Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

APRIL 18 EDITION

  1. Invitation: Parents Defy Drug Legalization Movement and Establish April 20 As The Day to Remember Children Who've Died

  2. MEDICAL MARIJUANA: WORKING TO SMOKE OUT ABUSERS

  3. STATE CANNOT REQUIRE DUI DEVICE

  4. STATE BOARD MOVES TO DISBAR PROSECUTOR IN TULIA DRUG CASES

  5. 16 % OF RUSSIAN SCHOOLCHILDREN HAVE USED DRUGS

  6. IN NORTH CAROLINA, A TOWN TURNS HAVEN FOR RECOVERY AND HOPE

  7. USE OF RARE RULE IN POT CASE HELPS COUNTY PAIR

  8. COMMENTARY: CALIFORNIA'S PRISON SYSTEM NEEDS REHABILITATION

  9. OLD REVISION OF DRUG LAWS IS READOPTED IN ASSEMBLY

  10. METH EPIDEMIC MAKES STATE PAY HEAVY PRICE FOR CHEAP DRUG

  11. STATE ADDS NEW TOOLS TO FIGHT METH

  12. DARE HANGING ON AS IT TESTS PROGRAMS TO RETAIN RELEVANCY

  13. DRUG INDUSTRY ACTING TO CURB ABUSE OF COLD MEDICINES

  14. TIME EASES TOUGH DRUG LAWS, BUT FIGHT GOES ON

  15. FINDLAW

  16. DRUG FREE AMERICA FOUNDATION RELEASES NEW INNOVATIVE DRUG EDCUATION INTERACTIVE CD NATIONWIDE

Hello,

This is a long update. Lots of news this week!

Sharon L. Smith
President-MOMSTELL
Box 450
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
www.momstell.com  
                                                                                   

1) Invitation: Parents Defy Drug Legalization Movement and Establish April 20 As The Day to Remember Children Who've Died

For too many years, the date April 20 (420) has been used to promote marijuana use.  Marijuana smoke-ins have been scheduled and promoted around the world on this date.  Those who would legalize drugs at the peril of society have even established a website at www.420.com  This site is linked to other drug-glamorizing sites.

 

On Tuesday, April 20, 2004, parents and concerned citizens will gather in Room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building, 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. to call attention to the vast number of young people who have died because they were misled to believe drugs wouldn’t hurt them.  We will be reading the names of 420 young people who died as a result of drug-related incidents.

 

          We will also encourage increased emphasis on drug prevention and education—especially through non-punitive student drug testing (SDT) in American schools.  Non-punitive drug testing will alert parents early if their child is using and, more importantly, is a proven deterrent to use.  It will also give young people a clear, unquestionable reason to say “NO” if asked to do drugs.

 

          We will be presenting a draft resolution asking for sponsorship by members of Congress to designate April 20 as an annual day of remembrance of these lost children.

 

          We invite all members of Congress to stop by Room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building between 12:00 and 2:00 to express concern and support for these families. Please call 301-681-7861 or send a faxed request to 301-592-9100 if you would like to be scheduled to speak.

                                                       

Also:  Mothers in Charge, one of the Pa. parent groups we are in contact with are going to DC on Mothers Day May 9, would any of your groups be interested in supporting this effort for gun legislation sponored by the Million Mom March. For more information please go to their site at
www.millionmommarch.org, www.pammm.org

 
2) MEDICAL MARIJUANA: WORKING TO SMOKE OUT ABUSERS --
LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL 
Three years ago, Pierre Werner went to prison in New Jersey after being convicted of conspiring to distribute 170 pounds of marijuana. 
He moved to Southern Nevada and secured a registration card from the state Department of Agriculture that legally permits him to grow as many as seven marijuana plants. 
 "I'm bipolar," said Werner, a congenial man who admits he is stoned most of the time. "I'm mental. I'm crazy. I have an illness, and cannabis has always been my medicine." 
Don Henderson, the state agriculture director, doesn't think so. 
 His agency, directed by the Legislature to run the medical marijuana program, revoked Werner's license Feb. 25.
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Apr-12-Mon-2004/news/23621543.html 
  
3) STATE CANNOT REQUIRE DUI DEVICE --
TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT
In a first-of-its-kind legal decision, a Tallahassee judge has ruled that the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles cannot require ignition interlock devices as a DUI punishment without a court order.
 
