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Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

December 24, 2004 Edition

(Past Editions)


Dear Friends,
        Its Christmas Eve and I have a few moments of quiet before the rush to finish wrapping presents, fixing dinner and traveling to grandma's house.  I am well aware that many families across this nation are in total chaos today and just hoping Christmas will provide another day of life for their addicted child. I remember all to well that last Christmas with Angie. Those were my thoughts. This year I am filled with hope for the future of those children.
        We have such a unique opportunity in this field of work we do.  We have the opportunity to save lives. What greater gift can we give than ourselves, our time, our knowledge and at times, just an ear to listen to the hurting families?  
         As we prepare to face this New Year, let us keep our hearts and minds focused on why we  dedicate our lives to this work in the Drug and Alcohol field.  It is for the children and their families. 
        I wanted to thank you all for the advice and support you have given me...  My journey this year has been filled with victories and sadness.  The victories of being able to connect with one of you to locate treatment for a child in need or to hear a parents "Thank you" for just providing a shoulder.  The sadness comes as we hear of another child's struggle with the disease of addiction or the ultimate tragic death of another life .
         I pray for strength and wisdom for you all as you continue in your work. For those of you in recovery, I pray for your continued sobriety. Your strength and example gives us hope for those following in your footsteps of recovery. 
        For those of you struggling with a family members addiction, we are here if you need us.
         For those of you who have lost a child and are struggling with grief, I truly feel your pain. I pray for strength and courage as you face each day.
       As we look forward to 2005, lets keep focused on the families who we are helping.  God Bless and keep you.  I look forward to celebrating many new victories with you all this year.
God bless,


Sharon L. Smith
Box 450
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055

I am starting out the Headlines with a wonderful Christmas Story.
Calif. Workers Donate Holiday Bonuses to Drug Court

Six employees of Loafer Creek Land Management, an environmental mitigation firm in Butte County, Calif., have donated their Christmas bonuses to the Butte County drug court, the Sacramento Bee reported Dec. 22.

The workers said they have all been on the receiving end of charitable donations at some time in their lives, whether overcoming depression, conquering a personal drug addiction, or having a relative with a drug problem.

Each worker received a $1,500 bonus, and Loafer Creek Land Management matched the amount for a total of $18,000.

Judge Darrell Stevens, who oversees the drug court, is dispersing the funds through the Salvation Army and a women's shelter for recovering drug addicts in Chico. The money will also be used to buy toys, pizzas, supermarket gift certificates, appointment books for drug-court clients, and other gifts and materials.

"It means a great deal because it shows that people in the community do care about people who are trying to better themselves," said Stevens. "These are people who have lived lives of addiction that have led them to financial ruin, who have been excluded from the community. For them to now be able to have a Christmas dinner, and small things like a pizza night out with their children, it makes them feel included. Self-esteem is a very important thing in the recovery process, and especially at Christmas time."


Nearly three-fourths of Americans middle age and older support legalizing marijuana for medical use, according to a poll taken for AARP.
More than half of those questioned said they believed marijuana has medical benefits, while a larger majority agreed the drug is addictive.
AARP, whose 35 million members are all at least 50 years old, says it has no political position on medical marijuana and that its local branches have not chosen sides in the scores of state ballot initiatives on the issue in recent elections.
But with medical marijuana at the center of a Supreme Court case to be decided next year, and nearly a dozen states with medical marijuana laws on their books, AARP said, it decided to study the issue.
"The use of medical marijuana applies to many older Americans who may benefit from cannabis," said Ed Dwyer, an editor at AARP The Magazine, which will report on the issue in its March-April issue, scheduled to appear in late January.

