At the end of the new you will find a letter from the Drug Czar, John Walters. It is inviting you to attend one of the ONDCP Student Drug Testing Regional Summits. The goal of the four summits is to inform community leaders and local school officials about student drug testing and promote discussion of this issue at the local level. Attendees will learn about current programs, research, technology, and legal issues related to student drug testing. The Department of Education grant program supporting student drug testing efforts will also be discussed.
Sharon Smith -MOMSTELL
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17055
While the federal government continues to insist that marijuana is not a medicine, the medical marijuana movement has been pushing back – scoring a recent string of legal victories that will make 2004 a pivotal year for patients and their caregivers.
The latest blow against the federal drug warriors came last week when medical cannabis patient Angel McClary Raich received word that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected the government’s petition for a review of its ruling protecting medical cannabis patients. A three-judge panel of the appellate court decided last December in Raich v. Ashcroft that the arrest and prosecution of medical cannabis patients is unconstitutional as long as they obtain their marijuana without purchasing it or crossing state lines – and if they use the plant medicinally in compliance with state law.
The UN drugs watchdog has warned that food shortages in Africa are becoming more serious because of a shift from growing crops to cultivating cannabis.
In its annual report, the International Narcotics Control Board says the main producers of the drug are southern countries like South Africa and Malawi.
But, it says, farmers in east Africa and Sudan have also switched.
The report says profits from cannabis and other illegal drugs have been used to finance some of Africa’s conflicts.
HEROIN SHIPPERS TARGET TAJIKISTAN: BBC NEWS The United Nations annual report on the illegal drug trade has recorded a huge rise in the heroin trade through Central Asia, especially Tajikistan.
Guards along the river that divides Tajikistan from Afghanistan picked up nearly six tonnes of heroin in 2003, 1,000 times more than in 1996, when the first seizures were made.
This means that almost all the heroin crossing Central Asia is coming through here in boats, by car and on pack animals – and the amount confiscated is probably just a small fraction of the real trade
The heroin, the UN notes, is also much purer than in recent years, suggesting a more sophisticated and established refining process going on the borderlands on the Afghan side.
Europe remains the world’s biggest user of party drugs, according to a United Nations drugs monitoring agency.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) also warned governments there about the growing problem of smuggling of ‘precursors’, legal chemical compounds that are used to make illegal synthetic drugs such as MDMA (better known as ecstasy), especially from China.
‘The Netherlands continues to be the source of the vast majority of MDMA seized worldwide,’ the INCB said in its annual report released yesterday.
But it noted that the production of synthetic drugs was rising fast in Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic states and Romania, where the authorities recently dismantled numerous drug factories.
Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch said studies have shown that meth has the lowest addiction-recovery rate of any drug. His office routinely prosecutes rural Minnesota meth cases. Only 4 percent of addicts successfully quit meth, he said.
. It is easy to get hooked and, when you do, it is extraordinarily hard to get off of it.”
In 1996, 1.8 percent, or 711 people, in state-supported substance abuse treatment programs were there primarily for meth, the Minnesota Department of Human Services reported. By 2002, that number had grown to 7.8 percent, or 3,530 people, enough to fill a small town. Meth treatment patients surpassed those entering programs for crack, 7.1 percent, or 3,225 people, for the first time in 2002.
Meth use is very hard to control, said professor Mark Kleiman, who studies drug law enforcement and distribution at the University of California-Los Angeles Department of Public Policy. Casual weekend users are either going to stop altogether or get hooked, he said. He estimates meth’s rate of addiction to be between 15 percent and 30 percent of people who try it.
Sharon Oates, director of the Duluth Detoxification Center, said because meth alters the user’s chemical makeup, that makes it one of the toughest — if not the toughest — drugs to kick. The user’s sense of pleasure gets out of whack, and the euphoria is so great that other feelings tend to pale in comparison. It becomes everything to the user, Oates said.
Heroin is overtaking cocaine as the drug of choice among America’s youth. Though the drug’s typical user is still the thirty-something, urban white male, its popularity is growing among those aged 18-30, especially among young, white suburbanites.
Falling prices (herion can now be bought for as little as $4 for 0.1 gram bag, enough for a decent fix for a first-time user), coupled with improved processing technology, savvier trafficking tactics, and better marketing have meant that a younger generation of Americans than ever is snorting and injecting some of the purest heroin ever available.
