Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

OCTOBER 10, 2004 Edition

 

1. COURT'S NEW BUSINESS LOOKS LIKE OLD BUSINESS
2.
DISTRICTS POLLED ON MARIJUANA LAW
3.
HOUSEHOLD MEDICINE ABUSED BY THE YOUNG
4.
HISTORY OF DRUGS FOUND IN 80% OF YOUTH OFFENDERS
5.
ASSEMBLY PASSES SYRINGE PROPOSALS
6.
HIDDEN POWERHOUSES UNDERLIE METH'S UGLY SPREAD:  FIVE PART SERIES
7.
CHICAGO MAYOR CAUSES STIR WITH POT PROPOSAL
8.
PROGRESS MADE ON ADDICTION VACCINE
9.
MARIJUANA GROUP TAKES A NEW ROUTE IN NEVADA
10.
SUPREME COURT SETS DATE FOR MARIJUANA CASE
11. NEW "OPEN LETTER TO PARENTS" HIGHLIGHTS NEGATIVE IMPACT OF MARIJUANA ON TEEN LEARNING AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS


 
USA TODAY
COURT'S NEW BUSINESS LOOKS LIKE OLD BUSINESS
The new judicial term that begins here Monday could be dubbed: Supreme Court, the Sequel.
 
In several cases over the next nine months, the justices will be revisiting major decisions. They include a ruling in 1989 that permits the execution of those who were juveniles when they committed their crimes, and a decision in June in which the court cast doubt on whether federal sentencing guidelines are constitutional.
 
Another closely watched dispute which tests whether U.S. anti-drug policy overrides a California law that allows the medical use of marijuana will require the justices to return to a case in 1995 that began a series of rulings that favored states' rights over federal power.

Also familiar is the court itself: The nine justices are back for their 11th term together. Never before have nine U.S. justices been together for so long. The high court has not had such a stable period since 1812-1823, when it had seven seats.
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20041001/a_court01.art.htm 
 
BOSTON GLOBE
DISTRICTS POLLED ON MARIJUANA LAW
Two area senate districts have become local test grounds in the ongoing debate over marijuana laws.
 
In the Second Essex and the Third Essex and Middlesex districts, voters will weigh in on whether possession of the drug should be decriminalized.
 
In each district, a nonbinding question asks if the district's senator should ''introduce and vote for legislation making possession of marijuana a civil violation like a traffic ticket."
 
The legislation also would require police to hold a person under 18 cited for possession ''until released to a parent, legal guardian or brought before a judge."
 
The question was placed on the two senate districts ballots, and in the 10th Norfolk House district, by the Committee to Reform Marijuana Laws, a group that supports decriminalization of marijuana, according to Steven S. Epstein, an attorney and Georgetown resident who is heading up the effort.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/10/03/districts_polled_on_marijuana_law?mode=PF 
  
WASHINGTON POST
HOUSEHOLD MEDICINE ABUSED BY THE YOUNG
At CVS pharmacies, you now have to be at least 18 to buy Coricidin Cough & Cold medicine. At Walgreens, there's a three-pack limit on an extra-strength variety of those pills. And at some independently owned drugstores, syrup bottles and blister packs of cough suppressants have vanished from shelves and reappeared behind the counter, near the cigarettes or the prescription drugs.
 
The nation's pharmacy giants are taking precautions in response to a trend that doctors and anti-drug abuse activists say could grow into an epidemic: teenagers and young adults using medicine to get high.
 
From acid to ecstasy, patterns of substance abuse have evolved with the times, and in recent years, illicit use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs has soared among a certain demographic -- mostly suburban, mostly young and mostly middle class, according to researchers. They get the drugs through the Internet, at school and from their parents' medicine cabinets.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A16328-2004Oct7?language=printer 
 

WASHINGTON TIMES
HISTORY OF DRUGS FOUND IN 80% OF YOUTH OFFENDERS
Nearly 80 percent of young people who are arrested use illegal drugs or alcohol, but fewer than 4 percent receive substance abuse treatment, says a new study.

Joseph A. Califano, president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), said untreated substance abuse is likely to lead young people into lives of crime and adult prisons.

The juvenile justice system contributes to this outcome by acting more like "colleges of criminality" -- exposing new offenders to hardened offenders -- than places of rehabilitation, said Mr. Califano, a domestic policy official in the Johnson and Carter administrations.