By Matthew T. Mangino
In 1994, John Popovich, a 34-year-old convicted felon, was found guilty on charges of forging a drug prescription -- a crime committed almost exclusively by substance abusers. He was sentenced to five years probation.
During the 10 years since, he has violated his probation and then his parole eight times. By July 1, 2004, Popovich had served more than two years in jail, even though his original sentence did not require jail time.
Today, Popovich sits in a state correctional facility, having been resentenced to a prison term of 2 1/2 to five years. Popovich doesn't deserve pity; he has a criminal record dating back to 1981. He also committed at least two additional criminal offenses while on probation. But his case, which I have followed with growing dismay, highlights the need to make real changes in the rehabilitation and treatment of prisoners in order to end the cycle of re-incarceration.

A federal jury convicted a prominent former pain doctor on drug trafficking charges yesterday, siding with prosecutors in an increasingly contentious nationwide dispute over whether prescribing large doses of powerful narcotics is criminal behavior or good medicine.
Jurors found William E. Hurwitz guilty of running a drug conspiracy out of his McLean office, convicting him on 50 counts -- including trafficking that caused the death of one patient and seriously injured two others. They acquitted him of nine other counts and deadlocked on the final three in the 62-count indictment.
U.S. District Judge Leonard D. Wexler ordered the jury back to the federal courthouse in Alexandria to resume deliberations today. He then revoked Hurwitz's $2 million bail. Hurwitz removed his tie, handed the change in his pockets to his attorneys and walked out of the courtroom in the custody of U.S. marshals. He had bowed his head slightly when the verdict was read.
The convictions marked the downfall of a controversial doctor whose treatment methods attracted loyalty from many patients but also scrutiny from area medical boards as early as 1991. Hurwitz, a major figure in the growing field of pain management who was once profiled on "60 Minutes," faces up to life in prison even with the acquittals.
As cancer patients and others in chronic pain became increasingly vocal about access to successful treatment, Hurwitz became a symbol in a nationwide debate. Advocates for patients with chronic pain portrayed him as a fully licensed doctor prescribing perfectly legal drugs to patients in dire need with nowhere else to turn.
Ninety-four times this year, Wichita police have worked cases in which suspects bought cold medicine that appeared destined for use in making methamphetamine, an illegal and highly addictive drug.
Many of those buyers crossed the border from Oklahoma to purchase this easy-to-find item, which since spring has been harder to purchase in the Sooner State.
Police say the trend started almost immediately after Oklahoma's Legislature passed a law in April -- considered the toughest in the country -- to control the misuse of pseudoephedrine, a decongestant found in Sudafed and similar medicines.
Meth is now everyone's problem, which complicates matters for the Central Valley.
Methamphetamine-related emergency room admissions are up dramatically in places like the Midwest, and the Congressional Meth Caucus now claims 103members — nearly one in four House members. That means more lawmakers mobilized on common ground.
But it also means more agencies wrestling over federal funds. That frustrates the Californians whose state still accounts for 75 percent to 90 percent of the nation's meth production.
The $52.5 million in federal funds designated for fighting meth this fiscal year is a hefty 50 percent more than was spent in fiscal 2000. It's a sharp drop, though, from the $70 million provided in fiscal 2002.
More states in on the act
The money, moreover, gets divvied up many ways. The latest spending bill targets funds for anti-meth programs in two dozen states, with the likes of North Dakota, Nebraska and South Carolina all getting their share.
(At one point, early in the "epidemic" California got something like $19M for meth problems)
A Department of Juvenile Justice policy that subjects all employees to random drug testing is unconstitutional and a 17-year state employee shouldn't have been fired when he refused to be tested, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
Roderick Wenzel, who worked as a long-term planner at the department's Tallahassee headquarters before being fired in September 2003, can't be forced to take a drug test because his position didn't bring him into contact with children nor was directly related to law enforcement, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled.
The state is going after the 1975 Alaska Supreme Court decision that says adults can possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana for personal use in their own homes.
In an action supported by Gov. Frank Murkowski, the Anchorage district attorney has asked a judge to re-examine the 1975 Ravin v. state conclusion that marijuana in small amounts is essentially harmless to adults and not dangerous enough to override Alaska's constitutional right to privacy at home.
"The idea that marijuana is a harmless substance is contrary to all the scientific studies that exist today," said John Novak, chief assistant district attorney and one of the prosecutors who filed a motion Tuesday in Anchorage Superior Court.
If the state gets its wish, Novak envisions a full-blown hearing about the nature and effects of current marijuana use featuring experts on both sides.
The state appeals courts have already said they would be willing to reconsider Ravin if presented with compelling new evidence that small amounts of marijuana are harmful.
Prosecutors may also be buoyed by the 138,072-105,590 vote in last month's election against decriminalizing all amounts of marijuana.
The Naperville City Council has amended its controversial presence-restriction law meant to curb underage drinking parties, making 19- and 20-year-olds exempt.