An interlock device is wired to a vehicle's ignition, requiring a driver to blow through a tube. If sensors in the device then detect alcohol above a certain level, it prevents the car from starting or, if running, from continuing to run.
 
Circuit Judge Nikki Clark's decision, released Wednesday, only applies in the 2nd Judicial Circuit and to drivers convicted before February 1, when a law mandating interlocks after a second DUI conviction went into effect.
http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/news/8380675.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
 

CHILDREN LIVING AMONG DRUGS, GANGS GET HELP -- LONG BEACH PRESS TELEGRAM  
Drug dealers and gang members desperate to evade police have been known to do almost anything, including using their own children as living shields.
 
No officer wants to see a drug dealer or gang member get away, but the lives of these children caught in a crossfire are just as important to lawmen as arrests.
 
"A parent who is a gang member or a drug dealer has no right to endanger his or her child, and we are going to step in and remove that child or children from your care,' Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca declared at a news conference Thursday to announce a new program that matches social workers with police working on drug and gang raids at homes where kids are struggling to survive amid the danger.
 
Since January, Los Angeles County social workers assigned to work with sheriff's investigators have rescued more than 400 children from homes rife with guns, drugs and violence through the new Multi Agency Response Team, or MART, according to figures from the Department of Children and Family Services.
 
Now, Long Beach and Los Angeles will join that effort, which pairs DCFS case workers with detectives and officers serving warrants and carrying out raids.
http://www.presstelegram.com/cda/article/print/0,1674,204%257E21474%257E2071938,00.html 
 

4) STATE BOARD MOVES TO DISBAR PROSECUTOR IN TULIA DRUG CASES -- DALLAS MORNING NEWS
The State Bar of Texas has filed a disciplinary petition against the district attorney who prosecuted cases in the since-discredited Tulia drug busts, seeking sanctions that could include disbarment.
 
The petition filed Wednesday in the Texas Supreme Court accuses Terry McEachern of not conveying information to defense attorneys about his knowledge of the criminal history of Tom Coleman, the lone undercover agent in the stings.
 
Mr. McEachern is also accused of failing to correct testimony by Mr. Coleman that he knew was false. In five defendants' trials, Mr. Coleman said he had no criminal history and had never been arrested.
 
Mr. McEachern's punishment could range from a public reprimand to loss of his law license. He said Thursday that he had not seen the lawsuit.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/040904dntextulia.5e004.html 
 
 
5) 16 % OF RUSSIAN SCHOOLCHILDREN HAVE USED DRUGS
-- TASS (RUSSIA) 
The Russian Health Ministry has reported that 16 percent of the Russian schoolchildren have used illicit drugs at least once. Deputy director of the Federal Drug Control Service Alexander Mikhailov said at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday that another eight percent of students belong to a potential risk group and 3.1 percent of school students are drug dependent.
 
He said 24 percent of vocational school students have tried narcotic drugs, 4 percent are drug dependent and 25 percent belong to high-risk groups. As regards higher school students, 20 percent of them have abused drugs, 20 percent belong to risk groups and 4.8 percent depend on drugs.
 
On the whole, 22 percent of the young people aged between 12 and 20 have used illicit drugs, according to the health ministry data. 22.6 percent have tested narcotic drugs from one to three times in their lives. Nearly 900,000 young men and adolescents use drugs every day.
http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=684830&PageNum=0
 

6) IN NORTH CAROLINA, A TOWN TURNS HAVEN FOR RECOVERY AND HOPE -- CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR  
When Steve Sorrells got out of a Louisiana rehab clinic where he'd fought his crystal meth habit, his counselor had a final bit of advice: Find a new city to live in. Check out Asheville, N.C.
 
And that's exactly where Mr. Sorrells went. Ironically, this mountain city of misty vistas lies just beneath the canyons where meth manufacturing is on the rise, and where moonshiners and revenuers once scrapped it out with mash barrels and axes.
 
