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Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

Febrary 11, 2005 Edition


(Past Editions)



There is alot of news this week and I would encourage you all to read the story "My Addicted Son " at the end of the updates. This story is from a parents perspective of  a childs addiction. I will not be sending out updates next week but will be back on the 25th.



Sharon L. Smith
Box 450
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055


February 5, 2005 BY MATT MILLER 

CARLISLE - An 18-year-old Carlisle man is accused of beating a 2-year-old girl, burning the toddler with cigarettes and sparklers, and blowing marijuana smoke into her mouth. The girl had a "significant amount" of marijuana in her bloodstream when doctors at Carlisle Regional Medical Center examined her, borough police said.

Xavier Hodge, of the 300 block of B Street, was in the Cumberland County Prison yesterday accused of simple assault, child endangerment and corruption of minors. His bail was set at $50,000. Detective Ronald Egolf said the abuse was discovered when the girl's grandmother took her to the hospital Dec. 14 to be treated for multiple injuries, including an arm fracture. Police and county Children and Youth Services officials investigated.

"She was hit so hard, there was a hand mark on the side of her face. You could count the fingers," Egolf said. "She had burns. She had bruises." Other arrests might be made in the case, he said. In arrest papers filed with District Judge Paula Correal, Egolf said a woman told him she visited an apartment in the 500 block of Cherry Street where the girl lived with her mother. Four men, including Hodge, were there and had been smoking marijuana, she said.

The woman told police she saw bruises and other injuries on the girl, Egolf said. Egolf said the men didn't live at the apartment. Hodge is not related to the toddler, and she was not in his care, he said. The grandmother took the girl out of the mother's home when she learned of the alleged abuse. The child is being cared for by relatives, with assistance from children's services.

Egolf said another witness claimed he saw Hodge physically abuse the girl and hold her nose shut and blow marijuana smoke into her mouth. Egolf said the man claimed that Hodge threw a ball at the child so hard it bruised her and that Hodge would burn her with cigarettes and sparklers.

Hodge, who has convictions for simple assault and defiant trespass, was in prison when the new charges were filed. Egolf said Hodge denied abusing the girl. MATT MILLER: 249-2006 or mmiller@patriot-news.com http://www.pennlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news/110759882099940.xml?pennnews

House Bill 1110 would make it a misdemeanor for a store clerk to sell anyone more than three packages at a time of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine or two other chemicals. It clears store owners or managers of responsibility if they are not aware of the illegal sales.
As the bill heads for the House floor, 18 other states are considering anti-meth laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And more can be expected:
The group's Denver research office received meth-related information requests from 10 states on Tuesday alone, criminal justice specialist Blake Harrison said. "There has been a lot of interest in it," she said.
Existing meth statutes in Colorado already try to address the problem by criminalizing the knowing sale of precursor chemicals for the purpose of making the drug. It is also illegal to possess precursor chemicals with the intent to manufacture meth.
Prosecutors are urging lawmakers to tighten loopholes in Iowa's drug possession laws after Iowa's highest court threw out two drug convictions, saying prosecutors did not have enough evidence.
But opponents say the changes prosecutors are seeking could mean innocent people end up caught in the legal system.
A bill in the Iowa House would clarify Iowa's law on "constructive possession," when a person doesn't own a drug or illegal item but knows it is present and can "exercise control" over it.
The changes are being pushed by the Iowa County Attorneys Association, which represents the state's 99 local prosecutors and their assistants.
If any group of prison inmates has attracted public sympathy, it was the women whose first brush with the law left them locked up here for 15 years or more on drug charges.
Few newspaper articles or television reports about New York's Rockefeller-era drug laws were complete without a visit to the state's only maximum security prison for women, for an interview with an inmate longing to go home to her family.
But the much-heralded changes to the drug laws that took effect last month will free at most 10 of those women, and probably fewer than that, in the near term. The new law does not allow them to challenge their convictions, but it does reduce mandatory sentences that critics said were longer than those meted out to some murderers.
While the new drug laws have pleased some women in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where all 10 of those women are held, there is also disappointment here that so few of the prison's 850 inmates will be going home.

John Neace forces himself to pass by the run-down apartment buildings every day. Inside, the police say, Mr. Neace's 10-year-old daughter stumbled on someone with methamphetamine last month. Her drowned body was found five days later at a nearby creek, small hands tied tightly behind her back.
Katie's Jan. 25 disappearance, and the Feb. 2 arrest of an unemployed high school dropout, have shaken this small town out of silence about the scourge of methamphetamine.
Like many similar communities across the nation's midsection, Crothersville, 40 miles north of Louisville and with a population of 1,541, has seen methamphetamine steadily seep into its streets.
When the roof of a house behind the funeral home exploded in December, a makeshift meth lab was found in the fire. Another lab, spitball distance from the school, was raided earlier last year. The uncle of the young man now facing charges of killing Katie wrote a letter to the town council two years ago beseeching the members to do something about drugs before someone got killed.
But many residents said they had been scared to report suspicions in a community where everyone seems somehow related. Others complained that the three-man police force too often looks the other way - the man who lived at the house behind the funeral home has yet to face charges, and two complaints about methamphetamine use at the dilapidated Penn Villa apartments in the days before Katie's death yielded no arrests.
Now, as people here comfort the families of the victim and of the suspect, stories are spilling out, in a town seemingly transformed.

The people who make their living selling liquor are trying to trim the powers of police and state liquor inspectors to find out if they are illegally selling to teens.
Liquor lobbyists want to forbid the law-enforcement practice of sending in underage buyers unless there first is "credible evidence" that the bar, restaurant, nightclub, grocery or liquor store already is violating the law.
And they want state law to read that an anonymous call to the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control does not meet that standard.

Brianna Michlig was lying naked and drunk on the bathroom floor of a mobile home when her parents found her at 7 a.m. Oct. 11, 2003.

The Bigfork girl, then only 15, had been the victim of two rapes by two different teenage boys that night. When she told her story to authorities, they charged her with underage drinking and sentenced her to community service. That was two years ago, said her father, Michael Michlig. One of the men who raped his daughter has yet to be sentenced, at all. "It's pretty outrageous," he said.

Rep. Kevin Furey, D-Missoula, wants to make sure Brianna's situation is never repeated. He's sponsoring House Bill 520, which came before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

HB520 would protect minors who are drunk at the time that they either witness certain serious crimes or are the victims of such crimes from being prosecuted when they tell their stories to police or seek medical treatment.

Initially, Furey said, the bill applied to only rape victims and would protect them from minor in possession charges if they were drunk or drinking when a rape occurred. But he's since changed the bill to cover a host of crimes, including assault, homicide, kidnapping or prostitution of a child.
A Lake Jackson widow denied Wednesday that she provided the alcohol that led to her husband's death from a sherry enema.
He gave himself the enema that led to his death May 21, she said.
A Brazoria County grand jury indicted her on a charge of negligent homicide. Prosecutors claim she provided alcohol for Warner even though she knew he'd been warned that alcohol could kill him.
An autopsy report said his blood-alcohol level was 0.47 percent, almost six times the legal intoxication limit for operating a motor vehicle.
She said he liked to use wine or sherry in enemas because that would allow his body to absorb alcohol faster than drinking it. Sherry and wine were easier on his digestive system than other forms of alcohol, she said.


By MATT FURMAN Evening Sun Reporter

The presentation is like a train wreck, picture linked to picture of young lives snuffed out by drugs and alcohol. A 17-year-old girl is shown - blond hair, pink cheeks and earrings. Flash-forward roughly eight years after she's introduced to crack cocaine. The pale, thin face is sore-crusted and framed by lank, dirty hair, a junkie who will "put anything she can into her body."

The transformation is just one of hundreds of pictures and videos viewed Thursday by middle and high school students in Upper Adams School District.Called "Heads-Up," the anti-substance abuse program created in 2001 is a deliberate and often graphic lesson from the Philadelphia Police Department's Narcotics Bureau.  The title stands for Heroin Education and Dangerous Substance Understanding Program, and its handlers have taken it free of charge to more than 1,500 schools in Pennsylvania, surrounding states and New England.

"You guys are adults," said co-presenter Virginia Pagano to Biglerville High School students. "And what you're doing now is going to affect you the rest of your lives."  The program mirrors standard school drug presentations by showing students what certain threats look like - marijuana, LSD, heroin, crack cocaine and a lot more.

