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Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

January 28, 2005 Edition


(Past Editions)



 One of my recent Newsletters contained an incomplete analytical article on “medical” marijuana developed by Bill Walluks, who is an independent private volunteer drug problem researcher in Madison, Wisconsin.  A formal version of this article, slightly edited especially for this Newsletter, is reprinted immediately below. My apologies to Bill for this over site! The rest of the weeks  news headlines are below this article.




Sharon L. Smith
Box 450
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055



On a site called "MedicalMarijuanaProCon.org," the following quote appears and is quite revealing.  It states that over 80% of the “medical” marijuana "recommendations” in California have been issued by only 10 doctors!!!  Do the other (non-recommending) physicians know something extremely important that these 10 don’t? 

There were, according to http://www.centerjd.org/press/release/
, almost 85,000 doctors in
California in 2000.  So the 1,500 who had even “recommended” “medical” pot amounts to only 1.8% of all California physicians.  It appears there really are doctors whose “specialty” is marijuana-as-“medicine.”    I hope this information is useful to you in your drug prevention work.  (For those unfamiliar with Americans for Safe Access, it's a pro-drug organization.)

“Hilary McQuie of Americans for Safe Access, stated in a 7/27/03 article in the San Francisco Chronicle: ‘...since the passage of California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996, more than 1,500 physicians statewide have recommended medical cannabis to their patients. But over 80 percent of medical cannabis recommendations have come from 10 doctors. Many of the others that have made recommendations will only agree to do so if the patient has a terminal illness...’”   

Bill Walluks   


Center for Effective Drug Abuse Research & Statistics                                                         

Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.   

"Bringing Facts to Bear on Drug Problems"       

608/256-5427          billwall@sbcglobal.net

The United States is postponing its proposal to use aerial-sprayed chemicals to destroy opium fields in Afghanistan, after Afghan President Hamid Karzai opposed the plan, the U.S. State Department's top counternarcotics official said yesterday.

"President Karzai is calling the shots," said Assistant Secretary of State Robert B. Charles, who leads the department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). "The decision is going to be his."

Postwar Afghanistan has emerged as the world's top producer of opium, which is used to make heroin. Officials say illegal proceeds from the drug are used to support terrorist activities in the region and possibly around the world.

Usually, there's a bed for every bad guy. But with 151,000 guests, this hotel is full.  Lawmakers still want to be tough on crime, but after a decade of expanding the prison system, the state can't afford to build more. So more lawmakers want to invest in probation and drug treatment to keep prisons clear of nonviolent offenders and ensure space is available for violent criminals.
To make probation reform work, some lawmakers say, the state has to convince wary judges that former inmates will be well looked after. In 2004, 54 percent of the 24,600 probationers returned to prison were sent back for "technical violations" – failure to report to a probation officer, testing positive for drugs or failure to pay court costs.
State lawmakers presented a plan Tuesday to Gov. Tom Vilsack that would clamp down on the sale of a cold medication used to make methamphetamine while stopping short of declaring it a controlled substance.
Vilsack has urged lawmakers to make the medicine, pseudoephedrine, a Schedule V controlled substance that can be dispensed only by a pharmacist. Iowans would need to show ID and sign a logbook to buy any product containing the drug — including countless over-the-counter cold remedies.  The drug is a key ingredient sought by meth makers who mix it with other chemicals in secret labs. During 2004, law officers seized more than 1,300 labs.
On Tuesday, key lawmakers meeting with Vilsack offered an alternative plan. It would require retailers to put all products containing pseudoephedrine behind the counter or under lock and key. Iowans would show photo ID when buying pseudoephedrine and a statewide database would track those purchases.
But the plan would not limit pseudoephedrine sales to pharmacies. Some lawmakers are concerned that such a limit would create a hardship for Iowans who live in small communities without a druggist.

Methamphetamine addicts are filling up Oregon's main mental-health hospital, adding to woes that include aging facilities and lack of funding, the Associated Press  reported Jan. 19.

Oregon State Hospital officials told state lawmakers that the Salem hospital could face a lawsuit or a federal takeover if the problems are not addressed. One major issue: new patients are coming in faster than existing ones can be treated and released.