Today, the city has a hippie aura, with tie-dye shops, the Earth Guild moving in where Woolworth's used to be, and the Mellow Mushroom restaurant hosting "Totally Trippy Trivia Night!" But despite the mini-Seattle feel, this gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a new and unusual sanctuary for hundreds of current and former drug addicts fighting to break free of their histories.
 
 
Experts say these new enclaves of ex-addicts are signs of America's increasing sympathy for its growing legions of people strugglingwith, or recovering from, addiction. In fact, estimates now put the recovering-addict population at between seven and 14 percent of all US males - enough for dozens of Ashevilles.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0413/p01s01-ussc.htm 


7) USE OF RARE RULE IN POT CASE HELPS COUNTY PAIR -- LOS ANGELES TIMES  
Invoking a rarely used doctrine that says a defendant may commit a crime to avoid a perceived greater harm, a federal judge granted reduced sentences Tuesday to a Ventura County couple who grew marijuana for a now defunct West Hollywood cannabis club.
 
The couple pleaded guilty in October after the judge ruled that they could not tell a jury why they were growing marijuana or that they were doing so with the understanding and support of West Hollywood city officials and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Judy Osburn was a director of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, which was established after California legalized marijuana for medical use in 1996. The center dispensed marijuana to about 960 patients, mostly victims of HIV-AIDS or cancer who presented physician prescriptions.
 
Matz justified the sentence under the "lesser harm doctrine," under which the defendants can be justified in committing a crime in order to avoid the perceived harm of the greater suffering of patients.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-weed14apr14,1,6635547.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california
 
8) COMMENTARY: CALIFORNIA'S PRISON SYSTEM NEEDS REHABILITATION -- LA TIMES
By Tom Hayden
California prison authorities have traditionally been much slower to punish the lawbreakers on their own payroll than those they incarcerate. But two significant court cases over the last decade and a half have begun to force state officials to reluctantly address systemic illegalities in the penal system.

Both cases were filed by the Prison Law Office, the plucky not-for-profit public interest organization based near San Quentin. One of the cases, a class-action suit in U.S. federal court, was launched 14 years ago challenging conditions in the "super maximum" Pelican Bay State Prison. The case revealed a culture of terror, brutality and excessive force among the guards at Pelican Bay; as one court-appointed investigator described it, "rather than … correcting the prisoners, some correctional officers acquire a prisoner's mentality: They form gangs, align with gangs and spread the code of silence."
 
The second case, brought against the California Youth Authority in Alameda County Superior Court, concerns the treatment of juvenile offenders and reveals the state's complete retreat from its long-standing policy of attempting to rehabilitate, rather than punish, young prisoners. The routine use of pepper spray and overmedication for controlling young offenders "regardless of the youth's mental status" (as described in experts' reports to the attorney general and the Superior Court), the practice of "educating" them in mesh cages where textbooks were not allowed (recently abandoned after adverse publicity) and perpetual 23-hour-a-day lockdowns — at a projected annual taxpayer cost of $90,000 per youth — are symptoms of deep dysfunction. As in the federal case, state officials will need court approval of a reform plan and a funding plan in the near future — or face new sanctions.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-oe-hayden14apr14,1,6863228.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california
 
  

9) OLD REVISION OF DRUG LAWS IS READOPTED IN ASSEMBLY -- THE NEW YORK TIMES 
The State Assembly passed a plan Wednesday to soften New York's mandatory sentences for drug crimes, acting rapidly on the measure after returning from a 12-day vacation.
 
At the heart of the Assembly's bill, which the chamber also passed in June 2003, is a plan to give judges the discretion to send people facing drug charges into treatment programs instead of prison, said Jeffrion L. Aubry, a Democratic Assemblyman from Queens, who devoted much of his career to changing the laws.
The measure from the Democratic-led Assembly would also double the minimum weight of narcotics that would bring criminal charges (for example, to four ounces from two ounces of cocaine or heroin for an A-1 felony charge for sale); and it would lessen the mandatory minimum prison sentences while increasing penalties for violent or predatory drug kingpins, Mr. Aubry said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/15/nyregion/15rocky.html 
  
 
10) METH EPIDEMIC MAKES STATE PAY HEAVY PRICE FOR CHEAP DRUG -- THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR  
Town Marshal Heath Kerns was ambling into the Whistle Stop Cafe to have lunch with his mom Friday when a teen boy approached the 26-year-old lawman. "Hey, Heath. I think I found a meth lab," the youth said.
 
