Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

August 21, 2004 Edition

 

1) DOPE SMOKING HITS ALL-TIME HIGH - NEUE ZURICHER ZEITUNG (Switzerland)
2) FEES FOR MEDICAL-MARIJUANA CREATE BUDGET SURPLUS -- SALEM STATESMAN JOURNAL (OR)
3) DOCTORS GIVE MEDICINAL MARIJUANA GUIDELINES
-- THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
4) FEDERAL JUDGE THROWS LIFELINE TO POT INITIATIVE -- LAS VEGAS SUN  
5) THIS BUD'S FOR THE U.S. 
-- TIME MAGAZINE
6) U.S. REASSESSES ROLE IN AFGHAN DRUG WAR - THE WASHINGTON TIMES 
7) EDITORIAL: KEEPING EX-CONS OUT OF PRISON - THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE 
8) EDITORIAL: DRUG KITS: TESTING SHOULD BE UP TO PARENTS, NOT GOVERNMENT -- DETROIT FREE PRESS
9) SCHOOLS ADD RANDOM DRUG TESTS -- THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
10) VOODOO HEXES FAIL TO KEEP DRUG DEALER OUT OF PRISON -- DALLAS NEWS
11) NON-DUI DRINKER CAN DRIVE - USING INTERLOCK
-- PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
12) DEA OFFICIAL TO MONITOR AFGHAN ANTI-DRUG PLAN
-- WASHINGTON TIMES
13) SCHOOLS ADD RANDOM DRUG TESTS
 
-- DALLAS MORNING NEWS
14) FUNDING CUTS MAY DEAL BLOW TO DRUG ENFORCEMENT  -- DES MOINES REGISTER (IOWA) 
15) MARIJUANA MEASURE CALLED EFFECTIVE BY SUPPORTERS AND FOES -- SEATTLE TIMES
16) PREGNANCY, DRUGS CREATE A DILEMMA -- SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
17) NO ONE KNOWS HOW MANY PREGNANT UTAH WOMEN ARE USING DRUGS -- SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
18) REPORT LINKS TEEN DRUG USE WITH FRIENDS' SEXUAL ACTIVITY -- LOS ANGELES TIMES
19) EXPERTS CONCERNED ABOUT GIRLS' ALCOHOL USE -- CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
20) DELAWARE LAW LIFTS EMPLOYMENT BARRIER FOR EX CONS|
21) FACES & VOICES OF RECOVERY MONTH MATERIALS -- PRESS RELEASE
22) INCREASE IN AMPHETAMINE/METH DRUG RELATED EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS  -- SAMHSA


 
1) DOPE SMOKING HITS ALL-TIME HIGH
- NEUE ZURICHER ZEITUNG (Switzerland)
Cannabis consumption in Switzerland has probably peaked after the number of smokers almost doubled, says a study released on Wednesday. 
 Experts are recommending renewed prevention efforts, especially among the less educated and those on low incomes. 
Contacted by swissinfo, the authors of the study gave no reasons why dope consumption has become widespread in Switzerland. 
 But experts in Austria believe the use of cannabis could be related to youth culture and boredom among young people
http://nzz.ch/2004/08/19/english/page-synd5152970.html 
 

 
2) FEES FOR MEDICAL-MARIJUANA CREATE BUDGET SURPLUS
-- SALEM STATESMAN JOURNAL (OR)
As the number of medical-marijuana patients continues to rise in Oregon, the accompanying licensing fees have generated a substantial budget surplus.  The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program reported a surplus of about $986,000 by the end of March.

The patient-registration program was created after the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act took effect in 1998. The program started without state funding in 1999 and has operated solely on patient fees.  More than 10,000 patients are registered. Estimates for the program's first years were between 500 and 1,000 participants.

Based on projections, application fees were set to cover a $100,000 price tag for launching the agency, said Dr. Richard Bayer, Administrative Rules Committee member for the state's medical-marijuana act.  The goal was surpassed within two years.
http://news.statesmanjournal.com/article_print.cfm?i=85419 
 


3) DOCTORS GIVE MEDICINAL MARIJUANA GUIDELINES -- THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Medical marijuana patients in Santa Cruz County would be allowed to keep
three pounds of pot  if officials go along with a recommendation by a group of doctors.

