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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #356, 10/1/04

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. DRCNET INTERVIEW: ARTIST, ACTIVIST, FORMER ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAW PRISONER ANTHONY PAPA
    Anthony Papa was just another clueless young man, raising a family and scrabbling to make ends meet when an offer of quick cash ended up landing him in Sing Sing prison doing a 15-to-life sentence for carrying a package of dope into Westchester County. In prison he found art, and art won him his freedom. Now he is a prominent activist in the campaign to repeal the Rockefeller drug laws and related efforts.
  2. HEMP FOR VICTORY? NO, VICTORY FOR HEMP: DEA GIVES UP ON HEMP FOOD BAN
    After three years of legal defeats, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has quietly given up its effort to ban the sale and consumption of hemp food products in the US.
  3. ALASKA MARIJUANA REGULATION INITIATIVE IS ON
    Alaska is already in the vanguard of marijuana law reform, and a marijuana initiative on the November ballot could see the state pushing the envelope even further.
  4. ON CAPITOL HILL, PAIN TREATMENT ADVOCATES CALL ON CONGRESS TO HELP PATIENTS, RESTRAIN DEA
    The fledgling effort to get Congress to do something about the creeping crisis in pain management in the United States took another small step forward September 17, when the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and more than 60 endorsing groups brought a briefing on pain issues to Capitol Hill.
  5. NEWSBRIEF: THIS WEEK'S CORRUPT COPS STORY
    Is it a full moon or what? Drug-related law enforcement corruption cases were reported at epidemic levels this week, with offenses ranging from the trivial to the murderous.
  6. NEWSBRIEF: MONTANA MEDICAL MARIJUANA INITIATIVE WINNING TWO-TO-ONE IN POLL
    A poll conducted by the Missoulian newspaper found an initiative sponsored by the Medical Marijuana Policy Project of Montana in good shape.
  7. NEWSBRIEF: NO NEVADA MARIJUANA INITIATIVE THIS YEAR -- BACKERS BEGIN 2006 EFFORT
    The 2004 Nevada initiative to "regulate and control" marijuana is off the ballot after a failed court challenge. Organizers have already begun petitioning for 2006.
  8. NEWSBRIEF: SUPPORT FOR MARIJUANA TICKETING SCHEME BLOWS THROUGH WINDY CITY
    Less than two weeks ago, the Chicago Sun-Times first reported on a Chicago police officer's proposal to stop arresting people for small-time marijuana possession and instead issue them tickets. Within days, the mayor had endorsed the notion, and with talks between prosecutors and police set for this week, support for the idea has been nearly unanimous.
  9. NEWSBRIEF: PROTESTORS MARCH IN MONTGOMERY TO SUPPORT NONVIOLENT PRISONERS
    With more than 26,000 prisoners, including more than 4,000 doing time for drug crimes, Alabama's prisons are overstuffed budget-busters. Saturday, dozens of people marched on the state capitol in Montgomery to "Shine the Spotlight of Shame on Alabama."
  10. NEWSBRIEF: NEW INDICTMENTS IN DALLAS SHEETROCK SCANDAL
    Three Texas police officers were re-indicted Tuesday in the Dallas sheetrock scandal, where Dallas police arrested, prosecutors convicted, and judges sentenced dozens of people, mostly immigrants, to prison on drug charges when the alleged drugs turned out to be nothing more than ground up sheetrock.
  11. NEWSBRIEF: NEW ZEALAND GREENS CALL FOR UNIFORM DRUG POLICY
    The New Zealand Green Party Thursday launched a comprehensive proposal for a new drug policy emphasizing prevention, education, harm reduction, and the scientific evaluation of the relative risks and dangers of various substances. It also calls for the legalization of marijuana possession for people over 18.
  12. THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
    Ronald Reagan, Donald Scott, Janis Joplin, Bill Clinton, George Shultz.
  13. THE REFORMER'S CALENDAR
    Showing up at an event can be the best way to get involved! Check out this week's calendar for events from today through next year, across the US and around the world!
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)


1. DRCNet Interview: Artist, Activist, Former Rockefeller Drug Law Prisoner Anthony Papa
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/tony.shtml

Anthony Papa with self-portrait,
courtesy 15yearstolife.com
Anthony Papa was just another clueless young man, raising a family and scrabbling to make ends meet when an offer of quick cash ended up landing him in Sing Sing prison doing a 15-to-life sentence for carrying a package of dope into Westchester County. Papa had become another of the tens of thousands of people to run afoul of New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws. Just another number. But prison awakened passions and talents Papa never knew he had. He educated himself. He became a painter. And painting became his ticket to his freedom. After his art made him a cause celebre, Papa rode hard with it, becoming a one-man PR machine. It worked. Tony Papa walked out of Sing Sign around Christmas 1996, granted clemency by Gov. George Pataki after more than a decade in prison.

He hasn't stopped since. Now splitting his time between Brazil and New York City, Papa has been a stalwart member of the movement to repeal the Rockefeller Laws, helping, among other things, to form the New York Mothers of the Disappeared from family members of the thousands of people imprisoned under the Rockefeller laws. He has never stopped painting, and now he is extending his artistic reach with the publication later this month of a new book, "15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom," from Feral House Press.

DRCNet caught up with Papa by phone in New York City this week to hear his story and see what he's been up to.

Drug War Chronicle: How did you end up doing 15-to-life?

Tony Papa: I was married with a six-year-old daughter and had a radio installation shop in the East Bronx. I was in a bowling league, and one of my teammates asked me why I kept showing up late. I told him my car was breaking down and I didn't have any money to fix it. Then a couple of weeks later, another guy from the bowling alley was dealing drugs up in Westchester County, and he met with me and asked me if I wanted to make some quick money. He offered me $500 to run a package up to Mt. Vernon from the Bronx, and it was like dangling a carrot on a stick. At first I said no, but things got desperate, and when that happens you do desperate things. I was tapped out, I owed rent money, I'd been gambling at bowling allies and was on a bad losing streak. I thought the American dream was making a fast buck, and I saw a chance to do that.

