This Just In
(1)Revised Crime Bill To Go Easier On Pot Growers
(2)Bernie Ellis's Seven-Year Nightmare With The Law Is Over
(3)U.S. Drug War Aid Slow In Coming
(4)Killing Is A Blow To Witness Program

Hot Off The 'Net
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-America Is To Blame For Mexico's Drug War
-Drug Truth Network
-Canadian Reformers Critique Proposed Mandatory Minimums
-Altered States: Reflecting On State Medical Marijuana Laws

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 4 Dec 2009
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest News Service

For the second time this fall, a committee of the Liberal-dominated Senate has amended a Conservative law-and-order bill, eliminating an element that would automatically send marijuana growers to jail for at least six months if they're caught with as few as five plants.

The committee altered the controversial bill yesterday to retain a judge's discretion when sentencing offenders convicted of growing fewer than 200 plants, putting the upper chamber on a collision course with Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

Automatic terms for a variety of other drug-related crimes -- for the first time in Canada -- were kept intact.

Nicholson, however, seized on the committee's move to highlight divisions between the Liberals in the Senate and the House of Commons.

The bill sailed through the Commons earlier this year after the Liberals teamed up with the Conservatives, despite grumbling in Grit ranks that they were being told to support a bad bill so they wouldn't be accused of being soft on crime.




Pubdate: Thu, 03 Dec 2009
Source: Nashville Scene (TN)
Copyright: 2009 Nashville Scene
Author: Jim Ridley

By the time you read this, Bernie Ellis will be home on the farm he's had for nearly four decades in the Fly community 12 miles south of Leipers Fork. There'll just be less of it. His farm will be 25 acres smaller, but Ellis is willing to live with that-considering the federal government almost took it all, and meant to throw him in prison to boot. Last month, Ellis, a respected public-health epidemiologist with a 35-year career, signed civil asset forfeiture papers handing 25 acres of farmland over to the U.S. government. The agreement ends a nightmare that began seven years ago when he was raided for growing marijuana-a small amount he used only for medicinal purposes, and to ease the suffering of the terminally ill.

The agreement wasn't made lightly, Ellis says. In recent weeks, the avuncular 60-year-old with the stocky outdoorsman's build has avoided walking the ridgetop he knew he would lose. He didn't want to see the pasture and surrounding woodland that would belong to Uncle Sam, or the artesian spring that feeds them.

"I'm not walking around it," Ellis says, "because if there's any vestige of pain or regret to this whole enterprise, it'll be affixed to that land."

But in prosecuting Ellis-or persecuting him, as his many supporters claim-the government may have given a face to what medical-marijuana and cannabis-reform activists argue is the fundamental injustice of the drug war. In 2002, drug agents in helicopters and on four-wheelers stormed Ellis' property looking for marijuana plants. To this day, he believes they were tipped off by a local dealer/informant fuming because Ellis wouldn't sell to him.

A tactical field report indicated finding 537 plants, though for reasons Ellis doesn't understand this was amended a month later to 300. (The actual number of usable adult plants, he maintains, was closer to a couple dozen.) Nor does he understand why some of his plants were left standing-plants he documented in photographs, with a neighbor as witness-only for them to disappear a few days later, after a visit by marauders who cut his fence.




Pubdate: Fri, 4 Dec 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

Mexico Under Siege

Only a Small Amount Has Been Delivered. A Report Blames Red Tape.

Security help for Mexico promised under the so-called Merida Initiative, including helicopters and scanners for contraband detection, has been held up by red tape, a U.S. agency says.

By Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

A small fraction of U.S. aid for Mexico's drug war under the so-called Merida Initiative has been delivered because of red tape and the time needed to order helicopters and other equipment, a U.S. government report concluded Thursday.

An examination by the Government Accountability Office said that just $26 million had been spent by the end of September, or 2% of the nearly $1.3 billion in security aid that had been appropriated for Mexico under the multiyear program.

