Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

MAY 22, 2004 EDITION

  1. EDITORIAL: ANOTHER CHICAGO TAKEDOWN - THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE 

  2. THIS IS YOUR GOVERNMENT ON DRUGS - ALTERNET  

  3. IRAQ CASES PUT FOCUS ON MILITARY JUSTICE - LOS ANGELES TIMES 

  4. DADS, DON'T LET YOUR GIRLS BE INTERNS: DA - NEW YORK POST  

  5. MARIJUANA BATTLE ENDS IN STALEMATE - MILFORD MIRROR (CT)

  6. HOUSE BACKS MORE RESTRICTIVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL - BURLINGTON FREE PRESS (VT) 

  7. MARIJUANA-BASED DRUG DEVELOPED TO TREAT MS - CALGARY SUN (CANADA)  

  8. U.S. HITS DRUG EMPIRE - CHICAGO TRIBUNE

  9. LAWSUITS TARGET ALCOHOL INDUSTRY - USA TODAY 

  10. STAGE SET FOR LEGAL SHOWDOWN OVER POT - LOS ANGELES TIMES 

  11. LEGISLATOR MODELS BILL ON STATE'S METH LAW - OKLAHOMA CITY OKLAHOMAN  

  12. N.Y. LEGISLATORS OPEN UP TALKS ON DRUG LAW REFORM - THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE (NY)

  13. EDITORIAL: MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN R.I. - THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL (RI)

  14. DOUGLAS: MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL WILL BECOME LAW - THE BOSTON GLOBE

  15. ILLEGAL GENERIC OXYCONTIN FOUND IN KY. - THE WASHINGTON POST

  16. MEDICAL POT OK'D; SESSION ENDING TODAY  - RUTLAND HERALD (VT)

  17. AROUND THE US - Thanks to C. E. Edwards
     
Hello,
        We at MOMSTELL have been so very busy these past few months. We have been working on the PA budget  and on several state committees regarding drug and alcohol issues. Deb Fowler ( Remembering Adam Inc.) and I have been busy doing advocacy trainings at various conferences across the state. We are beginning to expand our outreach as we meet with parents across the Commonwealth. Tomorrow is the first meeting of the states Children's Behavioral Health Task Force headed by our Secretary of Welfare. This is very exciting because we will have a good representation from parents on this task force! We will have a say in policy changes and that is so vital to improving the system! 
 
        I took the Pathways to Positive Outcomes course at the National Guard's Counterdrug Training facility. It was great and so informative! If you have not attended a course at  NCTC yet, your missing a wonderful training facility with excellent trainers. Everything is free including your room and food! You just have to get yourself to one of the training facilities in PA or Wisconsin.  Please check out www.counterdrug.org  for the upcoming schedules for coalitions, civilians, and law enforcement!
 
        MOMSTELL will be moving our e-mail site to verizon in the next week or so. Please keep an eye out for the notification!
Thanks!
 
Sharon
Sharon L. Smith
President-MOMSTELL
Box 450
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
www.momstell.com
 

HEADLINES ACROSS THE U.S.

 

EDITORIAL: ANOTHER CHICAGO TAKEDOWN
- THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE 
In the late 1980s, federal prosecutors in Chicago invented a novel strategy for attacking drug gangs that ravage, terrorize and often rule impoverished neighborhoods. In Chicago, those gangs traffic not only in narcotics, but also in blood: They are responsible for well over half of this city's long stratospheric homicide toll.

Law enforcement's traditional (and widely derided) strategy had been to focus on arresting street dealers in the hope that the small fry would implicate higher-ups. That often yielded plodding investigations that went nowhere.
The new, top-down strategy grew from the observation--gospel today, but novel in the `80s--that violent drug gangs mimicked vertically integrated corporations, with strict pyramidal command structures, tight controls from wholesale distribution through retail sales, and rigidly enforced codes of conduct. Viewed through that prism, drug gangs were businesses, vulnerable to racketeering and other federal laws.

