JUNE 20, 2004
1. SUMMER IS WHEN KIDS EXPERIMENT
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
(Links to the survey can be found at
2. SWISS COMBAT DRIVING ON MARIJUANA -
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.
3. SCHOOLS PUT DRUG
PROGRAM ON NOTICE
TELLS LECTURERS LINKED TO SCIENTOLOGY TO FIX INACCURACIES
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
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
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
5. THE NEW
The war on narcoterrorism faces a new evil as Colombia's
paramilitaries turn into a cocaine cartel
6. CALIF. MAN FREED FROM 25-YEAR SENTENCE FOR
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.
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
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.
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
9. A TRIP DOWN
- 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.
ON THE RISE IN RURAL GEORGIA
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
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.
RUSSIA SEEKS BALANCE IN DRUG-USE
- 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
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.
MEDICINE PURCHASE TRACKING LAW
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.
ALCOHOLISM DOWN, ABUSE UP IN AMERICA
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.
14 NOW AT
YOUR DRUGSTORE: A CHEAP AND DANGEROUS HIGH
- NEW YORK
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
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
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.
MARIJUANA CAN PRODUCE SCHIZOPHRENIA-LIKE SYMPTOMS - JOURNAL
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
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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