The GAO, Congress' investigative arm, said delays also stemmed from congressional restrictions and the need to ready Mexican and U.S. agencies for a big jump in the flow of bilateral assistance.

Because of the delays, "few programs have been delivered and limited funding has been expended to date," the report said.




Pubdate: Thu, 3 Dec 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City

Mexico Under Siege

The Slaying in a Coffee Shop of a Former Police Officer Marks the Second Recent Death of a Top-Level Informant.

It's risky being a so-called protected witness, especially when the targets of the criminal investigations are members of powerful Mexican drug cartels and dirty cops.

The government's witness protection program faced new questions Wednesday after the fatal shooting in a Starbucks of a former federal police commander who turned informant after his arrest last year for suspected drug ties.

Edgar Enrique Bayardo reportedly had been providing Mexican authorities with information on traffickers based in the northwestern state of Sinaloa before he died Tuesday in a hail of gunfire here in the capital.

Federal officials confirmed that Bayardo was a "collaborating witness," but declined to provide more details. Mexico City authorities said Bayardo was hit by at least six bullets when a pair of attackers burst into the Starbucks in a well-to-do neighborhood called Del Valle.





Some ironies in the world of drug policy this week. A few people in Georgia are excited about an advertising campaign that allegedly scares kids away from meth. One tactic includes suggesting that meth use will hinder the ability of the user to enter casual sexual relationships.

Elsewhere, an addiction specialist gets on the right side of the medical marijuana issue; a city council doesn't seem to want more drug testing; and the former deputy drug czar says she gets info from NORML and MPP websites, which incidentally, feature newsfeeds from MAP/DrugSense. You're welcome, former deputy drug czar!


Pubdate: Sun, 29 Nov 2009
Source: Rome News-Tribune (GA)
Copyright: 2009 Rome News-Tribune
Author: Charles Oliver

The teen's eyes stare at you from the photograph -- bloodshot and vacant over lips that are scabbed and peeling.

"Actually, doing meth won't make it easier to hook up," reads the caption.

That image and many others like it are part of a controversial advertising campaign aimed at deterring methamphetamine use among teenagers. First launched in Montana four years ago by the Montana Meth Project, the ads have spread to several other states. Next year, the nonprofit Georgia Meth Project will bring the ads to this state.

"After these start to run, there may be people who will say, 'Is the drug problem really that bad that we have to run these kinds of ads?' and you'll have law enforcement, health care professionals and former addicts who'll say 'The problem is that bad. This is not an exaggeration. This is something that everybody needs to pay attention to,'" said Jim Langford, executive director of the Georgia Meth Project.

Langford said the ads will launch in the first quarter of 2010, as early as January if all goes according to plan.

"It is a proven campaign. It has TV, radio, billboards. It has a community involvement component. It's a prevention campaign. It's a huge marketing campaign," Langford said. "The radio ads are real kids telling real stories, their own personal stories. We found that a school administrator or another adult standing in front of a bunch of kids doesn't have a very big effect. If you have stories that are believable and you have kids telling other kids about these drugs, it seems to have a very strong effect."




Pubdate: Tue, 01 Dec 2009
Source: Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, PA)
Copyright: 2009 The Standard-Speaker
Author: Jill Whalen

The head of Serento Gardens Alcoholism & Drug Services will appear before Pennsylvania lawmakers this week to speak in favor of medical marijuana.

Ed Pane, president and chief executive officer of the Hazleton organization, said he'll deliver testimony Wednesday when the House of Representatives' Health and Human Services Subcommittee holds its first hearing on House Bill 1393, the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.

"These hearings on medical marijuana are the first of their kind" in Pennsylvania, Pane said.

Pane said he supports the use of marijuana as medicine only - and not as a recreational drug.

"My testimony is several pages," he said, noting he pulled information from scholarly research - all of which is cited and endorsed. "My specific area is to dispel the myth that this is a gateway drug to other drugs - that the medical use of it would lead to a spate of other addictions."




