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Opening statements set for today in the retrial of marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal

Location: 
San Francisco, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
KSBY 6 (CA)
URL: 
http://www.ksby.com/Global/story.asp?S=6516392

Mexican drug gangs target military as president tries to regain territory lost to cartels

Location: 
Apatzingan
Mexico
Publication/Source: 
Boston Herald
URL: 
http://news.bostonherald.com/international/americas/view.bg?articleid=1001229

Hempfest marches onward

Location: 
OH
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Lantern (OH)
URL: 
http://media.www.thelantern.com/media/storage/paper333/news/2007/05/14/Campus/Hempfest.Marches.Onward-2903077.shtml

Europe unites against cannabis in Istanbul

Location: 
Istanbul
Turkey
Publication/Source: 
Turkish Daily News (Turkey)
URL: 
http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=72942

State Assembly approves hemp farming bill

Location: 
Sacramento, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Napa Valley Register (CA)
URL: 
http://www.napavalleyregister.com/articles/2007/05/11/news/national/doc464403f1d635a764646808.txt

Book Forum: Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the ONDCP

Each year the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) publishes a report called The National Drug Control Strategy. Those reports are supposed to provide information about trends in drug use and assess federal programs that are aimed at reducing the supply of and demand for illegal drugs. Policymakers rely on that information in making budget decisions and holding executive branch agencies accountable. Matthew B. Robinson and Renee G. Scherlen conducted an independent review of those reports, and their research found numerous instances in which information was distorted to justify continuing the war on drugs. Join us for a discussion of the use and abuse of statistics and of policy recommendations for changing the federal approach to problems associated with drug use. The event features the authors Matthew B. Robinson, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Appalachian State University and Renee G. Scherlen, Associate Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University, as well as Dr. David Murray, Senior Policy Analyst for ONDCP. It will be moderated by Timothy Lynch, Director of the Project on Criminal Justice at the Cato Institute. To register, see http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=3807, call (202) 789-5229 by 12:00 noon, Wednesday, May 30, 2007. Please arrive early. Seating is limited and not guaranteed. News media inquiries only (no registrations), please call (202) 789-5200. A luncheon follows the event.
Date: 
Thu, 05/31/2007 - 12:00pm
Location: 
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
United States

Border Violence Concerns State Officials

Location: 
NM
United States
Publication/Source: 
News 92.3 KTAR (AZ)
URL: 
http://ktar.com/?nid=6&sid=476540

U.S. may boost aid to fight drug trafficking in Mexico

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Dallas Morning News
URL: 
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/mexico/stories/DN-planmexico_10int.ART.North.Edition1.435cabe.html

Public Health: DEA Puts Fentanyl OD Death Toll at More Than a Thousand

Last year's wave of overdose deaths from heroin cut with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid pain reliever, killed more than a thousand people, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The deaths began early in the year in the Mid-Atlantic states before spreading to the Midwest, with significant clusters in Chicago and Detroit.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/fentanyl-packet.jpg
fentanyl packet
Early official responses to the wave of deaths was slow and spotty, but concern spread as the death toll mounted. By December, more than 120 public health experts signed an open letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt calling for a more aggressive response. The deaths have continued, but not at the torrid pace of last fall and summer.

The DEA estimate of the death toll came in an interim rule regulating a fentanyl precursor chemical, N-phenethyl-4-piperidone (NPP), published in
Monday's federal register. "The recent distribution of illicitly manufactured fentanyl has caused an unprecedented outbreak of hundreds of suspected fentanyl-related overdoses, at least 972 confirmed fentanyl-related deaths, and 162 suspected fentanyl-related deaths occurring mostly in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania," the agency reported.

Noting that fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin, the DEA went on to warn of its dangers. "The legitimate medical use of fentanyl is for anesthesia and analgesia, but fentanyl's euphoric effects are highly sought after by narcotic addicts," the agency explained. "Fentanyl can serve as a direct pharmacological substitute for heroin in opioid dependent individuals. However, fentanyl is a very dangerous substitute for heroin because the amount that produces a euphoric effect also induces respiratory depression. Furthermore, due to fentanyl's increased potency over heroin, illicit drug dealers have trouble adjusting ("cutting") pure fentanyl into proper dosage concentrations. As a result, unsuspecting heroin users or heroin users who know the substance contains fentanyl have difficulty determining how much to take to get their "high" and mistakenly take a lethal quantity of the fentanyl. Unfortunately, only a slight excess in the amount of fentanyl taken can be, and is often, lethal because the resulting level of respiratory depression is sufficient to cause the user to stop breathing."

The death toll suggests the DEA is not exaggerating in this instance. Let's be careful out there, kids.

Latin America: Colombia Bans Coca Products -- Except Coca-Cola

While Bolivia's Evo Morales and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, along with hundreds of thousands of Andean coca growers, are seeking to expand legal markets for the venerable leaf, the Colombian government is moving in the opposite direction. For years, Bogota has allowed indigenous coca farmers to sell coca products, promoting the enterprise as one of the few successful commercial opportunities available to recognized tribes like the Nasa, who have grown it for years and regard it as sacred. But in February, the Colombian government quietly imposed a ban on the sale of products outside indigenous reserves.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/cocasek.jpg
Coca Sek -- better than Coca Cola
The Nasa are pointing the finger at Coca-Cola, which last fall lost a lengthy legal effort against Coca Sek, the Nasa's energy drink popular among the Colombian young. Coca Sek infringed on its copyright, the American soft drink giant argued. With the Colombian food safety agency, Invima, decision restricting coca sales coming scant months after Coca-Cola lost its battle against Coca Sek, the suspicions are natural.

But Invima said it is merely heeding the wishes of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). While Colombia formally adheres to the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which considers coca a drug to be eradicated, Colombian indigenous communities grow coca legally under indigenous autonomy provisions of the 1991 constitution, and have been selling coca products throughout Colombia. But last year, the INCB sent the Colombian foreign ministry a letter asking whether the "refreshing drink made from coca and produced by an Indian community" didn't violate the 1961 treaty.

While the treaty considers the coca plant a drug to be suppressed and eradicated, it also contains a provision allowing coca products to be used if the cocaine alkaloid has been extracted. That is Coca-Cola's loophole, and the Nasa call it hypocrisy.

"They lose their fight in October and then in February the government decides to prohibit Coca Sek," said David Curtidor, a Nasa in charge of the company that produces the drink. He is leading a legal challenge to the ban. In the meantime, the community is losing $15,000 a month from lost sales of Coca Sek and other coca products. "Why don't they also ban Coca-Cola? It's also made of coca leaves," he complained to the Associated Press.

Coca-Cola wouldn't confirm or deny to the AP that it even uses a cocaine-free coca extract, as is widely believed. It did deny having anything to do with Invima's decision. Invima told the AP Coca-Cola had no role.

But the Nasa are suspicious, and they're not the only ones who think Coca-Cola gets special treatment. Last year, Bolivia's Morales, a former coca grower union leader himself, complained to the UN General Assembly that "the coca leaf is legal for Coca Cola and illegal for medicinal purposes in our country and in the whole world."

And now, whether at the bidding of the INCB or Coca-Cola, Colombia is moving to strangle the legal market for coca, even as it leads the world in coca production despite $4 billion in US aid this decade and the widespread aerial spraying of herbicides. In so doing, it places itself directly against the current in a region where coca is increasingly gaining the respect it deserves and the power of the coca growers is on the increase.

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