Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

 JUNE 20, 2004

1. SUMMER IS WHEN KIDS EXPERIMENT -GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 
Summer's almost here and that means teens will have more time on their hands to pick up bad habits -- such as smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, a new federal survey says.
 
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released yesterday, estimates 6,300 youths will try marijuana each day during June and July, a 40 percent increase from the rest of the year. More than one in five of all teens who first experiment with marijuana do so in the first two months of summer.
 
Additionally, the survey found that first-time use of alcohol and cigarettes also increases during the summer, when many teens are less supervised and, particularly in this economy, having trouble finding jobs.
http://magazines.ivillage.com/goodhousekeeping/hb/news/article/0,,seattlepi_2004_06_

05_engseattlepi_engseattlepi_071624_5459656398067530818~ew~xml,00.html?arrivalSA
=1&cobrandRef=0&arrival_freqCap=1&pba=adid=8360454

(Links to the survey can be found at http://oas.samhsa.gov/nhsda.htm#NHSDAinfo
 
2. SWISS COMBAT DRIVING ON MARIJUANA - WASHINGTON TIMES  
The Swiss government has launched a campaign to discourage driving after smoking marijuana, which it says is a growing problem.
 
The Swiss Traffic Safety Office began its public information effort after the number of driver urine tests showing marijuana use rose 20 percent in 2003, Swiss news service Swissinfo reports.
 
In 2003, 50 percent of drivers tested in the canton of Bern and 54 percent of those tested in the canton of Waadt had THC, the psychoactive chemical contained in marijuana, in their blood.
http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20040609-042150-9041r.htm  


3. SCHOOLS PUT DRUG PROGRAM ON NOTICE S.F. TELLS LECTURERS LINKED TO SCIENTOLOGY TO FIX INACCURACIES -SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE 
A popular anti-drug program with ties to the Church of Scientology will be ousted after 13 years in the San Francisco schools unless it agrees to stop teaching what the district calls inaccurate and misleading information, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman said Wednesday.
 
The district's ultimatum means that Narconon Drug Prevention & Education has until June 24 to revise parts of its curriculum, said Ackerman, whose health education staff no longer wants the program to make sweeping generalizations about all drugs or claim that drugs are stored in fat for years.
 
Narconon was created by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the Church of Scientology. Narconon officials say they have reached 30,000 San Francisco students since 1991, when they began providing free lectures in the city's schools. The program is also in Los Angeles and Orange County schools and in other states. Officials say they have reached 1.7 million students nationwide in the past decade.
 
Scientology correspondence reveals that Narconon instructors are taught to purge church language from their classroom instruction while including "all the Scientology and Dianetics Handbook basics." Narconon's anti-drug instruction also rests on key church concepts that the body stores all kinds of toxins indefinitely in fat, where they cause repeated flashbacks and drug cravings until "sweated out."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/06/10/MNGRA73O141.DTL&type=printable 
 
 
4. THE LUCRATIVE BUSINESS OF POT - THE GLOBE AND MAIL (Canada)
Ask any of the 17,500 marijuana grow ops in British Columbia about revenue, and according to the results of a new study, the answer would be booming. In fact, the study, commissioned by the Fraser Institute, estimates that the underground B.C. industry is worth $7-billion -- the largest in the country.
 
The report claims that the sector is doing so well -- almost as strong as the province's forestry industry, which posted $9-billion in revenue for 2004 -- that B.C. should legalize the drug and tax it.
 
The issue of legalizing marijuana is much more complex than the report suggests. First, the report's estimates of the size of the underground industry are inflated because of the way the calculations were completed and the fact that they are based on data from a sector not given to filing quarterly reports. Second, marijuana is a controlled substance, which falls under federal law. That means the Canadian government would have to change its laws before anything could happen provincially.
 
Nevertheless, when added to the state of the provincial economy and marijuana use in B.C., there is a certain logic to the report's conclusions.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040610/RYOUNG10/TP
Business/Columnists
 
 

 
5. THE NEW DRUGLORDS - TIME (EUROPE)
The war on narcoterrorism faces a new evil as Colombia's paramilitaries turn into a cocaine cartel
http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/printout/0,13155,901040621-650686,00.html 


6. CALIF. MAN FREED FROM 25-YEAR SENTENCE FOR FAKE DRUG - WIRE SERVICE REPORTS
California man sentenced for 25 years to life for selling an undercover police officer a bogus drug for $20 was ordered released from jail by a federal appeals court on Monday after it found that he was denied a chance to properly defend himself.
 
After a first trial ended with a hung jury, a second jury convicted Robert Kennedy of selling a tiny amount of a legal substance in 1995 in San Diego that was passed off as cocaine.
 
Because he had been convicted of two prior violent offenses, Kennedy received a 25-years-to-life sentence under California's Three Strikes Law for repeat offenders.
 