Lawmakers asked about treating some of the 800 patients in the hospitals in community settings, but mental-health officials indicated that some, though not all, need a higher level of care.

Also cited as a problem was the large number of mentally ill people in jails and prisons who are not getting help.

BILLINGS GAZETTE                                                                                                                                        MONTANA MAY NAME DRUG CZAR

Facing growing problems with methamphetamine, the state of Montana is poised to empower a new Cabinet officer to coordinate statewide anti-drug efforts, the Billings Gazette reported Jan. 22.

State Rep. Don Roberts (R-Billings) is sponsoring legislation that would create the new "drug czar" post to coordinate treatment and prevention activities as well as anti-drug law enforcement. Gov. Brian Schweitzer is on record as supporting the legislation, as are a number of physicians' and addiction groups.

Don Hargrove, a lobbyist for the Montana Addictive Services Providers, stressed that the drug czar needs to have enough power to get things done, rather than just taking part in photo-ops.

The Roberts bill calls on the drug czar to draft a statewide plan to fight alcohol and other drugs.

WIRE SERVICE REPORTS                                                                                                                     LAWMAKERS RESTRICT SALES OF COLD MEDICINES
The fight against methamphetamine may be moving from the streets to the corner drug store.  A dozen Republican and Democratic senators want to put nonprescription cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient used to make meth, behind the counter. Consumers would have to talk to a pharmacy worker and show photo ID before purchasing Sudafed, Tylenol flu medicine or other popular remedies.
Local law enforcement officials applaud the proposed legislation, but drug industry groups are lining up against it. They argue it would create unacceptable barriers for regular customers with a headache, fever or runny nose

(NDAA policy supports limitations on the availability of precursor chemicals including over the counter drugs; see the NDAA policy at
http://www.ndaa-apri.org/pdf/policy_position_drug_control_enforcement_2004.pdf )

By Greg Stumbo
I have the honor of working with our state prosecutors, talented men and women who are dedicated to their profession and who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.
However, they are facing a crisis of resources that is threatening their ability to safeguard the public. Last fall, I formed a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission to study these problems. We sent surveys to all elected county and commonwealth attorneys. We are still compiling their responses, but one thing has become clear: A major problem is that they lack resources to handle the explosion of criminal cases over the last few years.
As a whole, prosecutors are handling over 10,000 more criminal cases in circuit court than they did in 1996. Much of this increase is due to an exponential increase in drug crimes, particularly, methamphetamine cases.

By Greg Stumbo
I have the honor of working with our state prosecutors, talented men and women who are dedicated to their profession and who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.
However, they are facing a crisis of resources that is threatening their ability to safeguard the public. Last fall, I formed a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission to study these problems. We sent surveys to all elected county and commonwealth attorneys. We are still compiling their responses, but one thing has become clear: A major problem is that they lack resources to handle the explosion of criminal cases over the last few years.
As a whole, prosecutors are handling over 10,000 more criminal cases in circuit court than they did in 1996. Much of this increase is due to an exponential increase in drug crimes, particularly, methamphetamine cases.


House bill yet to be heard in committee that would make it a felony for a pregnant woman to use cocaine was raising concerns among law enforcement and civil rights groups.  The only option authorities now have when mothers give birth while on drugs is to ask a judge to remove the child from the home. The Department of Family and Children can file a petition to have the parental rights suspended or terminated. 
 The bill would make it a Class D felony for a pregnant woman to knowingly or intentionally use cocaine.

(NDAA policy supports testing of both infants and expectant mothers to provide for medical intervention and prevent child abuse in the form of drug dependency )                   


Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2005

A Dutch magazine was including an unusual freebie with its latest issue – two marijuana seeds in a small plastic bag.  Nieuwe Revu Editor-in-Chief Mark Koster said the move was a publicity stunt accompanying the Jan. 26 issue, which advocates legalizing marijuana and other banned substances.

