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Chronicle AM -- April 16, 2014

Heroin (STDW) - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 19:54

President Obama commutes a marijuana offender's sentence, organized opposition to a legalization initiative emerges in Alaska, draconian heroin bills are moving in Louisiana, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Denver Crime Rate Drops in First Months of Legal Marijuana Sales. According to crime statistics from the Denver Police, crime is down over the previous year in the first three months of legal marijuana sales there. Violent crime (including homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) fell by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013. Property crime (including burglary, larceny, auto theft, theft from motor vehicle and arson) dropped by 11.1%.

Alaska Legalization Initiative Gets Organized Opposition. An organized opposition group has emerged to campaign against the Alaska legalization initiative. A group calling itself "Big Marijuana, Big Mistake, Vote No on 2" officially filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission last week. The group includes only a handful of Alaskans and says it is not affiliated with Project SAM, the anti-legalization group that has been playing up the "Big Marijuana" theme across the country.

Legalization Bill Filed in New Jersey Assembly. Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Scotch Plains) and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton) have filed Assembly Bill 3094 to legalize marijuana. The bill is companion legislation to Senate Bill 1986, which was filed by Sen. Nick Scutari (D-Linden) earlier this session.

Medical Marijuana

Tennessee Legislature Approves CBD Medical Marijuana Study Bill. The House voted 97-0 Monday to approve Senate Bill 2531, which would create a four-year study of the use of CBD cannabis oil in treating intractable seizures. The measure passed the Senate last week, and now goes to the desk of Gov. Bill Haslam (R).

Methamphetamine

Tennessee Senate Passes Pseudoephedrine Restriction Bill. A bill that would restrict non-prescription purchases of OTC cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, a precursor chemical in meth manufacture, passed the Senate Tuesday. The bill would cap purchases at 4.8 grams per month and 14.4 grams per year of allergy and cold medicines like Sudafed that could be bought without a prescription. The Senate version differs from the House version in the allowable amounts. The House version has already passed, too, so the two will have to be reconciled before final passage.

Heroin

Draconian Heroin Bill Passes Louisiana Senate Committee. A bill to increase maximum penalties for heroin offenses from 50 to 99 years received approved Tuesday from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Bill 87, sponsored by Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge), now heads for the Senate floor. Another draconian heroin bill, House Bill 332, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Lopinto (R-Metairie) would double mandatory minimums for heroin use and distribution. The full House passed that bill 94-1, and it will now be heard in the Senate.

Sentencing

President Obama Commutes Sentence for Marijuana Offender. President Obama Tuesday granted clemency to a marijuana offender sentenced to too much time because of a typographical error. Ceasar Huerta Cantu had been sentenced to 180 months in federal prison for marijuana distribution conspiracy and money laundering. Obama commuted the sentence to 138 months, which is what it would have been had his initial sentence been calculated correctly. That means Huerta will get out more than three years early. Obama commuted only one sentence in his first term but has been using the power more in his second.

International

Mexico Anti-Cartel Militias Refuse to Lay Down Arms. The so-called autodefensa militias in the southwest Mexican state of Michoacán -- which took up arms against the Knights Templar cartel more than a year ago -- are now refusing the government's demand to put down their weapons. The government had allowed them to keep their arms and integrate into the security forces, but early this month, announced its intention to disarm all civilians in the state. But the militias say they will disband only once the leaders of the Knights Templar Cartel are killed or arrested. "We prefer to die at the hands of the government than at the hands of a goddamned son of a bitch who dismembers and butchers you -- without releasing even a fingernail to your family. Because, that's what the criminals do," one militia leader told VICE News.

Categories: Heroin

US NY: Editorial: Finding New Weapons In War On Heroin

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 07:00
The Observer-Dispatch, 13 Apr 2014 - Anyone who has seen the ravages of addiction knows how devastating it can be. Programs that can help combat that need our full support because in one way or another, addiction takes a toll on us all. The latest epidemic is the opioid heroin. Opioid overdoses, including those from heroin, killed more than 2,000 New Yorkers in 2011 - double the number that died in 2004, according to the state attorney general's office. A main reason for its resurgence: Heroin is cheaper than the prescription drugs it often replaces. And plentiful.
Categories: Heroin