In a 2-1 ruling of a three-judge panel, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the second California trial judge was wrong to deny Kennedy access to a complete transcript of his initial trial and thus ordered him freed.
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20040614/us_nm/crime_drugdealer_dc_1 
 
 
7. LAWYER'S CRIMINAL ACTIVITY PROMPTS RESENTENCING FOR DRUG DEALER - NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered that a convicted drug dealer be resentenced because his pretrial lawyer was conflicted by his own participation in criminal activity with the defendant.

In an opinion written by Judge Chester J. Straub, the appellate court found that the lawyer's conflict violated the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel and prevented him from pursuing plea agreements or other avenues besides trial. The court ordered that the defendant be given a sentence consistent with what he would have received with the benefit of unconflicted counsel.

"Even though a defendant does not have a right to a plea agreement, we provide relief to defendants who suffer from constitutionally defective counsel during pretrial stages," Judge Straub wrote in U.S. v. Williams, 02-1643.

David Williams, described as a leader in one of Buffalo, N.Y.'s biggest cocaine rings, was convicted by a federal jury of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, money laundering, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, unlawful possession of firearms and four counts of unlawfully using a communication facility. He received a life sentence in October 2002.

After his January 1999 arrest, Williams hired Anthony F. Leonardo to represent him. Shortly thereafter, Mark Overall, a co-defendant of Williams, began cooperating with the prosecution. He told authorities that Leonardo had provided firearms silencers to Williams in 1998 and the two conspired to hide a witness who was going to testify against another client of Leonardo's in a state rape prosecution.
http://www.law.com/jsp/printerfriendly.jsp?c=LawArticle&t=PrinterFriendlyArticle&cid=1086989271380 
 
 
9. A TRIP DOWN PEYOTE WAY - TUCSON WEEKLY (AZ)
Under federal law, peyote is listed as a Schedule 1 narcotic, which puts it right up there with heroin. Depending on the amount and circumstances, to possess or possess with the intent to sell peyote can carry a maximum fine of $4 million and a jail sentence that can range anywhere from 20 years to life.
 
However, if you are a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe, you are exempt--as long as everything is kept among tribal members.
 
By far, the vast majority of the known peyotists in the United States, roughly a quarter-million, are members of the Native American Church, an organization that incorporates peyote use with indigenous and Christian beliefs.
http://www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Tools/PrintFriendly?url=%2Fgbase%2FCurrents%
2FContent%3Foid%3Doid%253A57371


10. METH ON THE RISE IN RURAL GEORGIA
- ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Here, as in many rural Georgia counties, the powerful stimulant methamphetamine has become the fastest-growing illegal drug problem in only a few years. Meth arrests in Pike have jumped from six in 2000 to 17 last year.
 
In this county about 45 miles south of downtown Atlanta, open roads are flanked by acres of farmland and forest. A handful of quaint towns sit within Pike's 218 square miles, but most of the county's 15,000 people do not live in places like Zebulon, Concord or Meansville. They live in remote homes off country roads favorite haunts for those making and using meth.
 
People in Pike have a lot of space, but like most people in rural Georgia, many residents don't have much money. The median per capita income is $17,661, according to the census, compared with $21,154 statewide.
 
These twin characteristics of country life far-flung homes and widespread poverty have made Pike and many of Georgia's other 125 rural counties fertile ground for methamphetamine manufacture and abuse. The drug has been spreading across rural Georgia since at least 2000, an analysis of Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.
 
The Journal-Constitution found that the number of incidents of meth being seized by police and sent to the GBI for testing is twice as high in relation to population in Georgia's rural counties as in its urban or suburban ones. The AJC defined 126 counties in Georgia as rural based upon low population density according to the 2000 census. The remaining 33 counties were classified as urban or suburban.
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/0604/06ruralmeth.html


11.
RUSSIA SEEKS BALANCE IN DRUG-USE SENTENCING - THE NEW YORK TIMES
After years of harsh penalties for people convicted of possessing small amounts of illegal drugs, Russia has liberalized policies underpinning the law. The effect is not legalization, or even free-spirited tolerance. No one mistakes Moscow for Amsterdam. Possession of small amounts of illicit substances remains punishable by fines, and possession of larger amounts or drug trafficking risks prison.
 
But the new policies restore a balance between crime and punishment and protect small-time drug offenders - those caught with up to 10 doses of illicit substances for personal use - from prison and its associated risks. Drug treatment specialists and aid workers describe the change as a breakthrough that could alleviate prison overcrowding and perhaps the spread of infectious diseases.
 
In theory, Russian drug laws already worked much like many laws in the West, delineating drug crimes by degree. Suspects were charged according to the amounts of drugs they were accused of possessing, with progressively stiffer penalties for larger quantities.
 