Athough Holland is famous for tolerating the sale of small amounts of marijuana and hashish in coffee shops, both are technically illegal and the government prosecutes possession of more than several grams. "We're saying, stop the war on drugs, which costs a fortune and there are no results," Koster said.

Koster said public prosecutors usually ignore the sale of marijuana seeds and had not contacted the magazine about the stunt. But several major supermarket chains either removed the seeds or kept the issue off the shelves.  He said the seeds were "OK" in quality. "We had an expert test them, and he said they were a 4 out of 5," Koster said.

© 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




If a bill in the state legislature passes, every criminal offender in Utah would be screened for drug use and referred to treatment if necessary, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Jan. 21.

The Utah Senate last week approved S.B. 22, the Drug Offender Reform Act, sponsored by Sen. Chris Buttars. The measure would set aside $6.3 million for screening offenders for substance abuse; initially, the policy would only be applied to drug offenders, but would be extended to all offenders by 2006.   "We know treatment works," Buttars said.

The state House will now consider the measure, which has the backing of Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. "This really is the direction to go," said Sen. Greg Bell. "Fully 85 percent of our prisoners have some type of substance-abuse problem ... If we get them therapy, we're going to see a real payback to our state."

YALE DAILY NEWS                                                                                                                                    SMOKING POT, CIGARETTES CAUSES SIMILAR HEALTH PROBLEMS                                                    1/25/2005

Frequent pot smoking leads to many of the same health problems associated with habitual cigarette smoking, according to new research from the Yale School of Medicine.

The Yale Daily News reported Jan. 19 that the study of people who used marijuana at least once in the past 30 days, and 100 times or more in their lifetime, had a higher risk of respiratory ailments.

"What we found is that marijuana use is associated with a number of self-reported respiratory symptoms including chronic bronchitis, frequent phlegm production, shortness of breath, afrequent wheezing, chest sounds without a cold, and pneumonia," said Brent Moore, a Yale psychiatry professor and lead author of the study.

Richard Moser, a National Cancer Institute researcher and study co-author, noted that some pot smokers also smoked cigarettes. "It turns out that a lot of the marijuana smokers also smoke tobacco," Moser said. "What we did, though, is statistically control for the number of cigarettes, and even controlling for the number of cigarettes we still found that marijuana use was associated with these respiratory problems."

Moore said he hoped the study would encourage more doctors to ask their patients about marijuana use.

The study, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

REUTERS                                                                                                                                                                            RURAL AMERICA STRUGGLES WITH METH

Rural communities across the U.S. are struggling to cope with the growing problems of methamphetamine production, sales, and use, Reuters reported Jan. 27. California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri lead the nation in meth-lab seizures, according to federal officials. Local officials are dealing with a drug problem unlike any previous, where $100 in chemicals can quickly and easily be turned into $1,000 of meth.

"It's the first drug in the history of the United States we can make, distribute, sell, take, all here in the Midwest," said Detective Jason Grellner, of the Franklin County (Mo.) Sheriff's Department. "You can't grow a coca plantation or an opium plantation here to get your heroin or cocaine, and marijuana takes four or five months to grow a good plant. With methamphetamine you can go out and for a couple hundred dollars you can make your drugs that day."

The meth problem in rural America has exploded over the past five years. In Clay County, Iowa, for instance, no meth labs were found in 1999. By 2001, county police had seized and destroyed 56. Nationwide, 16,800 meth labs were uncovered between September 2003 and September 2004, up from 15,300 in 2001-02.

"This is the most serious law-enforcement problem we've ever faced in the history of our state, because this substance is so addictive and so easy and cheap to make," said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. "When we look at our prison population, 10 years ago nobody had even heard of it. Now, 60 percent of our male inmates are users, and we're building a brand new prison for female users." Few rural states have the facilities or money needed to provide treatment for their meth-addicted population, however.

Mom-and-pop meth operations are common, but the DEA estimates that most meth sold in the U.S. comes from "super labs" in Mexico and California, run by organized-crime groups. In addition to addiction and crime, rural states also are grappling with the cleanup of toxic meth-lab sites. Each pound of meth produced yields up to six pounds of toxic waste. Rural states are trying to address the meth problem by better controlling the precursor chemicals used to create meth, notably cold tablets.


