Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

April 11, 2004 Edition

  1. AFGHANS' OPIUM CROP MAY DOUBLE
  2. COURT: TONGUE STUD SKEWS ALCOHOL TEST
  3. MAINE TOPS MOST STATES IN PAINKILLER USE
  4. WHAT'S WITH ALL THE DUTCH ECSTASY?
  5. HEROIN INVASION SWEEPS KIDS INTO GRAVE: GRIP OF ADDICTION TORMENTING MORE TEENS
  6. BUDGET CUTS PUT FEDERAL DRUG ABUSE AID AT RISK
  7. DRUGS BLAMED FOR BIG GAINS IN FEMALE PRISON POPULATIONS
  8. BILL TO LOWER BLOOD-ALCOHOL LIMIT ADVANCES
  9. DARE GROUP TO WELCOME A CRITIC
  10. APPEALS COURT TODAY WILL HEAR LIMBAUGH'S CASE TO KEEP RECORDS SEALED
  11. POLICE SEEK HUNDREDS IN DRUG CRACKDOWN
  12. NEW POLICY WOULD BROADEN DRUG-TESTING METHODS
  13. COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT CALLS LEGALIZATION A FAILURE
  14. LEGALIZING DRUGS BACKFIRES

Hello,
 

Here are the headlines for the past week along with a featured parent group in California " Jenny's Journey"  In the attachment is an invitation to a meeting in Washington DC on Tuesday April 20th for ALL Members U. S. Congress  ¨Individuals and Parent Groups Devoted to Protecting  America’s Youth!

Sharon Smith
President-MOMSTELL
Box 450
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
www.momstell.com
 
 
1) AFGHANS' OPIUM CROP MAY DOUBLE --THE WASHINGTON TIMES  
Afghanistan's opium crop, the source of billions of dollars in illicit profits to heroin traffickers and other criminal organizations, including terrorists, could increase this year by as much as 100 percent, according to a top State Department official.
Left unchecked, the opium crop and the heroin it produces will undermine ongoing efforts to defeat terrorism and establish a democratic society in Afghanistan, Robert B. Charles, assistant secretary for the department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, warned a House subcommittee yesterday.
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040401-115450-2689r.htm   
 

2) COURT: TONGUE STUD SKEWS ALCOHOL TEST --
THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR  
An Indiana Court of Appeals ruling Friday could change the way the state's police deal with some drunken-driving suspects.  
In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled that a breath test given to a woman wearing a stainless steel stud in her pierced tongue is inadmissible in court because the stud is a "foreign" object.  
State law say a person "must not have put any foreign substance in his or her mouth . . . within 20 minutes prior to the time a breath sample is taken."  
Prosecutors said it was too soon to determine the impact of the ruling in the case involving Brenna Guy, 22, Indianapolis. 
Staci Schneider, spokeswoman for Attorney General Steve Carter, said the decision was likely to be challenged.  
Law enforcement officials said they might have to revisit the way they conduct breath tests.
http://www.indystar.com/articles/8/134761-1168-009.html 

 
3) MAINE TOPS MOST STATES IN PAINKILLER USE -- PORTLAND PRESS HERALD (ME)  
Mainers use more prescription painkillers than people in almost any other state, according to statistics that officials say help explain the state's growing problem with prescription drug abuse.
 
Maine ranked 7th in the nation in per capita consumption of oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, and was fourth in consumption of methadone, according to federal Drug Enforcement Administration data for 2002, the most recent available.
http://www.pressherald.com/news/state/040405drugs.shtml
SLATE
 
4) WHAT'S WITH ALL THE DUTCH ECSTASY? -- SLATE
Police in the United States and Canada have
busted a massive, Toronto-based ecstasy ring, resulting in over 145 arrests. According to authorities, the criminal enterprise imported powdered ecstasy from the Netherlands, pressed it into pills, then smuggled it across the border. Why don't American drug enterprises simply synthesize their own ecstasy, rather than import it from abroad?
 
Partly because of America's tough drug-enforcement regime and partly because of simple economics.
http://slate.msn.com/id/2098128/

 
5) HEROIN INVASION SWEEPS KIDS INTO GRAVE: GRIP OF ADDICTION TORMENTING MORE TEENS (Part 1 of 2) -- BOSTON HERALD  
Thanks to a chillingly sophisticated marketing strategy devised by South American drug lords, heroin has moved from back alley shooting galleries to suburban schools - from junkies to jocks.  

