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Drug & Alcohol Headline Week in Review from MOMSTELL.COM

NOVEMBER 13, 2004 Edition

 

 
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    CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
     
    CAN POLICE DOGS BE USED AT ROUTINE STOPS?
    Drug dealers beware!
     
    If you are planning to transport narcotics in your car, don't speed, don't change lanes without signaling, don't drive with a broken tail light, and don't even think about spitting that gum out the window.
     
    Because if a police officer pulls you over, there is an increasing possibility that as you are being written up for that minor traffic infraction, another police officer with a drug-sniffing dog will show up and your $50 ticket could suddenly become 12 years in prison on a drug-trafficking conviction.
     
    With an increasing number of police departments nationwide deploying narcotics-detecting dogs as an adjunct to traffic enforcement, many civil libertarians are complaining that Fourth Amendment privacy protections are, quite literally, going to the dogs.
     
    Today, the issue arrives at the US Supreme Court where the justices must decide whether the use of a drug-detecting dog in conjunction with a minor traffic stop amounts to an unreasonable search or seizure.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1110/p02s01-usju.htm 
     
    MIAMI HERALD
     
    RULING ON MIAMI HAITIAN'S DUI MAY HALT AUTOMATIC DEPORTATIONS
    The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday that a Miami man was wrongly deported to Haiti after serving two years in prison for drunken driving -- an opinion that could have far-reaching impact on hundreds of similar DUI cases involving immigrants.
     
    The court found in favor of Josue Leocal, a husband and father of four who lived in the United States legally for 20 years.
     
    He had never been in trouble with the law before the 2000 accident, in which two people were injured. Immigration officials deported him in November 2002, but Tuesday's ruling may allow Leocal, 48, to return to Florida, where his family lives.
     
    Crimes such as DUI triggered mandatory deportations in 1996, after Congress instituted a slate of immigration reforms during the Clinton administration. The Bush administration adopted those policies, despite lower-court rulings that disagreed with them.
     
    Under the law, crimes that fall into one of at least 20 categories that result in a conviction and sentence of more than one year are deemed ''aggravated felonies'' and trigger deportation proceedings. In addition to ''crimes of violence,'' other categories include ''crimes of moral turpitude,'' which could include convictions for shoplifting or writing a bad check.
    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/10141324.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
     
    CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
     
    FACE OF METH: FORMER ABUSER WARNS OTHER
    Her drug-ravaged face stares out from billboards worldwide.
     
    Enormous weight loss shows a boney, sunken face with ghost-like features.
    Ratty hair, rotten teeth and a vacant expression spell out a dire warning.
     
    Downstate grandmother Penny Wood said she often regrets allowing authorities to publicize her mugshot -- even though her permission spared her a lengthy stay in prison.
     
    But she regrets discovering methamphetamine even more.
     
    Wood, 42, was caught making methamphetamine at her home in central Illinois. To dodge 30 years in jail, she agreed to an unusual plea bargain.
     
    She said two of her mugshots could be shown to the public. The first from 1998 shows her as a healthy looking 36-year-old. Her 2002 shot tells a different story, showing the horrifying effects of the drug on the central nervous system.
     
    This week, police in London made her their poster child.
     
    At her home in Pekin, about 170 miles southwest of Chicago, Penny sat down to tell her story to the Sun-Times.
     
    First she showed a framed photograph of herself aged 31 with her first grandchild, Dustin. Her carefully applied makeup disguises the hard life she was living.
    http://www.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/print.cgi

     
    NEW YORK TIMES
     
    JUSTICES RULE DRUNKEN DRIVING CANNOT MEAN AUTOMATIC DEPORTATION OF IMMIGRANTS
    The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that driving under the influence of alcohol, even when serious bodily injury results, is not a "crime of violence" for which an immigrant can be subject to automatic deportation.
     
    The unanimous opinion, written by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, rejected an interpretation of the law advanced by both the Bush and the Clinton administrations. The decision opened the door for a Haitian immigrant who was deported under that interpretation two years ago to return to his family in Miami.
     
    The immigrant, Josue Leocal, was a lawful permanent resident who had lived in the United States for 20 years when he was deported for having committed an "aggravated felony" - driving while drunk, running a red light and injuring two people. He pleaded guilty to violating Florida's drunken-driving law and served two years in prison.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/10/politics/10scotus.html?pagewanted=all 
     
    BALTIMORE SUN
     
    DRUG RINGS TARGETED BY KARZAI
    KABUL, Afghanistan - Hamid Karzai pledged yesterday to use his five-year term as Afghanistan's first elected president to crack down on warlords and the re-emerging country's booming drug economy.
     
