Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

January 18 Edition

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

 
PORTLAND STATESMAN JOURNAL (OR): MORE PATIENTS 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.

http://news.statesmanjournal.com/article_print.cfm?i=73581 
 
DENVER POST:
MEDICAL POT CASE TESTS FEDERAL LAW
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 agent.
 
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.
http://www.denverpost.com/cda/article/print/0,1674,36%257E53%
 
LOS ANGELES TIMES: CHILD OF 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 civil war.

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.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fg-disney12jan12,1,6759822,print.story?coll=la-headlines-frontpage
 
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 spaces.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-needle12jan12,1,7542792,print.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california 
  
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).
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Jan/13/ln/ln01a.html 
  
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.
http://www.qctimes.com/internal.php?story_id=1022899&t=Iowa+%2F+Illinois&c=24,1022899 
 
THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN:
COURT: TOUGHER DWI PENALTIES MOOT
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 effect immediately.

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.

http://www.sfnewmexican.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=7&ArticleID=38656
 
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES (FL): ACLU DEFENDS LIMBAUGH'S PRIVACY IN PRESCRIPTION DRUG CASE
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 prescription painkillers.
http://www.sptimes.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/APState.woa/wa/story?id=FL_Limbaugh_Painkillers 
 
THE STAR-LEDGER (NJ): MEASURE TARGETS REPEAT DRUNK DRIVERS
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 yesterday.
http://www.nj.com/statehouse/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-1/107397812226440.xml 

TORONTO STAR: DOZENS TENDED MASSIVE POT CROP
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, police say.
 
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.
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_
Type1&c=Article&cid=1073908425037&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154
 
 
 WASHINGTON TIMES: 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.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20040113-085239-5410r 
 

JUDGE: RECKLESS DRIVER SHOULD CARRY PHOTO OF VICTIM IN A COFFIN
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 Glenn Clark.
 
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 alive.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/01/14/coffin.photo.ap/index.html 
  
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (AUSTRALIA)
: 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.
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/01/15/1073877970882.html 
 
JERSEY CITY JOURNAL (NJ): NATION'S SCHOOLS EYE WIDER DRUG-TESTING
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 drug users.
 
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.
http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1074078733142950.xml 
  
 
SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER: 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 democracy works.
 
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
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/156605_aclurebut15.html
 
PORTLAND OREGONIAN
 
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 they're court-ordered
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/front_page/1074171612196160.xml 
  
WOMANS NEWS
: 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 product.
 
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.
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1677
(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.
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_PrintFriendly&c=Article&cid

=1073994464553&call_pageid=968332188492
 
  
 
SEATTLE TIMES
: EDITORIAL: THE WRONG HAVEN FOR CITY'S DRUNKS
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.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2001837405&zsection_id=268448410&slug=drunked16&date=20040116

 

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