January, 2005 Edition
There is alot
of news this week to start off the
I will be going
to the CADCA Conference in
Washington DC this coming week
courtesy of the National Highway
Administration (NHTSA). I was so
happy to get the scholarship which
allows me to attend. I look
forward to seeing some of you
there! Have a good week!
Sharon L. Smith
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
STATE TO TAX ILLEGAL DRUGS
Come the new year, the tax man is coming
after drug dealers in Tennessee.
Drug peddlers will be required to pay
state excise taxes on illegal substances —
from marijuana to moonshine, from cocaine
to the often illegally obtained
prescription painkiller OxyContin — under
a new law that goes into effect Saturday.
A 10-person tax agency has been created at
a one-time cost of $1.2 million to assess
the taxes and collect them. The annual
cost to enforce the drug tax will be
$800,000, said Elizabeth Fitzgerald,
spokeswoman for the state Revenue
The tax, however, is expected to more than
cover the costs. One estimate by the law's
sponsor, Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge,
projects collecting $3.6 million in one
EAST COAST'S HORROR STORIES REFLECT NEW
MAP OF METH
A decade after methamphetamine began
tearing through Oregon and Western states,
the cheap and powerful drug has exploded
across the Midwest, its inexorable march
finally reaching the Atlantic. Police who
didn't know what the drug was just a few
years ago are painfully aware of its
devastating presence now.
Meth's arrival in the East is swelling
political pressure on community and state
lawmakers, forging alliances among states
to seek national solutions. In the past
decade, Congress' response to the
methamphetamine epidemic in the West has
been disjointed and influenced by lobbying
from the pharmaceutical industry, whose
cold medicine, pseudoephedrine, is the key
But on Capitol Hill, the new map of meth
abuse is reflected in the House
Methamphetamine Caucus. It now comprises
34 states, including Virginia,
Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
STUDY: 1 IN 5 YOUNG PEOPLE DRINK AND DRIVE
More than four million people younger
under age 21 drove under the influence of
drugs or alcohol last year, according to a
government report released Wednesday.
That's one in five of all Americans aged
16 to 20.
"That's an awful lot of kids if you think
about it," said Charlene Lewis, acting
director of the Office of Applied Studies
at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration, which produced
The report, based on a large household
survey of drug use, found a small drop in
driving under the influence of drugs or
alcohol between 2002 and 2003. In 2002, 22
percent drove under the influence; last
year, it was 20 percent.
ST LOUIS POST DISPATCH (MO)
AUTHORITIES AIM TO FIGHT METH LABS BY
RESTRICTING THE SALE OF COLD PILLS
A cramped office in Union is the unlikely
nerve center of a 12-state lobbying effort
that next year will square off against one
of the most powerful forces in American
politics - the pharmaceutical industry.
There, in a tiny nook of the Franklin
County Sheriff's Department, Detective
Jason "Jake" Grellner is leading a
campaign to cut off the supply of
over-the-counter cold pills that have
fueled the explosion of methamphetamine
production across the nation's heartland.
Earlier this month, Grellner headed up a
closed-door strategy session in St. Louis
with about 65 law enforcement leaders,
politicians and legislative aides from as
far away as Louisiana and Ohio. They want
to pass state legislation in a dozen
states next year that would label many
pseudoephedrine remedies as "Schedule 5
narcotics" that would be available only at
pharmacies and only if shoppers have their
purchases and identities recorded in a
database that police can access.
NEW YEAR, NEW LAWS: ONE HURDLE GONE FOR
Ramona Choyce, addicted to crack cocaine,
was convicted of drug possession five
She served three months in prison and went
through a year of drug treatment. She says
she's been clean ever since. Now, the
26-year-old single mother is struggling to
make a living and raise her 3-year-old son
Although she served her time and changed
her lifestyle, Choyce is still suffering
the consequences of her addiction.
If she had been convicted of murder, rape,
robbery or any other serious crime, she
would be eligible for food stamps. But
until now, drug offenders in California
have been banned for life from receiving
the federal benefit that helps the needy
pay for groceries.
That is about to change Saturday, thanks
to a new state law lifting the ban on food
stamps for people who have been convicted
of possessing drugs, as long as they have
enrolled in treatment and their offense
was not violent. Convicted drug dealers or
manufacturers still will not be eligible.