Last month, the council voted to authorize the change in the ordinance. As the final revision was read Tuesday, Councilman Douglas Krause tried to rescind the law but failed.

The amendment passed 6-2.

The law, believed to be unique to Naperville, tickets non-drinking youths for attending parties where alcohol is consumed.

Krause has said the law is flawed because it punishes youths who don't drink. He also sought an educational component on the dangers of alcohol.

However, the Police Department said earlier this year that enforcement of the ordinance has reduced teen drinking parties in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year.
New data from New York's Department of Correctional Services are providing a clearer - and in some ways surprising - picture of the population of long-term inmates eligible to be released or to have their sentences reduced under changes to state drug laws that Gov. George E. Pataki signed into law last week.
The inmates are the roughly 440 so-called A-1 felons, sentenced to at least 15 years to life in prison under the Rockefeller drug laws for possessing or selling narcotics. The new data suggest that these prisoners are in some ways very different from the general prison population, and even from lower-level drug offenders.
Although experts disagree about why this is and what it means, they agree that the new numbers provide a first real snapshot of those affected by the changes in the Rockefeller laws, which were instituted in the 1973 and put first-time offenders behind bars based merely on the amount of drugs they were caught with. Critics have called the laws unduly harsh and said they unduly penalized young African-American men, and women who were involved with someone in the drug trade.
But according to the new data, almost half of the A-1 felons were born outside the United States, coming from about 20 different countries. The largest group by far after native New Yorkers, which account for more than a quarter of the A-1's, is from the Dominican Republic. Less than 13 percent of the total prison population was born overseas, and only 8 percent of lower-level drug offenders were born abroad.
About 55 percent of the A-1 felons are Hispanic, while the overall prison population is less than 30 percent Hispanic. (The prison system divides inmates into four racial categories that do not overlap: white, black, Hispanic and other.)
Though much of the impetus for changing the drug laws has come from black leaders including Russell Simmons, the hip-hop mogul, only a third of the A-1's are black. But blacks make up about half of the total prison population and almost 60 percent of lower-level drug offenders. Just 8 percent of the A-1's are white, while whites make up 18 percent of the total prison population.
About 60 percent of the A-1's were convicted in New York City, with the largest number, almost 150, coming from Manhattan through the district attorney's office and the city's special narcotics prosecutor. But Monroe County, home to Rochester, sent more than 50 of these inmates to jail, making it third after Brooklyn.
The 440 inmates are slightly older than other prisoners - their average age is 42 - and far more likely than lower-level drug offenders to have no previous felony record. And they have, on average, already spent more than nine years in prison, which means that more than half of them may be eligible to get out of jail very soon.
U.N. Warns of Increased Deaths from Purer Heroin
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is warning health officials about the risk of a greater number of overdose deaths as a result of purer heroin coming out of Afghanistan, Fox News reported Dec. 17.

The U. N. agency said that a rise in the drug's purity is expected after a survey showed that opium production in Afghanistan jumped 64 percent in 2004. Furthermore, stable prices for heroin could contribute to a rise in overdose deaths.

"We know the worldwide supply will exceed demand for illicit heroin in 2005, and that an abundant supply of heroin is likely to result in rising levels of purity and substantial increases in the number of drug-related deaths," said agency director Antonio Maria Costa. "This is already happening in northern Russia."