US NV: Modern Addiction: Our Heroin Epidemic

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 07:00
Las Vegas Sun, 13 Apr 2014 - How Your Medicine Cabinet Can Lead You To A Back Alley Drug Not even the funeral of his beloved older brother, dead from a lethal injection of their shared drug of choice, could put the brakes on Dylan Engle's downward spiral.
Categories: Heroin

US: Heroin Addicts Face Barriers To Treatment

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 07:00
The News-Item, 07 Apr 2014 - Packed Facilities, Expensive Treatment and Insurance Non-Coverage Are Blamed NEW YORK (AP) - As the ranks of heroin users rise, increasing numbers of addicts are looking for help but are failing to find it-because there are no beds in packed facilities, treatment is hugely expensive and insurance companies won't pay for inpatient rehab.
Categories: Heroin

US IL: Series: At 21, Recovering Heroin Addict Makes A New

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 07:00
Cumberland Times-News, 07 Apr 2014 - [Cumberland] EDITOR'S NOTE - The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman underscored a troubling development: Heroin, long a scourge of the back alleys of American life, has spread across the country. Last of a three-part series. AURORA, Ill. - Just out of Cook County Jail after being arrested with 15 bags of heroin, Cody Lewis had all of $11 in his pocket. But not for long.
Categories: Heroin

US OH: 'Killer Heroin' Earns Its Name In Butler County

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 07:00
Business Courier, 07 Apr 2014 - HAMILTON -A deadly combination of heroin and a potent analgesic is becoming more evident in the region as fatal overdoses rise. Investigators say that some heroin sold on the streets is laced with the narcotic fentanyl to make a dangerous cocktail known in other parts of the nation as "killer heroin."
Categories: Heroin

US: Heroin Surging North Out Of Mexico Spreads In U.S.

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 07 Apr 2014 - As Changing State Laws Cut Pot Prices, Cartels Turn to Opium Poppies TEPACA DE BADIRAGUATO, MEXICO - The surge of cheap heroin spreading in $4 hits across rural America can be traced back to the remote valleys of the northern Sierra Madre.
Categories: Heroin

US NY: Series: Heroin Addicts Face Barriers To Treatment (part

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
Cumberland Times-News, 06 Apr 2014 - In Many Cases, Insurance Won't Cover Rehab Costs [Cumberland] EDITOR'S NOTE - The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman underscored a troubling development: Heroin, long a scourge of the back alleys of American life, has spread across the country. Second of a three-part series.
Categories: Heroin

US MI: Heroin Use, Deaths On The Rise

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
Morning Sun, 06 Apr 2014 - (AP) - Some states, including Michigan, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-toget prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what's happening in Michigan: The problem
Categories: Heroin

US: Heroin Spreads Misery

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
The News-Item, 06 Apr 2014 - 'We're All Paying' For This Scourge On a beautiful Sunday last October, Detective Dan Douglas stood in a suburban Minnesota home and looked downat a lifeless 20-year-old - a needle mark in his arm, a syringe in his pocket. It didn't take long for Douglas to realize that the man, fresh out of treatment, was his second heroin overdose that day.
Categories: Heroin

US NC: Heroin Use, And Deaths, On The Rise In North Carolina

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
News & Observer, 06 Apr 2014 - DURHAM -- Long before the overdose death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman thrust heroin back into the headlines this winter, the return of the potent narcotic was already known to police and public health officials in North Carolina. Heroin, which emerged in popular culture in the 1940s as an exotic product associated with jazz musicians and later became known as the dead-end drug of junkies in movies and songs, had never gone away. A few dozen people died of heroin overdoses in North Carolina each year since 2000, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. But in 2012, heroin deaths nearly doubled statewide, to 148, while overall deaths from all narcotics and hallucinogenic drugs ticked up only slightly. WakeMed hospitals throughout Wake County admitted 50 people for heroin overdoses in 2013, more than twice the annual average of the previous five years, said spokeswoman Kristin Kelly.
Categories: Heroin

US NC: In Durham, One Woman's Struggle With Heroin Addiction

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
News & Observer, 06 Apr 2014 - DURHAM - Heroin may be a new drug for some who are switching from prescription painkillers. It is not new to April Elizabeth. Elizabeth, 32, is a heroin addict. She grew up in East Durham in a family ravaged by drugs a father she described as a raging alcoholic, a mother hooked on prescription pills and an older brother whose addiction to crack keeps him in and out of prison. At her request, The News & Observer agreed not to use her full name.
Categories: Heroin