In less than a decade, prosecutors vanquished the leaderships of what were Chicago's two most ruthless drug gangs, the El Rukns and the Gangster Disciples. U.S. Department of Justice officials impressed with the assault on gangs as illicit businesses dispatched a Chicago prosecutor to Los Angeles to train his federal colleagues in tactics for taking on that city's Crips and Bloods.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/printedition/chi-0405160408may16,1,3899948.story?coll=chi-printeditorial-hed   

  
2) THIS IS YOUR GOVERNMENT ON DRUGS - ALTERNET  
Even as issues like Iraq, gay marriage and the environment command greater attention, the Bush administration has renewed the war on drugs. In this faith-based administration, the drug war is the ur-"values" war, the blueprint for the conservative kulturkampf. In fact, the drug war is even more ancient than most people realize. Temperance as a
movement emerged in the early 1800's as drinking, previously considered healthful and a basic component of life, was identified with social disorder. It quickly became an issue of hearth, home and morality.
 
Long before Bill Bennett gambled away his virtue book profits and before Richard Nixon, the first President to proclaim a "war on drugs," was born, the battle between the Wets and Drys was a defining political issue in America. From the 1880s until the end of prohibition, Americans endured fifty years of pitched battle over the drug alcohol. It's worth remembering that the drug war gave us not one but two Constitutional amendments: one banning alcohol, then another un-banning it. Despite alcohol's decisive win, or rather because of it, the battle moved to other fronts.
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18703
 

3) IRAQ CASES PUT FOCUS ON MILITARY JUSTICE - LOS ANGELES TIMES 
When Spc. Jeremy Sivits faces a public court-martial in a Baghdad convention center Wednesday, Americans will get the kind of look into the military justice system they haven't had since Army Lt. William Calley was tried for his role in the 1968 My Lai massacre of civilians in Vietnam.

Like that landmark case, the trials of Sivits and other soldiers who have served as guards at Abu Ghraib prison and are accused of abusing Iraqi detainees there hold the potential to calm — or further inflame — American and world opinion.

But while courts-martial parallel civilian justice, they offer a peculiarly military brand of jurisprudence. Americans inundated with coverage of military justice on cable news channels may find that, as French statesman Georges Clemenceau famously put it, "military justice is to justice as military music is to music."

The main thing the coming military court-martial cases in Iraq have in common with high-profile civilian trials is likely to be an avalanche of publicity.

In military justice, there are no standard sentencing guidelines and defendants are not entitled to be tried by a jury of their peers. In a general court-martial, a jury of five or more service members can take notes and ask questions. Two-thirds of them can send the defendant to prison.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-court15may15,1,2459741,print.story?coll=la-
headlines-world

 

4) DADS, DON'T LET YOUR GIRLS BE INTERNS: DA - NEW YORK POST  
The Albany County district attorney - reacting to the intern sex scandal at the state Capitol - issued an extraordinary warning yesterday about the program. EP "Any father who would let his daughter be an intern in the state Legislature should have his head examined," Albany DA Paul Clyne told The Post.
 
"I'm not going to call the place a cesspool, but I can say there is a group of legislators who, quite honestly, are here to get paid $80,000 a year and party three nights a week and who don't contribute anything to the process," added Clyne, a Democrat.
 
"Everyone knows that for some people, legislators and some of the other staff people in the Legislature, the constant flow of young women in and out of the Legislature is viewed as an opportunity for them."
 
The DA made his startling charges in response to The Post's disclosure yesterday that the Assembly's student intern program was actually a "canned hunt" by sexually aggressive lawmakers looking to bed young college students.
http://www.nypost.com/cgi-bin/printfriendly.pl 


5) MARIJUANA BATTLE ENDS IN STALEMATE - MILFORD MIRROR (CT)  
Ultimately, the bill failed, not on its merits but because of legislative wrangling that prevented it from reaching the Senate floor during this year's session.
 