According to the agency, past experiences from when opium production was high suggests that Western Europe and neighboring regions are most at risk.

For the second consecutive year, New Jersey has the dubious distinction of having the purest heroin in the United States, the Associated Press reported Dec. 12. According to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) tests run on heroin samples sold on New Jersey streets, the purity was 71.4 percent in 2002, nearly twice the national average. The soon-to-be-released report for 2003 shows New Jersey at the top of the list again.

"You can't buy any better heroin in the world than you can buy in New Jersey," said Michael Pasterchick, special agent in charge of the Newark DEA office.Because the state is the first stop in the country for many drug traffickers, the heroin has not been diluted with additives or resold.

The high purity rates have medical and law-enforcement officials concerned because purer heroin can mean more overdoses and greater difficulty in beating addiction.In addition, younger people are more attracted to purer heroin because it can be snorted or smoked. The Newark DEA has been focusing on ridding the streets of heroin dealers. According to Pasterchick, heroin seizures have increased 600 percent in the past five years.
 New Jersey is facing a major heroin crisis severely effecting an emerging group of new 13 to 18 year old heroin users. According to the DEA, samples which were bought off the street and tested, found that NJ has the highest percentage of purity in its heroin of anywhere tested.

City     Samples tested   Average % Purity
Newark          27               71.4 %
Philadelphia   4               66.3
New York       60              61.5
Atlanta           34               51.0
Boston           27               50.3
Phoenix         29               48.9
San Diego    30               47.9
Orlando         29               46.1
Detroit           16               44.8
San Juan       27               36.7
New Orleans 23               30.8
Miami            29               29.4
Houston        39               28.2
Los Angeles 28               26.5
Baltimore      26               22.9
Wash, DC    19                21.3
Chicago        27               19.8
Denver          23               18.4
Dallas            33               17.3
San Francisco 22            12.1
Seattle           16               10.5

The Scotsman
Home where the old folk snort heroin Mon 20 Dec 2004


TUCKED away in a quiet corner of this Dutch port city, Seniorenpand looks like an ordinary retirement home. Comfortable sofas huddle around a television set in the lounge. Puzzles and tattered paperbacks fill the shelves nearby. Residents chat about the weather over tea and coffee.
But this retirement home has a twist. In the bedrooms, the elderly get high on heroin and cocaine.
"I have been using drugs most of my adult life, and I can’t stop now," says Gert-Jan, a 62-year-old resident. "Being old doesn’t mean your addiction just goes away."

Funded by the city of Rotterdam and a semi-private medical foundation, Seniorenpand, is billed as the world’s first retirement home for drug addict. Three other Dutch cities - Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague - are now setting up similar refuges for their own aging addicts, and policymakers around Europe are watching the experiment.

For elderly addicts who often lack the physical strength to survive on the streets and are unwelcome at traditional retirement homes, Seniorenpand is a lifeline and there is a long waiting list for its seven rooms. "If it weren’t for this place, I would be dead and buried now," says Gert-Jan, who uses a walking frame to get around. "This is a real home for me." In the Netherlands, where addicts receive free medical care and methadone from the state, death rates from drug use are the lowest in Europe. Half the nation’s users are now over 40, and many are in their 60s.

Seniorenpand takes a very Dutch approach to addiction. Though encouraged to consume fewer drugs, residents are free to buy heroin and cocaine on the street. The main aim is to help addicts see out their final years in comfort and dignity. "We do not deal drugs to the residents, but we don’t forbid them to use them either,’’ said Alexander Hogendoorn, the home’s manager. "Some people reach a point where their addiction is irreversible, so our goal is to give them some stability and quality of life until the end comes."

Though small and modestly equipped, Seniorenpand certainly beats living on the streets. Each resident has a private room with a television and a sink. Outside contractors do the cleaning and cooking. Medical staff visit regularly, and a social worker is on hand around the clock. To an outsider, the blend of domesticity and drugs can seem almost surreal. One resident, for instance, has a set of needles for her knitting and another for injecting heroin.