But it takes cautionary tales a step further by showing the cold aftermath, often found on a morgue slab. Students saw:

* A young boy with the top of his head shot off from a drug deal gone bad.

* Crack users with the open, weeping sores that come from a lowered immune system.

* An intravenous drug user who peeled the skin on his arm back to shoot the drug directly into the exposed veins.

The images are interspersed with pictures and interviews with family members of the dead and addicted, many of whom are from Pennsylvania.

The idea is to drive home the fact that what you do to yourself can ripple outward to hurt everyone you know, Pagano said. "There's always the kids who walk away from this laughing, like they laugh at everything," she said. "But many will watch those parents crying, and think of how their parents would cry if something happened to them. And those are the ones who will get a huge impact from it."

The program ends with Pagano and her partner Mary Ellen Ferry demonstrating the mechanics of a bodybag. "If it's half full that means there's a kid in it," Pagano said. "And that's something I'm sick to death of seeing."A similar evening program was offered for parents. Pagano said she hopes the department will eventually take the presentation to schools nationwide.Senior Melissa Asper said she was amazed at how average-looking many of the dead drug users were.

"They just looked like the normal, everyday teenagers you see," said the 17-year-old Biglerville resident. "The people you go to school with every day." Andy May said he was disturbed by the fact that so many young drug users could hail from Pennsylvania."That's pretty bad," said the 17-year-old senior from Biglerville. "It makes you wonder how widespread the problem really is."

Contact Matt Furman at mfurman@eveningsun.com .


More meth labs were uncovered here last year than in any other state in the Southeast.  Now, a local district attorney is fighting back, trying to stomp out meth. The Dickson County High School band's rendition of the musical production Stomp will be heard in many schools west of Nashville.
"The music is important, but the message we can get out to the young folks out here is very meaningful," said Mark Kinzer, Dickson Co. High School Band Director. "I'm calling it stomp out methamphetamine," said Dickson County Attorney General Dan Alsobrooks.
Alsobrooks has invited the percussion group to join him on a tour of local middle schools and high schools.  He wants to get your child's attention and talk about the dangers of using methamphetamine.
(Mr. Alsobrooks is a former president of NDAA and on the NDAA Board of Directors)


Reuters: February 7, 2005
WASHINGTON - Marijuana users have faster blood flow in their brains, even after a month of not smoking, U.S. researchers reported Monday.
The findings suggest they have narrowed arteries, similar to patients with high blood pressure and dementia, and could help explain reports
that heavy marijuana users have trouble on memory tests, said the researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore.
Ronald Herning and Jean Lud Cadet tested 54 marijuana users, who smoked anywhere between two and 350 joints a week, and 18 non-smokers.  They used Doppler sonograms to measure blood flow in volunteers' brains at the beginning of the study and a month later, after everyone agreed to abstain from marijuana for the four weeks.
The smokers had faster blood flow, both at the start and after a month of abstinence, Herning and Cadet reported in the journal Neurology.
The smokers also had a higher pulsatility index score, or PI, which  measures the amount of resistance to blood flow. The researchers believe the higher PI is caused by narrower blood vessels. "The marijuana users had PI values that were somewhat higher than
those of people with chronic high blood pressure and diabetes," Herning said in a statement.
"However, their values were lower than those of people with dementia. This suggests that marijuana use leads to abnormalities in the small blood vessels in the brain." They found that blood flow improved in people who smoked up to 70 marijuana cigarettes a week -- people they defined as moderate users --after a month of avoiding cannabis.
Heavy users, who smoked up to 350 joints a week, saw no change in blood flow even after a month, the researchers said. Researchers at Montreal's McGill University have reported that chronic consumers of cannabis lose molecules called CB1 receptors in the brain's arteries. This reduces blood flow to the brain, causing attention deficits, memory loss, and impaired learning ability.

Tuesday Feb 8th, 2005

VANCOUVER (AFP) - Despite harsh US protests, a government clinic will doll out free heroin to hard-core addicts after it opens on Wednesday, a stone's throw from the US border.  The clinic in Vancouver will test, for the first in North America, whether prescribing heroin can cut overdoses, HIV (news - web sites) and hepatitis infections, and reduce hard-core junkies' dependence on crime to obtain the drug.

Several European countries have run similar studies, but the clinic's proximity, 37 kilometres (23 miles) to the United States, has made Canada's trial especially controversial.  Officials at the US White House anti-drug office have called it unethical and an "inhumane medical experiment."

Others, however, hope the clinic will help desperate addicts free themselves from lives of crime. "Getting heroin prescribed as a trial is a huge victory," said Ann Livingston, director of an activist organization of drug users in Vancouver. "My surprise is that we got this through after (US authorities) clearly didn't want it."

"It's a great idea," said Dianne Tobin, an addict for 30 years who supports a 300 dollar a day heroin habit with prostitution, shoplifting and trafficking drugs. Tobin, 54, hopes to be one of the 158 addicts chosen to participate in the North American Opiate Medications Initiatives, or NAOMI, trial.

The trial is aimed at hard-core addicts aged at least 25, who have used heroin for at least five years. Participants must have tried, and failed, to break their habit using methadone at least twice. A secondary goal of the study is to find out if it helps addicts wean themselves off heroin. Lead researcher Dr. Martin Schechter, an HIV/AIDS  scientist at the University of British Columbia, said 88 participants will receive pharmaceutical-grade heroin three times every day. The other 70 will take oral methadone. All will receive medical care and counselling.

Similar trials since the mid-1990s in Europe have worked, and a program has continued in Switzerland and the Netherlands. Germany and Spain are now running trials, and another is planned in Britain, said Schechter. Squalid Downtown Eastside Vancouver is home to nearly 5,000 heroin addicts. Its clinc is one of three planned in Canada. Clinics in Montreal and Toronto are expected to open within the year. Mostly because of US politics, the scientific team abandoned its earlier plan to open three US clinics.

The trial has been approved by Canadian ethics committees and is receiving 8.1 million dollars in government funding. Schechter, a leading HIV/AIDS researcher, said it would be unethical not to try to treat heroin addicts for whom other methods have failed. "They are breaking into cars, being hospitalized, having overdoses, getting Hepatitis C and HIV, they're in the sex trade and they're in rough shape," he said. Even as the trials begin, activists are lobbying for heroin prescriptions to continue if the one-year study proves helpful. The researchers, however, said their job is to provide scientific evidence, and after the trial is over it will be up to politicians to decide how to use it.


WISCONSIN                                                                                                                                                             WISCONSIN LOOKS TO TREATMENT TO SALVE PRISON WOES

Faced with a rapidly growing prison population, Wisconsin policymakers are looking to addiction treatment and alternatives to incarceration as possible solutions, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Feb. 7.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's 2005-07 budget plan calls for adding intensive addiction treatment units at the Racine Correctional Institution and the Taycheedah Correction Institution for women, to serve a total of 522 men and 120 women annually. The state's early release program also would be expanded to five more prisons; the program allows prisoners to get out of jail early if they complete a six-month residential addiction-treatment program.

The program, which today can handle 280 men and 30 women annually, currently has an 1,200-person waiting list. The $2-million cost would be offset by $2.1 million in savings due to reduced recidivism, state officials predicted.

"I've always thought that the way you reduce the prison population is not to open the back door and let people out," Doyle said. "It's to try to have fewer people coming through the front door."

The plan also calls for increased spending on addiction services for parolees and probationers, expanding opportunities for judges to send offenders to halfway houses, and funding more "day reporting centers" for community-based offenders.

"We're not talking about letting people off," said University of Wisconsin criminal justice professor Ed Latessa. "We're talking about putting people in good, structured programs that can work. What is it about that that's soft on crime? We're going to put our dollars somewhere. We might as well get some return."

Republican legislative leader State Rep. Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) said GOP lawmakers would approach the proposals with an open mind. "I would take a real good, hard look at these and see if we can make them work, because we just can't keep building prisons," said Bies.

Take Action: Require effective treatment and continuing, supervised aftercare programs instead of incarceration for non-violent drug and alcohol offenders.

What You Can Do: Policymakers in the states of California and Maryland have mandated treatment instead of incarceration for non-violent offenders. Ask your legislators to do the same.