I delivered the package and walked into a police sting. The guy who set me up had three sealed indictments, he was working with the police, and the more people he got involved the less time he would get. That one-time delivery turned out to be a nightmare. I did everything wrong. I was ready to take a plea bargain that would have sent me up for three to life, but I didn't want to go to prison, I didn't want to leave my wife and daughter. So I let another lawyer convince me to go to trial. That lasted a couple of days and it ended with what I call the St. Valentine's Day Massacre on February 14, 1985, when I was sentenced to two 15-years-to-life sentences.

I spent a couple of months at Valhalla jail in Westchester County before going to state prison, and I used the time to prepare myself for my trip upstate. I got to see what the system was about, how prisoners pretended they had drug habits to get methadone, how the prisons tried to control the populations with psychotropic drugs. In July 1985, I was sent to Sing Sing. It was really the belly of the best, a maximum security prison. Stabbings were common, there was violence all over the place, drugs were rampant. In Sing Sing, if you didn't come in with a habit, you certainly left with one. The guards brought the dope in. It was a cesspool. In 1988, they busted a female guards' sex and drug ring, and the newspapers starting calling it "Swing Swing, the home of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll." There was a block behind the gym known as Times Square. You could get anything there -- sex, drugs, knives, TV sets -- all you needed was money. Sing Sing was a wild, dangerous place.

Chronicle: Those are the kinds of conditions that destroy people's souls. Too many people come out worse than when they went in. It's as if we've created a system designed to generate mass pathology. What did you do to avoid falling into the pit?

Papa: I transcended the negativity by discovering art. Another prisoner turned me on to painting, and I got hooked. It was like this very positive energy. Prison is the most existential environment around; when you're sitting most of the time in a 6' x 9' cage, you really have a chance to get into yourself and figure out who you are. Through studying art, I introduced myself to the masters, I got turned on to Picasso and "Guernica." A woman named Vick saw some of my work at a local art show, and we corresponded. I sent her a painting, and she wrote back and said there was more to art than frilly white dresses. She turned me on to the Mexican muralists -- people like Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros -- and following their example, I started to use my art as a vehicle to fight the system on the side of the oppressed against the oppressor.

I also educated myself. I got three degrees in prison, including a masters' degree from the New York Theological Seminary. In 1988, I was sitting in my cell and picked up a mirror and saw a guy who was going to spend the most productive years of his life in a cage. I picked up a canvas and painted a self-portrait. I called it "15 Years to Life," and for me and many others, it captured the essence of prison. From then on, I began painting political pieces -- death penalty, felony disenfranchisement, issues that affected my community.

Chronicle: Your art ultimately led to your freedom. What happened?

Papa: Seven years later, the Whitney Museum wrote the prison asking for work by a prisoner to show in a coming exhibit, a retrospective of Mike Kelley, a conceptual artist from LA. The piece would be exhibited in the art capitals of the world. Basically, I sent my work, and Mike Kelley chose my "15 Years to Life" self-portrait. I see that letter from the Whitney as angelic. I knew this was the chance for me to get out of prison, to paint my way out of prison. I got a tremendous amount of publicity from the show, and I worked it. I became a PR wizard, I started writing to journalists, and I had my own PR list. I finally hit pay dirt when Prison Life covered the story. That was Richard Stratton, who later went on to edit High Times before it ran into trouble this year. After Prison Life, other publications followed.

I'd been in 10 years, I'd exhausted all legal remedies; this was my only hope. I worked it, and I started getting publicity and became sort of a cause celebre. The prison was getting flooded with interview requests, then I had an exhibition at the seminary, which generated more publicity, including the New York Times and the New York Law Journal. Danny Schecter talked about my case on his show "Rights and Wrongs" when he did a show on the drug war. Every article, every media mention was important, another step closer to winning clemency.

Then, a week before Christmas 1996, I got called into the security office -- you only get called there if you fuck up. I figured it was because of the political content of some of the work I was doing. They were doing body cavity searches on me, and I was outraged and drew a series of drawings of this experience and posted them on cut-outs of the actual prison security directives. The prison guards confiscated them. They said I was smuggling out directives, but it was really because they didn't want me to expose the dehumanizing aspects of prison life. I remember sitting on that bench feeling defeated, thinking I had blown my chance for freedom. But the deputy warden came out and said he just got off the phone with the governor and I had been granted clemency. I started sobbing like a baby.

Chronicle: You mentioned "Guernica" and the political influence of the Mexican muralists. Did you have any politics before you went to prison?

Papa: No. The greatest gift I got from being in prison besides the art was the birth of my political life. I knew when I came out that I had to do something to stop this injustice. I started going to Albany with different groups, but I saw I was wasting my time. The politicians would say they knew the Rockefeller laws didn't work, but they couldn't afford to be seen as soft on crime. I realized it was fruitless to try to change the drug laws in New York from the top down. It would have to come from the bottom up, so I helped found the New York Mothers of the Disappeared, and we became a leading group agitating against the Rockefeller laws.

These days, I work with the Mothers, but I also work with other groups and individuals. I got hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons interested in the issues, and I'm working with Andrew Cuomo. I did commercials with Tom Golisano when he ran for governor. I also work with groups active at the federal level, like Families Against Mandatory Minimums and the November Coalition. I'll be working with Cuomo on his new project Help USA. And of course, I still work with local groups, like Justice Works and the Correctional Association of New York. I continue to use my pen and my brush. Art is a great vehicle to get public awareness and get people involved.

Chronicle: You've got a book coming out later this month called, appropriately enough, "15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom." What are you trying to achieve with this book?

Papa: One of the things I want to do is try to jumpstart the movement to repeal the Rockefeller laws. I hope this book will give people an idea of what goes on in the prisons of New York and around the country, how they're full of nonviolent, first-time drug offenders, how people are demonized for drug use. We're going to have a big book launch at the Whitney [Museum] on the 18th [of October], which will be hosted by Help USA. It'll be an effort to raise public awareness of different social justice issues, from the environment to the death penalty to the Rockefeller laws.