Sure enough, the woods behind a tidy home contained ample evidence -- a trashy mess of batteries, a duffel bag, generators and a tank stained a shade of teal at its brass fittings. The blue-green color was a dead giveaway, says Kerns. It indicated the tank contained anhydrous ammonia, a potentially deadly fertilizer used by farmers and often found in fields in the spring.
 
The marshal quickly called Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbee, a 33-year-old meth expert who taught Kerns everything he knows about the drug. Kerns then radioed the Indiana State Police, whose troopers have received special training in meth lab cleanup, a potentially deadly process that can cost $10,000 of taxpayer money.
http://www.indystar.com/articles/6/138231-5366-009.html 
  

11) STATE ADDS NEW TOOLS TO FIGHT METH -- NEWS & OBSERVER (NC)  
State authorities are fighting the rapid spread of the dangerous drug methamphetamine with more tools: two new crime-response trucks full of gear that agents need to bust chemical-filled meth production labs.
 
State investigators are raiding meth labs at the rate of about one a day.
Gov. Mike Easley said Wednesday that the Governor's Crime Commission will pay the $502,166 cost of the two ambulance-size Ford trucks and their equipment, including decontamination showers, chemical-protective suits, gas detectors, air tanks, gloves, computers and video cameras.  
North Carolina's meth production is surging. Five years ago, the SBI found nine meth labs. Last year, it found 177. In the first three months of this year, it found 89.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nc/story/3513884p-3117235c.html 
 
12) DARE HANGING ON AS IT TESTS PROGRAMS TO RETAIN RELEVANCY -- THE PLAIN DEALER (OH) 
The Ohio Department of Education discontinued funding last year. But schools can still offer DARE if they choose to and if they pay for it, said department spokesman J.C. Benton.
 
Meanwhile, new techniques - based on science and research - are being piloted for today's savvy students that are way ahead of frying eggs and long lectures about what marijuana use does to brain cells.
 
Future drug prevention techniques include having students examine medical scans of brains on drugs to see the effects. And as part of the "New DARE" developed at the University of Akron for seventh- and ninth-graders, police officers act more as coaches for kids, instead of lecturers.
 
The program, which is being tested on 19,000 students in six U.S cities, is two years into a five- year study and showed positive results at the end of 2003, according to Nancy Dudley, a Washington, D.C.-based spokeswoman for New DARE.
http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1082026565219440.xml
 
13) DRUG INDUSTRY ACTING TO CURB ABUSE OF COLD MEDICINES -- CLEVELAND.COM
For decades, teenagers have found it easy to get high without buying drugs illegally: Chug cough syrup or down a fistful of cold tablets, cope with the vomiting or other possible side effects, and await the hallucinations.
 
But in recent months, an apparent surge in abuse of dextromethorphan (DXM), the key ingredient in some cough suppressants and cold remedies, has sparked an unprecedented response among drug manufacturers, pharmacists and awareness groups.
 
While no precise statistics are available, a January report from the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy said adolescents are "increasingly abusing" DXM, singling out Portland, Ore., Detroit, Houston, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., and Denver as hot spots.
 
Since January, Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, has limited purchases of Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold tablets, a DXM product known to abusers as "triple Cs," to three packages per customer.
 
Manufacturers, meanwhile, have embarked on education efforts, changed packaging to discourage shoplifting and even cut back on the ingredient in some products.
http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1082028700243110.xml 
  
 
14) TIME EASES TOUGH DRUG LAWS, BUT FIGHT GOES ON -- THE NEW YORK TIMES
For years, one of the most divisive topics in New York State has been how to soften the Rockefeller-era drug laws, which sought to counter the drug scourge of the 1970's by setting long sentences even for relatively minor drug crimes.
 