    Accepting his victory in the historic Oct. 9 ballot, he also offered an olive branch to the Taliban, even as an offshoot of the former ruling militia threatened to kill three kidnapped U.N. workers who helped organize the vote.
     
    "The Afghan people have placed their trust in us, for which we are very grateful," Karzai said in the grounds of his bomb-damaged Kabul palace, flanked by his two smiling running-mates and circled by bodyguards. "They voted for a government based on laws and institutions, and that is what we are going to provide."
     
    Karzai has said that smashing Afghanistan's opium and heroin smugglers will be his top priority, and the key to reining in warlords resisting the feeble authority of the central government.
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.afghan05nov05,1,791393,print.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines 
     
    BOSTON GLOBE 
    POLICE THWART OXYCONTIN DRUG RING
    Authorities said yesterday they have rounded up nearly 20 suspects who are part of a multistate OxyContin drug ring that involved mobsters, violent street gang members, pharmacists, and college students working together to feed the South Shore's appetite for the potent, addictive drug.
     
    At its height, the alleged drug ring, based in New Jersey, generated $160,000 a week from the illegal sale of thousands of pills, mostly in the stretch from Boston to Brockton, authorities said. The painkiller was designed for use by terminal cancer patients, but has become a popular street drug, which can cost as much as $80 per pill.
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/11/12/police_thwart_oxycontin_drug_ring?mode=PF
     
    NEWARK STAR LEDGER  
    LAWMEN SMASH UNLIKELY DRUG ALLIANCE
    Investigators cracked a New Jersey-based prescription drug ring in which mobsters worked with pharmacists and street gangs to supply pain killers to Massachusetts college students, authorities said yesterday.
     
    Dubbed "Operation Dr. Feelgood," the investigation netted 17 suspects in New Jersey, Arizona and Massachusetts, including two pharmacists, two members of the Bloods and members of the Lucchese and Bonanno crime families, authorities said.
     
    Through the elaborate network, Newark pharmacists passed mass quantities of the powerful painkiller OxyContin to an East Orange woman, authorities said. She then allegedly channeled the widely abused sedatives to dealers through the Lucchese crime family to gang members. Most pills, authorities said, wound up on Boston-area college campuses.
    http://www.nj.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/news-7/1100238703319790.xml 
      
     
         Parental Involvement Directly Influences Underage Drinking
          Parents who supply alcohol for underage teen parties are more likely
          to be raising binge drinkers, according to a recent report from Wake Forest
          University Baptist Medical Center. Conducted as part of the National
          Evaluation of the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program, the study
          involved over 6,000 teens and young adults in 242 communities. Results
           appear in the current issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
     
          Read the full story at:
          http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-09/wfub-pic093004.php 
    WHITE HOUSE DRUG CZAR:
    FAILURE OF ALASKA'S MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION BALLOT INITIATIVE IS RESOUNDING PUBLIC HEALTH VICTORY

    (WASHINGTON, D.C.)Commenting on the failure of the marijuana legalization initiative in Alaska, John P. Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy, made the following statement:

    "The continued failure of the drug legalization movement this year sends a strong message that Americans are not willing to allow a small group of politically active billionaires to undermine the progress our Nation has made in driving youth drug use down by 11 percent over the last two years.

    "Undeterred by their losses in Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio during the 2002 election cycle, the drug legalization advocates spent millions of dollars on their 2004 efforts, financing an expensive campaign that targeted Alaska. But once again, voters refused to allow the megaphone of big bucks to silence the voice of common sense.

    "This public health victory reaffirms the simple, inescapable fact that no family, no community, no state is better off with more drug use. Although there are some who are indifferent to the harms that drug use brings, their repeated attempts to make marijuana more available are no match for the truth.

    "The people of Alaska, as well as citizens throughout the Nation, can rest assured that we will continue to support their efforts to ensure that their children are healthy and that their communities are safe. We remain steadfast partners committed to building upon our shared success in reducing drug use in America."


     

    MSNBC NEWS
    Western states back medical marijuana with Montana's vote, 11 have approved laws nationwide
     
    Updated: 4:45 p.m. ET Nov. 4, 2004

    With Montana’s approval of a medical marijuana initiative, nearly three-fourths of Western states now have such laws — while only two of the 37 states outside the West have adopted them.

    A cancer patient holds a roll of MEDI-JUANAWhy is the West so much more receptive to the idea?

    From a procedural standpoint, it’s just easier to get pot issues on Western ballotbecause most states in the region allow such initiatives. Nationwide, just 24 states allow citizens to put issues on the ballot by petition, bypassing the Legislature. Eleven of those states are in the West.