New York's legislative process is dysfunctional, and the laws don't change because of the process. The governor and the leaders of the legislature all say they want change, but nothing happens. But knocking off DA Soares in Albany a couple weeks ago (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/shocker.shtml) is big. It's the DAs who are blocking change, and a victory like this shows that if you continue to support these draconian drug laws that everyone wants to change, you just might lose your job.

As an activist, it's my job to do everything possible to bring this issue to the public. My job is to find ways to make the drug war issue dramatic and memorable, like a movement poem or a haunting melody. I hope my book succeeds in doing that.


2. Hemp for Victory? No, Victory for Hemp: DEA Gives Up on Hemp Food Ban
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/hempfood.shtml

After three years of legal defeats, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has quietly given up its effort to ban the sale and consumption of hemp food products in the US. A final deadline for the Justice Department to appeal a February ruling against the DEA by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court passed Monday, and the US hemp industry is declaring victory.

"The mandate of the 9th Circuit is final and their decision will now be the law of the land," said Joseph Sandler, lead attorney for the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), lead plaintiff in the long-running litigation.

The federal non-action marks the end of a concerted effort by the DEA beginning in 2001 to undo the growth of the hemp food industry by claiming jurisdiction over hemp products under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). According to the DEA, because hemp food products contain trace elements of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, the agency had the right to ban such foods. But the DEA's idiosyncratic reading of the act was slapped down repeatedly by federal judges, first with a temporary restraining order, then with a permanent injunction issued by the 9th Circuit.

"This is a huge victory for the hemp industry," said David Bronner, chair of the HIA's Food and Oil Committee and scion of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, as well as president of the company Gertrude & Bronner's Magic Alpsnack, a natural and organic nutrition bar that uses hemp as one ingredient. "The Bush administration decision not to appeal the 9th Circuit's decision from earlier this year means the three-year-old legal battle over hemp seed products is finally over. The three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit unanimously ruled that the DEA ignored the specific Congressional exemption in the CSA that excludes hemp fiber, seed and oil from control along with poppy seeds. The court viewed as insignificant and irrelevant harmless trace amounts of THC in hemp seed, just like harmless trace amounts of opiates in poppy seeds."

While the industry basked in the glow of victory, some expressed anger at the waste of time and money -- both the industry's and the taxpayers' -- in the legal battle over such dangerous products as hemp waffles." The industry should have been focused on marketplace promotion and consumer education rather than flushing over $200,000 down the drain battling pointless DEA hysteria," said Eric Steenstra, executive director of Vote Hemp (http://www.votehemp.org), a nonprofit group devoted to expanded the market for the plant.

The prolonged legal struggle has led to both negatives and positives for the hemp industry, said Alexis Baden-Mayer, Vote Hemp director of governmental relations. "A lot of resources that would have gone into developing new products went instead to the legal fight, and the industry had to live with great anxiety. It was not at all clear that we would be able to overturn the DEA rule, and in the beginning it looked like hemp foods would be taken off the shelves or that industry members would be prosecuted over hemp oil or hemp seeds," she said. "In fact, some products were actually removed from store shelves because the DEA sent warning letters to retailers about looming implementation of their proposed rule."

But because of an aggressive legal strategy by the Hemp Industries Association, the rule never actually went into effect, Baden-Mayer noted. "We won on the first motion to stay implementation of the rule in late 2001, and we were able to get the food back on the shelves. It wasn't as bad for the industry as it could have been because the legal strategy has been successful from the beginning," she said.

But if the battle caused some hiccups for the hemp industry, the DEA's effort also had unintended consequences. "The DEA ended up with a lot of bad press over this, while the hemp industry got a lot of free publicity," Baden-Mayer argued. "Only the DEA could get hemp foods on the front page of the Washington Post. The positive effects of hemp foods became more widely known at a time when there is an emerging market of health-conscious consumers. People are using hemp foods not because they're groovy products banned by the DEA but because they recognize the benefits of omega-3 essential fatty acids."

Now it is on to the next battle: legalizing the production of industrial hemp in the US. "We're lobbying all the members of the House and Senate agriculture committees and we're looking for someone to sponsor an industrial hemp bill," said Baden-Mayer. "Our goal is to get federal industrial hemp legislation introduced in the next session," she said. "But it is going to require a strong grassroots effort in places like Kentucky and Illinois and Iowa and the Dakotas, places where support for industrial hemp is already strong."

Still, a federal hemp bill faces obstacles -- namely the baleful influence of the DEA, said Baden-Mayer. "It is relatively easy to get hemp bills passed at the state level because there is support from farmers and business interests, but those bills mean little because the need for a federal license stops hemp farming from ever happening. And the ability of the DEA to control the dialogue on hemp on the Hill means it is really difficult for us to convince Congress that hemp is different from marijuana. We have an uphill battle in winning federal legislation," she said.

But Baden-Mayer remained optimistic. "We were on the defensive with the DEA, but now we're on the offensive," she said. "Hemp is every bit as miraculous as the hippies thought when they first discovered it. There are over a million cars in North America that have hemp in their door panels. The market for hemp products continues to expand. The future is bright."


3. Alaska Marijuana Regulation Initiative is On
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/alaska.shtml

Alaska is already in the vanguard of marijuana law reform, and a marijuana initiative on the November ballot could see the state pushing the envelope even further. Right now, Alaska is the only state in the union to have even partially legalized the possession of marijuana -- the state's highest courts have recently reaffirmed that possession of up to four ounces in one's home is protected by the privacy provisions of the state constitution. The November initiative, officially known as Ballot Measure 2, would remove all criminal penalties for marijuana possession, production, or sales and require the state legislature to craft regulations to govern the legal sale of the weed.

A homegrown effort to legalize marijuana in Alaska failed in 2000, garnering only 41% of the vote, but this time around, initiative organizers have removed language that cost votes in 2000 and have engineered a campaign that is slick, professional, and well-financed. This year's effort brings together both local activists and a national organization, the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org). Grassroots activists have formed Alaskans for Rights and Responsibilities (ARR) as a successor organization to Hemp in Alaska, the group that ran the 2000 initiative, while MPP has formed Alaskans for Marijuana Regulation and Control (http://www.regulatemarijuanainalaska.org). The two groups have joined together to support yet a third entity, Yes on 2, which is using a university professor, a former corrections official, and a prominent former Republican to campaign for the initiative.

