Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

April 4, 2004 Edition

  1. EDITORIAL: ABC's PRIME TIME LIVE "ECSTASY RISING" APPALLING - SHARON SMITH
  2. FEDERAL AND CANADIAN AGENCIES ARREST 140 SAID TO SUPPLY ECSTASY --NEW YORK TIMES
  3. GIANT X-RAY USED IN DRUGS SEARCH -- BBC NEWS  
  4. WORLD  HEALTH ORGANIZATION REPORT CLASSIFIES ADDICTION AS BRAIN DISORDER -- WHO NEWS RELEASE
  5. SENATE PASSES S. 2231 WELFARE REFORM EXTENSION ACT OF 2004
  6. “DRUG-IMPARED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT ACT" INTRODUCED
 
1) EDITORIAL: ABC's PRIME TIME LIVE ECSTASY RISING; APPALLING - SHARON SMITH

Hello,

        I wanted to let you know about a program that aired last Thursday on ABC's Prime Time Live.  Peter Jenning's program was called        " Ecstasy Rising".  I was totally appalled at this program.  I watched, thinking  the dangers regarding ecstasy would be discussed. How wrong!  Instead, I was bombarded with testimony after testimony of smiling users singing the praises of the wonderful effects of this drug and how the Government lies to us regarding their studies against it. 
         As a parent who has lost a child to a drug overdose, I was furious at this very one sided report (oh, in the last few minutes they gave quick coverage to a few people in treatment, but by then the damage had been done).  Shows like this undermine the safety of our children's health and in some cases, even their lives.  Congressman Mark Souder  was outraged  and sent out a press release about the irresponsible comments made on the show. To make this dangerous drug look very appealing to children by using adults to sing its praises  is unconscionable!  To insinuate that using ecstasy is totally safe is deplorable. There were testimonials from long time user's saying their brains have not been harmed by the use of this drug. Have they gone under complete neurological testing pre use and post use to confirm that? Where is their long term scientific evidence?  If Peter Jenning's and ABC were going to take the time to promote drug usage among our youth, they should have at the very least spent equal time showing families whose lives  have been devastated by this drug.  Talk to the moms and dads who have buried a child because of ecstasy.  Every week I receive  letters from parents desperately looking for help and support for their addicted child. With shows like ABC's irresponsible special "Ecstasy Rising" hosted by  Peter Jenning's, I expect the number of letters from parents looking for help to increase.
        If you would like to let ABC know your opinion  about this program, you can call Peter Jenning's  office at (212)456-4025 or ABC at (818) 460-7477 or write  ABC   47 West 66th Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10023 or  fax them at (212) 456-4857 or e-mail kerry.marash@abc.com 
           If we stand by and let these programs continue without voicing our concerns, then we have no write to criticize them when they come on TV  It would be like criticizing a  candidate when you haven't even bothered to vote. Please speak up and let your voice be heard.

To make a difference we need ADVOCACY not APATHY!
 
Thanks for the help!
Sharon Smith
President-MOMSTELL
Box 450
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
www.momstell.com

Ecstasy Rising: A Special Report
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/WNT/Primetime/ecstasy_040401-1.html
 
Study: Teen Ecstasy Use Rising Fast
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/GMA/GoodMorningAmerica/GMA020210Ecstasy_report.html
  
 
2) FEDERAL AND CANADIAN AGENCIES ARREST 140 SAID TO SUPPLY ECSTASY --NEW YORK TIMES
American and Canadian officials arrested more than 140 people in 18 cities on Wednesday in connection with a drug ring that the authorities said supplied 15 percent of the Ecstasy pills in the United States.
 
Federal prosecutors in the United States said the gang imported huge amounts of Ecstasy powder from the Netherlands to Canada and pressed up to a million tablets a month for sale in the United States and elsewhere. The group had distribution cells in virtually every major American city, officials said.
 
Since the increase in the use of Ecstasy, or MDMA, in the late 1990's as a "party drug" popular with young people, it has often been linked to Dutch laboratories. But American officials said in announcing the arrests that this was the first time that they had uncovered a major production operation in North America.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/01/national/01ECST.html 
 

3) GIANT X-RAY USED IN DRUGS SEARCH -- BBC NEWS  
A 7ft-tall X-ray machine was used for the first time by police who arrested 35 people during a raid on two pubs in north-west London.
 
More than 400 officers took part in the operation to scan suspects for drugs and weapons in Harlesden High Street.
 
Equipment was brought in on articulated lorries on Friday night, and suspects had the choice of being strip-searched or scanned.
 
The machine shows a "graphic" image of the suspect minus their clothes.
 
