Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

August 8, 2004 Edition

1. OP/ED: TAKE THE VIOLENCE OUT OF THE DRUG TRADE - BALTIMORE SUN
2. NEW WAYS TO LOOSEN ADDICTION'S GRIP - NEW YORK TIMES
3. NEEDLE-EXCHANGE PROGRAM URGED FOR WILMINGTON - WILMINGTON NEWS JOURNAL (DE)
4.  MARIJUANA REFORM TO TAP GRASSROOTS THIS NOVEMBER - ALTERNET
5.  FRUSTRATED TRAFFICKERS TARGET AGENTS - WASHINGTON TIMES
6. HOSPITALIZATION FOR 'CLUB DRUGS' DOWN IN 2002 - WASHINGTON TIMES
7. MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROUP SPENDS BIG IN VERMONT - RUTLAND HERALD
8. NIDA 2003 MONITORING THE FUTURE SURVE RESULTS NOW AVAILABLE ON THE WEB - NIDA
9. SEPTEMBER 27 NATIONAL FAMILY DAY - CASA
10. DRUG FREE AMERICA FOUNDATION PRODUCES EYE-OPENING FOUR-PART VIDEO SERIES - DFAF

 
1.  OP/ED: TAKE THE VIOLENCE OUT OF THE DRUG TRADE
- BALTIMORE SUN
By Peter Moskos
We've quintupled our prison population since the war on drugs began in 1970. Last year, Baltimore police made one arrest for every six people in the city. In 1999, in the high-crime Eastern District alone, with 45,000 residents, there were more than 25,000 arrests.
 
Police can make things better. In a city with high levels of violent crime, arrests can be a good thing. But arrests won't change the culture of drug dealers. And police can't win the war on drugs. Drug addicts have to buy because they're addicted. But drug users destroy mostly themselves. They are not destroying the city. Addicts want to be left alone to enjoy their high. They rarely shoot anybody.
 
Drug dealers are literally killing the city. Almost all drug-related murders involve one drug dealer shooting another.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.drugs03aug03,1,6548187,print.story?coll=bal-oped-headlines 
 

 
2. NEW WAYS TO LOOSEN ADDICTION'S GRIP
- NEW YORK TIMES
Buprenorphine, made by Reckitt Benckiser and sold under the brand name Suboxone, became the first prescription medication for people addicted to heroin or painkillers.
The small orange tablet is available by prescription at any neighborhood pharmacy. It relieves symptoms of opiate withdrawal like agitation, nausea and insomnia.
 
But unlike methadone, buprenorphine (pronounced byoo-pre-NOR-feen) is only weakly addictive, and is thus less tightly regulated. Above a certain dosage, more will not produce a high, so it has a far lower risk of overdose than methadone. And once a patient has taken a pill, the effects last for about three days, greatly decreasing the chance of a relapse.
 
Serious drug addiction is a problem that afflicts more than 10 million Americans. The grip of hard-core drugs like heroin and cocaine is notoriously stubborn, and relapse rates are staggering. Rehabilitation programs have only limited success. Dropout rates are high, and even many addicts who do stay in rehab slide back into using drugs periodically.
 
But buprenorphine is the first of a new generation of prescription drugs that is changing the landscape of addiction treatment, providing new hope and moving addiction from clinics and rehab centers, long seen as magnets for junkies, pushers and gloom, into the comfort of the doctor's office.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/03/health/03addi.html?pagewanted=print&position= 
 


3. NEEDLE-EXCHANGE PROGRAM URGED FOR WILMINGTON
- WILMINGTON NEWS JOURNAL (DE)
Needle-exchange programs have helped stem the spread of AIDS in dozens of cities, and some Delaware lawmakers think a program could do the same for Wilmington.
But others are fighting the proposal, saying it condones drug use and sends the wrong message to youth.
 
Delaware is one of nine states where it is illegal to sell syringes to someone knowing they will be used to inject illegal drugs, according to a 2002 survey by Temple University. Other states have changed paraphernalia laws to accommodate needle-exchange programs.
 
Needle-exchange programs have been around since 1986, when activists operated an underground campaign in Boston, said David Purchase, executive director of the North American Syringe Exchange Network. The organization, based in Tacoma, Wash., supports and helps start exchange programs, coordinates a national conference and awards grants to programs.
 
There are now more than 180 exchange programs nationwide, he said.
http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/local/2004/08/03needleexchangep.html 

 

4.  MARIJUANA REFORM TO TAP GRASSROOTS THIS NOVEMBER
- ALTERNET
Few domestic policy issues enjoy such deep-rooted public support as does marijuana law reform, in particular the legalization of medicinal pot for seriously ill patients. Yet despite nationwide polls indicating that some 8 in 10 Americans back reform, politicians at the state and especially federal level continue to oppose even minor changes in existing policy, as evident by Congress' refusal to hold hearings on a pair of proposed bills seeking to exempt state-authorized medical marijuana patients from federal arrest and prosecution.
 

As a result of this chasm between the public and their elected officials regarding pot policy, proponents of reform have in recent years taken the issue directly to the voters via statewide and local ballot initiatives most notably, passing state laws in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington exempting qualified patients from criminal prosecution for the possession and use of medicinal marijuana when such use is recommended by their physician.
 
This November's Presidential election will be no exception, as a bumper crop of initiatives addressing marijuana policy and enforcement will appear on various state and municipal ballots. Below is a summary of this November's more prominent marijuana law reform proposals.
http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/19441/ 

5.  FRUSTRATED TRAFFICKERS TARGET AGENTS -
WASHINGTON TIMES
Smugglers of drugs and aliens, desperate to protect their illicit cargoes, have reacted with increased violence against U.S. Border Patrol agents involved in a new law-enforcement initiative aimed at gaining "operational control" of the Arizona-Mexico border.