The medical marijuana bill would allow residents to grow marijuana in their homes for personal use, provided they receive a doctor's prescription for the drug.

The bill won approval from the Judiciary, Appropriations and Public Health committees, passed the House of Representatives and was sent to the Finance Committee for further review.
 
The Finance Committee approved it before sending it back to the House just in time to send it to the Senate before the session ended. However, House leaders failed to send it to the Senate before the session closed, killing it for this year's session. Proponents can raise it again during next year's session
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1347&dept_id=432990&newsid=11643115&PAG=461&rfi=9
 

6) HOUSE BACKS MORE RESTRICTIVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL - BURLINGTON FREE PRESS (VT) 
The House has joined the Senate in endorsing legislation that would protect seriously ill Vermonters from arrest and prosecution if they smoke small amounts of marijuana to ease conditions such as intractable nausea or pain.

But, there's a hitch.

The House bill, which won all but final approval Thursday by a vote of 79-48, might be too restrictive for the Senate.

The Senate has twice passed marijuana bills that would allow Vermonters with a broad range of debilitating conditions to seek protection from prosecution if they use marijuana. The Senate versions also would allow patients to grow more plants for their personal use than the House plan.
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/bfpnews/news/1000h.htm
 

7) MARIJUANA-BASED DRUG DEVELOPED TO TREAT MS - CALGARY SUN (CANADA)  
Pharmaceutical giant Bayer HealthCare has applied to market a marijuana-based drug in Canada. If approved, it would be the first cannabis-based drug legally available in this country for the relief of debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis and severe neuropathic pain.
 
Bayer and GW Pharmaceuticals of Britain announced yesterday they had filed a new drug submission to Health Canada for Sativex, an oral spray developed by GW Pharmaceuticals and licensed to Bayer.
http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/CalgarySun/News/2004/05/12/456181.html 
  
  
8) U.S. HITS DRUG EMPIRE
- CHICAGO TRIBUNE
With their leader in prison, top members of the Black Disciples were called to a South Side apartment building--"The Castle," the gang called it--to hear from their newly annointed "king."

He told the assembled drug dealers that if they played by the "BD law," they would prosper. Violators would be beaten or killed by the Vanguard, the enforcers of the gang.

Since that day in 1991, Marvel Thompson, 35, ran the Black Disciples gang as if it were a diversified corporation, hauling in drug profits--as much as $300,000 per day--which the gang laundered with investments, including apartment buildings, a rap record label called M.O.B., and a carwash and nightclub in Atlanta, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Using a pirate transmitter to barge in on the FM frequency operated by a Christian radio station, the gang even broadcast "public service announcements" to their dealers, warning them when police were near, according to a 185-page indictment released Thursday by U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald.

The gang effectively took over a 16-story Chicago Housing Authority building, posting snipers on the roof to protect dealers making as much as $45,000 per day selling crack, cocaine and heroin inside, the prosecutors said. Lookouts were equipped with night-vision goggles, according to the complaint.

Thompson, a rap record producer, and 46 others were indicted this week on drug conspiracy charges after a six-year investigation led by Chicago police and the FBI.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0405140306may14,1,6928401,print.story?coll=chi-newslocal-hed 
  
 
9) LAWSUITS TARGET ALCOHOL INDUSTRY
- USA TODAY  
Ad campaigns are aimed at underage drinkers, lawyers say in cases similar to tobacco litigation
 
Consumers' attorneys across the nation have begun to target the alcoholic beverage industry, filing lawsuits that claim that some leading brewers and distillers are using slick advertising to sell products to underage drinkers.
 
