thought to have been a factor in some of those deaths.

It was enough to prompt Dan Ninham, the Cass Lake-Bena High School basketball coach, to suggest random drug testing for all middle and high school students involved in athletics and other extracurricular activities. It won't cure all the community's ills, he said, but it might help.

"I don't believe it's a hopeless situation,'' said Ninham. "This is just another avenue on how we can address what's going on within our own school. We've had a number of violent incidents in the last year, and if there's any connection to drugs and misuse of alcohol, if we can address it in that way that we can make it a positive, then that's what we're going to do for this.'' http://www.startribune.com/dynamic/mobile_story.php?story=5803252

'HOUSE PARTY" LAW HITS YOUNG PARTIERS HARDEST                                                                           
A new law that penalizes anyone caught hosting an underage-drinking party has nabbed dozens of young partiers, but comparatively few parents, a New Hampshire Union Leader analysis reveals. Court records show the vast majority of people arrested under the states house party law were in their teens or 20s. In 44 cases reviewed for this story, roughly three quarters of people charged were below the legal drinking age at the time of their arrest.

Within that same group, just four including a husband and wife who were charged together were over the age of 30. The reviewed cases, pulled from district courts across southern and central New Hampshire, represent one-third of the 130 cases filed statewide since the laws enactment in April 2004, according to data compiled by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Hopefully the lack of cases is an indication that its working, and not that its not being enforced, with respect to adults, said Jim Sawyer, who has prosecuted several house party cases for the city of Laconia. I would hope that parents have a little bit more common sense than some 17-year-old kid.

Marijuana advocates vowed today to put a statewide measure legalizing pot possession on the November ballot and mobilize an "army of new voters" to pass it. Mason Tvert, campaign director of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) said the campaign is fueled by frustration over Denver authorities' rejection of Initiative 100, which Denver voters passed Nov. 1, ostensibly making it legal for adults to possess up to one ounce of pot.
Denver leaders and law enforcement officials are continuing to ticket small-time pot violators state law.  The "Colorado Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative" would create an identical statewide adult exemption for pot possession up to one ounce, Tvert said, so Denver officials can no longer "ignore the will of the voters by hiding behind state law."

Tvert said SAFER will stick to the controversial campaign that apparently helped them pass the Denver initiative: Arguing that adults should have the right to choose marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol, which initiative backers blame for fueling violence and fatal car wrecks and alcoholism.                                                         http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/government/article/0,2777,DRMN_23906_4347332,00.html

LA TIMES                                                                                                                                                       PUTTING A CORK IN TEEN PARTIES
Known as "social host" laws, they are not intended to punish the parent who provides a glass of champagne for a special occasion, or families who introduce older children to alcohol with meals, advocates say.

Rather, supporters hope they will deter those who view teenage intoxication as a harmless rite of passage. Armed with studies showing that alcohol is involved in more teen deaths than all illegal drugs combined, advocates say it is time for attitudes about underage drinking to change.

"People say 'When I was a kid, drinking wasn't a big deal,' " said Ruth Cooper, spokeswoman for an Ojai parents' group called SAFE Coalition. "But youth are starting to drink at younger ages, they are drinking harder and faster, and they are combining alcohol with drugs. Communities need to step up to the plate and say enough is enough."

Local governments across Southern California have begun instituting similar policies, with varying success. San Diego County and several of its cities two years ago adopted social host legislation that made it a misdemeanor for adults to hold parties at which alcohol was served to minors.
But authorities stopped enforcing the law, which called for criminal rather than civil sanctions, after a three-judge Superior Court appellate panel last year ruled it unconstitutional. In November, Ojai gave initial approval to a version that imposes civil penalties on violators, an approach that backers believe will hold up in court.

Last year state officials sent Deangelo McMahan a certificate worth framing--a provisional mortgage loan originator's license that allowed him to gather financial records from homeowners and submit applications to banks. A quick background check might have made them think twice about the 31-year-old dealmaker.

Five months earlier, in April 2004, federal prosecutors had indicted McMahan and two of his brothers for running a curbside heroin, cocaine and marijuana market on Chicago's West Side. An informant had fingered McMahan as a leader of the Insane Mafia Vice Lords street gang.

