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Chronicle AM: Santa Fe Decriminalizes, New Drug Czar Nominated, NYC Heroin Deaths Rise, More (8/29/14)

Heroin (STDW) - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 19:53

Santa Fe decriminalizes, no medical marijuana for Alzheimer's in New Mexico, NYC heroin deaths at 10-year high, new drug czar nominated, another drug war death, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Santa Fe Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession. In a surprise move, the Santa Fe city council voted Wednesday night to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The move came after the Drug Policy Alliance and Progress Now New Mexico undertook a successful signature drive to put a decriminalization initiative on the ballot. Rather than have it go to a vote, the city council simply approved the ordinance instead.

NORML Endorses Alaska, DC, Oregon Legalization Initiatives. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has officially endorsed all three marijuana legalization initiatives on statewide (or District-wide) ballots this fall. "NORML's board of directors endorses these cannabis legalization measures. All three support basic tenets of reform. They differ slightly in scope and implementation based on local considerations of law, customs and polled public sentiment," the group said. Both the Oregon and Alaska initiatives envision a legalize, tax, and regulate scheme, while, because of peculiarities in local law, the DC initiative only legalizes the possession and cultivation -- but not the sale and taxation of -- small amounts of marijuana.

Alaska Conference of Mayors Opposes Legalization Initiative. The Alaska Conference of Mayors announced Thursday it had voted to oppose Measure 2, the state's marijuana legalization initiative. The mayors' group is also kicking in $5,000 to the opposition campaign. The group expressed concerns over public safety, increased enforcement costs (?), and possible effects on youth.

Medical Marijuana

New Mexico Overrides Advisory Board, Denies Medical Marijuana for Alzeimer's. The Secretary of Health yesterday denied a petition to add Alzheimer's disease to the list of qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana. The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board had unanimously recommended that Alzheimer's be added. Click on the link to read some reactions.

Georgia Medical Marijuana Study Committee Holds First Hearing. The Georgia Medical Cannabis Joint Study Committee held the first of five scheduled public hearings at the state capitol yesterday. The hearings are aimed at drafting legislation to allow for the use of medical marijuana for epilepsy and other conditions. Click on the link for more details.

Drug Policy

White House Nominates Acting Drug Czar to Head ONDCP. The White House has nominated acting drug czar Michael Botticelli to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Botticelli, a recovering alcoholic, has been acting drug czar since March, when his predecessor, Gil Kerlikowske, left to take over Customs and Border Protection. Prior to coming to ONDCP in 2012 to serve as Kerlikowske's deputy, he headed the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.

Heroin

New York City Heroin Overdose Deaths at Ten Year High. Some 420 people in New York City died of heroin overdoses, the highest figure since the 438 recorded in 2003, according to data released Thursday by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. After peaking in 2003, the number of heroin deaths declined steadily, bottoming out at 209 in 2010. Since then, they have been steadily increasing.

Law Enforcement

Armed Orlando Man Killed in SWAT Drug Raid is Year's 31st Drug War Death. Members of Orlando SWAT team serving a drug search warrant shot and killed an armed man this morning. The man, who is as yet unnamed, becomes the 31st person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year. According to the Orlando Sentinel, citing police sources, the SWAT team hit an apartment on Orange Blossom Trail about 8:00am. At least two members of the SWAT team opened fire on the man as he pointed his weapon at them.

Categories: Heroin

US WA: Heroin: Use Impacts More Than Just The User

Heroin (MAP) - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:00
Snohomish County Tribune, 27 Aug 2014 - Heroin, The Local Scourge, Leaves Families Reeling With Pain SNOHOMISH -- People in the room shifted uncomfortably as the mothers of heroin addicts poured out tears and stories at a recent public forum.
Categories: Heroin

US PA: OPED: Growing Heroin, Opioid Epidemic Demands Action

Heroin (MAP) - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 07:00
The News-Item, 26 Aug 2014 - Over the past five years, nearly 3,000 heroin-related overdose deaths have been identified in Pennsylvania. Overdose deaths in our state have increased by an astounding 570 percent, rising from 2.7 to 15.4 per thousand over the last two decades. Nationally, more people aged 25 to 64 are dying from heroin overdoses than in vehicle crashes.
Categories: Heroin

US MD: National Geographic Shows Baltimore As 'Heroin Capital

Heroin (MAP) - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 25 Aug 2014 - If you thought 'The Wire' made Baltimore look bleak... Drug sales in broad daylight at Lexington Market. An addict telling viewers Baltimore "is where you want to be for heroin," and then letting the camera watch her cook and shoot up in her car on a street that appears to be in Hampden after she scores.
Categories: Heroin

