Drug & Alcohol Headline
Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM
Here are the weeks headlines. I am headed to
Washington Dc this week for a few speaking engagements and the
CADCA conference. I am excited to see several of you there
also! Have a good week!
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
PORTLAND STATESMAN JOURNAL (OR):
OPTING FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Five years after Oregon passed
its groundbreaking medical marijuana law, it seems to be
experiencing a boom.
A recent round of favorable federal court rulings appears to
have prompted more ailing Oregonians to seek state-issued
cards allowing them to smoke, grow and possess marijuana and
at the same time emboldened more doctors to endorse the
practice. From Oct. 20 to Jan. 2, the number of people holding
the cards jumped from 6,040 to 7,584, a 25 percent increase,
state records show.
MEDICAL POT CASE TESTS FEDERAL
Don Nord did not want to
get caught up in a conflict between state and federal law over
whether he can keep and use marijuana.
The Hayden man, who has a
state Medical Marijuana Registry card allowing him to use the
drug for pain caused by his cancer and phlebitis, just wants
to recover the marijuana confiscated from him by a federal
But that desire has planted
him squarely in the middle of the tussle between federal and
state officials. Although Colorado law allows the use of
marijuana by authorized patients, federal law still forbids
it. The dispute has been fought in courts from California to
Washington, D.C., but has yet to be resolved.
Now, what started for Nord
as possession of a few bucks' worth of dope has developed into
a lesson in federalism. And his situation casts a spotlight on
how the national debate over medical marijuana affects
individuals, some of them poor and most in pain.
LOS ANGELES TIMES:
THE COCA CULTURE
The girl named after a theme park knows things that many other
girls do not.
She knows that your hands turn yellow when you pick coca
leaves all day. She knows what it feels like to be groped by
strange men in a brothel. And she knows the trauma of losing
two stepfathers to the violence of this country's endless
Her name is Disney, and her story stretches from the cocaine
labs of the south to a rundown bordello in the capital's
industrial heart. She is growing up in one of the hardest
places in the world to be a child: Colombia.
More than 1 million children have been forced to flee their
homes in recent years because of the war. Eleven thousand more
fight as soldiers. More than 2,500 younger than 18 die in
homicides each year. One child is kidnapped and held for
ransom every other day.
In a country with the world's largest illegal drug trade, an
alarming crime rate and a 40-year war between leftist rebels
and the government, children's problems tend to be forgotten.
As a result, Colombia's future can be seen begging on street
corners, for sale in dimly lighted whorehouses and shrouded in
black plastic body bags on jungle battlegrounds.
NEEDLE EXCHANGE DEBATE IS REKINDLED
Four years after a law allowing local governments throughout
California to legalize needle exchanges went into effect,
fewer than 25% of counties have done so.
That has health officials, drug advocates and some politicians
worried that HIV and hepatitis rates may be increasing among
intravenous drug users.
As early as next month, state legislators are expected to
reintroduce a controversial bill to address those concerns.
The bill would allow over-the-counter sales of clean needles
to adults at pharmacies throughout the state.
But many law enforcement agencies vehemently oppose the idea,
saying the current policy of letting individual locales decide
for themselves is sufficient. Opponents worry that making the
sale of syringes legal would go too far toward condoning drug
use and increase the number of dirty needles left in public
THE HONOLULU ADVERTISER:
TAX HIKE NOT RULED OUT IN
HAWAII'S WAR ON ICE
It's unlikely that state
taxes will be raised to pay for $21.6 million in programs
Hawaii's needs to fight the crystal methamphetamine epidemic,
but all sources of money should be considered, according to
key members of a legislative task force on ice.
In a 189-page report
released yesterday after six months of hearings throughout the
state, the task force recommended a vast expansion of
drug-abuse prevention, intervention and treatment programs.
The multipronged approach
would also shift more treatment costs to private insurers,
allow families to force members into treatment without filing
criminal charges, and toughen prison sentences for selling and
manufacturing the drug.
"Ice is a bad drug, it's
killing our people, it's tearing down our communities, and
what we need to do, after hearing what people had to say, was
to address this epidemic as a health-related problem, not
necessarily a law enforcement one," said Hamakawa, D-3rd
(Hilo, Kea'au, Mountain View).
QUAD-CITY TIMES (IL):
LEGISLATION HOPES TO COMBAT
FAKING DRUG TESTS
A downstate legislator is
pushing a proposal banning the use and sale of products that
can be used to fake urine tests.
The proposal would make it
a criminal offense to make, possess, advertise, distribute or
use products used to defraud a urine test for drug and alcohol
screenings. The proposal also includes language banning the
transportation of clean urine into Illinois for the purpose of
faking drug tests. The offense would be a Class 4 felony and
carry a minimum $1,000 fine.
The proposal comes from the
Coalition Against Methamphetamine Abuse, or CAMA, a
Paris-based community group, trying to halt the spread of the
drug sweeping through rural Illinois.