Young offenders should be referred quickly to comprehensive programs that address drug and alcohol abuse, as well as problems such as learning disabilities or mental illness, said Mr. Califano, who suggested that effective treatment would cost $5,000 per youthful offender.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20041008-123147-7475r
(The CASA report "Criminal Neglect: Substance Abuse, Juvenile Justice and The Children Left Behind" can be found at
http://www.casacolumbia.org/pdshopprov/files/JJreport.pdf ) 
  
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
ASSEMBLY PASSES SYRINGE PROPOSALS
TRENTON -
The Assembly approved legislation yesterday to allow needle-exchange programs to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases among illegal-drug users.
By the same 43-28 vote, with six abstentions, the Assembly also voted to let pharmacies sell syringes without a prescription.
 
The bills await action in the Senate. Gov. McGreevey has indicated his support for legal access to sterile syringes.
 
Currently, New Jersey and Delaware are the only states that do not allow syringe access for drug addicts.
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/9865571.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp 
  
PORTLAND OREGONIAN

HIDDEN POWERHOUSES UNDERLIE METH'S UGLY SPREAD (Part 1 in the series)
A cross the West and Great Plains, small-town residents blame the arrival of meth abuse in their communities on the influx of local meth labs.
 
They are mistaken.
 
The reality is that 80 percent of meth comes from Mexican drug cartels operating here, in the rural expanses of Central and Southern California. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, only 20 percent of the supply is made by local users themselves.
 
A decade ago, the cartels in California pioneered a technique for industrial-scale production of meth that police dubbed the "superlab."
http://www.oregonlive.com/printer/printer.ssf?/oregonian/meth/1003_superlab.html 
  
LOBBYISTS AND LOOPHOLES (Part 2 in the series)
In his office on Washington, D.C.'s bustling Connecticut Avenue, five blocks north of the White House, drug lobbyist Allan Rexinger was scanning the Congressional Record one September day in 1986 when two words stopped him short.
 
"Ephedrine." "Pseudoephedrine."
 
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration wanted to require companies to keep sales and import records for these and 12 other chemicals used in making illegal drugs. Executives would have to give the DEA the documents when asked.
From his seven years protecting the interests of the pharmaceutical industry, Rexinger knew that ephedrine was important to sellers of nonprescription asthma and diet pills. Even more important, pseudoephedrine was the leading ingredient in the nation's $3 billion cold medication market. Every major drug firm had a brand.
http://www.oregonlive.com/printer/printer.ssf?/oregonian/meth/1004_lobbyistsandloopholes.html
 
TOKEN DETERRENT (Part 3 in the series)
Thomas Narog stood outside his rented storage unit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., one day in July 1999 while a federal inspector checked the lock.
 
The 66-year-old semi-retired mortgage broker wanted to go into a new business, but he needed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's approval. He wanted to sell pseudoephedrine pills from the storage unit.
 
While Narog had no background in pharmaceuticals, he also had no criminal record, and neither did the man he claimed as his sole customer. The inspector handed Narog some brochures that warned pseudoephedrine can be used to make methamphetamine, then told him to report any suspicious orders to the DEA.
 
Two weeks later, Narog had his permit, and Seaside Pharmaceutical Co. was in business.
It proceeded to supply millions of pseudoephedrine pills to meth labs, federal law enforcement officials say.
http://www.oregonlive.com/printer/printer.ssf?/oregonian/meth/1005_tokendeterrent.html
 
SHELVED SOLUTIONS (Part 4 in the series)

Eight years ago at a laboratory in Texas, Warner-Lambert Co. began testing a possible cure for the methamphetamine epidemic: a new and improved cold medicine that could not be turned into the illicit stimulant.
 
The company was worried that federal regulators would soon ban or restrict sales of pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient used to make meth and Warner-Lambert products such as Sudafed, Actifed and Benadryl.
 
Warner-Lambert's meth-proof alternative showed promise in animal testing, conducted at a university lab in Fort Worth. The company quickly applied for a patent. But that is where the product's development ended.
http://www.oregonlive.com/printer/printer.ssf?/oregonian/meth/1006_shelvedsolutions.html
 
CHILD OF THE EPIDEMIC (Part 5 in the series)
The day her mother vanished again, trading a promising run at sobriety for yet another hit of methamphetamine, 13-year-old MaKayla Harris joined friends at a parking-lot carnival.
 
She didn't want to think about the magnitude of her mother's fall this time, how close they'd come to reuniting as a family. Mostly, she wanted to forget that this was Mother's Day.
http://www.oregonlive.com/printer/printer.ssf?/oregonian/meth/1007_childofepidemic.html 

BOSTON HERALD
CHICAGO MAYOR CAUSES STIR WITH POT PROPOSAL

10/6/2004
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has drawn national attention for his proposal to ease penalties for marijuana use, the Boston Herald reported Oct. 3.