Pubdate: Wed, 02 Dec 2009
Source: Courier-Journal, The (Louisville, KY)
Copyright: 2009 The Courier-Journal
Author: Sheryl Edelen, Courier-Journal

A proposal to start random drug testing of Shively city employees is facing opposition from a majority of the Shively City Council.

Mayor Sherry Conner proposed the idea, which is expected to be considered for a vote at Monday's council meeting.

It would require 69 of the city's 81 employees to submit to drug testing for controlled and illegal substances and participate in annual classes about the dangers of workplace drug use and its potential impact on co-workers. The city's dozen public works employees hold commercial drivers' licenses and already submit to ongoing random drug testing.

If adopted, Shively would become one of 32 Kentucky municipalities designated as drug-free workplaces through the state's Drug Free Workforce Certification Assistance program.

Under the voluntary program, which was enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2008, employers pay for annual testing for a variety of substances, including marijuana, methadone, barbiturates, cocaine, opium and OxyContin, as well as drugs that can be used to mask the use of other substances.

In return, the Kentucky League of Cities, which provides Shively's liability insurance, would give the city a 5 percent discount -- or about $5,600 -- on its yearly premium of about $109,000.

Shively City Clerk Mitzi Kasitz estimates that the testing would cost the city about $3,000 next year.




Pubdate: Mon, 30 Nov 2009
Source: Crain's Chicago Business (IL)
Copyright: 2009 Crain Communications, Inc.
Author: Laura Bianchi

Andrea Barthwell, 55, provides medical consulting, forensic work and lectures for clients as president of Encounter Medical Group P.C. in River Forest and founder and CEO of EMGlobal LLC, based in Arlington, Va. What she prescribes:

News from alternative sources such as and "Members post stories from a variety of media; it tells you what people are thinking and talking about." Scouts Chicago Tribune, New York Times and USA Today for health-related human-interest stories; traveling three weeks a month, reads medical articles via laptop.

An M.D. and former deputy drug czar under George W. Bush, follows A&E's "Intervention." Tweets relevant articles as @DrAGB: "I'm an addictionista."

A prominent opponent of legalizing marijuana, she consults for a company developing a drug that's a marijuana extract "because drugs are tested under the highest scientific standards and subject to FDA approval; the crude plant is not." Follows the issue via the Marijuana Policy Project, Naperville-based and, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.


Continues: :


This appears to be a time to reflect on some of the human costs of the drug war. In New Jersey, a movement toward de-emphasizing school zones; in Florida, a long profile of a drug war victim; and in Utah, some meth police say they are getting sick from doing their job.


Pubdate: Sun, 29 Nov 2009
Source: Daily Record, The (Parsippany, NJ)
Copyright: 2009 The Daily Record
Author: Michael Symons

Law Called Discriminatory

TRENTON -- Lawmakers are close to giving judges to ability to waive enhanced prison sentences now mandated for selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, and the change could free some nonviolent offenders from incarceration.

Backers of the change say eliminating the often three-year mandatory prison term would be fair, given that 19 of 20 people sentenced under the law are black or Latino because far more area in dense cities is covered. And they say it would save the state much-needed cash, with almost one in five inmates now serving mandatory drug sentences.

"We have an opportunity to really affect the crime rate by doing what's responsible, by doing what's more affordable, by giving treatment to offenders, rather than throwing them in jail and just having them be an expense on society, not improve and have an opportunity to lead a productive life," said Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union.

"Anyone who has familiarity with the school-zone enhancement for jail penalties understands that it has been a complete and total failure, not only for what it intended to do but its unintended consequences," Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari, D-Union, said. "The societal and budgetary costs associated with the school-zone designation are immeasurable."

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted last week to send the proposed change to the full Senate. While some longtime lawmakers who have supported school-zone laws such as Sen. John Girgenti, D-Passaic, voted for the change, that sentiment wasn't unanimous.