Eighty-nine agents have been assaulted so far this year in an escalating series of attacks by the smugglers -- some shot at with automatic weapons, while others were attacked with block-sized rocks or had their vehicles rammed by armed smugglers, Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar said yesterday.

Chief Aguilar believes the smugglers are striking out because they are beginning to suffer financial losses as a result of the border enforcement program, known as the Arizona Border Control Initiative, although incidents of violence have increased this year all along the U.S.-Mexico border.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20040805-120253-7001r


6.
HOSPITALIZATION FOR 'CLUB DRUGS' DOWN IN 2002 - WASHINGTON TIMES
Emergency room visits related to the use of Ecstasy and other so-called "club drugs" either remained stable or declined in 2002, a sharp reversal from previous years, a federal report shows.

Health officials are encouraged by the findings in the report, "Club Drugs: 2002 Update," prepared for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), but they stress more work needs to be done.

The term "club drug" refers to a variety of drugs popular with teens and young adults at dance clubs and raves. Their popularity stems from a relatively low cost and the "intoxicating highs" they produce, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The SAMHSA report showed that emergency rooms visits associated with the use of club drugs more than doubled from 1994 to 1999.

Nevertheless, such visits have been rare, accounting for 1.2 percent of all emergency room visits related to drug abuse, the study found. In 2002, fewer than 1 percent of all emergency room visits in the United States were related to drug abuse, SAMHSA said.

Emergency room visits resulting from the use of Ecstasy, a drug chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline, rocketed from 250 in 1994 to 5,542 in 2001.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20040804-110921-4294r
(the update can be found at
http://dawninfo.samhsa.gov/pubs_94_02/shortreports/files/DAWN_tdr_club_drugs02.pdf

 

7. MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROUP SPENDS BIG IN VERMONT - RUTLAND HERALD
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) in Washington, D.C., spent $217,692 during the first half of 2004 to get a medical-marijuana initiative passed in Vermont, the Rutland Herald reported July 27.

The record-setting spending spree was credited with Vermont adopting a medical-marijuana law. State lawmakers passed the law in May.

The money was spent on numerous visits to the Vermont State House this past winter by lobbyists and a statewide media campaign.

"We understand it was a significant amount of money, but it was worth it," said Nancy Lynch, spokeswoman for MPP's Vermont office. "The local law is landmark legislation. Vermont's is only the second legislature in the country to pass a medical-marijuana bill."

The $217,692 total is about $7,000 short of the $224,588 spent in all of 2003 by the Vermont Hospital and Health System Association, the largest single-year lobbying total on record at the Secretary of State's office.

Spending by MPP will continue in 2004 as the group ensures that the new law is implemented properly.

"We do have very deep pockets," Lynch said. "We are very committed to Vermont, so we will spend what it takes to be successful here."

8. NIDA 2003 MONITORING THE FUTURE SURVE RESULTS NOW AVAILABLE ON THE WEB - NIDA

The NIDA-published monograph, "Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2003, Volume I: Secondary School Students," is now available in electronic form on the Monitoring the Future http://www.monitoringthefuture.org

 

9. SEPTEMBER 27 NATIONAL FAMILY DAY - CASA

Please visit www.FamilyDayPledge.com and pledge to have dinner with your family on September 27th! Help CASA and our sponsors and partners reach our goal of having one million families dining together on Family Day!

Family Day A Day to Eat Dinner With Your Children is a national effort promoting parental engagement as a simple, effective way to reduce substance abuse by children and teens and raise healthier children.

Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA*) at Columbia University consistently finds that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs.

Family Day is not just for families. It is a day for all to celebrate, including businesses, unions, religious organizations and community groups. The symbolic act of regular family meals should be promoted and celebrated inside and outside the home throughout the year.
 

 

10. DRUG FREE AMERICA FOUNDATION PRODUCES EYE-OPENING FOUR-PART VIDEO SERIES - DFAF

 

(St. Petersburg, FL) Drug Free America Foundation has produced a four-part video series entitled Real View Mirror: Looking at Your Future, Leaving the Drug Culture Behind which includes nine intriguing high school students who give their "real view" on drug use.  This series features the titles Drug Victimization, Club Drugs and Raves, The Flawed Notion of Harm Reduction, and Marijuana: What You Haven't Heard. Throughout each show, these engaging young students discuss current drug trends and pressures youth experience through candid peer dialogue.  Subject matter experts discuss the dangers of drugs and their effects, dispel myths common to drug use and highlight the legalities associated with controlled substances.

 

Real View Mirror aired via satellite uplink earlier this year, reaching more than 2,500 downlink sites nationwide. It included a live audience of nearly 20,000 and a taped audience of nearly 50,000.  More than 40 cable access stations carried the series, reaching an estimated six million households.  The series was made available to more than 2,000 schools and picked up by The Corrections Learning Network, The Department of Justice Television Network and The Housing Television Network.  "The compelling anti-drug messages of this series coupled with its energetic flow are sure to catch the attention of young people. And that's what you need to do - get their attention and get them listening," says Calvina L. Fay, executive director of Drug Free America Foundation.   

 

The foundation's creative team - Lana Beck, Jennifer Cavendish, Dianne Glymph and Amy Miller - wrote and produced the shows to appeal to the younger generation, as well as adults, ensuring all viewers would benefit from the information and still be entertained. Crimson Media provided pre and post-production, graphics and effects. The project was supported by an award from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and with assistance from the Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training program, a partnership between the St. Petersburg College and the National Guard.

 

The Real View Mirror series will be distributed nationally, targeting 12-year-olds through 18-year-olds, their parents, teachers and other concerned adults.  DVD copies may be ordered from (www.dfaf.org) at no cost while supplies last, and a limited stock of VHS copies is available.

 

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