Children's drug addiction moves parents to spread alarm
Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The bedspread is pink, the walls are pink and several hairbrushes rest in a basket before a mirror on the dresser. The closet and dresser are full of clothes and shoes. At the foot of the bed are two plastic make-up containers that are filled with tubes and sticks and trays -- lipstick, lip balm, eye shadow.

It is the room of a 17-year-old girl, a senior at Central Dauphin High School. And there are so many places where the girl could hide heroin, her mother said. "We found one in there," said LuAnn Smith, the girl's mother, pointing to the blue wastebasket by the dresser. "There was one under here," she said, reaching under the television stand. Her daughter has been at a drug-rehabilitation facility near Williamsport for nearly two weeks.

Yet Smith still feels she has not searched every place where her only child might have hidden thimble-sized plastic bags of heroin. They want to be sure the room is drug-free when their daughter returns.

Yesterday, the day after parents spoke out at a Central Dauphin School Board meeting about student use of heroin at the high school, Lu Ann Smith and her husband, Robert, continued to adjust to life as the parents of an addict. "It is like starting over. It is like she is an infant again," Robert Smith said. They live in Lower Paxton Twp. It was there, two weeks ago, that the girl, crying, said to LuAnn Smith, "Mom, I am addicted to heroin." Her parents pulled her out of school on Jan. 10 and took her to the rehab facility.

During the next week, the Smiths spoke with parents of three other Central Dauphin High School students who had been using heroin. On Monday night, they attended the school board meeting and spoke publicly about heroin use in the high school. LuAnn Smith said yesterday, "My daughter was snorting heroin in the bathroom at school. Some of the kids were snorting it right in the classrooms." Robert Smith said he planned to press school district officials to crack down on illegal drug use at the school. "This is a walking time bomb," he said. "Some kid is going to overdose."

The pressure is 'immense':

Central Dauphin officials see illegal drug use as a "top priority," and some steps are being taken, one board member said. "Nobody's in the dark on it -- at least that's my belief," said A.J. Sallusti, a board member. Students at Central Dauphin's sister school, Central Dauphin East, recently completed a drug awareness program. Students at Central Dauphin will complete the program "probably as quickly as possible now," Sallusti said. "It's not like everybody's sitting on their hands." Norma Purcell's oldest son left Central Dauphin High School in the fall of 2003, shortly after the start of his senior year, and enrolled in a drug-rehabilitation program. "I was a junkhead," the 18-year-old said yesterday as he sat in his parents' Lower Paxton home. "Heroin became my drug of choice. It started out with pot and alcohol and went to pills." The Purcells and Smiths did not want to publicize the first names of their children. The younger Purcell said he first used drugs when he tried marijuana while in ninth grade at Bishop McDevitt High School. "I was young, and I was hanging out with older people. ... I was just curious. I went to Holy Name for grade school and I had always been taught to say 'no' to drugs," he said.

He said he "loved" being high. "Everything about it. The way it made me feel. The escape from reality and everyday problems," he said. He hated school, and he struggled with depression, he said. In 10th grade, his parents asked if he wanted to transfer to Central Dauphin, and he said yes. He said drugs were more available at Central Dauphin than at Bishop McDevitt. "I was doing pills, and that led to OxyContins. And that was a big thing at CD. OxyContins," he said, referring to a prescription painkiller. He described "Oxys" as a prelude to heroin. He started snorting heroin and eventually was snorting about $80 worth each day, he said.

The turning point came when he crashed his parents' Chevy Suburban while driving and drinking. He said he told them he needed help, and, "I need to get away from CD." His mother and father, Francis "Corky" Purcell, attended the school board meeting Monday night. Yesterday, Norma Purcell said the message she wanted to get out to other parents concerning children was, "Open your eyes, and look more carefully than you believe you are looking. ... The pressure out there and the temptation out there to be like their friends is immense."