Doctors and patients said legal possession of 48 ounces of marijuana is appropriate for medicinal purposes. Three pounds over the course of a year is understandable, said Valerie Corral of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-sbriefs14.1aug14,1,6748181.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california 
 

4) FEDERAL JUDGE THROWS LIFELINE TO POT INITIATIVE
-- LAS VEGAS SUN  
A federal judge today found Nevada's process for putting initiative petitions on the ballot unconstitutional, giving a petition that would allow adults to have an ounce of marijuana a chance to be on the November ballot.
 
U.S. District Judge James Mahan found unconstitutional the "13-county" rule that requires circulators to obtain signatures of 10 percent of the people who voted in the last election in at least 13 of the state's 17 counties. He also said the requirement that a person in addition to the circulator must sign an affidavit verifying the signatures was invalid.
 
The federal judge issued a permanent injunction that prohibits the Secretary of State Dean Heller from nullifying votes based on those rules.
 
Heller, the state's chief election officer, said that all of the petitions that failed -- minimum wage, frivolous lawsuits, marijuana and public employees in the Legislature -- now would have to have 100 percent of their signatures verified.
http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/lv-gov/2004/aug/13/517336792.html

5) THIS BUD'S FOR THE U.S. -- TIME MAGAZINE  .
The U.S. seized more than 48,000 lbs. of marijuana along the Canadian border last year, nearly double the 26,000 lbs. it retrieved in 2002, according to a U.S. State Department report. There have been seizures all along the border, in Montana, North Dakota, Michigan, Ohio and other states. Canadian pot has cachet in the U.S. because of its reputation for being especially potent. The featured brand is BC Bud which is grown in British Columbia and has become synonymous with the high-grade marijuana grown throughout Canada. Once in the U.S., the pot is exchanged for cash, and sometimes cocaine or guns, which are then smuggled back to Canada.
Although the actual potency of BC Bud varies from batch to batch, depending on how it's grown, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says that as much as 25% of BC Bud is made of the psychoactive drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In contrast, the pot that the hippie generation smoked in the 1970s had only 2% THC content, and most pot consumed in the U.S. today averages about 7% THC.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101040823-682290,00.html 

6) U.S. REASSESSES ROLE IN AFGHAN DRUG WAR - THE WASHINGTON TIMES 

The White House is planning a major shift in the U.S. military's counternarcotics role in Afghanistan, with a leading option involving the first-time use of American troops to attack opium-distribution points. The reassessment comes as both Democrats and Republicans warn that the current policy which relies on the Afghan government to eradicate the poppy crop as the United States plays a support role is simply not working.
 
Afghanistan's heroin-producing poppy crop is booming. The Washington Times reported last week that internal Bush administration estimates put the poppy crop at more than doubling next year after as high as a 100 percent increase this year. The officials say Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been reluctant to start an all-out drug war so close to planned October elections, for fear of antagonizing regional warlords who dip into opium profits.
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040815-120532-9810r.htm  
 
 
7) EDITORIAL: KEEPING EX-CONS OUT OF PRISON - THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE  
A quarter of Illinois' prison inmates are non-violent, low-level drug offenders who will be released within a year or two. The question is, for how long?

Illinois' disturbing recidivism rate of 54 percent--more than half of those released today will be back in prison within three years--suggests the Department of Corrections isn't so masterful at the "corrections" end of things. Neither are the supposed deterrents to drug offenses working well, given that prison officials estimate nearly 70 percent of the state's 45,000 inmates are in because of offenses involving drugs.

One catalyst for rethinking the price we all pay for that high recidivism is money. Money's tight. State budget crises, like the one here in Illinois, have forced legislators and governors around the country to start asking whether it's absolutely necessary to spend so many billions each year on incarceration, and less on efforts to rehabilitate.

A variety of studies released in the last 25 years have shown most treatment programs generally have modest success, with a 10 to 15 percent reduction in the chance of re-offending. But coupled with other interventions that have been proven to be even more effective, such as drug courts and GED programs, even modest success still makes financial--not to mention social--sense. And as researchers become more sophisticated about precisely which interventions work and when they work best, recidivism is bound to drop further.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0408150299aug15,1,2226894.story?coll=chi-newsopinion-hed

8) EDITORIAL: DRUG KITS: TESTING SHOULD BE UP TO PARENTS, NOT GOVERNMENT -- DETROIT FREE PRESS
Ferndale police and several other Michigan law enforcement agencies are experimenting with helping parents detect drug use without going so far as the flawed school drug testing plan pushed by the Bush administration.
 