Lawsuits filed since November in Ohio, California, North Carolina, Colorado and Washington, D.C., appear modeled after cases that were brought against the tobacco industry beginning in the mid-1980s. Those suits focused on youth-oriented ads and sought huge damages for tens of thousands of underage smokers and their parents. The tobacco lawsuits led to a settlement in 1998 in which tobacco companies agreed to pay $246 billion to state governments to cover health care costs and other smoking-related expenses
http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20040514/6203655s.htm 
 

 
10) STAGE SET FOR LEGAL SHOWDOWN OVER POT - LOS ANGELES TIMES  
A pair of medical marijuana patients won legal protection Tuesday against arrest and federal prosecution, setting the stage for a U.S. Supreme Court showdown to determine whether states can allow cannabis to be used as medicine.

U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction against the U.S. preventing it from pursuing a drug case against the two patients — Angel Raich of Oakland and Diane Monson of Oroville — and two anonymous caregivers who supply the pot.

Tuesday's court order was expected in the wake of a December ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which declared that Raich and Monson were within their rights to use marijuana as medicine. As part of that decision, the three-judge panel ordered the lower court to issue a preliminary injunction against the federal government.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-medpot19may19,1,310693,print.story?coll=la-headlines-california 
 


11) LEGISLATOR MODELS BILL ON STATE'S METH LAW
- OKLAHOMA CITY OKLAHOMAN  
A month-old Oklahoma law aimed at reducing methamphetamine production is being used as a model for national legislation that will be introduced today in Washington.
U.S. Rep. Brad Carson, D-Claremore, said he will introduce the "Ephedrine Alkaloids Regulation Act of 2004," a law that would make the tablet form of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine controlled substances.
 
The drugs, legally used in cold and sinus medicines, also are used as precursor chemicals for methamphetamine production nationwide. Since 1991, the Drug Enforcement Administration has seized more than 38,500 meth labs in 48 states. That number does not include labs seized solely by local and state agencies.
 
In Oklahoma, methamphetamine lab seizures increased 12,000 percent between 1994 and 2003. Law enforcement agencies estimate that there were from 30,000 to 60,000 meth labs in operation in the state last year.
 
Carson said though many states have laws aimed at controlling the sale of pseudoephedrine, there is no consistency. He said without a uniform standard limiting access to the drugs, control of the epidemic will remain elusive.
http://www.newsok.com/cgi-bin/show_article?ID=1241125&TP=getprint 


12) N.Y. LEGISLATORS OPEN UP TALKS ON DRUG LAW REFORM
- THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE (NY)  
It was a groundbreaking event that broke little new ground: Democrat and Republican legislators met in public for the first time Wednesday to try to hash out differences over New York's harsh drug-sentencing laws.
 
Reforming the laws has been a goal for the past several years, but until Wednesday all the talks over how to do it took place behind closed doors.
 
Wednesday, 10 lawmakers from the Assembly and Senate discussed their differences for about an hour. The group agreed to meet again today.
 
Gov. George Pataki said three years ago that changing the so-called Rockefeller laws was one of his top priorities, and last year reforms were the subject of long meetings he had with legislative leaders. But in the end nothing was done.
http://www.rochesterdandc.com/news/0520CG4AM7R_news.shtml
 

13) EDITORIAL: MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN R.I.
- THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL (RI)  
Rhode Island may soon become the 10th state to let doctors recommend marijuana to their patients. The drug is known to ease pain and the discomforts of treatments for cancer, AIDS and other ailments. Legalizing marijuana for medical use would seem a humane and rational policy.
So far, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have passed laws permitting the use of marijuana with a doctor's approval.
The bill before the Rhode Island legislature would not permit the commercial cultivation of pot. If it passes, a patient with a qualifying illness could have a doctor write a recommendation for marijuana. The state Department of Health would then issue an ID, allowing the patient to possess up to one ounce of pot or to grow six plants.
Under current Rhode Island law, possession of less than one kilogram (about 35 ounces) of pot is a misdemeanor, which can bring up to one year in jail and a $500 fine.
http://www.projo.com/opinion/editorials/content/projo_20040519_19edpot.1aab44.html
 
 
14) DOUGLAS: MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL WILL BECOME LAW - THE BOSTON GLOBE
MONTPELIER, Vt. -- The Senate on Wednesday gave a medical marijuana bill final legislative approval, and Gov. James Douglas said later that he would allow it to become law without his signature.
 