Pubdate: Wed, 02 Dec 2009
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Rhonda Cook

Grand Jury To Decide Charges In Police Shooting Of A Toccoa Minister

A north Georgia prosecutor said Tuesday he would let a grand jury decide if there will be criminal charges brought against undercover drug officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Baptist minister outside a Toccoa convenience store last summer.

Brian Rickman -- district attorney for the Mountain Judicial Circuit, which includes Stephens, Rabun and Habersham counties -- said in an interview with that he also offered to remove himself from the case and he invited a former DA and a sitting prosecutor to review the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's findings and to sit in on all judicial proceedings.

"The more eyes, the better," Rickman told

"I want to make sure it's as transparent" and as "fair" as possible, Rickman said.


Continues: :


Pubdate: Sun, 29 Nov 2009
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2009 The Tribune Co.
Author: Donna Koehn

She Died Trying To Make Things Right. Since Then, Rachel Hoffman's Family And Friends have Agonized Over How Their Ginger Girl Ended Up A Slain Drug Informant.

Rachel Morningstar Hoffman left Safety Harbor for Florida State University with the confidence that comes from knowing your parents have your back.

She was Margie and Irv's copper-haired wonder, the kind of girl who wrote thank-you notes, doted on her pets, fretted over the plight of homeless people.

She didn't just play the flute, she was first chair. A natural equestrian, a graceful ballerina, a force of nature at a ping-pong table, she had a nurturing soul that attracted bright and spunky friends. But her ever-present smile drew out the wallflowers and the friendless, too, welcoming them along to her dance.

Rachel lived to please - her pals, her rabbi, and, most of all, her adoring parents.

But she found herself in a dark place soon after graduation, a hitch in an otherwise promising life. Frustrated, desperate, she thought she had found a way out that would get her back on track and save her family from shame.




Pubdate: Mon, 30 Nov 2009
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2009 The Salt Lake Tribune
Author: Nate Carlisle, The Salt Lake Tribune

Their Cases Dismissed, Officers Say Working Around Drug Labs Sickened Them.

Utah County sheriff's Lt. Dennis Harris may be the best example of the divide between science, the law and police who say methamphetamine sickened them.

Harris spent the past month undergoing a treatment purporting to alleviate symptoms of meth exposure. In the midst of Harris' 30-day effort to sweat out poisons, an administrative judge dismissed his worker compensation claim for lack of evidence.

"Physically I feel a lot better," said Harris, 54, whose treatment ended Nov. 19. "Mentally, I feel fantastic."

The Meth Cops include a few dozen current or former narcotics officers from across Utah who say working around meth labs, meth precursors or the finished drug left them with ailments including cancer and neurological problems.

But science has not yet supported their claims. A state-funded study released in 2008 found some suggestions the officers have an elevated risk of certain cancers, but warned the results may be inaccurate because so few police officers responded to surveys.




Having failed to convince city council that monetary compensation for medicinal cannabis is illegal in California, an L.A. city attorney has asked the courts to impose an injunction and force dispensaries to test their products for pesticides.

"Journalist" George Will deployed too many scare quotes in a recent "column" that "argues" that state-based medicinal cannabis regimes foster disrespect for prohibition. Please see "What You Can Do This Week" below for sources, headlines and contact information for letters-to-the-editor.

New Jersey may be the next state to regulate medicinal cannabis, although activists in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania also have cause for optimism.

Having recently criticized the media for exaggerating the link between cannabis and psychosis, the Daily Mail is in a cannapanic again over a new study which concluded: "The finding that people with a first episode of psychosis had smoked higher-potency cannabis, for longer and with greater frequency, than a healthy control group is consistent with the hypothesis that THC is the active ingredient increasing risk of psychosis. This has important public health implications, given the increased availability and use of high- potency cannabis." ... under prohibition.