EUROPEAN LAWS PLACE EMPHASIS ON THE
DRIVING, NOT THE DRINKING
The accident bore the familiar details of
a drunk-driving tragedy. Six young people,
age 16 to 20, had been out late at a club.
On the long ride toward home early on a
Saturday morning, their small car smashed
into a bridge pillar, killing everyone.
Witnesses said the driver, 20, appeared
drunk as he left the club.
The Nov. 20 accident in Sausheim, a town
in eastern France, shocked people across
the country. But in a society in which the
legal drinking age is 16, the resulting
public debate focused not on how to keep
alcohol from young people, but on how to
enforce highway rules more strictly and
crack down on errant drivers. News
coverage took particular note that the
driver had no license or insurance.
That response underscored a fundamental
difference between U.S. and European
approaches to drunk driving among young
people: Americans have raised the drinking
age to 21; Europeans keep it low but put
faith in stiff rules and regulations.
While most European countries issue
driver's licenses at age 18, the
difficulty of passing the test, high
insurance costs and wide use of trains and
buses all mean that young people generally
begin to drive much later than in the
SOUIX CITY JOURNAL (IA)
DATA SHOW TEENS GETTING HIGH ON
Parents who think they are on top of their
teens' drug education have yet another
campaign on their hands. The legitimate
drugs that give miraculous pain relief to
people suffering from cancer or arthritis
are being co-opted for illegal
"Pharming" -- the abuse of prescription
pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs
to get high -- is the latest trend in drug
abuse. Data show the number of Iowa teens
and young adults who are doing it spiked
Nationally, the number of emergency room
visits involving pain relievers such as
OxyContin and Percocet has tripled since
1995, to 108,320 cases by Nov. 1, 2004.
One out of 10 high school seniors now
reports they have abused powerful pain
relievers. That means they used medicine
not prescribed for them, or used it just
to experience the feeling it causes. A
study reported by the research and policy
firm Carnevale Associates shows 2.5
million people abused pain relievers for
the first time in 2002; 44 percent of them
were younger than 18.
U.S. AGENCIES CELEBRATE BANNER YEAR IN
The war on cocaine and other illegal drugs
raged in new directions in 2004, with
agencies in the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security claiming major successes
against the two most powerful
While the press spotlighted action in Iraq
and Afghanistan, U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Coast
Guard and other agencies such as the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) spent the
year seizing record amounts of cocaine in
the largely forgotten war on drugs.
EDITORIAL: THE AGONY OF
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities have
declined in the last 20 years, thanks to
tougher laws, better enforcement, safer
cars and safer roads. But that decline has
leveled off in recent years. And even with
all the progress, 17,013 alcohol-related
fatalities were recorded in the U.S. in
2003, according to the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration. That's
about one death every 30 minutes.
And that's why it's so important to remind
people, again and again and again, that
driving under the influence of alcohol is
horribly reckless, that it destroys lives,
and that it is a crime.
CITY TIMES (IA)
RECORD NUMBER OF METH LABS IN SHUT DOWN IN
Iowa law-enforcement officials shut down a
record 1,301 meth labs in 2004, evidence
that the drug's popularity continues to
outpace efforts to control it.
The 2004 total, reported by the Iowa
Department of Public Safety on Thursday,
still could revised because of late
reports. It breaks the record of 1,195 set
in 2003, continuing a steady rise that
started in the mid-1990s with just a
handful of cases.
AFGHANISTAN'S DRUG PROBLEM
Policy battle lines are forming over how
to handle poppy production in Afghanistan,
with Pentagon civilians increasingly
pitted against the uniformed leadership on
the ground in Afghanistan. This page has
expressed concern about the potential
pitfalls of aggressive poppy eradication,
and that view is now being strongly voiced
by military commanders. The military
leadership has a more tactile and
immediate sense of developments in
Afghanistan, and their opinion should be
carefully heeded by Washington
STAR TRIBUNE (MN)
'METH MOUTH' PLAGUES MANY STATE PRISONERS
As the number of regular users of the
illegal drug methamphetamine has
increased, so has a peculiar set of dental
problems linked to the drug, a phenomenon
appropriately named "meth mouth." Symptoms
include gum disease, broken and cracked
teeth, and tooth decay.