Gov. Frank Murkowski, Attorney General Greg Renkes, and assorted drug warriors are grumbling aloud about the measure. "The governor cannot use state resources to campaign for or against a measure, but that does not stop him from expressing his opinion," said Murkowski spokesperson Becky Hultberg. "He strongly opposes this measure. He has been very active on substance abuse issues, and he views marijuana as a gateway to other drug abuse," she told DRCNet. But despite Murkowski's concern, there is at this point no organized opposition to the measure.

"In 2000, there was a lot of infighting and disorganization," said David Finkelstein, treasurer for AMRC. "We tried to resolve that early on and I think we did pretty well. The campaign had its grand opening on the 16th, and a couple of hundred people came. Even though there are two groups, there is one office, one campaign, one message," he told DRCNet. "Privacy is the main theme we will be hitting," he explained. "That was the basis of the court decisions, and privacy is an important concern for Alaskans," he said. "But we will also talk about the need to regulate marijuana."

"Yes on 2 is the public face of the campaign," said Finkelstein. That public face is one designed to appeal to Alaska voters, he said. "Our lead spokesman is Bill Parks, a former legislator and deputy commissioner of corrections, and Ken Jacobus, the treasurer for Yes on 2, is the former attorney for the state Republican Party. We also have Dr. Tim Hinterberger from the university acting as a spokesman."

"We're very pleased and grateful that the different elements have come together like this," said Hinterberger, an associate professor for the biomedical program at the University of Alaska, "and David Finkelstein is largely to thank for that. Too often there is squabbling between local activists and outsiders, but here in Alaska we have bridged those differences and are all on the same page now."

The campaign is spending big money on television and radio commercials, said Finkelstein. "We started running TV ads this month, and we will do TV and radio through the election," he said. "We will run as many as we can, and we will also try to get more newsprint, radio, and mail advertising, but that is dependent on how much money we raise," he said.

While no polling has been done, activists are cautiously optimistic that the measure can pass. "Alaskans are independent and have a strong sense of personal responsibility and personal freedom," said Hinterberger. "If we can't get this passed in Alaska, we aren't trying hard enough."

AMRC's Finkelstein was a bit more guarded. "I'd say we're behind but it's reachable," he said. "We've done a lot of voter contact, we've revised the language of the initiative, and we're running a strong campaign. This will be a tough one to win, but I think we're close."

That view is shared by at least one neutral observer, University of Alaska associate professor of political science Carl Shepro. "Many here have partaken, and there is also a strong sense of privacy," he told DRCNet. "The governor opposes this, but he is very unpopular right now, so I don't know if that will help defeat the measure. It could very well pass."

While Alaska may lead the nation in liberalizing the pot laws, it hasn't gone far enough, said Hinterberger. "The situation is tenuous here because some members of the legislature and Attorney General Renkes are talking about trying to change the law," he explained. "Also, the law says you can have four ounces, but you can't purchase it. In that sense, the law is really incomplete. Unless the right to possess marijuana is a workable right, it's just a fake right."

And while a victory at the polls in November would be huge, that would not be the end of the affair, said Hinterberger. "A victory in November would be truly revolutionary," he said, "but we will still have to get the legislature to play ball." Under the language of the initiative, it is up to the legislature to create a system of regulated sale and manufacture of the weed. "I suspect the legislature may rather see it all blow up than regulate it properly. Even with a victory in November, our work is just beginning."


4. On Capitol Hill, Pain Treatment Advocates Call on Congress to Help Patients, Restrain DEA
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/briefing.shtml

The fledgling effort to get Congress to do something about the creeping crisis in pain management in the United States took another small step forward September 17, when the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and more than 60 endorsing groups brought a briefing on pain issues to Capitol Hill. While according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 48 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, the actions of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are only exacerbating the problem, a panel of experts and activists told a crowd of staffers, lobbyists, doctors and patients.

Although there has been a rising public clamor over DEA overzealousness in pursuing its goal of preventing "drug diversion," most particularly around the prosecution of physicians engaged in opioid pain treatment therapies, Congress has yet to take much interest. In July, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) made the first attempt in Congress to deal with the issue by seeking to amend the Justice Department appropriations bill to bar the DEA from prosecuting doctors for prescribing legal drugs, but that amendment was ruled out of order the same day (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/345/ronpaul.shtml).

The same two representatives hosted the briefing, "The Politics of Pain and Painkillers: Drug Policy and Patient Access to Effective Pain Treatments," featuring presentations by doctors, pain treatment advocates and media critics. California physician Dr. Frank Fisher told a rapt audience his story of persecution at the hands of state authorities. The head of a pain clinic, Fisher was arrested and charged with murder in the deaths of three people. After years of prosecution, all the charges melted away, but despite Fisher's eventual exoneration, the damage has been severe. Fisher remains unable to practice medicine as he fights a final battle with the state medical board, and his patients have been scattered to the wind in an all-too-often fruitless search for adequate pain treatment.

"Frank Fisher's presentation was very powerful," said the Rev. Ronald Myers, an Arkansas-based physician and founder of the American Pain Institute (http://www.americanpaininstitute.org), who also addressed the briefing. "He has lost so much -- his practice, his livelihood -- because of an overzealous prosecution. It is really immoral that law enforcement went after that man," Myers told DRCNet. "But Frank Fisher was blessed because he had good legal representation. We've got other doctors who haven't fared so well. Down in Florida, Dr. Freddy Williams in serving a life sentence now. Hear what I said: Jailed for life! We've got a real struggle ahead," he said.

A key element of that struggle is getting Congress to pay attention to the problem, said Siobhan Reynolds, founder and president of the Pain Relief Network (http://www.painreliefnetwork.org), an advocacy group for pain patients. "We want House and Senate judiciary committee and health committee hearings," she told DRCNet. "We cannot begin to address this problem until we understand the scope of and the enormity of the impact on the sickest people in our society," she said. "We will not make progress until Congress really begins to grapple with this."