Pubdate: Wed, 2 Dec 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: John Hoeffel

A Judge Concludes That State Law Does Not Allow Marijuana to Be Sold. Another Hearing Is Set for January.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, concluding that state law does not allow medical marijuana to be sold, proposed an injunction Tuesday that would order an Eagle Rock dispensary to cease selling it.

"I don't believe that a storefront dispensary that sells marijuana is lawful," said Judge James C. Chalfant at a hearing on a lawsuit that City Atty. Carmen Trutanich filed Oct. 28 against Hemp Factory V.

The civil suit is Trutanich's first attempt to use the courts to close a dispensary in a city that has seen hundreds open while the City Council debated an ordinance for more than a year and a half.

Chalfant's injunction would be a victory for Trutanich, who sought unsuccessfully to persuade the council to explicitly ban medical marijuana sales. Chalfant accepted the same legal argument that the council sidestepped and appeared ready to grant the injunction Tuesday but set an additional hearing for late January.

Trutanich Challenge

The case could test Trutanich's double-barreled challenge to the city's dispensaries.

In addition to maintaining that sales are illegal, he has also argued that the state's food-and-drug safety law applies to medical marijuana. He reached that conclusion after samples of marijuana from dispensaries, including Hemp Factory V, were found to contain pesticides.




Pubdate: Sun, 29 Nov 2009
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Washington Post Writers Group
Author: George Will

Inside the green neon sign, which is shaped like a marijuana leaf, is a red cross. The cross serves the fiction that most transactions in the store - which is what it really is - involve medicine.

The U.S. Justice Department recently announced that federal laws against marijuana would not be enforced for possession of marijuana that conforms to states' laws. In 2000, Colorado legalized medical marijuana.

Since Justice's decision, the average age of the 400 persons a day seeking "prescriptions" at Colorado's multiplying medical marijuana dispensaries has fallen precipitously. Many new customers are college students.

Customers - this, not patients, is what most really are - tell doctors at the dispensaries that they suffer from insomnia, anxiety, headaches, premenstrual syndrome, chronic pain, whatever, and pay nominal fees for "prescriptions." Most really just want to smoke pot.

So says Colorado's attorney general, John Suthers, an honest and thoughtful man trying to save his state from institutionalizing such hypocrisy. His dilemma is becoming commonplace: 13 states have, and 15 more are considering, laws permitting medical use of marijuana.

Realizing they could not pass legalization of marijuana, some people who favour that campaigned to amend Colorado's Constitution to legalize sales for medicinal purposes. Marijuana has medical uses - e.g., to control nausea caused by chemotherapy - but the helpful ingredients can be conveyed with other medicines. Medical marijuana was legalized but, Suthers says, no serious regime was then developed to regulate who could buy - or grow - it. (Caregivers? For how many patients? And in what quantities, and for what "medical uses.")




Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Suzanne Sataline

New Jersey is poised to become the next state to allow residents to use marijuana, when recommended by a doctor, for relief from serious diseases and medical conditions.

The state Senate has approved the bill and the state Assembly is expected to follow. The legislation would then head to the governor's office for his signature.

Gov. Jon Corzine, the Democrat who lost his re-election bid this month, has indicated he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk before he leaves office in January. It would likely be one of Mr. Corzine's last acts before relinquishing the job to Republican Chris Christie.

Mr. Christie has indicated he would be supportive of such legislation, but had concerns that one draft of a bill he read didn't have enough restrictions, a spokeswoman said.

The bill has been endorsed by the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians and the New Jersey State Nurses Association.

Some lawmakers oppose the legislation, saying they fear the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries, as in California, where medical marijuana is legal. "It sends a mixed message to our children if you can walk down the street and see pot shops," said Republican Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini.




Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 2009
Source: Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Associated Newspapers Ltd
Author: Jenny Hope

Ultra-potent skunk cannabis is seven times more likely to trigger psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia than traditional hash, a study has warned.

The research, by the highly-respected Institute of Psychiatry in London, will deepen concerns over the safety of cannabis amid political controversy over its criminal status.