Incarcerating drug offenders brings with
it traditional costs, including
rehabilitation and health expenses from
years of abuse. But one of the unexpected
results of the methamphetamine explosion
is the demand for dental care from those
The state has not broken down the costs of
the increased occurrence of meth mouth in
its prisons, but it is believed to be a
significant driver in the nearly doubling
of dental health care costs in the state's
corrections system since 2000 -- from
$1.19 million to $2.01 million in 2004.
WHITE HOUSE ANTI-DRUG VIDEOS VIOLATE
PROPAGANDA BAN, GAO SAYS
Videotape footage of people using drugs
and interviews with federal officials
discouraging their use that was produced
by the White House drug control policy
office, violate a legal ban on official
propaganda because they were presented to
the public without any indication they
were produced by the government, according
to a decision released Thursday by the
Government Accountability Office.
GAO, in response to a request from Rep.
Henry Waxman, D-Calif., examined a series
of "video news releases" prepared by the
Office of National Drug Control Policy
from 2002 to 2004 to determine whether
they violated a legal prohibition on
"covert propaganda." The ban was included
in the appropriations legislation that
funded ONDCP's media campaign to lower
drug use among American youth.
DUI COURT IS
LONG ON SUPPORT, SHORT ON JAIL TIME
Positive reinforcement is a central tenet
of Orange County's DUI court, which opened
in October. It is one of only two courts
of its kind in California but is one of a
growing number nationwide. They're
designed to reduce recidivism among drunk
drivers by providing encouragement and
strict supervision to help treat addiction
rather than imposing jail sentences or
More than 1.5 million U.S. motorists are
arrested each year on suspicion of
drinking and driving. In California,
179,663 people were arrested on suspicion
of driving under the influence in 2002,
according to the latest statistics
available from the Department of Motor
Vehicles. Alcohol was a factor in 1,416
traffic fatalities and 32,013 injuries
Orange County's program is being funded
for a year through a $1-million grant from
the state Office of Traffic Safety, and
developed with input from police and the
O.C. chapter of Mothers Against Drunk
The program borrows from the philosophy of
special drug courts in the county and
elsewhere that have reduced substance
abuse by treating addictions rather than
punishing defendants with jail time and
fines. The biggest difference between the
two courts is that the DUI conviction is
not erased from graduates' records.
Drivers with at least two arrests for DUI
are eligible. They cannot have prior
convictions for violent crimes, weapons or
drug charges, or have been involved in a
fatal DUI accident.
To qualify, offenders agree to plead
guilty to misdemeanor DUI, admit they're
addicted to alcohol and commit to
sobriety. They must write an essay, attend
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and be
tested several times a week for as long as
they're in the program.
study examining emergency department
patients finds that those with unmet
addiction treatment needs incur higher
hospital and emergency department charges
than other patients,
Medical News Today
reported Dec. 21.
According to the study, "Unmet Substance
Abuse Treatment Need, Health Services
Utilization, and Cost: A Population-Based
Emergency Department Study," ER patients
with unmet treatment needs are 81 percent
more likely to be admitted during their
emergency visit, and 46 percent more
likely to have reported making at least
one emergency department visit in the
previous 12 months.
The study, led by Ian Rockett, Ph.D., from
the West Virginia University Department of
Community Medicine and Center for Rural
Emergency Medicine, focused on
emergency-room patients in Tennessee,
where less than 10 percent of patients
needing addiction treatment were currently
According to the research, Tennessee
patients with unmet treatment needs who
received emergency medical services
accounted for $777.2 million in extra
hospital charges for the state in 2000,
which translates to an additional $1,568
for each emergency patient with an
addiction problem that wasn't addressed.
"We predict that systematically addressing
substance-abuse problems in emergency
departments would produce major savings in
time, resources, and costs," Rockett said.
"In exacerbating the workloads of very
busy hospital staff, emergency patients
with unmet substance-abuse treatment need
add many millions of dollars to annual
healthcare costs. Our research findings
speak to the importance of identifying
them as substance abusers -- either for a
brief intervention or to refer them to
substance-abuse treatment as appropriate.
The emergency department visit itself can
represent a teachable moment for a
The study's findings are published
in the online edition of
Annals of Emergency
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
1 Choke Cherry Road
Rockville, MD 20857
Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA) today released data
showing that more than 4 million persons
aged 16-20 drove under the influence of
either alcohol or drugs in the past year,
according to 2002 and 2003 reports. This is
21 percent of U.S. youth in that age group.