    But activists and political scientists also say Westerners are less willing than other Americans to tell their neighbors what they can and can’t do. And historically, Western states tend to be in front on social trends.

    “I would guess many of the people that voted for it probably don’t use marijuana, but they don’t want to say their neighbors can’t,” said Steven Stehr, political science professor at Washington State University.

    “Westerners have a stronger belief in kind of individualism in the old-fashioned frontier sense,” said Sven Steinmo, a University of Colorado political scientist and board member for the Center of the American West.

    The population also is newer than the rest of the country and states don’t have deeply ingrained traditions, said David Olson, political scientist at the University of Washington.

    “Our politics in the West are much less constrained ... and it gives opportunities for initiatives like the death with dignity issue in Oregon or medicinal marijuana. You name it,” Olson said.

    Oregon rejects ambitious program
    Montana has become the 11th state in the country — and the ninth Western state — to allow medical marijuana. The approval came even as Montana voted by wide margins to ban gay marriage and to re-elect President Bush, a Republican.

    “We always say in Montana we’re extraordinarily independent, so we’ll vote for contradictory things,” said Jerry Calvert, political science professor at Montana State University in Bozeman.

    The Montana initiative passed 62 percent to 38 percent, support that marijuana reform groups say was the highest ever for a medical marijuana ballot initiative.

    Oregon voters rejected a measure that would have dramatically expanded its existing medical marijuana program. That may have been too ambitious even for the West, said Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project.

    Alaska, which also has an existing medical marijuana law, rejected a measure to decriminalize the drug, though marijuana groups were impressed that 43 percent of voters there supported it.

    Outside the region, voters in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Columbia, Mo., approved local medical marijuana measures.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that states are free to adopt medical marijuana laws so long as the marijuana is not sold, transported across state lines or used for nonmedicinal purposes. The ruling covers only those Western states in the circuit. The Bush administration has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Besides the favorable initiative process in the West, the region is also usually the start of progressive political movements that work their way East, said Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

    In addition to Montana, Western states that allow medical marijuana are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state. Arizona has a law permitting marijuana prescriptions, but no active program.

    Maine and Vermont are the only states outside the West with existing medical marijuana laws.

    For now, medical marijuana has not only found acceptance in the West, but the region may set the tone for proposals across the country.

    “As medical marijuana becomes more regulated and institutionalized in the West, that may provide a model for how we ultimately make marijuana legal for all adults,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

    OVER TWO THIRDS OF LOCAL ARRESTEES TEST POSITIVE FOR DRUGS

    SANDAG's Criminal Justice Research Division has released its latest report on drug use among local arrestees as part of an on-going series of public bulletins. The data, collected through a SANDAG administered program called “ADAM” (Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring), provides law enforcement agencies, treatment centers, and prevention programs with an in-depth look at drug prevalence and choice among male and female arrestees.

    In 2003, 67 percent of male arrestees and 69 percent of female arrestees interviewed tested positive for at least one of the following drugs: marijuana, cocaine, opiates/heroin, PCP, or methamphetamine. Individuals who reported having a prior arrest were more likely to test positive for at least one drug. The data collected also revealed interesting trends related to the use of each of the five drugs among the county’s adult arrestees.

    Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used illicit substance in the U.S. In 2003, about three-quarters (77% of males and 73% of females) of San Diego arrestees reported trying the drug at some point in time, and 45 and 39 percent, respectively, reported using it within the past 30 days. In addition, 39 percent of males and 29 percent of females tested positive for marijuana at the time of their arrest. Marijuana was the only illegal drug for which males were more likely to test positive.

    Over half of both male and female arrestees (53% of males and 60% of females) reported ever having tried methamphetamine, and 32 and 38 percent, respectively, reported using it within the past 30 days. Thirty-eight percent of males and 47 percent of females tested positive for methamphetamine, a drug which has typically been used more extensively in the western portions of the country. Compared to data obtained from other ADAM sites, San Diego had the fifth highest positive rate for males and the second highest positive rate for females in 2003.

    Cocaine use was less prevalent than methamphetamine, but still showed high usage among arrestees. More than one-third (39% of males and 36% of females) reported ever trying cocaine, and only four percent noted using it within the past 30 days. In contrast, females were significantly more likely to report ever using crack (36%), compared to males (28%). In 2003, 10 percent of males and 15 percent of females tested positive for cocaine/crack.

    Less than one in five arrestees interviewed in 2003 (17% of males and 16% of females) reported ever trying heroin.