Opponents of the laws, which were enacted at the request of Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, often portray the laws' legacy as one in which many low-level offenders, tripped up by tough mandatory minimum prison sentences, have languished in prisons as victims of the antiheroin efforts of the day.
 
Proponents of the laws want change, but warn against a wholesale weakening of the laws.

 
But as the debate has swirled, a reality has been largely obscured: over the years, the laws have been tweaked to reduce their impact, and prosecutors have increasingly been steering addicts into treatment programs instead of sending them to prison. And perhaps most important, the number of people still imprisoned under the provisions of the original tough sanctions has been falling steadily in recent years.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/16/nyregion/16ROCK.html 
 
15) FINDLAW
Although 80 percent of methamphetamine on the market is produced in "superlabs" in California and Mexico, the number of small "mom-and-pop" labs has grown exponentially in the United States over the past decade, particularly in rural areas. The number of meth labs seized by federal authorities jumped to 13,092 in 2001 from 327 in 1995, according to the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
"(Meth) is so easy to make and it's so profitable that it's just kind of spread like wildfire," said Pilar Kraman, a research analyst at the
Council of State Governments in Lexington, Ky.

Methamphetamine can be injected, snorted, smoked or swallowed and can cost between $350 and $2,200 per ounce, according to ONDCP. A powerful stimulant, meth produces an intense high and can cause heart problems, increased blood pressure, hypothermia, convulsions and even death. Although 80 percent of methamphetamine on the market is produced in "superlabs" in California and Mexico, the number of small "mom-and-pop" labs has grown exponentially in the United States over the past decade, particularly in rural areas. The number of meth labs seized by federal authorities jumped to 13,092 in 2001 from 327 in 1995, according to the federal
Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

"(Meth) is so easy to make and it's so profitable that it's just kind of spread like wildfire," said Pilar Kraman, a research analyst at the
Council of State Governments in Lexington, Ky. Methamphetamine can be injected, snorted, smoked or swallowed and can cost between $350 and $2,200 per ounce, according to ONDCP. A powerful stimulant, meth produces an intense high and can cause heart problems, increased blood pressure, hypothermia, convulsions and even death.

16) DRUG FREE AMERICA FOUNDATION RELEASES NEW INNOVATIVE DRUG EDCUATION INTERACTIVE CD NATIONWIDE

(St. Petersburg, FL) - Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF) is excited to introduce their new, cutting-edge interactive CD called "InFocus: A Clear Message About Drugs."  InFocus engages both youth and adults with bold graphics, progressive music options, MTV style video and interactive games, while instructing on the dangers of drugs.  For parents and other concerned adults there are segments highlighting effective techniques for communicating with youth about drugs and positive alternatives that can decrease potential abuse. Users will also be able to identify drug use warning signs and long-term societal effects. Youth will learn about the dangers of raves, the seductive club culture, club drugs and drug victimization.  Setting goals and making healthy choices are also encouraged to facilitate positive reinforcement and to focus on a productive, drug free lifestyle.

 

Recently, Drug Free America Foundation distributed nearly 2,500 CD ROMS at the Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE) conference in St. Louis, MO. According to Calvina Fay, executive director of the Foundation, "The PRIDE conference was a great opportunity to get this valuable tool in the hands of young people, their parents, teachers and other concerned adults where it will have the most impact." 

 

The DFAF creative team, Lana Beck, Jennifer Cavendish, Dianne Glymph and Amy Miller, authored the CD curriculum and designed the games to appeal to the younger generation, ensuring users' experience would be anything but ordinary. Content was validated by world-renowned drug policy experts of the Institute on Global Drug Policy and International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse. The Foundation contracted with Tampa Digital Studios (TDS), collaborating with Clark Cofer, Josh St. Aubin and Rob Tiisler on graphic design, programming and duplication. The project was supported by an award from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and funded in part by the Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training program, a partnership between the St. Petersburg College and the National Guard.

 

Additional copies of InFocus will be distributed nationally, targeting 12-year-olds through 18-year-olds, their parents, teachers and other concerned adults.  It may be ordered from the DFAF website (www.dfaf.org) and is free while supplies last.

PAST MOMSTELL HEADLINE ISSUES ON DPNA.ORG