A 2002 government study of 17 major areas across the United States found that heroin has surpassed crack “as the drug associated with the most serious consequences—that is, medically, legally, societally, or otherwise” and is considered to be “the most widely used illicit drug” in five of the sites. Purer heroin is more popular because it can be snorted instead of injected – attracting many first-time users who don’t like the idea of shooting up. But high purity also means users get hooked more quickly, steadily upping doses to maintain their high and avoid withdrawal symptoms.
The impact of heroin, whose users number between 750,000 and 1,000,000 in the United States is being compared to the country’s crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. While overdosing is a problem, most of heroin-related deaths come from hepatitis B and C, and HIV — from dirty needles.
The Bush administration unveiled an expanded crackdown yesterday on what it called the growing menace of prescription drug abuse, which it said now touches and harms more than 6 million Americans yearly.
Top administration officials said the initiative would increase state monitoring programs that detect suspicious prescriptions and patients suspected of doctor shopping and would try to teach doctors how to detect potential abusers of prescription drugs.
It will also take on the burgeoning use of the Internet to purchase controlled drugs. Karen Tandy, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a news conference that thousands of Web sites pop up regularly offering narcotic medications, often without a prescription or a visit to a doctor. She said it has been difficult to police them because they close as soon as they are identified and reopen under a different name.
(The President’s National Drug Control Strategy (2004) can be found at
Capping a 17-year effort by a small but committed group of activists, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has agreed to let a South Carolina physician treat 12 trauma victims with the illegal street drug ecstasy in what will be the first U.S.-approved study of the recreational drug’s therapeutic potential.
The DEA’s move marks a historic turn for a drug that has long been both venerated and vilified.
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is popular among casual drug users for its reputed capacity to engender feelings of love, trust and compassion. The government classifies it with LSD and heroin as a drug with no known medical use and high potential for abuse.
Although the study’s approval is by no means a federal endorsement of uncontrolled use, it will give ecstasy’s proponents their first legitimate opportunity to prove the drug can offer medical benefits.
Wide-ranging measures aimed at tackling the state’s crystal methamphetamine epidemic advanced out of both houses of the Legislature yesterday, signaling a strong likelihood that anti-ice legislation will be approved in this year’s session.
Some Republicans objected to the proposals put forth by Democratic lawmakers, arguing that they do not go far enough in helping enforcement officials fight the ice problem. Others decried a part of the package that would require employers with 15 or more workers to provide one hour of substance-abuse training annually for their employees.
An election-year fight over prescribing marijuana for medicinal purposes is brewing at the Statehouse, pitting the White House against AIDS and cancer activists.
Today could represent the first test of state legislation sponsored by Rep. Larry McKeon (D-Chicago) to allow anyone diagnosed with a debilitating illness to possess six marijuana plants and an ounce of usable marijuana without fear of prosecution.
Under the legislation, users would have to be enrolled with the state Department of Human Services, which would issue registry cards.
OPED: MEDICAL MARIJUANA MOVEMENT STILL STONEWALLED BY ENEMIES: BALTIMORE SUN By Steve Chapman
Modern cancer treatments have saved countless lives, but they can be a cruelly mixed blessing. Chemotherapy, often indispensable in curing cancer, sometimes is enough to make you ill, causing violent nausea and vomiting.
Luckily, there is a well-established and safe remedy recommended by many cancer physicians that sometimes provides relief when nothing else can. Not so luckily, the remedy is marijuana. Under federal law, cannabis is forbidden — even for therapeutic use by seriously ill people who have no more interest in getting high than they do in bungee jumping. The Bush administration, in its generosity, is willing to let these patients have any medicine except the one they need.
In the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards often sound nearly indistinguishable on the issues. But when it comes to medical marijuana, there is plenty of space between them. Mr. Edwards sounds like President Bush, while Mr. Kerry has suggested that the established federal policy has been a mistake.
An Arapahoe County jury awarded $3 million in damages Monday to the families of two teenagers killed in a 2001 car wreck after the 18-year-old driver bought a keg of beer.
But the Sheridan liquor store owner will pay much less than that because of a state law limiting liquor-store liability. Each family can expect to recover $219,750 plus interest – the maximum under a 1986 state law.
Federal law-enforcement officials say Canadian citizens arrested in this area for smuggling drugs have begun skipping out on their bail at an alarming rate — a situation that has led prosecutors to argue that Canadian defendants be locked up until they’re tried.
In December, U.S. Pretrial Services for the first time counted failure-to-appear cases for Canadian citizens facing trial in U.S. District Court for Western Washington. According to that agency, nearly one in four Canadian defendants didn’t show up for a court hearing between June and December 2003. Generally, only 1 to 2 percent of criminal defendants fail to appear, according to prosecutors.