He said the House version of the bill, which was more restrictive than the Senate's but to which the Senate finally agreed, would "focus on symptom relief for a small percentage of individuals with only the most debilitating conditions."
The House changed the Senate-passed bill by shifting jurisdiction over use of marijuana by people with chronic diseases from the Department of Health to the Department of Public Safety, which includes the State Police. It narrowed the range of sick people who would be excused from arrest and prosecution on state charges, and it lowered the number of marijuana plants the patient using the drug could possess from seven to three.
 
In addition, the law will require the patient and one caregiver to register with the Department of Public Safety. It also requires marijuana to be kept in a locked room accessible only by the sick person and caregiver.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2004/05/19/douglas_medical_marijuana_
bill_will_become_law/
 
 
 
15) ILLEGAL GENERIC OXYCONTIN FOUND IN KY. - THE WASHINGTON POST
The generic form of the powerful painkiller OxyContin is already for sale on the black market in Appalachia, even though it is not yet available in all pharmacies.
 
Dan Smoot, chief detective for an anti-drug task force in eastern Kentucky, said undercover narcotics investigators began buying the generic drug from street-level dealers earlier this week. Investigators suspect a shipment of the drugs was stolen from a storage building in eastern Kentucky.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A44063-2004May20?language=printer 
  

16) MEDICAL POT OK'D; SESSION ENDING TODAY  -
RUTLAND HERALD (VT)  
A measure legalizing the use and possession of marijuana by people suffering from AIDS, cancer or multiple sclerosis crossed its final legislative hurdle Wednesday, paving the way for it to become law without the signature of Gov. James Douglas.
 
Senators, voting 20-7 in favor of the heavily lobbied bill, made Vermont's Legislature only the second in the country - Hawaii is the other - to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
 
The bill was sent to the governor, who confirmed that he would decline to sign it, meaning the measure automatically becomes law in five days.
http://www.rutlandherald.com/04/Story/83933.html

17)  AROUND THE US
Thanks to C.E. Edwards for the information below!
C. E. Edwards
Demand Reduction Office
AZ HIDTA
Drug-Free Workplaces, Communities and Schools
520-547-8845 (Tucson, AZ) or 877-817-6809 (toll-free)
fax: 520-547-8776

 
U. S.:  According to a review of data from several national monitoring studies, heroin’s popularity is growing among those aged 18-30, especially among young, white suburbanites. It is believed this is due to several factors: falling prices (as little as $4 for 0.1 gram bag, enough for a decent fix for a first-time user); improved processing technology; improved trafficking tactics; better marketing. Heroin in the U.S. comes from Mexico (black tar heroin, west coast markets), Colombia (east coast markets), and Afghanistan, the world’s largest heroin producer. Even though the perception of heroin as a drug with the most serious consequences exists, in 2002 it was one of the most widely used illicit drugs in five of 17 metropolitan areas surveyed in the U.S.. Purer heroin is more popular because it can be snorted instead of injected, but high purity also means users get hooked more quickly.

Washington, D.C.: Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004. Both the House and Senate are working on legislation to tighten controls on large purchases of over-the-counter medications (such as sudafed) used to produce methamphetamines. In 1996, Congress enacted a law requiring retailers to keep records on anyone who purchased more than 24 grams of pseudoephedrine, which equates to around 1,000 pills. The limit was later lowered to 9 grams, roughly the amount of the drug contained in 366 pills. But the legislation didn't target 'blister packs' of 10 to 40 individually wrapped pills. The new bill would limit to 9 grams the amount of pseudoephedrine that could be purchased in blister packs. States with laws already restricting ‘blister packs’ are: Arkansas, California, Missouri, and Washington.