Part of that process is grappling with misconceptions and media distortions, as panelists Ronald Libby and Maia Szalavitz did on the Hill that afternoon. Libby, a political scientist from the University of North Florida, explained to the attentive audience how a poorly and sensationally reported series of articles about in the Orlando Sentinel painting Oxycontin abuse as a serious public health menace helped pave the way for February congressional hearings on "the national epidemic of Oxycontin addiction." The series seriously overstated the number of Oxycontin-related overdose deaths, Libby said, a charge which the newspaper has accepted, publishing a retraction of its reporting and firing the reporter this year.

Libby also drew an analogy to the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act, which early 20th century law enforcement used to arrest and prosecute thousands of doctors for the then-common practice of prescribing opiates for maintenance purposes to addicts. The law did not explicitly ban maintenance prescribing, but enforcement agencies claimed that such prescriptions went outside the realm of accepted medical practice and therefore violated the Act. Today's prosecutors are out of control in a similar fashion, reshaping the practice of medicine according to an agenda not determined by doctors or informed by medical realities, through prosecutions of physicians accompanied by draconian prison terms or the threat thereof.

(The late Rufus King detailed this history in a 1953 Yale Law Journal article, "The Narcotics Bureau and the Harrison Act: Jailing the Healers and the Sick," an article which he considered the most important he ever wrote. King found, among other things, that the US Supreme Court had upheld the right of addicts to be prescribed opiates by doctors for maintenance in its Linder ruling, but enforcers simply ignored the ruling and continued the prosecutions. Visit http://www.druglibrary.org/special/king/king1.htm to read it online.)

Szalavitz, a journalist and fellow with the media watchdog group STATS, described an atmosphere of fear pervading pain management as leading specialists like Virginia's William Hurwitz and Cecil Knox face prosecution and possible years in prison as drug dealers for trying to treat pain with opiates. Szalavitz, too, cited media sensationalism as contributing greatly to the problem.

"We are not going away," said Kathryn Serkes of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, who emceed the briefing. "We are approaching this issue methodically. If we have to keep coming back to educate people on the Hill 40 or 50 at a time, we'll do it," she told DRCNet. "This issue is really just beginning to appear on congressional staffers' radar now, since Reps. Paul and Conyers made their bid to defund the DEA war on doctors in July. We didn't really expect any concrete action at this point; it is an educational process and we're in it for the long haul," she said.

One thing the briefing did accomplish, said Serkes, was to show that concern about the crisis in pain treatment is not an issue that belongs to one political party. "We wanted to show that this is a bipartisan effort, and with Conyers and Paul, people are starting to understand that," she argued. "Our panel was another example. We had people who are very conservative and people on the left. The people on the panel put aside political differences on other issues to work together on this."

"This is an educational effort," concurred the Pain Relief Network's Reynolds. "And we were really encouraged by the receptivity of the audience. People's mouths were hanging open as they listened. People are just thunderstruck when they're confronted with the reality of what is going on, with doctors being hunted down, with pain patients like Richard Paey sitting in prison for 25 years. People just cannot believe it."

"We are getting more attention from members of Congress, but we need to have hearings," said the Rev. Myers, who will lead the second annual pain patients march on Washington in April. "The DEA is out of control, and Congress is the only body that can rein it in. To me, the DEA is like the IRS used to be. It was abusing people, and that didn't change until there were hearings in Congress. We need hearings."

"We have US attorneys saying they want to hunt down doctors 'like the Taliban'," said Serkes, "and the Justice Department is asking Congress for almost $25 million for DEA drug diversion initiatives in the current budget. "At the same time the DEA is hunting down doctors 'like the Taliban,' it is having trouble finding real terrorists. Our spending priorities are out of whack."

The issue will only grow, said Reynolds. "This affects millions of Americans, it effects the elderly, it affects children with cancer. This is about the denial of ethical medical treatment to Americans because of government action against physicians, but to have the whole medical system driven by fear of a small number of addicts while millions of pain patients suffer is insane."


5. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/fullmoon.shtml

Is it a full moon or what? Drug-related law enforcement corruption cases were reported at epidemic levels this week, with offenses ranging from the trivial to the murderous. In rank order from least to most heinous, this week's winners include:

  • Floyd County, Kentucky, prison guard Allen Ray Jr. was fired this week and charged with smuggling methamphetamines to a jail inmate in packs of cigarettes. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, jail authorities were investigating Ray for cigarette smuggling when an inmate overdosed on meth, and other inmates pointed the finger at inmate Keith Woods, the man to whom Ray was giving cigarette packs. Ray has admitted delivering cigarettes threw times to Woods, but claims he did not know the packs contained the drug. At this point, Ray is charged only with misdemeanor "trafficking with an inmate" for the cigarette smuggling. He faces up to one year in jail. He is out on bail awaiting a November 12 pretrial conference.
  • Mississippi Department of Correction probation officer Kathy McDougle, 33, was indicted by a federal grand jury September 22 on federal drug and conspiracy charges, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported. She was arrested two days later. The indictment charges McDouble with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, three counts of using a communications device to commit conspiracy, and one count of extortion. The indictment alleges that McDouble passed along information she gained as a probation officer to a member of a local drug trafficking organization, who in turn passed it on to a cocaine supplier. The precise nature of that information is unclear. McDougle is also charged with overlooking probation violations for a fee and for helping a parolee with his illegal drug business. She is out on bond awaiting a December 6 trial date.
  • Former Houston police officer Gilberto Zertuche, 43, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to providing protection for drug dealers while in uniform. The 18-year veteran of the Houston Police Department was arrested in February as he stood watch over a dope deal where a kilo of cocaine and a hundred pounds of pot changed hands, the Houston Chronicle reported. Zertuche was not a buyer or seller, but helped facilitate the transaction by weighing drugs and counting money, as well as by his armed, uniformed presence. He was paid $5,000 for his efforts. Now he gets 20 years.
  • New York City police detective Luis Nieves-Diaz was fired August 27 after being found guilty in a departmental trial of having ripped off drug couriers in the mid-1990s. His firing is the latest reverberation from a broader departmental scandal that has already sent two former NYPD officers to prison (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/316/thisweek.shtml). Nieves-Diaz went down for helping former NYPD officer Julio Vasquez do a strong-arm robbery on a drug courier in 1995. Nieves-Diaz pocketed $65-70,000 for his part in the theft, the New York Times reported. He is not charged with a crime because the statute of limitation has run out, but being fired will cost him a pension worth about one million dollars over the next 20 years.
  • Four Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are on the hot seat not for old-fashioned financial corruption, but for morally corrupt practices surrounding their supervision of an informant known only as "Lalo," according to an ongoing investigation by the Dallas Morning News. This is a case we have noted before (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/347/many.shtml), but the sheer ugliness of the new revelations is worth noting. "Lalo," a key henchman in the Juarez cartel, played a central role in the murders of at least 12 people, including at least one US citizen, by the cartel even as he was being "supervised" by his ICE handlers. In a September 21 story, the Morning News cited an internal ICE document written by agency investigators looking into the mess. ICE had formerly described "Lalo" as a witness to the murders, but the new document makes clear that he played a key role, dispensing advice about the means of murder, hiring grave diggers, and informing his bosses in the cartel, and sometimes in ICE, when the dirty deeds had been done. And on the ICE payroll the whole time. Sweet.