CNN NEWS                                                                                                                                                         TOWN MOURNS GIRL BELIEVED KILLED OVER METH
Monday Feb 7, 2005

CROTHERSVILLE, Indiana (AP) -- Hundreds of mourners paid their final respects Sunday to a 10-year-old girl who police believe was abducted and slain so she would not reveal methamphetamine activity in her neighborhood. More than 600 people attended funeral services for Katlyn "Katie" Collman at Crothersville Community School, where she was a fourth-grader.

The Rev. Jon Pearce told the crowd Collman's death should serve as "a wake-up call," urging residents to form neighborhood watches and confront suspicious activity. "If Katie hadn't been walking by a meth lab, she would be alive today," he said. "We can't forget her. We need to remember that she was a sweet little girl."

Collman's body was found January 30 in a creek after she had been abducted, authorities said, to intimidate her from revealing that methamphetamine was being made in an apartment near her home. Her family planned to raise money to build a playground in her memory on the site of the methamphetamine operation linked to her death.

"It's going to be up to us now to see to it that Katie's death was not in vain, and we have enough people here that are wanting to see this happen," said Terry Gray, a spokesman for the girl's family and chief of the community's volunteer fire department. Charles James Hickman, 20, was arrested Wednesday and charged with murder in Collman's slaying.

Prosecutors allege Hickman tied the girl's hands behind her back. Hickman first told investigators the girl tried to run away and fell into the creek, but also said he might have "bumped" her into the water. Timothy C. O'Sullivan II, 22, and a 17-year-old boy were charged Friday with false informing, but their connections to the crimes were unclear. The girl's death was the first homicide in 25 years in the town of about 1,600 people some 40 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.                                                                      

News Feature
By Bob Curley

The Bush administration's fiscal 2006 budget calls for eliminating the $441 million state grants portion of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) program, the biggest cut in a plan that otherwise has advocates for addiction treatment and prevention breathing a quiet sigh of relief that other major programs were generally spared the budget ax.

SDFSC's State Grants program, which has been targeted for elimination before amid complaints about lack of accountability and effectiveness, would be zeroed out under the Bush budget plan released this week. However, the National Programs portion of SDFSC would be increased by $82.7 million under the Bush plan, rising from $234.6 million in 2005 to $317.3 million in 2006. "The main reason is that the money in the National Program is used much more efficiently," said Education Department spokesperson Ed Walsh.

"While the State Grants program spreads funds thinly across states and school districts and has not been able to demonstrate its effectiveness, National Programs provides greater flexibility to make large enough local awards to support quality interventions," according to a budget summary posted on the website of the U.S. Department of Education, which administers SDFSC. "In addition, the National Programs authority is structured to permit grantees and independent evaluators to measure progress, hold projects accountable, and determine which interventions are most effective."

Alexa Eggleston, deputy director of national policy for the Legal Action Center (LAC), called the proposed elimination of SDFSC "pretty disappointing," and said that LAC and its allies would be working to get the funding restored. On the other hand, Eggleston said, the cuts proposed by Bush "could have been much worse" from the perspective of addiction prevention and treatment advocates.

"We're not in as difficult a position as some people had feared," said Eggleston.

"We have to look at this budget with the perspective that this is one of the tightest proposals since the 1980s. The President is seeking to maintain fiscal discipline -- there is no doubt about it," said Lewis Gallant, Ph.D., executive director of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. "But we are definitely worried about the impact the proposed budget would have on our system."

Level Funding for Block Grant

Many advocates were concerned that the keystone Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant might be targeted for cuts. But while the administration's 2006 budget called for 150 federal programs to either be eliminated or substantially cut, the $1.78 billion block grant would be level funded in 2006 if Congress goes along with Bush's recommendations. "After a year that saw a $3 million cut to the Block Grant, level-funding for this vital program ... presents our system with a real problem in terms of trying to chip away at the 20-million-person treatment gap," said Gallant.

Bush administration officials point out, however, that the Access to Recovery program -- which provides addicted individuals with vouchers to pay for the treatment of their choice, including faith-based programs -- would be increased $50 million, to a total funding authorization of $150 million next year. Jennifer DeVallance, a spokesperson for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), called the 2006 budget "a significant demonstration of the President's commitment to continuing to reduce drug use."

Overall, the drug budget would increase 2.2 percent in 2006, according to ONDCP. However, while the administration touted a $15.4 million increase in funding for student drug testing and a $5.8-million bump for the Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT) program, increases in funding for demand-reduction programs were more than offset by the proposed elimination of SDFSC state grants. Rather, most of the big funding increases would be in the international and interdiction portions of the drug-control strategy, notably $166 million more for poppy eradication in Afghanistan.

"The request increases funding for overseas and interdiction programs to curb the flow of drugs from abroad and enhances border control," noted a policy brief on the drug budget prepared by Carnevale Associates, a public-policy consultancy led by former ONDCP staffer John Carnevale. "It also proposes a net decline in funding for demand-reduction programs, reduces or eliminates certain state and local law-enforcement programs, and shifts more responsibility for domestic drug control to state and local governments and other partners."

$270 Million Less for Demand Reduction

Carnevale calculated that the demand-reduction portion of the $12.4-billion 2006 drug budget would be $270 million lower than it was in 2005 under the Bush plan. Overall, demand reduction would represent 39 percent of the drug budget, down from 45 percent last year.

DeVallance termed the budget "balanced," with generally equal portions of funding allocated to treatment and prevention, domestic law enforcement, and international programs, she said.

Reductions in demand-reduction programs would include a $14.4-million decrease in funding for the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and a $26-million reduction in funding for the Best Practices segment of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's Programs of National and Regional Significance grants (although this cut would be more than offset by the increase in the Access to Recovery program, also managed by CSAT).

Preserved at current funding levels would be the $120-million National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.

After years of sustained, stratospheric budget increases, funding for addiction research would come back to earth under Bush's 2006 plan. The National Institute on Drug Abuse would get a modest $4-million increase to its $1-billion budget, while the $438-million National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism budget would rise by just $2 million.

One major law-enforcement initiative, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, also faces deep funding cuts: Bush is proposing a $100-million budget for HIDTA in 2006, down from $228.4 million in 2005. DeVallance said the core of the program would be preserved as oversight of HIDTA is shifted from ONDCP to the Department of Justice.

The Justice Department also has primary oversight of the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program, which would receive a $19.2-million increase in 2006, rising to total funding of $44.1 million. Drug courts also would get a funding boost under the administration's budget plan, with funding rising $29.9 million to a FY2006 budget of $70.1 million. A Justice program that helps prisoners reenter into society is slated to receive $75 million next year, as well.

However, a $25-million program to help states and local communities enforce underage-drinking laws was zeroed out.

Carnevale said the 2006 budget represents a fundamental shift in the relationship between the federal and state and local governments in fighting the war on drugs. "The federal government [is] assuming greater responsibility for those programs exclusively under its purview -- international and border-control programs -- and reduces funding to state and local governments for support and coordination of prevention and law enforcement," according to Carnevale's policy brief. "The elimination of State Grants for school-based prevention, HIDTA, and other reductions in discretionary programs will redefine the federal government's role and require state and local governments to find solutions to drug use and trafficking problems that are often regional or national in nature."

MISSOURIAN                                                                                                                                      CHEMICAL MAKES METH BLUSH                                                                                                              February 8, 2005   By MEREDITH MacKENZIE   

A new product that stains methamphetamine users’ skin is being touted as the latest tool in Missouri’s efforts against the drug. But questions remain about the environmental safety of the compound and whether evidence of its effects will be viable in court.

State Rep. Wes Shoemyer, D-Clarence, filed a bill in the state House of Representatives Jan. 31 that would compensate farmers for using GloTell, a liquid additive for anhydrous ammonia fertilizer tanks that ionizes the gas so that it appears bright pink.  “This GloTell product is pretty cool,” Shoemyer said. “It causes anhydrous to glow fluorescent under a black light. It reduces the yield of drugs that can be made, and it actually turns the users’ skin pink when they inject it.”

All of that makes it easier for law enforcement to spot meth cooks who steal the tanks and users who ingest the substance after the fertilizer has been cooked into the drug. It stains people and equipment that come into contact with treated anhydrous and reduces the drug’s euphoria.  “I’ve seen this stuff,” Shoemyer said. “No meth user wants to be that color.”

Shoemyer has a 2,500-acre family farm that straddles Monroe and Shelby counties and considers farming his first profession. His proposed legislation would offset the cost for farmers who help law enforcement combat meth. “It’s a giant problem,” said Sgt. Jason Clark of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. In 2004, there were 433 reports of stolen anhydrous which were investigated by the highway patrol, Clark said.