US NY: Heroin's Pain: Epidemic's Scourge Reflected In Loved

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 07:00
The Observer-Dispatch, 24 Aug 2014 - Owen Kemp's family celebrated his 20th birthday Jan. 12 with everything - Chinese takeout, fireworks, singing and cake. Everything - - except Owen Kemp. The boy who once made goofy faces for the camera, sang "You Are My Sunshine" over and over, loved fishing with his dad and baked apple crisp for his grandparents died of a heroin overdose in November while staying with his grandparents in North Utica.
Categories: Heroin

US WI: Meth Use Climbs As Price Of Heroin Skyrockets

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 07:00
La Crosse Tribune, 24 Aug 2014 - Methamphetamine use is climbing as desperate heroin addicts search for a cheaper way to get high and avoid a fatal overdose. "Meth has never gone away," said Tom Johnson, who heads a regional drug task force. "We just never gave it enough credit."
Categories: Heroin

US MA: OPED: End the Prohibition of Heroin

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 24 Aug 2014 - A Cop's Experience Tells Him the Drug War Is Doing More Harm Than Good FOR 14 of the 26 years I served with the New Jersey State Police, I worked undercover narcotics. On the job, I saw first-hand the addictive power of opiates. Yet I also came to understand that the destruction of whole communities did not primarily result from the use or misuse of those drugs. No, the damage came from people - cops - - doing what I did: dragging buyers and sellers away from their families and slamming them into the criminal justice system, depriving both them and their neighborhoods of all hope. I witnessed people we disparagingly called "junkies" dying with needles in their arms not because heroin is a poison but because the heroin was poisoned. I did more harm than good, and the harder my colleagues and I tried, the more damage we did.
Categories: Heroin

US NY: OPED: Senator Targets Heroin Abuse And Addiction

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
The Record, 22 Aug 2014 - Heroin is an incredibly dangerous, highly addictive drug that has ruined - and claimed - countless lives. As deputy commissioner of the county's Department of Mental Health and a New York state credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of this drug on families throughout our area. This is a crisis that seems only to be growing - a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey found that 467,000 Americans were addicted to heroin, a figure that has doubled over a decade. Our communities are not immune to this growing crisis and real solutions are needed now more than ever.
Categories: Heroin

CN BC: Group Of Vancouver Addicts Will Receive Heroin By

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 22 Aug 2014 - Health Ministry 'Disappointed' With B.C. Supreme Court Decision on Prescribing Drug A group of Vancouver drug addicts is slated to become Canada's first recipients of legally prescribed heroin by Christmas.
Categories: Heroin

US NY: Counties Await Anti-Heroin-OD Kits

Heroin (MAP) - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 07:00
Webster Post, 19 Aug 2014 - Canandaigua, N.Y. CANANDAIGUA - The Ontario County Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee has voted to accept funds for training and equipping deputies with Naloxone, an antidote to overdoses from heroin and other opiates.
Categories: Heroin

Chronicle AM: SWAT Teams in the News, Santa Fe Decrim Init, Barcelona Cannabis Clubs (8/18/14)

Heroin (STDW) - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 19:37

SWAT teams are in the news, the RAVE Act gets critiqued as counterproductive, there will be no medical marijuana initiative in Oklahoma, but it looks like there will be a decriminalization initiative in Santa Fe, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Decriminalization Initiative Qualifies for Ballot. The Santa Fe city clerk has determined that an initiative to decriminalize marijuana possession in the city has qualified for the November ballot. Now the city council must either vote to change the city ordinance or send the measure to the voters. This measure will eliminate jail time for the possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia for personal use and will result in no more than a simple $25 fine, as well as make marijuana possession the lowest priority for the Santa Fe Police Department.

Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma Initiative Effort Will Fall Short, Organizers Concede. There will be no medical marijuana initiative in the Sooner State this year. Saturday was the deadline for handing in signatures, and organizers concede they don't have enough valid signatures. They vow to be back at next year.

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Events Slated. The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii and the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii (cofounders of the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii) have announced three free public events on medical marijuana policy next weekend. "Policy Perspectives on Medical Marijuana" will take place in Oahu and Hilo, while a talk session will be held in Kona. Click on the link for more details.

Law Enforcement

Georgia County Won't Pay Medical Bills for Toddler Injured in SWAT Raid. Habersham County, Georgia, says it will not pay the hospital bills for Bounkham "Baby Boo Boo" Phonesavah, the 19-month-old toddler severely burned when a SWAT team executing a drug arrest warrant threw a flash-bang grenade into his home during a May drug raid. The person the police were looking for wasn't there. Look for a civil lawsuit.