The police are placing the power where it belongs, in the hands of parents, allowing them to anonymously purchase drug testing kits. There is merit here, if only because it's a good use of money seized in drug raids. Still, parents should weigh the unintended consequences before buying in.
 
On paper, it is money well spent if it shields just one parent from the torment of suspecting a child is using drugs or worse, relapsing.
 
But it's no more a silver bullet than national drug czar John Walters' school testing idea. Randomly subjecting a child to this level of scrutiny should be a last resort, backed by reasonable evidence -- wafts of alcohol, drops in grades, bouts of depression. And it should not be imposed by the government, as is the case with Walters' plan.
http://www.freep.com/voices/editorials/efern16_20040816.htm

9) SCHOOLS ADD RANDOM DRUG TESTS -- THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
Schools across Texas are adding random drug testing and increased locker inspections to the agenda this year.
 
At least three school districts in the Houston area and dozens more across Texas will begin random drug testing, spurred in part by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the practice and by the lure of federal money that may help pay for it.
 
The idea of random drug tests for students who participate in competitive after-school activities and those who drive to campus is an uncomfortable one for American Civil Liberties Union officials. They have argued in lawsuits that such tests violate the Fourth Amendment and other privacy protections.
 
But school officials in Katy think drug testing will help the district prevent drug use and help those who have a problem.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/081604dntextest.bb056.html 

10) VOODOO HEXES FAIL TO KEEP DRUG DEALER OUT OF PRISON -- DALLAS NEWS
It looks like prosecutors stuck it to the drug kingpin, rather than the other way around despite the thousands of dollars he reportedly paid a voodoo priestess for protection.
 
All he was cracked up to be: John Timothy Cotton, 39, was convicted last week in Lafayette, La., on a federal charge of leading a continuing criminal enterprise.
 
Prosecutors said he ran a Houston-based organization that netted an estimated $43 million in 10 years dealing crack cocaine in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Kansas.
Time out: Mr. Cotton faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
 
Voodoo woman: U.S. Attorney Donald Washington said Mr. Cotton and other members of the drug ring paid a voodoo priestess thousands of dollars for voodoo hexes against federal agents. "They paid what they called a spiritual adviser what we would call a voodoo priestess large amounts of money for blessings to protect their drug-trafficking business."
 
Satisfaction guaranteed? "If I were them, I would ask for my money back," the U.S. attorney said. Instead, it looks like more money will be flowing from Mr. Cotton's coffers.
 
Casting a prosecutorial spell: Prosecutors hope to recover $12 million in assets from Mr. Cotton and his wife under drug forfeiture laws. Agents made their first seizure Thursday: Mr. Cotton's Lincoln Navigator.
http://www.dallasnews.com/cgi-bin/bi/gold_print.cgi 

11) NON-DUI DRINKER CAN DRIVE - USING INTERLOCK -- PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Keith Emerich - the self-described "Joe Six-Pack" who lost his driver's license after telling a doctor of his penchant for downing up to 10 Budweisers a day - can get back on the road, a Lebanon County judge has ruled.
 
But there's a hitch.
 
Before he can drive, Emerich will have to install an "ignition interlock," a built-in blood-alcohol breath test that requires the driver to exhale below 0.025 percent before the car will start. The state's legally prohibited level for most drivers is 0.08.
 
An irregular heartbeat led Emerich to Lebanon's Good Samaritan Hospital in February. When a physician there asked him about his alcohol use, Emerich candidly acknowledged drinking six to 10 beers a day. Doctors told him the alcohol was damaging his heart.
 
Two months later, on April Fools' Day, he received a letter from the state revoking his license. The decision was based on the doctor's judgment that Emerich had an alcohol problem.
 
Pennsylvania is one of only six states in the nation that direct physicians to report drivers with potentially dangerous medical conditions, and it is the only state to list alcohol abuse as a problem that should be brought to official attention. 

12) DEA OFFICIAL TO MONITOR AFGHAN ANTI-DRUG PLAN -- WASHINGTON TIMES
The Bush administration is dispatching the Drug Enforcement Administration's top intelligence officer to Afghanistan to oversee counternarcotics operations.