It shows up anything hidden under the clothes, including metal, plastic or ceramic guns, wooden clubs and coshes, explosives or drugs.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3573933.stm 

4) WORLD  HEALTH ORGANIZATION REPORT CLASSIFIES ADDICTION AS BRAIN DISORDER -- WHO NEWS RELEASE   3/22/2004

The Neuroscience of Psychoactive Substance Use and Dependence report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) concludes that addiction is as much a disorder of the brain as any other neurological or psychiatric illness, according to a March 18 news release from WHO.

The report, the first of its kind produced by WHO, found that psychosocial, environmental, biological, and genetic factors all play a major role in substance dependence.

The report also showed that advances in neuroscience make addiction treatable through innovative diagnostic tools and behavioral and pharmacological treatments.

The WHO advocates policies, prevention, and treatment approaches and the development of interventions that do not stigmatize patients, are community-based, and cost-effective.

"The health and social problems associated with use of and dependence on tobacco, alcohol, and illicit substances require greater attention by the public health community and appropriate policy responses are needed to address these problems in different societies," said WHO Director-General Dr. Lee Jong-Wook. "Many gaps remain to be filled, but this important report shows that we already know a great deal about the nature of these problems."

 

5)  Senate Passes S. 2231, “Welfare Reform Extension Act of 2004, " Bill for 3 Month Extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF/Welfare) Program

 

The Senate passed S. 2231, the “Welfare Reform Extension Act of 2003, “ introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), to extend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF/Welfare) Program through June 30, 2004.  The legislation would provide a “clean” extension for the TANF program, meaning that no policy changes would be made to the existing TANF program.  TANF is currently set to expire on March 31, 2004.  The bill was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means as well as the House  Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committees with jurisdiction over the bill.

 

In the House of Representatives, Congressman Wally Herger (R-CA) introduced two bills that would also extend TANF through June 30th, 2004.  These bills are:

 

                     H.R. 3848, the `Work Promotion and Independence Act of 2004.'  This extension includes a provision that would recalibrate the current caseload reduction credit based on more recent participation rates.   

 

                     H.R. 3897, the `Welfare Extension and Marriage Promotion Act of 2004.'  This extension includes a provision that would authorize $50,000,000 in FY 04 to award competitive grants for healthy marriage promotion activities, as well as $50,000,000 in FY 04 for research, demonstration, and technical assistance for marriage promotion activities.   Healthy marriage promotion activities include: public advertising campaigns, education in high school on the value of marriage, marriage education for non-married pregnant women and non-married expectant fathers, pre-marital education and marriage skills training, divorce reduction programs and marriage mentoring programs. 

 

Both pieces of legislation were referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.   Although timing for the reauthorization of the TANF/Welfare program is still uncertain, the full Senate is currently debating the bill and it is possible that the Senate could pass the legislation before it recesses in early April.  The House passed its version of TANF reauthorization legislation, H.R. 4, early last year.

 

6) Representatives Rob Portman (R-OH), Sander Levin (D-MI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) Introduce H.R. 3922, the “Drug-Impaired Driving Enforcement Act of 2004:" Includes Provision to Address Drug Treatment

 

 Representative Rob Portman (R-OH) was joined by Representatives Sander Levin (D-MI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) at a press briefing to announce the introduction of H.R. 3922, the “Drug-Impaired Driving Enforcement Act of 2004.”  The additional co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN).  Joining the Congressmen at the event to speak in support of the legislation were First Lady of Ohio, Hope Taft; Colonel Paul McClellan, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Retired Trooper Len Gray, a victim of a drugged-impaired driver. 

 

H.R. 3922, would provide assistance and guidance to states to address the growing problem of drug impaired driving, including offering model legislation and grants to states to enforce the law.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, illegal drugs, often in combination with alcohol, are used by approximately 10 to 22 percent of drivers involved in all motor vehicle crashes and in the past year almost 11 million people have driven while under the influence of illegal drugs.  The bill calls on the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to develop a model state drug impaired driving law that would:

 

                  define drug impaired driving as operating a motor vehicle while any detectable amount of a controlled substance is present in the person's body, or due to the presence of a controlled substance or a controlled substance in combination with alcohol or an inhalant, or both, they are affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree;

 

                  allow for an appropriate system of evaluation, counseling, treatment (if required), and supervision for persons convicted of drug impaired driving,

 

                  enhance the training of police officers and prosecutors to detect, enforce and prosecute drug impaired driving laws, and

 

                  fund research to develop field tests to be able to identify drug impaired drivers.     

 

The bill was referred to both the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on the Judiciary. 

 

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