Tampa Police Review Finds No Problem With SWAT Team Killing of Man in Minor Marijuana Raid. SWAT team members acted appropriately when they shot and killed 29-year-old Jason Westcott during a May drug raid, a Tampa Police internal review has found. Police entered the residence where Westcott and a roommate were sleeping, then encountered him with a handgun in the bathroom, where they shot and killed him. Police seized less than $2 worth of marijuana at the scene. There are problems with the investigation that led to the raid, too; click on the May drug raid link to read more.

New York Governor Candidate Randy Credico Arrested, Jailed for Making Video of Cops Arresting Black Man in Subway. Randy Credico, challenger to incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in next month's Democratic primary, was arrested and jailed for videotaping undercover transit police aggressively arresting a black man Friday afternoon. He is charged with menacing a police officer, obstructing government administration and resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Credico has been arrested more than 20 times, mostly for civil disobedience actions or videotaping police activities.

Justice Department Ups the Ante on FedEx with New Money Laundering Charges. Federal prosecutors in San Francisco unveiled a new indictment against FedEx last Thursday that adds money laundering to a list of charges alleging that the delivery company knowingly shipped illegal prescription drugs from two online pharmacies. The company was already facing 15 conspiracy and drug charges and is looking at a fine of up to $1.6 billion if found guilty. UPS paid the feds $40 million last year to settle similar charges.

RAVE Act Has Done More Harm Than Good, Study Finds. The 2003 RAVE Act (Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act) has not reduced the drug's popularity, but has instead endangered users by hampering efforts to protect them. The law held club owners and produces criminally responsible for drug use at their events, and that made them disinclined to provide harm reduction services -- providing free bottled water of allowing groups like DanceSafe to do informational flyering or drug testing -- because that could be used as signs they were aware of drug use. "There were a lot of groups like that, and there was a lot of educational information about drugs being made available," study author University of Delaware sociologist Tammy Anderson said. "Today, clubs and promoters are reluctant to take those precautions because it could be used as evidence against them. The RAVE Act is a relic of the War on Drugs," she said. "It never worked in the past, and it's not working now." Her research was presented Sunday at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in San Francisco.

International

Vietnam Sentences Six to Death for Heroin Trafficking. A court in northern Vietnam sentenced six people to death last Thursday for trafficking Laotian heroin destined for China. The six were convicted of trafficking 240 pounds of the drug. Under Vietnamese law, the death penalty can be imposed for offenses involving as little as 3.5 ounces of heroin.

Barcelona to Shut Down Dozens of Cannabis Clubs. The city of Barcelona moved quietly last week to shut down about a third of the city's 145 cannabis clubs, citing "deficiencies" in management at nearly 50 of them. Those "deficiencies" included the illegal sale of marijuana, trying to attract non-members to their premises, and creating problems for the neighborhoods where they operate. Under Spanish law, the clubs can operate as members-only establishments where participants share their collective crops. The Spanish Federation of Cannabis Associations has asked for better regulations to avoid illegal practices.

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Heroin

UK: Legal Highs 'Deadlier Than Heroin'

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 07:00
Shropshire Star, 17 Aug 2014 - Deaths linked to legal highs could surpass those related to heroin use within just two years, a new report by a think-tank will say. A think-tank says there could soon be more deaths from legal highs than from heroin use The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) is to release a report this week calling for more to be done to combat the drugs, known as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), while also calling for a "treatment tax" on alcohol.
Categories: Heroin

US OH: Increased Use Of Heroin Antidote Costing Cities

Heroin (MAP) - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 07:00
Journal-News, 17 Aug 2014 - One way to gauge the depth of the heroin problem in the area is the increase in the use of Naloxone by local fire departments. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, and the Hamilton and Middletown fire departments are reporting an increased use of the drug at an increased cost to cities, officials said.
Categories: Heroin

CN ON: Race On To Get Lethal Heroin Off The Streets

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 15 Aug 2014 - City officials looking for samples, while handing out free emergency antidote kits to avoid more deaths Hamilton police say they've not yet seized samples of a lethal grade of heroin being sold across the city.
Categories: Heroin

US IL: Heroin Crisis On The Horizon For Region

Heroin (MAP) - Sat, 08/09/2014 - 07:00
Southern Illinoisan, 09 Aug 2014 - MOUNT VERNON -- An old drug is making a deadly comeback. First synthesized in 1874 and a drug of choice in the 1970s, heroin use is once again increasing around the nation and law enforcement and drug treatment counselors claim it could reach epidemic proportions in Southern Illinois.
Categories: Heroin

Chronicle AM -- August 8, 2014

Heroin (STDW) - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 19:15

Things get slow in the dog days of summer, but there's still news from the legal marijuana states, California continues to grapple with regulating medical marijuana, and a couple of items from Britain suggest change could be in the air there. Let's get to it:

Marijuana Policy

[image:1 align:right caption:true]ACLU of Washington Joins Fight Against Local Marijuana Store Bans. The ACLU of Washington announced today that it is representing three state-licensed marijuana business owners who have filed a lawsuit challenging the city of Fife's ban on marijuana operations. The business owners and the ACLU argue that local bans violate I-502, the voter initiative that legalized marijuana in the state. You can view the ACLU's pleadings in the case here.