Dr Marta Di Forti, who led the research, said: 'Our study is the first to demonstrate the risk of psychosis is much greater among frequent cannabis users, especially among those using skunk, rather than among occasional users of traditional hash.

'Psychosis was associated with more frequent and longer use of cannabis. Our most striking finding is that patients with a first episode of psychosis preferentially used high-potency cannabis preparations of the skunk variety.'

Skunk contains high levels of the psychoactive ingredient delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, which can trigger psychotic symptoms.

In South-East London, where the study was carried out, the THC content of hash is less than 4 per cent but in skunk it is 18 per cent.




In the Daily Telegraph newspaper this week, Dr Gordian Fulde (who runs one of Australia's busiest emergency departments at St Vincent's in Sydney) has advice for those taking drugs: "if they didn't drink too much and then didn't take drugs, too many of them, or mix their drugs then they wouldn't end up with us in emergency." Dr Fulde claims to be able to tell what kind of musical events and festivals are in town by the traffic in his emergency room: "if there is a band or dance festival on and it's near summer that the silly season has started and I am going to have a hell of a night... I know when the Christmas party season is upon us because my Tuesday nights are like Saturdays".

Meanwhile, back in Fiji, the Fiji Times last week reports those "found with marijuana or selling the drug" will be "traditionally dealt with by chiefly warlords". Chiefly warlord punishments include exile, but not before "spanking and other disciplinary measures before being exiled." Still, while Fijian chiefly warlords savored spanking and other discipline for marijuana offenders, the Fiji Times let on "it has been difficult to find anyone dealing in or cultivating marijuana".

The Sunday Nation newspaper in Kenya has "established" a horrible new development in the world of drug abuse. Heroin addicts in Mombassa, according to the paper share blood, "injecting themselves with other addicts' blood to get high." This incredible procedure seems to ignore the existence of transfusion reactions. "One person injects himself while the others harvest his blood and inject themselves," which, "is like a scene straight from a vampire movie," explained the Kenyan paper.

And finally, we leave you with some thoughts from a column in the Guardian (UK) newspaper, penned by University College London professor of philosophy Jonathan Wolff. What is Wolff's philosophy on drugs and scientific evidence? "For many drugs there seems little evidence of physical harm. But that shouldn't be confused with the very different claim that there is evidence of little physical harm," Wolff elaborated. Scientists, said Wolff, are "over-claiming the quality of their results to publicise their research, journalists [are] whipping up a moral panic to sell newspapers, politicians [do] whatever they think will keep them in power".


Pubdate: Mon, 30 Nov 2009
Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Copyright: 2009 News Limited
Author: Dr Gordian Fulde, St Vincent's Hospital emergency director

THE head of one Australia's largest emergency departments said his ward was more like a private social and meteorological barometer.

He can tell if it is going to be a busy night just by the weather. He can also detect whether a dance festival is in town.

And while he is no meteorologist, Dr Gordian Fulde knows just what time of the year it is if his emergency department at St Vincent's Hospital is full of young drunk people mid-week.


Some of these people we saw were extremely sick.

We also treated a man who is a regular user of cocaine and who attended the festival. He had taken cocaine and suffered a mini stroke, with his left side partially paralysed.

He had also been drinking vodka and energy drinks.

It was a deadly mixture and the message I want to get out there to people is if they didn't drink too much and then didn't take drugs, too many of them, or mix their drugs then they wouldn't end up with us in emergency.

Some of these people stopped breathing. We put them on life support.



Pubdate: Mon, 30 Nov 2009
Source: Fiji Times (Fiji)
Copyright: 2009 Fiji Times Limited

ANY villager found with marijuana or selling the drug will be exiled from the district of Wainunu, Bua, but only after being dealt with by Fijian warlords.

This is a stern warning from Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea, who believes it's time that chiefs and their people stand up to fight against the illicit drug problem in society.