"This is absolutely a big deal," said Andy Ko, director of the Drug Policy Reform Project for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington state. "You've got a mayor in a major American city coming out in favor of a smart and fair and just drug policy."

Daley supports ticketing people caught with small amounts of marijuana rather than prosecuting them in court. The fine would range from $250 to $1,000.

The idea was first raised last month by Chicago police Sgt. Thomas Donegan, who said 94 percent of the city's 7,000 marijuana cases filed last year involving 2.5 grams of the drug or less were dismissed.

"If 99 percent of the cases are thrown out, and we have police officers going to court to testify in the cases, why? It costs a lot of money for police officers to go to court," said Daley.

Pat Camden, a Chicago police spokesman, couldn't recall a single case where an offender received the state's maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $15,000 fine for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

Experts believe that Daley's support of the proposal carries weight because of his background. "As a former prosecutor, nobody is going to say he's soft on crime," said Dick Simpson, a political-science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

If Chicago reduces the penalty for small-time marijuana possession, it would not be the first municipality to do so. Seattle voters approved an initiative that makes personal-use marijuana cases a low priority for law enforcement. In addition, California and Oregon have lowered possession of a small amount of marijuana to a misdemeanor fine, while in Colorado, it's a petty offense.
 

ASSOCIATED PRESS
MARIJUANA GROUP TAKES A NEW ROUTE IN NEVADA
Having failed to get a marijuana decriminalization initiative on the November ballot in Nevada, the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana is working on a new plan that would allow stores to sell marijuana, the Associated Press reported Sept. 29.

The petition, which has been filed with Secretary of State Dean Heller, requires 51,337 signatures of registered voters by Nov. 9. If enough signatures are collected, the proposal would go before the 2005 legislature before it is presented to voters.

"It's going to be close, but we're confident we can get them," said Larry Sandell, campaign manager for the committee.

Under the plan, the state would license stores to sell marijuana, and the taxes raised from pot sales would go to the state. In addition, the state would profit from the $1,000 initial licensing fee and a $1,000 annual renewal fee charged to retailers.

The initiative reads: "Rather than spending millions of taxpayer dollars arresting marijuana users, the state of Nevada should instead generate millions of dollars by taxing and regulating marijuana, and earmark part of these revenues to prevent and treat the abuse of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs."

PROGRESS MADE ON ADDICTION VACCINE
10/8/2004

Scientists report that they are inching closer to developing a vaccine that would effectively treat drug addiction, the Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 5.

Although the research is several years away from putting a vaccine on the market, the studies are meeting with success. The research suggests that the vaccine is able to activate the immune system to block the effects of substances such as cocaine or nicotine.

The vaccine works by producing antibodies to a certain substance. When that substance is used, the antibodies bind to it as it enters a person's system. In doing so, the vaccine stops most of the chemical from the drug from crossing into the brain. The substance is then metabolized by the liver and secreted from the body.

The two companies furthest along in the research are Nabi Biopharmaceuticals in Boca Raton, Fla., and Xenova Group PLC of Slough, England.

Nabi Biopharmaceuticals is working on a nicotine vaccine. The company has completed a trial involving 68 smokers to test safety and measure the levels of antibodies produced by the vaccine. The vaccine has also resulted in smoking cessation among a group of participants.

Xenova Group is working on a cocaine vaccine and reports that the vaccine has reduced relapse in a small group of cocaine users.
 

LAS VEGAS SUN
MARIJUANA MARKET INITIATIVE PLANNED

By Cy Ryan  <cy@lasvegassun.com> SUN CAPITAL BUREAU

CARSON CITY --
Backers of pot decriminalization are pushing a plan that would establish marijuana markets, stores licensed to sell pot and taxed by the state.

A group behind an unsuccessful plan that would have allowed adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana without facing a criminal charge has started a new initiative petition to decriminalize pot in Nevada.

If the signature-gathering effort succeeds, the marijuana markets proposal would then be considered by the 2005 Legislature.

The Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana filed its petition Monday with Secretary of State Dean Heller and it has until Nov. 9 to collect 51,337 signatures of registered voters.

"It's going to be close but we're confident we can get them," Larry Sandell, campaign manager for the committee, said.

The organization circulated a previous petition to amend the Nevada Constitution, but didn't get the required signatures by the deadline. It is appealing this case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.