US ND: Heroin Use On The Rise In North Dakota

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:00
Bismarck Tribune, 06 Apr 2014 - BISMARCK, N.D. - Once thought by North Dakotans to be only a big city drug, heroin sales and use are increasing in the state, authorities say. U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon called the spike in heroin use in North Dakota "new and disturbing." He said it's the result of the abuse of prescription painkillers, a growing population and drug trafficking operations that are primarily targeting the state's rich oil patch region. "When you have an increased population with a lot of money, it's a more desirable market for drug dealers to move into," Purdon said. "They follow the money."
Categories: Heroin

US: Series: 'We're All Paying:' Heroin Spreads Misery In U.S

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 07:00
Cumberland Times-News, 05 Apr 2014 - Between 2006 And 2010, Overdose Deaths Rose 45 Percent On a beautiful Sunday last October, Detective Dan Douglas stood in a suburban Minnesota home and looked down at a lifeless 20-year-old - a needle mark in his arm, a syringe in his pocket. It didn't take long for Douglas to realize that the man, fresh out of treatment, was his second heroin overdose that day.
Categories: Heroin

US WV: Heroin Deaths In W.Va. Doubled Since 2010, Number

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 07:00
Daily Reporter, 05 Apr 2014 - CHARLESTON, West Virginia - Some states, including West Virginia, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what's happening in West Virginia: THE PROBLEM:
Categories: Heroin

US MI: Heroin Use, Deaths In Michigan Are On The Rise

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 07:00
Detroit Free Press, 05 Apr 2014 - Some states, including Michigan, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what's happening in Michigan:
Categories: Heroin

Chronicle AM -- April 3, 2014

Heroin (STDW) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 19:31

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is banned from the US for admitting using coke, decrim dies for the year in Maryland, CBD medical marijuana bills continue to move, the resort to the overdose drug naloxone is spreading rapidly, Guatemala's president wants to legalize marijuana and license poppies for the medical market, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Maryland Decriminalization Bill Killed; Task Force Will Study It Instead. Marijuana decriminalization is dead for the year in Maryland after a bill to do just that -- House Bill 879 -- died without a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. Instead, the committee, led by reform foe Rep. Joe Vallario Jr. (D-Prince Georges), chose to form a task force to study the issue.

Washington State Will Issue First Marijuana Store Licenses by July, Impose Lottery System. Colorado is the only state where you can walk into a store and legally purchase marijuana, but not for long. Washington state regulators announced Wednesday that the first retail marijuana licenses will be issued "no later than the first week of July." The state has already issued licenses to eight growers. After eliminating retail license applications that did not return required documents or were incomplete, the state still has more than a thousand applications for the 334 stores it will allow to open, so it is imposing a lottery system to determine who gets those licenses.

Northern Mariana Islands Senate Ponders Legalization. The Senate of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US protectorate, discussed the possibility of legalizing marijuana Wednesday. The Fiscal Affairs Committee touched on legalization when discussing a decriminalization bill, and committee member Sen. Pete Reyes (IN-Saipan) said members had asked the Senate legal counsel to research Colorado's legalization model. "Yes, the committee is tinkering with the idea, whether it's a good idea to legalize it or not. But nothing is final. Nothing is decided," Reyes told The Saipan Tribune.

Medical Marijuana

New Jersey Patient Sues NJ Transit for Denying Him a Job. A former New Jersey Transit worker and medical marijuana patient who was denied a new position with the agency after testing positive for marijuana is suing in hopes of seeing marijuana recognized as a legitimate medication. Charlie Davis, 57, said he was denied both safety sensitive and non-safety sensitive positions with the agency. Courts in other medical marijuana states have generally upheld the rights of employers to fire workers who use medical marijuana even if it is legal.

Illinois Senate Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. A bill that would allow children to use high-CBD cannabis oil to treat epilepsy passed the Senate Wednesday. Filed by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), Senate Bill 2636 now heads for the House.

Minnesota TV Ad Attacks Gov. Dayton for Opposing Medical Marijuana. Patients and medical marijuana advocates have unleashed an aggressive TV ad targeting Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) for standing in the way of medical marijuana legislation. The ad features a St. Paul mother and her seizure-ridden child, whom Gov. Dayton told to just find medical marijuana on the street!