Fatal opiate overdoses among teens and young adults have tripled in Massachusetts over a four-year period. Hospitalizations have doubled. 

Today's heroin is dirt cheap, pure enough to snort and it's hooking kids barely into their teens across the state.
 
http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=3243

 
6) BUDGET CUTS PUT FEDERAL DRUG ABUSE AID AT RISK -- BOSTON GLOBE  
With New England in the midst of an epidemic of heroin use, Massachusetts is on the verge of forfeiting more than $9 million in federal aid for treating drug users, a penalty for three years of reductions in state spending on substance abuse services.
 
Since the 2001 budget year, the state Department of Public Health has cut nearly $11 million from what it devotes to treating drug users and preventing narcotic and alcohol abuse. Governor Mitt Romney is proposing $2 million in additional reductions for the next budget year, although a representative of the governor said those cuts would not imperil essential services.
 
Executives who run treatment centers and health care advocates said that the Department of Public Health cuts in combination with reductions in other state programs, particularly the MassHealth Basic insurance plan for the poor, have already spawned deep reductions in services.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/04/05/budget_cuts_put_federal_drug_abuse_aid_at_risk?mode=PF
 

7)  DRUGS BLAMED FOR BIG GAINS IN FEMALE PRISON POPULATIONS -- PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER  
The state's female prison population has nearly tripled in the last five years, the result of a greater number of drug convictions, officials say. 
 The population at the state's two prisons that house women - the State Correctional Institution at Cambridge Springs in Erie County and SCI at Muncy in Lycoming County - rose to 1,816 last year. Five years earlier, the prisons housed 680 female inmates, according to the state Department of Corrections. 
Female inmates still make up less than 5 percent of the total state prison population, the department said.
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/states/pennsylvania/cities_
neighborhoods/philadelphia/8356086.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
 
  
 
8)
BILL TO LOWER BLOOD-ALCOHOL LIMIT ADVANCES -- DENVER POST  
Drivers will have to drink less or face greater risk of getting arrested for drunken driving under a proposal that the House tentatively approved Tuesday.
 
Lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit for motorists from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent would bring in about $50 million in additional federal transportation money, state lawmakers said.
 
And in a nod to what some supporters called responsible drinking, restaurant patrons will be able to cork unfinished bottles of wine and take them home.
http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~61~2066964,00.html
 
 
9) DARE GROUP TO WELCOME A CRITIC -- BOSTON GLOBE 
As she announced plans this week to improve the criminal justice system, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey took aim at DARE, one of the funding darlings of the 1990s "war on drugs."
 
"We have known for a long time DARE doesn't work," Healey said of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, which puts police officers in classrooms to lead talks with students on drugs and crime.
 
The criticism was news to those who champion the program -- and had invited Healey to deliver the keynote speech in a four-day conference cosponsored by DARE in Sturbridge on April 20.
 
"I'm sure she is going to get tossed a few pointed questions," said Domenic DiNatale, executive director of the Massachusetts DARE Officers Association. "But I give her credit for still coming."
 
The state cut its funding of DARE in 2002, prompting Janice Cunningham, an East Bridgewater police officer, to lobby Healey for a more generous view of DARE.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2004/04/07/dare_group_to_welcome_a_critic/ 
 
 
10) APPEALS COURT TODAY WILL HEAR LIMBAUGH'S CASE TO KEEP RECORDS SEALED
-- SUN-SENTINEL (FL) 
Rush Limbaugh's attorney will argue before an appeals court on Wednesday why the conservative commentator's medical records should be kept sealed from prosecutors who accuse him of illegally buying prescription drugs.

If Limbaugh's appeal succeeds, the criminal case against him could be stalled for good.
But if the appellate court sides with prosecutors, the ruling could finally open the records to prosecutors who have been waiting for months to pursue their case against Limbaugh.

Palm Beach prosecutors allege that Limbaugh illegally went ``doctor shopping'' to obtain pain pills. The practice refers to visiting several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions of controlled narcotics.

Prosecutors went after Limbaugh's medical records in November after learning that he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-47limbaugh,0,14138.story?coll=sfla-news-palm
 

11) POLICE SEEK HUNDREDS IN DRUG CRACKDOWN -- THE COURIER-JOURNAL (KY)  
In what officials described as Kentucky's largest crackdown involving illegal drug activity, police began arresting 211 suspected drug traffickers yesterday.
 