When the two years of data are looked at
separately, driving under the influence was
reported by 22 percent of 16-20 year olds in
2002 and 20 percent in 2003.
SAMHSA extracted the data from two years of
the National Survey on Drug Use and Health,
2002 and 2003, to improve the reliability of
Among 16-20 year olds, 14 percent drove
under the influence of illicit drugs, 17
percent reported driving under the influence
of alcohol, and eight percent reported
driving after consuming a combination of
alcohol and illicit drugs. Only four percent
of persons 16-20 who reported driving under
the influence were arrested and booked for
driving under the influence in the year
preceding their survey.
"This is a major public health issue,"
SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie said. "As
we approach New Year's Eve celebrations,
adults have to be cognizant that more than
one in five youths are driving after using
illicit drugs or illegally consuming
alcohol, or both. Motor vehicle crashes are
the leading cause of death among young
Further, he said, "SAMHSA is actively
working to create prevention programs in
local communities. We need the support of
parents and other adults to both set a good
example and reinforce the message that when
youth drink and use illicit drugs they can
ruin the rest of their lives, and the lives
of family and friends. This can negatively
impact the entire community.
The SAMHSA data show approximately 25
percent of persons ages 16 to 20 who lived
in the Midwest reported driving under the
influence. This compares to approximately 20
percent who lived in the South and 19
percent of those who lived in the Northeast
or the West.
The prevalence of driving under the
influence was highest among persons who
lived outside of metropolitan statistical
areas (25 percent), followed by persons who
lived in small metropolitan statistical
areas (23 percent) and persons living in
large metropolitan statistical areas (19
The report is available on the web at
SAMHSA, a public health agency within the
U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, is the lead federal agency for
improving the quality and availability of
substance abuse prevention, addiction
treatment and mental health services in the
Study to test Ecstasy on terminal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The illegal club drug
Ecstasy can trigger euphoria among the dance
club set, but can it ease the debilitating
anxiety that cancer patients feel as they
face their final days?
The Food and Drug Administration has
approved a pilot study looking at whether
the recreational hallucinogen can help
terminally ill patients lessen their fears,
quell thoughts of suicide and make it easier
for them to deal with loved ones.
"End of life issues are very important and
are getting more and more attention, and yet
there are very few options for patients who
are facing death," Dr. John Halpern, the
Harvard research psychiatrist in charge of
the study, said Monday.
The small, four-month study is expected to
begin early next spring. It will test the
drug's effects on 12 cancer patients from
the Lahey Clinic Medical Center in the
Boston area. The research is being sponsored
by the Multidisciplinary Association for
Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit group that
plans to raise $250,000 to fund it.
MAPS, on its web site, touted the study's
approval, saying "the longest day of winter
has passed, and maybe so has the
decades-long era of resistance to
The FDA would not comment, but this will be
the second FDA-approved study using Ecstasy
this year. South Carolina researchers are
studying the effects of Ecstasy on 20
patients suffering from post traumatic
Ecstasy, known scientifically as MDMA for
methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a chemical
cousin of methamphetamine and typically
induces feelings of euphoria, increased
energy and sexual arousal. But it also
suppresses appetite, thirst and the need to
sleep, and in high doses can sharply
increase body temperature, leading to kidney
and heart failure, and death.
It peaked in 2001 as a trendy recreational
drug used by youth at gatherings called
"raves" and dance clubs.
Halpern, who has done other research on the
effects of hallucinogenic drugs, said that
some, when used properly, can have medical
benefits. He said that unlike LSD, Ecstasy
is "ego-friendly," and unlike some pain
medications it does not oversedate people
and make them foggy and unsteady.
Instead, he said, it can reduce stress and
increase empathy. There are anecdotal
reports, he said, of people dying of cancer
who take Ecstasy and they are able to talk
to their family and friends about death and
other subjects they couldn't broach before.
"I'm hoping that we can find something that
can be of use for people in their remaining
days of life," he said. If there are no
significant problems, he said broader
studies would follow this one.