Henny, 51, listens to Bach CDs in his spotless bedroom. Arranged neatly on the desk are a mobile phone, books, family photos - and a plastic sachet filled with brown residue. "That was the heroin I snorted last night," he said, holding up the tiny bag. "It was pretty good stuff." "Old addicts are just like other old people," said Carmel, 58. "All we want is a safe, quiet place where we can get on with our lives."

This article:   

Survey: More teens using Oxycontin

By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY

The use of marijuana and other illicit drugs declined slightly among teenagers in 2004, but dangerous inhalants and the highly addictive prescription painkiller Oxycontin are becoming more popular, a new national drug survey says.  The percentage of 12th-graders who reported using any illicit drug during the past year fell to 38.8% in 2004, compared with 39.3% the previous year, according to the study done by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That continued a decline in teen drug use that began during the 1990s. (Related graphic: A closer look at illicit drugs)

But the study also points out ominous trends in teens' drug use. The use of inhalants such as paint thinner, glue and gasoline increased sharply among 8th-graders in 2003 and continued to rise this year, a sign that inhaling, or "huffing," is rebounding in popularity after many years of decline.  Inhaling chemical fumes is most common among younger teens because products that contain them are cheap, easy to find and legal to buy. Oxycontin, which emerged in drug-abuse reports in 2001, is gaining ground among high school seniors, the report says.

When surveyors first asked teenagers about the narcotic in 2002, 4% said they had used it during the past year. This year, 5% of 12th-graders said they had used the Oxycontin. It is developing a greater following than heroin, amphetamines and some "club drugs" such as GHB.  "We think that these are disturbingly high rates," says Lloyd Johnston, a research psychologist and principal investigator for the study, which is known as the Monitoring the Future Survey. "One in every 20 students (using Oxycontin) - that's a lot to begin with."

Johnston attributes the rise in inhalant abuse to "generational forgetting." Many youths have not been exposed to anti-inhalant media campaigns that were discontinued several years ago, he says. Such abuse declined for several years after an anti-inhalant advertising campaign in 1995. The increase in the use of inhalants this year was "small, but it should serve as an early warning sign," Johnston says.

"It's time to resuscitate the campaign," says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Researchers for the study surveyed nearly 50,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders in 406 schools. Teen drug use has been declining among eighth-graders since 1996, and among high school students since 2001. In this year's survey, more than half of the 12th-graders said they had tried an illicit drug in their lifetime. In 2004, 34% of 12th-graders, 28% of 10th-graders and 12% of 8th-graders said they had used marijuana during the previous 12 months. Those figures were down from marijuana's peak among teens in 1996, but well below usage rates reported in the early 1990s.

Johnston says an increasing number of teens believe that marijuana use is dangerous, which could signal more declines in its use.

Poll: Texans Support Medical Marijuana

A Scripps Howard Texas Poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Texas residents support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, the Austin American-Statesman reported Nov. 16.

According to the telephone poll of 900 Texas adults, 75 percent favored legislation that would allow seriously ill people to use medical marijuana if their doctors approved of it. Nineteen percent opposed medical marijuana, while 6 percent had no opinion or declined to respond.

Noelle Davis, executive director of Texans for Medical Marijuana, was "pleasantly surprised" by the overwhelming response to medical marijuana.

"This goes beyond party lines," Davis said. "Everyone wants their loved ones to be comfortable when they're suffering."

In breaking down the poll's responses, medical marijuana had more support among adults ages 18 to 29 and a less-favorable response among 40- to 49-year-olds. Democrats and independents were also more supportive of a medical-marijuana bill than Republicans.

Davis said the support should help her organization attract a sponsor for a medical-marijuana bill for the January legislative session.

Study: More Canadians Using Marijuana
Data from the Canada Addiction Survey finds that marijuana use among Canadians has doubled in a decade, the Toronto Star reported Nov. 25.

According to the survey, 14 percent of respondents said they had used marijuana in the last year, an increase from 7.4 percent in 1994.