Some lawmakers would rather juggle nitroglycerin than debate an issue as volatile as the medical use of marijuana. But a consensus seems to be slowly developing that marijuana should be treated like a prescription sedative: dangerous but still useful to the seriously ill.
The medicinal marijuana debate has moved out of the shadows and into the mainstream of American politics in recent years. Since California voters in 1996 removed criminal penalties for qualifying patients who use marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation, seven other states have passed similar laws. Some 30 states have laws on their books that recognize in some way the medicinal value of marijuana, disputing the Office of Drug Control Policy, the nation’s “drug czar,” which has opposed such recognition.
The result, as the issue makes its way through the laboratory of the states, has been an oddly unsettled legal balancing act.
If they take power, the Haitian rebels closing in on this capital city are promising a new and more democratic era in this historically troubled and violent country.
But experts and diplomats say several of the top rebel leaders are former military and police officials who are suspected of major human-rights violations while in power and who allegedly have financed their insurgency with past profits from the illegal drug trade.
That puts the would-be leaders on similar footing with the government of embattled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who U.S. officials and others say has allowed Haiti to become one of the region’s most significant transit points for Colombian cocaine on its way to the United States.
In suburban mansions and in the Mark Twain National Forest, in cornfields and in cheap motels, Missouri detectives are busting an average of eight makeshift drug labs a day, all of them set up to manufacture the inexpensive, extremely addictive powder known as meth.
In 2003, for the third year in a row, Missouri led the nation in the number of seizures of ingredients, equipment and hazardous waste related to the production of methamphetamine, the state reported Friday.
Missouri recorded 2,857 raids of meth-related sites. By contrast, Iowa and California — the states with the next-highest totals — each recorded about 1,240 busts last year, according to a report by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Most of Missouri’s meth labs are small operations, cooking the drug for personal use, not wide distribution. Authorities say the number of seizures in the state is a testament to aggressive detective work. But it’s also indicative of how ferociously methamphetamine has gripped rural America.
Thousands of troubled Colorado youths will end up on the streets without supervision under a proposed $6 million cut in the state’s $8.9 million juvenile justice program, judicial officials say.
The deep reduction would result in few or no services for the 2,868 juveniles currently monitored and assisted through community-based programs across the state, said various judicial officials who are protesting the cuts.
Those youths include ones awaiting trial for violent crimes, substance abusers, gang members, probation violators and sex offenders.
The proposed budget cut follows previous spending reductions on juvenile services as well as caps on how many youth offenders can be placed with the state.
“The impact of this will be huge,” said Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, president of the Colorado District Attorneys Council.
(Mr. Ritter is a Vice President of NDAA)
ANNOUNCEMENT: Invitation to attend ONDCP Student Drug Testing Regional Summits
A. Following is a letter I have been asked to forward to our networks and, in turn, ask you to forward to yours. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will be holding educational summits on non-punitive student drug testing in four cities in March and April. There is no charge for the meetings.
It is important that we fill the rooms. Note register below.
If possible, bring an educator, counsellor or other parents. This is a real chance to get the word out.
B. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment and send a letter to President Bush thanking him for setting aside the $23,000,000 to assist schools with non-punitive student drug testing. Address to:
George W. Bush
President of the Unites States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D. C. 20500
Dear Mr. President: FAX it to: Attention: Ms. Darie Davis
Letter of Invitation:
Date: February 20, 2004
Dear Sir or Madam:
In his State of the Union address, the President proposed an increase of $23 million in funding for student drug testing programs. Research and experience have identified student drug testing as an effective drug use prevention and intervention tool. At the Office of National Drug Control Policy, we have developed a strategy aimed at promoting this important resource.
I am please to invite you to attend one of the ONDCP Student Drug Testing Regional Summits. The goal of the four summits is to inform community leaders and local school officials about student drug testing and promote discussion of this issue at the local level. Attendees will learn about current programs, research, technology, and legal issues related to student drug testing. The Department of Education grant program supporting student drug testing efforts will also be discussed.
The following dates and locations of the meetings are as follows:
To confirm you attendance and obtain additional information, please visit http://www.cmpinc.net/dta.
I hope that you will join ONDCP at the Regional Summit nearest to you. Student drug testing is an important tool in reducing youth drug use. The progress we make at these summits can play a vital role in reducing drug use in our nation.
John P. Walters
Category: Drug News