The Northern Missouri Drug Task Force oversees narcotics law enforcement in meth-prone counties like Shelby, Monroe, Randolph, Scotland and Clark, some of which are in Shoemyer’s district. The task force had 242 reports of stolen anhydrous, Clark said. Combined with the highway patrol’s numbers, there were at least 675 reports of stolen fertilizer.

“There’s probably hundreds more reported to other state police agencies,” Clark said.  Russ Cramer of the Missouri Farmers Union said almost all grain farmers use the gaseous fertilizer anhydrous ammonia as a source of nitrogen for their crops. Almost all meth cooks use it as well, said Maj. Tom Reddin of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

“Anhydrous ammonia theft is a problem in any rural community,” he said. “It is often used in the ‘cold cook’ method, one of the most predominant ways methamphetamine is created.” Clark said, “Thieves get into these tanks, and they come back and fill up coolers and other unapproved containers several times until they are exposed. Sometimes they just break locks on tanks and take them.

“That is such a dangerous part of that operation, when they are tapping into those anhydrous tanks, it is something that can overwhelm a person and cause major medical problems immediately,” he said.  Royster-Clark, which makes GloTell, asserts on its Web site (www.glotell.com) that the material is environmentally safe. It doesn’t decrease the effectiveness of anhydrous ammonia as a fertilizer, and it breaks down in soil after 24 to 48 hours, according to the Web site.

But George Hess, senior specialist with the seventh region of the Environmental Protection Agency, isn’t so sure. GloTell’s ingredient information is proprietary, making it hard to research its effects, Hess said.  GloTell was invented by an Illinois farmer in early 2002, said Scott Spellman, a sales representative for the product. Spellman, who deals mostly with distributors of anhydrous ammonia, said that his division ships a “quite a bit” of the product to Missouri.

While GloTell is the only anhydrous additive currently on the market, competitors are coming, Spellman said. “Other products are being developed as we speak,” he said. “Everyone is trying to find a solution.” Dale Woolery of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in Iowa said that research on another chemical additive for anhydrous ammonia has been going on for almost four years at Iowa State University. “This additive seems to reduce the yield and purity (of meth) to a level that law enforcement says will act as a deterrent,” Woolery said. The additive, which is a type of calcium nitrate, has proven effective in lab research and is undergoing field tests.

“More tests are being conducted to satisfy lingering questions and hurdles that need to be overcome,” Woolery said. Existing concerns include questions of the additive’s effect on transportation and application systems for the fertilizer, Woolery said.He also suggested that questions remain with GloTell as well. “Does it really reduce the yield and purity of meth, or is it just pink coloration?” Woolery said. He added that farmers and co-op workers are afraid of being stained. “They don’t want to be accused of stealing by accident,” he said. “Many Iowans are anxious to see if it works. If this significantly deters anhydrous ammonia theft and meth manufacturing, it could be a great tool.”

Evidence of residue from a compound like GloTell could not stand alone in court, said Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane, who added that he wasn’t familiar with the specific product. “It would have to be accompanied by other evidence,” Crane said. “We would have to show (defendants) possessed precursors for methamphetamine with the intent to produce it.”

John Whipple of the Iowa Department of Agriculture agreed, saying that it is hard to prove guilt with dye like GloTell. “Nobody has ever prosecuted a case where dye helped determine who did it,” he said. Shoemyer estimated that it costs a farmer about $1 an acre to use GloTell in fertilizer. “The biggest issue is who pays for it,” Hess said. “Even if the government is going to pay for it, it has to get its money somewhere.”

Shoemyer said, “We want to create a repository fund to reimburse dealers who sell anhydrous treated with GloTell so that cost isn’t passed on to the farmers. We need to shift this war (on meth) to where it makes the most sense.” But Shoemyer emphasized that his measure doesn’t mandate the use of GloTell. He hoped that the bipartisan support he received for the bill would move it through the General Assembly and help reserve $3.5 million per year for retailers of anhydrous. “No other drug breaks the nurturing parental tie like meth, no other drug causes so much violence,” Shoemyer said. “That is why this issue is so important. This is a societal war, and we’re all strapped in together.” http://columbiamissourian.com/news/story.php?ID=11966


By Bob Miller Southeast Missourian

Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., visited the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department on Thursday to promote his bipartisan Combat Meth Act, a bill that would force pseudoephedrine-containing drugs behind the pharmacist's counter. The legislation, sponsored by Talent and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is similar to a law already in place in Oklahoma.

The legislation would classify pseudoephedrine as a class five drug, meaning it could only be sold by a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. A prescription would not be needed. Buyers would be able to purchase up to 6 grams of the product at one time and 9 grams over a 30-day period. They would be required to present proof of identification and sign for the medicine upon purchase.

Oklahoma's methamphetamine legislation became law on April 7. Lonnie Wright, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, said the law has had a dramatic effect on lab seizures in the state. There are three sets of numbers by which Oklahoma law enforcement agencies calculate meth lab seizures. According to one of those sets, meth lab busts dropped to 57 in April, when the bill became law, from 105 in March. There was a 60-day transition period for pharmacies to move the drugs behind counters. By November, the number of meth lab busts dropped to 19.

"Then we looked at how those labs were sourced," Wright said. "And they were clearly coming from out-of-state sources." Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan said once the law hit Oklahoma, some Dollar General stores in Southwest Missouri stopped selling pseudoephedrine medications because they were being burglarized almost nightly. That's why federal legislation is important, Talent said on Thursday. Talent said he supports the Missouri bill, but that will only push the problem over to Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. Jordan said he's confident the legislation will pass in Missouri.

Talent said even national legislation would not stop production of methamphetamine. "But it will stop the mom and pop cooks who can't get pseudoephedrine out of Mexico, who can't hijack a truck," Talent said. "It takes about 600 tablets to make anything substantial and this will get the labs out of the neighborhoods." The legislation will do more than force pseudoephedrine drugs behind the counters. It would pour $30 million in federal money into the methamphetamine fight.

Talent said the federal plan faces some opposition from a retail association. He said legitimate concerns will be addressed, but legislation won't be stopped because retail stores are concerned about losing profits from illegitimate purchases. Pharmacists in Oklahoma haven't voiced a large number of complaints, according to Phil Woodward, the director of the state's pharmacist association. He said there were a few complaints from retail stores about the switch because of space and logistic reasons. Other than that, Woodward said, "it's been a pretty smooth transition."

If passed, the Combat Meth Act would:

 Provide an additional $15 million for training investigation, equipment, prosecution and environmental cleanup.

 Provide $5 million to hire and train additional federal prosecutors and cross-designate the local prosecutors as special assistant U.S. attorneys who could bring legal action in federal courts.

 Amend the Controlled Substances Act to limit and record the sale of medicines containing pseudoephedrine by placing them behind the pharmacy counter.

 Provide $5 million for businesses that legally sell ingredients used to cook meth with resources to monitor purchases of pseudoephedrine. The money would also be used to train and provide technical assistance to law enforcement and to businesses that legally sell items containing pseudoephedrine.

 Provide $5 million in grant funding for rapid response teams which assist and educate children that have been affected by the production of meth.

 Create a Methamphetamine Research, Training and Technical Assistance Center which will research effective treatments for meth abuse and provide information and assistance to states and private entities on how to improve current treatment methods.http://www.semissourian.com/story.html$rec=155239  

NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE                                                                                                STUDY SAYS MARIJUANA ALTERS BLOOD FLOW IN BRAIN

Marijuana users' problems with memory and concentration could be related to altered blood flow to the brain, according to new research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The BBC reported Feb. 8 that long-term marijuana smokers could be risking memory damage and stroke because the drug appears to speed up blood flow in the brain, possibly because it causes abnormalities in small blood vessels. Marijuana use may narrow blood vessels, researchers said, and the effects linger even when users abstain for a month.

"In the long-term one might see cognitive difficulties, such as problems with memory and thinking," said lead researcher Dr. Ronald Herning.

The study looked at 54 marijuana users who smoked between two and 350 joints per week, as well as 18 nonsmokers. "Moderate" users -- those consuming 70 joints per week -- showed signs of normalizing blood flow after a month of abstinence. But "heavy" users -- those smoking up to 350 joints a week -- showed no improvement after a month of not smoking.
The research was published in the Feb. 8, 2005 issue of the journal Neurology.