If the committee secures the signatures on the new petition, it will be presented to the 2005 Legislature, which must act on it within 40 days. If the Legislature does not act or if it changes the petition, the issue will go on the 2006 election ballot.

Sandell said Nevada would be the first state to set up a system of regulation. But he said a question on the Alaska ballot this election will deal with permitting marijuana.

The new Nevada initiative says, "Rather than spending millions of taxpayer dollars arresting marijuana users, the state of Nevada should instead generate millions of dollars by taxing and regulating marijuana, and earmark part of these revenues to prevent and treat the abuse of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs."

It said by allowing those 21 and older to use marijuana in their homes, police would have more time to prevent and investigate serious crimes such as murder, rape, assault, robbery and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The state would license wholesalers and retailers to sell the drug. Each would pay $1,000 for an initial license and $1,000 annually for the permit.

A retailer or wholesaler could not locate within 500 feet of a school or church. Licenses for selling the drug would not be issued to gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, nightclubs, gaming casinos or dance halls. Those businesses that sold liquor would be barred from having a permit to sell marijuana.

The proposed initiative would continue to prohibit a person from driving under the influence of marijuana. It would also prohibit possessing marijuana in a public place, jail or public school.

The original petition to amend the Constitution was declared invalid because some of the signatures were gathered from people who signed up to vote at the time or after they signed the petition.

A panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the claim of the marijuana proponents that those signatures should be counted. The group is now asking for a hearing before the full court.

Sandell said if the group gets the question on the ballot for the constitutional change, it would probably drop its second petition.

SUPREME COURT SETS DATE FOR MARIJUANA CASE
October 1, 2004 - The nation's highest court has set a date to take up the case that will determine whether the federal government has the right to step in and overrule state medical marijuana laws. The case, Raich v. Ashcroft, will go before the United States Supreme Court November 29 at 10 a.m. The Drug Policy Alliance is filing a brief on behalf of Angel Raich, a California medical marijuana patient.

The case, which the New York Times has said is "certain to be one of the most closely watched of the court's next term," already set precedent when a federal judge ordered the government to allow two seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana. Attorney General John Ashcroft later appealed, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in its fall term.

NEW "OPEN LETTER TO PARENTS" HIGHLIGHTS NEGATIVE IMPACT OF MARIJUANA ON TEEN LEARNING AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS

** White House Drug Policy Office and Leaders in Education and Health Urge Parents to Protect Their Teens' Futures **

This fall, more than one million high school juniors and seniors will be preparing to take college entrance exams. Recognizing the negative impact of marijuana on teen learning and academic success, the Office of National Drug Control Policy today launched a new outreach effort to educate parents about the risks of teen marijuana use. The "Marijuana and Learning" effort features a new "Open Letter to Parents" that will appear in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and U.S. News and World Report on October 12, 2004. The letter will also be available for viewing online at www.TheAntiDrug.com and www.MediaCampaign.org.

The "Open Letter to Parents" and its message are being supported by leaders in the fields of education, health, and youth drug prevention, including the Center for College Health and Safety, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National Association of Asian and Pacific-American Education, United Negro College Fund, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American School Counselor Association, National Student Assistance Association, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

"Young people who begin marijuana use at an early age when the brain is still developing are more vulnerable to problems with memory, attention span, and learning," said Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Smoking marijuana causes some changes in the brain that are like those caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol."

The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reveals that almost 4 million youths aged 12 to 17 (16 percent) had used marijuana at least once in the past year.  While there has been an 11 percent decrease in marijuana use, according to the 2003 Monitoring the Future survey, NSDUH findings show almost 14 percent of youths who bought marijuana did so on school property.

Research also shows that teens with an average grade of "D" or below are more than four times more likely to have used marijuana in the past year as youth who reported an average grade of "A."
And, the more a student abuses substances, the lower his or her grade point average is likely to be. In fact, teenagers who drink underage or use drugs are up to five times more likely than their peers to drop out of high school.

The "Marijuana and Learning" outreach effort is part of a larger marijuana education initiative launched by ONDCP in 2002 to dispel myths and misconceptions about the drug among teens and their parents. For more information about marijuana's negative impact on teen learning and other Media Campaign efforts that you can bring to your community, please visit www.TheAntiDrug.com, www.MediaCampaign.org, and www.Freevibe.com.

If you have comments, thoughts or ideas about Media Campaign resources, please contact the Campaign at: nyac@theantidrug.com.

Our address:
ONDCP - 750 17th Street, NW | Washington, District of Columbia 20503

 

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