U. S. /Canadian Border: In a partnership between U.S. and Canadian Agencies, more than 140 people in 18 cities were arrested in connection with a drug ring suppling 15 percent of the Ecstasy pills in the U. S.. Federal prosecutors in the United States said the ring imported huge amounts of Ecstasy powder from the Netherlands to Canada and pressed up to a million tablets a month for sale in the U. S. and elsewhere. There were distribution cells in virtually every major American city. The coordinated arrests spanned Canada and the U.S. including Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco. Prosecutors identified the gang leaders as Ze Wai Wong, 46, a Chinese arrested in Toronto, and Mai Phuong Le, 38, a Vietnamese arrested in Ottawa. The authorities accused Mr. Wong of organizing the production of the Ecstasy tablets in his laboratories in Toronto and Ms. Le of overseeing the laundering of up to $5 million a month. Officials said the investigation has resulted in the seizure of more than 500,000 Ecstasy pills, 250 Ecstasy dyes or stamps, 6 Ecstasy pill presses, a number of handguns and more than $6 million.

Arkansas:  The DEA said the state ranks third in the nation per capita for methamphetamine laboratories seized during the last several years, behind only California and Missouri. The agency said the state's rural landscape provides an ideal setting for illicit manufacturing. In 2003, 719 meth labs, dumpsites, or equipment were seized, up from 461 seizures in 2002 and 404 seizures in 2001, according to the DEA.

Illinois
March 16, 2004, Chicago: Under the 1996 enacted Drug Dealer Liability Act, the family of a teenager who died of an overdose successfully sued the drug dealers who sold the teenager the drugs, winning an award of $16 million dollars.  The parents of the teenager know that they will most likely not collect on the judgment, but were pleased to be the first case tried successfully under the Act.  About 12-16 other states have implemented the Drug Dealer Liability Act based upon the model, created by Dan Bent, former US Attorney for Hawai’i. A copy of the model Act is available at the student drug-testing committee web site at: http://www.studentdrugtesting.org/toppage5.htm

Indiana
(Per a news item) Cocaine is still the drug of choice in Northwest Indiana, but methamphetamine is a growing threat.  In 1994, Indiana State Police investigated reports of 3 meth labs, whereas in 2003 law enforcement officials investigated 988 reported meth operations.
Most are in Vigo County (“dubbed the cooking capital of Indiana”), outside Terre Haute, and in other counties on Indiana's southwestern edge. Urban areas such as Indianapolis and Lake County have experienced little meth traffic so far.  That may be changing according to the most recent "Lake County HIDTA 2004 Threat Assessment," which gives indications that abuse of meth is growing.  The report also stated that  meth seizures in Lake County have risen dramatically in the last few years, up 122 percent in 2002 alone. 

Massachusetts:
Massachusetts tops the nation’s list for use of illegal use of drugs and as well as for the highest percentage of young addicts. Fatal opiate overdoses among teens and young adults have tripled in Massachusetts over a fouryear period. Hospitalizations have doubled. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and others blame the epidemic on improved trafficking routes that allow drug-dealers to deliver directly to Boston, by-passing traditional stop-overs like New York City and also marketing to young people, using such tactics as brightly colored envelopes and brand logos like Batman, cartoon frogs, etc.

New York: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has just released a White Paper titled: “NonMedical Marijuana II: Rite Of Passage Or Russian Roulette?”, finding that the proportion of children and teenagers in treatment for marijuana dependence and abuse jumped 142 percent since 1992.