The study also found an increase in the number of Canadians using an injectable drug. The number rose from 132,000 in 1994 to 269,000 in the past year. Alcohol use also increased from 72.3 percent in 1994 to 79.3 percent this year.

"Certainly the Liberal drug strategy is failing," said Conservative justice critic Vic Toews. "I am concerned about the decriminalization of marijuana or any other drug. I am concerned that the government has not put forward a national strategy to deal with the whole issue of addictions."

But Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh dismissed Toews' contention that decriminalizing possession of small quantities of marijuana would increase use. "We have the current laws in place at this time, they haven't been changed and the rate is going up. I would focus on the drug strategy, which is the issue of education," he said.

Researchers who conducted the study recommended a broader understanding of drug misuse. Currently, Health Canada is working on a campaign aimed at discouraging youth from marijuana and alcohol use.

Study: Smoking Causes Brain Damage
12/22/2004 New research finds that cigarette smoking caused damage to multiple regions of the brain. The study also shows increased brain damage among smokers who consume alcohol,
Medical News Today reported Dec. 15.

Chronic, heavy drinking has been found to harm the brain; the study examined the added effects of smoking on alcohol-dependent individuals. About 80 percent of chronic drinkers involved in the study said they smoked regularly.

For the study, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging was used to measure common brain metabolites in 24 drinkers who were in treatment and 26 light drinkers. Of the individuals in treatment, 14 were smokers. Among light drinkers, 7 smoked.

"While the effects of cigarette smoking on the heart, lungs, central and peripheral vascular systems, and its carcinogenic properties have been studied for many years in humans, very little is known about its effects on the brain and its functions," said Timothy Durazzo, a neuropsychologist and neuroscience researcher at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center and corresponding author for the study. "A mere handful of studies indicate that chronic cigarette smoking by itself has adverse effects on brain structure and cognitive functioning. However, to date, we are not aware of any published studies using magnetic resonance imaging the brain damage found in alcoholics in treatment is entirely from chronic excessive alcohol consumption or from being smokers, as well."

"Results indicate that chronic cigarette smoking increases the severity of brain damage associated with alcohol dependence," continued Durazzo. "That is, the combined effects of alcohol dependence and chronic smoking are associated with greater regional brain damage than chronic alcoholic drinking or smoking alone. Our studies show that this exacerbation of the alcohol-induced brain damage is most prominent in the frontal lobes of individuals studied early in treatment."

Durazzo said the damage to the brain's frontal lobes could compromise the success of treatment and recovery. That part of the brain is responsible for multiple functions of everyday life, including a person's ability to accurately judge or anticipate the consequences of their actions.

The study found that cigarette smoking alone caused damage to neuronal viability and cell membranes in the midbrain and on cell membranes of the cerebellar vermis.

"These brain regions are involved in fine and gross motor functions and balance and coordination," said Durazzo. "We also observed that higher smoking severity among smoking recovering alcoholics was associated with lower N-acetylaspartate levels in lenticular nuclei and thalamus, areas also involved in motor functions."

The study's findings are published in the December 2004 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Save The Date for Drug-Free Communities Grant Application Workshop

The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Program will offer a series of regional workshops starting in January 2005 for community coalitions that are interested in learning how to apply for a DFC grant. The workshops will provide detailed information about the application process, including requirements for the FY 2005 DFC grant application. Both existing and potential grantees are welcome to attend the workshops. To register for the workshops, visit cadca.org/DFCApplication.

Workshops will run from 8:30 am-4 p.m. The first DFC grant application workshop will be held on January 14, the day following the close of CADCA's National Leadership Forum.

While there is no registration fee, you are responsible for all other costs associated with attendance. Please contact the hotel directly to secure a room if you need one. There are a limited number of rooms at each location. Room rates are noted below. When calling a hotel, be sure to request the "Applicant Workshop Block."