South Carolina House Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. The House Wednesday passed a bill allowing people suffering from severe epilepsy to legally use CBD cannabis oil to control their seizures. House Bill 4803 is less restrictive than a Senate measure passed last week. It's unclear what happens next.

Harm Reduction

Louisiana House Committee Passes Bill to Allow Overdose Reversal Drug. The House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday passed a bill that would allow first responders to provide the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). House Bill 754 now heads for a House floor vote.

Every Cop in New York Will Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Under a new initiative announced today by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), every state and local law enforcement officer in the state will be able to carry with them the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan). The Community Overdose Prevention program will provide police with kits containing two syringes filled with naloxone, two inhalers of the drug, sterile gloves and a booklet on using them. The cost of the kit is roughly $60. Each has a shelf life of about two years.

Some New Jersey Cops to Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Police throughout Ocean and Monmouth Counties soon will be armed with a drug that can save heroin users from fatal overdose, launching a program officials hope will be adopted statewide in New Jersey. All 32 Ocean County police departments are participating in a pilot program backed by Gov. Christie, who said Wednesday that equipping police with the drug, naloxone (Narcan), would help save lives.

Sentencing

Louisiana House Passes Harsh Heroin Sentencing Bill. The House voted 96-0 Wednesday in favor of a bill that imposes mandatory minimum prison sentence for heroin possession and increases sentences for heroin dealers. But first, it amended House Bill 332 so that, in addition to prison time, heroin users would also have to undergo court-approved drug treatment. Under the bill, heroin possessors would have to do at least two years in prison, while dealers would see their mandatory minimum sentence doubled from five years to 10. The bill now goes to the Senate.

International

Mexican Drug War Victims Criticize Lack of Progress on Tens of Thousands of Cases. Families of drug war victims who were hoping to see concrete policy shifts with the change of administrations a year and a half ago are growing impatient with the lack of progress on tens of thousands of cases of murders and disappearances. An estimated 100,000 Mexicans have been killed since former President Felipe Calderon turned drug prohibition policies into a militarized offensive. The whereabouts of another 26,000 are unknown. They are Mexico's "disappeared". Some are believed to have been kidnapped by criminals, others have vanished after being taken into police custody. Click on the link for the full report.

Guatemalan President Will Present Plan to Legalize Marijuana and License Opium Production. Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Wednesday his country could present a plan before year's end to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies. See our news brief today for more detail.

Albanian Cops Try Persuasion in Marijuana-Growing Village. Albanian Police peacefully visited the village of Lazarati this week in a bid to get school children to persuade their parents not to grow marijuana there. Lazarati is described as "a paradise for cannabis growers and criminals," and has been a no-go zone for police for nearly two decades. Villagers in the past have created armed groups to fend off eradication efforts, and even the kids didn't seem too keen on giving up the trade. "If you tell us to convince our parents not to grow cannabis, do you guarantee us that you will provide jobs for them? This is our way of life," one student replied.

British Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson Denied Entry to US Over Cocaine Use Admission. Nigella Lawson was stopped from boarding a flight from London to the US because of her courtroom confession that she used cocaine. Lawson was never charged with a criminal offense over her confession, but the US can deny travel to foreigners who have committed offenses without being charged.

Categories: Heroin

US NY: Seized Crime Money To Fund Heroin Antidote Program

Heroin (MAP) - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 07:00
The Boston Globe Magazine, 03 Apr 2014 - ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - As deaths from heroin and other opiate drugs rise throughout New York, state officials are planning to equip police with an antidote to reverse the effects of overdoses. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the Community Overdose Prevention program on Thursday, saying it will let every state and local law enforcement officer carry naloxone.
Categories: Heroin

Pew Poll Reveals Seismic Shift in Drug Policy Attitudes [FEATURE]

Heroin (STDW) - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 21:49

A new national survey released today by the Pew Research Center provides strong evidence that Americans are undergoing a tectonic shift in their views on drug policy. Not only are Americans convinced that marijuana legalization is coming; a majority supports it, and even larger majorities support a fundamental realignment of our drug policies away from the criminal justice system and toward treatment instead of punishment for hard drug users.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Among the key findings of the report was that more than six in ten Americans (63%) say that state governments moving away from mandatory prison terms for drug law violations is a good thing, while just 32% say these policy changes are a bad thing. This is a substantial shift from 2001 when the public was evenly divided (47% good thing vs. 45% bad thing). The majority of all demographic groups, including Republicans and Americans over 65 years old, support this shift.