6. Newsbrief: Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative Winning Two to-One in Poll
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/poll.shtml

According to a poll published Tuesday by the Missoulian newspaper, Montana voters favor an initiative that would approve the use of medical marijuana in the state by a two-to-one margin of 58% to 29%, with 13% undecided. The poll, a survey of 625 likely voters, was conducted by Mason-Dixon polling for a consortium of Montana newspapers last week.

These same voters told pollsters they would approve a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage (61% to 32%) and a rise in tobacco taxes to pay for health programs (59% to 30%).

The medical marijuana initiative, known as I-148, is sponsored by the Medical Marijuana Policy Project of Montana (http://www.montanacares.org), or MMPPM, and would protect patients, caregivers (growers), and doctors from arrest or prosecution under state law. The initiative would set up a state registry of patients and set limits on the number of plants that patients or caregivers can grow. It would also allow people arrested on marijuana charges to raise medical necessity as a defense.

The poll found women more likely than men to support the initiative, with 63% of women saying they would vote for it, compared to 53% of men. Men were also more likely to vote against gay marriage and taxing tobacco.


7. Newsbrief: No Nevada Marijuana Initiative This Year -- Backers Begin 2006 Effort
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/nevada.shtml

The 2004 Nevada initiative to "regulate and control" marijuana is finally and irrevocably dead after the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals declined Tuesday to revisit the decision of a three-judge panel depriving organizers of the signatures necessary to make the ballot. But the initiative's sponsors, the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) and its local affiliate, the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana (http://www.regulatemarijuana.org) announced the next day that they have already begun gathering signatures on an updated initiative aimed at the November 2006 ballot.

"While we disagree with the court's decision disenfranchising thousands of newly-registered voters who signed our petitions in good faith, we intend to focus on the future rather than the past," said campaign manager Larry Sandell in a press release. "Nevada voters were deprived of the chance to vote for common-sense marijuana regulation in 2004, but they will have that opportunity in 2006."

The new initiative differs from this year's effort and the failed effort in 2002, when voters rejected marijuana regulation by a margin of 61% to 39%, in that it takes the form of a statute rather than a constitutional amendment. If supporters gather enough signatures, the Nevada legislature must consider the measure during the 2005 session, and if the legislature fails to enact it, the measure goes before voters in the 2006 elections.

The updated initiative otherwise hews closely to this year's model, calling for removal of marijuana from the criminal justice system. Adults would be permitted to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, which would be provided through licensed, regulated merchants. The initiative also includes stiff penalties for sales to minors and driving under the influence.

"The simple fact is that regulation makes sense because it gives society control over marijuana, while our current policy of prohibition keeps marijuana completely uncontrolled," Sandell said. "This year the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released figures showing that more Nevada teens currently smoke marijuana than cigarettes. It's hard to imagine clearer proof that current policies have failed."


8. Newsbrief: Support for Marijuana Ticketing Scheme Blows Through Windy City
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/chicago.shtml

Less than two weeks ago, the Chicago Sun-Times first reported on a Chicago police officer's proposal to stop arresting people for small-time marijuana possession and instead issue them tickets. Within days, the mayor had endorsed the notion, and with talks between prosecutors and police set for this week, support for the idea has been nearly unanimous.

Wentworth District Chicago Police Sgt. Thomas Donegan studied court records of the more than 15,000 simple marijuana possession arrests in the city last year and found that in most cases, offenders were never even prosecuted. In 6,954 cases involving less than 2.5 grams, 94% were dropped; in 6,945 cases involving 2.5 to 10 grams, 81% were dropped; and in 1,261 cases involving between 10 and 30 grams, 52% were dropped, Donegan's investigation revealed.

The data prompted Sgt. Donegan to send a letter to Chicago Police Superintendent Philip Cline suggesting that the city quit wasting its resources on marijuana arrests that are not prosecuted and instead move to a scheme of ticketing and fining people caught with pot. Donegan suggested fines of up to $250 for 10 grams to up to $1,000 for 30 grams.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley responded quickly, telling reporters the next day he supported the notion. "It costs you a lot of money for police officers to go to court," he said. "You have to look at that proposal. Sometimes a fine is better than being thrown out of court," Daley said. "Thrown out of court means nothing. Many times the offenders don't even show up anyway." If 99% of the cases are all thrown out, and you have a police officer going -- why?," Daley said. "Why do we arrest the individual, seize the marijuana, go to court and they're all thrown out -- these credible arrests for marijuana? What does the court want us to do with these individuals?"