Administration officials say it is one step in a plan being hammered out by the White House to curtail Afghanistan's record-breaking poppy crop that threatens to turn the burgeoning democracy into a narco-state.
 
Both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill say the effort to eradicate opium-producing poppies in Afghanistan has been a failure. Privately, administration officials say the crop is likely to double this year, as well as the next. Afghanistan's poppies make it the world's largest supplier of heroin.

The White House has been coordinating a far-reaching interagency review that is likely to produce a new counterdrug strategy. One option is to bring the U.S. military into the drug war for the first time by having special units attack distribution points.
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040817-110251-7608r.htm 

13) SCHOOLS ADD RANDOM DRUG TESTS  -- DALLAS MORNING NEWS 
Schools across Texas are adding random drug testing and increased locker inspections to the agenda this year.
 
At least three school districts in the Houston area and dozens more across Texas will begin random drug testing, spurred in part by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the practice and by the lure of federal money that may help pay for it.
 
The Katy, Splendora and Huffman independent school districts will begin testing this year, and one company that provides testing for Texas schools has signed up nearly 30 districts across the state.
 
Each drug test costs about $20, school officials said. The Katy school district has set aside $125,000 for the testing, $25,000 of which is from federal funds.
 
The idea of random drug tests for students who participate in competitive after-school activities and those who drive to campus is an uncomfortable one for American Civil Liberties Union officials. They have argued in lawsuits that such tests violate the Fourth Amendment and other privacy protections.
http://www.dallasnews.com/cgi-bin/bi/gold_print.cgi 
 
14) FUNDING CUTS MAY DEAL BLOW TO DRUG ENFORCEMENT
 -- DES MOINES REGISTER (IOWA)  
If less money is available to fight drugs in one of the worst methamphetamine-plagued states in the country, Iowa law-enforcement and anti-drug officials say, more than 400 meth labs could go undetected next year and the results would be "catastrophic."

That was the theme at a forum Tuesday on Iowa's drug problems, hosted by U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley at Mercy Medical Education Center in Des Moines.

Proposed federal cuts would mean a 37 percent reduction in drug-enforcement money to Iowa. A U.S. House proposal changes the budget allocation formula to place greater emphasis on crime rates and population.
The difference would be $2.4 million less for the Byrne Grant program, which fights methamphetamine in Iowa, said state drug czar Marvin Van Haaften.
http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040818/NEWS01/408180332/1001/NEWS 
  
15) MARIJUANA MEASURE CALLED EFFECTIVE BY SUPPORTERS AND FOES -- SEATTLE TIMES
Seattleites aren't going to pot or jail since voters passed I-75, the initiative that made marijuana the city's lowest law-enforcement priority.
 
The number of people prosecuted for pot possession has plummeted, and despite predictions of naysayers, there is no evidence of widespread public pot consumption as a result of the measure, which voters approved last year.
 
Approved by 58 percent of Seattle voters in last September's election, I-75 relaxes enforcement against adults possessing 40 grams or less of pot for personal use. The measure did not change city policies toward sellers or minors.
 
The initiative appears to be working as intended, according to Holden and City Attorney Tom Carr, an outspoken opponent of I-75.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2002008398&zsection_id=2001780260&slug=hempfest18m&date=20040818
 
16) PREGNANCY, DRUGS CREATE A DILEMMA -- SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
In late 2001, Shirlene gave birth to a heroin-addicted boy. Still mired in drugs and the prostitution that helped pay for them, she eventually gave up her parental rights.

Two years later, Shirlene gave birth to another boy - who had been exposed to drugs, but was not addicted. A week later, she died after slipping into a coma during delivery.

She was 26 years old.

"The system has failed this woman," said Lana Taylor, a deputy in the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office who uses Shirlene's case to argue for a new approach to pregnant women who are using drugs. "There is a stack of cases just like this one."

Despite Melissa Ann Rowland's recent high-profile trip through Utah's criminal justice system, prosecutors say they have too few options when presented with women like Shirlene.
http://www.sltrib.com/portlet/article/html/fragments/print_article.jsp?article=2396451
 
17) NO ONE KNOWS HOW MANY PREGNANT UTAH WOMEN ARE USING DRUGS -- SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
Publicly funded treatment centers treated 282 pregnant women in Utah last year, according to the state's Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
 
Law enforcement estimates an additional 60 women each year use drugs during pregnancy but don't obtain treatment.
 