The story of McMahan's metamorphosis from drug dealer to mortgage executive stretches from Chicago's West Side to its affluent suburbs and all the way to Russia. It involves allegations of using black market credit card information and the identities of dead people.
To get federal marijuana charges against their clients thrown out, some San Francisco defense attorneys are drawing comparisons between the charges and bias against Chinese laundries 120 years ago.

Attorneys for at least three defendants started filing motions to dismiss this month, in an attempt to persuade a judge that theirs is a case of "selective prosecution" because most of the 21 defendants are Asian-American.

Lawyers claim the government targeted their clients to portray the case as one against Asian gang members and guard against "political fallout" that might have arisen had they gone after Caucasian-run pot dispensaries.
Just two months after persuading Denver voters to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, proponents today will announce plans for a similar statewide initiative. The group Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, or SAFER, will hold a news conference in front of the state Capitol today to announce its filing of a proposed 2006 statewide ballot initiative.
Mason Tvert, SAFER's campaign director, declined Tuesday to give specifics of the campaign. The group would have to gather 67,829 signatures from registered voters to get the issue on the ballot.
The effort drew sharp criticism from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who said it would have a drastic impact on law-enforcement efforts in the state. While federal authorities could still pursue large-scale marijuana trafficking, local and state law-enforcement authorities would be forced to change their practices if the measure passed, Suthers said.
A few judges around South Florida are using new technology to monitor problem drinkers -- an anklet that detects alcohol consumption 24 hours a day. It's only been used a handful of times involving drunken driving and domestic violence cases since this summer, but the monitoring system shows promise. It can help provide greater scrutiny than random alcohol testing, advocates say.

Some judges say the monitoring system -- which tests a person's perspiration for signs of alcohol -- gives them another tool for controlling defendants with alcohol problems. Judges routinely order drunken-driving defendants not to use alcohol, which can be difficult to enforce.

The monitoring system is only a few years old, and its manufacturer is now trying to raise awareness about its benefits. Like global positioning devices that now are widely used to track sex offenders, Burton says the alcohol-detection system can provide a greater degree of public safety.

While methamphetamine production and use have been the top concerns for law-enforcement officials in Richland County for the past few years, another, more insidious offense has been brought to light: meth-related child endangerment.

Of all the information released in January 2005 by the House Republican Methamphetamine Crisis Task Force, no report was more shocking than the finding that, in the previous year, more than one-third of meth labs discovered by Illinois law enforcement were in homes with children present.
The official term is "drug-endangered child," and the dangers encountered by these children are manifold. Meth-lab children are often found living in squalid conditions and are dirty, thirsty and malnourished.

In addition to the dangers of neglect and physical and mental abuse from meth-using parents or other adults, the children live in the household equivalent of a minefield. They suffer often daily exposure to lethal chemicals and other hazardous materials, not to mention the threat of explosion due to the volatile nature of the meth-making process. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 20 to 30 percent of meth labs are discovered as a result of explosions or fires.

Perhaps the most damaging of meth's effect on children, however, is contamination, which can occur through absorption of chemicals through the skin, ingestion or inhalation of fumes. All three are common risks in meth labs, where chemicals are often left in unlabeled and unsecured containers or spilled onto floors and countertops and not properly cleaned, and where windows and other ventilation areas are often covered for privacy and to prevent the escape of the telltale smell.
It is widely known that Richland County is not immune to the many dangers of methamphetamine, and neither are its children.

"I've been working in this office for 11 years, and the first several years we did not have termination of parental rights cases," Richland County State's Attorney David Hyde said. "We're now filing a case a month, and they're almost all meth-related."

This is a trend that's been seen in several areas in the nation: The National Association of Counties released a survey in July that stated 40 percent of child-welfare officials in 13 states reported an increase in the past year in out-of-home placements due to meth.
ARIZONA CENTRAL                                                                                                                                         U.S. PAYS MEXICO TO SECURE BORDER
U.S. spending on military and police aid to Mexico has more than tripled in the past five years to $57.8 million with the hope it will help protect America's southern flank. But the funding also marks a dramatic shift in the relationship between the two countries, as Mexico, long wary of accepting military and police aid from its northern neighbor, becomes the third-biggest recipient in Latin America behind Colombia and Peru.