In addition to FDA approval, the study has
also received review board authorization
from the Lahey Clinic and Harvard Medical
School's psychiatric facility, McLean
Hospital. Halpern is awaiting a license from
the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
It's been more than 40 years since Harvard
has been the site of psychedelic drug
research — including the infamous LSD
studies of Timothy Leary in 1963 and the
Good Friday Experiment in 1965, done by
Leary's student Walter Pahnke, studying the
effects of psilocybin mushrooms on religious
But "this is not about trying to create some
sensationalistic storm," Halpern said. "This
is about trying to help these patients in a
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 5213
Bethesda, MD 20892
New research supported by the National
Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National
Institutes of Health, shows that meeting
with an addiction peer counselor just once
at the time of a routine doctor visit with a
followup booster phone call can motivate
abusers of cocaine and heroin to reduce
their drug use.
The study, by husband and wife research team
Dr. Judith Bernstein and Dr. Edward
Bernstein and their colleagues at Boston
University Schools of Medicine and Public
Health, is published in the January 2005
and Alcohol Dependence".
"Brief interventions have proven effective
in initiating positive behavior changes in
people who are dependent on alcohol," notes
NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow.
"Preliminary assessments of this process in
drug abusers have been encouraging enough to
investigate it more thoroughly as a
therapeutic tool to enhance treatment."
The motivational interview used in this
study was designed to establish rapport with
the participant and covered such areas as
asking permission to discuss drugs,
exploring the pros and cons of drug use,
eliciting the gap between real and desired
quality of life, and assessing readiness to
change. This 20-minute intervention also
included development of an action plan.
The study was conducted among 1,175 men and
women who had tested positive for cocaine or
heroin abuse. Participants were randomly
assigned to an intervention group or a
control group. Intervention consisted of a
motivational interview with a substance
abuse outreach worker who also was a
recovering addict, referrals to active drug
abuse treatment programs, a written list of
treatment options, and a followup telephone
call 10 days later. Members of the control
group received only the written list.
Six months following enrollment, the
researchers found that among those who
abused cocaine, 22.3 percent of the
intervention group were abstinent from the
drug, compared with 16.9 percent of the
control group; among those who abused
heroin, 40.2 percent of the intervention
group were abstinent from the drug, compared
with 30.6 percent of the control group. As
for people who used both drugs, 17.4 percent
of the intervention group were drug free,
compared with 12.8 percent of the control
"This study not only shows that this type of
intervention provides true benefits in
reducing cocaine and heroin abuse, it also
suggests that peer interventionists can play
an important role in busy clinical
environments," says Dr. Volkow.
Editor's Note: Making screening a
routine part of every primary care and
emergency room visit is one of Join
Drug and Alcohol Policies That Will Save
Bernstein, J., et al. (2005) Brief
motivational intervention at a clinic visit
reduces cocaine and heroin use. Drug and
Alcohol Dependence, 77(1): 49-59.
ABC News Report
New Rave Drugs
Have Experts Concerned
Use of Synthetic
Hallucinogens Is on the Rise, But Health
Effects Are Unknown
The use of synthetic
hallucinogens is common at rave parties, but
even some users are concerned about
long-term health effects. (AP Graphics)
Dec. 30, 2004 - A new
class of drugs is getting increased
attention from police and partyers alike.
hallucinogens, which are growing in
popularity at nightclubs and rave parties,
are so new that many don't even have street
in small home-based laboratories, these
drugs have law enforcement and health
officials concerned because their long-term
health effects are virtually unknown.
Really Brilliant and Crisp'
The drugs reportedly
have effects similar to the popular rave
drug ecstasy: feelings of euphoria,
emotional empathy and colorful
hallucinations. The typical user is a young,
white, college-educated and Web-savvy person
who finds that these drugs complement the
dance music heard at nightclubs and raves.
"It's kind of mildly
hallucinogenic and visual," said Gregory, a
graphic designer from California who tried
one of these drugs for the first time last
year. "Colors were really brilliant and
crisp, and I became really relaxed."
hallucinogens are still referred to by a
confusing alphabet soup of names based on
their chemical compounds.
2C-B is considered one
of the most popular of these drugs. 2C-T-7
is often compared to LSD for its colorful
hallucinations. AMT was originally developed
in the 1960s for antidepressant research,
but was abandoned shortly thereafter.
5-MEO-DiPT, also referred to as "Foxy," is
sometimes used as a substitute for ecstasy.
"Because these drugs
are unstudied in the medical literature, we
don't know all of the side effects or all of
the dangers involved in the use of these
drugs," said Paula Berezansky, intelligence
analyst for the National Drug Intelligence
Center, a component agency of the U.S.