Substance-abuse experts believe both numbers are woefully low.
 
At the University of Utah Hospital, there are one to three children born each month addicted to methamphetamine. Babies exposed to cocaine many times are not detected. Later in life, these children have behavior problems and are more likely to need special education for their learning difficulties.
http://www.sltrib.com/portlet/article/html/fragments/print_article.jsp?article=2396452 

 
18) REPORT LINKS TEEN DRUG USE WITH FRIENDS' SEXUAL ACTIVITY --
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Teenagers who have sexually active friends face a significantly higher risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs than do other youths, according to an annual Columbia University substance-abuse survey released Thursday.

The report found that youths 12 to 17 who said that at least half of their friends were sexually active were 31 times more likely to get drunk, 22 times more likely to try marijuana, and more than five times as likely to smoke cigarettes.

Advocates for liberalizing the nation's drug laws accused the writers of the report which showed no causal connection between sexual activity and drug or alcohol use of sensationalizing teenage behavior to make a stronger case against the use of marijuana and other drugs.

For the first time, the ninth annual survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse focused on the relationship between teen dating behavior and tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-substance20aug20,1,7448462,print.story?coll=la-news-a_section
(the "National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse IX: Teen Dating Practices and Sexual Activity" can be found at
http://www.casacolumbia.org/pdshopprov/files/august_2004_casa_teen_survey.pdf

19) EXPERTS CONCERNED ABOUT GIRLS' ALCOHOL USE -- CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
A gradual shift over the past few years has resulted in teenage girls surpassing boys in the amount of alcohol they consume, the Christian Science Monitor reported Aug. 14.

In a study of 12- to 17-year-olds, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University in New York identified several factors that motivate girls to start drinking. Among them are an increased presence of drinking in the American culture, rising rates of stress and depression among youth, and absent parents.

Joseph Califano, president of the center, added that, "many girls want to be one of the boys."

Because alcohol advertisements promote sexuality, Jean Kilbourne, a visiting research scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women, said alcohol's disinhibiting effects also appeal to girls who feel enormous pressure to have sex.

A study by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University in Washington looked at the influence that alcohol advertising has on consumers. For the study, researchers examined the advertising content and readership ages of popular magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Maxim, and Sport Illustrated.

The study found that minors saw more alcohol advertising than adults in 2002, with teen girls more likely to be exposed to the advertising than teen boys.

"Targeting women is nothing new," said Susan Foster of CASA. "The alcohol industry, just like the tobacco industry, knows that if you want a lifetime heavy drinker, the best way is to start them early."

Data Show Increased Abuse of Methamphetamine in Midwest and East Coast
8/17/2004 
 
20) DELAWARE LAW LIFTS EMPLOYMENT BARRIER FOR EX CONS|
News Feature
By Annie Turner
 
Delaware Governor Ruth Minner recently signed a law lifting the ban on licensing for individuals with felony convictions for over 35 professions and occupations, a move that backers see as an important step in helping prisoners rejoin society after their release.

The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Karen Peterson (D), says that licenses may only be refused if the applicant has been convicted of crimes that are "substantially related" to the licensed profession or occupation.
Professional and occupational boards in the state will have six months to identify which crimes should disqualify convicted individuals from obtaining licenses.
 
"If someone is convicted of [for example] vehicular homicide, why could they not be a barber or cosmetologist?" says Peterson. "The two are unrelated."
 
Peterson recalled that her mother, who taught cosmetology, once received a letter from an inmate who wanted to learn to cut hair. She started a small class in the prison to teach the trade to inmates. For seven years, she ran the program, graduating 70 inmates with "a recidivism rate of zero," according to Peterson.
 
"When I became senator two years ago, I realized that door had been closed," Peterson says. The state had passed a law barring felons from all licensed occupations, including cosmetology.
 
Peterson cites as another example the case of a young man convicted of vehicular homicide as a teenager. In his last year of college, he decided to pursue a career in real estate, but under Delaware law he was barred from obtaining a license. "What does an automobile accident when he was 17 have to do with being able to sell real estate?" Peterson asks.
 
The measure passed the Delaware Senate by a vote of 17 to 4. In the House, it passed "unanimously, 41-zip," she says. "I'm delighted that a bill that I thought would be a real challenge went so smoothly," added Peterson. "The bill got a lot more support than I thought it would."
 