CAMA president Kristin
Chittick, said the proposal comes after rehabilitation service
workers and parole officers started noticing problems with
urine tests, specifically that abnormalities suggested the
person providing the urine sample was dead.
THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN:
COURT: TOUGHER DWI PENALTIES
Tougher penalties for
repeat drunken drivers are not in effect because of a conflict
in DWI-related legislation signed by Gov. Bill Richardson last
year, the state Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
The court's 2-1 ruling
means that previous law remains in place. Under that, fourth
and subsequent drunken-driving convictions are treated the
same -- with a maximum of 18 months in prison.
Richardson signed a measure
into law on March 28 that toughened DWI penalties. It took
The legislation provided that a fifth DWI conviction would be
punishable by one to two years in prison; a sixth conviction
by 18 months to 30 months; and a seventh or subsequent
conviction by two to three years.
However, Richardson signed another DWI-related bill April 5
and it included sentencing provisions that were in place
previously -- without the tougher penalties.
Adding to the complexity
was a third DWI measure that Richardson signed on March 19.
The measure lowered the blood-alcohol level at which truck
drivers are legally presumed to be intoxicated -- from 0.08 to
0.04. That law went into effect immediately.
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
(FL): ACLU DEFENDS LIMBAUGH'S PRIVACY IN PRESCRIPTION
Rush Limbaugh and the
American Civil Liberties Union don't agree about much, but
they are in accord on at least one matter -- that the
conservative radio commentator's medical records should be
off-limits to prosecutors.
The Florida ACLU filed
court papers Monday supporting Limbaugh's argument that state
investigators violated his constitutional right to privacy
when they seized his medical records in November to
investigate whether he violated drug laws when he purchased
THE STAR-LEDGER (NJ):
MEASURE TARGETS REPEAT DRUNK
A bill requiring
mandatory-minimum jail sentences of up to 180 days and $1,000
in fines for third and subsequent drunken-driving offenses is
on its way to the governor's desk after passing the Assembly
DOZENS TENDED MASSIVE
Nine men have been charged and police have seized more
than 30,000 marijuana plants worth about $30 million in
two massive grow operations in Barrie. The larger grow
operation, hidden in plain sight in the former Molson
brewery on Highway 400, housed up to 50 workers, complete
with common areas, beds and televisions, police said.
Areas had been set aside for living accommodations for up
to 50 individuals who would look after the marijuana
plants and included common areas, beds, televisions,
fridges and stoves similar to a dormitory-type facility,
The investigation showed that more than a thousand
hydroponic lights were being used to provide artificial
light for the plants. This operation would be capable of
producing up to three or four crops per year, generating
hundreds of millions of dollars, police said.
OPED: A WAR ON DRUGS AND TERROR
By Andre Hollis
Global terrorism and international drug trafficking are
partners. If we are to win the war against the terrorists, we
must also win the war against the drug lords.
The most recent United Nations report on drug production in
Afghanistan concluded that opium production generated $2.3
billion in 2003. This report also acknowledged that al Qaeda
and the Taliban generate revenue from Afghan drug production.
It is clear from these and other field reports that the
resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan and, indeed, in other
parts of the world, is at least partly funded from illegal
drug trafficking. If the international community fails to
adequately address this narco-terrorist threat, democracy and
stability in Afghanistan will fail and the threat of narco-terrorism
likely will spread.
JUDGE: RECKLESS DRIVER SHOULD CARRY PHOTO OF VICTIM IN A
A woman who was drunk when she killed a man in a head-on
collision must carry a photograph of the teacher in his coffin
as part of her five years of probation, a judge ruled.
Jennifer Langston pleaded guilty in September to vehiclular
homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.
Prosecutors said Langston was drunk and talking on a cell
phone in June 2002 when she crossed the center line and hit a
pickup truck carrying Glenn Clark and his pregnant wife,
Annette. He died, his wife remains in a coma and their son,
born by Caesarean section five months after the crash, is
being raised by relatives.
A judge sentenced Langston to 30 days in jail, plus house
arrest and probation, and ordered her to carry a picture of
But when Clark's mother provided the photo of Clark in a
casket, Langston, 27, objected. Her attorney said the "spirit
of the agreement" was that the photo be of Clark when he was
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
ECSTASY USERS 'LOSE MEMORY,
MAKE MORE MISTAKES'
Ecstasy damages long-term memory, even if used infrequently,
according to the first large-scale study examining the health
effects of recreational drugs.
The international survey of almost 800 people found ecstasy
users suffered significantly more memory problems than people
who had never used the drug, while they also made far more
errors in completing an online questionnaire than users of
other drugs and drug-free participants.
Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the
British study was based on the responses of 763 respondents to
an online survey. The 81 respondents who had taken ecstasy
more than 10 times were 14 per cent more likely to report
long-term memory difficulties than users of other recreational
drugs. They were almost 25 per cent more likely to have memory
problems than people who used no drugs.