Colorado Health Department Says Teen Marijuana Use Is Down Since Dispensaries Came, Voters Approved Legalization. An annual survey of teen drug use in the state has found that marijuana use has been declining since hundreds of medical marijuana outlets opened in the state in 2009 and since the state legalized adult marijuana use and sales in late 2012. Current use among Colorado teens dropped from 24.8% in 2009 to 20% in 2013. Meanwhile, nationally, teen current use has increased, from 20.8% in 2009 to 23.4% last year.

Wichita Decriminalization Initiative Campaign Comes Up Short on Signatures. There will be no popular vote on decriminalization in Wichita this year. Election officials said that campaigners didn't have enough valid voter signatures to qualify. Although they handed in about 3,500 signatures and only needed 2,928, they still came up 180 valid voter signatures short. They say they will now press the city council to act on decriminalization.

Medical Marijuana

California Statewide Regulation Bill Goes to Assembly Appropriations Committee Next Week. The Assembly Appropriations will examine Senate Bill 1262, the law enforcement- and local government-backed bill to regulate the state's medical marijuana industry next Wednesday. That's the last day the committee meets this session. The bill has already passed the Senate, but must pass the Assembly by month's end or it dies. The bill link above may not represent the latest changes to it; new updates are expected today. The bill has divided the state's medical marijuana community, with some groups supporting it as is and some demanding changes to make it friendlier to patients and the industry.

International

British Liberal Democrats Will End Jail for Drug Possession, Nick Clegg Says. Liberal Democratic Party leader Nick Clegg has said that if the Lib Dems win the next election, they will move to abolish prison sentences for simple drug possession, even for Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Half of the people currently being jailed for drug possession in Britain are being held for marijuana offenses. This call for effective decriminalization puts Clegg and the Lib Dems at odds with their governing coalition senior partners, the Tories. Meanwhile, the Home Office is currently undertaking a review of British drug policy.

British Government to Provide Foil to Heroin Users to Encourage Smoking Rather Than Injecting. In a harm reduction move, Britain will begin providing free foil to heroin users to encourage them to smoke the drug instead of injecting it. Injection drug users are more likely to contract blood-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. The move was approved last year by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which said it could also help move addicts toward recovery.

Categories: Heroin

US MA: Outer Cape Police Unite To Combat Rising Heroin Problem

Heroin (MAP) - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 07:00
Provincetown Banner, 08 Aug 2014 - PROVINCETOWN - When Eastham police arrested two Provincetown residents for the possession and distribution of heroin last week, it was perhaps the clearest sign yet that local police efforts are ramping up in response to the spread of heroin on the Outer Cape. For more than two years, the police departments of Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet and Eastham have been working together - sharing leads, resources and tips - to rein in the increasingly common drug that has taken hold on an unprecedented level in the four neighboring communities.
Categories: Heroin

US MA: Those Concerned Loved Ones May Overdose on Heroin Urged

Heroin (MAP) - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 07:00
The Republican, 07 Aug 2014 - GREENFIELD - Those who are concerned that loved ones may be at risk for heroin overdose are urged to attend a free community Narcan training at the RECOVER Project on Federal Street Monday afternoon. Participants will receive training and a dose of the nasal spray version of the drug that can save lives by reversing the effects of a heroin overdose.
Categories: Heroin

CN BC: New Heroin Therapy Ineffective, Causes Relapse: Drug User

Heroin (MAP) - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 07:00
Metro, 07 Aug 2014 - The province's health minister says the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of a new heroin treatment regime must be evaluated before he'll get involved. Terry Lake's comments follow an open letter sent Tuesday by the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) to government and health officials claiming that the switch from methadone to Methadose in February has had "alarming side effects" on up to a quarter of patients in the Methadone Maintenance Program.
Categories: Heroin

US MA: Andrews A Lone Vote Against Tougher Heroin Sentences

Heroin (MAP) - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 07:00
The Recorder, 06 Aug 2014 - While many criticize her position, she says law punishes users ORANGE -- North Quabbin legislator Denise Andrews has come under fire for being the only member of the House of Representatives to vote against toughening penalties for heroin trafficking.
Categories: Heroin
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