CASTLEGAR NEWS                                                                                                                               SCHOOL BOARD PONDERS DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA
Geoff Mueller News Reporter

School District No. 20 votes next week on whether or not to write parliament in support of Bill C-17 and the decriminalization of marijuana for students.
"I'm against drugs but I support things like Bill C-17 because we should not make it miserable for young kids if they make a silly mistake," said trustee Mickey Kinakin.
In addition, he said criminal records associated with pot have profound implications on students later in life when it comes to education and travel.
Abbotsford school board wrote the prime minister earlier in the month expressing concern that C-17 is not being considered in the best interest of youth.
But Kinakin encouraged his board to write a letter in opposition to Abbotsford's stance.
"C-17 does not permit the board from passing policy to stop kids from doing drugs," Kinakin said, "but what it does do is take away punitive action against young people making poor decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives."
The board will revisit the issue during next Monday's open meeting. Kinakin said he would vote to support the government in taking this initiative for students. http://www.castlegarnews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=118&cat=23&id=368957&more=

PSYCHOLOGY IN THE NEWS                                                                                                              DOCTORS LINK MARIJUANA TO MENTAL ILLNESS
United Press International - January 16, 2005 LONDON, Jan 16, 2005

British doctors have connected marijuana use with rising rates of depression, psychosis and schizophrenia.

The Royal College of General Practitioners said that acceptance of the drug and greater availability of stronger forms of it were leading to rising rates of depression, psychosis and schizophrenia, The Telegraph of London reported Sunday.  "Health warnings are falling on deaf ears, drowned out by the cries of powerful liberal pro-legalization groups," said Dr. Clare Gerada of the college's drugs misuse unit.

"There is clear evidence that high levels of use, especially among teenagers who are physically and mentally still developing, carries with it the increased risk of psychosis and respiratory conditions such as asthma," she said. More worrying, Gerada said, was the increase in super-strong versions of the drug, known as skunk. "The truth is, genetically modified forms of the drug are the norm," she said.

The British Medical Journal in its January 2005 issue revealed that smoking cannabis once or twice a week almost doubled the risk of developing psychotic symptoms later in life. Robin Murray, a professor of psychiatry at King's College London, has said that since the 1980s doctors have begun to see a link between psychotic symptoms and cannabis.

 http://www.psycport.com/showArticle.cfm?xmlFile=comtex_2005_01_16_up_0000-0943-bc-britain-marijuana.xml&provider=United%20Press%20International     Copyright 2005 by United Press International.


American Journal of Public Health Vol. 95; No. 2: P. 233-236 (02..05)::Corey S.Davis, BS; Scott Burris, JD; Julie Kraut-Becher, PhD; Kevin G. Lynch, PhD; David
Metzger, PhD

 Approximately 39 percent of the 1,127 AIDS cases reported to the Philadelphia Department of Health in 2001 were attributed to injection drug use- a higher percentage than any other risk factor and 19 percent higher than theUS average. A legal syringe exchange program has operated in the city since1992, providing many of its clients with the only accessible source for sterile

On May 1, 2002, Philadelphia began an intensive long-term street-level police intervention that deployed uniformed officers to occupy targeted city corners to disrupt open-air drug markets. Many of these targeted corners were in proximity to syringe exchange sites. Since this "deterrence and dispersal" operation began, exchange staff have reported many instances of police harassment of program users, and on at least one occasion, a client was arrested for possessing syringes obtained at the exchange.

To analyze the effect of the police intervention on syringe exchange users, collective changes in program use were examined for periods of three weeks, three months, six months, and nine months before and after the start of the peration, as measured by the number of participants, number of syringes dispensed, and number of black and male participants. For comparison, these procedures were also conducted on prior year data for all periods studied. The authors then used a mixed-effects model for each response. Utilization data for nine months before and after the initiation of the operation were analyzed.

 As measured by aggregate totals, program use declined across all categories and time periods studied. During all periods measured, program use by blacks declined at more than twice the rate of whites, and use by males declined at or around twice the female rate. In contrast, utilization trends in the prior year were almost stable.

 While the policing intervention successfully reduced the prevalence of opendrug sales, the study's "findings suggested that this benefit came at a cost:the operation was significantly associated with a reduction in the use ofPhiladelphia's syringe exchange programs, especially among Black and male participants," wrote the researchers. "Such a reduction in syringe exchange program use can be expected to lead to increased sharing and reusing of syringes, with an attendant increase in blood-borne infectious disease incidence
among IDUs who formerly used syringe exchange programs."

"Efforts to reduce the health consequences of drug use need not conflict with the goals of reducing street crime and enhancing public order," the authors suggested. "For example, the launching of the Philadelphia operation could have been linked to an intensive outreach effort to enroll IDUs in drug treatment, and the police could have been instructed to avoid interference with syringe exchange program users or to refer IDUs to the syringe exchange program."

Research which said it is possible to live normally while regularly taking heroin has prompted a fierce debate. The Glasgow Caledonian University study of 126 users of the class A drug found many were holding down normal jobs and relationships and passing exams. The report said heroin could be taken in a controlled way for a period.

But drugs worker Peter Anderson and Alistair Ramsay of Scotland Against Drugs said the research was sending out the wrong messages. Mr Ramsay said: "Anyone reading this who thinks they can take heroin safely would be wrong. While there was evidence of intensive risky patterns of drug use amont the sample there was equal evidence for plannerd controlled patterns of use. "In Scotland we have 55,800 heroin users who are clearly unable to function as normal so it cannot be assumed that the findings have universal application. "The chances are the vast majority of those who start taking heroin are not going to be able to function and rather, they will develop major problems which require to be funded by the public purse."

However, Lord Victor Adebowale, the chief executive of specialist alcohol and drug organisation Turning Point, said the report was not saying that heroin was safe. He explained: "It says that if you have a job, if you have a house, an income, are well educated and have a health system to support you, it's possible to survive an addiction to a pretty serious substance. "Most people don't have this and have mental health challenges as well as a heroin problem."

'Ruins lives'

At first minister's questions on Thursday, Jack McConnell said the Scottish Executive would do everything to tackle heroin addiction. However, ministers have consistently ruled out the medical prescription of the drug. Ministers also stressed that heroin was an illegal drug which "ruins lives and damages communities".

The report's author, Dr David Shewan, agreed that heroin was not a safe drug. He said the concept of controlled drug use was a "largely unexplored" area of research and warned that the results should be treated with caution. The doctor added: "However, this study shows that the chemical properties of specific substances, including heroin, should not be assumed to inevitably lead to addictive and destructive patterns of drug use.

"Drug research should incorporate this previously hidden population to more fully inform theory and practice. "Psychological and social factors have to be taken into account when looking at how to deal with any form of addiction, including heroin addiction." Edinburgh-based outreach work Mr Anderson is a former drug addict who said heroin use and heroin injecting in Scotland is an immense problem which is getting worse. He added: "Every day, unfortunately, men and women are dying in the UK from heroin overdoses and that is the context that we cannot forget."

Higher education

The research has also sparked criticism in the way it was carried out. The drug users were not interviewed personally, only through an intermediary. However, the researchers said it was important to maintain trust and safeguard identities. The work by Dr Shewan and his colleague Phil Dargarno was funded by the Chief Scientist Office.

The 126 people studied in Glasgow had been taking heroin for an average of seven years and were not receiving treatment for their drug use. Most of those involved in the study were in a relationship and a third had children. In contrast to those receiving treatment for heroin use, three quarters of the sample group were employed and a third were placed at the top end of the job sector.

Some 64% of those surveyed had continued in education after secondary school, and 11% were in full-time higher education at the time of the research. Unemployed people accounted for 15% of the group, and only 5% had no educational qualifications. The study found that some heroin users could maintain occupations and achieve educational qualifications which were comparable with the general UK population - and were considerably higher than normally found in heroin research. In the first phase of the study 30% of those involved reported drug-related health problems, although most did not require medical treatment.

Health issues

Only a handful of those surveyed said they regularly injected heroin. The group seemed reasonably satisfied with their level of physical health, with almost 48% describing their health as good and just 7% describing it as bad or fairly bad. Just 15% of the participants reported that their heroin use had been associated with family problems, only one blamed the drug for the break-up of a long-term relationship and nobody's child had been taken into care.

While 60% reported a negative effect on their employment or education, only two people said drug misuse had cost them their jobs. By the end of the study six participants had begun specialist drug treatment.