Shortly after dawn, more than 100 federal, state and local officers started serving warrants in eight Appalachian counties stemming from raids in which more than 1,700 prescription pills were seized and at least $34,000 in drug money was confiscated. The arrests resulted from a series of three-month investigations by a new task force that targets street-level dealers in the region. The roundup was expected to eclipse the 207 drug dealers arrested three years ago in an operation called Oxyfest 2001, the largest previous investigation.
 
In the February 2001 operation, authorities said OxyContin — a prescription painkiller that is crushed and then snorted or injected by users to produce a heroin-like high — had killed 59 Kentuckians in the previous year, many in the eastern part of the state.
 
The prescription drug epidemic still exists, and this week's roundup represents the start of an all-out assault on the problem, said U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers, whose 5th District includes much of Appalachian Kentucky.
http://www.courier-journal.com/localnews/2004/04/07ky/A1-drugs0407-6441.html 
 
 
12) NEW POLICY WOULD BROADEN DRUG-TESTING METHODS
-- GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE 
Under a proposed new policy, agencies could screen hair, saliva or sweat samples from federal employees for signs of drug use, instead of relying solely on urine tests.
 
Next week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will propose the expansion of the types of drug tests that employees could face.
 
The draft policy by SAMHSA, a branch of the Health and Human Services Department, will be published in the April 13 Federal Register.
http://www.govexec.com/news/index.cfm?mode=report2&articleid=28159&printerfriendlyVers=1& 

13) COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT CALLS LEGALIZATION A FAILURE -ASSOCIATED PRESS  4/8/2004
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe wants to make possession of drugs illegal again in order to curb a growing addiction problem, the Associated Press reported April 6.

Currently, possession of 20 grams of marijuana and one gram of cocaine and heroin is legal for private consumption in Colombia. The intent of the 1994 Constitutional Court ruling in favor of legalization was to force the government into identifying more effective methods to fight drug misuse besides law enforcement, such as education.

But legalization has led to a 40 percent increase in drug use, and funding for education programs never materialized. According to a 2001 survey by the government's National Narcotics Office, nine out of every 100 Colombians aged 12 to 25 living in the city regularly use drugs.

Dr. Camilo Uribe, a toxicologist and the president's adviser on drug matters, said legalization has made drugs more acceptable in society. "The court decision sent the completely wrong message, that it's OK to do drugs," he said.

Uribe's attempt to criminalize drug use failed last year when the Constitutional Court rejected a referendum; he is now seeking a constitutional amendment.


14) LEGALIZING DRUGS BACKFIRES -- ASSOCIATED PRESS By Kim Housego Posted April 6 2004
BOGOTA · Outside a Bogotá dance club called Pipeline, a bouncer frisks a young businessman, comes up with a small bag of cocaine, and casually returns it to the owner. He pockets it with a grin and swaggers into the maze of flashing lights and techno beats.

But this laid-back approach may not last much longer. A decade after Colombia legalized possession of 20 grams of marijuana and one gram of cocaine and heroine for private consumption, President Alvaro Uribe wants to restore total prohibition.

The reason: The world's largest cocaine producer has become a consumer nation with an addiction problem, according to experts, the government and drug users themselves.

The 1994 Constitutional Court ruling for legalization was aimed at forcing the government to find more effective methods than law-enforcement for combating drug abuse, such as education programs, says Sen. Carlos Gaviria, the former justice who wrote the decision.

But he complains that successive governments never invested enough time and money in the battle.

Meanwhile, drug use has increased by 40 percent in the past 10 years, says Dr. Camilo Uribe, a toxicologist and the president's adviser on drug matters.

No comprehensive study of domestic consumption has been carried out since 1996, but a 2001 survey by the government's National Narcotics Office found that nine of every 100 Colombian city-dwellers aged 12 to 25 regularly use drugs.

Camilo Uribe (no relation to the president) blames legalization for part of the increase, saying it made drugs more acceptable in a society that traditionally frowned upon them as a source of corruption and violence.

"The court decision sent the completely wrong message, that it's OK to do drugs," he says.

The push for criminalization marks a change from a few years ago, when liberal legislators were making the headlines by pushing to relax the laws even further. They sought to decriminalize drug trading, claiming the U.S.-driven war on growers and producers was getting nowhere.

But that initiative withered for lack of public support, and Uribe's election in 2002 buried it.