NATION'S SCHOOLS EYE WIDER
With strong encouragement from the nation's drug czar, public
school officials are taking a closer look at the merits of
drug testing for students in extracurricular activities.
John Walters, director of the White House Office of National
Drug Control Policy, has touted student testing in recent
speeches as a "silver bullet" that can deter youths at risk
for taking drugs as well as bring about treatment for current
The Bush administration has budgeted $8 million in the current
fiscal year for school drug-testing programs. Walters also has
told public school officials that they can use the Education
Department's Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities grant
program for testing.
But school board members and administrators are taking a
cautious approach, with some concerned about costs, the
testing programs' effectiveness and other matters. Even
districts receptive to testing are trying to be deliberative.
OPED: MARIJUANA INITIATIVE NO
WAY TO CHANGE LAW
by Tm Carr, Seattle City Attorney
Initiative 75 is a half measure that undermines our democratic
system. In a democracy, all power comes from the people. If,
as a society, we believe that marijuana use should be
legalized, we should work to make that the law. That's the way
Being unable to do this, Kathleen Taylor of the American Civil
Liberties Union (Seattle
approaches sensible drug policy,
Jan. 6) advocates and applauds telling the police and
prosecutor to look away in certain cases. This undermines the
rule of law and our democratic system. Change is possible. We
can work to make change happen but I-75 is not the way.
Taylor wrote that law enforcement resources will be focused on
serious crime, that it makes no sense to waste public
resources penalizing marijuana users. But I-75 will not save
any money for public-safety agencies. Marijuana investigation
and prosecution already was a low priority
SOME WHO REFUSE TO TAKE BREATH TESTS KEEP DRIVING
About 65 times a month, Oregonians suspected of driving drunk
have their licenses suspended in other states because they
refused to take a sobriety test.
But once home, they can keep driving.
That's because Oregon's Driver and Motor Vehicle Services
doesn't enforce out-of-state license suspensions unless
DATE RAPE DRUGS STILL
AVAILABLE, DESPITE CRACKDOWN
Despite the stricter laws, GHB and its chemical cousins,
called analogs, remain cheap and readily available.
Efforts by Women's eNews to purchase analogs led to several
products on dozens of Web sites. One 4-ounce bottle of a
liquid sleep-aid from Avant Labs called Tranquili-G, sells for
$45.97 and purports to contain "4-pentanolide (patent
pending)," a pseudonym for a GHB analog. Caleb Stone,
president and chief executive officer of Oklahoma City-based
Avant Labs, said he discontinued production nine months ago,
although dozens of Web sites appear to still be marketing the
On the street, a single dose of GHB costs between $5 to $25
and is popular among club goers for its euphoric effects and
among bodybuilders, who believe it stimulates growth hormones.
The drug is also widely viewed as the drug of choice for
sexual assailants who know that small amounts can disable a
victim within 10 minutes.
(The Violence Against Women Program at APRI (NDAAs "think
tank") produced a video and manual entitled "The Investigation
and Prosecution of Rohypnol and GHB Related Sexual Assaults".
There are a limited number of binders and manuals still
available (for $10). To order one or get help in prosecuting
these cases contact Teresa Scalzo, Program Manager & Senior
Attorney, at 703-519-1692).
TORONTO STAR: GETTING RID OF UNWANTED WEED
Now that police have broken up the biggest pot growing
operation in Canadian history, they face a second problem: how
to dispose of 30,000 marijuana plants.
The plants will either be burned or buried. But there's so
much stock, the police aren't exactly sure how they should
proceed with the process.
And since the plants are in various stages of growth, many of
them still in potting soil, police won't know exactly how much
volume they're dealing with for several days.
Authorities are considering the dilemma in the wake of a
massive weekend bust. Police uncovered a sprawling marijuana
grow operation hidden in plain sight in the former Molson
brewery on Highway 400 near Barrie. The site held eating and
sleeping quarters for up to 50 men, police said, and was
capable of generating hundreds of millions of dollars. Nine
men face charges in connection with the bust.
EDITORIAL: THE WRONG HAVEN FOR
Many things might be done in regard to habitual street drunks
in Seattle other than to build them an apartment house where
they can continue to drink.
Yet, that is what the city of Seattle plans to do at 1811
Eastlake Ave., just south of Denny Way and west of Interstate
5. The ground is cleared, the permit is issued. City, county
and state money (but not yet federal money) is in hand for a
four-story building to house 75 chronic inebriates. The cost
is $11 million, or $147,000 per tenant.
Advocates argue that it is a smart way to spend taxpayer money
because the public pays even more for treating drunks at
emergency rooms. Advocates argue that it is better for drunks
to sleep in private rooms rather than on park benches and in
doorways, and for them to be where they can ask for a social
worker. But there are problems with this.
Most of all, the whole idea of this building insults the sense
of justice of the average citizen, who has paid for his
housing through his hard work.
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