NEW YORK TIMES                                                                                                                                                     
February 6, 2005



OOne windy day in May 2002, my young children, Jasper and Daisy, who were 8 and 5, spent the morning cutting, pasting and coloring notes and welcome banners for their brother's homecoming. They had not seen Nick, who was arriving from college for the summer, in six months. In the afternoon, we all drove to the airport to pick him up.

At home in Inverness, north of San Francisco, Nick, who was then 19, lugged his duffel bag and backpack into his old bedroom. He unpacked and emerged with his arms loaded with gifts. After dinner, he put the kids to bed, reading to them from ''The Witches,'' by Roald Dahl. We heard his voice -- voices -- from the next room: the boy narrator, all wonder and earnestness; wry and creaky Grandma; and the shrieking, haggy Grand High Witch. The performance was irresistible, and the children were riveted. Nick was a playful and affectionate big brother to Jasper and Daisy -- when he wasn't robbing them.

Late that night, I heard the creaking of bending tree branches. I also heard Nick padding along the hallway, making tea in the kitchen, quietly strumming his guitar and playing Tom Waits, Bjork and Bollywood soundtracks. I worried about his insomnia, but pushed away my suspicions, instead reminding myself how far he had come since the previous school year, when he dropped out of Berkeley. This time, he had gone east to college and had made it through his freshman year. Given what we had been through, this felt miraculous. As far as we knew, he was coming up on his 150th day without methamphetamine.

In the morning, Nick, in flannel pajama bottoms and a fraying woolen sweater, shuffled into the kitchen. His skin was rice-papery and gaunt, and his hair was like a field, with smashed-down sienna patches and sticking-up yellowed clumps, a disaster left over from when he tried to bleach it. Lacking the funds for Lady Clairol, his brilliant idea was to soak his head in a bowl of Clorox.

Nick hovered over the kitchen counter, fussing with the stove-top espresso maker, filling it with water and coffee and setting it on a flame, and then sat down to a bowl of cereal with Jasper and Daisy. I stared hard at him. The giveaway was his body, vibrating like an idling car. His jaw gyrated and his eyes were darting opals. He made plans with the kids for after school and gave them hugs. When they were gone, I said, ''I know you're using again.''

He glared at me: ''What are you talking about? I'm not.'' His eyes fixed onto the floor. ''Then you won't mind being drug-tested.'' ''Whatever.''

When Nick next emerged from his bedroom, head down, his backpack was slung over his back, and he held his electric guitar by the neck. He left the house, slamming the door behind him. Late that afternoon, Jasper and Daisy burst in, dashing from room to room, before finally stopping and, looking up at me, asking, ''Where's Nick?''

Nick now claims that he was searching for methamphetamine for his entire life, and when he tried it for the first time, as he says, ''That was that.'' It would have been no easier to see him strung out on heroin or cocaine, but as every parent of a methamphetamine addict comes to learn, this drug has a unique, horrific quality. In an interview, Stephan Jenkins, the singer in the band Third Eye Blind, said that methamphetamine makes you feel ''bright and shiny.'' It also makes you paranoid, incoherent and both destructive and pathetically and relentlessly self-destructive. Then you will do unconscionable things in order to feel bright and shiny again. Nick had always been a sensitive, sagacious, joyful and exceptionally bright child, but on meth he became unrecognizable.

Nick's mother and I were attentive, probably overly attentive -- part of the first wave of parents obsessed with our children in a self-conscious way. (Before us, people had kids. We parented.) Nick spent his first years on walks in his stroller and Snugli, playing in Berkeley parks and baby gyms and visiting zoos and aquariums.

His mother and I divorced when he was 4. No child benefits from the bitterness and savagery of a divorce like ours. Like fallout from a dirty bomb, the collateral damage is widespread and enduring. Nick was hit hard. The effects lingered well after his mother and I settled on a joint-custody arrangement and, later, after we both remarried.

As a kindergartner, when he wore tights, the other school children teased him: ''Only girls wear tights.'' Nick responded: ''Uh, uh, Superman wears tights.'' I was proud of his self-assuredness and individuality. Nick readily rebelled against conventional habit, mores and taste. Still, he could be susceptible to peer pressure. During the brief celebrity of Kris Kross, he wore backward clothes. At 11, he was hidden inside grungy flannel, shuffling around in Doc Martens. Hennaed bangs hung Cobain-like over his eyes.

Throughout his youth, I talked to Nick ''early and often'' about drugs in ways now prescribed by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. I watched for one organization's early warning signs of teenage alcoholism and drug abuse. (No. 15: ''Does your child volunteer to clean up after adult cocktail parties, but neglect other chores?'') Indeed, when he was 12, I discovered a vial of marijuana in his backpack. I met with his teacher, who said: ''It's normal. Most kids try it.'' Nick said that it was a mistake -- he had been influenced by a couple of thuggish boys at his new school -- and he promised that he would not use it again.

In his early teens, Nick was into the hippest music and then grew bored with it. By the time his favorite artists, from Guns N' Roses to Beck to Eminem, had a hit record, Nick had discarded them in favor of the retro, the obscure, the ultra contemporary or plain bizarre, an eclectic list that included Coltrane, polka, the soundtrack from ''The Umbrellas of Cherbourg'' and, for a memorable period, samba, to which he would cha-cha through the living room. His heroes, including Holden Caulfield and Atticus Finch, were replaced by an assortment of misanthropes, addicts, drunks, depressives and suicides, role models like Burroughs, Bukowski, Cobain, Hemingway and Basquiat. Other children watched Disney and ''Star Wars,'' but Nick preferred Scorsese, David Lynch and Godard.

At 14, when he was suspended from high school for a day for buying pot on campus, Nick and my wife and I met with the freshman dean. ''We view this as a mistake and an opportunity,'' he explained. Nick was forced to undergo a day at a drug-and-alcohol program but was given a second chance. A teacher took Nick under his wing, encouraging his interest in marine biology. He surfed with him and persuaded him to join the swimming and water-polo teams. Nick had two productive and, as far as I know, drug-free years. He showed promise as a student actor, artist and writer. For a series of columns in the school newspaper, he won the Ernest Hemingway Writing Award for high-school journalists, and he published a column in Newsweek.

After his junior year, Nick attended a summer program in French at the American University of Paris. I now know that he spent most of his time emulating some of his drunken heroes, though he forgot the writing and painting part. His souvenir of his Parisian summer was an ulcer. What child has an ulcer at 16? Back at high school for his senior year, he was still an honor student, with a nearly perfect grade-point average. Even as he applied to and was accepted at a long list of colleges, one senior-class dean told me, half in jest, that Nick set a school record for tardiness and cutting classes. My wife and I consulted a therapist, and a school counselor reassured us: ''You're describing an adolescent. Nick's candor, unusual especially in boys, is a good sign. Keep talking it out with him, and he'll get through this.''

His high-school graduation ceremony was held outdoors on the athletic field. With his hair freshly buzzed, Nick marched forward and accepted his diploma from the school head, kissing her cheek. He seemed elated. Maybe everything would be all right after all. Afterward, we invited his friends over for a barbecue. Later we learned that a boy in jeans and a sport coat had scored some celebratory sensimilla. Nick and his friends left our house for a grad-night bash that was held at a local recreation center, where he tried ecstasy for the first time.

A few weeks later, my wife planned to take the kids to the beach. The fog had lifted, and I was with them in the driveway, helping to pack the car. Two county sheriff's patrol cars pulled up. When a pair of uniformed officers approached, I thought they needed directions, but they walked past me and headed for Nick. They handcuffed his wrists behind his back, pushed him into the back seat of one of the squad cars and drove away. Jasper, then 7, was the only one of us who responded appropriately. He wailed, inconsolable for an hour. The arrest was a result of Nick's failure to appear in court after being cited for marijuana possession, an infraction he ''forgot'' to tell me about. Still, I bailed him out, confident that the arrest would teach him a lesson. Any fear or remorse he felt was short-lived, however, blotted out by a new drug -- crystal methamphetamine.

When I was a child, my parents implored me to stay away from drugs. I dismissed them, because they didn't know what they were talking about. They were -- still are -- teetotalers. I, on the other hand, knew about drugs, including methamphetamine. On a Berkeley evening in the early 1970's, my college roommate arrived home, yanked the thrift-shop mirror off the wall and set it upon a coffee table. He unfolded an origami packet and poured out its contents onto the mirror: a mound of crystalline powder. From his wallet he produced a single-edge razor, with which he chipped at the crystals, the steel tapping rhythmically on the glass. While arranging the powder in four parallel rails, he explained that Michael the Mechanic, our drug dealer, had been out of cocaine. In its place, he purchased crystal methamphetamine.