Ratu Orisi said although it has been difficult to find anyone dealing in or cultivating marijuana, his decision as high chief was firm and nothing would change that.

He said any villager found guilty would be taken to task in their respective village meetings and traditionally dealt with by chiefly warlords.

This would include spanking and other disciplinary measures before being exiled.


He said the drug cultivation in his district has to stop and such vanua laws would be enforced to deal with culprits and put an end to drug problems.




Pubdate: Sun, 29 Nov 2009
Source: Sunday Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2009 Nation Newspapers


Because they don't have enough money to sustain their habits, thousands of heroin addicts on Mombasa's sunny streets are entering a fourth, even darker dimension: sharing blood. The Sunday Nation has established that desperation has driven heroin users in the coastal city and its environs to put their lives at even greater risk through injecting themselves with other addicts' blood to get high.

"They say the real thing has become expensive, so they hold mini-harambees (fundraisers) and buy a sachet of heroin. One person injects himself while the others harvest his blood and inject themselves," said Mr Abdallah, who has been working as an outreach worker since 2005.

During his decade-long addiction, he said, he never saw such an extreme practice, and it has alarmed outreach workers and former drug users. "It is like a scene straight from a vampire movie. Such a thought should not even cross your mind," he said.




Pubdate: Tue, 01 Dec 2009
Source: Guardian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Author: Jonathan Wolff, The Guardian

It Is Very Difficult To Study The Relative Harms Of Individual Drugs - And There Are Lots Of Vested Interests

The government claims to want to pursue "evidence-based policy". I've often wondered whether there is any evidence that evidence-based policy is better than its alternative. What alternative? Daily Mail-based policy, of course.

The issue has been in the news lately because of the Nutt affair: the sacking of the chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, who has been arguing that government policy on drug classification runs foul of the scientific evidence.


For many drugs there seems little evidence of physical harm. But that shouldn't be confused with the very different claim that there is evidence of little physical harm.


So we have the spectacle of scientists over-claiming the quality of their results to publicise their research, journalists whipping up a moral panic to sell newspapers, politicians doing whatever they think will keep them in power, and the public looking on in semi-horror, as one would on a reality TV show spinning out of control.


Jonathan Wolff is professor of philosophy at University College London. His column appears monthly


 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


By Paul Armentano

The government keeps pushing the BS that pot is addictive and has serious health consequences. And no wonder -- lying about pot is a lucrative business.


Exposing Britain's unholy alliance between alcohol prohibitionists and marijuana reformers

By Brendan O'Neill


By Melinda Tuhus

Harm reduction is a public health approach that stresses pragmatic solutions to social ills like substance abuse.


Nearly 10,000 people in Mexico have died in drug-related violence since January 2007. Who or what is to blame? Some say it is America's insatiable consumer demand for illicit drugs and the constant flow of our guns, which arm the cartels. Others believe that Mexico's own government is ineffective in controlling the trade of the drug cartels because of rampant corruption in law enforcement in the country.


Century of Lies - 11/29/09 - Marc Emery

Marc Emery, free on bond discusses his forthcoming extradition to the U.S. for selling cannabis seeds.

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 11/29/09 - Irvin Rosenfeld

Irvin Rosenfeld a Florida stockbroker is supplied with 300 cannabis cigarettes each 25 days by the DEA, FDA and NIDA


Kirk Tousaw

Jeet-Kei Leung

Philippe Lucas

Lynne Belle-Isle


By Shannon Doyne And Holly Epstein Ojalvo


Obama just said no to a suggestion from a Pennsylvania college student that he consider legalizing nonviolent crimes, including gambling and drugs, to stimulate the economy and create jobs.



George Will's Rocky Mountain Medical Marijuana High

A DrugSense Focus Alert


It's time to stop arresting marijuana users, raiding the homes of families, and locking up people who need treatment. As the drug czar works on his plan for U.S. drug policy, we need to make sure he ends the war on people.