Observations elsewhere:

Reports of drug use have stirred action in other districts. While Camp Hill officials said they have seen no signs of heroin use there, they have been combating the use of other drugs, including alcohol. Two high school students were suspended earlier this school year when they returned to school from open lunch under the influence of marijuana, and some middle school students were found to have marijuana in school last fall, officials said. In Perry County, Glenys DiLissio, executive director of Perry Human Services, said heroin use has been reported in the county for at least five years. But more noticeable has been a surge in reports of crack cocaine and prescription drug abuse, she said. She said kids were more likely to use drugs outside of school, where fewer people were present. But she said it also was possible that kids use in schools.

Parents' alert level is high:

At Central Dauphin High School, there is more than drug use occurring, LuAnn Smith said. "It is being distributed there, too. On school property," she said. "I have to speak up. This has hit me and my husband very hard." She and Robert Smith were already preparing for their daughter's return from the drug-rehab program -- including combing her room repeatedly -- even though they hope she will be in the program for several more weeks. "My kid is going to have to be locked down until her life gets back to normal," Robert Smith said. "I don't know if it will ever be normal."

State Standards for Counselors and Prevention Professionals Outlined in New SAMHSA Publication

ABC 27 NEWS                                                                                                                                                                                          UPDATE ON DRUG USE AT CENTRAL DAUPHIN

Thursday January 27, 2005 2:05pm    Posted By: Katie McCarthy

Watch the eVideo

Dauphin County, PA - UPDATE: Are students using drugs at Central Dauphin High School? Parents say yes. The district has been quiet until Thursday. This all came to light on Monday as several parents spoke out about alleged drug abuse in the Central Dauphin School District at a school board meeting of the Central Dauphin School Board. Parents told the board that heroin use is rampant throughout Central Dauphin High School. Today, Central Dauphin School District addressed parent's concerns about the alleged drug abuse. State police, Lower Paxton Township police and administrators outlined the steps that are in place and the additional steps that will be taken to put parents' concerns to rest.

"I was at such a low point I didn't care if I died." Dan still remembers the first time he used heroin. "I was using oxycotin, basically the same thing." At the time, he was a student at Central Dauphin high school, his name isn't Dan, he doesn't want to be identified. Things got so bad he went into rehab, he's been clean for three months. While he no longer attends Central Dauphin he still has friends there and he says heroin use is rampant.

Norma saw it first hand, thanks to her son. "He looked like a drug addict...know what you're doing." He was on heroin and after that Norma, along with two other parents decided to speak out. They told the school board that heroin was running wild through the high school. School superintendent, Doctor Barbara Hasson reportedly said at the meeting that this kind of drug problem was news to her. Norma doesn't believe it. "I find it hard to believe it's news to her."

Despite repeated attempts Doctor Hasson was unavailable for comment. For Dan, he says the school needs to do more. "Yes they definitely can do more. They should have been doing more, for a long time, long time." If there isn't a change Dan says the next time he and his friends get together will be for a funeral. "I've been seeing it for a long time...it's going to happen." Dauphin County's school board meeting is just another example of what many already believe, the future of drug use in our schools, relies with the parents. A recent study said the use of heroin by middle school students is reduced nearly 100 percent when children talk to parents on a daily basis. "Absolutely positively it's gotten worse. We're in the middle of a epidemic, in a crisis level with heroin."

Heroin Warning Signs:

Sharon Smith knows all too well what heroin can do, her daughter died from an overdose. Now she focuses her time on educating parents about the warning signs. According to Drug Free Pennsylvania, boys will try heroin as young as age 9, girls, age 11. It's a scary statistic, so how can you tell if your child is using heroin?

Heroin depresses the central nervous system, it clouds mental processes and slows reflexes. Parents should look for slowed speech, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, vomiting, reduced appetite, and nodding off. Emotionally parents needs to be aware of sudden mood changes, general lack of interest, the breaking of rules, and a drop in grades and most importantly parents need to keep in mind you're not alone. "One of the missions of our office is to take all of this information and get it out to parents and schools."

