Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

 JUNE 27, 2004


  1.  REALITY SHOW EXPOSES ADDICTION - CHICAGO TRIBUNE

  2.  COUGH SYRUP ABUSE RISES - ROCKY  MOUNTAIN NEWS

  3.  ICE: FROM GANG TO BUST - TIME – ASIA

  4.  COURT: IMPROPER TO JAIL ADDICT TO PROTECT FETUS - NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL

  5.  EFFORT TO AID DRUG USERS CRITICIZED - LOS ANGELES TIMES

  6.  OKLAHOMA METH-LAB BUSTS DROP - DALLAS MORNING NEWS 

  7.  LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA: Error puts initiative in jeopardy - LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL

  8. ' DEVIL'S DRUG' - ORLANDO SENTINEL

  9.  YOUR LICENSE, YOUR URINE - ALTERNET

10.  JUSTICES UPHOLD RELIGIOUS PEYOTE USE - SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

11.  COURT: WARRANT NEEDED FOR DRUG-SNIFFING DOG ON PRIVATE PROPERTY - MIAMI HERALD 

12.  NJ PROSECUTOR SUES OVER NEEDLE EXCHANGE LAWS - ASSOCIATED PRESS

13.  NEW REALITY SHOW ON ADDICTION AND INTERVENTION - NEW YORK TIMES

14.  BRITAIN SEES RISE IN MARIJUANA PROBLEMS -  GUARDIAN

 

 

1. REALITY SHOW EXPOSES ADDICTION - CHICAGO TRIBUNE

This fall the A&E cable network is rolling out "Intervention," a reality show in which viewers are invited to witness an addict's decline and then participate in the crucial moment when family and friends confront that troubled soul with a life-altering choice: rehabilitation or banishment.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0406220249jun22,1,5550025,print.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed

 


2. COUGH SYRUP ABUSE RISES
- ROCKY  MOUNTAIN NEWS
Calls to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center about cough and cold medicine abuse shot up 20 percent to 275 reports last year, topped only by calls about sleeping pills and painkillers.
 
In the first five months of this year, the Rocky Mountain Poison Center recorded 53 overdoses from cough and cold medicines, said Dr. Alvin C. Bronstein, medical director of the center run by Denver Health Medical Center. "It's a problem, and it's popular. How popular, I can't tell you."
 
Bronstein said he believes the number of overdoses is underreported because hospitals don't have a quick lab test to detect dextromethorphan in the system. If a teenager comes in hallucinating and having seizures, dextromethorphan may be partly to blame, but kids may have combined it with other drugs including alcohol, Ecstasy or marijuana.
 
In addition, emergency rooms do not report all their cases to the poison control center. Nor do all teens having a bad trip seek medical help.
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_2978782,00.html

 
3.  ICE: FROM GANG TO BUST
- TIME – ASIA

Mohammad Yasin Khan started to suspect there was a problem when the industrial park—on the edge of Suva, Fiji's capital—began to smell like a latrine. A warehouse had been set up there to manufacture plastic furniture. But Khan, who runs a hardware store on the same block, said the factory workers seemed paranoid, avoiding conversation and reinforcing the doors and windows with metal bars. And the smell from a nearby culvert was foul. "We thought maybe it was something from the shop," he says. "The smell of the drain, it was like urine."
 
Now experts from three nations are busy cleaning up the mess. Khan's neighbor was more than just a dirty factory. Police say it was one of the world's biggest drug labs, run by a criminal enterprise with tentacles stretching from China to the South Pacific. The crystal methamphetamine, or ice, being cooked inside the warehouse was destined, says Fiji police commissioner Andrew Hughes, for the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The cops who swooped on the building June 9—finding 5 kg of the glassy drug and enough chemicals to make a ton of it—came from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.
http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/printout/0,13675,501040628-655460,00.html 
 

4. COURT: IMPROPER TO JAIL ADDICT TO PROTECT FETUS
- NEW JERSEY LAW JOURNAL
A drug-addicted pregnant woman cannot be sentenced to a lengthier prison term merely to protect her unborn fetus, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled last week.

While ducking the constitutional issues surrounding a woman's control of her pregnancy, the court said that it violates state statute to consider the pregnancy as a sentencing factor.

The court, in State v. Ikerd, A-5480-02T4, overturned a sentence handed down to Simmone Ikerd that "bore no relationship to the offense that she initially committed, was excessively punitive, and accomplished no penal claim. It thus violated New Jersey law, and likely violated Ikerd's constitutional rights," wrote Judges Edith Payne, Ariel Rodriguez and Edwin Stern.
http://www.law.com/jsp/printerfriendly.jsp?c=LawArticle&t=PrinterFriendlyArticle&cid=1087855508781 
 

5. EFFORT TO AID DRUG USERS CRITICIZED
- LOS ANGELES TIMES
A voter-mandated program that steers drug offenders to treatment instead of jail has been so badly managed that it has "compromised public safety and health," according to a scathing report released by the Ventura County Grand Jury on Monday.