I snorted the lines through a rolled-up dollar bill. The chemical burned my nasal passages, and my eyes watered. Whether the drug is sniffed, smoked, swallowed or injected, the body quickly absorbs methamphetamine. Once it reaches the circulatory system, it's a near-instant flume ride to the central nervous system. When it reached mine, I heard cacophonous music like a calliope and felt as if Roman candles had been lighted inside my skull. Methamphetamine triggers the brain's neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, which spray like bullets from a gangster's tommy gun. The drug destroys the receptors and as a result may, over time, permanently reduce dopamine levels, sometimes leading to symptoms normally associated with Parkinson's disease like tremors and muscle twitches. Meth increases the heart rate and blood pressure and can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, which can lead to strokes. It can also cause arrhythmia and cardiovascular collapse, possibly leading to death. But I felt fantastic -- supremely confident, euphoric.

After methamphetamine triggers the release of neurotransmitters, it blocks their reuptake back into their storage pouches, much as cocaine and other stimulants do. Unlike cocaine, however, meth also blocks the enzymes that help to break down invasive drugs, so the released chemicals float freely until they wear off. Methamphetamine remains active for 10 to 12 hours, compared with 45 minutes for cocaine. When the dawn began to seep through the cracked window blinds, I felt bleak, depleted and agitated. I went to bed and eventually slept for a full day, blowing off school.

I never touched methamphetamine again, but my roommate returned again and again to Michael the Mechanic's, and his meth run lasted for two weeks. Not long afterward, he moved away, and I lost touch with him. I later learned that after college, his life was defined by his drug abuse. There were voluntary and court-ordered rehabs, car crashes, a house that went up in flames when he fell asleep with a burning cigarette in his mouth, ambulance rides to emergency rooms after overdoses and accidents and incarcerations, both in hospitals and jails. He died on the eve of his 40th birthday.

When I told Nick cautionary stories like this and warned him about crystal, I thought that I might have some credibility. I have heard drug counselors tell parents of my generation to lie to our children about our past drug use. Famous athletes show up at school assemblies or on television and tell kids, ''Man, don't do this stuff, I almost died,'' and yet there they stand, diamonds, gold, multimillion-dollar salaries and fame. The words: I barely survived. The message: I survived, thrived and you can, too. Kids see that their parents turned out all right in spite of the drugs. So maybe I should have lied, and maybe I'll try lying to Daisy and Jasper. Nick, however, knew the truth. I don't know how much it mattered. Part of me feels solely responsible -- if only his mother and I had stayed together; if only she and I had lived in the same city after the divorce and had a joint-custody arrangement that was easier on him; if only I had set stricter limits; if only I had been more consistent. And yet I also sense that Nick's course was determined by his first puff of pot and sip of wine and sealed with the first hit of speed the summer before he began college.

When Nick's therapist said that college would straighten him out, I wanted to believe him. When change takes place gradually, it's difficult to comprehend its meaning. At what point is a child no longer experimenting, no longer a typical teenager, no longer going through a phase or a rite of passage? I am astounded -- no, appalled -- by my ability to deceive myself into believing that everything would turn out all right in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary.

At the University of California at Berkeley, Nick almost immediately began dealing to pay for his escalating meth habit. After three months, he dropped out, claiming that he had to pull himself together. I encouraged him to check into a drug-rehabilitation facility, but he refused. (He was over 18, and I could not commit him.) He disappeared. When he finally called after a week, his voice trembled. It nonetheless brought a wave of relief -- he was alive. I drove to meet him in a weedy and garbage-strewn alleyway in San Rafael. My son, the svelte and muscular swimmer, water-polo player and surfer with an ebullient smile, was bruised, sallow, skin and bone, and his eyes were vacant black holes. Ill and rambling, he spent the next three days curled up in bed.

I was bombarded with advice, much of it contradictory. I was advised to kick him out. I was advised not to let him out of my sight. One counselor warned, ''Don't come down too hard on him or his drug use will just go underground.'' One mother recommended a lockup school in Mexico, where she sent her daughter to live for two years. A police officer told me that I should send Nick to a boot camp where children, roused and shackled in the middle of the night, are taken by force.

His mother and I decided that we had to do everything possible to get Nick into a drug-rehabilitation program, so we researched them, calling recommended facilities, inquiring about their success rates for treating meth addicts. These conversations provided my initial glimpse of what must be the most chaotic, flailing field of health care in America. I was quoted success rates in a range from 20 to 85 percent. An admitting nurse at a Northern California hospital insisted: ''The true number for meth addicts is in the single digits. Anyone who promises more is lying.'' But what else could we try? I used what was left of my waning influence -- the threat of kicking him out of the house and withdrawing all of my financial support -- to get him to commit himself into the Ohlhoff Recovery Program in San Francisco. It is a well-respected program, recommended by many of the experts in the Bay Area. A friend of a friend told me that the program turned around the life of her heroin-addicted son.

Nick trembled when I dropped him off. Driving home afterward, I felt as if I would collapse from more emotion than I could handle. Incongruously, I felt as if I had betrayed him, though I did take some small consolation in the fact that I knew where he was; for the first time in a while, I slept through the night.

For their initial week, patients were forbidden to use the telephone, but Nick managed to call, begging to come home. When I refused, he slammed down the receiver. His counselor reported that he was surly, depressed and belligerent, threatening to run away. But he made it through the first week, which consisted of morning walks, lectures, individual and group sessions with counselors, 12-step-program meetings and meditation and acupuncture. Family groups were added in the second week. My wife and I, other visiting parents and spouses or partners, along with our addicts, sat in worn couches and folding chairs, and a grandmotherly, whiskey-voiced (though sober for 20 years) counselor led us in conversation.

''Tell your parents what it means that they're here with you, Nick,'' she said.

''Whatever. It's fine.''

By the fourth and final week, he seemed open and apologetic, claiming to be determined to take responsibility for the mess he'd made of his life. He said that he knew that he needed more time in treatment, and so we agreed to his request to move into the transitional residential program. He did, and then three days later he bolted. At some point, parents may become inured to a child's self-destruction, but I never did. I called the police and hospital emergency rooms. I didn't hear anything for a week. When he finally called, I told him that he had two choices as far as I was concerned: another try at rehab or the streets. He maintained that it was unnecessary -- he would stop on his own -- but I told him that it wasn't negotiable. He listlessly agreed to try again.

I called another recommended program, this one at the St. Helena Hospital Center for Behavioral Health, improbably located in the Napa Valley wine country. Many families drain every penny, mortgaging their homes and bankrupting their college funds and retirement accounts, trying successive drug-rehab programs. My insurance and his mother's paid most of the costs of these programs. Without this coverage, I'm not sure what we would have done. By then I was no longer sanguine about rehabilitation, but in spite of our experience and the questionable success rates, there seemed to be nothing more effective for meth addiction.

Patients in the St. Helena program keep journals. In Nick's, he wrote one day: ''How the hell did I get here? It doesn't seem that long ago that I was on the water-polo team. I was an editor of the school newspaper, acting in the spring play, obsessing about which girls I liked, talking Marx and Dostoevsky with my classmates. The kids in my class will be starting their junior years of college. This isn't so much sad as baffling. It all seemed so positive and harmless, until it wasn't.''

By the time he completed the fourth week, Nick once again seemed determined to stay away from drugs. He applied to a number of small liberal-arts schools on the East Coast. His transcripts were still good enough for him to be accepted at the colleges to which he applied, and he selected Hampshire, located in a former apple orchard in Western Massachusetts.

In August, my wife and I flew east with him for freshman orientation. At the welcoming picnic, Karen and I surveyed the incoming freshmen for potential drug dealers. We probably would have seen this on most campuses, but we were not reassured when we noticed a number of students wearing T-shirts decorated with marijuana leaves, portraits of Bob Marley smoking a spliff and logos for the Church of LSD.