Department of Justice.
The illicit way in
which synthetic hallucinogens are sold
presents another problem. "A user may not
know what they're buying," Berezansky added.
"Something sold as one drug may be another."
hallucinogens fall into two general
categories, phenethylamines and tryptamines.
Both chemical compounds occur in nature and
are found in common plants and foods - small
amounts of phenethylamine are even found in
Nationwide, a handful
of overdoses and hospital admissions have
been attributed to synthetic hallucinogens.
But because many of these drugs are mixed
with other drugs or their actual chemical
nature is unknown even to the users,
accurate records are difficult to gather.
Effects Are Unknown
"We've actually had
patients come in with a condition called
monoamine oxidase toxicity from taking
combinations of drugs that include
tryptamines," said Dr. Edward Boyer,
director of toxicology at the University of
Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester.
"What concerns me ...
is that kids are turning to psychoactive
drugs at a younger age," Boyer added. "We
simply don't know what these tryptamines do
to a developing neurological system.
Tryptamines are powerful hallucinogens."
"People can't even
decide what the long-term effects of a
common drug like ecstasy are, let alone
something like 2C-B," said Boyer.
officials echo the concerns of the medical
"It's a young group of
people who are using this and half the time
they don't know what they're using - they're
going on what a friend says," said Lt.
Patrick J. Garey, a member of the Community
Narcotics Enforcement Team of the New York
"There's so much
poly-drug mixing of drugs that occurs, you
could be taking ecstasy mixed with a bunch
of other drugs," he said.
Surfing the Web
"One of the reasons
we've seen these drugs increase in use over
the last few years is the use of the
Internet," said Berezansky. "The abusers can
find out a lot about these drugs very
She refers to users by
the name law enforcement officials have
coined for those who surf the Web for drug
But drug users aren't
the only ones surfing the Internet for drug
When Garey was called
to participate in a recent seizure of a 2C-B
lab at a home in Tioga County in upstate New
York, he told ABCNews.com: "It kind of came
out of the blue. We'd never seen it before.
I'd never even heard of it. I had to go on
the Internet to find out what it was."
The DEA is also using
the Internet, but to snare the dealers who
profit from the sale of synthetic
hallucinogens. In July, the DEA announced
the conclusion of "Operation Web Tryp,"
named for the tryptamines that were part of
the operation's focus.
Operation Web Tryp
targeted five Web sites and resulted in the
arrest of 10 individuals from across the
But many of these
drugs are so new their legal status is a
matter of some confusion. 5-MEO-DiPT, for
example, was not even permanently placed on
the Federal Register as a Schedule I
controlled substance until September of this
Rod, a computer hardware
engineer in the San Francisco Bay area who
preferred to use an assumed name, has
experimented with the synthetic hallucinogen
"Initially, a friend
of mine at a rave told me about it when he
was tripping pretty hard on it," Rod said.
"Then I followed up on it by reading this
book by a guy named Shulgin."
Alexander Shulgin is
widely credited with fostering the
popularity of synthetic hallucinogens
through his 1990 book, "Pihkal: A Chemical
Love Story." (The name "Pihkal" is an
acronym for Phenethylamines I Have Known and
Rod describes his
experience as interesting but not especially
exciting. "It was just mildly hallucinogenic
- it made everything sharper and more vivid,
and there was a slight hallucinogenic
effect," he said. "It was all visual for
But when asked if he
would try the drug again, Rod said, "No,
Keith Stroup, who
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
in 1970, is stepping down at age 61, the
reported Jan. 4.
Stroup, who served as NORML's executive
director for 34 years, said he is retiring
to make way for younger leadership to take
over the organization.
"When I turned 60, I looked in the mirror
and I saw this gray-haired old man and I
said, 'I think we need younger leadership.'
It has to do with more energy, fresh
perspectives, new ideas. It's not like I'm
ready for the old folks' home. I just think
we need somebody younger running the
organization," said Stroup.
During his tenure at NORML, Stroup was
responsible for several successful
drug-policy-reform initiatives. For
instance, in 1975, Alaska, California,
Colorado, Maine and Ohio eliminated criminal
penalties for possession of small amounts of
marijuana. But most have since
recriminalized the drug.
Taking over for Stroup is Allen St. Pierre,
39, who has served as NORML's
second-in-command for the past decade.
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