Workshops will be held on the following dates and locations:

Jan. 14- Renaissance Hotel
999 9th Street
Washington, DC
Room Rate $155.00

Jan. 18- Marriott City Center, Charlotte, NC
100 W Trade St
Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: 704-333-9000
Fax: 704-347-178
Room Rate $129.00

Jan. 25- Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel
5855 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90045
Room Rate $100.00

Jan. 27- Renaissance Chicago Hotel
1 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Room Rate $155.00

Feb. 1- Oklahoma City Sheraton
1 North Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Room Rate: $109.00

The Drug-Free Communities program provides grants of up to $100,000 for up to five years to community coalitions working to reduce substance abuse locally using multiple strategies across multiple community sectors. The Drug-Free Communities currently funds more than 700 coalitions located throughout the country. The new 2004 Drug-Free Communities grantees -- announced in September -- received a total of $21.9 million in matching grants. To learn more about the Drug-Free Communities Program, visit drugfreecommunities.samhsa.gov.

For questions about the workshops, e-mail workshops@cadca.org.


Dear Friends of Addiction Recovery,

Thanks to the incredible commitment and dedication of recovery advocates around the country, there’s much to report on our activities over the past year. Under the leadership of our steering committee, we took important steps in our joint efforts to build our growing recovery advocacy movement:

  • Launching our web site and eNewsletter to help link recovery advocates around the country and build the growing addiction recovery advocacy movement
  • Conducting and releasing the first-ever survey of the general public, finding broad support for changes in attitudes and policies
  • Releasing our Right to Addiction Recovery Platform
  • Working with local and regional recovery advocates to sponsor six regional trainings on fighting stigma and discrimination
  • Working to repeal the ban on federal financial aid for students with drug convictions (we’re going to have to tackle this important issue again next year)
  • Distributing tens of thousands of Another Voice for Recovery! buttons as part of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month 2005
  • Launching our active Speakers Bureau (send an e-mail and let us know if you’d like to arrange for a recovery advocate to come speak in your community)
  • Promoting the Congressional Caucus on Addiction, Treatment and Recovery as a place to focus the attention of federal lawmakers on addiction recovery
  • Incorporating, obtaining our 501(c)(3) status, organizing a Board of Directors and securing two years of funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
We have exciting plans for next year including the launch of a new publication on recovery advocacy, convening a National Summit and much more! We look forward to working with you and extend our best wishes in the coming New Year!

News and Resources

Search for individuals in recovery to participate in national conference. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University is looking for people in recovery who would be willing to tell their stories....more

Inside Edition is looking for mothers who have used Ritalin and are in recovery. If you are interested in talking with them, email srae@kingworld.com. For additional information email us.

Addiction Art Contest and a new Public Service Announcement featuring former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop from the Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Program …. more

News from El Paso, Texas and the Recovery Alliance – We’ve been around since 1998, organizing El Paso’s recovery community. We received a grant under one of the first rounds of the federal government’s Recovery Community Support Program (RCSP)… more

Do you have updates on the work that you or your organization have underway that you’d like to share with others? Please email us and we’ll feature your news in upcoming issues.

Here it is, the bill just introduced in Congress to legalize medical marijuana!
Truth in Trials Act (Introduced in Senate)

S 2989 IS                                                              108th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2989

To amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide an affirmative defense for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States, and for other purposes.


November 17, 2004

Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Mr. LEAHY, and Mr. JEFFORDS) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide an affirmative defense for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Truth in Trials Act'.


    The Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 423 the following:


    `SEC. 424. (a) PERMISSIBLE EVIDENCE- Any person facing prosecution or a proceeding for any marijuana-related offense under this title shall have the right to introduce evidence demonstrating that the marijuana-related activities for which the person stands accused were performed in compliance with State law regarding the medical use of marijuana, or that the property which is subject to a proceeding was possessed in compliance with State law regarding the medical use of marijuana.

    `(b) DEFENSE- It is an affirmative defense, to a prosecution or proceeding under this title for marijuana-related activities, if the proponent establishes by a preponderance of the evidence, that such activities comply with State law regarding the medical use of marijuana.'