In spite of his protestations and maybe (though I'm not sure) his good intentions and in spite of his room in substance-free housing, Nick didn't stand a chance. He tried for a few weeks. When he stopped returning my phone calls, I assumed that he had relapsed. I asked a friend, who was visiting Amherst, to stop by to check on him. He found Nick holed up in his room. He was obviously high. I later learned that not only had Nick relapsed, but he had supplemented methamphetamine with heroin and morphine, because, he explained, at the time meth was scarce in Western Massachusetts. ''Everyone told me not to try it, you know?'' Nick later said about heroin. ''They were like, 'Whatever you do, stay away from dope.' I wish I'd got the same warning about meth. By the time I got around to doing heroin, I really didn't see what the big deal was.''

I prepared to follow through on my threat and stop paying his tuition unless he returned to rehab, but I called a health counselor, who advised patience, saying that often ''relapse is part of recovery.'' A few days later, Nick called and told me that he would stop using. He went to 12-step program meetings and, he claimed, suffered the detox and early meth withdrawal that is characterized by insuperable depression and acute anxiety -- a drawn-out agony. He kept in close touch and got through the year, doing well in some writing and history classes, newly in love with a girl who drove him to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and eager to see Jasper and Daisy. His homecoming was marked by trepidation, but also promise, which is why it was so devastating when we discovered the truth.

When Nick left, I sunk into a wretched and sickeningly familiar malaise, alternating with a debilitating panic. One morning, Jasper came into the kitchen, holding a satin box, a gift from a friend upon his return from China, in which he kept his savings of $8. Jasper looked perplexed. ''I think Nick took my money,'' he said. How do you explain to an 8-year-old why his beloved big brother steals from him?

After a week, I succumbed to my desperation and went to try to find him. I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin County to San Francisco, to the Haight, where I knew he often hung out. The neighborhood, in spite of some gentrification, retains its 1960's-era funkiness. Kids -- tattooed, pierced, track-marked, stoned -- loiter in doorways. Of course I didn't find him.

After another few weeks, he called, collect: ''Hey, Pop, it's me.'' I asked if he would meet me. No matter how unrealistic, I retained a sliver of hope that I could get through to him. That's not quite accurate. I knew I couldn't, but at least I could put my fingertips on his cheek.

For our meeting, Nick chose Steps of Rome, a cafe on Columbus Avenue in North Beach, our neighborhood after his mother and I divorced. In those days, Nick played in Washington Square Park opposite the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, down the hill from our Russian Hill flat. We would eat early dinner at Vanessi's, an Italian restaurant now gone. The waiters, when they saw Nick, then towheaded, with a gap between his front teeth, would lift him up and set him on telephone books stacked on a stool at the counter. Nick was little enough so that after dinner, when he got sleepy, I could carry him home, his tiny arms wrapped around my neck.

Since reason and love, the forces I had come to rely on, had betrayed me, I was in uncharted territory as I sat at a corner table nervously waiting for him. Steps of Rome was deserted, other than a couple of waiters folding napkins at the bar. I ordered coffee, racking my brain for the one thing I could say that I hadn't thought of that could get through to him. Drug-and-alcohol counselors, most of them former addicts, tell fathers like me it's not our fault. They preach ''the Three C's'': ''You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.'' But who among us doesn't believe that we could have done something differently that would have helped? ''It hurts so bad to think I cannot save him, protect him, keep him out of harm's way, shield him from pain,'' wrote Thomas Lynch, the undertaker, poet and essayist, about his son, a drug addict and an alcoholic. ''What good are fathers if not for these things?'' I waited until it was more than half an hour past our meeting time, recognizing the mounting, suffocating worry and also the bitterness and anger. I had been waiting for Nick for years. At night, past his curfew, I waited for the car's grinding engine when it pulled into the driveway and went silent, the slamming door, footsteps and the front door opening with a click, despite his attempt at stealth. Our dog would yelp a halfhearted bark. When Nick was late, I always assumed catastrophe.

After 45 minutes waiting at Steps of Rome, I decided that he wasn't coming -- what had I expected? -- and left the cafe. Still, I walked around the block, returned again, peered into the cafe and then trudged around the block again. Another half-hour later, I was ready to go home, really, maybe, when I saw him. Walking down the street, looking down, his gangly arms limp at his sides, he looked more than ever like a ghostly, hollow Egon Schiele self-portrait, debauched and emaciated. I returned his hug, my arms wrapping around his vaporous spine, and kissed his cheek. We embraced like that and sat down at a table by the window. He couldn't look me in the eye. No apologies for being late. He asked how I was, how were the little kids? He folded and unfolded a soda straw and rocked anxiously in his chair; his fingers trembled, and he clenched his jaw and ground his teeth. He pre-empted any questions, saying: ''I'm doing. Great. I'm doing what I need to be doing, being responsible for myself for the first time in my life.'' I asked if he was ready to kick, to return to the living, to which he said, ''Don't start.'' When I said that Jasper and Daisy missed him, he cut me off. ''I can't deal with that. Don't guilt-trip me.'' Nick drank down his coffee, held onto his stomach. I watched him rise and leave.

Through Nick's drug addiction, I learned that parents can bear almost anything. Every time we reach a point where we feel as if we can't bear any more, we do. Things had descended in a way that I never could have imagined, and I shocked myself with my ability to rationalize and tolerate things that were once unthinkable. He's just experimenting. Going through a stage. It's only marijuana. He gets high only on weekends. At least he's not using heroin. He would never resort to needles. At least he's alive.

A fortnight later, Nick wrote an e-mail message to his mother and asked for help. After they talked, he agreed to meet with a friend of our family who took him to her home in upstate New York, where he could detox. He slept for 20 or more hours a day for a week and began to work with a therapist who specialized in drug addiction. After six or so weeks, he seemed stronger and somewhat less desolate. His mother helped him move into an apartment in Brooklyn, and he got a job. When he finally called, he told me that he would never again use methamphetamine, though he made no such vows about marijuana and alcohol. With this news, I braced myself for the next disaster. A new U.C.L.A. study confirms that I had reason to expect one: recovering meth addicts who stay off alcohol and marijuana are significantly less likely to relapse.

Two or so months later, the phone rang at 5 on a Sunday morning. Every parent of a drug-addicted child recoils at a ringing telephone at that hour. I was informed that Nick was in a hospital emergency room in Brooklyn after an overdose. He was in critical condition and on life support.

After two hours, the doctor called to tell me that his vital signs had leveled off. Still later, he called to say that Nick was no longer on the critical list. From his hospital bed, when he was coherent enough to talk, Nick sounded desperate. He asked to go into another program, said it was his only chance.

So without reluctance this time, Nick returned to rehab. After six or so months, he moved to Santa Monica near his mother. He lived in a sober-living home, attended meetings regularly and began working with a sponsor. He had several jobs, including one at a drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation program in Malibu. Last April, after celebrating his second year sober, he relapsed again, disappearing for two weeks. His sponsor, who had become a close friend of Nick's, assured me: ''Nick won't stay out long. He's not having any fun.'' Of course I hoped that he was right, but I was no less worried than I was other times he had disappeared -- worried that he could overdose or otherwise cause irreparable damage.

But he didn't. He returned and withdrew on his own, helped by his sponsor and other friends. He was ashamed -- mortified -- that he slipped. He redoubled his efforts. Ten months later, of course, I am relieved (once again) and hopeful (once again). Nick is working and writing a children's book and articles and movie reviews for an online magazine. He is biking and swimming. He seems emphatically committed to his sobriety, but I have learned to check my optimism.

We recently visited Nick. His eyes were clear, his body strong and his laugh easy and honest. At night, he read to Jasper and Daisy, picking up ''The Witches'' where he left off nearly three years before. Soon thereafter, a letter arrived for Jasper, who is now 11. Nick wrote: ''I'm looking for a way to say I'm sorry more than with just the meaninglessness of those two words. I also know that this money can never replace all that I stole from you in terms of the fear and worry and craziness that I brought to your young life. The truth is, I don't know how to say I'm sorry. I love you, but that has never changed. I care about you, but I always have. I'm proud of you, but none of that makes it any better. I guess what I can offer you is this: As you're growing up, whenever you need me -- to talk or just whatever -- I'll be able to be there for you now. That is something that I could never promise you before. I will be here for you. I will live, and build a life, and be someone that you can depend on. I hope that means more than this stupid note and these eight dollar bills.''

David Sheff is a writer living in California. His last article for the magazine was about the warden of San Quentin prison.   http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/06/magazine/06ADDICT.html?ex=1110430800&en=035d978917c43fdd&ei=5087&nl=