The 93-page report echoes observations made over the last year by local law enforcement officials, who say that the county's Proposition 36 drug treatment effort may have contributed to an increase in crime.

"Everyone in law enforcement wants to see drug offenders treated and change their behavior," said Dist. Atty. Greg Totten. "But if you strictly focus on a touchy-feely social services treatment model, it doesn't take into account the danger these people can pose."
 
The grand jury criticized the program for allegedly neglecting to compile reliable data, failing to do enough random testing and refusing to fully share with law enforcement agencies the results of tests that have been done.

Under the law, offenders in the program face jail if they test positive for drugs three times — but the grand jury and local police say they're not promptly informed when that happens.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-prop22jun22,1,4506329,print.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california 
 

6. OKLAHOMA METH-LAB BUSTS DROP
- DALLAS MORNING NEWS 
Methamphetamine lab busts in Oklahoma dropped more than 70 percent since a new state law restricted access to a key ingredient, fueling fears that producers of the illicit drug could spill across the Red River into Texas.
 
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control reported Monday that the number of raids fell from 100 in March to 29 in May – a decline authorities attribute to the statute signed into law April 6 that limits supplies of pseudoephedrine.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/062204dntexmeth.4e385.html
(At the meeting of the NDAA Drug Control Committee in July, Rob Wallace the DA in Poteau, OK, and the President of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Counsel will review the changes in law that resulted in this decline) 


 
7.  LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA: Error puts initiative in jeopardy
- LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL
An initiative seeking to legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana in Nevada could go up in smoke.
 
Petition organizers last week announced that they had submitted sufficient signatures to qualify the petition for the November ballot.
 
However, Billy Rogers, president of the political consulting firm seeking to qualify the petition, subsequently discovered a box of about 6,000 signatures that no one remembered to turn in.
 
Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax said Rogers contacted him by phone Saturday asking whether he could turn in the box, which contains signatures that were notarized before the June 15 deadline to submit initiative petitions.
 
"He was pleading with me that they forgot to turn it in," Lomax said. "Unfortunately, the state law says they have to turn it all in by June 15."
 
The oversight does not necessarily spell doom for the petition, but the mistake dramatically narrows the petition's margin for error.
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Jun-24-Thu-2004/news/24170592.html
 

8. 'DEVIL'S DRUG' - ORLANDO SENTINEL
Meth madness has struck Northwest Florida, taxing government resources, burning homes, blowing up hotel rooms and endangering children. The war is raging in the Panhandle but moving toward Central Florida, perhaps in the bed of a pickup where someone is "cooking" the highly addictive stimulant.
 
In the Panhandle, children are among the hardest-hit.

Holmes County deputies, who seized 59 meth labs last year, found a 9-day-old baby in a meth kitchen. The child's flesh was stained red from chemicals used to cook the drug.

In other raids, deputies discovered a 10-year-old addict fed meth by her mother, a 4-year-old who boasted about helping his father in a lab filled with explosive chemicals and adolescent girls prostituted by their parents to pay for more drugs.

Nationally, about 6,000 children were found at meth-lab sites from 2000 to 2002, and 55 children were killed or injured at meth-lab sites during the same period, according to the DEA.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-asecmeth24062404jun24,1,1598374,print.story?coll=orl-home-headlines
 

9. YOUR LICENSE, YOUR URINE - ALTERNET
Imagine if it were against the law to drive home after consuming a single glass of wine at dinner. Now imagine it is illegal to drive after having consumed a single glass of wine two weeks ago. Guess what? If you smoke pot, it's time to stop imagining.
 
Legislation weaving its way through the US Congress demands all 50 states pass laws granting police the power to drug test drivers and arrest anyone found to have "any detectable amount of a controlled substance ... present in the person's body, as measured in the person's blood, urine, saliva, or other bodily substance." Though the expressed purpose of the law is to target and remove drug-impaired drivers from US roadways, the proposal would do nothing of the sort.
 
Most troubling, the proposed law -- H.R. 3922 -- does not require motorists to be identifiably impaired or intoxicated in order to be criminally charged with the crime of "drugged driving." Rather, police have only to demonstrate that the driver has detectable levels of illicit drugs or inactive drug metabolites in their blood, sweat, saliva or urine.
http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/19008
(the "Drug Impaired Driving Enforcement Act of 2004" was introduced by Representative Portman (R-OH) last March and referred to both the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and to the House Judiciary Committee.)
 

10. JUSTICES UPHOLD RELIGIOUS PEYOTE USE -
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday ensured that Utah members of the Native American Church, regardless of their race, cannot be prosecuted for using peyote as part of their religion.