But the mayor was quick to point out that tickets and fines did not mean decriminalization. "It's decriminalized now," Daley argued. "They throw all the cases out. It doesn't mean anything. You just show up to court. Another case goes out. That's all it is. There's nothing there. They don't even show up -- the offenders. It doesn't mean anything."

The idea appears popular. The Chicago Tribune editorialized last week in favor of the idea, as did the Daily Southtown. The Chicago Sun-Times chipped in by running a letter from NORML senior policy analyst Paul Armentano, who called the idea "sensible," and an op-ed from MPP executive director Rob Kampia, who protested that the ticketing scheme is "a useful idea that doesn't go far enough."

Public opposition has so far been limited to one Republican alderman and the city's Fraternal Order of Police. While members of the police union stand to lose thousands of dollars in overtime pay if the city turns to ticketing instead of arresting marijuana users, FOP President Mark Donahue framed his opposition as a moral issue. Ticketing could send the wrong message to the youth, he argued. Even the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy could not manage to get too worked up over the ticketing scheme. In an interview with the Sun-Times, drug czar John Walters said ticketing could be a useful "tool," although he declined to either support or oppose the idea.

One group that might oppose a ticketing scheme could be the city's pot-smokers. Currently, they face a 94% likelihood of walking free if they get nailed smoking a joint. Under the ticketing plan, instead of a walk, they would get a $250 fine.


9. Newsbrief: Protestors March in Montgomery to Support Nonviolent Prisoners
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/montgomery.shtml

With more than 26,000 prisoners, including more than 4,000 people doing time for drug crimes, Alabama's prisons are overstuffed budget-busters. Currently operating at 185% of capacity, the state Department of Corrections is gobbling up taxpayer revenues at an alarming rate and chewing up the citizens of Alabama even faster. A decade ago, the DOC reported only 16,000 prisoners, meaning the state has seen its prison population increase by more than 50% in ten years.

On Saturday, dozens -- perhaps a hundred -- people marched on the state capitol in Montgomery to "Shine the Spotlight of Shame on Alabama," according to media and eyewitness accounts. Organized by radio talk show host Roberta Franklin, herself a drug felon, the march included contingents from the Alabama prisoner advocacy group Family Members of Inmates, death penalty opponents, and the Alabama Marijuana Party, headed by Loretta Nall. Also in town for the march was Michael Blain of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Most of the people doing Alabama prison time on drug charges are not kingpins, said Nall, who is running for governor of the state in 2006 on the Marijuana Party ticket and who is facing a possible two-year jail sentence for marijuana possession herself. "They are people like you and me," Nall told the crowd. "Poor white people and minorities, the people who can't afford to defend themselves."

"We are here protesting the draconian drug laws here in the state of Alabama," Blain said. "In this time of fiscal crisis, you can't keep jailing people. Alabama has no more money. Stop locking people up."

Other protesters were less eloquent but equally moving. Four-year-old Aven Mitchell of Montgomery carried a sign almost as large as he was, asking that his uncle, a nonviolent drug offender, be released. Annie Davis of Dadeville was there to plead for the release of her son, Kelvin Lamont Shaw. Convicted of marijuana trafficking and sentenced as a habitual offender, Shaw is serving a life sentence.

For Franklin, who is on probation after a prescription drug conviction, winning the release of nonviolent offenders is going to have to come from the bottom up -- the families and friends -- and not the top down. She pronounced herself "disappointed" in the turnout. "I got more letters yesterday (from inmates) than the number of people here. Unless the family members stand up and say we're sick of what's going on, nothing will change."

But when even a few people start marching in Montgomery to demand freedom for drug offenders, something has already begun to change.

View video of the march online at one of Nall's other areas of involvement, Pot-TV:
http://www.pot-tv.net/archive/shows/pottvshowse-3042.html


10. Newsbrief: New Indictments in Dallas Sheetrock Scandal
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/sheetrock.shtml

Three Texas police officers were re-indicted Tuesday in the Dallas sheetrock scandal, where Dallas police arrested, prosecutors convicted, and judges sentenced dozens of people, mostly immigrants, to prison on drug charges when the alleged drugs turned out to be nothing more than ground up sheetrock.

According to the Associated Press, officer Mark Delapaz is charged in the indictment with lying about performing field drug tests. The indictment alleges Delapaz never tested an eight-pound methamphetamine seizure and falsely reported he had. The meth was sheetrock. Another former Dallas police officer, Jeffrey Haywood, is charged with twice lying about performing field tests in two large cocaine busts in May 2001. It also turned out to be sheetrock.

Since the sheetrock scandal first broke in January 2002, Dallas county authorities have thrown out more than 80 felony drug cases. So far three former officers and five former snitches face indictments. Delapaz, the gung-ho drug fighter at the center of the scandal, has been indicted on 11 felony counts and faces a November 14 trial date.


11. Newsbrief: New Zealand Greens Call for Uniform Drug Policy
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/nzgreens.shtml

The New Zealand Green Party Thursday launched a comprehensive proposal for a new drug policy emphasizing prevention, education, harm reduction, and the scientific evaluation of the relative risks and dangers of various substances. The proposal would overhaul the country's Misuse of Drugs Act to control all drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. It also calls for the legalization of marijuana possession for people over 18.

"Our policy tackles the issue of drug law reform on two major fronts," said Nandor Tanzos, the Greens' drug policy spokesperson. "We must reduce the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other drugs while also reducing the size of the illicit drugs market. All drugs can cause harm. Inconsistent legislation only causes more. We are proposing an integrated and consistent approach to psychoactive drugs that not only deals with criminal sanctions but also looks at drug education and treatment."

The Greens are calling for an advisory panel of health, justice, and legal experts to come up with a rationalized drug policy consistent with an evidence-based framework. "At present we have the Sale of Liquor Act, Smokefree Environments Act, the Misuse of Drugs Act, and others. It's a hell of a mess. It would be better to have one consistent law that included all psychoactive drugs, from tobacco to cannabis to codeine, but treats them differently according to the scientific evidence," said Tanczos.

