Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

March 28, 2004 Edition

  1. VOTERS UNLIKELY TO PASS POT PLAN - LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL
  2. HEALTH CANADA TO MAKE POT AVAILABLE IN PHARMACIES - OTTAWA CITIZEN  
  3. DRIVING DRUNK: A STUDY LOOKS AT CHILD DEATHS - NEW YORK TIMES 
  4. MEDICAL MARIJUANA GETS BOOST BY RULING - CONTRA COSTA TIMES
  5. MADD SEEKS TOUGHER DRUNKEN DRIVER LAWS - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
  6. PENALTIES FOR DRUNKEN DRIVING WITH KIDS - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
  7. BILL EXPANDING DRUG COURTS PICKS UP SUPPORT - NEWARK STAR LEDGER (NJ)
  8. ALARM OVER RISING COCAINE, MARIJUANA USE - EXPATICA 
  9. U.S. ANNOUNCES GAINS IN ERADICATING ANDEAN COCA - NEW YORK TIMES 
  10. COLOMBIA GETS RESULTS IN DRUG WAR - WASHINGTON TIMES 
  11. GAO FINDS ONDCP MARIJUANA CAMPAIGN LEGAL - JOIN TOGETHER 
  12.  RANDOM DRUG TESTS AT FRONTLINE OF WORKPLACE BATTLEGROUND - SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (AUSTRALIA)  
     

 

  
1) VOTERS UNLIKELY TO PASS POT PLAN -
LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL
Nevadans narrowly would reject a ballot question seeking to legalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for adults 21 and older, a poll commissioned by the Review-Journal shows.    
Forty-three percent of the respondents said they would support the initiative to change the constitution and decriminalize 1 ounce or less of marijuana for adults who use it privately.  
But 48 percent said they oppose the idea and 9 percent are undecided.
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Mar-22-Mon-2004/news/23481415.html 
  
 

2) HEALTH CANADA TO MAKE POT AVAILABLE IN PHARMACIES - OTTAWA CITIZEN  
Health Canada plans to make government-certified marijuana available in pharmacies. Officials are organizing a pilot project in B.C., modelled on a year-old program in Holland.  
It would allow medical users to buy marijuana at their local drugstore. There are only 78 medical users in Canada permitted to buy Health Canada marijuana. 
The 30-gram bags of dried buds, sold for $150 each, now are sent by courier directly to patients or to their doctors.
http://www.canada.com/ottawa/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=5f98cb38-5bcb-4005-b683-6550a72dc3e0 
 

 
3) DRIVING DRUNK: A STUDY LOOKS AT CHILD DEATHS
- NEW YORK TIMES 
About two-thirds of child passengers who die in car crashes involving some measurable amount of alcohol are in the vehicle with the drinking driver, according to a new study of government statistics by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
 
The police reports on which the statistics are based do not indicate the family relationships of crash victims. But very often the driver is the child's parent, says MADD, which argues that drunken driving with a youngster in the car is a form of child abuse and should be a basis for revising custody agreements and visitation rights in divorce cases.
 
The report, "Every Child Deserves a Designated Driver," which uses a government definition of children as those 14 and under, contradicts the stereotype of the lone drunken driver smashing into a car in which a family is riding or running down children playing in the street. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the vast majority of children killed by drunken drivers are in vehicles, and not pedestrians or cyclists.
 
And of the 1,985 children who died from 1997 to 2001 as passengers in alcohol-related accidents, 1,349, or 68 percent, were in cars whose drivers had measurable levels of alcohol, government statistics show. Within that group, about three-quarters, a total of 1,016 children, were in cars whose driver's blood alcohol level was over 0.08 that is, 0.08 gram of alcohol per deciliter of blood the national standard for being under the influence.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/23/national/23DRUN.html?pagewanted=print&position=


4) MEDICAL MARIJUANA GETS BOOST BY RULING
- CONTRA COSTA TIMES  
A federal judge ruled Monday that evidence of medical marijuana use could be considered by a jury as a defense in a criminal drug trial.
 
The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Nora M. Manella comes in the wake of a December ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a congressional act outlawing marijuana may not apply to sick people with a doctor's recommendation in states that have approved medical marijuana laws.
 
The case of Anna Barrett, 32, and her husband Gary, 35, of Los Angeles, who were charged with manufacturing and conspiring to manufacture marijuana marks the first time that the 9th Circuit ruling, which was made in a civil case, was argued before a judge in a criminal trial.
 
Defense lawyers wanted the charges dismissed based on the appellate court's ruling, but Manella ruled that the government had enough evidence the couple may have been growing their marijuana for a "commercial operation," allowing the case to go to trial.
 
But she warned Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Loeser that if the government can't show the couple was growing the marijuana with the intent to distribute it, it will likely have a weak case.
http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/state/8254542.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
 

5) MADD SEEKS TOUGHER DRUNKEN DRIVER LAWS - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
MADD wants states to standardize their drunken driving and child endangerment laws to make sure child passengers are protected. The organization says states should consider anyone under 16 a child; revoke licenses from drunken drivers who drive with kids; and require convicted drunken drivers who may transport kids to pass a Breathalyzer test before they can start their car.
 