More Awareness About Roadblocks
 
While Peterson believes that there are some felonies that should bar someone from a license, "not all felonies should," she says. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), for example, states in its guidelines that an employer may only exclude an applicant because of a criminal conviction if there is a business necessity.
 
"To establish business necessity, the employer must show that three factors were taken into consideration in the hiring decision: the nature and gravity of the offense(s); the time that has elapsed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and the nature of the job held or sought," according to the EEOC. "For example, business necessity exists where the applicant has a fairly recent conviction for a serious offense that is job-related."
 
"I really believe in giving people a second chance and not continuing to punish them for something they've supposedly already paid their dues for," says Peterson. "If you let people do something worthwhile, a lot of them will make it. If not, we're going to end up paying for it when they reenter the prison system."
 
One of several organizations that helped develop the Delaware legislation was the National Helping Individuals with Criminal Records Reenter through Employment (HIRE) Network, a project of the Legal Action Center (LAC). HIRE has been working on similar legislation across the country.
 
LAC's recent report, After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry, details laws and other barriers preventing successful reintegration with society. The report includes a national report card that gives each state a score based on how many laws work against successful reintegration of ex-offenders. Overall, Delaware was ranked near the bottom of a list of obstacle-ridden states, and received the worst possible score for employment barriers.
 
Nationally, however, more legislators are becoming aware of the need for reintegration services for ex-offenders. The prison population is at a record high, and two-thirds of over 600,000 prisoners released each year are rearrested within three years. "We know from long experience that if [ex-offenders] can't find work ... they are much more likely to commit more crimes and return to prison," said President Bush in this year's State of the Union Address.
 
Broad Latitude for Employers
 
Experts say that permitting felons to hold professional and occupational licenses is an important and progressive step toward improving reentry and lessening discrimination against those with convictions. However, employers who want to avoid claims of negligent hiring still have access to criminal records in many states, and broad discretion on how to utilize this information. Only five states have standards governing private employers' consideration of an applicant's criminal record. Elsewhere, employers can deny jobs to or fire anyone with a conviction record,
regardless of each individual's unique situation.
 
Twenty-eight states allow unrestricted Internet access to criminal records. Half of those states make all conviction records available, including the records of people whose period of incarceration, parole, or probation has already terminated. "The information can often be incomplete, erroneous or misleading, and also include arrests not leading
to conviction," states the LAC report.
 
Even an arrest without conviction can haunt people trying to find jobs in many states -- a particular problem for drug-court graduates. Most states allow arrest records to be sealed or expunged if they don't lead to conviction. But only 13 states have any prohibitions against employers and occupational licensing agencies considering arrest records, including arrests that never led to conviction.
 
Furthermore, 33 states do not permit any conviction records to be sealed or expunged, so convictions often remain public records forever. Every state has the power to offer certificates of rehabilitation to remove employment restrictions for an ex-offender, but only six utilize this ability.
 
The legislation recently passed in Delaware removes the automatic licensing ban based on criminal records, but preserves the employer's ability to access those records and decide who to hire on a case-by-case basis, according to Debbie Mukamal, the director of HIRE and co-author of the After Prison report.
 
"It's not removing the record, it's not limiting access to the record, it's just sort of contextualizing it," Mukamal says.
 
Employment opportunities for offenders will improve if states limit access to criminal records, allow for sealing or expunging of records, and introduce and enforce standards governing how employers can consider criminal records, says Mukamal.
 
Mukamal suggests that communities can offer economic incentives or establish regulations "to encourage or even require that [businesses] are employing people from that community, including people with convictions."
 
Communities developing new employment regulations should ensure that they are "being really mindful of the occupational restrictions that they're promulgating," advises Mukamal. "Make sure that they're not overly broad
.. so that there is an opportunity for the job applicant to remove that restriction," either by showing evidence of rehabilitation or by sealing or expunging criminal records.
 
Nonetheless, the Delaware law is a step in the right direction, she says. "We're encouraged, says Mukamal. "The number of state legislators really willing to take leadership roles and promote legislation will lead to improvements in reentry and, ultimately, public safety."
 
"It's not something that's going to happen overnight," Mukamal adds, "but the fact that so many advocates and state legislators are involved means that things are changing."
 
