Europe: Crackdown in Georgia 9/9/05

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According to reports from drug reform activists in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, authorities there have embarked on an unprecedented effort to crack down on drug use and drug trafficking. In a message to the Central and East European Harm Reduction Network, Georgia drug reformer Levan Jorbenadze reported that the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs has taken to posting the names of alleged drug dealers on the walls of neighborhoods in the capital city, Tblisi, and is calling for citizens to turn in drug dealers and users.

This vigilante-style move against the drug trade began in the middle of last month and was foreshadowed in an August 17 news conference where Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili announced rewards of up to US $555 for the capture of drug dealers. That news conference took place the same day police seized 10 pounds of opium in the village of Ponichala -- the largest drug bust in Georgia history.

"We hope to see mass arrests of people involved in drug trade... but we need help from society," said Merabishvili. "The Ministry of Internal Affairs cannot do the job by itself. Yes, maybe the ministry will seize many drugs in the future as well, but unfortunately, the amount of drug users and dealers has not declined in Georgia," he said. "We have to make drug users unpopular people and treat them as dangers to the public so that they feel uncomfortable in Georgian society. Over the recent years, drug use has become fashionable and popular," he complained. "It is necessary to change the attitude towards social problems throughout Georgia."

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Issue #402 -- 9/9/05

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Feature: Regional Anti-Prohibitionist Conference Gets Under Way in Buenos Aires | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Europe: Contender for British Tory Leadership Says Legalize Drugs | Asia: Afghan Opium Production Essentially Stable This Year Despite Crackdown | Press Release: Lawrence, Kansas, Moving to Shift Marijuana Prosecutions to Municipal Court to Avoid HEA Drug Provision | Sentencing: New York Governor Signs Another Partial Rocky Reform Bill -- Will Free at Most 500 Prisoners | Marijuana: Surge in Arrests Has Little Effect on Use Rates, Study Finds | Canada: Vancouver Drug Users' Group Assists Users with Injecting in Order to Reduce HIV Transmission | Medical Marijuana: Virginia Nurses Association Reiterates Its Support | Crooked Snitches: Oregon Drops More than 40 Cases Tied to Bad Informant | Europe: Crackdown in Georgia | Quote: William Rehnquist on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing | Media Scan: HEA in Boston Globe, Medical Marijuana in New England Journal of Medicine, Medscape, More | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunities: Marijuana Policy Project | Job Opportunity: Harm Reduction Position in New Mexico | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar |


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