Uribe's presidency has been characterized by sternness on all fronts, the fight against rebels, corruption in politics, and drug use. But his attempt to criminalize drug use by referendum last year was killed by the Constitutional Court before the vote could take place. The court said prohibiting drug use would violate the constitutional right to free choice.

So the president is seeking a constitutional amendment, but it's unclear whether he can get Congress to approve the change.

Among the smartly dressed crowd at the Pipeline club, the cocaine sniffers say recriminalization would probably push up prices from their rock-bottom level of $3-$4 a gram, compared with $75-$100 in the United States.

"Right now it's cheaper than buying a beer," a 33-year-old bank executive, who gives his name only as Guillermo, says after snorting a line of cocaine in the restroom.

Guillermo says outlawing drug use probably wouldn't change his habits much, except to make him more discreet. He agrees that legalization increased drug use, but also blames the explosion of bars featuring techno and trance music, which often prove more popular than traditional salsa fiestas.

Jennifer Cubides, chief psychologist at a juvenile detention center where many drug peddlers are incarcerated, is desperate to see tougher laws.

Her office at the Hogares Claret prison overlooks one of Bogotá's most notorious streets, nicknamed "El Bronx," where dealers, pimps and prostitutes lurk in doorways and addicts loll lifelessly atop piles of broken cardboard boxes.

To Cubides' despair, the police can't or won't do much about it. The sale of drugs remains illegal, but suspected dealers can only be arrested if caught with more than the legal limit.

"They know exactly what their rights are," Cubides says. "The 1994 law was the worst thing that could have happened."

 

14)  FEATURE: JENNY’S JOURNEY
Jenny's Journey began as a presentation to high school students to deter them from taking Jenny’s path into addiction and eventual death by telling the reality of drugs and the lives of those who succumb plus the devastation to families . 

Since it’s inception,”Jenny’s Journey” now has a professionally produced video and facilitator’s study guide kit to take her story worldwide.

  •  Russ and Pat have had audiences ranging from third-graders through college age.

  • Church groups.

  • Juvenile rehabilitation facilities.

  • Recovering addicts programs.

  • Drug court groups for both juveniles and adults.

  • OASIS (which is for mature retirees)

  • Counselors (both school and medical).

  • Several conventions in the west for alcohol and drug abuse. 

  • Pat authored the presentations and video,participating  in the editing of the latter and as narrator,along with Russ.

  •  Recently the cover article for “Ashore” magazine was requested to be written by Pat and can be seen on the website as well as in the publication.(“Ashore” is a magazine on safety issues, published by the naval service for distribution  to naval and marine personnel worlwide.)

Because of the above article about an incident in Jenny’s life( driving under the influence), and the use of the video/guide within the services,Pat received a citation from Adm.Richard Brooks, Commander,Naval Safety Center.

 

“Jenny’s Journey” website can be reached at: www.jennysjourney.org.

 Russ or Pat can be contacted at the following : mom@jennysjourney.org

                                                                           dad@jennysjourney.org

  

GRASP  (Grief Recovery After Substance Passing).

 

 

GRASP was a natural progression from “Jenny’s Journey” when Russ and Pat realised that at every presentation they gave,several people would approach them with their own family’s stories (some never before told – even to other family members)

 

The Wittbergers had never found a grief group within their community which addressed the drug and alcohol deaths – in fact,this appeared to be a taboo subject. Hence – they answered the need by founding GRASP for anyone in this circumstance.

 

As anyone who has, or is, in this situation of trying to cope with grief, it does not take a degree to listen,to talk, to share,to hold,to be compassionate.And if anyone needs gentle kindness and understanding, it is the parents and others who have and are experiencing a passing from drugs.

 

Thus, a book written for parents and those who would seek to truly help, will be available within the next few months. The title? How’s this for being straightforward?

“When a Child Dies From Drugs”.

It won’t be a ‘bestseller’ but it will help those who need and read it!

 

There is also a website for GRASP with much information for all, including ‘pages’ to display poetry/prose or art left by our troubled angels and,too, a place to share their stories.

 

www.grasphelp.org  (or .com) 

to contact Russ or Pat :patruss@griefsupport.us 

Other information for the Wittbergers.

1088 Torrey Pines Road,

Eastlake Greens,

Chula Vista. CA.91915.

 

Fax: (619) 397- 3493..

Ph : (619) 656-8414.

 

PAST MOMSTELL HEADLINE ISSUES ON DPNA.ORG