By Pablo Teveni, III

Let's think about what's legal in the U.S. Tobacco and alcohol are both legal despite causing dependency and serious health risks. Guns are legal.

The death penalty is legal. Abortion is legal. Pre-emptive war is legal.

Pesticides and other carcinogens in our food, water and air are legal.

What is illegal? Drugs and prostitution? These are crimes of self-indulgence.

As a lover of the eroded values of liberty and privacy, I believe that whatever substances an adult knowingly puts into his or her own body (be it glacier milk or rat poison) is his or her own business.

I believe whatever consenting adults do behind closed doors is their own business. Does anyone else in this fearful and forceful republic share these options?

Furthermore, I believe that an ounce of education is worth a pound of enforcement. Students in high school should be taught the truth about the effects of drugs and promiscuity: addiction, disease, and a shortened life span. They shouldn't be fed propaganda full of distortions and one-sidedness.

Must the government(s) act as a parent over its citizens?

Why should people be locked up for committing acts of self-destruction? It's like adding insult to injury.

Pablo Teveni III Las Cruces

Pubdate: Wed, 25 Nov 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)


How To Create A Problem Where None Exists  ( Top )

By Nicolas Eyle

How do you create a problem where none exists? Not a commonly asked question, true, but our government has been touting the dangers of marijuana for decades and that is getting harder and harder in the face of growing mountains of evidence to the contrary. Here's one tact they've taken recently.

AllTranz, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Lexington, KY. The National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) just have given AllTranz a $4 million grant to develop a way to administer marijuana through the skin, something akin to a nicotine patch to aid the growing number of marijuana addicts trying to get off the stuff. "What growing number of marijuana addicts?" you ask. If you are the federal government trying desperately to perpetuate their ill-conceived prohibition of marijuana you can point to the rapidly-growing number of marijuana users seeking treatment for their problem.

NIDA director Nora Volkow says the agency "is interested in exploring the role of transdermal THC delivery as an innovative way to treat marijuana withdrawal symptoms and dependence. This is especially relevant to our efforts to fill a critical gap in available treatments for the many Americans struggling with marijuana-related disorders and their detrimental medical and social consequences." So how many marijuana addicted Americans are there? According the NIH there are about a million of them! According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are actually 287,933. A considerably smaller number but still not insignificant. were it true.

The standard definition of addiction in the DSM IV is "the state of being psychologically and physiologically dependent on a drug"). Well according to SAMHSA of that 287,933 who listed marijuana dependence as the primary reason for admission to treatment 37% hadn't used marijuana in the 30 days prior to their admission. Another 16 percent of those admitted said they'd only used three times or less in the month prior to their admission. Doesn't really sound like these folks were particularly psychologically and physiologically dependent on marijuana.

So once again we ask "where are these marijuana addicts coming from?" SAMHSA statistics show 6 out of 10 people admitted to treatment for marijuana are referred to through the criminal justice system. They are given a choice . go to treatment or go to jail. SAMHSA's report says "In 2007, the criminal justice system was the largest single source of referrals to the substance abuse treatment system. [T]he majority of these referrals were from parole and probation offices."

So your tax dollars were spent, elected officials from Kentucky can get credit for creating jobs at AllTranz, (and probably contributions from AllTranz's executives), NIDA gets credit for working to solve a growing problem which is, after all, what the National Institute of Health is supposed to do, so where is the harm?

For starters several thousand people have been forced to waste a substantial part of their lives going through "treatment" for a non- existent addiction. Most will also get criminal drug possession charges on their records following them for life, impeding their chances of finding jobs or money to go to school. The myth of marijuana addiction is reinforced as these inflated numbers go unquestioned by the media. so much for the President's promise. "I'll change the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology." The lies being propagated to preserve marijuana prohibition now rival those told to introduce it.

Nicolas Eyle is Executive Director or ReconsiDer. This piece first appeared at the organization's web site:


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