"Of course drugs such as methamphetamine would still be illegal to possess or sell, while others such as alcohol would be R18, with advertising restrictions and consumer warnings, Tanczos continued. "The classification of different drugs would be decided by experts rather than politicians and would include a focus on treatment. The first response to, for example, underage use of any drug should be some basic drug education and assessment, and if there is a drug problem, proper treatment. At the moment the law is silent and so some young people get a slap on the hand, others get expelled from school, while others get a criminal conviction."

Read more about the Greens' drug policy proposal at http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/policy4749.html online.


12. This Week in History
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/thisweek.shtml

October 2, 1982: Ronald Reagan, in a radio address to the nation on federal drug policy, concludes, "we're making no excuses for drugs -- hard, soft, or otherwise. Drugs are bad, and we're going after them. As I've said before, we've taken down the surrender flag and run up the battle flag. And we're going to win the war on drugs."

October 2, 1992: Thirty-one people from law enforcement agencies storm Donald Scott's 200-acre ranch in Malibu, California. Scott's wife screams when she sees the intruders. When sixty-one-year-old Scott, no doubt believing thieves were breaking into his home, comes out of the bedroom with a gun, he is shot dead. A drug task force was looking for marijuana plants. Scott had refused earlier to negotiate a sale of his property to the government. DEA agents were there to seize the ranch. No marijuana is found.

October 4, 1970: Legendary singer Janis Joplin is found dead at Hollywood's Landmark Hotel, a victim of what is concluded to be an accidental heroin overdose in combination with alcohol.

October 6, 2000: Former US president Bill Clinton is quoted in Rolling Stone magazine: "I think that most small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized in some places, and should be."

October 7, 1989: Former US secretary of state George P. Shultz tells an audience at a Stanford Business School alumni gathering, "It seems to me we're not really going to get anywhere until we can take the criminality out of the drug business and the incentives for criminality out of it. Frankly, the only way I can think of to accomplish this is to make it possible for addicts to buy drugs at some regulated place at a price that approximates their cost... We need at least to consider and examine forms of controlled legalization of drugs... No politician wants to say what I have just said, not for a minute."


13. The Reformer's Calendar
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/calendar.shtml

October 1, 5:00-8:00pm, Madison, WI, Medical Marijuana Benefit. At Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson, $10 requested donation. Hosted by IMMLY and Wisconsin NORML, contact [email protected] or [email protected] for further information.

October 1, 6:30pm, New York, NY, "The Body Electric," benefit for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, at Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, 520 W. 27th St. 4th Floor. Full admission to dinner and dance party $100 requested donation, join MAPS at any membership level for admission to dance party only. Visit http://www.maps.org/announce/thebodyelectric.html or e-mail [email protected] for further information, visit http://www.maps.org/donate/ to RSVP.

October 1-3, London, England, London Hemp Fair, visit http://www.londonhempfair.com for further information.

October 2, New York, NY, "LOCKED UP: Drugs, Prisons & Privilege," Students for Sensible Drug Policy Northeast Regional Conference. At Columbia University, 116th & Broadway, contact Daniel Blau at [email protected] for information or to RSVP.

October 2, noon, Madison, WI, "33rd Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival," Library Mall at 700 State St., 3:40pm parade to rally at State Capitol. Contact [email protected] for further information.

October 4-5, Washington, DC, two days of medical marijuana events sponsored by Americans for Safe Access, including a Rally for Rescheduling Marijuana as Medicine at the Dept. of Health & Human Services at 10:00am on October 5. For further information visit http://www.safeaccessnow.org or contact (510) 486-8083 or [email protected].

October 8, 9:00am-1:00pm or 2:00-6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Harm Reduction in Violent Relationships, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

October 15, 9:00am-1:00pm, Chicago, IL, Harm Reduction 101, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

October 15, 2:00-6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Harm Reduction 102, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

October 17, 2:00pm, Atlanta, GA, Benefit for Georgians Opposed to Prohibition, featuring music, speakers, food, more. At SWITCH International Artist Guild, 845 Memorial Drive, admission $10, call (404) 522-2267 or visit http://www.goplobby.org for info.

October 19, 6:30-9:30pm, Washington, DC, PreventionWorks! 6th Anniversary Celebration/Fundraiser supporting harm reduction in the capital. At HR57, 1610 14th St. NW, contact (202) 588-5580 or [email protected] or visit http://www.preventionworksdc.org for further information.

October 23, 2:00-10:00pm, Atlanta, GA, "The 11th Annual Great Atlanta Pot Festival", cannabis reform event sponsored by the Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition. At Piedmont Park, for further information visit http://www.worldcamp.org or contact (404) 522-2267 or [email protected].

October 26, 7:00pm, Burlington, VT, Forum with the Vermont Cannabis Coalition, with Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. At the Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, 162 Pearl St., visit http://www.VtCannabisCoalition.org or call (802) 496-2387 for further information.

October 29, 2:00-6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Harm Reduction and the Sex Trade, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

November 5, 9:00am-1:00pm, Chicago, IL, Safer Injection, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

November 5, 2:00-6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Legal Rights, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

November 11-14, New Orleans, LA, "Working Under Fire: Drug User Health and Justice 2004," 5th National Harm Reduction Conference. Sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, at the New Orleans Astor Crowne Plaza, contact Paula Santiago at (212) 213-6376 x15 or visit http://www.harmreduction.org/conference/5thnatlconf.pdf for further information.

November 18-21, College Park, MD, Students for Sensible Drug Policy national conference. Details to be announced, visit http://www.ssdp.org to check for updates.

November 27, Portland, OR, "Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards 2004," Seminar & Trade Show 10:00am-4:00pm, Awards Banquet & Entertainment 6:30-10:00pm. At the Red Lion Hotel, Portland Convention Center, sponsored by Oregon NORML, visit http://www.ornorml.org or contact (503) 239-6110 or [email protected] for further information.

December 3, full day, Chicago, IL, Opiate Overdose Intervention, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

April 30, 2005 (date tentative), 11:00am-3:00pm, Washington, DC, "America's in Pain!" 2nd Annual National Pain Rally. At the US Capitol Reflecting Pool, visit http://www.AmericanPainInstitute.org for further information.


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