The information is part of a program run by Dauphin County to educate parents about drugs. Smittie Brown is all to aware of the drug problem in our schools and he says it time for parents to wake-up. "I'd be lying to you if I said 30 to 40 percent of the time parents say it's not my kid." The number one thing parents need to do is educate themselves about addiction and about this drug."

note: Dauphin County Schools currently have two programs that address substance abuse... one is the student assistance program which work directly with students.  The other is a drug awareness question and answer session.  A third session will be held February 2nd at the commission headquarters for more information: Call 635-2254   
Copyright 2005 Harrisburg Television, Inc.

CENTRAL DAUPHIN CALLS IN DRUG DOGS                                                                                                  By Jim Lewis                                                                                                                                                                                              Friday, January 28, 2005

Police dogs will sniff for drugs at Central Dauphin High School "on a consistent basis" to stop students from bringing in heroin and other drugs, a school official said yesterday. Dogs will visit the hallways and the parking lot at the large suburban high school as part of an offensive to battle drug use, said Barbara Hasson, superintendent of the Central Dauphin School District.

The district announced the initiative after parents of students undergoing treatment for heroin addiction alleged during a school board meeting Monday that drug use was common in the cafeteria, classrooms and rest rooms at Central Dauphin. A hot line will be started to take complaints and tips about drug use and trafficking at the school, said Principal Richard Mazzatesta. The school has made several other efforts to combat drug use, he said.

Teachers, state troopers and other adults routinely watch the cafeteria at lunchtime, and students are taught about the effects of drugs, Mazzatesta said. Security cameras are stationed "everywhere except the bathrooms" in the high school, which opened in the fall, Hasson said.  Officials said they were surprised to learn that students had been using heroin. While alcohol, marijuana and cocaine are commonly considered to be the drugs favored by teenagers, heroin is "quickly becoming the drug of choice," Hasson said. "That's a new drug in terms of addiction."

Still, school officials and police estimate that only about 15 of the 2,000 students at Central Dauphin are suspected of using heroin, Mazzatesta said.  "An overwhelming majority of Central Dauphin's students are hard-working kids that come to school every day and do the things that are expected of them," he said.  Robert Smith, whose daughter, a Central Dauphin student, is in a rehabilitation center for heroin addiction, said he hoped officials would see heroin as a serious threat to other students at the school.

"I hope they take this very seriously -- don't push it to the side," Smith said. "Some of the problems are being overlooked." Some parents whose children are in rehab said students sell and use drugs at school. One parent said students even snort lines of heroin from books in the cafeteria. Every tip about drug use and trafficking is investigated, "and we take appropriate action," Mazzatesta said.

Along with security cameras, four to nine adults, including troopers and teachers, monitor the cafeteria, Mazzatesta said, though he acknowledged, "Certainly no one can watch every single solitary person."  Drug abuse is a problem in society, so it's not surprising that it might be a problem among some students at Central Dauphin, Mazzatesta said.

"Central Dauphin High School is a microcosm of our society," he said. "The things that occur at CDHS are no different than or in no greater proportion than what occurs in our society. The documented drug use which has occurred in our school is no different than any other school in the state of Pennsylvania."

Heroin is "a new animal, so to say, that we have to track down," Mazzatesta said.  Hasson compared the school's fight to rid drugs to a saying: "The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time."  "That's what we're going to do -- take one bite at a time until we can get this elephant under control," she said.

ANNOUNCEMENT                                                                                                                                                                            STATE STANDARDS FOR COUNCELORS AND PREVENTION PROFESSIONALS OUTLINED IN NEW SAMHSA PUBLICATION
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
1 Choke Cherry Road
Room 8-1054
Rockville, MD 20857

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) today announced the availability of A National Review of State Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs and Certification Standards for Substance Abuse Counselors and Prevention Professionals. The publication contains a national overview of state-by-state information on licensing, certification, and credentialing standards for alcohol and drug treatment facilities, programs, counselors and prevention professionals.

Information provided includes substance abuse facility and program approval processes for each state as well as steps in the application process, fees charged, types of treatment services provided by states and the national accreditations accepted in lieu of state accreditation.

Copies can be obtained, free of charge, from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) by calling 1-800-729-6686 or electronically at