Similarly, two-thirds (67%) say the government should focus more on providing treatment for people who use drugs like cocaine and heroin. Just 26% think the focus should be more on prosecuting people who use such drugs. The poll did not ask if hard drug users should just be left alone barring harm to others.

"Given that the vast majority of Americans don't think people should be prosecuted for drug possession, it's time to ask the question: Why are we still arresting people for nothing more than drug possession?" asked Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

More than 1.5 million people are arrested in the U.S. every year for a drug law violation. The vast majority -- more than 80% -- are arrested for possession only. Roughly 500,000 Americans are behind bars on any given night for a drug law violation, including more than 55,000 people in state prisons for simple drug possession.

"There's a new consensus that mandatory minimums are no longer appropriate for drug and other nonviolent offenders," said Nadelmann. "This is reflected and confirmed by the growing bipartisan support for rolling back and ending such laws."

The passage of the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, which reduced, but did not eliminate, sentencing disparities between federal crack and powder cocaine offenders is one example of the emerging reformist consensus. Sentencing reform measures passed by around half the states in the past decade, which have resulted in an absolute decline in state prison populations, have also proven popular with a citizenry increasingly tired of drug war without end.

And President Obama and Attorney General Holder have continued to make a series of moves over the past year indicating that they are serious about reducing mass incarceration and fixing the criminal justice system, including a call from Holder to federal prosecutors to not use mandatory minimum charges if they don't have to.

Likewise, in an otherwise-bitterly-divided Congress, legislators from both sides of the aisle are pushing to reform mandatory minimum drug laws. The reforms are supported by a group of Senators who can only be described as strange bedfellows: Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).

At the same time, the Pew poll illuminates what has been a major shift in attitudes on whether the use of marijuana should be legal. As recently as four years ago, about half (52%) said they thought the use of marijuana should not be legal; 41% said marijuana use should be legal. Today those numbers are roughly reversed -- 54% favor marijuana legalization while 42% are opposed. Just 16% say it should not be legal for either medical or recreational use.

And no matter respondents' personal feelings for or against marijuana legalization, 75% of them think it is inevitable.

Also, more than two-thirds (69%) said that alcohol was more harmful than marijuana for individuals. And nearly the same number (63%) said alcohol was more harmful to society.

"Leadership is needed to overcome the institutional lethargy and vested interest that have stymied meaningful police and sentencing reform," said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org (publisher of this newsletter). "The policies are counterproductive, and too many otherwise law-abiding people are getting caught up in the justice system because of them."

[image:3 align:left]"It is good to know that despite the DEA's best efforts the American people are getting scientifically accurate information about marijuana, and the fact that it is objectively less harmful than alcohol to both individual health and society at large. The increase in support since last year's poll shows that more and more Americans understand it's simply bad public policy to steer adults toward alcohol by punishing those who prefer marijuana as a less harmful alternative," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"Now that three-quarters of Americans understand taxing and regulating marijuana is inevitable, the writing is on the wall. Congress needs to read it and move forward with legislation allowing states to choose more effective policies without federal interference," Riffle added.

While Nadelmann also greeted the poll results, he warned that it should not be used as fuel for even more, if softer, expansion of the criminal justice system.

"It's good to see yet another poll confirm the results of other state and national polls showing majority support for legalizing marijuana," he said. "And it's nice to see that Americans overwhelmingly support treatment-instead-of-incarceration. But it's important to recognize that there has been overwhelming support for treatment-instead-of-incarceration for well over a decade now -- and that we've reached the point where the public needs to be better educated about the benefits of providing treatment outside the criminal justice system rather than within and through it. It would be a shame if this latest poll result were used to promote drug courts and other coercive, abstinence-only programs rather than meaningful treatment in the community."

Categories: Heroin

US NY: Accused Holtsville Heroin Dealers Held On Bail

Heroin (MAP) - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 07:00
Newsday, 02 Apr 2014 - A Holtsville couple ran a heroin enterprise for at least a year out of the home they shared with up to 10 children until it was broken last month, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Wednesday. [name redacted], 27, and her husband, [name redacted], 57, ran the drug ring from their Holtsville home, which served as the "main distribution point" for pickups by dealers from Holbrook and at least six other Suffolk communities, authorities said.
Categories: Heroin
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