Other findings include: Children and teens are three times likelier to be in treatment for marijuana than for alcohol, and six times likelier to be in treatment for marijuana than for all other illegal drugs combined; emergency department mentions of the drug among the 12 to 17year old group has jumped 48 percent since 1999; about six times as many teens have tried marijuana as have tried Ecstasy or cocaine; Among youths aged 12 to 17 who have ever tried marijuana, the mean age of initiation is 13 and a half. Moreover, CASA's latest analysis provides increasing evidence that marijuana is a gateway to other drug use.  The data analyzed (2001 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 11,000 ninth through twelfth graders) found that among teens with no other problem behaviors, those who used marijuana at least once in the past 30 days are 13 times likelier than those who have not used marijuana, to use another drug like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, LSD or Ecstasy, and almost 26 times likelier than those teens who have never used marijuana to use another drug like cocaine, heroin, LSD, Ecstasy or methamphetamines. [The full White Paper is available at the DRO and the Adnetu Demand Reduction Library)

Oklahoma:   The 'Trooper Green Act' was introduced in the Oklahoma House on Feb. 2, 2004, by Rep. John Nance, ROklahoma City. Named after a state trooper who police say was killed by a meth addict, the bill would ban overthecounter sales of pseudoephedrine tablets. Under the proposed Oklahoma bill, customers could buy the medication only from a pharmacist. Purchases would be limited to 9 grams each month, and customers would need to sign for the medication and produce photo identification. The legislation covers pseudoephedrine in loose pills and blister packs. It does not include liquid medications containing pseudoephedrine because those are more difficult to separate into chemicals used for producing meth.

Research Update: (full studies or abstracts are on file at the DRO if you wish a copy)

Cocaine: As reported by NIDA in a Research Findings Bulletin (Vol. 18, No. 6 February 2004), Dr. John H. Halpern, along with colleagues at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, found that a key immune system component, a protein called interleukin6 (IL6), responded less robustly to an immunological challenge in male and female abusers injected with cocaine than in those who received placebo.  This means that use of cocaine may compromise the immune system and increase the risk of infection such as HIV, hepatitus, STDs, etc. by a finding that cocaine itself has a direct biological effect that may decrease an abuser's ability to fight off infections.  Source: Halpern, J.H., et al. Diminished interleukin6 response to proinflammatory challenge in men and women after intravenous cocaine administration. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 88(3):11881193, 2003.

Ecstasy: From Great Britain - hardcore ecstasy users may be aware of the risks involved in taking the drug, but enjoy it too much to stop, new research suggests.  Dr. Phil Murphy, speaking at the British Psychological Society's annual conference at Imperial College, London, reported that results of a survey of 328 ecstasy users, who had an average age of 22, indicated that while the young people involved saw taking ecstasy as a positive experience at first, the feelings of euphoria and closeness to others it produced became less pronounced.  It was also noted that those who had been taking ecstasy for more than six years continued to view the drug positively suggesting that perhaps those long-term users had learned ways of coping with the negative effects, such as taking different drugs.  Another study led by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University showed that taking ecstasy damaged longterm memory.

From the U.S.: The DEA has signed off on a controlled trial study for the use of ecstasy in trauma cases being conducted by a South Carolina physician. The funding for the research has been provided by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in Sarasota, Fla., a nonprofit research and educational organization (also another leading drug legalization organization). MAPS has been fighting for years to get the study approved.  The goal is to help people with debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder face the pain at the core of their illness and to work with it.

Marijuana: Evidence continues to grow in establishing a link between use of marijuana and mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia.  New research from the Netherlands examined the link of cannabis use to the early markers associated with the progression of schizophrenia and found that there appears to be a strong association between use of cannabis and earlier age at first psychotic episode in male schizophrenia patients.  Source: Am J Psychiatry 161:501506, March 2004. “Cannabis Use and Age at Onset of Schizophrenia” Natalie D. Veen, M.D., JeanPaul Selten, M.D., Ph.D., Ingeborg van der Tweel, Wilma G. Feller, Hans W. Hoek, M.D., Ph.D., and René S. Kahn, M.D., Ph.D. [I have a number of studies relating schizophrenia and marijuana use in the electronic library at the DRO should anyone wish to review other studies in this area]

 

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