Arizona is the most popular corridor for illegal traffic across the U.S.-Mexican border. Migrants who have committed no crime in Mexico cannot legally be stopped from crossing into the United States by Mexican authorities. However, by equipping and training Mexican police and soldiers, the United States is hoping they will be able to stop drug smugglers and terrorists.

Some Mexicans worry about the impact of the increasing aid on the Mexican military, which has a checkered human rights record. Others wonder how the avalanche of funds and equipment will influence Mexico's independence in world affairs.

And some in the United States wonder if it's worth funding a government that has done little to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers announced an agreement on Wednesday to restrict the sales of cold medicines that can be used to manufacture the illegal and highly addictive drug methamphetamine. Under the proposal, Sudafed and similar medicines would have to be under lock and key in stores. Buyers would have to sign a sheet and show a driver's license. Purchases would be limited to one box a day and three boxes a month.

The legislation is attached to the renewal of the USA Patriot Act, which passed in the House on Wednesday but whose prospects in the Senate are uncertain. Thirty-four states have enacted similar restrictions, and these sorts of controls have long been advocated by officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who argue that controlling the supply of the medications is the best way to reduce  abuse. 
Action Alert
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
4900 Seminary Road, Suite 320
Alexandria, VA 22311

But With Your Help We Can Restore Funding This Year!

Despite our triumphs this past year, despite the U.S. General Accounting Office releasing a report earlier this year supporting the effectiveness of drug courts, despite our mounds of research on the effectiveness of the drug court approach, the Congress has decided to slash the Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program to $10 million. Many programs have been reduced to assist in the hurricane relief efforts. However, the drug court appropriation is lower than anticipated.

The NADCP Board of Directors and staff are actively working with the Congress to restore the Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 funding for drug courts. Although the FY 2006 appropriation for the Department of Justice has been finalized, the Congress still has several other mechanisms which can be utilized to restore the funding. However, this will only happen if the Congress hears from drug court professionals and graduates across the nation.

I ask you to take a minute to let your Members of Congress know of your disappointment and to urge them to restore FY 2006 funding. If they hear from you, if they hear from the 1600 plus drug courts, from the over 16,000 drug court professionals, from the over 16,000 annual drug court graduates, and from the over 70,000 current program participants they will realize the true meaning of their action. Go to www.nadcp.org and click on the link entitled "Restore Drug Court Funding" to send your letter today.




Contact:  Lana Beck
January 4, 2006  (727) 828-0211 or

(727) 403-7571 


Its a Sad Day for Children & Families of Rhode Island, Says Save Our Society


(St. Petersburg, FL) On June 30, 2005, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri wisely vetoed HB 6052 which would have allowed the use, cultivation and distribution of marijuana as a so-called medicine in his state. Yesterday, the legislature overrode his courageous attempt to protect Rhode Islands children and families, who are the ultimate victims of drug legalization. 


Statistics show that children are seriously impacted in many states that have legalized medical fraud marijuana. The usage rate for marijuana among juveniles in these states has increased drastically from 1999 to 2001. For example, California and Colorado had an increase double the national rate of 3.2%, Hawaii had quadruple the rate and Maine experienced a 54.4 % increaseabout a 175 times higher rate. In addition, between 1992 and 2001 there was a 49% increase in adolescent admissions to drug treatment programs. Of these, marijuana admissions rose from 23 to 62%. Apparently the Rhode Island legislature considers their community immune to this staggering impact, said Calvina Fay, Executive Director of Save our Society From Drugs


 Unfortunately, the Rhode Island legislature was deceived by the drug legalizers, concluded Fay. To date, Rhode Island is the only state out of twenty-two states that were targeted in 2005 by similar marijuana legislation to pass such a ridiculous bill. I dont understand it. This bill will not only have devastating effects on the family, it will completely cripple employers.  Schools and other employers, as well as landlords, can no longer refuse to enroll, employ or lease to those who smoke marijuana or to those who traffic in drugs as so-called caregivers.


Save Our Society From Drugs is dedicated to fighting drug use, drug addiction and drug trafficking and to promoting effective, sound drug policies, education and prevention. It is equally committed to exposing and refuting the drug legalization advocates and their deceptive tactics.


If you would like to set up an interview regarding this issue with Calvina Fay or several other drug policy and prevention experts, please contact Lana Beck, Director of Communications, at (727) 828-0211 or (727) 403-7571.