21) FACES & VOICES OF RECOVERY MONTH MATERIALS -- PRESS RELEASE
8/18/2004

15th annual Recovery Month celebration Advocacy Materials Available

Washington, DC - Materials and tools to help inform the public and policymakers about the hope of recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs are now available to individuals and organizations celebrating the 15th annual National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month this September. Local recovery community organizations and their allies are organizing walks, rallies and other gatherings across the country. Faces & Voices of Recovery released a flyer to reach the goal of recruiting 100 more members of Congress in the Congressional Caucus on Addiction Treatment and Recovery, a new button that reads "Another Voice for Recovery!" and other materials. Information is available at www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/resources/

"We laud the tens of thousands of Americans who will be speaking out during Recovery Month, said Campaign Coordinator Patricia Taylor. "Millions of Americans are in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs and tens of thousand more get well every year." Faces & Voices of Recovery is working to mobilize, organize and rally the families, friends and allies of the millions of Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs in a campaign to: end discrimination; broaden social understanding; and achieve a just response to addiction as a public health crisis. For more information, please visit: www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org.

For information about Recovery Month events and activities around the country, please visit: www.recoverymonth.gov.


22) INCREASE IN AMPHETAMINE/METHAMPHETMINE DRUG RELATED EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS  -- SAMHSA PRESS RELEASE
Drug abuse-related emergency room visits involving amphetamine/methamphetamine increased 54 percent between 1995 and 2002, with significant increases in several metropolitan areas in the Northeast, Midwest and the South, according to a new report released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The DAWN Report on "Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Emergency Department Visits, 2002" is based on data from SAMHSA's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).

The report found almost 39,000 drug-abuse related emergency room visits involving amphetamines or methamphetamine, with sharp increases recorded between 1999 and 2002. The report combines amphetamine and methamphetamine because some standard drug screens do not differentiate between amphetamines and methamphetamine, and many hospitals list all these substances under the generic term amphetamine.

"The abuse of methamphetamine is not only a regional problem but a serious and growing national public health problem," SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie noted. "SAMHSA's substance abuse treatment data also indicate that admissions for methamphetamine treatment increased substantially in the Midwest and in the South. SAMHSA will work with local governments and other entities to get the word out that methamphetamine is a dangerous, addictive and devastating drug."

The data show a 573.8 percent increase in amphetamine/methamphetamine emergency-room visits in Newark, rising from 1 visit per 100,000 population in 1995 to 9 per 100,000 population in 2002. Baltimore increased 500.5 percent, from 2 visits per 100,000 in 1995 to 10 per 100,000 population in 2002. In the Midwest, St. Louis showed a 282.6 percent increase from 6 visits per 100,000 population in 1995 to 24 visits per 100,000 in 2002. Minneapolis had a 270.1 percent increase in rates, from 5 per 100,000 population in 1995 to 19 per 100,000 population in 2002. In the South, New Orleans increased from 3 visits per 100,000 population in 1995 to 16 per 100,000 in 2002, an increase of 506.9 percent.

The highest rates per 100,000 population are still in the West, although the hospital emergency room data show that amphetamine/methamphetamine abuse is clearly no longer confined to the West.

Nationally, from 1995 to 2002, drug abuse-related amphetamine/methamphetamine emergency departments visits increased 54 percent from 25,245 to 38,961. Visits involving patients age 6 to17 increased 88 percent (from 2,338 to 4,394) and the number for patients 35 and older more than doubled (from 6,199 to 12,746). Patients age 35 and older made up 25 percent of amphetamine/methamphetamine visits in 1995, but increased to 33 percent in 2002. Patients age 18 to 34 constituted 56 percent of amphetamine/methamphetamine-related emergency room visits in 2002.

Emergency room visits involving females who have used methamphetamine or amphetamines have been rising, accounting for 40 percent of visits in 2002, an increase from 37 percent in 1995. The majority of patients are still male (58 percent). In addition, amphetamine/methamphetamine visits most frequently involved white patients (65 percent), an increase of 57 percent since 1995. Hispanic patients make up the second most prevalent racial/ethnic group with 11 percent of amphetamine/methamphetamine-related
visits, while black patients made up 6 percent.

More than 60% of the amphetamines/methamphetamine visits also involved other drugs. Marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine were the most frequent substances reported in combination with these drugs.

DAWN measures mentions of specific illicit, prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are linked to drug abuse in visits to hospital emergency departments.

The new report is available on the internet at www.oas.samhsa.gov.

 

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