MADD also says states should pass laws requiring a lower allowable blood-alcohol level of .05 for adults who have been convicted of driving drunk with kids. The legal limit in most states is .08.
http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/ap/ap_story.html/National/AP.V8925.AP-Drunken-Driving.html
 
6) PENALTIES FOR DRUNKEN DRIVING WITH KIDS - ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants all 50 states to have higher penalties for people who drive drunk with child passengers. Below are the states with such penalties and the age the child passenger must be for the penalties to take effect, as well as the states without enhanced penalties.
http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/ap/ap_story.html/National/AP.V8930.AP-Drunken-Driving.html 
 

 
7) BILL EXPANDING DRUG COURTS PICKS UP SUPPORT
- NEWARK STAR LEDGER (NJ)
Drug courts, the prison alternative program that offers nonviolent offenders a chance at rehabilitation, would expand statewide by next February under a supplemental funding bill endorsed by a legislative committee yesterday.
 
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed adding another $1.8 million to drug courts in the current fiscal year, an allocation that would allow the court to expand into eight remaining counties in February 2005. Without the added money, the expansion would occur in May 2005.
http://www.nj.com/statehouse/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1080027276303310.xml
 
 
8) ALARM OVER RISING COCAINE, MARIJUANA USE - EXPATICA 
Cocaine use is increasing sharply in the Netherlands, and is particularly popular both among heroin addicts and young people, Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst said on Monday.
 
In unveiling the findings of the 2003 National Drugs Monitor, the minister said 70 to 90 percent of heroin addicts are also users of crack, the smokeable form cocaine. He also said the nation's youths are increasingly opting to snort cocaine.
 
Besides the use of cocaine, the rising popularity of marijuana or hash and the increasing number of cannabis users who are seeking medical help has also sparked concerns.
http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=19&story_id=5863 
 

 
9) U.S. ANNOUNCES GAINS IN ERADICATING ANDEAN COCA -
NEW YORK TIMES  
The Bush administration released eradication estimates on Monday showing solid progress in wiping out coca crops in the Andean region, prompting some officials to predict that by the end of this year there will be no significant plantations of mature plants to feed Colombia's cocaine production.
 
But the price of progress has been high. Some American officials involved in the aerial spraying program in Colombia warn that pilots are increasingly vulnerable to attacks by well-armed guerrillas as they go after plantations in the most remote areas. The downing of four planes and the death of one pilot in Colombia last year have prompted some officials to question the future of the spraying program and the value of security offered by American-trained counternarcotics battalions.
 
The spraying of Colombia's coca has been hampered by Marxist guerrillas and undermined by intelligence breakdowns between American managers and Colombian forces, according to people who work in the program, internal memos and the report of a crash investigation by the State Department, which manages the program.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/23/politics/23DRUG.html?pagewanted=print&position= 
 

 
10) COLOMBIA GETS RESULTS IN DRUG WAR
- WASHINGTON TIMES 
Cocaine production in Colombia dropped significantly last year, prompting President Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe yesterday to discuss ways to intensify the war against narco-terrorists in that South American country.
Meeting at the White House for the third time in two years, the two leaders focused on "Plan Colombia," a $2.5 billion program that provides training and military hardware, including helicopters and intelligence equipment, to authorities in that country to combat drugs.
Colombia wants Washington to provide funding for the program until at least 2009.
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040323-111236-5123r.htm 
 

 
11) GAO FINDS ONDCP MARIJUANA CAMPAIGN LEGAL -
JOIN TOGETHER 
The General Accounting Office (GAO) ruled that a letter-writing campaign conducted by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) against medical-marijuana ballot initiatives during the November 2002 elections was not in violation of any laws, The Hill reported March 17.
 
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) asked the GAO to investigate letters written by ONDCP Deputy Director Scott Burns to local prosecutors. The letters strongly reminded prosecutors of their role in "fighting the normalization of marijuana."
http://www.jointogether.org/sa/news/summaries/reader/0,1854,570050,00.html 
 


12) RANDOM DRUG TESTS AT FRONTLINE OF WORKPLACE BATTLEGROUND -
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (AUSTRALIA)  
The positive drug test of Canterbury Bulldogs player Willie Mason has reignited debate over possible intimidation and breaches of privacy in the workplace as more employees face random screening.
 
Critics of drug and alcohol tests say that what people do in non-work time should remain their business unless it affects their job performance. And unions, while opposed to across-the-board screening, stress that any testing should conform to properly monitored procedures.
 
Qantas, StateRail and some mining companies face stiff resistance from unions as they press campaigns to have staff screened. 
An ACTU industrial officer, Richard Watts, said Qantas had deferred plans to introduce across-the-board testing at the end of this month only after a revolt among its 34,000 employees.  
Mr Watts said unions were concerned that testing would lead to a "regime of fear" and breach the privacy of people on prescribed medications.
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/25/1079939787915.html 
 

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