In practice, however, it had been almost impossible for a suspect to be classified as a small-time user.
 
To determine charges, the police and courts used a table of weights to classify charges, and critics said weights were set absurdly low. For example, a "large" amount of heroin, punishable with imprisonment, was five-thousandths of a gram. "We are talking about dust," Dr. Zykov said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/13/international/europe/13RUSS.html

12. MEDICINE PURCHASE TRACKING LAW OK'D - THE DES MOINES REGISTER
Cities are allowed to require stores to track purchases of items commonly used in making methamphetamine, the Iowa attorney general's office said in an opinion released Thursday.

The document states that ordinances should not be overturned by a new state law limiting sales of certain cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine.
 
The opinion represents a victory for the Iowa municipalities that have adopted meth-related ordinances, most of which require shoppers to show identification and sign a log if they are buying more than one package of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. Community leaders in Hazleton, the first Iowa town to pass such an ordinance, were pleased.
http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040611/NEWS01/406110363/1001/NEWS
 

13. ALCOHOLISM DOWN, ABUSE UP IN AMERICA - THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Alcohol abuse is up in America sharply for most groups but alcoholism is down, a government study said yesterday.

Some 4.65 percent of the adult population reported alcohol abuse in 2001-2002, up from 3.03 percent a decade earlier, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported.

During the same period, the share of the population judged to be alcoholics slipped from 4.38 percent to 3.81 percent of people age 18 and over, the institute said.
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040612-120316-4212r.htm 

 
14 NOW AT YOUR DRUGSTORE: A CHEAP AND DANGEROUS HIGH -
NEW YORK TIMES
Cough and cold medications containing dextromethorphan, or DXM, are becoming increasingly popular among teenagers and young adults looking for a cheap high, experts say.
 
There are no national statistics that track fatalities from cough and cold medications. But reports of overdoses of the drugs have doubled in the last four years, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers' Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. In 2000, poison-control centers across the country had 2,523 calls about the abuse and misuse of DXM, and 1,623 of those calls involved teenagers. By last year, that total had risen, to 4,382, with 3,271 involving teenagers.
 
The problem has caused some drugstores to put cough and cold medications that contain DXM behind the counter, where they are less accessible. Three states - California, New York and New Jersey - introduced legislation this year to prohibit sales to minors of products containing DXM, or to restrict the quantities that are sold. The issue of banning bulk sales will be taken up by the American Medical Association at a meeting in Chicago this week.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/15/health/15coug.html 
 

15.  Report Shows Cost of Addiction Treatment - SAMHSA

A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) calculates that the average cost for treatment of alcohol or other drug addiction in outpatient facilities was $1,433 per course of treatment in 2002.

The report, "Alcohol and Drug Services Study Cost Study," concluded that residential treatment cost $3,840 per admission. For outpatient methadone treatment, the 2002 cost was $7,415 per admission.

"Treatment is a bargain compared to expenditures for jails, foster care for children, and health complications that often accompany addiction," said SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie. "Rarely do we have public initiatives that can save society as much as substance-abuse treatment and recovery support services. Treatment provides an opportunity for recovery for the individual, better homes for children, and improved safety for our communities."

According to the report, personnel expenses were the single largest component of all costs for all types of treatment, accounting for 63 percent of non-hospital residential care costs, 65 percent of the cost of outpatient methadone treatment, and 79 percent of the cost of outpatient non-methadone treatment.

The report was based on site visits to 280 facilities nationally, as well as a telephone survey of 2,395 treatment facilities.

16. STUDY: MARIJUANA CAN PRODUCE SCHIZOPHRENIA-LIKE SYMPTOMS - JOURNAL OF NEUROPSYCHOPARMACOLOGY

New research suggests that delta-9-THC, the principal active ingredient in marijuana, can cause transient schizophrenia-like symptoms, such as suspiciousness, delusions, and impairments in memory and attention.

The study, led by D. Cyril D'Souza, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, set out to explore a long-known association between cannabis and psychosis.

"Just as studies with amphetamines and ketamine advanced the notion that brain systems utilizing the chemical messengers dopamine and NMDA receptors may be involved in the pathophysiology in schizophrenia, this study provides some tantalizing support for the hypotheses that the brain-receptor system that cannabis acts on may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia," said D'Souza. "Clearly, further work is needed to test this hypothesis."

For the study, researchers administered varying doses of delta-9-THC to participants who were screened for any vulnerability to schizophrenia. Some participants showed signs of schizophrenia that lasted about a half hour to one hour after being given THC. Symptoms included suspiciousness, unusual thoughts, paranoia, thought disorder, blunted affect, reduced spontaneity, reduced interaction with the interviewer, and problems with memory and attention.

The study was published June 2 on the website of the jour

 

 

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