The justices unanimously ruled in favor of Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church founder James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney and his wife, Linda. The couple were charged with a dozen first-degree felony counts after police seized 12,000 peyote buttons during an October 2000 raid.

The Mooneys and other church members legally can use the hallucinogenic cactuses under a federal exemption passed in 1970 that is incorporated into Utah law, the high court said. Mooney has said he is one-quarter Seminole but is not a registered member of a federally recognized tribe.
http://www.sltrib.com/2004/Jun/06232004/utah/178166.asp

 
11. COURT: WARRANT NEEDED FOR DRUG-SNIFFING DOG ON PRIVATE PROPERTY - MIAMI HERALD 
A trained Broward Sheriff's Office dog cannot sniff out drugs on private property without a warrant, an appeals court ruled.
 
The Fourth District Court of Appeal's decision affirmed a circuit court judge's ruling to throw out evidence found in the search of a Hollywood man's home in April 2002.
In that case, detectives allowed a trained dog to sniff for drugs outside the front door of James Rabb's home. The dog, named Chevy, smelled marijuana, and authorities obtained a search warrant based partly on his findings.
 
Detectives' discovery of 64 cannabis plants, Ecstasy and the anxiety drug Xanax in Rabb's home led to his arrest.
 
The appeals court released its divided opinion Wednesday. Judge Bobby W. Gunther called the search "unreasonable and illegal." But Judge Robert M. Gross said the front door was accessible from the street, so lacked that type of constitutional protection.
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/state/8999675.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp 
 

12. NJ PROSECUTOR SUES OVER NEEDLE EXCHANGE LAWS - ASSOCIATED PRESS
Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz has filed a lawsuit to block Atlantic City's new needle-exchange ordinance, saying it violates New Jersey state law. The program was developed to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, the Associated Press reported June 24.

The civil lawsuit filed in New Jersey Superior Court seeks to invalidate the city ordinance, thus preventing city officials from moving ahead with plans to distribute hypodermic syringes to addicted individuals who turn in used needles. Blitz cited the Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1986, which prohibits the distribution of syringes to people who don't have a valid prescription for a legitimate medical purpose.

"If the activity is allowed to commence, there will be irreparable harm, in that the prosecutor will be forced to arrest persons for unlawfully receiving that which another component of government has given to them," the lawsuit stated.  Supporters of the program contend that a 1989 amendment to the state law exempts municipalities from the restriction. "This is a public-health HIV-prevention measure," said Roseanne Scotti, director of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey. "The fact that he's challenging this in a city where one in every 32 African-Americans are infected with HIV and holding it up is a tragedy. It's tantamount to helping spread the virus when you step in to bar a program from going forward that's proven to reduce the spread of the virus."

Blitz said the referenced amendment exempts the city, but not those who receive needles. But city solicitor Beverly Graham-Foy countered, "We would argue that the exception still holds and that the city still has the power to implement the program."  A July 7 court hearing has been set.

 

13. NEW REALITY SHOW ON ADDICTION AND INTERVENTION - NEW YORK TIMES

The A&E cable network is premiering a reality show this fall called "Intervention," which follows the lives of addicted individuals and their families as they work toward recovery, the New York Times reported June 22.

Jeff VanVonderen, an intervention specialist for a decade and a therapist for 26 years, pitched the show to A&E. He is a main character in the show's pilot, conducting an intervention with family and friends to get an addicted person -- including those addicted to gambling or shopping -- to seek treatment. "I don't care about the drama of it. I cared about the result," said VanVonderen.

He said five years ago, television would never have aired a show like Intervention. "The medium has come to a place where you can do this," he said.  VanVonderen expects the show to attract viewers who know someone with an addiction. "They love someone who is in trouble, they're at the end of 10 years of trying to help and feeling there's nothing they can do. Seeing this show might tell them there is something they can do," he said. Sam Mettler, the producer at GRB Entertainment who conceived of "Intervention," said three-quarters of the show is "classic documentary."  

14.  BRITAIN SEES RISE IN MARIJUANA PROBLEMS -  GUARDIAN
Like their U.S. counterparts, U.K. drug-treatment centers say they are dealing with more problems related to marijuana, the Guardian reported June 17. Nine percent of treatment admissions now are primarily for marijuana, double the rate of a decade ago. Michael Rowlands, medical director at the Priory Farm Place in Britain, said all the classic signs of dependency are present with cannabis.

"There's a strong desire to use, which overrides other activities, so friends and hobbies and work are neglected," he said. "There's difficulty in controlling the amounts you use. There's a degree of tolerance developed so you need higher doses to have the same effect. And then you persist in using despite the fact it's causing you ill health or debt."

Experts said what separates cannabis from heroin or nicotine addiction is that the physical withdrawal isn't as severe. They estimate that 8-10 percent of pot users will become dependent on the drug.

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