    In addition, data revealed that ethnicity and age factors were linked to drug use patterns. White non-Hispanics were significantly more likely to test positive for methamphetamine, and those who identified as Black were significantly more likely to test positive for marijuana and/or cocaine. Hispanics were significantly least likely to test positive for any of the five drugs listed. Finally, individuals age 18 to 24 were significantly more likely to test positive for marijuana, those age 25 to 39 were more likely to test positive for methamphetamine, and those age 40 and older had a greater likelihood of testing positive for cocaine.

    As part of the continuing project, arrestees are interviewed by non-custodial research staff (hired specifically for this project) within 48 hours of their arrest and booking into jail. If the arrestee is available and interested in participating, he/she is asked a number of questions related to his/her drug use history and is also asked to provide a urine sample for drug testing, both of which are kept confidential and anonymous. A total of 1,194 adults were approached last year and 86 percent agreed to an interview. Of the 1,030 interviewed, 993 (704 male and 289 female) provided a urine sample.

    The Canadian Press (CP)
    October 27, 2004 Wednesday

    Needle exchange needed in prisons to combat spread of disease, groups say

    BY GREG BONNELL

    TORONTO (CP) _ The alarming prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C infection among inmates is a health issue that affects all Canadians and requires the country's prisons to immediately adopt needle exchange programs, advocacy groups said Wednesday.

    "These are transmissible diseases which are being spread within the prison and have the potential to spread when people come out of the prison,'' said Dr. Peter Ford of the Ontario Medical Association.

    "There's a multiplication effect here. This is a public health issue.''

    Programs to prevent the spread of disease in federal and provincial institutions aren't working, and the absence of exchange programs only leads to inmates sharing dirty, infected needles, the association said.

    Almost one in 50 federal inmates has HIV/AIDS _ a rate 10 times higher than the general population. The numbers for hepatitis C were even worse, with almost one-quarter of prisoners testing positive.

    "We are dealing with levels of illness and infection which are really quite startling,'' said Ford.

    Compounding the problem is that once prisoners are released, many return to the community "unaware that they're infected with the potential to spread the infection.''

    The call for needle exchange programs was welcomed Wednesday by the Canadian HIV-AIDS Legal Network.

    "Issues related to prisoners and prison health are not winners in terms of public opinion, and they rarely get on the agenda,'' said spokesman Glenn Betteridge.

    "We're asking politicians to put this on the agenda to protect communities, the health of prisoners, and the people who work in prisons.''

    While the legal network called upon federal, provincial and territorial governments to establish pilot programs in their correctional centres within 18 months, the OMA had a more immediate date in mind.

    "They need to be started right now so the institutions can learn how to do this and protect everyone,'' said Dr. Ted Boadway, executive director of health policy.

    "We are way behind; it's time we did it,'' said Boadway in reference to several countries, including Switzerland and Iran, that already have such programs.

    In Ontario, Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter said he would look into the effectiveness of needle exchanges.

    "We're aware that it's an issue and we want to talk to the stakeholders, the people in corrections, we want to talk to the medical profession to see how we can address it,'' said Kwinter.

    "I want to find out what the ramifications of (needle exchange programs) are. So we're certainly going to look at that, and do whatever we have to do to minimize the risk.''

    Federal Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan acknowledged the issue warrants study.

    "I think we have to deal in a world of realism in terms of our penitentiaries and prisons, and obviously there is a challenge to control infections of whatever kind,'' she said from Ottawa.

    "There's no point in sticking one's head in the sand .''

    While government-funded needle exchange programs have existed for the public since the late 1980s, they're not available to inmates.

    "In the community they can always get clean needles,'' said Boadway. "But when they go into prison they can't, so their risk goes up.''

    Risk is precisely why the union that represents some 6,000 jail guards in Ontario wants needles kept out of correctional facilities.

    "Needles can be used as weapons,'' said Don Ford of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. "Weapons and illegal narcotics are contraband inside our maximum-security facilities, so we cannot condone them coming in.''

    Ford also said there's a lack of compelling evidence on whether prisoners are contracting diseases through intravenous drug use while in Ontario jails.

    "That's the numbers we'd like to see,'' said Ford. "How many are actually contracting the disease once they're incarcerated?''

    The weapons argument did not sit well with Betteridge, who said in the six countries his organization has studied, there has not been one case of a needle from an exchange program being used as a weapon.

    "Prisoners will value these programs,'' he said. "They'll understand that they're for their health.''

    As for keeping drugs out of prisons, Betteridge said that's unlikely.

    "Drugs enter into prisons for the same reason they enter into countries,'' he said. "There's money to be made selling drugs.''

     

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